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D22 Orange Co Regional Review

First of all I played only 4 days in this event and generally enjoyed every session. The official site of the Regional is Costa Mesa, but I actually think of Bristol Street (Hotel address 3050 Bristol) as the North edge of Irvine. What do I know? Angelino. With no traffic it is an easy 45 minute commute door to door. During the week, leave LA at 845 to ensure arrival for the 10:30 start time.

Hometown hero Mark Itibashi had an enormous tournament, winning the Open Pairs on TU, WE, TH, FR and the A/X/Y Swiss on Sunday. Congratulations.

The food at the Hilton is not great. The service at the Hilton also rates an enthusiatic MEH. There are strip mall restaurants available across the street. Generally, I am not a foodie and these days I am depriving the body now so that it will not let me down in 6 weeks when we head to Cabo. In other words, someone else may know more about the food than I.

So Cal (like everywhere else?) was in the midst of a summer heat wave and the AC systems were not exactly up to it for the first few days.  The playing area being underground didn't help matters. The lighting was ACBL Regional typical, meaning poor. The directing crew, most of whom are known to the players by now, was IMO perfect although I did note a little dust up at a nearby table during the Sunday Swiss.

The competition was great. I enjoy D22 Regionals because it's my opportunity to reconnect with my many friends from the greater SoCal bridge scene. D22 Regionals stand head and shoulders above our D23 efforts. It may be that LA County is just not hospitable to ACBL Regional events, but it is a bit sad, especially when the oldtimers tell me about the old days of D23 bridge, when it was one of the hotbeds of the game and the local Sectionals were filled to overflowing at Shutters on the beach.

A regular partner who is just starting out and learning teamed with some of her peers to utterly annihilate Bracket 5 of the TU-WE KOs. This made me quite happy (and proud). IMO competitive bridge should be a mix of playing up and at least occasionally competing against those who started around the same time as you (as to which, cumulative Master Points is a reasonable proxy). Speaking of playing up, said partner scratched in FR's Open Pairs and Sunday's A/X/Y Swiss.

The best thing about D22 is without a doubt the tireless efforts of Margie and Ellis to create a true "partnership desk" where a real effort is made to match players of at least approximate ability. Despite the fact that I flaked on her at the last minute on the last weekend of the NABCs in Vegas, Margie found me some very nice teammates for the Sunday Swiss and made me happy that I didn't flake at the last minute for a second tournament in a row. Sunday morning, with no firm team in place, I so wanted to just cancel OC and head to the local club instead. Glad I didn't.

I go every year and I'm not sure that I would recommend it as a "destination Regional" but the OC Regional attracts many great players from an area covering most of Southern California many of whom I count as friends by this time.  

Next up for this crew? Ventura, Halloween Week as always. And back at the beautiful and newly refurbished Marriot. Although I won't be there.

Cabo beckons.

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