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Passion for Bridge Trumps Obstacles

Laurie Kranyak

For most of us tournament players, arrangements to the NABCs aren’t terrifically complex. An hour or two on a flight or a few hours on the road – then we arrive at the hotel and are ready to compete. For Laurie Kranyak, however, getting to Boston and competing is a Big Deal.

Laurie’s a great player and loves the game. In 2005, she and son John Kranyak both earned their first NABC title together in the Mixed Pairs. But Laurie recently has missed a couple of NABCs due to a terrible foe: cancer.

The past year saw multiple surgeries and treatments. Yet Laurie was determined to come to Boston. So, with the help of John, some advanced machinery and enough medications to open a pharmaceutical company, Laurie made it.

Although we are all competitive, it seems as if many are cheering Laurie on. Directors were helpful in finding her a table near an outlet for her medical device. Dozens of women, friends who had sent cards and phone calls, rushed up to say “hi” and express how glad they were to see Laurie here. John made certain that Laurie had adequate medical assistance, food for sustenance and got enough rest.

If anyone can deliver an “A” game at the table, it’s Laurie. Still, in the first event, the Women’s Pairs, delivery wasn’t as easy as usual for her. Her pump wasn’t functioning properly, both causing her discomfort and distraction. On a number of hands, a bid or a trick went by the wayside.

One hand was a comedy of errors. As Laurie began to declare 2 spades, a defender gave Laurie a favorable shift. Now she could make 4 on the hand. When she misread the position, though, 4 turned into 3.

Then came the revoke.

The opponents called the director, and as the quitted cards were examined, the revoke was firmly established. According to the rules, the penalty was two tricks.

Laurie’s heart holding had been Ax of hearts opposite two small. The revoke trick occurred when a second heart was played; Laurie ruffed instead of following. The hand was scored as 2S, down 1.

But, as the cards were taken out for the second board, Laurie stopped and cogitated. “I’m pretty sure that I took the last trick,” she commented. “Both opponents had high diamonds left – so my small heart was a winner.”

The hand was again reviewed, and it was true. Neither opponent thought that there was any need to save hearts, when dummy had no entry and declarer had no hearts! So, holding Ax opposite xx, Laurie managed to take two tricks in the suit.

She knew that 110 was not going to be a good score, when players would be making 140 or 170 on the hand. But no matter. Laurie was excited with her “catch” and wanted to know if she gained any matchpoints by discovering it.

The answer? One matchpoint. Instead of a zero, 110 earned a matchpoint.

“If we qualify by one matchpoint, then I want to get the credit!” crowed Laurie.

Pretty much all bridge players want to win. Yet, win, lose or draw, Laurie Kranyak demonstrates just how much she loves the game – and what a true winner she is.