Wednesday morning and it’s raining. Now I need to tell you that I have been away for 20 days and each and every day I have been away the weather forecast has been for rain and today is the first day that it actually happened so I can’t really complain.
On the way I stop at an ATM to get some cash and find that three different banks have three different charges for the use of their machine ranging from $2.25 to $5.00 it pays to shop around.
A discussion over breakfast with the Captain of the Colombian team about what insights I may have into promoting youth bridge and then off to the venue where I deal with emails photos articles and bits and pieces before the beginning of the day.
Oh over breakfast my esteemed editor gave me a small pep talk about expecting more material today so I will have to rev myself up.
After the first match I have finished two articles so I am good shape to achieve what is expected of me…..phew!
I am sitting here while two Americans are discussing the signalling method. The conversation goes:
“When do we lead the Ace or king from AK”
“Give me an example”
“Against 6NT you have AK which do you lead”?
A nearby director says “you double first and then lead either”
I manage to let my fingers do a lot of walking and write three articles in a short space of time which frees me up for the rest of the day for other things.
Lunch is in the fast food court below which I only discover today. I wasn’t attracted to what was on offer so went and bought a salad and fruit which hit the spot. There is a $424 million Powerball jackpot tonight so if this blog ceases to be updated you can make your own assumptions.
Three more matches after lunch and the qualifiers are determined. Three more matches after lunch and the qualifiers are determined.
With one match to go Australia are running 7th with seemingly little chance of qualifying. Hold that thought!! The format of the event is 6 rounds Swiss with the last round a Danish. This means that just for the last round you can play a team that you have already played.
War of the Roses meet Italy for the second time and beat them soundly while Australia have a great win. The final scores (complete list in the bulletin) are:
WAR OF ROSES 102.65
Hold that thought!!
The directors have made a ruling on a board in favour of the USA against Italy. There are no appeals at this event but a team may ask for a further review of the Director’s ruling. I must say that the directors here have been great. Whenever there is a ruling requiring bridge judgement they ask any good bridge players, including me who they have clearly misclassified, before coming to a decision.
Anyway the Director’s ruling is upheld and the Italians take it very graciously – I guess having already won the pairs titles made it a little easier.
So Australia qualified for the semi-finals:
WAR OF ROSES Adam GROSSACK, Kevin DWYER, Owen LIEN, Adam KAPLAN, Marius AGICA, Zachary GROSSACK
JAPAN Tadahiro KIKUCHI, Kosuke ITO, Koichiro HASHIMOTO, Takumi SESHIMO, Yuki HARADA, Ryoko OYAMA
TURKIYE Akin KOCLAR, Muhammet OZGUR, Sarper USLUPEHLIVAN, Erkmen AYDOGDU, Altug GOBEKLI, Berk GOKCE
AUSTRALIA Peter HOLLANDS, Justin HOWARD, Nathan HOWARD, Lauren TRAVIS, Maxim HENBEST, Ellena MOSKOVSKY
In the youngsters 8 teams qualify with much less drama:
CHINA XNWY 106.18
USA JENG 92.24
CHINA SX CLUB 85.70
CHINA WFL 76.67
After selection of opponents the Quarter Finals looks like this:
CHINA XNWY Tianyi JIN, Zhizhou SHA, Kaiwen WU, Kai JIN, Felicia Xinying YU, Yiling SHEN
BERMAN Murphy GREEN, Asya LADYZHENSKY, Evan BERMAN, Jeffrey SCHWARTZ
USA JENG Andrew JENG, Richard JENG, Burke SNOWDEN, Oren KRIEGEL
LIN Amber LIN, Theo ALLEN, Joseph LIEBERMAN, Christopher WELLAND
BERK S Ellie FASHINGBAUER, Gianni HSIEH, Victor LAMOUREUX, JASON MILLER, Sedef BERK, John ALTMAN
CHINA WFL Yiqin SHAO, Hanchang LI, Bin QIN, Penghao WANG, Siyuan LIU , Xu HUANG
CHINA SX CLUB Licong CHENG, Renyu LI, Yiyang ZHANG, Zhecheng DU, Yijun SHANG, Yihong LIU
KRISTENSEN Benjamin KRISTENSEN, Brandon HARPER, Gregory HERMAN, Ryan MILLER
Dinner of BBQ Pork back at the hotel and an early night pour moi – well I thought it was an early night and would have been had I been able to throw my technology in the bathtub but that wouldn’t be much fun. Anyway 01:30 but compensated by 08:30 wakeup.
Quick breakfast which, by now, is starting to look unappealing even though it is actually quite good , and off to the venue.
Clearly this young player from Argentina is expecting to double a lot with his double cards
Paolo Clair approaches me that there is a friendly game proposed this afternoon between the WBF Staff against some of our Chinese visitors. I’m up for it even though I am playing with the President of the World Bridge Federation, Gianarrigo Rona. Well he’s a good friend before we play we will see how it finishes up.
Anyway back to work if you can call it that.
Sometimes you are proud to be a bridge player. An infraction took place at the table and the directors made a ruling that instead of winning 6 imps on the board the team would only win 3 imps. The team, on being told this apologised to the director and thanked him for his considerations. More of this please.
The “friendly” starts and I am playing the second 10 boards:
Picture on Left: L to R Sevinc Atay, Bin Qin, Yves Aubry and Penghao Wang
Picture on Right: L to R Kevin Wu, Murat Molva, Miller Shen and Ata Aydin
So at 16:00 I sit in for my ten boards and I am thinking I hope they win but then again I am very competitive. I promised no bridge hands but this is a must – I pick up
Q 10 6
A K 8 7 3
A K 4
For some unknown reason I open 1NT (it’s too strong) and partner raises to 3NT. My right hand opponent a charming 12 year old says double holding A-K-J-5-3 and I can’t help myself I redouble making 10 tricks for +1000. I feel kind of guilty and they look unhappy. The next board arrives at the table and my partner says OH I’ve played this the boards haven’t been shuffled including the one which we just played which he sat in the opposite direction. Well you’ve never seen two happier kids.
We ended up winning by 19 IMPS over the ten boards. I was extremely impressed with their bridge, their table manners and it was a joy to see young kids having fun playing the game I love.
Comes the end of the Semi-Finals in the Juniors and Australia who were leading by 36 after 16 and 19 after 32 of the 48 boards. With a board to go Australia were 10 IMPs behind and an incredibly exciting hand sees Australia qualify by the finals by 4 IMPs. The hand was written up by Murat Molva and is in the Bulletin here. The directors took an hour to consider the non-alert of 3C showing a five card suit in which case West would likely not have played the club nine. They found against the Turkish claim and Australia will not meet the USA Team of War of Roses.
The War of the Roses Team has been greatly strengthened by the availability of Kevin Dwyer who was always listed on the team but only became available after being knocked out of the Spingold in the US Nationals.
The Youngsters continues with one segment of the Semi-Finals completed.
Meanwhile the Board a Match Teams continues alongside the Teams Finals and the results are here
Losing finalists will also drop into this event.
So it’s getting close to Money Time.
Thursday night and I have a dinner arrangement with Boye Brogeland and Alex Smirnov but their matches in the knockout don’t finish till 22:00 so it’s a light meal in the lobby bar where Boye is Jubilant having made the final 8 teams by 3 IMPs on the last board and Alex is sad having lost an appeal and losing his knockout match.
I don’t get to sleep till 02:00 and the next morning feel more than a little jaded. Three more days to go.
Tonight we are going to a baseball game which, even though it’s not my favourite game will certainly be fun. Dinner is being provided at the game - I am thinking hot dogs!!