Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Tuesday in San Remo - Medals Guaranteed

We are in the medals!
Both our remaining teams won their quarterfinal matches. Badger (Hinden) and De Botton both held handy, but far from decisive leads after 14 boards, but neither erred in the 2nd half. So we were already guaranteed a bronze before the semis started. Hinden, playing the powerful French team of Levy, Mouiel, Cronier x 2 led by 15 at the break had few swings against in the 2nd half and extended her lead to a convincingly solid 49-19.
Meanwhile in an exciting show on BBO vugraph, de Botton, playing the dutch team of Arnolds, Vriend, Bakkeren and Maas stretched a lead of of 13 out to 28 until losing a slam swing to bring it back to 19 with 7 to go. 2 boards later Sandqvist and Senior stretched to 3H which went for 500 at love all. Fortunately though Malinowski and de Botton bid a very thin but lucky 3NT on the other cards to hold the loss to 3imps. Encouraged by this, the next board Artur and Janet bid a rather filthy 6H (3 finesses) which went down 1, but luckily the other room did the same. 2 boards to go and 13 imps up, Malinowski overcalled to show the majors over a strong NT with a hand you could use to frighten your children with. It paid off and he gained an imp when Janet saved an undertrick against par.
Just as well - on the last hand, despite another thin (and I do mean thin!) overcall, Arnolds bid and made 3NT by dropping Q10 offside from 5, when in the other room, Sandqvist and Senior were -2 in 5C. That left 1 imp to spare (on BBO at any rate - the EBL web site said 4). Memories of Beijing for Nevena no doubt :)
Don't forget that you can watch BBO either by logging on, or on BBOTV (http://www.bbotv/vugraph)
So on to the semi finals and our teams avoid each other. Badger (Hinden) must play the French team Neve (Allix, Mauberquez, Neve and Reess) who have emerged from a quarter than included Erichsen, Lavazza and Hansen, whilst De Botton take on Rune Hauge's Bulgarian/Norwegian squad of Saelensminde, Malinowski (no not the present Mrs Malinowski - Artur's former wife Anna !), Gunev Popova and Vist. So Malinowski vs Malinowski. Fireworks?
Well not in the first 14 when there was only one game swing and Hauge held a 1 imp lead. In the 2nd half however, 102 imps changed hands and when the dust subsided Hauge was a convincing winner 89-61. Meanwhile Hinden had the worst of the 1st set against Neve and after a board 14 game swing trailed by 20 - although it was closer at one point, in the 2nd set they only gained 6 to lose by 14 (47-61).
So our teams will be fighting each other for bronze (unless the EBL have made the sensible decision to scrap the unpopular 3rd place play-off and give them both one).

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