Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Lille: Open 4

Well, if it is going to happen it is definitely going to be squeaky bum time. We are 27VPs off 4th with three matches to go. However, all the top sides have tough run-ins. They WILL have to drop VPs from playing each other. For us it is simple. Smash Denmark, smash Guadelope and smash Egypt to have any chance. Any one of those horses not come in and we are on the first Eurostar home.

So today. India 16-14 win, unlucky (heard that before) not to win by more. Jordan (all jokes on this one sadly already stolen by Messrs Dhondy and Burn) 19-11 win. Mexico...

Ah yes, the Mexico match. At last an interesting set of deals. And certainly not flat in this match! We got off to a fast start, but then the Mexicans bid a slam that made on 2-2 trumps and a 3NT that was much, much worse but completely cold. Both sides bid non-making slams. We doubled and let through 3NT on a tricky defensive problem. Robson and Allfrey were up and down and out of the playing room in record time. After 12 boards had been scored, we had a narrow lead. It didn't feel good. But Forrester and Gold had been having a monster and their men had completely cracked. Three game swings appeared out of nowhere in the last few deals and that was enough for an 88-48 win and 24-6VPs. 136 IMPs in total had been shipped by both sides in just 16 deals. 8.5IMPs/board. 11 swings of 10 IMPs or more.

I'm going to claim some of the credit. It appears my advanced motivational techniques are finally working on Mr Forrester. The secret? OK then. Make sure he is sitting where he has a nice view of the room and give him a big bag of Maltesers.

One aspect of these championships that many people might not be aware of is the ongoing development of playing tables that automatically record all the bids and plays. The WBF realised that the standard of recording was atrocious and tasked a Dutch company with developing a system that was trialled at the World Champs in Veldhoven last year. That prototype has been improved and there are 4 matches using it here in every round. It uses video motion tracking technology to recognise the bids and cards.

This system has a number of important implications. Firstly, it will mean complete records of every match when it comes into use. Secondly, all the data is timestamped. So if there is a director call about a hesitation, the officials will be able to use the system to determine how long it really was. But there is a further use of the time data. Currently, all international matches have time limits, but these are set in terms of the whole table. If a table is slow, then an adjudication is necessary to apportion responsibility. If the time data is automatically recorded, it is a simple matter to sum the time used by a pair. This would mean clocks in use at a table with each pair being given half the time to play the deals. Such a system has the potential to radically alter the way internationals are played. Slow pairs would get into time trouble and be forced to speed up or lose large quantities of IMPs and VPs. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

For more information, check out the company's website:


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