We started our third day of the Swiss movement with an 8-47 loss to Sweden (2.03 VPs) and we dropped to fourth place. Next up was Ireland. We were heading for a good win, helped by a majestic bidding sequence by David Price and Colin Simpson to a grand slam missed by the Irish. (The sequence ended ... 3NT - 7S). However, two game swings in the out-column saw us finish with a 35-30 win (11.48 VPs), but that was enough to move us back up to third place. Our last match of the day was against Austria and this time it was the English who got the two late swings to turn a small win into a big win, 59-28 (16.88 VPs). Although we had an average day, with just over 30 VPs, the other matches worked in our favour and we had moved back to where we started, second place.
There are three more Swiss matches to go. After that the top ten teams will break away and play a complete Round Robin of nine 16-board matches. Each team's carry-forward will be based on its position in the top ten, not its absolute score. So it doesn't matter if Poland top the table by 10 VPs or 50 VPs, their carry-forward will be 20.25 VPs. Second will get 18 VPs, third will get 15.75 VPs, down to tenth who will get zero, and be more than a match behind the leaders. ("20.25?" I hear you ask. Yes, it seems that they employed the same group of mathematicians who devised the 'two decimal point' VP scale. More on that anon.
We start today with Norway; after that who knows. Maybe Denmark, Bulgaria or the Netherlands - all good teams. We are currently on 114 VPs and we think we will need 132 (an average of 11 per match) to qualify for the final. If we can do that, we then need to finish as high up the top ten as possible. Our footballers and cricketers have lost in the last couple of days - the England Seniors will be trying to bring some joy back into your life.