We started the day in eighth place and we reckoned we needed 40 VPs or so to stay in contention. We dropped 5 IMPs on the first board against New Zealand, but gained on seven of the remaining 15 boards to run out winners by 36 IMPs to 5, although the 16.88 VPs we earned still left us in eighth spot.
USA 2 was a tough low-scoring match. We held the lead briefly early on, but we had to wait until the last board to regain the lead (3NT was made by Gunnar Hallberg, and defeated at the other table by David Price and Colin Simpson). 26-21 in IMPs and 11.48 VPs saw us move up to seventh. Hard work for one place; during the match we had been lying at various times fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.
Last up was China. Again we went behind on the first board and it wasn't until David Mossop and Paul Hackett bid and made Six Diamonds on the penultimate board that there was gap of more than 6 IMPs between the teams. 41 IMPs to 27, and 13.75 VPs to England. (This is a called a 'Westfriese', commemorating the year the sea wall broke and the northern Netherlands were flooded.) We had scored 42 VPs (equalling our best ever day) and moved up to fifth place.
We have another tough on Saturday, the last day of the Round Robin. We are closely followed by Poland, Norway, Austria and Sweden, with India still in touch in tenth place. Sweden (ninth) are only 4 ½ VPs behind us.
First we play the hosts, India (bridge playing membership: 5,900). Then USA 1 (167,000), the current leaders. Their team includes Bob Hamman, Zia Mahmood and Michael Rosenberg (not bad, eh? and their other three players are pretty good too). The last of our 21 matches is against Canada (20,000). I wonder how the alcohol-free evening (see Seniors blog 5) will affect the bridge?
One of the duties of the NPC is to read emails that are sent to him, on behalf of the team, by the organisers. One such warned that all players must wear their team shirts when at the table. I am pleased to report that the England Senior team has a perfect record in this regard. Another duty is to enter the team line-ups on-time. After one warning, an offending team is fined 0.5 of a VP for the second offence, and then 1 VP for each subsequent offence. Some warnings have obviously not been heeded and the penalties are beginning to appear on the scoreboard. One team lost its match so heavily that the extra 1 IMP fine meant that the team finished with a negative score.
Paul and Olivier Hackett, and John Holland would like to send greetings to all at Manchester Bridge Club. A tide of good thoughts from you all might just help the Seniors qualify. Don't waste your astral energies on the Open and Women's team, they are in better positions that we are and don't need your help; not until they reach their respective finals, anyway.
“We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.” Churchill (Quoting William Henley)