Our 20th match, and penultimate match, was against Singapore. We know one of their pairs rather well - Ryan and Jazlene, who are Cambridge students. And despite Singapore's position above us in the rankings, we thought we had a good chance to win the match.
Alas for us, things went badly almost from the start. On board 3, Singapore bid a poor grand slam, needed to find heart and club length in the same hand, which could then be squeezed. And there they were, so we lost 11 IMPs instead of gaining 14. We got a swing back on board 8 by bidding an making a fair 6NT. Board 10 offered a choice of games between 3NT and 4S. It's not an obvious choice looking at two hands, but with all four in view 3NT was decisively better, and that's what Singapore chose while we went the other way. We lost more IMPs on several deals where the cards disfavoured our perhaps inferior aggressive actions, and lost the match decisively, scoring only 1.96 VPs and falling to 12th place, out of contention.
Our final match was against USA2, who had started the tournament poorly but were now in 4th place. I told the players that there were positions at stake for other teams, and we should do our best, but for some at least their hearts were no longer in it. We lost badly again, but had enough of a buffer that we stayed in 12th.
Before the event, my assessment was that I'd be pleased to get into the last 8, and that a top-10 finish would be a good performance. 12th is fair, four places better than in the previous World Championship. I am making plans to gain at least four more places next time.
None of this would be possible without the generous support of donors large and small, and most of all the contributions of players at EBU-affiliated clubs everywhere - a very small part of your table money provides the basis of the funding for our teams. Thank you all.