Today we play USA1, Denmark, and France, in 9th, 10th, and 4th places overnight. All three matches will be on BBO, so I will be in the VuGraph theatre hoping to get enough signal to follow them. You can review what happened by going to the BBO archive at bridgebase.com.
USA1 takes the lead by taking four vulnerable undertricks against a partscore we play in a 5-1 heart fit, then bidding an excellent slam which we miss. We recover by defeating a poor slam, then taking a 500 penalty when they try 2H in a 5-1 heart fit - they play 2H at the other table also, one off. On the penultimate board they bid a game off four top tricks, but the tricks are hard to cash, and we don't cash them (in the Bermuda bowl, the game makes at both tables in the USA1 v England match). That ties the match, and on the last board we bid to 4S instead of the somewhat better 3NT. The lie is the one that favours the better contract, and we lose a game swing, and the match by 47-37.
Against Denmark, there is little action for the first two thirds of the match, then we double our lead to 20 IMPs with a thin 3NT. But it all goes wrong at the end. A normal overcall costs 500, they bid and make a fair slam which we miss, and on the last board they make a conservative pass while our overcall helps them guess the trump suit in their 4H contract. We lose the match 40-28, the first time we've lost two in a row. But both matches have been close, and we had a sizeable lead at the start of the day.
Denmark has asked for a ruling on a board where we gave different explanations on either side of the screen. It's not at all clear that this affected their bidding, but it's a question which should be considered. The Directors decide to make a small adjustment, and the score becomes 40-26. The adjustment is somewhat generous to them, but that's as it should be: we have no complaints.
The players go back to the BBO rooms to play France. The French take an early lead, but we get our noses in front when Sally makes a winning decision to bid five over five. We're a few IMPs down approaching the last quarter, but now it's our turn to have a run of good boards. They bid a poor slam which fails, then go off in 3NT which we make against an inferior opening lead. On the last board, Frances and Graham find a nice defence to beat 1NT by two, and we have won by 46-23.
We were bound to have a poor day sooner or later, and this was it. But as poor days go, it was pretty good - we scored just below average, and we're still in the lead. USA2 are now quite close behind us: we each have only one match to play against a team from the top eight, but their run-in looks slightly easier. We shall see.