Monday, 15 June 2009

San Remo, part 2

The reason for my confusion over the placings of the qualifiers is explained by the fact that the EBL site originally specified only 16 teams qualifying, but they have actually qualified 32 . Just as well for the event as a number of strong teams, including Lavazza, didn't make the top 16. 4 of "our" teams got through that round with only McGann failing in a close match and Erichsen losing out to Lavazza. A tough draw that, at this stage. It resulted from the "picking system" allowing the leading teams from qualifying to choose their opponents. Obviously no-one wanted Lavazza or Erichsen (including Helness and Brogeland) so they ended up on the shelf till the end.

The last 16 saw de Botton draw Callaghan and a storming 1st 14 boards saw Callaghan virtually out of the match at 85-13 down with both de Botton-Malinowski and Senior-Sandqvist returning great cards. Perhaps not surprisingly after the fireworks, the 2nd set was relatively low scoring and close until the end when de Botton put on another 25 imp.

Meanwhile both Badger (Hinden) and Penfold were making heavy weather down 15 and 16 respectively. Eminently retrievable over 14 of course. Despite a partial recovery by Penfold, she could quite make it and was 11 short in the end. Hinden started the 2nd half with two game swings out and was looking doomed, but a marvellous late recovery ended in a 3 imp win (62-59)so "Badger" with de Botton will carry the English flag into the last 8.

Meanwhile, the tough draw for Lavazza continued with a tie against the Hansen team who had led the qualifying. Mostly Austrian, they also included Kovachev of Bulgaria and Cecilia Rimstedt, a junior world champion from Sweden. The match was incredibly close, with Hansen leading by 1 imp with a board to go, after the trading of slam swings. A flat 3NT on the last board, however, saw the Italians eliminated.

Apart from the "live update" on the EBL web site, you can also watch a couple of matches each set on BBO.

Unfortunately, the site doesn't yet show any pairs results yet. Qualifying is underway. I've heard from Lizzie Godfrey, an ex-pat english international living in the mountains of Southern France that the venue is wonderful and that session timings are much better than before. Great bridge, great weather, great resort - what else can you ask for?

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