Monday, 19 May 2014

2014 Teltscher Trophy - the aftermath

Another eventful day at the Teltscher Trophy: a heavy loss against Great Britain (less than 1 VP), followed by good wins against Northern Ireland (15.66 VPs) and Scotland (16.38 VPs).

Our final match was against Wales and a 1 IMP loss (9.67 VPs) meant that we held them off and finished in third place, with a just-above-average overall score. We signed off with one of our trademark double game swings, the third of the weekend; 17 IMPs from 5H made in one room and 5C doubled plus one in the other. If only the whole weekend could have been based on such a strategy.

Great Britain won their last match against Ireland, but not by enough to close the gap between the two teams.   It was great to see two 91 year olds, Bernard Teltscher and Tony Priday, battling it out to the last – and they were second in the Cross-IMPs table!   Ireland finished on 122.47 VPs, ahead of Great Britain on 120.44 and England on 100.51.

The event was superbly run by the NIBU, and the England team's thanks go to them, and to Ian Lindsay for his sponsorship of the event.  It is tremendously popular with the players, many of whom have been competing with each other for decades.  It is fiercely competitive but played in a great spirit; a wonderful advertisement for bridge.

And last, but not least, I would like to thank Roger O’Shea of Pharon Independent Financial Advisers for his sponsorship.   The EBU doesn't pay full travel and accommodation costs for the Senior team and NPC, so Pharon’s support is most welcome.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

2014 Teltscher Trophy - Sunday

A day of lows and highs.   We started off losing to Scotland by 23 IMPs (4.14 VPs) and to Ireland by 22 IMPs (4.34 VPs) and at that stage we were lying sixth.

The only way was up and we recovered with a good win over Bernard Teltscher's Great Britain team (17.63 VPs) and a small revenge win against Ireland by 15 IMPs to 8 (12.16 VPs) on a particularly dull set of boards. We have been becoming used to at least two slam deals every match … and the realisation that slam bidding doesn't become easier just because you are older and wiser.

With four matches to play today, Ireland have a fairly comfortable lead with 80 VPs, followed by the pack of Wales (63), Great Britain (61) and England (58).

Chris Owen, Clive's son, is here supporting England. Chris was part of England’s winning team in the Junior Camrose in 2006 and 2011. Like Son like Father, we hope.

Now I must go and work on my motivational speech. “We can still do this, lads” I will tell them. (Seniors like to be called 'lads' and 'boys'.) “Look how Arsenal came back from two-nil down at Wembley yesterday.”

Saturday, 17 May 2014

2014 Teltscher Trophy - Saturday

This event is using the new WBF VP scale for 14 boards, where scores are given to two decimal places.  The mantra behind the concept is that 'every IMP should count', but the change has found little favour with players and (particularly) journalists.

Play got under way yesterday evening with matches (14 boards each) against hosts Northern Ireland and Wales.

England were leading the whole event after two boards, thanks to board 2, where South doubled Clive Owen's 3NT contract, asking for the lead of Brian Senior's first bid suit. Holding AKQ10xx in the suit, this seemed like a good idea to South – and indeed it was; the defence can take the first ten tricks.  Unfortunately for Northern Ireland, North took out the double to Four Spades.  This in turn was doubled and went three down for 800 to England. Some missed opportunities saw Northern Ireland fight back and win the match by 42 IMPs to 21 … a mere 4.54 VPs for England.

The team bounced back against Wales in another set of distributional boards.  The highlight was making game in both rooms for a 15 IMP gain. There was a Grand Slam, reached in both rooms of the England match.  I saw a pair on VuGraph get to it in 3 bids (or should that be calls?) over diamond pre-empts by the opposition … Double, 4S and 7S.  A  slam swing to Wales got them back into the match, but England ran out winners by 46-27, 15.60 in VPs.

Played finished at about 23:15 and there was just enough time for a quick cup of cocoa before bed.  After two matches, every team has won one and lost one. Next up for England are Scotland (lying sixth at the moment) and the Republic of Ireland (lying first).

In response to my previous blog, Richard Fleet told me that the 'Junior Camrose' did indeed have a sponsor in the early days; the event is played for the Cutty Sark trophy.  So where the event is named after a person (Lord Camrose or Lady Milne) the event keeps its name.  But where the event is named after a commercial sponsor, then the event drops the name when the sponsor drops the funding.  Seems fair to me.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

2014 Teltscher Trophy - Introduction

There are five competitions between the Home nations and the Republic of Ireland: for Open teams (the Camrose), for Women’s teams (the Lady Milne), for Juniors under 25 (known as the Junior Camrose), for Juniors under 20 (the Peggy Bayer) and for Seniors.

The Seniors’ event was known colloquially as ‘the Senior Camrose’ until last year, when Bernard Teltscher, Patron and Sponsor of the event since its inception in 2008, donated the trophy that bears his name.

What you can deduce from the first paragraph is that, if you want to donate a trophy for a bridge event, the Junior Camrose is the one in need.

The Teltscher Trophy is played over a single weekend with a double round robin of 14-board matches. A Great Britain team, led by Bernard Teltscher, brings the number of teams up to six. Great Britain can win the event (and did so in 2009 and 2012) but cannot win the title/trophy. Bernard may be bringing the numbers up to six, but he is certainly not there just to ‘make up the numbers’; last Sunday he and GB team-mate Victor Silverstone won the London Senior pairs.

So far England have won twice (in 2008 in Oxford and in 2010 in Ayr), Wales have won once (in 2011) and Scotland three times (once outright in 2013 and twice by finishing second behind Great Britain).

England is represented by Clive Owen & Brian Senior, and David Kendrick & Roger Gibbons. Brian has fulfilled his destiny by becoming a Senior (thus saving much confusion at Selection Committee meetings). He has already played Open bridge for Great Britain, England, Ireland and Northern Ireland. David is completing his troika, having represented England in Junior and Open Camrose events. Clive and Roger are winning their first caps.

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