Monday, 23 June 2014

European Championships - Seniors - Day 2

An eventful start for the Seniors, even before a board was played.. First, the Serbian team hadn't entered their line-up, so the two England pairs were unable to study the systems of their prospective opponents. Then only three Serbs arrived before the start of the match; the fourth one arrived 15 minutes late. A gaggle of TDs (what is the collective noun for Tournament Directors? Suggestions, please) decided that the play would start at board 4 (because boards 1, 2 and 3 were visible via BBO and the internet). We were given 3 IMPs for board 1, because it had been completed at the Hackett-Mossop table, and boards 2 and 3 were hand-dealt and played as substitute boards. Serbia was also fined 3 VPs for being late. How much all this kerfuffle affected the Serbians, I don't know, but the English quartet played calmly, and very well, and recorded a victory by 63 IMPs to 10, which was 19.43 to -2.43 in VPs.

England were in first place and then played the team lying second, Hungary. We were 1-27 down at half-time, but a fine recovery (I'd like to take credit for an inspiring half-time talk, but the 16 board match is played straight through) saw us finish with a 28-28 draw.

That dropped us to third and a match against Turkey. We continued our excellent form and won by 60 IMPs to 10, which translated into 19.16 VPs for us. Back up to second and a match against the leaders, Scotland, on Monday morning.

After that it was down to the harbour for a very strange meal. The organisers had invited the top local restaurants to set up stalls from which they provided excellent food for the players and thus tried to drum up business for the rest of the event. Strange, but enjoyable, and a good way to mingle with players from other countries.

So, a successful first day but, as you know, the problem with a Swiss is not just getting to the top table, but staying there. I am sure many of you have experienced the dreaded Swiss Roll.

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