Wednesday, 15 August 2018

U16s diary - final entry

By NPC, Giorgio Provenza

So it’s all over, we’ll be coming home soon.

This morning we played the last two rounds of the consolation. We drew with Denmark and a bad loss for the leaders, Germany, meant that seven teams started the last round with a chance to win.

That meant that most teams went there bidding aggressively trying for big swings. It happened to be a set full of traps, with many misfit hands where the winning strategy was to bid less, rather than more. And that it is not our strongest suit!

We ended up losing to Greece, which as a result won the whole thing. There might have been another reason behind the team overdoing it in the last round. We had a bet that if they had won the consolation I would have shaved my head. Right here in China, in time for stepping up onto the podium. They were so desperate to see that happen that we ended up declaring at both tables several times, often one level – or two – too high.

There was no time to think about the missed opportunity (my head, not the medal!) as we headed to the football pitch. With 37 degrees and some 95% of humidity it wasn’t a match for the faint of heart. Literally. The final score shall remain a private matter among the team :)

After the prize giving, where we celebrated China 3, France and USA for their well deserved medals, we went out for dinner in a place near our hotel. Given that our Chinese does not go further than hello and thank you and the waiter’s English did not even match that, choosing the food proved to be a more challenging task than bringing home the several unmake-able slams we have bid during the tournament.

In the end we let them choose for us and we ended up having the most singular meal. I wish I could send some pictures, but the wifi at the hotel is terrible.

Assuming everyone wakes up at 4 am, by Thursday evening we should be back on British shores.

It has been an amazing experience and we would like to thank everyone that made it possible.
First of all our sponsors – Tetragon and Nofearbridge – and with them Elisabeth and Reade Griffith and Leigh Harding, that made those deals possible.

Then all the members that through counties, clubs and individually have so generously donated to allow us to pursue our challenge. It’s been heartening to see how the world of bridge has come together in this circumstance.

I would like to thank Laura, who has accepted to be my copilot, whose help before and during the event has been priceless. Dawn and Peter, who have looked after us from the EBU headquarters. Meena and Alan, who have been – and hopefully will be in the future as well -  part of the coaching staff.

Very soon it will be time to start planning the new cycle. After a holiday (hopefully deserved) with my family, from the 31st to the 2nd of September I will be in Phasel Wood for the EBED Junior Teach-in. Scouting for the next bridge stars!

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