Tuesday, 17 September 2019

World Championships Updates - England Mixed Team captain's reports - Day 1 (Paul Barden)

Day One, Sunday 15th September

The Mixed Team is self-funded, and some of us have jobs to pay for it, so we've had to fit in our arrivals with non-bridge commitments. Six out of seven of us made it to the opening ceremony yesterday, and did our best to listen to speeches in Chinese, helpfully translated on the big screen ("Card links the all overseas regions...").

There are four events in these Championships - Open (the Bermuda Bowl), Women (the Venice Cup), Seniors (the d'Orsi Trophy) and Mixed, which is new and hasn't yet got a name. 24 teams in each event, so 96 tables altogether during the round robin. 72 of them play in a big hall, with a notional Open Room in one half of the hall, Closed Room in the other - playing conditions are generally good, except that there's no baize on the shiny tables and the cards tend to slide around. The other 12 matches are in the BBO rooms, where the play is recorded for live broadcast on; BBO. Each Round Robin will have 23 rounds of 16-board matches, played over the next eight days.

Play started at 11am local time this morning - 4am in England, so the four who'd been in the Far East the longest played the first two matches. We started against Romania, a good team who'd been close to us in the European Championships, and were pleased to win 36-7. We mostly bid better than they did, and had a bit of good luck on this; board. Sally played in 3NT by West on a diamond lead and continuation. She had no good enough reason to suspect diamonds were 6-2, so she played clubs from the top and went two off. That was lucky because the contract at the other table was 6C by East, on a diamond lead (which was necessary for the defence), and their declarer got the clubs wrong too.

The second match at 2:30 was against Sweden, who had won the European Championships by a distance, playing only two pairs. However, whereas the European Mixed Teams Championship was held separately from the other three categories, here they're all together, so the Swedish players from the Europeans are busy playing other events, and they've got an entirely new team for the Mixed. This team got more things wrong than we did, and we won 30-15.

Fiona and Michael came in for Sally and Barry in the third match, at 17:30 (not 17:10 as announced) against Barbados, not one of the fancied teams. They mostly played sensibly against us, and we suffered our first system accident on an early board (with few to come I hope) and played in a splinter, but recovered to win 30-14.

Overall this was a good start. We won all three matches, and lie third.


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