Day 2: Opportunity Knocked But No One Was Home
Today was an opportunity day, we thought. Team Canada had the opportunity to come out strongly against Slovakia who had struggled the day before, the opportunity to bring South Africa (Day 1 frontrunners) back to the pack, and the opportunity to finally break the jinx against Trinidad and Tobago in the day’s last match.
In fact, we got off to a bad start against Slovakia (stuck 15 after three boards and still down 7 past the midway mark). But Team Canada put together a 24-0 run over the next 4 boards and eventually won a small victory.
Canadian supporters were optimistic when Canada drew first blood against South Africa. This board earned a 9-IMP pick up early in the match:
Danny’s enterprising 3♦ raise manoeuvred North-South into uncomfortable territory and when North rated his hand as “some extras with no clear bid”, South really had no sensible action other than Pass.
The play was relatively straightforward. +470 more than compensated for their teammates’ -100 in an aggressive 3NT. Alas, fortunes turned shortly thereafter and Canada ended up garnering just 10 VPs, far less than what we had hoped.
Canada has lost important matches to Trinidad and Tobago, an archipelagic state in the south Caribbean consisting of the two islands for which the country is named (the total population of the country is 1.3 million). In 2007, Trinidad and Tobago trounced Team Canada in the World Team Championship in Shanghai. The very next year, at the first World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, Trinidad and Tobago knocked Canada out of a qualifying spot with a last-round victory. Today, we had our revenge of sorts when we secured a 18-12 VP win.
Tomorrow will be critical. Surprisingly, after 6 of 15 matches, our Group’s fourth place spot is held down by a far-from-normal score of 98 VPs (average is 90). Canada has 92 VPs, but is surrounded by tallies of 97, 96, 93, 89 and 82. We’ll see what the morrow brings.