After a nail-biting run to secure a qualifying spot, Canada claimed 8th position, nosing USA2 by 3.65 VPs. Earlier in the match against Germany, both sides had incurred a .5 VP penalty for playing overtime, which luckily didn’t figure into the picture. (When half time had been announced, we were finished 9 of 16 boards. From there, the Germans crawled at a snail’s pace. It seemed as though it would take more time to call the director than to soldier on, but in the end we couldn’t get the Germans to ‘fess up to having caused the problem. Live and learn.)
With first choice of opponent, USA1 chose Canada for the quarter-finals (to no one’s surprise). By virtue of our win in the head-to-head round robin match, we started the playoff with a massive carryover of 1.67 IMPS. Both sides played fairly sound bridge, and after the fourth segment, the score stood 119 – 118.7. There were a couple of director calls which led to reviews of two results, the net of which had already reduced Canada’s total by 6 IMPs.
The first was a forgotten system agreement by us, where 1NT – (DBL) – 3H was (incorrectly) alerted by the 3H bidder as a transfer to spades. In that scenario, DBL by the defender showed hearts. On the other side of the screen, 3H was described as natural, pre-emptive and so DBL was takeout. Sigh. Eventually, we played 5Sx, which went for only -100 on an unlucky lead. No good! We received a calculated score based on combined likely results and likely probabilities (-200).
Later in the match, this auction arose with no interference bidding:
1H – 2H
2S – 2NT
3D – 4S
2S said “bid 2NT so I can make a HSGT”; 2NT said “OK … I will accept somewhere.
So what in the world is 4S?
Nick shrugged and bid 5D, reasoning that 4S must be a splinter with big diamond support (and he made the mistake of volunteering this reasoning to his RHO before he passed the tray). We landed in 5H, which went off one on the defense put up by the opponents (-13 IMPs).
Well, it turned out that 4S was a mechanical error (cards stuck together).That wasn’t good enough for the opponents … they wanted to squeeze blood out of a stone. They asked for a director’s review, with one contending that he would have doubled 4S (with K109x) if he had known it was a splinter (which it wasn’t) and the other claiming he would have doubled the final contract (and presumably led differently) had his partner doubled 4S. The director adjusted the result to -800 … they got a paltry 3 IMPs for their trouble.
Canada had a disastrous 5th segment and went into the final 16 boards stuck 50 or so IMPs. We were nevertheless determined to fight to the end.
Fortuna thumbed her nose at Team Canada on the very first board, when the opponents landed in slam needing two cards onside … -11 IMPs. It was game over!
Today, we are trying our luck in the Transnational Teams which is winding up the round robin.