August 10th, 2012 ~ Judith and Nicholas Gartaganis ~ 2 Comments
So the good news is that everyone arrived safely in Lille … by a variety of routes. One took the “red eye” which, flying across the Atlantic from evening into morning, makes a lot of sense (you just have a bit less missing night time to which to adjust). All team members were acutely aware of potential jet lag effects and ways to combat them. For you frequent West-to-East flyers, what do you usually do when you arrive and are one step from becoming a zombie (beyond the usual sleep / (don’t sleep) ; eat / (don’t eat))?
Today was filled with preliminaries and the opening ceremonies. Sadly, this year’s version did not hold a candle to previous galas, most notably the 1st WMSG held in Beijing in 2008.
With the WBF initiatives to have bridge included under the Olympic sport umbrella has come a somewhat incomprehensible requirement to comply with anti-doping standards as they apply to all Olympic sports. If there is a drug to enhance bridge prowess, please … please tell us now. Nevertheless, all entrants must be prepared to submit to scrutiny.
To that end, two (of the some 350+ entrants in the Open Teams event) were randomly selected for drug testing. This was to be a relatively painless affair: show up at the designated time, do the usual into a cup and be on your way. Pity poor Nick L’Ecuyer who was unlucky enough to be one of the two! (He is determined to buy a lottery ticket sometime today). What was to be a routine exercise turned into a marathon, stretched out no doubt because one had to get up close and personal while “doing the usual” into the cup. After all, we wouldn’t want these bridge players slipping us substitute samples, would we? After over 2 hours of waiting, during which time his skill at French-to-English translation was much appreciated by his fellow testees, he was finally released back into the general bridge-playing population. Thanks for taking one for the team, Nick.
We had a great team dinner tonight (joined by Danny Miles’ parents, who, coincidently are in France on vacation). Everybody’s pumped. We are ready for Day 1.
August 2nd, 2012 ~ Judith and Nicholas Gartaganis ~ No Comments
The members of the Canada Open Team going to Lille in just a few days are (clockwise from the top) Leslie Amoils, Daniel Korbel, Daniel Miles, Darren Wolpert, Vincent Demuy and Nicolas L’Ecuyer. They earned this right at the 2012 Canadian National Team Championship (CNTC) with a victory over the Todd team (Bob Todd, Doug Fisher, Neil Kimelman, Don Pearsons, Jonathan Steinberg and David Sabourin).
When one looks back over a scorecard, sometimes a single hand emerges as a turning point of sorts. In the CNTC Final, it may well have been this hand. Toward the end of the second set, the match was tied when the players picked up:
Kimelman decided his hand was sufficiently lopsided to warrant a strong suit-oriented auction. His choice of 4♣ over Pearson’s 3♦ (rather than 3NT) got his side to the wrong spot. Darren doubled and led a trump. Declarer did the best he could by ruffing two hearts, but the defense was careful not to cash their heart winner before dislodging declarer’s second top diamond. That led to two down for +500.
At the other table the auction was completely different:
Despite holding four small spades and an Ace, Vincent respected his vulnerable opponent’s overcall enough that he chose a rather conservative pass. As it turned out Nicolas had a perfect defensive hand and 3♠ drifted off three for +300 (Vincent was able to score two heart ruffs after overtaking the ♣K lead).
Todd must have been optimistic that his team had engineered a pick-up for -300 into +600 at the other table. But it was not to be. In fact, the 13-IMP gain put Team Canada well on its way to winning the match.
Back to West’s pass of 3♠. As it turns out, bidding 3NT would have gained only 2 more IMPs while doubling would have netted just 3 more IMPs. Some days just turn out like that!
Early next week, the team will be off to Lille to battle against some of the best teams in the world. The competition begins on August 10th.
July 16th, 2012 ~ Judith and Nicholas Gartaganis ~ 1 Comment
As the opening day of the 14th World Bridge Games fast approaches, the members of Canada’s Open Team are taking advantage of every opportunity to tune up. The games (formerly called the World Team Olympiad) will take place in Lille France beginning August 9th, as part of the World Mind Games, which also includes chess, go and draughts (aka checkers).
The Canada Open Team, Les Amoils, Vincent Demuy, Daniel Korbel, Nicolas L’Ecuyer, Daniel Miles and Darren Wolpert, earned the right to represent Canada with a convincing victory at the 2012 CNTC. Gartaganis2 are the NPC and Coach.
The Canadian Bridge Federation is the primary provider of funding for the team, but others like Master Point Press have also made generous contributions.
Speak Softly and Carry a Big “Club”
There are many strategies a team can employ in its quest for success. One of those is to establish a sound system base and then hope to apply good judgement to reach the best contract.
Here is a bidding challenge from a recent sectional. How would you and your favourite partner fare?
This is how two of our intrepid team, Daniel Miles (West) and Daniel Korbel (East) coped:
The duo of Daniels located one of their 4-4 minor suit fits and quickly arrived in the grand slam. Thirteen tricks at suit play proved to be trivial while 7NT needed a piece of luck which did not materialize. That the two hands were not mirrored in distribution was good news, but only a 5-0 trump break would make 7♣ a worse contract than 7NT.
Good bidding translated into a 19-IMP pick-up and helped propel their team to victory.
Watch for future blog entries … less than four weeks to go!
June 13th, 2012 ~ admin ~ 1 Comment
There are two new bloggers in our mix!
Please extend a warm welcome to Judith and Nicholas Gartaganis who have
recently become bridgeblogging bloggers.
~The BridgeBlogging Bloggers Team