Focus is on the women as they play their 96-board round-of-16 match against France in the World Bridge Games.
This is the second time that Scotland Women have reached this stage of the competition, repeating their performance at the 2000 Olympiad in Maastricht. The team then was Jill Arthur, Suzanne Cohen, Paula Leslie, Sheila MacDonald, Liz McGowan and Fiona McQuaker who only lost by seven imps to USA, the eventual winners.
The first set was relatively quiet in most of the matches and there were just two big swings as France established a 26-23 imps lead. On the second board, Liz and Sam bid game in their 4-4 fit but it was a poor suit and three notrump played better this time, losing 12 imps. Board thirteen was lucky for some as Liz and Sam defeated a two spades contract, while Sheila was making it and she was doubled to boot, for 13 imps in the plus column. These two boards provided most of the imps exchanged in all the matches!
Then Maida and Sheila came in for Anne and Sheila for the second set. They quickly conceded a game when a heavy overcall was passed but soon recovered to bid an excellent grand slam. The rest of the boards proved uninteresting but a few imps trickled away as France extended their lead to 62-30 imps.
In the final set Anne and Sheila rejoined Liz and Sam at the tables. Liz went down in a game that Bocchi made but Fantoni didn't - no disgrace there - but then, somehow, she beat a notrump game that seems to have ten top tricks. Possibly a future column there. Then they changed the score and it seems that the French bid had actually bid to a no-play slam, but perhaps still a column! Imps trickled in this time as Scotland reduced the deficit to 60-82 imps.
One reason for the number of small swings in this match is the systems in use. With two 4-card major, weak notrump, pairs in the Scottish team, auctions, contracts and leads are often going to be different in the two rooms.
Whatever the actual score is (as there may be corrections) the match is close at the end of the first day. Everything to play for tomorrow!
The Seniors ended a disappointing tournament with the smallest possible win against Egypt. I expect all three pairs are feeling a little dispirited after the success of Dublin, particularly the newcomers Alan and Brian. Watching from afar they have done no better or worse than anyone else on the team, but I wonder if the lack of an NPC was a factor. We all know that Harry is irreplaceable, but teams can function without an NPC when things are going well. But, when things are going poorly, a playing captain just increases the pressure on all the pairs. On the other hand, self-funding NPCs do not grow on trees.
But at least they can now watch the girls.
"The boys watch the girls while the girls watch the boys who watch the girls go by, ..." - Andy Williams