We played 8 matches on Wednesday against representatives of the other Districts, to try and qualify as one of the 16 Teams for the knockout stage.
We finished the 4 afternoon matches (against Alabama, California, NY and New Jersey) 2-1-1 and we were nicely above the cut, thanx to a blitz in the 4th set.
As expected, things got tighter in the evening (two small losses and a good win against Minnesota, Colorado, and Michigan). Even though we suffered the worst loss of the day in our 4th set against the team from Ohio (losing by 22 in just 7 boards to a very nice and friendly couple), we qualified in 9th place, and awaited the draw to see who we would play in the round of 16.
Our opponents, drawn by lots, were the 5th ranked team from Ohio we had just finished losing badly to in the last round. However, we felt confident, as we thought the two hands we lost 21 points on were more aberrations then being outclassed, and we thought we had a good chance.
We played 2 rounds of 13 boards in the afternoon, winning the first one by 7 and the second one by 16.In the evening, things got interesting when we lost most of our lead in the 3rd session, losing by 16 on a definitely “pushy” slam going down 1 and allowing our opponents to make 4 Spades doubled.
The final set was a see-saw battle, where I didn’t bid an easily makeable slam, and where Ryley and I allowed them to make 3 Clubs doubled vulnerable, but we also had our share of nice results and Jordan and Jan played a steady round, and we won the last set 39-32 to move on to the round of 8.
After a brief tour of the room where we will play today, in order to learn about playing with screens,
we headed for a few celebratory drinks and tried to sleep.
Today, we play against a Team from Florida.
The four of us would like to sincerely thank the amazing bridge community … and our respective spouses. Your moral and financial support, your words of encouragement and advice, and your teachings over the years, are a great part of our success so far.
Marc Furnemont, Friday morning, July 27
Before a quick update on our team’s perambulations, we have been following the results of our good friend Mike Roche, who is playing in the Pairs top flight with John Carruthers from Ontario. In this world class field of over 170 pairs, Mike and John are having a superb tournament and are in 7th place after 3 days ! Go get them, Mike.
On Friday, we played a team from Jacksonville, Florida. Things started rather slowly, with our team losing by 13 in the first quarter but gaining back 1 before the dinner break. Jim McAvoy, texted me these words of encouragement: “Your opponents are one disaster away from losing”. Well, our team certainly cranked things up in the evening, played pretty good bridge, and won the last two sets by a combined total of 59 points. What a birthday present for Jordan 😉
After that, having exceeded our realistic expectations for the tournament and having celebrated a wee bit (couldn’t fall asleep in until after 3 AM), we had to go back for “one last day”, knowing that whatever happened in the semis, we would have good memories and stories to tell.
The team we faced on Saturday was from Oregon and, just like the day before, we trailed by 15 after the first set. Then Ryley and I bid a very nice slam and pushed to a game that our opponents didn’t find, and those two boards gave us a 2nd quarter win by 25 and a 10 point lead at the break. The fist set of the evening finished on a high / low note. Ryley and I had a misunderstanding in the auction but somehow survived. YES ! win by 12 and a more comfortable lead before the final set. Not so fast ! The other team calls the Director, points out that, because of the (unintentionally) incorrect information we gave them during the auction, the score should be adjusted. The ruling came back half an hour later, in favour of the opponents, and, just like that, our lead had evaporated. I had a hard time re-focusing after that, and tried to not think about the complexities of the (fair) ruling. We were down by 12 with just 3 boards to go when fireworks started. I doubled a 6 diamond slam holding only the ace of clubs and 4 tiny trumps, but Ryley had bid and, surely, surely, he had “stuff”. After an uninspired lead that almost gave the opponents a chance to make it, they finished down 3, while Jordan and Jan “stole” a heart contract at their table. On the penultimate board, in spite of our normally aggressive bidding, Ryley and I stopped in 4 spades (making 5) while the other table bid 6, going down 1. All of a sudden, with one board to go, after playing for almost 9 hours, we were leading by 2 tiny points. That last board was all about defence, as both teams were in the same contract. Ryley and I found the perfect defence to beat the contract, while Jordan was able to induce the other team to make a mistake on defense and make his contract. Win by 14 and an UNBELIEVABLE trip to the Final against a young team from California …
Marc Furnemont, Sunday morning, July 29