On Wednesday we asked if it would be a two-horse race. Meanwhile the 2 favourites have indeed maintained their lead, almost switching places at some times. But they have not managed to tear away from the pack. Poland and Germany have both been able to restrict their losses in their meetings with Denmark and the Netherlands (every team plays these two consecutively).
Italy, who will play both leaders tomorrow, complete a trailing pack that is less than one match away from the title. With a final match between Denmark and the Netherlands on the calendar for Tuesday, we really cannot at this time exclude any of these five for any of the medals.
The game that the Belgians and Dutch have been playing in the bar has yet again undergone an evolution. Yesterday they were playing "Goulash Rubber Pass-on Bridge". The system developed for showing the cards not held has meanwhile reached Meckwellian proportions.
In München, Steve Backley won his fourth consecutive European title. This feat is all the more amazing since during these 12 years Javelin throwing was the domain of just one man, Jan elezný, who won three World and three Olympic titles. The Czech failed yet again to win the European title, fouling at all three attempts.
Jonathon Edwards was a reigning champion on four fronts for only two weeks. After adding the Commonwealth title to his World and Olympic ones, he lost his European crown yesterday to Christian Olsson.
Candie Kung of Chinese Taipei is still in the lead of the British Open Women's Golf tournament halfway through the third day
To Zoran Zacula of the Yugoslav team, who is 23 years old today.
Match of the Day
Netherlands - Belgium
The first half of this match was featured in yesterday's bulletin, and ended with a 15 IMP lead to the Netherlands
For the second half, the line-up was:
N: Niek Brink
S: Bart Hoekstra
E: Tom Cornelis
W: Kevin Peeters
N: Tom Venesoen
S: Alon Amsel
E: Bas Drijver
W: Maarten Schollaardt
Both teams played a scrappy second half as if the Thursday rest had clouded their concentration.
On board 13 both teams made 10 tricks in a diamond contract.
| 10 8 6 5 2
K 8 7 2
K 5 4
J 8 6 4 3
10 9 7 3 2
| K Q
A 7 5 2
Q 5 4
A Q J 8
A J 9 7 3
K Q 9
A 10 9 3
No score but Niek's 4 raise seems better tactics than 3. Fortunately Alon raised to game.
| A 10 5 4 3
K 9 8 2
| K J 6
A 5 3
10 8 5 4 2
| 9 7 2
A Q 7
K Q 9 8 6 5
J 10 7 6 4
J 6 3
J 7 4
In the open room East could make his Q so declarer lost 6 tricks, 100 to Belgium. In the other room Maarten opened 2, strong hand or weak (oh yes, weak it is!) in diamonds. Bas bid 4 which was of course not raised (!) but he made the contract, 130 and 1 IMP to the Netherlands.
| 6 4 2
J 7 3
K Q 6
A Q 9 4
| A K 7 5
K 10 5
A J 7 4 2
| Q J 10 9 8 3
10 9 3
A Q 8 6 2
K J 8 7 6 3
In the open room East did not pre-empt on the opening bid of 1 and with 3 gave enough space to the Dutch to explore their game and slam possibilities. Strangely enough that seemed to push North/South to the bad choice. West did well to bid 5, a good save against the lay down game in clubs. Bart, who had given a full description of his hand, bid 6, a bridge to far. Perhaps the bidding of his opponents made him think he was saving against a solid 5 !?
In the closed room there was less space by the pre-empt and, as often happens, this was the red rag for the Belgian bull, 6 -1 in both rooms. Only one other pair bid 6, the popular contract was the good one, 5 all doubled but one. Nobody found the 5 save.
Boards 18 and 19 show what unbridled optimism means. First the Netherlands.
| A 6
8 6 5 3 2
Q 3 2
8 4 3
| J 7 5 2
A 8 7
A 10 7 6
| Q 9 4 3
10 9 5 4
K 5 2
K 10 8
K Q 10 9
K J 6
Q J 9
|Pass||4 !||All Pass|
You see what I mean? Still only 9 tricks.
In the closed room the Belgians played a quiet 2+1. 6 IMPs for Belgium.
K Q 7 6 5 2
J 9 6
Q 9 3
| A K 10 9 8 5
4 3 2
| Q 7
A 10 8 4
A J 8 6 2
A 9 8 3
K Q 7 3 2
K 10 4
|5 !!!||Pass||6||All Pass|
Can you blame Tom, after 5 vulnerable against not, for bidding slam?
An easy 12 IMPs for the Netherlands.
| Q J 7 2
K 8 5 4
9 7 3
| A 10 9
J 7 2
A J 10 9
10 6 5
| K 8 5 3
Q 9 3
8 7 6 4
A 10 6
K Q 5
A K Q J 2
Niek raised an eyebrow when his partner took out 3NT. After a diamond lead for the ace followed by the jack declarer has to find hearts 3-3 to escape for 1 down. 3-3 they were, no score as in the other room South went down in the normal 3NT, losing 3 diamonds and A-K of Spades. A rather lucky flat board.
| A J
A Q J 8
K Q 10 9 3
| 10 9
K 4 3 2
9 6 4
A J 7 6
| K Q 4 3
10 7 6
A K 7
5 4 2
8 7 6 5 2
J 10 8 3 2
Tom took a serious risk by doubling twice but it went well: 1 off.
A very different sequence. West made 6 tricks. 5 IMPs to Belgium.
Now look at board 23 (see below)
This was the sequence of the Danish NS in their match against Germany.
1-1NT ; 2-2 ; 2-2 ; 3-3 ; 3-3 ; 4-4NT ; 5-5NT ; 6.
15 bids for a 12 IMPs loss, Germany staying in 4. In the other matches only the French ended up in 6.
| K 9 4 3
Q 10 4 2
Q J 9
10 8 7 4 2
K J 9 5 2
| 5 2
9 8 7
A 6 5 3
10 8 6 4
A Q J 10 8 7
A 6 5 3
Niek did not insist after 2 cue-bids but his partner went on to the poor slam. 1 down.
Belgium bid on similar lines to the same contract, 1 down.
The Netherlands took 1 IMP for an overtrick in the last board winning the derby by 18-12.
Your editor has had two sleepless nights already, trying to solve the puzzle put to him by the German Team.
Apparently one can use these four numbers once each, using just the four main operators, and brackets, and arrive at 24.
Sadly there is no Irish team here, so the Danes have taken on the role of the lucky team.
Being already 97 IMPs up is no excuse for sloppy bidding, so this is what they did on board 13:
| J 7 2
K Q J 10 9
10 7 3
| A 10 8 6 5 3
A 8 4
| K 9 4
K Q 8 7 5 3 2
6 5 3 2
Q J 9 6 5 2
3 showed a seven-card club suit.
The contract made on a squeeze, because North held all the stoppers to West's eight of hearts !
A few boards later, Anders was again able to shine, and again he was lucky that the cards were lying so that his brilliancy paid off:
| J 6 3
A 7 4 2
A J 9 6 5
| Q 10 7
K 10 9 8 6
Q 6 5
| 8 5 4 2
J 5 3
K 7 3 2
A K 9
A J 9 8 4
7 4 3 2
2 showed an unbalanced minor hand, 2NT showed both minors, and 3 was a three card suit.
Nice bidding from the birthday boy.
But Anders was able to deduce that South held a singleton heart so he led the correct card: K!
This could not cost (well, I have seen AQJ appearing in dummy before, he said) and the luck of the day meant that it brought in a huge reward.
The second half of Denmark - Yugoslavia ended in 54-4 as a result.
Greetings from Yugoslavia - land of Champions
We came here with just one wish: to become the biggest positive surprise in the tournament but by now people (even the Turks) are laughing in our faces and with reason. We did succeed in an all-comers record by scoring 0-97 against Denmark over just 12 boards.
And it's all because of disgusting water, bad weather and ugly girls so only abnormal people could find any inspiration to play bridge.
Our captain (president) Slobodan "Milosevic" Milicevic is the oldest but not the smartest. He is the true leader to the bottom of the table.
His partner is Zoran "the Seller" Zacula. He constantly studies the boards after the match and is the greatest general after the battle and the biggest chicken during it. One of his "best" conclusions is that the most powerful lead is the six from 863 in any suit.
The third loser, Milan (Drljanin) Deljanin thinks that there is no single board without 10 or 11 tricks at least, and he always gets what he deserves, a Double. So we call him the X-man.
The youngest and only yellow sheep in our team is Nikola - Fanta - Maksimovic. He is a professional soccer referee and the way they work he should stick to that. He is the worst tourist - he hasn't yet spent a cent here.
We apologize to all our friends in Yugoslavia that keep watching our results over the Internet and waiting for our first victory.
We thank the Italians (25-4), Americans (25-3) and Danes (25-0) for helping us to be so self-critical.
However we invite all teams to be our guests in our country where the water is good, the weather is fine and the girls are the prettiest in the whole world.
And then one more self-critical announcement: We may not be the best but we are the prettiest!!
Yesterday's bulletin was a bit too large so something had to give. I decided to scrap the picture of the winners of the open pairs' tournament.
There were two good reasons why this particular picture was the one chosen to drop off.
Firstly, the original was rather dark and we had to take a new picture of the winners. But secondly, it turned out that Krzysztof Buras was already on three photos in yesterday's bulletin, and as he is hardly prettier than Sabine and Daniela, the choice was quickly made.
Speaking of appearances, Tom Venesoen told me he had been counting and noticed that by now his picture had appeared only 5 times in 6 bulletins. He was afraid Krzysztof might take his crown. Don't worry Tom, even Pinar made it to only 3 pictures in the Rotterdam bulletins.
So here are the winners of Thursday's open Pairs game:
Fabio LoPresti (22), the sleeping boy. It takes a grenade to wake him up in the morning. He is a strange animal fed on chocolate and coke who recently admitted to be extremely stupid in repairing a diplomatic incident. As a professional bridge player he still enrols in university in order to participate in these championships as long as possible.
Francesco Nicolodi (25), the female chaser. He tries to get them by promising excellent meals provided by his mother. Who is going to be his next victim? Rumours report the young blonde lady at reception who made the ultimate mistake of saying "Good Morning" with a smile, but none of us are betting a dime on him.
Stefano Uccello (24), the quiet guy. This championship had a difficult start for him because of the loss of his suitcase at the airport, but nevertheless he is the only one who managed to have a pocket anti-mosquito device. He also brought 3 different mobile phones in order to practice his favourite sport: telephone sex.
Matteo Sbarigia (21), the mouse. He is hard to handle and too embarrassing to take abroad, but his big luck is that nobody here understands the silly things that he says. His bridge comes straight out of the twilight zone and the freshly invented gadget he added to his system for this championship is the Granny double (it makes declarer sure he will make the contract with at least one overtrick). Actually he is also trying to cope with sex over the phone, but he does not succeed at all: 8 minutes is a short time.
Andrea Pagani, the coolest captain that junior bridge has ever seen, provides the team with serenity and balance. He empathises so much with the competition that he loses one year of his life with every one of our blunders. He's on the edge of his grave.
| 10 7 3
A 8 4
A 9 8 5 4 2
| K Q J 6
K Q J 4 3
K Q 7
| 4 2
10 7 6 3
A 10 6 5 2
A 9 8 5
K J 9 5 2
On a 4 lead, Serhat ducks. Kevin plays diamonds to dummy and continues with 2, Serhat ducking now A, to his J. Kevin will repeat this manoeuvre: diamond to dummy and 4 to the Q with Serhat ducking again. Kevin now has 8 tricks and only 200 to Turkey. A good result after too optimistic a redouble.
This could have been much more for Turkey: on a A lead or with Serhat not ducking K the first trick, the defence can make 7 tricks and +1000 for Turkey.
Some more fun from the open pairs' tournament:
| 8 6
Q 5 3 2
A J 9 6 5
| A Q
K 6 5
K 10 8 7
Q 8 4 2
| K 7 5
A J 9 8 4
A 6 4
J 10 9 4 3 2
Q 7 3
As you all know now from the tourist tour in Brugge, Minne is a famous name in Brugge's history for the Minne Water.
You will understand that we were very proud to have Carlo Minne, a descendent, on play on the open tournament on Thursday.
Carlo is a player from the local bridge club "Chaver", where the standard system is "little diamond". In this system, nearly everything is possible with diamonds, so also on board 11.
2 means 15-16 with diamonds, or a weak major opening.
Diamonds are Carlo's best friend, and he bid 4, having the possibility to correct if necessary to 4/.
This contract goes no less than 8 down, for 400 for EW. But, of course, 4 is lay down for the opponent for 420.
A good result in pairs. And diamonds stay Carlo's best friends.
In the city of Brugge bridge can be practised in four clubs.
"Royal Bridge Club Chaver" is a club with a great tradition. Since its foundation in 1945 it has built up a strong reputation in team's competition.
Last year 8 teams took part in the competition. The club has 180 members and has its club-evening on Thursday and Friday.
Although bridge was already played before the war in "De Witte Beer" it is only since the sixties that the club has entered the national scene. For ten years they have organised one of the greatest yearly open tournaments in Belgium. "De Witte Beer" is a prosperous and fast growing club thanks to the regular organisation of beginners' courses. They have four teams in competition. Club evening is on Tuesday-night.
"Azalea Bridge Club" organises afternoon-bridge on Monday and evening-bridge on Tuesday. Teams' competition being of less importance the club concentrates more on the 'social' aspect.
"CRM Brugge" (Christian Retired Middle-Class) started fifteen years ago as a pastime-activity for its members. Its Wednesday afternoon sessions are well-attended though, and are open to everybody.