The weather has cooled down considerably last night and we managed to get a decent night of sleep.
The first three opponents of the day, Turkey, Norway and Bulgaria, proved not to be the toughest competition. Our players played very solid bridge throughout and waited for the IMPS to come their way. And they duly deed; we punished all of their mistakes (and we made a couple of our own) and in the end we scored over 54 VPs out of the three matches
Given that the bridge wasn’t particularly noteworthy, not because of us, I will tell you something about the host venue.
We are in Veldhoven, in the outskirts of Eindhoven, in the same venue where the Bermuda Bowl was played in 2012.
It’s a hotel-conference centre and it is huge. To give you an idea, according to my phone I walked over 7K yesterday alone!
It’s easy to get lost, and I certainly did a couple of times; I am beginning to get the gist of it now. Yet it’s probably around 400 yards from my room to where breakfast is served. That’s a good stroll to wake me up. And it doesn’t get better from there. But given that I am not playing bridge, at least I am exercising!
For those who want to do more of it, there is a sports centre, with a pool, a gym, two dart boards, two pool tables, table tennis, badminton, basketball, volleyball.
After a long day of bridge the kids let their steam out playing a few of those games. I believe they are putting together a “vlog” of their experience and I hope that at some stage (they want to edit it when they get home) they’ll share it with the rest of us.
The food is good and plenty, probably the best I have seen travelling with the Juniors. There are several bars and some patios and gardens where to relax in the evening, looking at the deals of the day and figuring out what could – or should – have gone better.
There is even a cinema, where yesterday evening one could have caught up with the latest 007 movie.
So plenty to do in the spare time and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.
Only in the spare time though, because they still have 7 hours of bridge daily (plus post-mortems and preparation for the following day’s matches).
There is still a fourth match to report about though. Last of the day we played Hungary, who had a great start in the tournament and were sitting 4th on the table before the head-to-head.
The match was very hard thought and despite some brilliant displays in card play, where our side made a couple of 3NTs that as defenders we were taking down, it was slam bidding that cost us our first defeat.
I must take accountability for this. You must know that a few years back, being fed up with seeing us going down in way too many grand slams, I have forbidden them from bidding a grand, unless it is absolutely obvious (I say they must be able to count 14 tricks).
Not hindered by such a rule the Magyars bid not one but two grand slams and that proved too much a mountain to climb.
We did shine in a few hand though. Have a look at this board:
Board 21. Dealer North. N-S Vulnerable.
In the open room Lottie Bedford opened 2C; that scared East out of the auction and N/S reached 4S. A club lead, followed by a heart switch allowed the defence to take all their four tricks.
In the other room North opened 4S and Furness bid 4NT to show a two suiter; at the third attempt E/W found the heart fit, with N/S doubling 5C and 5D on the way to doubling the final contract as well.
North led KS, won by Norman in dummy; she then played a heart to the Queen. North won and returned another trump. Norman thought for a few seconds, then guessed to play the King. She then ducked a club to North’s K, who returned the KD. Norman took it, played a club to the Ace, club ruff, diamond ruff, club ruff, diamond ruff and claim, once the clubs are good.
At the half-way point we now sit in second place, with Poland one whole match clear in first place and Hungary just two VPs behind us.
Tomorrow a big day awaits us; we’ll warm up against Croatia before playing Greece. Then after lunch the big match v Poland and then Denmark to finish the day.