Under 26W Coach Claire Robinson has written a final update following the team's progress in Veldhoven at the World Youth Championships:
Sadly today was not the quarter final we hoped for. We were feeling confident and went into the first set with confidence gaining IMPs immediately. However, on the 8th board of the first set the Poles bid a crazy 7C which was about a 5% contract but happened to roll in on this occasion. The luck gods were certainly on their side. From there things went downhill with every decision they made being correct and a lot of decisions we made being wrong. That’s the way it goes sometimes in bridge. We were well down after three out of the four sets and could have conceded but my team made me proud again by wanting to play the last set and finish the match with their heads held high. We decided to change things around a bit and I encouraged them to take risks and try to find some IMPs if they could. We played a new partnership just to mix it up. See photo below, Kim and Imogen played their first ever boards together in a World Championship quarter final!
In the other room Dido and Lily were determined to have a go and in fact produced the most fun board of the whole match.
Dido sat North, Lily South. With everyone vulnerable Lily picked up the South cards. After 2 passes, East opened a Polish club. Lily decided that now was the time to try a psyche (I had told the team to be creative). A psyche in bridge is effectively lying or bluffing about your hand. This is legal in the game as long as you don’t have an agreement with your partner that you do it. Lily decided holding only two hearts that she would overcall 1H (hoping to get in the way and steal the opponents’ suit). Usually an overcall of 1H would show 5+ hearts. West bid 1S and Dido, who didn’t know Lily had psyched, bid 4H. This was passed round to East who doubled for penalties thinking that Lily couldn’t make the contract. Lily kept her cool and was totally unfazed.
Lily received the diamond 10 lead. This was obviously helpful to her in setting up her own hidden long suit in diamonds. East played the Queen and Lily won her Ace. She continued with the heart King which was taken immediately with the Ace. A diamond was returned which Lily won with the King. She then played the heart Queen miraculously killing both her own Jack and the 9. She drew trumps with the 10 and 8 and played out all of her diamond winners throwing two spades away. Lily then led towards the spade King and was delighted to find the Ace on her left. The defence were crippled. They could cash one club but then Lily still had a trump to win the second club and cash the spade King for her tenth trick. +790 scored and a fine 11 IMPs to us. Better defences were available.
This amazing board was not enough. We lost the match but the team have played great all week and should be super proud of themselves. I believe this is the best an English U26W team has ever done in a World Championship. The category is for under 26s and the oldest player in the English team is only 21. I have no doubt that some of my players will get World Championship medals in the future. Tomorrow we play an event called ‘Board A Match (BAM)’ where you simply have to do better than your opposition on each board. After two weeks of serious play, tomorrow we’ll be playing our best but we have added a special fun element. More about that in tomorrow’s blog.