On Bridgebase Online .. 3pm Ireland Norway .. 540pm Ireland Bulgaria
Today Ireland Open start the day with a match against 19th place Belgium .. followed by a match against 17th place Serbia . One would hope to start the day with 2 good performances. However it is important to note that mid table teams in this event are well capable of defeating teams 10 places above them. In this event that powerful bridge nation the Faroe Islands defeated Norway yesterday and already have a win against Germany. Now I could be doing the Faroe Islands a disfavour as I have no knowledge of their bridge community. I had a look and there seems to be about 56 names in the EBL listings for Faroe Islands.
Later in the day live on www.bridgebase.com one can find Ireland Open Team in action in two crunch matches (at this time) versus Norway and Bulgaria. Failing to deliver in the opening 2 matches will deem these 2 later matches less important. However we will see how the first 2 matches go. Hopefully the celebrating Hungarian football supporters did not keep our lads awake all night.
Hungary drew 3-3 with Portugal allowing both teams to enter the knockout stages of some football tournament taking place in France. Lesser teams like Wales Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland also secured their places in the last 16.
In this bridge event the top 7 qualify for the Bermuda Bowl. That's presuming France continue to hold down a top 6 place as they qualify automatically as hosts .. Ireland would like to achieve a top 7 placing but are currently in 10th place about 16 VPs out of 7th. Powerful bridge nations currently hold the top 6 places .. FRANCE SWEDEN GERMANY MONACO NETHERLANDS ENGLAND
with other bridge dynasties like World champion POLAND ITALY BULGARIA NORWAY and even HUNGARY + ISRAEL not out of it yet. The current IRELAND team might be considered just around the end of the above mentioned teams.. However a few more Irish slams ...those are ones were the cashing AK in a side suit are not both in opening leaders hand.
Hanlon McGann had rotten luck when they bid a grand slam yesterday against France which only required a 3-2 break in a side suit .... 68% odds or the side suit 4-1 break reversed giving a restricted choice position when a diamond honor falls .... probably another 12% ...so an 80% grand slam had no play . I have not done the maths on the 4-1 making position but made a guess but you cannot have a 4-1 without a singleton honor.
A grand slam we would all be happy and proud to bid ... but the Great Shuffler or some other fecker
deemed that the Great Bidders in the European Bridge Championships would be penalized for their skill. Now don't get me wrong Ireland players have received their fair share of luck over the championships but that hand is just too random ... 30 imps swing on this hand .. probably a difference of 4.5 VPs .... lose by 17 imps instead of 47 ..
Even a French commentator was gracious enough to say .. tres tres malheareux ... whatever that means.... sounds like very very unlucky ...
However an examination of Irelands large win against Italy will find two similar boards going the Ireland way so we have no complaints ..
GO IRELAND ..
I notice Scotland got a 20-0 victory against some team yesterday. The Scots have not been having much luck in these championships but they crushed Ireland early on.
The Ireland Senior Team are not finished yet after gathering a 50 imp win in the final match yesterday evening against Scotland I think. A look at the cross table results indicates if they play well and in luck they have several VP gathering opportunities.. However it will be a hard task to push into the top 6 but it is achievable with some luck and good solid bridge. This is 4 of the team that reached World Seniors quarter final ..with World Seniors champion Pat McDevitt assisted by Irelands possibly best natural bridge player Gay Keavney replacing Pat Barry Rex Anderson.. so a decent squad. A couple of dominating performances from the O'Briain brothers might clinch it ..
The Irish ladies are struggling but they are only 18 VPS behind the Scottish squad which crushed all in the recent Lady Milne in Belfast so that shows the strength of the field or maybe Scotland are having some bad hair days. The Irish ladies did have some luck when a Dutch declarer somehow went down in 6S on the hand featured above .. our girls gaining 17 imps to add to 2 other imps gained over the 16 boards to lose 19-23 to the Netherlands.