Day 8 - End of the Line

Liam Milne


This is my last post regarding the main event as all of the series finished up play on Monday. Today and tomorrow are the playoffs for the Bermuda Bowl/Venice Cup/Seniors Bowl in Lyon for the Asian teams, the Zone 7 playoff (just today, merely for glory and honour) for Australia and New Zealand, and the Open and Youth Pairs. 

Let’s start with the Australian Open team who had the most promising final results as they look forward to the Bermuda Bowl in Lyon later this year. They continued their run of good form on Monday, beating Indonesia (13.72), India (11.58) and drawing against the hosts Korea 1 in the final match. They finished seventh of fifteen (final standings at the bottom of this post), but managed to beat five out of six of the top teams in the second round robin. China won the event, beating Chinese Taipei in the last round to hold off any contenders to the title.

The Open team scored 190.67 from the second round robin, averaging a healthy 12.71 VPs. Their form was much better late in the event, and they scored 36.04 more VPs over the second round robin than in the first. If they had scored the same in the first fifteen matches as they had from the last fifteen they would have won the event. The quality was clearly there, just not for the whole week!

There were no surprises in the Seniors. Both teams scored a bit over average from their three matches on Monday, but neither were likely to move up or down the standings with the teams around them quite far away in terms of VP totals. Australia 1 and 2 finished sixth and eighth out of sixteen teams. China were the winners in this series as well.

Our Junior team had the necessary big win against Thailand first up, and Chinese Taipei who were in third had the necessary loss against China, so we were within pouncing distance for bronze given that we were playing Chinese Taipei in the last round. However, China Hong Kong had had a big win against Korea and were significantly ahead of us in fourth, so if they won by a decent margin in the last match our result wouldn’t help us. In any event, the boys couldn’t get the job done against Chinese Taipei, so the standings from the beginning of the day didn’t change: China gold, Singapore silver and Chinese Taipei bronze. Australian finished fifth.

In the Girls, Australia needed to win big against Chinese Taipei 2, and have China Hong Kong lose by some amount to Chinese Taipei 1 in order to get onto the podium. The Girls got their win, 96-34 and just shy of a maximum, but China Hong Kong won by 11 to secure their medals – just.

The top four at the end of the Girls:















China Hong Kong







Close, but no cigar. For two of the players (Lakshmi Sunderasan and Ailsa Peacock, both living in Sydney), this was their first time playing internationally and they would have loved to have finished with a medal around their necks. We are likely to see Ailsa playing for the Girls again, but Lakshmi will be too old as this is an under-25 category. Tough luck, girls, but nice finish - you were a pleasure to coach and conducted yourselves with grace throughout the event. 

But the biggest upset for Australian supporters came in the Ladies. Our team have been in the top three since the early rounds, and sitting in second place for almost all of the second round robin. Chinese Taipei was usually close behind, however, and the goal was to hold them off for the silver medal.

In the first match on Monday morning, Australia played the strongest team of the event, China. They lost 18-32 to the team that ended up winning twenty of their twenty-two matches, scoring 6.04 VPs, but luckily Chinese Taipei also lost 18-20 (9.23 VPs) to eighth-placed Japan. Australia was still in second, but a measly 0.32 VPs. You could have been forgiven for not keeping an eye on Indonesia, who had just had a big win to be less than 11 VPs behind both second and third.

In the last round of the event, Australia played Indonesia, and Chinese Taipei played China. Chinese Taipei suffered a fairly heavy defeat, scoring 5.15 VPs, and Australia simply needed more than that to hold on to second place. A win or a loss by 17 or less would be sufficient.

As we watched the live results come in, Indonesia led 16-0 after six boards. Australia looked to have recovered with a 12-IMP gain when they made 4♥ against 5♥ going down one in the other room, but lost a further 9 IMPs when Australia’s East-West pair failed to find a good 4♠ sacrifice on board 10.

With three boards to play, Margaret Bourke and Sue Lusk had to write down -980 when their opponents bid and made 6♠ on this hand:


With Bourke and Lusk finishing first and conceding 300 on their last board - likely to be a few IMPs out - Barbara Travis and Candice Ginsberg needed to also bid and make 6♠ on this hand to avoid Indonesia overtaking them. They got there alright, but unfortunately went down. How so? I’m not sure of the details, but it seems likely North led a short suit and declarer was worried that if they took a losing spade finesse, they would suffer a ruff. That would suggest a safety play. 

Perhaps not realistic, but we don’t always make the best play at the table, and the play to prevent any defensive ruffs – laying down ace and another spade – would be punished this time around as the king of spades was onside but the king of diamonds was not. Losing 14 IMPs on this board followed by 5 more out on the last board was a 14-45 loss, only 2.81 VPs and not only not enough for Australia to stay ahead of Chinese Taipei, but also for Indonesia, scoring 17.19, to overtake both Australia and Chinese Taipei into second place. The final standings:

Final standings in the Ladies

You may notice China at the top. Indeed, they won every category for six gold medals and a clean sweep.

I told you there would be drama at the end – there always is! This wasn’t the drama our ladies wanted, however, and I can’t help but feel sympathy for a team who had excellent medal prospects to trip at the final hurdle and drop just out of the medals. Special condolences to Jodi Tutty and Marianne Bookallil for whom this was their first international rep event.

There was more drama in the Open. You may remember that the New Zealand Open team were a chance to win the whole thing, but had to play three of the best teams on Monday. It was not a day to remember. Against China, they scored 2.66 in a big loss, and against Chinese Taipei, they lost again scoring 7.29. Winning any medal was a heavy underdog now, with New Zealand needing a maximum result and other matches to go their way.

They got their max (19.74 against Japan who had led for some of the event), but the other matches didn’t go as required, and New Zealand finished with 364.24 - only 3.5 VPs off third and 14.4 VPs off the gold medal. This means that despite New Zealand's strong overall performance, we are in the sad position of Australasian bridge teams not getting a single mention in the medal standings, very unusual at the APBF Championships.

The final standings in the Open:

Final standings in the Open


Sorry I don't have better news to report! As I write this from Beijing on my way back home for the VCC which begins in Melbourne on Thursday, the one-day Zone 7 Playoff has concluded between Australia and New Zealand in both the Open and Womens series, and additionally the Open and Youth Pairs qualifying has concluded. I will leave those results for another post.

Tomorrow the Open Pairs Final concludes, as well as the Consolation Swiss Pairs, followed by the closing ceremony in the evening. We should have some photos for you from the ceremony, so stay posted.

Hope to see you in Melbourne for a chilly change from Seoul!

Posted by Liam Milne on Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 01:51