Days 9 and 10 - Zone 7 Playoffs and APBF Pairs Events
Looking out at Gangnam-gu, the district where the 51st APBF Championships were held. This view is from Bongeunsa Temple, a 1200-year old temple that is located just a five minute walk from the playing venue.
On Tuesday, the Zone 7 Playoffs were held between Australia and New Zealand. As noted in an earlier post, this Playoff is intended to qualify two teams to the World Championships in Lyon later this year. Because there were no other countries from Zone 7 present in Seoul (the others being New Caledonia and French Polynesia), the spots automatically went to the two Australasian teams in both the Open and the Women’s.
That said, the Playoffs are still held each APBF in conjunction with the Zone 6 Playoffs, and the event serves as somewhat of a ‘test match’ between the two countries. This time around, New Zealand was likely the favourite in the Open category, having come close to winning their series in the main event. In the Women’s, Australia was the bookies’ favourite having come within a whisper of a medal over the previous week.
And so it proved. The Australian Ladies showed no mercy, putting the match away by an 84-IMP margin over the course of the day. Over half the damage was done in the second set, as Australia stayed out of the games that were going down and bid the ones that were making. The Aussie Ladies also won 33 IMPs from three games that were made at one table but not at the other. The final margin of the set was 61-13 to the Aussies.
The Kiwis managed to narrowly win the third set 13-9, but this did not hamper the Australians who continued to demolish their opponents in the game zone in the last set. The final score after 64 boards was:
The Zone 7 Playoff was a lot closer in the Open. Although Australia won the first set by four IMPs, New Zealand looked to have it in bag after picking up 33 IMPs back in the second quarter and 10 more IMPs in the third quarter to lead by 39 with one set to play.
Comebacks happen sometimes, and Australia was determined to make a match of it. On the first board, Matthew Thomson and David Beauchamp bid 3NT and made it, doubled, while the Kiwis languished in part-score. Same on the second board as Beauchamp-Thomson bid another game that the Kiwis missed: two 10-IMP swings, halving the margin just like that and straight back into the match.
Australia continued to pick up dribs and drabs, as well as a few more big swings: 10 in when Gill and Peake bid a vulnerable 4♠ that was not bid by the Kiwis, and after losing 7 when New Zealand made partscores in both rooms, Thomson-Beauchamp bid yet another 3NT that made against 3♦ in the other room for 10 more IMPs. Australia was suddenly in the lead by one IMP, 107 to 106, with three boards to play!
Sadly, it was not to be. On board 62 of 64, the Kiwis played in their safe 5♣ contract with an eight-card club suit opposite a singleton, while the Australians played a more delicate 4♠ with a slightly more empty eight-card trump fit. 5♣ made an overtrick while 4♠ went down: 11 IMPs to New Zealand. The penultimate board was flat, and Australia won 2 IMPs on the last board, but lost the match 109-117:
Meanwhile, as the Zone 7 Playoffs were being played on Tuesday, the qualifying sessions for the Pairs event were also being played.
In the APBF Open Pairs Final today, Australia finally had some glory, with Pauline Gumby and Warren Lazer finishing in second place – well done! Not far behind them in fourth were Terry Brown and Peter Buchen, and in fifth place were Renee Cooper and Ben Thompson.
Finally, two of our Junior players got to show what they are made of today in APBF Swiss Pairs. Although they missed out on the Open Pairs Final, Jamie Thompson and Matt Smith knuckled down to score 60.2% for the day in the Swiss, enough to easily take out the gold medal. Nicely done, gentlemen!
As this is posted, the closing ceremony will just have wrapped up in Seoul. We wish our Australian representatives safe travels as they make their way back home from another APBF.
This will be my final post on this site. I hope you have enjoyed receiving the news from Seoul. With any luck, this format of daily reports will be used in future to allow the general bridge-playing public to keep up to date with our Australian international teams and how they are doing.
See you tomorrow if you are at the VCC in Melbourne. Until next time...
Coach of the 2016 Australian Junior and Girls Teams
Posted by Liam Milne on Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 22:45