Day 3 - Coming to the end of the first Round Robin
The Korean hospitality continues to amaze me. Everyone we meet is helpful and polite, even if they can't always understand us (some Koreans do speak English, but the Aussie dialect can be tricky for them to get their head around!). I have been to many of these tournaments around Asia over the years, and Seoul is definitely one of my favourite destinations so far.
Wednesday brings an end to the first round robin in most of the categories. There is a match off for all the teams after the first round robin finishes, and the organisers rearrange the draw based on finishing order in the first round robin. Correspondingly, the next day is a lighter schedule, allowing our teams the chance to have a small rest before the second round robin begins. We are almost at the halfway point of this lengthy event.
By the way, if you do want to watch vugraph, you don't have to have a BBO account to do so. Pauline Gumby has added a BBO link at the top of this page that you can click, and it will take you straight there. If it doesn't come up immediately, give it a second - BBO sometimes takes a little while to load. You can also click here for vugraph.
The Open team didn't get quite as many VPs from the day as they were hoping for. They started the morning with a bye (12 VPs), then played the high anticipated Trans-Tasman match against New Zealand on vugraph. There were some moments of triumph, but sadly New Zealand finished with a decent win (Australia scoring 3.62). Another small loss came against Korea 1 (6.77) with a few "choice of game" decisions going against the Aussies. But they bounced back in the last match with a 16.21 win against Singpore.
Check out this action hand from the Singapore match:
The bidding challenge is to get to 6S by East-West, and the play challenge is to make it. Australia played 4S in the Open room, making 620, so this looked like maybe a couple of IMPs out in overtricks, or maybe 13 out if Singapore bid to slam.
Singapore did bid to slam - but too high - 7S! This was doubled by Justin Mill with the ace of trumps. Declarer lost control of the hand and finished down three, 800 and 16 IMPs to Australia en route to a 49-24 win.
The Australian Ladies continue to chug along. A big win against Korea (19.74), a medium win against Japan (14.85), and a moderate loss to Thailand (6.28) leave the Ladies well-placed in third position for the last two rounds of the first round robin.
They play only two matches tomorrow, against China (currently 1st) and Chinese Taipei (currently 2nd). It will be an exciting day and we hope for big things as they reach the half-way point of their event!
Our two Seniors' teams both had good days. Australia 1 had a maximum win (20.00) against Korea, and a win by 2 IMPs against the Australia 2 team. They followed this up with an average afternoon, scoring 14.64 against Japan 2 but only 4.94 against one of the Indonesian teams. Thanks to the morning's big score, they had 50.24 VPs from the day. They are still placed sixth, but not far off the podim.
Australia 2 had 16.88 against one of the Indonesian squads, and 9.34 in the afore-mentioned Australian derby. Two wins in the afternoon were just what the doctor ordered: 16.72 versus China Hong Kong 2 and 11.87 versus Korea 1. With 128.53 VPs total, an average of just 10 VPs per match, they climbed four places over the day to 7th, just behind our Australia 1 team. Best of luck to both teams tomorrow.
My poor Juniors had a tough day. They played Korea first up, the last match in the first round robin against a fairly inexperienced team, but had a small loss (7.56). Next we went out to lunch, and the organisers re-drew the teams for the second round robin. Unexpectedly, we drew to play Korea again! And sadly we lost again, scoring 4.74... clearly the Koreans have worked us out. We finished the day on a high, beating the Philippines by 17 to score 14.64. And we still get to play Korea once more, in the third round robin... time for revenge, I think.
Tomorrow is hopefully a time for the Juniors to start bringing home the bacon. We play one of the weaker teams, Japan, in the morning. The second match is against China Hong Kong who are doing well, and the last match is against last-placed Thailand.
The Girls played Indonesia in the morning, one of the pre-event favourites (having made the semi-final in the World Championships in Italy last year). It was a close fought match, Indonesia prevailing by 5 IMPs over 28 boards. In the second match of the day against Chinese Taipei 2, we had a real moment of triumph. After losing the first half 26-38, my girls played very strongly in the second half, winning the half 32-9 and the match 58-47 (12.38).
It's always great fun when two teams who are supporting each other both win their last matches of the day. Despite a few losses during Wednesday's matches, there was a happy atmosphere between the Juniors and the Girls at the end of play as we had a win in each series.
My favourite hand from the day was this one from the first match.
Although East-West have 25 points, this is North-South's hand. In 4S, there are just 3 aces to lose. The McMahon brothers for the Junior team duly bid and made 4S for +620. In the other room, Matt Smith managed to buy it in 3NT. There was a spade lead, but Matt somehow managed to get out for just one down, -50 and 11 IMPs. It's usually good when your team bids game in both rooms, and this was one of the rare occasions that one of the contracts was 3NT.
The Girls did even better! Ailsa Peacock and Lakshmi Sunderasan played 4S doubled, which duly rolled in for +790.
In the other room, Renee Cooper as East played 3NT. South led a heart, and Renee ducked. South continued with another heart! Now Renee could win the second heart and knock out the Ace of clubs. North had no more hearts, so Renee had the rest of the tricks. +660 to go with +790 from the other room was a double game swing and a massive 16 IMPs for the Australian Girls.
Join me tomorrow for more exciting hands from Seoul as we reach the halfway point of the event.
Posted by Liam Milne on Thursday, 1 June 2017 at 12:49