Ray Lee

World Mind Sports women’s bridge — Day 2

I had planned to post daily blogs on the Women’s event, but there seem to be computer problems in Beijing.  Swan Games, usually the best place to watch or look up match archives, has no feed whatsoever.  BBO carries only 4 matches or so in each round, and the archives from last night have only Round 4 recorded.  That leaves us the WBF site as the only real source of news   There is much promise there — in theory we can get at results board by board and match by match.  In theory.  In fact, we can access hand records, match scores, and standings.  The detailed play by play is also promised, but not yet available.  This was a feature that was implemented last year in Shanghai, about half way through the event, and was a wonderful bonus to team captains.  It’s disappointing that we’re not seeing it from Beijing yet.

So while I was hoping to be able to comment on some of the actual bridge, I am reduced to pontificating on the results so far, and the standings.  Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

In Group E, the Q spots are currently occupied by England, USA, Italy, Hong Kong and Lithuania.  The first three are no surprise, and I suspect Hong Kong may soon start slipping down the table, as they have yet to encounter any really serious opposition.  I called the first three to be there in the KO phase, along with Brazil and Egypt. These latter two are mid-table, well within striking distance.  So no real upsets here yet.

Similarly, it will raise no eyebrows to see Spain, China, Russia and Finland occupying 4 of the top 5 spots in Group F.  To see Venezuela in third is unexpected,  but they are not there cheaply — they have played Spain and two mid-table opponents.  Canada had a tough draw in the first two days, but even allowing for that one win and two ties out of six matches is probably a worse start than they hoped for.  Being 30 VPs away from a Q spot playing a VP scale that makes it difficult to pick up points really fast may already have left them too much to do.  However, as last year’s performance in Shanghai showed, it is possible to come back from this kind of start.  It’s going to be up captain John Rayner to field the right lineups and to keep morale up — perhaps the most critical factor.  Tomorrow will tell the tale — all three opponents are in the bottom half of the field, and nothing less than three decent wins will be needed to launch any kind of comeback. Indeed, given that Spain and Venezuela await them on Day 4, I’d say tomorrow has to be a 70-VP day.

Group F is less even than most, but that may change soon.  The top 5 here have established about a half match separation from the rest of the group.  However, leaders Hungary have yet to encounter any opponent more than barely in the top half of the field, so may come down to earth shortly.  Meanwhile, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, as expected, are cruising comfortably.  Singapore knocked off Sweden in the first round, and are 6-0, so look well deserving of their current third spot.  Maybe they are the surprise team this year (there is always at least one!).

If any bridge actually appears on the Internet, I’ll post again later today. If not, expect another round-up tomorrow, as results become available.

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