Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 07/29/2007
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
2007 US Team trials
The 2007 U.S. Team trials to select a team for the Bermuda Bowl in China was held in June (in a Chicago suburb). Our team made it all the way to the final four, where we made our exit. The NICKELL team (Nickell-Freeman, Meckstroth-Rodwell, Hamman-Soloway) won the Bermuda Bowl berth (see: the USBF website for more details)
Our quarterfinal victory may have knocked several years off my life expectancy. At the least, it had to add some gray hairs. We led by 105 IMPs with only 30 deals to play. Maybe our opponents would withdraw? No. They played on. In the penultimate set of 15 deals they started to swing. They hit. They hit again. Everything they did at both tables was working. They bid and made a grand. They opened one diamond on a doubleton with a side five-card major! They bid and made some ridiculous games and slams. For the segment they scored 84 IMPs and gave up only 2! Our once formidable lead had shrunk to 23.
What a horrible sensation! This must be what it feels like when a prize fighter takes a few punches to the jaw. We tried to compose ourselves and went back to play the final 15 deals. The bad fortune continued. Our opponents played the first five deals as if they had the hand records. I tried to push the thought out of my mind: "Would we be the first team ever to lose a triple-digit lead in 30 boards...?" Negative thinking. No good. Think positive. Dig in. We did. Our next 10 boards were quite good and our teammates also came through. We ended up winning the match by more than 50, but I'll never forget the horrible feeling of having that huge lead almost disappear.
Now, for some deals, which I label as follows:
- Round of 16--Super declarer play by my opponent
- Round of 16--Strange situation in a slam
- Round of 8--Down to a miracle