Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 08/01/2006
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Victimized in Verona
2006 World Championships
Many of you wanted to know how I did in Verona. I'm sorry you asked.
Things started okay when my partner, Kerri Sanborn, and I had a chance to win the Mixed Pairs. Alas, a few misfortunes down the stretch held us to a 7th place finish. In the teams, things also went well early (see "the Whistling Stopped" ). We made the knockout stage, but lost a close Round of 32 Match to the eventual bronze medalists, Israel.
Then things started to heat up. Unfortunately, I mean this in not just a figurative sense, but also literally. The playing area was not air conditioned. In case anyone didn't know, Italy can be hot in June. And it was (90 F or 32 C). Furthermore, the walk to the playing area and to the town (to eat) was starting to wear everyone out (everything was at least a 20-minute walk--in high heat and humidity). I cannot use this as an excuse, because the conditions were the same for everyone.
The featured event of this tournament is the World Open Pairs. My partner, David Berkowitz and I, were one deal away from winning this event in 1998 in Lille. This prestigious event is held only once every four years. This time, we made it through many sessions of qualifying to reach the 3-day final. That was the high point. The finals went poorly. It seemed we were stripped and endplayed on every deal. They doubled us when they could beat us, and we doubled them when we couldn't beat them. Grueling sessions of 28 boards, followed by a 30-minute break and then 28 more boards did not do it for us. Playing against the best in the world is hard enough, but this was like playing from the back tees in a 50 m.p.h. wind (with the opponents holding your arms down). We managed to finish (in a disappointing 51st place), but we'll be back for more punishment in 4 years.
Sorry you asked?