Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

How should we pick teams to play for Canada

I saw George Retek in Kingston on the weekend and he was talking about the selection process for the Canadian Open Team.  He was concerned that our results in the last few years hadn’t been spectacular, to say the least. 

One question is do we have any team that could compete and do well in the Bermuda Bowl?

We have some problems there because we are not all that deep in top class players and when people form their own teams they do not necessarily chose the best pairs available.  There is a lot of geography, friendships and history to consider.  The fact that some of our top players end up in the US is another problem.  Then since we have so little money some players can’t afford it or can’t get the time off school or work or whatever.

There are several other problems too as Ray noted in a previous post.  Pairs or players win and drop out and the team adds a replacement who may not even have played in the event.  It is at the discretion of the team to pick the best choice and they may not be equipped to do that.  And so on.

Is there a better way?  Some countries use a selection process and that does seem to me to have some advantages but we are way too democratic to do that I think.  Perhaps a pairs trial is the only way to go.  George Retek was suggesting that.  It does allow less well known up and coming players a chance to be on the team which would be unlikely unless they could find at least another 2 equally good players to form their CNTC team.  It circumvents the geography problem and if it works it would allow Canada to have some very good pairs all on one team.  I am not saying that we would always get the best pairs, no competition produces that result but we are likely to get 3 of the better ones.

If we could bring ourselves to using a selection committee perhaps we could take the top pair and 2 of the next 5 to be chosen by the selection committee.  Okay, I know you will all hate that.

What about the women?  There are just so few good women players I am sure what process is going to work.  There is an argument for a pairs trial here too.  If we were to do that then I would like to see some development work done to help our women players improve before the trial, something like the process we are starting to use for the juniors.

I hear the old arguments about chemistry but does it really matter?  You play as a pair.  It’s more fun to play on a team with people you like but I don’t think you get a better result.  I suppose that if someone on your team bit you (as happened in the women’s championship recently) that might affect your play but since in this case it was her partner the team had nothing to do with it.

Okay I admit that a supportive team can keep everyone’s morale up and give you the courage to go on there and try your best even after things are going badly so yes it might help sometimes.  Perhaps the captain (or in my case the husband) can perform this role instead.

Anyway I wish everyone who is competing in Montreal the best of luck, especially our team. 

1 Comment

Ray LeeMay 31st, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Just to clarify Linda’s reference, the biting incident was at a World Championship, and did not involve Canadians!

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