Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

To Talk Of Many Things Bridge


I am finally feeling better after recovering from a horrible cold and asthma and the worst jetlag I have ever had. My experience in Shanghai was incredible; it was so much better than I had ever expected. After we finished our last match against Germany in the quarterfinals I was very disappointed. I felt that we could of and should have one the match and at the time that was all I could think about. But a few days later I sat back and realized how very well we had done under the circumstances and I felt a lot better. Also like most of our team I felt that we could do very well in this event and win a medal. I was determined to see if we could qualify in Canada and come back and do even better.

This was the third time I had played in a world championships in the last four years but this was the first time I really understood that Canada could put together a team that had an excellent chance of winning a medal. This was my most enjoyable experience playing in an event like this; we had a wonderful compatible team and an excellent and sexy captain. Thanks guys for the opportunity to be part of Team Canada.

Next year should be very interesting since the event will be part of the World Mind Olympics which will include chess, draughts and go. They will be many more events and many more participants. I expect there will be a lot more press as well. The participants will be able to stay in the Olympic village which would be a lot of fun (I think).

I have started a partnership with Isabelle Smith. She is reintroducing me to the fun and adventure that bridge is when you are young. We are working through our system right now and we are planning to play some fun stuff although perhaps old hat to some players. These include 10-12 notrump not vulnerable and 12-14 vulnerable, multi 2D with 2 of a major being a weak bid showing the major and a minor. Having made the decision to play 10-12 not vulnerable, 12-14 vulnerable seemed like a good idea since it meant that we could use the same basic notrump structure throughout. Ray and I have played 12-14 for years and almost never gone for a number. Having made that choice I did find an old magazine article where Eric Rodwell said he was too chicken to play 12-14 notrump vulnerable (not in exactly those words).

We are also going to be playing a defense against notrump called HELLO. This was Isabelle’s idea. Oddly Master Point Press had published Jerry Helm’s book on this topic but I had never really paid it much attention. Left to my own devices I would probably have picked multi-Landy which seems to be the “system d’jour”. But now that I have read the book I am quite impressed with HELLO and I am happy to play the system. If you are interested there are some descriptions on the web of the system but the book is much more thorough.

I heard the controversy about the American Women holding an anti-Bush sign up during the medal ceremony. While I think it was completely inappropriate I can’t imagine doing more than making sure that next time they understand what is expected of them as representatives of their country. I am sure it seemed a good idea at the time and now they realize how wrong it was. I was thinking about what I would do if I was ever so lucky as to win any medal. I know what I would do. I would cry. It wouldn’t help if Ray told me that there “is no crying at bridge”. The tears would flow. And if I won and they played my national anthem I would want the moment to last forever, then I would sing and cry at the same time. I would be so proud to be a Canadian, I can’t imagine that I would want to make any other political statement than that.

I was thinking about sponsorship and I have nothing against it. It does seem weird to me that a sponsor would want to play on his national team and make it much more difficult for his country to win a medal. I can’t imagine being that egotistical. I understand that some sponsors are as good as the rest of the team but that is very unusual. I would like to see world championships being contested by the very best players. Perhaps in some way we are fortunate that there is almost no sponsorship in Canada on our national teams. Although it is very sad to see so many of our good players leave the country. I wish they would earn their living most of the time in the U.S. and come home and play in the trials and represent Canada. That happens in other sports.

Finally a little about Shanghai. I could not believe the energy of the people in China. Everyone seemed happy; everyone was selling something, bargaining ferociously, cooking street food of all kinds, scooting around on endless rows of bicycles. The city is beautiful; modern, old, flashy even gaudy at times. The city is built around a river, the Bund. There is huge gardens and pathways all along the river. At nights the sides of the river are lit up by many lights and the boats pass by with lots of beautiful lights as well. A big boat drives up and down the river with a huge digital screen showing moving clips advertising products. Everywhere there are restaurants along the river. Across the river is the old city. It is huge, much bigger than I thought and very beautiful. It looks like a movie set of what you think China was like in about 1800. There is a tea shop where they perform an elaborate tea ceremony. You can drink endless cups of tea. Just across the way is Starbucks China. There is a huge market in the old city where they sell lots of junk and lots of crafts as well. I watch a paper cutter making elaborate pictures and then bought one of them. Everything is very very inexpensive since our currency goes a long way. Should you go to China? Yes, for sure.

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