Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

An Epic Battle Ends as Rayner wins the CNTC (barely)

After a long round robin, after a quarterfinal knockout and a semifinal knockout and 128 board final we come to board 126 with the score Rayner 254 and Hughes 245. 9 imps and 3 boards. After a match with so many imps flying would Hughes with 3 boards to go be able to find 10 more. Now from my own experience it is not as if the players know the score. There is no way that either Rayner nor Hughes could even know who was leading but they did all know it was close. Scoreboard watching is for the spectators. Board 126 did offer a chance for a small pickup when Roche opened a weak notrump and ended doubled in two spades. -300. In the Open Room where East opened 1D 2H was not doubled and escaped for 1 down. Perhaps one of the downsides of weak notrump is that this is more likely at imps. (At matchpoints doubling is more common). 6 imps. The deficit was now 3 imps. Board 127 was a flat board in 3NT. One more chance for Hughes. Once Lindop and Baxter got to 2S a plus there was no chance for 3 imps. As it was Turner chose the worst of the two possible partscores, 1NT and went down 1.

Imagine playing all that bridge for so many days, four handed and lose in the end by so little. My congratulations have to go to both teams, to Hughes (Roy Hughes, David Turner, Zygmunt Marcinsky and Bryan Maksymetz

) for putting up such an incredible fight and demonstrating great stamina and determination and to the victorious Rayner team (John Rayner, Michael Roche, David Lindop, Doug Baxter, Mike Hargreaves and Jim McAvoy) who will now be heading to the Netherlands (assuming they defeat Mexico in the playoff).

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