World Bridge Championships: The finals are interestingly poised between Sweden and Poland

Poland and Sweden teams

Caution was the watchword and excruciating was the stress as Sweden and Poland, each seeking their first Bermuda Bowl, went through three out of the seven rounds scheduled for the final in the HCL-42nd World Bridge Team Championship here on Thursday. When the players departed for the day Sweden led 154-103.5 IMPs.

Tension was palpable in the Venice cup for women too where France sitting pretty at one stage found itself just 0.6 IMPs ahead of fighting USA 2 (96.7-96). However in the d ‘Orsi trophy for the seniors things were lot calmer with USA 1 in a commanding lead of 159-50.3 over Sweden.

Both Sweden and Poland had unusual experiences vis-a-vis this championship. If Sweden came in at the last minute after Israel withdrew then Poland had issues with a couple of its players who were asked to withdraw by WBF, and started two hands short to start with. But as things panned out, these two bested the rest to vie for the final honours. As it happened with a 10.5 pts carry over, Poland’s was a sedate start. As one of its player Jassem put it, “ just a start and there is so much to go”, as the team came out of the first session with just two IMPs lead.

Sweden (Upmark/Nystrom and Sylvan and Wrang) played a waiting game and indicated its desire to fight with a slam in the fourth board that brought a 12 IMPs swing. Though Poland too earned a 14 IMPs swing, the complexion began to change and the turning point came in the 12th and 13th board when with two double digit swing in points, Sweden forged ahead. Poland (Klukowski/ Gawrys and Kalita / Nowosadzki) made defence errors to compound their problems. The effect became vivid in the day’s third and final round when Sweden collected 45 IMPs from four boards, 20 of them from successive ones to not only stretch the lead but snatch the confidence of the rival, at least for now. Jassem and Marcin had come in for Poland to joint Gawrys and Klukowski, a pair acknowledged for having pushed the team this far. USA 2 led England 152.3- 138 after three rounds in the match for the third place.

In the women’s section, France which had a 1.63pts carry over, set up an early lead of 45.7-23 but USA 2 began its climb from there. The Americans took the next round with a nine IMP gain and the third too with another 13 IMP margin. The net result was USA 2 inched ahead where France seemed static. There is much work that France will have to do to stop the multiple times winner. For the third place, England was 108-75.7 pts over Netherlands.

There was no problem in the seniors for the Americans in the senior section what with legends like Bob Hamman and Zia Mahmood in the side. Though Sweden had a minor 2.33 pts advantage when the players came to the table, the Americans virtually swamped the Swedes from start. Winning all three rounds with ease, the US team showed up its formidable strength. The team looks like making it a runaway victory unless Sweden has something special up its sleeve on the morrow. For the 3rd place match, Poland was leading 142-91 over USA 2.

Meanwhile the semi-finalists were spotted in the Transnational team event with India’s lone hope Formidables making an exit. The Indian team lost 113-100 to YBM. The other three teams are Askgaard, Bulgarian Open and Zimmermann.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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