01:30 30 March 2014 Dallas North American Bridge Championships by GS Jade Barrett, CsbNews correspondent
“The Finals are about a test of wills” – Bill Laimbeer, NBA
Qualifying for a North American Bridge Championships’ Final is never a given. The field of 138 entrants in the Jacoby Swiss of 2014 was incredibly strong, so much so that several teams of two or more former World Champions did not make the cut for the second day. Only LYNCH, GROMOV, TEAM MONACO and NICKELL were missing as they were still contesting the Vanderbilt Knock Out Teams and as such were preoccupied.
There are no easy matches, and each draw brings its own flavor, much of it International. All in all, the Great American Bridge Tour faced two Turkish, two USA, a Dutch, a United Kingdom and two Canadian teams. All of those played different systems, requiring different defenses and a shifting of philosophy every round. The flexibility of the minds of the team is what allows success – you must be able to recognize the negative inferences available in order to function properly.
The team also requires resiliency, as failures will – and do – happen. The TOUR went 5 – 3 to hold the 25th of the 70 qualifiers, proving that it is possible to succeed even when you are not playing your absolute best. You just try to hold on.
In order to win, you must want the title more than your opponents, for in a game that is utterly without a separation of talents, it is simply a matter of very hard work. Let down your guard for a moment and all could be lost.
Athletes train the year round in hopeful preparation for these events, and so does all of their opponents. What a great sport.