European Open 2013 – De Botton leads at half-way stage of Open SwissJune 23, 2013
The flagship event of 6th European Open, Open Teams (TO4 duplicate) kicked off at Ostend, Belgium on Jun 22nd on the 8th day of event. We had Mixed Pairs in the first 4 days and Mixed teams in next 3 days.
120+teams are participating with top 16 teams to qualify at the end of 10 rounds of swiss league of 10 brds each. New 20 VP continuous scale is used for converting IMPs to VPs. This VP scale with fractions gives weight to every IMP difference with overtricks (OTs) and under-tricks (UTs) having a bit more significance. In this event steep elimination (75+%cut) is resorted to after only 10 rounds unlike world open trans-nationals wherein 15 rounds are played in initial swiss. This format does make it more a lottery and possibly organizers can devote an extra day for the Open event for the initial swiss, maybe by reducing a day or 2 in Mixed events. Only 25 teams are participating in each of Women and Seniors events which started in parallel.
At the end of 5 rounds of swiss-league in Open event, Janet De Botton’s team consisting of 1 pair each from England (De Botton-Malinowski), Norway (Charlsen-Hofta) and Poland (Buras-Nark) are leading with 80+VPs (average of 16 on a scale of 20) followed by un-fancied Romanian team Coldea, AppolloSoyuz which is US (Willenken-Rosenberg)-Russia (Gromov-Dubinin) collaboration in 3rd place. Chateau Rossenovo a strong Bulgarian team, Israbel (Israel, Belgium combo) and Onstein Aces comprising of 2 pairs (Verhees-Van Proijen and De Wijs-Muller) of Dutch national team round of top 6. Other fancied teams which have kept pace so far include Vitas (Djriver-Brink, Fischer-Schwartz of Israel juniors), Mahaffey (Meckwell, Lev-Pepsi and co). Isrmany (Piekarek-Smirnov of Germany and 2 Israel pairs Herbst brothers and another junior pair of Padon-Birman) and Monaco Z are just off the 16th and last qualifying spot. A few other teams who are surprisingly off the pace include Israel Emerald (national open team), Denmark (2 pairs of Danish Open team), Mazurkiewicz (multiple Polish Internationals and world champions), Lebel (2 pairs of French national team), Matushko (2 pairs of Russia national team), Moran (Irish national team) and Ventin (Sweden-Spain combo). We can expect a few of these teams to move up and challenge for qualifying spots.
Among the Indian teams, Texan Aces (S.Sundarram-Swarnendu, P.Sridhar-J.M.Shah, G.Venkatesh-Keyzad) and DAR (Dipak-Anal, Ashok-Suhas and Rajeev-Himani first named folks sponsoring respective pairs) India are lying in 53rd and 67th place with 52 and 49 VPs respectively. Texan Aces started and finished day badly scoring only 6.5 and 1.5 VPs in first and last round, which undid all their good work in 2nd and 3rd rounds. Texan Aces lost out primarily in slam deals due to combination of sub-optimal bidding and bad luck. DAR India started badly, but did recover a bit in last 3 rounds to move up the leader-board. Both the Indian teams have their task cut out needing 75 VPs or so in last 5 rounds (average of 12.5-13 VPs required to qualify for R16) at an average of 15+ VPs per round.