Here is a reprint of the "play by play" as the CNTC progressed:


A fall from grace - team Murray suffered an early one-two punch from Gartaganis and Thurston yesterday, who sat 1 and 2 after 7 tough matches in the CNTC-A. Still, after some aspirin (still allowed I hope) and a good night's sleep, Murray will likely storm back today.

Gartaganis is a 4-bagger and may suffer fatigue related casualties later in the RR but hey - they are from Alberta and Albertans can play cards 24 hours straight while taking turns driving through the Rockies to remote little sectionals, win the FLT A Swiss, then drive back without dropping a card.

Thurston, Thurston ... oh yeah! That team from Ontario! Thurston had a great day yesterday.

No change after Round 8 in the top three - Thurston solidifies their top spot with a 25 and Gartaganis/Murray still sit 2 and 3. A note for the addition addicts, the scores now tot up correctly - I think. No change in the so-called "Wooden Spoon" position as well - Pocock has the machinery but they need to start it up and soon!

No change after Round 9 in the top three - wait, didn't I already type that? I guess it's too hot in Montreal for any 'storming' by anyone. The top four teams from this stage of the CNTC A event will advance to the Semi-Final (64 board match). Just about everyone has had a turn in the 4th spot which remains very much up for grabs. With 7 matches to go, lots could change!

After 12 matches the top three still stood stolidly as Thurston, Gartaganis and Murray although Murray finally rallied to score well in the last two matches while Thurston stumbled.

Friday finishes the Round Robin in 5 more matches- anything could happen. None of the top 3 teams have had their BYE - a gap in the lineup caused by the last minute withdrawal of team 10 (Weniger). The Bye is apparently being scored as nothing so for many of the other teams they have one more match than the leaders - a chance to catch them! In fact, Murray starts the final day of the Round Robin with their bye and Thurston ends with theirs. Interesting ...

A big cluster in the 7/10 area, and small changes above. Murray drops to 4th spot with their BYE as we thought might happen. All the top teams will need to bear down now, with only 4 matches to go (only 3 matches left for Gartaganis and Thurston). More news after dinner!

Testament to the good work done in Canada for Juniors - coaching, experience, and nurturing - number three spot with one match to go is held by Fergani - two veterans and lotsa juniors and former juniors. This team is aiming for two in a row - they are all members of the 2000 CNTC winning team. Number two (and 24 ahead) is Carriere, a local 4-bagger, and number one is still that team from Ontario! Thurston has held on - while giants fell. Gartaganis sits in 5th spot only two points behind Fourcaudot, and Murray? Well, they are now 7th after another disastrous day - it is not possible for them to make it into the semi finals.

Third and fourth is up for grabs - and you know, Thurston cannot better their score of 280, having the last bye.

The Round Robin is over!

Top Qualifying spots go to 1. Carriere 2. Thurston 3. Fergani and 4. Gartaganis. Carriere and Fergani moved up through the ranks quickly on day 4 as the "bye" or round of zero point made its way through the leaders. So it will be Gartaganis vs Carrier and Thurston vs Fergani for the Semi-Finals tomorrow.

The Semi-Finals

Thurston and Gartaganis will play for the Gold.

The Finals

Paul Thurston and his crew worked very hard to make up for a slow start, winning the last two quarters but not by enough. Judy Gartaganis and her team win the CNTC A by 9 VPs.

The entire Finals were presented live and online through Bridge Base Online's vugraph. It was quite a treat to watch the play and listen to Fred, Sheri and and guest appearances from Katie Thorpe, Jim Green and others. A singular experience - here all the way across the country from Montreal. Those of you who missed the show can catch the vugraph in a few days, stored in the BBO library.

Here's a few stats: The Gartaganis and Thurston teams are both made up of CNTC veterans - many of Canada's best players. In fact Thurston, Roche and Delogue were part of the team that won the CNTC in 1996, Roche won in 1993 and has played in almost every CNTC since its inception in 1980. Also Rick Delogu, Paul Thurston, and Michael Roche went on to represent Canada in the 1997 Bermuda Bowl. All members of the Gartaganis team were on the 2nd place CNTC team in 1998 and Gordon Campbell was a member of a winning team in 1982. Last year's winners, Fergani made it to the semis this year but were defeated by Thurston.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you all for a very great week.