Bridge Week

The Last Shall Be First

I certainly do not want to put myself up as some kind of Biblical Scholar, but I do remember from my days so long ago in Sunday School that this phrase is used somewhere in the Old Testament. Never was it more true than in the dramatic conclusion to Canada Bridge Week in Edmonton and to the Flight A finals in the Canadian National Teams Championship. Firstly, Bryan Maksymetz decided over a week after entries had closed to see if he could field a team to come to Edmonton. Seventeen teams had already been admitted and if the Maksymetz entry had resulted in an odd number of teams, he would have been rejected. Jan Anderson decided that 18 was better than 17 and so the team was admitted and everyplace in the draw chart already set up where it said BYE it now said 18.

On the 17th round of the round robin, Maksymetz was blitzed… but Team Gartaganis failed to win an overtrick on one board resulting in Maksymetz winning three Victory Points instead of two. Duquette also blitzed their opponent and fell short by ONE victory point. Had Gartaganis forced the tie for 6th place, it has been rumored (albeit not confirmed) that the decision would be made by comparing the round robin match between the two tied teams and in that match, Duquette won by 24 to 6. Maksymetz would have gone home. In the quarter finals, Gartaganis chose to play against Todd instead of against Maksymetz whom they had just blitzed. Jones played Maksymetz and just didn’t come with their A game. Then, in the semi-finals, Nowlan chose to play against Maksymetz instead of guaranteeing an Alberta finalist by choosing Gartaganis. Had Nowlan made the other choice, this contest would have been held yesterday with, perhaps, a different result.

And so we came to 10:30 AM Mountain Daylight Time, Monday, June 24th, 2002. This nearly exhausted foursome sucked it up, one more time and after 72 boards, Bryan Maksymetz, Dan Jacob, Gord McOrmond and Allan Graves were crowned the Flight A CNTC champions for 2002.

In discussions after the Medal Ceremony (at nearly midnight in the Edmonton Bridge Centre and before a small crowd of well wishers) Gord McOrmond admitted that he and his partner had not played a hand of bridge in over a year and only sat down two weeks before this event to work out a convention card. He also admitted that the Multi-Two Diamond bids drove him crazy, but promised to practice before next year. Maybe given the success enjoyed, he would be well advised to take a 50 week hiatus. Mind you, next year is special. The winner of CNTC-A in 2003 will play off against Maksymetz for the right to represent Canada at the Bermuda Bowl. Coming second in that battle of titans ain’t bad either. $6,000.00 to LOSE. HMMM.

Next year is going to be interesting since the stakes are going up.

by Bob Christie