Bridge the Gap
Continuing with their adventurous online bridge offerings, the Bridge From Home group decided to try and bridge the gender divide by conducting an online mixed pairs marathon spread over three days.Tempers are sure to be on edge during this "gender battle" is my prediction! No flirting(!) said my spouse as I sought her permission to join up in this three day adventure.
Mixed pairs- I am sure there will only be a handful of entries I said to myself as everyone knows guys and gals can't stand one another across the bridge table! 20-30 pairs at max I thought -. Boy was I surprised, shocked and horrified when I saw the organisers were forced to close entries a day early as folks signed up in droves! The lockdown sure is working I thought. Many of the nicknames I recognised as they had big BBO stars against their names and we all know how difficult it is to get those stars. They have to be earned!!! 112 pairs had signed in at last count.
T/he quality of the field
Everybody who is anybody in Indian mixed pairs is participating.
Led by Kiran Nadar / Satya, who narrowly missed being selected in the *open* teams, we have the other two pairs of the mixed teams as well; Marianne and Sandeep Karmarkar and Himani and Rajeev Khandelwal.
We also have the fourth place finisher in the mixed selection trials, Mini Naidoo and her partner Priya and Vasanti Shah and Dhruba (This pair won the President's Cup in Ahmedabad, 2019).
Other prominent ladies in the fray include Hema Deora with Rana Ray, Monica Jajoo with Sumit Mukherji, Richa Shriram with Kachu. And then we have Subhash and Puja - (the baby in the picture of the entry form is her granddaughter by the way) and while offering traditional greetings and wishes to the baby, we whisper our own bridge blessing that let this baby's life be a like a bridge hand full of aces, kings and queens.
The challenges facing the organisers
I want to just write a brief note on this aspect of the tournament. Many of us just take this for granted thinking it's just a BBO interface and it's easy to.overlay this tournament on to that. The interface is there, true but the work that goes on behind the scenes is worth a special mention.
The planning starts with the format and certainly a lot of thought has gone into this format just to differentiate it. No detail was too small - How do we ensure that the genders are seated in the correct seats, how do we separate the field after day 1 to make it a competitive battle when there are so many entries that range from national level players, to folks who play at the club casually. A really innovative format has emerged, that divides the field based on first day performance and it virtually splits into two independent tournaments after Day 1 each having its own qualification standard for the final day.
Each name entered is individually checked by the team as to whether it exists in the BBO profile as many errors are reported in the spellings etc used. After all this homework is over the list is typed by them into the BBO "include list" as only those names are allowed in. And they have to repeat this exercise multiple times during the three days as the allowed list for the tournament keeps changing depending upon which section our performance gets us qualified into.
To add to their woes, the BBO system is under tremendous overload these days as they were used to accommodating 15,000 folk logged in at a maximum and this figure has now crossed 50,000 people. All within the last few weeks only. While BBO is trying to cope, the system can suddenly get quite laggy at times and can disconnect you randomly.
Organising a one off, 3 day event is bad enough but Stanley, Sukrit and the rest of their team must have forgotten to take their medication a few weeks ago! Unbelievably they do this on a weekly and sometimes biweekly basis every week ever since the lockdown began! It must be their passion for the game that makes them do this and I for one love their lunacy and applaud their effort.
The above is just a glimpse of what happens and there are so many other things you just don't want to know about. We Indians may be short of many things but opinions isn't one of them! We become Shakespearean when we complain to them. Words and poetry flow into each other as we justify ourselves.
We can't open the attachments they send, but when we complain we discover hidden computer talents..taking screenshots, whatsapping it to them, writing on the group and finally as if we each have a law degree we even tell em how to punish our opponents and don't forget to torture then we add after you punish them!
I am sure that I speak for all when I say I have seldom enjoyed myself more than when playing these tournaments.and “Thank You” for organising them for us. And with these words let the battle for the second day begin I say as I prepare to slay my opponents on the bridge table.
Cheers, have fun and may your bridge hand be full of "picture cards" as they open up for you on the second day.
The results for yesterday have been prominently announced on the home page. We just past them below for ready reference. We are heartened to note the presence of just one star pair in the top 5 across both groups. All the others are relatively far less prominent in the live bridge playing circuit. A few scores appear to be different in the excel sheets provided for the stratification as compared to what appears on BBO. These differences are arising due to directorial adjustments made at the end of the tournament which were not possible to reflect in the BBO results. We may see a couple of further adjustments as disputes continue, but they are likely to be non significant in nature.
The prizes for the winners are as below.