|Early in round one. No hopes dashed yet, so everyone concentrates hard. Left foreground Derek Whitehurst and Derrick Jones have a grudge match to decide the proper spelling of their names, with Arthur Banks and Carl Mustafa on the adjacent table. The Alsager pair Richard Martin and Val Lukanov face the camera in the background.
The field came from eleven different clubs. For the first time in the event's history this included all nine North Staffs clubs, plus Malpas & Whitchurch and Gateshead; the last surprising nobody as it is well known for being close to Newcastle.
This year's thank-you list:
Jon and Sandra Blackburn for their donation of refreshments enabling all monies collected to fall straight through to the kangaroo fund,
The NSDCA and Arthur Banks for their donations,
John Day for liaising with the bridge club so as to make the event possible,
The team who helped return the building to its natural state afterwards,
Matthew Carr for bringing additional digital clocks, providing grading and arbiter support, and for acting as filler too,
All those competitors whose enjoyment and thanks encourage me to 'play it again Sam' once more.
I always find something to worry about. For some reason this year's niggle that wouldn't go away despite checks was "do the clocks go forwards this weekend?" It was only on arrival on Sunday to not find an angry crowd demanding to know why I was late that I finally believed the researched answer "no".
Sundry half-point bye claims affecting all sections and all rounds bar the last meant that sections effectively varied between odd and even numbered in a fairly random fashion. This kept us busy with cross-section friendlies to keep all players occupied, and we decided to add a little spice to these games by making them count in the competition for the player from the higher section, but not for the one from the lower. Naturally we wanted to avoid giving anyone two byes, though in the two smallest sections everyone either had a half-point bye or had a graded friendly. Derrick Jones managed to spoil our plans in the largest section though, by turning up ten minutes late for round two, and immediately asking for a round three bye. No great problem, but as he was to be a proud participant in a second round graded friendly he was destined to have only three games in the competition proper.
Anyway, after all the usual pre-round announcements that people don't want to listen to, punctuated in later rounds by heckling from Peter Windows (behave man!), play proceeded to produce the results detailed on the other pages.
Well done to all the prize winners. Well done too to the rest of the field, for without people willing to turn out and come fourth, fifth, sixth, etc, there would be no winners.
|Open and U160