It was just like Lille and Herman De Wael all over again: being driven around by Marc Smith, along cycle tracks, trying to find a way to car parks we could see but could not get to, up cul-de-sacs, going in circles! I asked him where he learnt to drive like that: "I drove a cab in New York for a few years," Marc said. That explained a lot!
Alan Truscott seemed surprised that the Press Room did not have American electric plugs. He asked a few people, but [unsurprisingly] no-one had a suitable adaptor for his laptop. Finally he asked Ton Kooijman, who could not help either. As Alan went on his way, Ton confided to me: "When my wife Annelie goes on holiday, she takes a dozen adaptors with her: that means she can dry her hair wherever she is in the world!"
Paul has done an excellent job guarding the door of the playing room from people not wearing badges: he did not let in Max Bavin, Assistant Chief Director! Why did Max not have a badge? Someone had produced one for him, but had shortened the word Assistant in an unacceptable way!
It is great to see new friends, like Hans Gelders, known through OKBridge but never met, and old friends again such as Elly in the Press Room, Herman De Wael [of course: that evening in Lille will NEVER be forgotten!] and several Directors and Appeals members. I am looking forward to meeting new friends.
How confident are you of qualifying? I met a lady at the airport, who told me of her plans for tourism once the Round Robin ended. "Won't you be playing in the next round?" I asked, naively!
Are you excited by 55 appeals cases from an ACBL National? Do notes on current appeals cases really excite you? Does a fairly tasteless tie with a soup stain make you feel great?
No? Well, if you have these items in a green bag, please return it to me (or to Elly in the Press Room). Reward negotiable!
A brilliant start: a lovely article about Marc Smith's driving, Annelie Kooijman's hair driers and Max Bavin's badges, and it does not get attributed! Of course the editor blames me, and I blame the editor, but I hope everyone realises the article in Bulletin no 2 was by me, since I always do the "Memories of ..." series.
Herman De Wael and I found a lovely Italian restaurant. We were lucky to find room, since we had not booked, but we got the last table, so the proprietor [with tears in his eyes] had to turn away the next people wanting a table, including Omar Sharif. We were surprised the proprietor did not suddenly remember our table had been booked for Omar! The next night I sampled the delights of Japanese cooking [a first for me] and found the knowledgeable sounding player they sat me next to was Kit Woolsey.
Having tried to persuade my hotel that I am leaving on the 10th [not the 9th as they think] they finally decided to believe me. They were so excited that they told me - immediately! So at 7.46 am [NOT MY favourite time] my TV played loud music, and when I managed to get my eyes open, there was this exciting message! Grrrrr!
Thanks to Daniel Auby, not for removing my hospitality bag, but for returning it, when he found the set of appeals decisions, which he did not find as interesting as I do! Herman De Wael is punctilious at attending appeals - but he relied on the hotel's system for waking him in the morning, and they didn't. The Appeals Committee has fined the Tulip Hotel two VPs for failure to alert!
I met Ed Hoogenkamp in the Press Room, described by as "The Walking Disaster" by his (former!) friend and editor Peter van der Linden. There was a little black book with all Peter's hands and news of the first four and a half days, which Ed was kindly looking after for Peter. Now he is looking FOR it!
I went to dinner with Herman De Wael, Linda Trent and Rich Colker, Rich driving, Linda navigating. We left the hotel by the MECC, turned left then right, up to the station, along a road some way, a few more turns, along a main road. We were now about half a mile along and I was puzzled. "Isn't that the MECC?" I asked, as we passed it. "Oh, yes," said Linda, "but this is the only way to the centre of town." I was not convinced!
In one of my write-ups it says the contract was "Two hearts, played by East" when it should say "by North". Kojak was not impressed. As a good New Yorker, he says directions are easy to remember: East is Long Island, North is Sing Sing and West is Indians. I asked him about South. "South?" he said. "There isn't anything South. Well, maybe Antarctica, or Brazil." I never did understand New Yorkers!
In Poland v USA there was a board which Al Levy showed me:
Al showed it to me as a bidding problem: I was surprised that North was so forward (I would have passed 3) and South so backward (3 looks awful to me). Still, I may not have realised the nuances.
Apparently the play started spade to the jack and queen, followed by the king of clubs, and Al said that the Vu-graph commentators had said that North had to find the jack of clubs to make 3NT. True, it is very likely to be East, but there was just room for it to be West, since East's 1NT was 14-16.
If you assume the spades are 4-4 and the ace of clubs is East, then I believe a club to the queen guarantees the contract. Playing the king of clubs from hand creates entry difficulties when East takes it with AJ87 but ducks the ten of clubs later. A small club to the ten may lead to an embarrassing heart return with some possibility of being cut off from the ace of diamonds. But a club to the queen is safe: now when the club ten is run no return embarrasses South.
What did I get wrong?
Dinners in Maastricht seem to lead to special happenings. I enjoyed dinner with Al and Bev Levy and others from the Computer World Championship. Revolving toilet seats, being asked by Rachel Bracher from England whether I was a member of the USA team [as Kit Woolsey said when I told him later, I should have replied that I was working on it!], yet another happy tour of the suburbs after we got lost on the way back, helping Bev trying to buy her way out of the car park with the wrong ticket inserted into the wrong machine and a friendly discussion with Adam Wildavsky as to why I kept his deposit at an Appeal in Lille were the highlights!
Peter van der Linden and Ed Hoogenkamp [remember "The Walking Disaster"?] felt I had been friendly to them in the Press Room, so they bought me a drink each. They also kindly drank it when they discovered I don't drink beer! Ed has found the little black book - just after they had reconstructed all the hands, details of players and everything else that was in it!