The two-day qualifying tournament for doubles, mixing Americans with our visiting British players, played out on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a satisfyingly international result. The finalists are:
All the finals will be on Sunday, including Handicap Singles (played last Sunday/Monday), Handicap Doubles, and the main event, Class (flight) Singles, which started Thursday morning. Both Handicap Singles and Handicap Doubles finals will be played as a single game, and the Class Event singles will be best-of-three for the A Class and B Class and single games for the other two classes.
Of the main three formats for the Flexible Swiss (for Handicap Singles), the directors, Ian Plummer and Kevin Carter, have chosen a "Modified Yorkshire variable base system." Plummer explains this format briefly in this way: "We take the sum of the handicaps and divide by four to get the base. However, the minimum base we allow is 3 1/2, to avoid low handicap players receiving too many bisques!"
Some of the players were dismayed to feel the temperature plummet from 85 at the beginning of the event last Saturday to 75 degrees over the course of the last few days. Others comment without regret on missing the recent rare snowfall in England.
The players have adapted extremely well to Florida climate and customs. There have been rumours, so far unconfirmed, of key-swapping parties in the lobby of the Holiday Inn hotel, where most of the players are lodged.
An American player expressed delight at the friendliness of the English-style tournament. Another, however, asked, "How do they play those interminable 3 1/2 hour games, day after day?"
Several Americans have said they really love the custom of the winner buying the loser a drink. This could turn out to be the most important learning experience of the Americans in this cross-cultural adventure.
This report is jointly written and edited, with some disagreement, by Bob Alman and Ian Plummer, who would prefer the briefer closing here of...
Ian and Bob