A very good day for the England Seniors ... wins against Denmark (30-11 IMPs; 14.80 VPs), Austria (50-38 IMPs; 13.28) and Belgium (65-18 IMPs; 18.87 VPs) and suddenly we are leading the field. Early on in our second match on Thursday we had dropped to 10th place; now five consecutive wins have seen us rise to the top. The Belgium match included a board where John Holland and Gunnar Hallberg bid to a grand slam which, even to my untutored eye, looked likely to be flat. However, their opposite numbers played in 5NT, a very rare occurrence; I believe it is statistically the least likely of the 36 possible contracts.
I am pleased to report that the team dined well and retired to bed early. Or so I hope. Maybe I should have resorted to the tactics employed by the NPC of the famous Italian Blue Team; not only did he see the players to their rooms, he then made them give him their trousers so that they couldn't sneak out to a nightclub.
(Today's bulletin contains a detailed report by David Bird on Thursday's match against Ireland. For the first time at a major championship the Bulletin Room is not a hive of busy journalists; six or so reporters are following the matches on the internet and emailing in their reports from their homes around the world. Sadly for him, David is in Hampshire and not sunny Opatija.)
Our last three games are against Bulgaria (currently lying 7th) and then Sweden (just behind us in 2nd place) and Norway (4th at the moment). I hope you will be able to follow the events, on BBO (if we are scheduled to play there) or the rolling scoreboard. I am sure the players will be calm and focused, but it's going to be a nervous day for you and me ...