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Nickell is USA 2

The squad led by Nick Nickell defeated Marty Fleisher’s team in the final of the U.S. Bridge Championship in the USA 2 bracket. Nickell won 218-169. They will join the team led by Steve Robinson, the winner of the USA 1 bracket, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this fall for the upcoming world championships.

The Nickell team came from behind in the second half of the USA 2 final match to defeat Fleisher, which had eliminated Nickell from the USA 1 bracket four days earlier. Fleisher, playing with Michael Kamil, Peter Weichsel, Ron Rubin, Matthew Granovetter and Russ Ekeblad, jumped off to an early lead in the USA 2 Final match, but couldn’t hold off Nickell in the final three segments. The Nickell team (Nickell, Richard Freeman, Bob Hamman, Zia Mahmood, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell) was playing four handed in this match, after team member Freeman, who had been ill throughout the tournament, became so ill he couldn’t play on Sunday. Freeman flew home and was admitted to the hospital where it was determined that he has pancreatitis, a painful but treatable condition.

Under the USBF General Conditions of Contest, the partner of a player who is unable to play for health reasons is also treated as being unable to play for health reasons, so Nickell was not required to play the match. In accordance with the Conditions of Contest, the pair will appear before a USBF Conduct & Ethics Committee to explain their failure to play. That committee will determine whether to recommend to the USBF Board that they be included on the USA 2 team for Sao Paulo.