by Peggy Kaplan
Halfway through the first session of the first-ever Platinum Pairs, my partner and I played but one more partnership of star players. After finishing the two boards, one opponent looked at the other and commented, “Do we have any good results?”
I knew the feeling.
When you look around the room and see no easy pairs – you are it.
Yet, the grueling toughness of the Platinum Pairs is what makes this new event so special. Gifts are few and far between. Every table is challenging; every hand is a new adventure.
At the end of days one and two, fearsome partnerships didn’t make the cut. Almost by definition, some quite fine pairs would be dismissed; and – so it was. The final day, thirty six pairs were left standing. One section, using screens throughout, rendered two sessions of demanding competition.
Perhaps due to the historic nature of this event, even the final moments were thrilling. As the scores came out, Gary Gottleib and Peter Fredin were declared the winners. In a mind-boggling photo finish, they had eked out .02 more matchpoints than Andrew Stark and Franco Baseggio! The two pairs posed for pictures. Though Stark and Baseggio were excited to be second, clearly there was a “what might have been” feeling to have come so close to the title yet miss by an eyelash.
And then? The infamous score corrections. When the dust had settled, it was Gottleib and Fredin who had to be content with runner-up. Stark and Baseggio had a final score of 521.65, .48 of a matchpoint ahead of Gottleib and Fredin.
Congratulations to Andrew Stark and Franco Baseggio on their first North American championship. Talk about achieving a milestone in style! And – kudos to the ACBL for their innovative offering at the Spring NABC. With the best of the best competing in a select field, the Platinum Pairs is an event truly worthy of its name.
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