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Nickell Prevails in USBC

The team captained by Nick Nickell earned the right to represent the United States in the bridge competition of the 2nd World Mind Sports Games in August by defeating the John Diamond team in the final of the United States Bridge Championship on Sunday 267-251.

Nickell and company - winners of four Bermuda Bowls - gained a measure of revenge for their defeat by the Diamond team in the final of the Rosenblum Cup (open knockout) in Philadelphia in 2010.

Nickell is playing with Ralph Katz, Bob Hamman, Zia Mahmood, Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell. Eric Kokish is coach. Diamond's teammates are Brian Platnick, Brad Moss, Fred Gitelman, Geoff Hampson and Eric Greco.

Nickell, seeded No. 1 in the USBC, got off to a slow start in the 120-board match, trailing Diamond 126-72 after three of the eight sets. Nickell surged in the fourth segment, however, winning 64-19 to close the gap to 9 IMPs at the halfway point. Nickell took the lead for good in the fifth set and held a 30-IMP lead going into the final 15 boards. Diamond rallied to win that set but not by enough.

In addition to their four gold medals in world championship play, the Nickell team has three silver medals - two in the Bermuda Bowl and one in the Rosenblum.

The USBC was played in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. The tournament was organized by the United States Bridge Federation.

Besides bridge, the World Mind Sports Games will feature chess, xiang qi (Chinese chess), go and draughts (checkers). The games will be played in Lille, France, Aug. 9 - 23.