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1st Mutton Cup

I have just played in the 1st Mutton Cup, an international individual event played in a bridge club in Madrid, Spain, with the main organiser being Jason Hackett whose idea it was. It had twenty tables, 30 boards on each of 3 days so we played with 45 different partners out of the 79 possible.

The system was set out, being basically 5 card majors, better minor, strong 1NT. No system discussion was permitted except for carding, where you could choose 4th and 2nd or 3rd and 5th leads, and reverse or standard signals/discards. This worked very well since otherwise interminable time would be lost to system discussion with a partner for 2 boards only. You were allowed to refer to the agreed system but in practice no-one ever did at my table for the first 89 boards, and my partner on the last hand failed to find what he was looking for anyway,

Drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) and some snacks plus dinner one night were included in the price which was a bargain at 225 GBP or 250 EUR per person. Apart from prizes for the leading places (I apologise for not knowing how many places) there were session prizes (Liz Commins won the 2nd session), prizes for the leading English, Spanish and neither players, for the leading teetotaller (Liz Commins was also hopeful of that one) and for the most sporting player (well done Warner Solomon). There was a prize for the player who had travelled the longest distance to play. Adam Wildavsky’s trip from New York was nothing compared to the player from Western Australia.

As an organiser and director of many events myself I know how much work this sort of event entails. For example there were 60 sets of 30 boards each to be prepared, put out and retrieved, and the entries must have been a nightmare. I do not know all the workers by name, but Jason Hackett, José Miguel Martínez (Fito), Nicole Cook, Alejandro Valdivieso and Meg Jones are the ones I can name. Our thanks to them and the others.

There were other activities, some organised such as various tours, some not such as drinking late into the night (Warner Solomon attempted to outlast Gitte Bjørneborg Hecht-Johansen !!!) and it was a very social event both during and outside the tournament. Being August in Madrid it was lovely and hot outside even at midnight!

For those of you who like your bridge standardised (Swiss Pairs every weekend with Green points please) this may not be for you, but for anyone who likes something different this was fabulous. Liz Commins and I should like to be the first to enter next year’s event if it is in the same place at much the same time!

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