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Should the US Trials Format Test for RR Success

I really don't know whether this is a legitimate issue. As we all saw, two of the six US teams failed to make it through the RR phase. Both came agonizingly close. In the Open, USA2 needed a final sprint after a slow start. They mounted it, but it wasn't quite enough. In the Seniors, USA1 looked secure, but a near-blitz loss in the last round combined with wins by all the other contenders dropped them just out of the "money."

In all three events a score of 245 after 21 matches was about the minimum to get through. Given the VP scale, that meant that a team had to beat it's composite opposition by about 140 imps over 336 boards. The US trials mostly test the ability of teams to win by one imp in each of a series of long matches against pretty strong teams. The European Trials - that is the European Championship - tests the ability of teams to do well in a long RR against teams of varying ability. Four of the six US teams made it through the RR. Sixteen of the eighteen European teams are in their respective quarterfinals. 

My question is whether there is a difference between the bridge abilities being tested by long KO matches and by long RRs. If there is, should the ability to get through a long RR be part of the US trials?



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