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USBF Open invitational

I just completed playing in the qualifying stage of the USBF Open Invitational.  It is one of the most enjoyable events I have ever played in.

There were 12 teams entered in the event.  These are mostly teams which would have been playing in the open trials had it taken place, so the competition was top-notch.  Two of the teams received byes to the quarterfinals, just as they would have gotten byes in the real trials.  The remaining teams played a full round robin of 11-board matches, with the top six teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The event ran quite smoothly.  At 7.5 minutes per board we were seldom pressed for time, and if we did run over the limit the final board of the match simply wasn't played -- so what.  As this was an online tournament, it was open book as far as consulting ones notes -- a nice feature.  Undos were always granted, so misclicks were not a problem.  The usual self-alerting  and explaining of your own bids on BBO meant that there was unlikely to be a MI issue.  Of course the mechanics of BBO prevented things like bids out of turn, insufficient bids, or revokes.  As far as I know, there were no meaningful director calls.

One really nice feature of the event was that, if both players agreed, you were put into a zoom room with your "screenmate".  This meant that you could openly chat with your screenmate without the other two players hearing anything.  In additional to the casual sociability during the play, you could freely ask your screenmate details about their bidding and carding methods which would be cumbersome and time-wasting to do in normal play with screens, where the questions and answers have to be done in writing.  

We were fortunate enough to qualify for the quarter=finals which are played tomorrow.  My team is playing aginst the Nickell team.  I am looking forward to it.



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