In an exciting four-board burst, Finn Kolesnik’s team scored 28 IMPS to catch Mike Levine’s squad at the finish line, ending the North American Online Bridge Championships Premier Knockout in a virtual 113–113 tie.
Playing with Kolesnik were Jacob Freeman, Bob Hamman–Peter Weichsel, and Bart Bramley–Kit Woolsey. The Levine team comprised Eddie Wold, Jeff Meckstroth–Eric Rodwell and Geir Helgemo–Tor Helness.
Phil Clayton and Andrew Gumperz topped the virtual victory stand of the Premier Pairs. The California pair, who won the 0–10,000 NABC Pairs in 2018, seized the top spot after the second qualifying session and never relinquished control. The two-day event drew 138 pairs, restricted to players eligible for the Platinum Pairs or those who had played in the Premier Knockout and who were no longer in contention; the Saturday, August 1 qualifier cut the field to 72 pairs on Sunday, August 2.
Second place went to Mark Bendure and Robert Bitterman from Michigan. Dana Berkowitz and Alex Perlman from the New York area finished third.
The Premier Knockout opened July 23 with 73 teams. Play-in matches set the field of 64. The competition extended Thursday through Sunday both weekends. Two Junior players competing in the KO won their first NABC championship: Kolesnik, of Ventura CA, is 16 years old; his partner, Freeman – who lives in Toronto Canada – is 19. Freeman finished second in the Young Life Master Pairs (0–2500) in 2018.
The championships were played on Bridge Base Online. Delayed kibitzing of the team games through Twitch gave spectators a ringside seat for all the action. Watch the final set at the closed table with commentary by Larry Cohen, Chip Martel and David Berkowitz at https://www.twitch.tv/delayed_1_closed; the open table (ignore the incorrect match caption) is at https://www.twitch.tv/delayed_1_open.
To access all the available championship videos, go to twitch.tv and search for delayed open and delayed closed to bring up a library of recordings.
Although the Conditions of Contest for the KO call for an eight-board playoff in the event of a tie, the players declined, and accepted second-place masterpoint awards.
The Summer NAOBC, hosted by the ACBL in partnership with Bridge Base Online and Bridge Winners, featured the two events geared for higher level players. The Fall NAOBC – Nov. 30 through Dec. 6 – will build on the success of the summer championship to offer events catering to a greater variety of player levels.