Day 1 of the Vanderbilt – The Vanderbilt started with 88 teams. In order to reduce the fields to exactly 64 teams for today, the format was that the top 2 seeds got a bye directly into the round of 64. The next five seeds played the lowest five seeds in head-to-head matches with the winner advancing to the round of 64. The remaining 76 teams were organized into 19 groups of 4. Each of these groups would advance 3 teams to the round of 64. In each group of 4, the highest seed play the lowest seed in a half match (32 boards), while the two middle seeds played. The winners of those matches qualified for the next round and were rewarded with the evening off. The remaining two teams played another half match to determine the other team from the group to advance.
My team is seeded 62nd of the 88 teams. So, we were a group of 4 with the 24th, 29th and 67th seeds. So, our first (half) match was against the 29th seed, led by Barry Rigal. We lost to them by 45, while the 24th seed beat the 67th seed. That left us to play the 67th seed in the evening. We all played pretty well in that match to beat that team by 32. Our reward for surviving is to play the 3rd seed today: John Diamond, Brian Platnick, Geoff Hampson, Eric Greco, Brad Moss and Fred Gitelman – a world class team. As I told my teammates: on a good day, we can beat team; on an average day, they will beat us; on a bad day, they will roll over us like a Mac truck. But, it will be a fun day no matter what happens.
Of course, last year at this time, I was getting ready to play the #1 seed in the round of 64, and we all remember what happened there…
More updates to come.