Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Lille Grand Palais (see above) is the site of the World Mind Sports Games.

I arrived in Amsterdam early Wednesday morning after all all-night flight from Boston. I caught the 7 a.m. train to Lille, France. I had a stop-over in Antwerp, Belgium, changed trains and made it to Lille around noon. I was early enough to catch a high-speed train (at 6:30), but decided I was in no hurry. I'm staying in an apartment that is about a 8-10 minute walk to the Grand Palais, but I couldn't check in until 3 p.m., so why rush?

The bridge starts tomorrow (Friday). There are around 80 teams expected to enter. They don't know the exact number yet as teams that are knocked out of the main events will enter at the minute. We will play five 10-board matches each day for three days. At the end of 150 deals, eight teams will advance to the finals for the knockout phase. That's eight teams out of some of the best bridge players in the world, so our team has its work cut out.

I was in France back in the Seventies and things have changed. It's now not a lot different than the States. In general, some things are more expensive, but some things are less, too. People are friendly and the weather has been great.

Even though Lille is the third-largest city in France, most things/places/etc. are within walking distance. In fact, you seldom see taxis except at the train stations.

Some places don't accept regular Visa cards. In Europe, many of them have an embedded microchip. Americans haven't caught up with that, so the train station wouldn't take mine. Restaurants and the shopping mall I went to, however, do accept regular credit cards.

If you want a diet coke, don't forget to ask for Coke Light. I went to a McDonalds. The menu was different, but they had pictures of the various types of burgers you could order. One hamburger that I noticed was advertised as au poivre and it looked like it had a pepper and mayonnaise sauce. I ordered a Coke Light. It came with no ice. Some things are the same, and some are different than in the States.

The playing site has bridge players on the second floor. There were more of them than the other mind game disciplines. I'll look around some more tomorrow, but it seemed like the go players were on the fourth floor and the chess players on the eighth. I'm not sure about checkers (called draughts) or Chinese Chess. What no poker? They have to do something about that.

The apartment building I'm staying in is very comfortable and considerably cheaper than the main hotel. It has a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a stove. I also have free Internet, so what else could I want. I've seen Mind Game bridge players staying here from India, Morocco, Australia and Latvia.

You can read more about the World Mind Sports Games here. You can follow the results from the bridge competitions if you go here.


  1. Good luck and beware of the Brits!

  2. Good Luck out there! Oh Belgium! I want some Cote d'oro please!

  3. Geez -- I immediately had Pulp Fiction flashbacks:

    Vincent: And you know what they call a... a... a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
    Jules: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?
    Vincent: No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn't know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.
    Jules: Then what do they call it?
    Vincent: They call it a Royale with cheese.
    Jules: A Royale with cheese. What do they call a Big Mac?
    Vincent: Well, a Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it le Big-Mac.
    Jules: Le Big-Mac. Ha ha ha ha. What do they call a Whopper?
    Vincent: I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King.

  4. Remind me never to sit at a poker table with you... #genius Good luck Mojo! ;)

  5. wow
    Cindy must be a grrrrrrrrreat bridge player!


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