Monday, April 02, 2007

French Strategy

Among other things*, I watched the 7th draw of the 2007 Men's World Curling Championships on CurlTV this afternoon. I was intrigued by the strategies of the teams. For the first three ends, the US tried to start by putting rocks in the rings, and the French peeled them. The French managed to blank the first three ends as a result, and the frustration among the US curlers was readily apparent. On the fourth end, to try something different, the U.S. began with guards, and as the end evolved, the French managed to take two points.

Later, in the 6th end, the U.S. was forced to take just one with the hammer, evincing even more frustration. But then they stole one in 8th, so the teams were tied 2-2 going into the 9th end, with France having the hammer. France then scored 3 in the 9th end and 1 in the 10th to take the game 6-2.

I was intrigued by the French strategy. It seemed to frustrate the US team. In fact, the US out-curled the French team in terms of curling percentages 85% to only 77%. It is not often that a team on the short end of that big a difference wins the game, but in this case there was a combination of strategy and luck that allowed or even caused the French to win. It will be interesting to see how others react to this strategy.

If I had been there as a fan, I'd have been tempted to boo the French by the third end, just to register my disapproval, not of their strategizing, but of games that have three blanked ends in a row -- they frustrate the fans at least as much as they frustrated the US curlers.

*I also watched a lot of baseball this afternoon, much of it via's premier broadband service. Their 700K telecasts have great resolution, compared with CurlTV; however, the constant re-buffering and freezing up make the overall package considerably inferior to that offered by CurlTV.

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