BRIDGE

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

THE US (Bob Ham­man, Zia Mah­mood, Ralph Katz, Nick Nick­ell, Jeff Meck­stroth and Eric Rod­well) has re­gained the Ber­muda Bowl, the most cov­eted ti­tle in world bridge. This is the first Ber­muda Bowl for Mah­mood and Katz. The oth­ers have won sev­eral times, in­clud­ing four times as team­mates.

In the 128-board fi­nal they came up against their usual ri­vals, Italy (Alfredo Ver­sace, Lorenzo Lau­ria, Ful­vio Fan­toni, Clau­dio Nunes, An­to­nio Se­menta and Gior­gio Duboin). The match was not close, de­spite the Ital­ians winning the sec­ond 16-board set by 57 in­ter­na­tional match points to 1. The fi­nal mar­gin was 285 IMPs to 249.

The orig­i­nal Ber­muda Bowl field con­sisted of 22 coun­tries, made up of the lead­ing teams from each of the World Bridge Foun­da­tion’s eight zones. The lead­ing eight coun­tries ad­vanced to the quar­ter fi­nals. They were, in or­der: Italy, Nor­way, Bul­garia, the US, The Nether­lands, Ger­many, Rus­sia and China.

Aus­tralia and New Zealand also took part; NZ fin­ished 15th and Aus­tralia 18th.

Se­menta was the new boy on the Ital­ian team and he clearly felt the pres­sure.

Look at deal one, where North-South can make a slam in spades. Three clubs is at least a game-in­vi­ta­tional raise in hearts. Se­menta’s pass of four hearts is mighty odd; bid­ding four spades is surely au­to­matic. The Ital­ians were in bad shape when they sold out to five hearts and things soon got worse.

Se­menta led the queen of clubs. Duboin ruffed and made the mis­take of cash­ing a top spade. Now de­clarer could trump a spade and West Zia 1 4 pass all pass North Se­menta 2 pass 4 East South Ham­man Duboin 3 3 pass dble 5 dble run his hearts to take the rest. North could not hang on to both his di­a­monds and his clubs. The winning de­fence is for South to switch to a di­a­mond at trick two.

At the other ta­ble, the Amer­i­cans were dou­bled in five spades, mak­ing six.

Se­menta must have spent some time mulling over his timid per­for­mance in pass­ing four hearts. In any case, by the time deal two came along he was a dif­fer­ent man.

Two spades showed a max­i­mum pass with heart sup­port and Se­menta’s three no-trumps said pick a mi­nor. You have to ad­mit this was a brave move. It might have worked on a good day, but not here. Zia led a heart and Se­menta was able to cross-ruff for one down. Not good but it could have been worse; on an un­likely low trump lead, it would have been four down.

At the other ta­ble, the Amer­i­cans left the Ital­ians in three hearts, where they de­feated them. South led his club. North won the ace and shifted to his sin­gle­ton spade. Now the de­fence was able to take four tricks by way of cross-ruff for one down. Paul Marston

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