Poland impress at Bermuda Bowl World Championships

  • Figure 1: Board 22, Dealer East, E/W Vulnerable

    Figure 1: Board 22, Dealer East, E/W Vulnerable


With the Sectional behind us the local players went straight into a Stac week ahead of the Open Pairs and the Junior Teams in early November.

The short break gives me some time for some results from the Bermuda Bowl World Championships which recently concluded in Wuhan, China.

The big prize, The Bermuda Bowl, was won by Poland with Netherlands in second and Norway third. The usual “superpowers” of USA, Italy, China, France were missing in the shake-up but nowadays that is no surprise as the strength in depth widens to at least ten teams who are capable of winning at the highest level. The Venice Cup for the top women teams was won by Sweden, with China in second and England in third, and the D’Orsi cup for Seniors was won by Denmark followed by England and China in second.

The first Bermuda Bowl was held on the island in 1950 and the trophies have been provided by the Bermuda Government ever since — we had the 25th and 50th anniversary tournaments here in 1975 and 2000, the latter thanks to a generous grant from Orbis, and all eyes will be on 2025!

So this week’s hand is from the World Championships, and can be classed as a “feel good” hand — not, as you will see, for the players involved, but for all of us who at some time in our playing career get involved in an auction that, well, goes totally off the rails!

The hand is also a great example of how complicated systems and “implied support” bids can explode even in the hands of a couple of the world’s best players!

Board 22, Dealer East, E/W Vulnerable

In the Closed Room the South player for the Netherlands opened the hand a strong artificial Club and after a lively auction became the declarer in five Diamonds doubled — the defence was perfect — West cashed two Spades, then cashed the Ace of Clubs and gave partner a Club ruff. East now exited passively with the Spade Queen and South had a further Heart to lose for down three — 500 to the USA who must have been feeling pretty good about that result.

Little did they know that they were about to lose 14 Imps on the Board!

You might want to take a mild sedative before witnessing the train wreck in the Closed Room.

Sitting North/South for the USA were two highly acknowledged and brilliant players, Marty Fleisher and Chip Martel, both of whom I’ve played against and I can confirm that they are simply world class — so read on.

West (deWijs)

Pass, Pass, Pass, Dbl, Dbl

North (Fleisher)

3S (1), 5C, 6C, 7H, Pass

East (Muller)

Pass, Pass, Pass, Pass, Dbl, Pass

South (Martel)

2NT, 3NT, 5D, 7D, 7NT(!), Pass.

Martel decided to open the strong South hand 2NT which is more than reasonable — it is too strong for a one Diamond opener and too weak for a two Club opener so he chose the least of all evils. After Martel bid 3NT Fleisher jumped to five Clubs which was clearly to play, given his first bid.

Martel now tried to make up for his opening bid by bidding five Diamonds which he thought was to play but Fleisher took as a cue bid in support of Clubs!

Martel, however, took the subsequent six Club bid as support for Diamonds (!!) and so he jumped to seven Diamonds.

De Wijs, who had been sitting silent all along with his two Aces and a King now made himself heard with a Double. Fleisher now made a seven Heart bid that has no explanation at all, which Muller doubled, and when Martel corrected to 7NT de Wijs knew just what to do with that!

That was a cool 1400 to the Netherlands and 14 Imps!

This sort of accident happens surprisingly frequently nowadays as systems have become more complex and pairs look to extract a special meaning from each and every bid — most, however, think it is a small price to pay for the overall accuracy the complex systems provide and the answer is just to shrug it off and move on to the next hand — which is what champions like Fleisher and Martel do.

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Published Oct 26, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 26, 2019 at 8:47 am)

Poland impress at Bermuda Bowl World Championships

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