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Exciting adventure for young Bermuda team

The Bermuda team to the World Youth Bridge Championships have now completed their Round Robin schedule and did not make it to the knockout stage, but that was never on the cards given the relative inexperience of the team.

Their participation marks a huge step forward for Bridge in Bermuda.

The boys are all total newcomers to the game compared to the young veterans they were playing against, and playing a four-man team with no rotation is a monumental ask at this level.

We did, however, all know that at the outset and there is no doubt that this was the right time for this experiment which I think will galvanise the youth participation in Bermuda bridge.

Many congratulations to the guys — Ruskin Cave, Liam Peniston, Tyler Irby and Gianluca Cacace — and huge plaudits to John Burville and Mike Viotti for taking on this project.

These events require a ton of work to organise and entries, funding, travel arrangements, convention cards, uniforms, etc really make it a full-time job and hopefully there will be a lot more help next time round.

The results for the team were tough, but when one looks behind them it is amazing how small margins of error just accumulate into a loss that looks way bigger than the actual difference in play.

But that is what it takes at this level, and what the boys will come back with is the knowledge that there is a ton of learning ahead but also with the knowledge that some small adjustments in bidding style and discipline and in declarer technique can soon make them competitive.

I looked at some of the individual matches and went through them with John, and the Italy match is a good proxy for what I just wrote.

Through the first 9 boards of the 14 board match, our boys were 2 imps up (13-11)!

They lost 7 imps on Board 10 when our defence allowed 4Hearts to make, and our team-mates bid correctly to 3Hearts, and made it.

Then on the 11th board, Bermuda were unluckily undone by their system where North ended up as declarer instead of South and this forced a 50/50 choice in the play which went wrong, whereas in the other room declarer had the luxury of giving up a trick in order to claim his contract.

Dealer North, Both Vul


S A842

H AJ108


C A9


S 1053

H Q65

D 10972

C J105


H Q96

H K42

D A5

C KQ632



H 973

D J864

C 874

Both teams played in 6NT, The bidding on our side started with 1D by North/2C by South (forcing with game interest and no 4 card major), 3NT by opener showing a good hand with both major suits stopped, a 4NT quantitative raise by responder which opener happily accepted to bid 6NT.

So Tyler is playing it and received a Spade lead — any other lead, and the contract is cold. He tried the Queen but once the King covered this he had to eventually take the Heart finesse, and unfortunately played it the wrong way round. In the other room the bidding was probably 2D=18-19 bal/6nt (though they may have checked for key cards in between). Suffice it to say that South is declarer, and the contract is cold played by South.

Did Tyler have any clues about the heart suit ? Hmmmmm…..may be! — but again this is where experience kicks in. With no bidding from the opponents all he had was a negative inference and that is the fact that East did NOT lead a Heart which against 6NT he is unlikely to do holding the Queen. So it is far from conclusive, but in bridge you are looking for small percentage tilts in your favour and I think this is one and I would play East for the Queen. Again, an unfortunate loss against a good team.

Another unfortunate match was against India — our boys were on top but then a straightforward missed 3NT contract on one hand, taking another bid on the next hand at the 5 level instead of punishing the opponents in their flighty 4 level contract, and a missed game when both our players could have made one more effort, led to a 34 imp loss in 3 Boards – match lost ! The next time they play the boys will get at least two of these three right and end up winning the match comfortably !

So there you have it! An exciting and new adventure for the team, John and Mike, and the groundwork is laid for new things ahead for youth bridge in Bermuda. Again, congratulations to all concerned and we look forward to seeing the four players and their bridge player friends now trying to make their mark at the Club!