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Team put Bermuda on bridge map

The Bermuda team to the World Youth Bridge Championships have now completed their participation and have returned to the island and this will be my wrap-up column on the event. The team of

Ruskin Cave, Liam Peniston, Tyler Irby and Gianluca Cacace took a huge step forward for Bermuda bridge and are to be congratulated for the work and application they invested in their participation.

Before I get to the bridge, the big news from the team was at the closing ceremony when the Bermuda team received the coveted Joan Gerard Award for the individual showing aptitude, fair play, good sportsmanship, and a friendly international spirit, rejecting any discrimination.

The team won it as a whole as the judges felt that all four players and the NPC had shown the same spirit.

John Burville and Mike Viotti, along with the team, were thrilled at receiving this award and when I spoke to them were still on a high from the event. Congratulations to the whole team for putting our lovely island on the bridge map in the minds of so many other bridgeplayers!

The award resonates with me as I competed against Joan Gerard in the seventies and eighties - she was a classy lady, a wonderful bridge player and a former chairman and former President of the ACBL so the award embodies all the best things related to bridge.

Joan sadly passed away in April of 2013 but will always be part of the fabric of this game, particularly in North America.

As I said last week the competition at the bridge table will have been fierce, what the team will have met at the event are youngsters who are “veterans” and many of whom who have made bridge their primary focus in life, and that is tough to match.

One 18 year old casually informed the team that he had been playing bridge regularly for nine years!

Add to that the fact that apart from our two pairs only two other pairs in the entire event (from Latvia) played all 238 boards and their task was magnified to a great degree.

Now that they are back it will be interesting to see if they try and make an impact at the club level, though that is not an easy task whilst still attending school. Perhaps more interesting will be the impact their participation will have had among their peer group and whether it actually kick-starts an increased participation in the game at the local level.

This hand from the match against the strong Israeli team produced a good result for our team.

Dealer South, N/S Vul

NORTH

S 87

H J964

D K10

C 109743

EAST

S 5432

H 82

D J9754

C 65

SOUTH

S QJ96

H KQ1073

D None

C AK82

WEST

S AK10

H A5 ????? ??????

D AQ8632

C QJ ??????

Much of what happened on this hand depended on the action taken by West after the opening bid by South. There is one school of thought that says all such strong hands should start with a double but others prefer a “heavy” two over one overcall, and I am firmly in that camp especially if a major suit is opened on my right and I do not have the other major, which is usually promised with a double.

Take a look at the West hand and ask yourself what you would do if you doubled a one Heart bid on your right, LHO bids 4 Hearts and partner bids 4 Spades! Now what? Is partner bidding on a long Spade suit or is partner relying on you to have at least 4 Spades?

All of this leads me to favour the overcall - once in a while it might then go Pass-Pass-Pass and a game may be missed but that will be a rare occurrence.

Back to the hand …..when Bermuda were sitting East West Gianluca decided to overcall 2 Diamonds with the West hand and this allowed Bermuda to take a cheap sacrifice in Diamonds - the bidding went 1 Heart by South, 2 Diamonds by Gianluca, 2 Hearts by North, three Diamonds by Tyler and now when South bid 4 Hearts Gianluca bid 5 Diamonds and this went for 300 when the opponents doubled. In the other room West started with a double and when Ruskin bid a pre-emptive 3 Hearts which was passed around to West he tried a speculative 3NT! This contract actually goes 6 down on a Heart lead but when it came round to Liam he made the great decision to take out insurance by bidding 4 Hearts as West could quite easily have had a running Diamond suit. West now doubled hoping that his four tricks would stand but they didn’t and plus 790 was the result and a healthy 10 imp gain for Bermuda. Good bidding by both our pairs!

In closing, once again thanks and congratulations to John Burville who along with the pivotal NPC Mike Viotti made this all happen - well done and we now look forward to the next event for the Junior group.

RESULTS FOR THE

CHAMPIONSHIPS

Juniors - Poland beat China in the Final

Girls - Netherlands beat Australia

Youngsters (where Bermuda competed) - Italy beat Netherlands

Kids - Israel were the winners