Thursday, September 10, 2009

World championship nears conclusion

And then there were two.

After nearly two weeks of play, there are a pair of teams left fighting for the gold medal in each of the three main team categories at the bridge World Championships, being contested in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Play in these events concludes Friday.

For the Bermuda Bowl (the open teams), USA2 will challenge Italy. These two countries were the pre-tournament favorities in most camps, and it's fitting they are playing for the gold medal. Bulgaria and China will play for the Bronze.

In the Venice Cup (the women's teams), USA1 plays China in the final. I'm pulling for the U.S. team not only because I'm an American, but because my old friend Lynn Deas is on the team. Several years ago, she was stricken with myasthenia gravis, and now plays bridge from a wheel chair. Her will to win must be tremendous to overcome what she's had to face. You go, girl! You can visit her web site here. USA2 plays France for the Bronze.

In the d'Orsi Senior Bowl, Poland squares off against England. England squeaked past Indonesia in one semifinal match. The U.S. has owned this event recently, but lost in the other semifinal to Poland. This is one of the deals from the last segment of that match.

Q 5 4
K J 8
K Q J 10 6
6 5
A 10 8 6 3 2 J 9 7
10 Q 7 4
8 5 9 7 4 3 2
A K 7 3 Q 4
A 9 6 5 3 2
10 9 8 7 2

When the board was played, Poland had taken the lead over USA2, but the match was still in doubt.

In one room, David Berkowitz played 4. West, Jerzy Russyan, led the A, the A, then shifted to a diamond. After this defense, declarer wasn't seriously tested. He won his A, cashed the A, and led another to the king. He was then able to discard on the good tricks in dummy, losing one spade, one club and one heart.

The Poles were now in danger of losing a game swing.

The defense was tougher in the other room. West was Mike Passell, East was John Sutherland. For the Poles, Apolinary Kowalski was North and Jacek Romanski was South. Romanski also played 4, and West started with the A. After this held, Passell played the A, the K, and exited with a spade. This was won with the Q in dummy as South discarded a club.

Romanski had lost three tricks and had to guess the trump suit for no losers. Declarer ruffed a spade, cashed the A, then lead a heart to the king. At trick eight, he led the 8 from dummy and when East played low, he let it ride. Now, he was able to discard the rest of his clubs on the diamond suit to make his contract. Nicely done!

[Deep Finesse says the contract can be defeated if West refrains for leading the A. The double-dummy defense is two high clubs and then a low one.]

For more information about the championships, click here.


  1. You need a CJ in your hand diagram.

  2. @Jeff: you're right. Sorry, I don't remember now where it goes. Cute hand, though.