Writers Choice September | Bermuda Bowl – The Final

The final of Bermuda Bowl 2017 became a blitz. Both France and USA2 were among the favorites before the tournament started and now they had to face each other in the final. The Championship would be decided within 128 boards.

The teams followed each other right to the end, two IMP margin is as close as it can be. USA2 came out as champions with 278 vs 276 in total score.

The Frenchmen had hoped for a long waited victory in the Bermuda Bowl, but the hometeam did not pass the last hurdle– the mighty USA2.

You will find plenty of good reading at the championship page. Bulletins and the online-blog is impressive.

Our congratulations to the winners – USA 2 with the players Martin Fleicher, Chip Martel, Joe Grue, Brad Moss, Jacek Pszczola and Michael Rosenberg.


We had a look at the final and there was many interesting and exiting boards. Let us show you a few.

This hand was big for the Big Club Relay bidding system used by the Joe Grue and Brad Moss.

Grue-Moss used the relay to find the best spot when they chose to play 7♣ instead of NT. Joe Grue investigated Moss distribution and had all information to make the right choice.

After a spade lead declarer could win with dummy’s ace, cash a club then cross to the ace of diamonds, draw trumps and establish the diamonds, + 1440!

At the other table the Frenchmen had to guess without knowing as much as the Americans about the cards.

7NT was a though task when nothing worked. North led the spade and it was all over. That ment 16 IMPs to USA.

A defensive error gave the Frenchmen 9 IMP at this board

West did enter the bidding with 1NT showing ♥ and ♣. Being vulnerable and after his first pass it is sure he holds at least 5-5.

West leads heart deuce – king, ace, 3.

Is there a chance to hold the contract down to 9 tricks?

Let us use our bridge logics.

  • Since South bid a take-out double of 2♥ there must be some alternative contracts?
  • Lets give south a 7-card spade suit, wouldn’t he just jump to 4♠?
  • Why do south jump to the king of hearts. We know he have 2-card heart by the lead from partner (3/5). It is not so often you find players underleading ace in this position. We suspect south to holds the queen of hearts trying to fool us to play another heart.
  • West holds at least 5-5, we trust him to led ♦ in he have singleton
  • If partner had ace-king of clubs, he would have led clubs!
  • South is likely to hold an opening hand. We know he have the queen of heart, no high cards in diamonds and let us say K J in clubs (partner needs the ace to give us hope of beating the contract). Therefore, it is most likely that south holds the AQ of spades, the hope for an original trick in spades is therefore vague.

Many Points to consider as you are about to plan your defense. The only real chance seems to be us winning 3 aces and partner to get a trick in spades.

To combine those chances you play the ace of diamonds!

Not your worst effort, the hand looked like this:

Another diamond gives west a ruff. The ace of clubs bring the contract 1 down and makes your partner smile.

The American holding east hand continued with a heart at the table…..that gave the Frenchmen 10 tricks and 9 IMP compared with the saving of 5♣ at going 1 down at the other table.

There is nothing like a test your play or test your bidding challenge.

This hand did indeed put you on test, how would you bid at this position?

West has been helpful giving you and partner a longer bidding sequence to exchange information. A direct jump to 3♦ might have made it worse.

Now you know a bit more about partners hand. He has 4-5 hearts and at least 4 clubs. He is not very likely to hold many points.

The French player Jerome Rombaut were willing to aim for partner to hold the perfect cards and jump directly to 6♣. Not a bad shot, it’s fair and all depends on the distribution.

The cards looked like this

Even with partner holding the king of hearts did not give declarer a 100 % line. West led a diamond and declarer had nothing better to do than to play ace and another club. The diamond retur was ruffed. Declarer had an entry in clubs and when the king of spades fell the rest of the play was easy.

1370 looked good, and when the bidding at the other table went like this it really became massive.

It seems like the Americans had a misunderstanding 3♠ being GF or not. 11 tricks did not bring much happiness to the Americans, the Frenchmen added 15 IMP at their scoresheet.

In the last set, the Frenchmen were trailing and it all seemed done with 5 boards to go. Then this board came along and gave them hope.

USA stopped in 4NT at the other table after a passive but reasonable auction. As we see the slam depends on either the king of spade placed at north or the ace of club at south (if north not lead a spade).

The Frenchmen had a more ambitious auction

It is understandable that Bessis facing a 15-17 NT with his strong seventeen run into slam. Maybe the west hand ain’t strong enough to open 1NT?

The play was short. A diamond was led to the ace, a heart to the king was followed by the jack of spades. The king was friendly for the Frenchmen and 1020 gave them 11 IMP.

Now trailing by 16 with 4 boards to go.

The next boad was a flat 3NT, then came this hand messing it up for the French.

Martin Fleicher led a low club.

Fredric Volcker could have made his contract playing the eight from dummy and find the Queen of diamond, but that was not an option.

The queen was taken by the king and Chip Martel turned a low ♥. Volcker took the trick with the ace and continued with a spade, north played low letting the king hold.

Next came the ace of diamond and a diamond finessing the jack to the queen.

North –South took the rest of the tricks holding Volcker down 4!

A very nice lead gave Volcker no real chance. At the other table, the same contract went down 2, adding 3 IMP to USA, now 19 IMP up With 2 Boards to go.

Then this hand came up, the Americans had a slamtry auction but stopped at 5♥ making six.

How would you bid with your partner?

Volcker-Bessis did not even try for the slam. I guess they play a Gazilli variation so Volckers 2♥ are limited. Bessis just jumped to game without even considering slam.

Could he have done better supporting hearts directly?

The slam is a good one, especially if you are trailing by 19 IMP it is a must, but who knows the score and how the cards look. It was just too tough to find out in a natural bidding system when the heart support came too late for west to upgrade his cards.

Flat board meant 19 imps with one board to go.

The last board was a though one:

The Frenchmen had a conservative auction when they stopped at the safe level. Grue-Moss pushed the cards a bit more and bid up to the risky 7♠.

Luckily for the French the clubs was not helpful and only 12 tricks were available. 17 IMP gain was not enough, they had to see USA winning the Bermuda Bowl by 2 IMPs after a 128 Board thrilling final.

We guess Grue-Moss had a bad feeling missing the slam at the second last hand and then go down in a grand slam at the last hand!

It must have been wonderful to find out you still won the Bermuda Bowl by 2 IMPs!

Andy Robson did find the bid of the year at this hand when he bid 7♦ in the Transnationals  final. An easily make gained his team 19 IMP when the other team went down in 7♠. This means you had the chance Volcker, had you jumped to 7♦ you would have leveled the score and gained extra boards!