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Bermuda Bowl-1959 Segment 1
(Page of 18)

Intro

Welcome to New York City and the 1959 edition of the Bermuda Bowl, starting on February 7th. The venue is the Statler Hilton Hotel. Located across from Penn Station, today it is called the Hotel Pennsylvania.

As in 1958, this Bowl will be a three-way contest. Your author will attempt to bring this Bermuda Bowl Broadcast with a bit more vugraph than his slapped-together ‘57 version.

No vugraph experience would be complete without Al Hollander - “The Man of a Thousand Systems” - providing detailed explanations of any and every bidding system known to man.  In an attempt to replicate his critical contributions, I have devised Virtual Al (VAL). VAL is my A.I. program with some pirated and patched-in Siri code, along with a database of American and Italian methods at the time. Also, since I am Dave, I have programmed VAL to always open the pod bay doors - no matter what.

Let's introduce our teams.

Argentina - The South American Champions

They are six-handed this time. Ricardo Calvente and Alejandro Castro have returned from last year’s team. Their teammates are Alberto Berisso, Carlos Dibar, Arturo Jaques & Egisto Rocchi. VAL, what else can you tell us?

“Their non-playing captain was Luis Santa Coloma. Unfortunately, we have no hands to report. We do know the final scores were USA 252 - ARG 202 and ITALY 218 - ARG 178. So it ain’t like they were pushovers. Their score against Italy was closer than the USA’s.”

VAL, you should say “SPOILER ALERT” before you announce something so far ahead.

“You mean, so far behind. This match was nearly six decades ago. All your readers already know who won. Am I really your invention? I was sort of hoping I was adopted.”

Well VAL, the worst day for a human teenager is when the 23 & Me results arrive and one realizes that he really is surrounded by his gene pool. What else about Argentina, VAL?

“It’s a beautiful country.”

Ugh. I miss carbon-based Al already. VAL, what can you tell me about the first Argentine bridge teams to the Bermuda Bowl?

“Goren would write in 1962 that: “I have watched and played against the Argentine team in Buenos Aires last year and I have the highest regard for the skills (of these players), all of whom have represented South America in previous Bermuda Bowl contests.”

Italy - The Blue Team

European Champions for the last three years and Two-Time Bermuda Bowl Champions. There is a oddity about the file records.  It shows Forquet & Chiaradia playing the first segments. At the time Massimo D'Alelio was Chiaradia’s regular partner. Furthermore, D'Alelio is not named as a player in any of the match segments in this file. Yet D'Alelio was not only listed on the 1959 official records, he was also on every Blue Team from 1957 until the team’s retirement after the 1969 Bowl. I suspect that Chiaradia’s partner was, in fact, D'Alelio and not Forquet. Although all four did play the Neapolitan Club. For the sake of the ambiguity, I shall simply denote Chiaradia’s partner as “F/DA”. (Can anyone shed light on this?)

ACBL Team Selection

In October of 1958, a playoff was held between the Vanderbilt champs and the Masters Team (Spingold) winners to determine which team would represent the ACBL at the Bermuda Bowl.

The Masters that summer was definitely run as a double KO. Apparently without a one-loss bracket, since, at the end, there were three teams with one loss. Rothlein’s teams won the bye and the first match was Fishbein vs Roth. At one point, against a doubled contract, Harry Fishbein revoked. Sam Frey Jr did not question the card, and none of the hundreds of spectators gasped(!?) The revoke thus became established. The two-trick penalty made the doubled contract. It was not enough to prevent Fishbein from advancing. However, the Fishbein team lost the next match to Rothlein.

Fishbein, winners of the Vanderbilt, got another shot against Rothlein as there was a playoff planned that year to select the Bermuda Bowl Team. The playoff was held at the same Statler Hilton in NYC that was to be the Bermuda Bowl venue. What was going to be different this time is that all the spectators would be removed from the playing area, which were in soundproof rooms. The hands would be shown in the “Bridge-o-Rama” room to spectators on a large diagram. The bidding would be broadcast on speakers to the spectators and recorded on the display. The play would be indicated by crossing out cards as they were played.

There was no mention of whether Jan Martel’s mother was instrumental in making this early vugraph possible, but we can assume so. The playoffs between Vandy & Masters/Spingold winners was also going to be a test run of the new Bermuda Bowl arrangements.

In a match decided by just 4 IMPs (so they did use IMP scoring at least for this event in 1958), the five-man Fishbein team defeated the five-handed Rothlein team. The ACBL regulations required that the sixth player for the Bermuda Bowl team had to be selected from the runner-up team. They chose Sidney Lazard. An excellent choice in my view, and also the choice of two of the players on the Rothlein team as both Paul Allinger and William Hanna partnered with Sidney.

Team USA

It was not just the playing venue procedures that changed from previous years. The 1959 USA team was going to be run a bit differently. The NPC was Charles J. Solomon. Goren wrote: “Lack of team discipline has been one of the reasons for our four consecutive defeats at the hands of Europe's champions. Until now, the non-playing captaincy has been an honorary job, but this year the captain will exercise greater power.” They appointed Solomon, a lawyer by training who quit law to play bridge full time, as team captain. Solomon was a member of the 1956 Bermuda Bowl Team.

The other difference was the players would be paired as partnerships throughout. Lazard was to be paired with Sam Frey Jr. While this was a new partnership, it did allow for the pair to focus on preparation. Sam Frey, now 50 years of age, was one of the original wonder-kids, having won his first NABC title at age 23 and named one of the first ten “Life Masters” by the ACBL. Sidney was not yet 28 when he made Team USA.

Leonard Harmon & Ivar Stakgold were an established partnership. In 1958 they were the hottest pair in America. They were second in the Masters/Spingold. That year they also won both the Vanderbilt and the Reisinger. They also won the Silodor Open Pairs (Roth-Stone were second). Harmon also won the McKenney Trophy that year.

Ivar Stakgold was an accomplished mathematician, earning his Ph.D. from Harvard. He authored several books. His first book on boundary value problems were snapped up by everyone in the world who could understand it -probably selling nine or ten copies. That made it a huge bestseller on the NYT list of books on differential equations. The publisher was anxious for more of his excellent work, and Ivar produced a few more books. We lost Ivar earlier this year: https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/ivar-stakgold-rip-2-qf0411vg6x/

Harry Fishbein would partner with Lee Hazen. Hazen was a lawyer and legal counsel for the ACLU. Lee handled many civil rights cases in the 1930 and 1940s. Hazen also once played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Let's find out more about systems.

System & Methods

So VAL, what can you tell me about the Americans' systems?

“That bid is natural.”

Is there anything else?

“Pretty sure it's natural. This is a teeny database here.”

OK, but what about systems?

“Harmon-Stakgold play Kaplan/Sheinwold. So weak notrumps, 5-card majors. The other pairs play 4-card majors. Lazard and Frey play what they call “hit and run”. They are willing to open light, certainly light by the standard of the day. Fishbein is the eldest man to represent USA to date, at 61 years old. (A baby by today’s standards.) Harry is very popular, runs New York’s Mayfair Club and plays quickly. He is known as a player who will take positions in bidding and play - and is often right.”

And the Italians, VAL?

“Belladonna & Avarelli play Roman Club. The other two pairs play Neapolitan Club.”

Are those both canapé styles?

“Canape is a small piece of bread or pastry with a savory topping.”

I really have to do something about this Siri code. It also makes VAL’s voice annoying. VAL, what else about canape?

“It can be a decorative, antique sofa. In bidding, it refers to a method devised by Pierre Albarran where the short suit is opened before the longer suit.”

So are both Italian systems similar?

“Other than canapé methods, no. My database reference for this event is Edgar Kaplan’s 1959 book, “The Complete Italian System of Winning Bridge”. Kaplan was the consultant/coach to the American teams to prepare them for Italian methods. The Italian methods changed over time, so this book is probably the best for what was being played at the time.”

Goren wrote after Italy won in Oslo that while he hoped he was very wrong, he thought the way the Italians were playing, whichever team we selected was not likely to defeat Italy. We have only one real pair that has played together extensively. And Lee Hazen is the only player on this team to have played before in the Bermuda Bowl before; 1956 in Paris.

But Team USA certainly has talent. They have the ability to generate some action. New York is also the home court for most of our team. Sidney is from Louisiana, so he ain’t afraid of snakes, gators, hurricanes, or any bridge player.

Let's shuffle and deal!

Bd #1

F/D'A
A108
QJ95
984
KJ4
Fishbein
432
AK76
A106
Q87
Chiaradia
96
102
KQJ32
10652
Hazen
KQJ75
843
75
A93
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2NT
P
P
P
D
1
2NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
5
4
6
2
0
1
Q
7
8
10
2
0
2
J
3
9
A
1
1
2
6
K
8
2
2
1
3
2
4
5
K
1
2
3
9
Q
A
4
3
3
3
10
8
Q
A
2
3
4
2
J
10
3
2
3
5
8

The first board is interesting as it illustrates American bidding at the time. Nowadays, this is a “new minor forcing” sequence. Lacking conventions, Hazen opted to invite with 2NT. North is considered a minimum for the time, 1NT was 16-18. So opener passed and 2NT became the contract. Fortunately for USA, dummy’s club entry cannot be attacked.  So duck two diamonds, establish the spades, A is with the short diamonds, 8 tricks.

Italy drew first blood, winning 1 IMP when Belladonna/Avarelli got to their spade contract and made nine tricks. It should be noted that a different IMP scale (15 maximum) was in use. A 500-point swing on the old scale is only 6 IMPs. So this overtrick was about twice as valuable as today.

Stakgold
A108
QJ95
984
KJ4
Belladonna
432
AK76
A106
Q87
Harmon
96
102
KQJ32
10652
Avarelli
KQJ75
843
75
A93
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
P
D
1
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Belladonna's 1 opening in the Roman system is either 12-16 balanced, "strong 2-bid", or 21+ balanced.  In Roman, opening bids of one of a suit are forcing. The cheapest step is the negative response. 1 showed about 9+ points and promised four cards. The rebid promised 5(+) and the lower end of a constructive response. Belladonna had no reason to envision a game and passed.

Bd #2

I posted this hand previously. Forquet played 6-X. Stakgold went -1 undoubled in 5. This was +250 for USA.

F/D'A
AJ84
107
AJ643
K3
Fishbein
Q932
Q1092
QJ962
Chiaradia
KQ1092
K5
A108754
Hazen
7653
AJ864
K875
W
N
E
S
 
2
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
6
P
6
X
P
P
P
D
2
6X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
A
2
5
0
0
1
4
2
K
3
2
0
2
5
5
3
2
3
1
2
A
10
3
K
3
2
2
6
7
9
2
2
2
3
4
6
K
9
3
3
3
7
8
9
10
2
3
4
7
8
A
J
0
3
5
4
10
9
8
2
3
6
9

I mentioned earlier that Fishbein was noted for taking positions and no one was surprised Harry doubled six spades.

Stakgold went down in 5 in the other room and USA picked up 4 IMPs.  The auction began with East opening 1, followed by a 1 overcall by South (Avarelli).  North (Belladonna) led the Q.  This was covered and Avarelli underled his J in an attempt to get a club ruff.  This was not successful.  Stakgold can make five spades at this point, but at the table he led a trump to his king and the hand can no longer be made given the black-suit breaks.

Bd #3

USA would pick up a game swing here. America never seemed to have a lot of luck in the Bermuda Bowl. They had some here when systemic differences had opposite hands declaring 3NT. Note Belladonna’s X, Giorgio had a well-deserved reputation as an aggressive player.

Stakgold
AJ92
Q3
AKJ54
J10
Belladonna
Q1065
9652
10
AK87
Harmon
743
AKJ7
93
Q962
Avarelli
K8
1084
Q8762
543
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
X
1
P
1
P
2
P
2N
P
3N
P
P
P
D
3
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
3
K
A
0
0
1
J
K
2
3
1
1
1
6
4
8
9
0
1
2
10
A
6
4
1
2
2
Q
5

Against 3NT, Belladonna led a spade. (Which seems totally normal and is the worst choice.) Stakgold had an easy time, simply playing a club. Belladonna won, and seeing no chance for a set unless partner held J, continued spades. Partner did not hold the jack, and it made no difference what Giorgio led at trick 3 in any event.

F/D'A
AJ92
Q3
AKJ54
J10
Fishbein
Q1065
9652
10
AK87
Chiaradia
743
AKJ7
93
Q962
Hazen
K8
1084
Q8762
543
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3
3NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
Q
2
7
0
0
1
A
10
3
2
0
0
2
4
6
9
Q
3
1
2
K
A
5
3
0
1
3
K
5
2
6
0
1
4
10
K
6
3
1
2
4
9
A
8
3
2
2
5
K
10
5
7
2
2
6
J
4
2
6
2
2
7
9
5
J
A
1
3
7
8
Q
11

At the other table, Chiaradia declared from the East side after 1-2; 3-3NT. Lee Hazen tried a heart, the unbid suit. This lead had the effect of attacking declarer’s communications. The A was played, fetching the ten from North. Double-dummy, the hand can be made. But I see no reason not to take Chiaradia’s line of a low diamond, playing for Q10 tight. Hazen gave declarer a double-dummy chance with his K switch. But Chiaradia had no reason to play North for both ace-king of clubs, instead of just hoping the 10 was onside.

A game swing to USA and they lead 10-1.

Bd #4

RHO opens 1NT, LHO bids 3. VAL: “That’s natural & forcing”. North bids 4 and South 6. You are on lead with:

QJ9 9642 9732 K6

My advice is any time you hold Q-J-9 in a suit, wait for partner to lead out of turn. I know that I am simply better off being told what to lead or not to lead by declarer than ever trying to guess Q-J-9. When I lead it, honor ten hits in dummy. When I lead something else, the Q was right.

Chiaradia’s partner selected the Q, and naturally the opponents held the ace, king, and ten.

F/D'A
QJ9
9642
9732
K6
Fishbein
A652
AQ
AJ108
Q83
Chiaradia
873
5
KQ65
109752
Hazen
K104
KJ10873
4
AJ4
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
3
P
4
P
6
P
P
P
D
4
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
1

Wow! If I led the Q that damn ten would be in dummy. There it is in declarer’s hand. No wonder they win championships. They can lead from QJ9. Hazen could make this with mirrors. He naturally drew trump and played for spades 3-3, as there is no good reason not to take a club finesse and go down. But it is a fun hand for those of you who like double dummy hands.

VAL, is there any reason not to at least use Blackwood on this hand?

“The Americans were not very big on Blackwood in this event. On the 13 or so slam hands, they would use Blackwood only twice - and not get an ace response either time.”

Can you explain the Roman Club auction at the other table?

“Belladonna opened 1NT which was 17-20. Avarelli bid 2 which was natural and forcing. The 2 rebid is artificial, showing a minimum range and bad support. Avarelli signed off in game.”

As often happens, 6 went down one and 4 made 6. The lead was the same Q. Trumps were drawn and spade given up to West. Stakgold, needing to beat 4, switched to the K.

Italy picked up 7 IMPs and it was USA 10 - Italy 8.

Bd #5

We are just five boards into the match and I found something “potentially suspicious”. However, it comes from the American team. Even though E-W were playing K-S, notice that most of the bridge world at the time still thought Roth’s Sputnik double was a bit nutty.

Stakgold
A852
4
KJ106
J983
Belladonna
QJ64
97
Q75
Q1054
Harmon
93
AQ63
A9843
K7
Avarelli
K107
KJ10852
2
A62
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
2
2NT
P
P
P
D
5
2NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
4
7
Q
2
0
1
3
2
K
5
0
0
2
J
7
4
6
0
0
3
2
4
9
10
3
1
3
K
3
9
A
2
1
4
5

West has a difficult hand in a world where double is penalty. Passing 2 can be horribly wrong. It takes a club lead to stop 8 tricks in hearts on the actual layout, and I am probably leading a diamond. West has no suit to bid. So West bids a natural 2NT with less than game-invitational values, and East with a hand that might accept, passes.

Goren reported that S&H played an 11-13 1NT. He extracted two 1,300 point sets playing a match against them and presumably would know. I know they were a K/S pair and it might be 12-14.

OTOH, perhaps it is possible that 2NT in this sequence is now simply defined as competitive. Any game-invitational hand would bid 3NT or hit 2. (Martel-Stansby, for example, had no invitational sequence in notrump after their weak NT opening.) We won’t know. We lost Ivar this year and the hand is from sixty years ago.

The only thing I know for sure is this hand - if not behind screens - would definitely get a TD call today. Back in the day, people rarely called the TD. In the SAC world, the ACBL regulations (have no idea what regulations applied here in the late 50s) were the TD essentially bought any line of claptrap and let the table result stand.  Most people just saved the time and didn't call the TD.  Especially if someone young called on someone old, you were never getting a scoring adjustment. The ACBL eventually changed those regulations to something workable, even had good 12B3 adjustments. Then we got senile and changed the regulations from something that worked to something that needs to be tossed out.

Against 2NT, Avarelli led the J. Harmon played a diamond to the king and ran the J because Ivar probably would not partner with someone who could not adjust for vacant spaces.

At the other table, Chiaradia played 4. His 1 canape opening silenced South. Partner responded 1. 2-3; 3NT-4. A spade was led and Chiaradia, with no reason to find the diamond queen, went down one. The Americans extended their lead at the start.

Bd#6

F/D'A
AQ7
QJ96
A2
K762
Fishbein
9543
AK854
54
J10
Chiaradia
10732
QJ98
Q8543
Hazen
KJ10862
K10763
A9
W
N
E
S
P
1
1NT
X
2
2
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
6
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
1

This board produced some active bidding. VAL tells me the 1NT overcalls were a bit chunkier than today’s standards. Harry doubled the overcall, just in case 1NT could be set. It could not, an overtrick was rolling in. It appears East ran to clubs. Hazen competed in diamonds. Fishbein took preference and Hazen invited game with his shape. Partner declined and the fit, even given the 4-card support, was poor.

West was on lead with QJ9 again! And West foolishly went to well for the second time in six boards and led the suit(?!) A club lead would have set the contract. Seriously, what was West thinking: that he is a bridge god and can lead Q from QJ9 with impunity?! The heart lead let the contract through. In practice, 10 tricks came in when East did not split in diamonds.

Stakgold
AQ7
QJ96
A2
K762
Belladonna
9543
AK854
54
J10
Harmon
10732
QJ98
Q8543
Avarelli
KJ10862
K10763
A9
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
1
1
2
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
6
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
1

Avarelli played in 4. The Italian style was to open 1. (Don’t show this hand to Steve Robinson, he will break out in hives.) Stakgold elected to double, which looks preferable to the 1NT overcall, given the shape.

Stakgold led the Q. Notice that QJ9 is still wrong - as here - even when partner bid the suit(!). I am telling you, never hold this combo on lead! However, despite the favorable lead, insta-pitch, and entry, declarer ended up with just 8 tricks needing to play for the full ten.

Bd#7

West
Q1087
AK753
J10
64
North
KJ32
J864
86
AJ2
East
A965
9
A532
Q873
South
4
Q102
KQ974
K1095
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
P
D
7
PASSOUT

This board was passed out at both tables for the first push. It was the only board of the match that was passed out. It shows you how much bidding has changed in sixty years. If this hand came up in the Bermuda Bowl today, it would probably still be a push with everyone playing game in spades for -200. Like real men.

Bd#8

This was another push. Both tables played 4 +1. Both the American and Italian defenders led a trump from 543 K106 A987 J62.

Bd#9

This was another push with both tables bidding and making 5. Both defenders led the J from J102 J7542 J103 K6. Dummy showed five spades at both tables during the bidding.

Bd#10

This was a win for USA on the bidding. Harmon judged well (or got a signal from partner for conspiracy types) not to take another bid over the 2 preference. Today, playing Gazzilli, we can more easily get to 2. (1-1NT; 2(*)-2)

The Italians played their 4-3 spade fit, going down on the J lead. Notice the difference in bidding style. In Roman & Neopolitan systems, any 4-card suit is biddable. The Americans opted to bypass the spades.

F/D'A
9432
J10
K97
QJ97
Fishbein
QJ76
6
J1085
K1085
Chiaradia
A85
AQ982
Q63
A6
Hazen
K10
K7543
A42
432
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
10
2 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
1

At this point, USA has built an early lead of 21-8. (reminder, old scale)

And we haven't even unleashed Sidney on them.

Bd #11

The Americans played 3NT+2 after 1-1; 1NT-3NT. West (F/D’A) led a club against 3NT from 97 K9 Q2 J97643. His partner held a stiff 5 and QJ865. Though ultimately, no lead was going to matter.

The Italians played their 5-3 heart fit in 4, making 6, picking up an IMP.

Bd #12

This was a push. The bidding was interesting.

F/D'A
KQ1053
AQ107
Q43
10
Fishbein
J9764
KJ
J852
93
Chiaradia
8
865
A107
A86542
Hazen
A2
9432
K96
KQJ7
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
12
3 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
3
4
8
3
1
0
2
K
6
7
0
1
1
10
3
2
J
3
2
1
2
10
J
5
1
3
1
8
A
6
3
2
3
2
A
7
5
9
2
3
3
4
Q
7
2
3
4
3
K
8

The Italian West showed a minimum hand and this could be a 4-4 sequence. Chiaradia was apparently hoping for a couple of clubs. Then he was hoping for 3-3 clubs.

I cannot bring myself to like Hazen’s A lead. Where is the setting trick? USA got back to down two when declarer played a third club.

S&H for USA took the same first three bids with Avarelli making a double of 1NT (TO of ?). Harmon raised to 3, apparently hoping partner was 5-5 for bidding over the double. Down two.

Bd #13

Stakgold
Q103
Q1043
J10654
Q
Belladonna
AK752
972
K8
J73
Harmon
9
AJ65
Q97
K10954
Avarelli
J864
K8
A32
A862
W
N
E
S
 
1
X
XX
2
P
P
2
3
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
13
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
8
3
2
2
0
1
5
K
4
9
3
1
1
4
3
A
9
1
2
1
K
6
6
10
1
3
1
7
J
8
10
3
4
1
2
Q
3
4
0
4
2
Q
2
5
J
0
4
3
J
K
7
2
1
5
3
7
9
A
4
3
6
3
6
10

Avarelli redoubled to show values and Belladonna was able to pass to show a minimum. He later passed again and then balanced with 3. He received a favorable A lead and made nine tricks.

Italy picked up a 4-IMP swing when USA reached game on an uncontested auction. The opening lead was the beer card. Definitely not a choice with some players. The hand can actually be made if Harry ruffs dummy’s last diamond after ruffing a heart in dummy, then ducks a club. He had no real reason not to just play a second spade and the contract failed.

F/D'A
Q103
Q1043
J10654
Q
Fishbein
AK752
972
K8
J73
Chiaradia
9
AJ65
Q97
K10954
Hazen
J864
K8
A32
A862
W
N
E
S
1
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
13
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
2
10
K
1
1
0
2
5
K
3
3
2
0
8
4
9
J
2
2
1
Q
A
4
8
3
3
1
4
3
A
9
1
4
1
7
6
6
10
3
5
1
8
10
K
5
1
6
1
3
4
A
Q
3
7
1
2
5
J
K
2
7
2
10
10

Bd#14

West
A104
J984
Q1096
93
North
KQ72
1076
A74
KQ8
East
985
A32
K53
J742
South
J63
KQ5
J82
A1065
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
14
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
4
K
2
2
0
1
5
8
9
7
0
0
2
6
A
3
J
1
1
2
2
5
J
A
0
1
3
Q
6
3
5
0
1
4
4
Q
8
3
1
2
4
7
A
7

Identical bidding at both tables. 1 is forcing for the Roman system but might be flat balanced - which it was. Both tables led a diamond, taking three diamonds and two aces for down one.

This board was a push in every way.

Bd#15

F/D'A
AK
J2
J1085
K9743
Fishbein
9732
AK87
AQ7
86
Chiaradia
J
Q109543
K62
QJ5
Hazen
Q108654
6
943
A102
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
3
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
15
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
A
10
6
1
1
0
1

The Americans got to a vulnerable game needing the diamond opener to hold the king of that suit, and spades not 3-0.

Forget more powerful NPCs.  We need lucky charms.  I'm fairly certain that they played weak two bids and this just did not qualify for N/S.

Stakgold
AK
J2
J1085
K9743
Belladonna
9732
AK87
AQ7
86
Harmon
J
Q109543
K62
QJ5
Avarelli
Q108654
6
943
A102
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
X
3
3
P
P
P
D
15
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
A
10
6
1
1
0
2
J
Q
K
0
1
1
J
Q
K
3
2
1
2
Q
A
4

At the other table, the weak NT kept Italy in a part-score. VAL & I are not sure what Belladonna’s double is, maybe "Do Something Intelligent, Partner" since he passed originally. Avarelli may have been marginally unhappy with his dummy until the diamond finesse failed - or rather, worked.

Bd#16

Stakgold
AJ1098
Q7
AJ9843
Belladonna
532
K6
AQ765
1052
Harmon
KQ4
9432
J84
KQ7
Avarelli
76
AJ1085
K10932
6
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
4
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
16
6 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
4
2
4
0
0
1
8
2
K
6
2
0
2
8
9
9
5
0
0
3
J
5
Q
3
2
0
4
7
10
A
10
0
0
5
5

USA lost some more ground on what was to be another of several slam misadventures. Ivar opened the K/S approved 1. (Steve Robinson’s rash is getting worse.) Belladonna overcalled, because that is what he does. Harmon opted for 2. VAL & I are not 100% certain whether they played inverted minors in competition, but it seems 2 could well be forcing. In K/S, opener is either strong balanced or unbalanced with clubs. These days, everyone introduces the 9432 of hearts. Over Avarelli’s 4, 4 might have shown a better hand. Harmon bid the slam.

Belladonna led the A. This would have let the slam through if dummy had four clubs. But dummy held only 3 and clubs were not 2-2. So Stakgold had no play.

F/D'A
AJ1098
Q7
AJ9843
Fishbein
532
K6
AQ765
1052
Chiaradia
KQ4
9432
J84
KQ7
Hazen
76
AJ1085
K10932
6
W
N
E
S
2
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
16
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
4
2
8
0
0
1
9
2
K
6
2
0
2
Q
7
10
3
2
0
3
4
3
A
5
0
0
4
4

The Neapolitan bidding started with a 2 opening. This showed a good unbalanced hand with 5+ clubs as the longest suit and fewer than 17 HCP. The Italians got to 4 as shown. I think Chiaradia could have shown a red suit control at the 4-level if he held one. Italy scored the last 19 IMPs to lead after the first segment by 3 IMPs. I have not been able to exactly reconcile my score on these hand results in the data file with the official final score.  Not sure of the reason, but it is only a small discrepancy.  In any event, we have a match.

Through the first segment, Team USA has combined to make three takeout doubles, one forcing NT bid, and one inverted minor raise (maybe). There have been no other conventional bids by either US pair in 16 boards.

Life was different. Bridge was different.  Hey, they played 16- and 20-board segments.  We maybe play 15 these days,  Maybe because we are spending all that extra time explaining our conventions Laughing

Hope you enjoyed the first segment.

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