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Bermuda Bowl F6: FRANCE vs USA 2
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After starting the day tied, USA 2 won the 4th segment 49-28, but FRANCE won the 5th segment 45-11 to take a 13-IMP lead going into the 6th segment out of 8.  Playing this segment for USA 2 would be Grue-Moss (hybrid strong club and 2/1; variable NT as low as 12-16) and Pszczola-Rosenberg (2/1; good 14 to 17 NT). FRANCE would play Combescure - Rombaut (2/1, 9-12 nv and 15-17 v) and Quantin-Lorenzini (2/1, 15-17 NT).  The strong notrumps would be in the same direction, but the mini notrump rated to cause some interesting swings.

Sure enough, the mini notrump reared its head on board 17:

West
Q43
AK
J962
K932
North
109
J53
K10
A108764
East
K8762
Q82
Q87
Q5
South
AJ5
109764
A543
J
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
P
X
P
2
P
P
P
D
17
2 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
2
A
5
1
1
0
4
Q
5
3
3
2
0
3
2
K
7
1
3
0
10
Q
A
6
3
4
0
4
9
9
8
1
5
0
6
8
J
9
3
6
0
5
J
10
K
2
6
1
6 tricks claimed
E/W -100
7

Rombaut upgraded his hand into 1NT but the opponents, holding the majority of points and spades, eventually "won" the auction in 2. The French then extracted the maximum on defense by setting up a defensive crossruff with 1 club, 2 diamonds, and 4 trump tricks (promoting the spade jack).  Down 2.

In the other room, North, without a mini notrump, passed.  Grue opened the South cards in 3rd seat with 1, which was doubled and raised to 2.  East then chose to jump to 3, passed out, and it looked like the Americans would win 2 IMPs for staying a level lower.  However, the J lead here was possibly from QJ tight (QJ tight is marked as Queen or Jack on their card).  Moss switched to the K at trick 2, and Grue played the 5 (apparently intended as upside-down attitude). Moss then continued a diamond, losing the trump promotion and allowing declarer to escape for down 2: no swing.

Board 18 saw one pair bid slam while the other stopped in a partial:

West
K
QJ7
KJ109653
K6
North
AQ10942
A
A
AQ874
East
J875
108543
Q2
J9
South
63
K962
874
10532
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
X
P
1
2
X
P
2
3
X
P
4
P
6
P
P
P
D
18
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
A
2
7
1
1
0
A
9
2
6
1
2
0
A
5
6
7
1
3
0
8
J
3
K
0
3
1
K
4
Q
8
1
4
1
7
4
10
3
3
5
1
3
K
A
5
1
6
1
Q
7
6
5
1
7
1
10
8
2
6
1
8
1
2
J
5
9
3
9
1
12 tricks claimed
N/S +1370
10

The Americans opened 1 with the West cards and North doubled.  South advanced 1.  West then rebid his long diamonds and North doubled again.  South rebid 2 trying to show a terrible hand.  West found another diamond bid and North continued to double.  South admitted to owning 4 clubs.  This was music to North's ears and he jumped to 6. With no immediate entry to tackle clubs, slam needs clubs to play for one loser plus no loser in spades (the latter being somewhat indicated by West's failure to preempt 3), but the friendly lie in both black suits led to +1370.

At the other table, Quantin (East) was able to open 2 showing a bad hand with at least 4 cards in both majors.  Moss (North), unable to show his 6-5 monster directly, started with double. At this point the auction apparently went off the rails. The most likely explanation for what happened is that Grue thought 2NT was lebensohl, and tried to sign off with it.  Moss thought 2NT was natural and bid 3 forcing.  Grue, reading 3 as a relay bypass, still didn't have enough to move and passed. With no entry to the dummy, declarer needed clubs or spades to play for 1 loser from the top to make game.  He got both: making 5, +200., and 15 IMPs to FRANCE

After a push in 3NT, board 20 gave Lorenzini a tough defensive problem (rotated) against 4:

Dummy
AJ10
KQ84
Q962
K9
East
K
A632
K3
A87532
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
P
P
P

Partner leads the J (standard) to the king, ace, and nine.  What do you play now?

Dummy
AJ10
KQ84
Q962
K9
East
K
A632
K3
A87532
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
P
P
P

Lorenzini tried a heart.  Wrong!  The full hands:

West
K
A632
K3
A87532
North
965432
9
A1054
J4
East
Q87
J1075
J87
Q106
South
AJ10
KQ84
Q962
K9
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
P
P
P
D
20
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
K
A
9
0
0
1
2
4
5
8
3
1
1
A
K
2
7
3
2
1
Q
3
J
7
3
3
1
2
3
10
J
2
3
2
Q
K
A
3
1
4
2
4
Q
10
6
2
4
3
10
4
2
5
1
5
3
6
8
J
3
3
6
3
6
K
A
7
1
7
3
10 tricks claimed
N/S +620
10

On the heart return, declarer was able to pitch both of his clubs on the good Q8.  As the cards lie, any return except for the K or A blows the setting trick.  +620.

At the other table, Rombaut did not overcall 1 on his 5-count. This let E/W end up in 3.  Declarer managed to get out for down 1: 11 IMPs back to USA 2.

After another push in 3NT, board 22 saw another difference in evaluation:

East
J5
K54
AJ10
KQ942
W
N
E
S
?

1NT is 15-17 or good 14-17. At unfavorable vulnerability, would you open 1NT?

East
J5
K54
AJ10
KQ942
W
N
E
S
?

Quantin, playing 15-17, upgraded to 1NT. Rosenberg, playing good 14-17, downgraded to 1. This resulted in a big swing, although it wasn't apparent immediately, as both LHOs immediately showed hearts cheaply, and partner showed spades cheaply.  

Over 2, Quantin passed and LHO balanced with a double.  This was passed for penalty:

West
A108632
983
74
103
North
KQ974
J2
K863
75
East
J5
K54
AJ10
KQ942
South
AQ1076
Q952
AJ86
W
N
E
S
1NT
2
2
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
22
2X West
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
4
6
8
1
1
0
2
5
10
3
3
2
0
A
9
5
K
3
3
0
A
10
7
2
3
4
0
6
3
4
4
1
5
0
6
A
2
4
2
5
1
K
8
7
7
1
6
1
K
10
5
2
0
6
2
A
9
5
9
0
6
3
5 tricks claimed
E/W -800
9

With the hearts lying well for them, the defense was able to take 6 of the first 7 tricks and still had two trump tricks to come, down 3, -800.  

Over 1, Rosenberg could rebid 1NT and South let them off the hook by rebidding 2 instead of doubling. Partner, facing a weak notrump, passed, and they defended 2 making 4 for -130.  12 more IMPs to the Americans, who had cut the lead from 28 to 5 in just 3 boards.

After an extra overtrick in 3NT went to the Americans in part due to the defense managing to cut communication in diamonds, the next board saw N/S play in different games:

West
AQ843
6
97
QJ953
North
62
K842
4
AK8764
East
1097
Q95
A108653
10
South
KJ5
AJ1073
KQJ2
2
W
N
E
S
2
3
3
3NT
P
P
P
D
24
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
2
9
J
3
1
0
7
6
K
5
1
2
0
2
9
J
5
3
3
0
J
7
4
A
2
3
1
10
K
A
6
0
3
2
Q
4
7
5
0
3
3
8
6
3
2
0
3
4
3
7
5
3
0
3
5
8 tricks claimed
N/S -50
8

Pszczola was able to open 2 showing at least 5-5 with 6-10 HCP.  N/S could still have found their 5-4 heart fit if South had made a responsive double, but Combescu advanced 3NT because he did not wish to endplay his partner out of 3NT in the more likely scenario where partner did not have hearts. The preempt told him how to play the hearts but the opening lead set up 5 tricks for the defense when in with the diamond ace: down 1, -50.

At the other table, Lorenzini did not preempt as dealer and Grue/Moss had a free run to 4 by North.  With no enemy bidding to guide him here, declarer went for the drop in trumps: down 1, -50 and a push.  Halfway through the segment, FRANCE still led by 4.

The next board had another overcall decision opposite a passed hand:

South
J108
A95
A1084
AK9
W
N
E
S
P
1
?

Both pairs at this vulnerability would have opened a balanced 10-count.  With that information, what's your choice?

South
J108
A95
A1084
AK9
W
N
E
S
P
1
?

Combescu overcalled 1NT; Grue doubled. The missing points were split 10 to 1 in favor of LHO and LHO doubled. 1NT-X went for 300, although 500 was possible on a different defense. At the other table, Grue's takeout double led to the opponents bidding and making 2: +110, 5 IMPs to USA 2, back in the lead by 1.

The American lead proved to be short-lived:

West
A32
AKQ8
QJ82
64
North
K109
42
K75
AKQJ8
East
Q865
J10765
96
97
South
J74
93
A1043
10532
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1N
X
XX
P
2
P
2
X
P
3
P
3
P
P
P
D
26
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
5
3
0
0
1
A
4
7
9
0
0
2
6
A
9
2
1
1
2
K
6
3
2
1
2
2
5
9
10
J
0
2
3
8
7
7
A
3
3
3
3
4
K
5
1
4
3
Q
6
5
2
1
5
3
J
10
10
Q
0
5
4
Q
9
J
4
3
6
4
4
A
10
8
0
6
5
7 tricks claimed
N/S -200
11

The Americans reached 3 when 3 rates to be a superior partscore. It's hard to work out what was going on when we don't know what the French escape system bids meant, but probably Grue (South) meant 3 as a cue-bid, and Moss took it as natural. The contract went down 2, -200. At the other table, North did not have a penalty double of 1NT available and Rosenberg-Pszczola were able to buy the contract in 2, making, to hold the loss to 3 IMPs, but FRANCE was back in the lead by 2.

After another push in a diamond partial, both Easts had to decide whether or not to open in 3rd seat:

East
Q854
53
A3
A9876
W
N
E
S
P
P
?

At favorable vulnerability, would you open 1?

East
Q854
53
A3
A9876
W
N
E
S
P
P
?

Quantin opened 1.  It turns out neither side had a major-suit fit but both sides had a 9-card minor-suit fit.  Grue/Moss, holding the diamonds, were able to outbid the clubs at the 3-level, but the cards lay badly for them: down 2, -200.

Rosenberg passed.  Fourth hand had a 9-count with 3 spades and passed it out.  5 IMPs to FRANCE, up by 7.

The next hand was full of missed opportunities for the Americans:

West
AQ1092
Q3
10632
K6
North
J83
109742
AQJ84
East
K76
KJ8
KQJ984
3
South
54
A65
A75
109752
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
2
2
4
4
P
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
29
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
3
J
A
3
1
0
10
6
4
3
3
2
0
5
2
8
4
1
3
0
A
9
2
K
1
4
0
8
7
4
9
0
4
1
10
J
K
5
2
4
2
K
7
3
J
1
5
2
10
J
A
3
3
6
2
5
Q
2
8
0
6
3
10
Q
8
6
1
7
3
10 tricks claimed
N/S -200
10

In the displayed room, after Rombaut presumably showed 5-5 in the round suits, Combescu sacrificed in 5 doubled over 4.  This rated to go down 2, but follow the play by clicking NEXT. After trumps were drawn and the pointed suits were eliminated, declarer led the 10 from dummy. East covered J, and West didn't unblock. This combination of heart plays by the defense resulted in only down 1: -200.  

in the other room, the American South did not take the push to 5. After the opening low heart lead went to the king and ace, he did not find the diamond ruff that was necessary to beat the hand. Making 4, +620, and 9 more IMPs to FRANCE.

Board 30 was a partscore battle that featured lots of interesting decisions:

West
764
Q952
732
J84
North
A1085
87
K865
AQ5
East
KQ32
J3
AQJ9
K73
South
J9
AK1064
104
10962
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
30
2 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
J
6
5
3
1
0
9
7
10
Q
2
1
1
Q
4
7
K
1
2
1
7
J
A
9
3
3
1
2
4
Q
K
2
3
2
J
10
2
5
2
3
3
9
4
3
6
2
3
4
A
6
2
8
2
3
5
3
10
Q
8
0
3
6
5
5
3
6
2
3
7
3
9
8
A
1
4
7
6 tricks claimed
N/S -100
11

Neither vulnerable, Moss chose to balance against 1NT, presumably showing diamonds and a major.  They scrambled to their 4-2 fit.  Although double-dummy he can make it, he chose to try to get as many trump off the table as possible.  In the endgame, he took a losing heart finesse in an attempt to make his contract, but this resulted in an extra undertrick: down 2, -100.  

At the other table, Rombaut sold to 1NT by East.  A low heart was led to declarer's J and the Q was advanced to North's K.  At this point, North needed to exit in a red suit because declarer has limited entries to dummy to lead up to his holdings in the black suits. However, unable to see declarer's hand, North played for a different spade layout. The spade shift gave declarer an extra opportunity to finesse East for his black aces and eventually declarer emerged with 7 tricks for +90 and a push.

USA 2 won an IMP back when both 4 in the 5-3 fit and 3NT made exactly. Then, on the final board, both sides had the same auction and start to 3 (rotated for convenience):

North
763
K
KJ962
KJ74
South
A108
10985
1075
A98
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
X
2
3
P
P
P

1NT was 15-17 or good 14-17. Both tables led a heart quack from QJ: king, ace.  Both tables shifted to the 4, won by the ace with LHO playing the 2 encouraging at one table and the neutral 5 at another.  A heart was covered with the remaining quack and ruffed, setting up 2 heart winners.  Now what?

North
763
K
KJ962
KJ74
South
A108
10985
1075
A98
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
X
2
3
P
P
P

The American declarer, facing a 15-17 notrump and seeing the encouraging 2, played a club to his ace and cashed his heart winners, pitching spades.  RHO ruffed in on the fourth round as expected and forced dummy with a spade.  When the club queen did not fall doubleton and the AQ were offside, he had to go down 1, -50.

At the other table, Rombaut, whose RHO opened a good 14-17 notrump and whose LHO played the neutral 5, played opener for the Q anyway. He led the J for a backwards finesse:

West
KJ94
A63
AQ3
Q52
North
A108
10985
1075
A98
East
Q52
QJ742
84
1063
South
763
K
KJ962
KJ74
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
X
2
3
P
P
P
D
32
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
K
A
5
0
0
1
4
A
5
3
1
1
1
8
J
2
6
3
2
1
J
Q
A
6
1
3
1
10
4
6
3
1
4
1
9
2
7
3
0
4
2
5
9
10
K
3
5
2
K
A
5
4
0
5
3
2
8
3
4
1
6
3
7
8
9
Q
0
6
4
9 tricks claimed
N/S +110
10

As the cards lie, this line would have succeeded but declarer failed to follow through, using his time in hand to pitch 2 spades on his good hearts.  When RHO ruffed in on the 4th heart, he could have returned a spade to strand declarer in dummy in an ending similar to the other table.  However, RHO continued a club, giving declarer the club finesse and allowing him to make his contract: +110, and 4 more IMPs to FRANCE.  

FRANCE won the segment 36-30, and extended their lead to 19.  These two teams will meet again tomorrow to play 32 boards for the world championship.

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