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Bermuda Bowl RR6: USA1 vs. SWEDEN
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The 6th round-robin session of the Bermuda Bowl featured a clash between two top teams: USA 1 (in 2nd place after 5 rounds) and SWEDEN (in 6th place). Playing for USA 1 were Meckstroth, Rodwell, Levin, and Weinstein; playing for SWEDEN were Nystrom, Upmark, Sylvan, and Wrang.  All of the diagrams are taken directly from Vugraph so bear in mind that these may not be the actual bids and plays.

Board 17 started the same at both tables but diverged at this point:

South
J62
Q108642
A
876
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
P
2NT
?

What call would you make?

South
J62
Q108642
A
876
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
P
P
2NT
?

Upmark passed 2NT, but Meckstroth bid 3.  3 gave Rodwell a chance to bid a thin game with A98754 K97 73 A5 but he declined.  Both sides settled in 3 and the play was uneventful. There were 2 unavoidable trump losers, so both teams made exactly 3.

Board 18 featured both dealers opening, not vulnerable, with:

QJ QJ8 J62 KQ1054

The vulnerable opponents ignored the opening and quickly bid to 4. The defense could cash the diamond ace but none of opener's cards ended up taking a trick: making 6 at both tables for another push.

Board 19 was a contrast in bidding style after a strong notrump (14-16):

North
7643
AQ92
AQ54
2
South
AQ
K875
J987
AJ8
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3
P
3
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
P
P

Nystrom and Upmark showed 44(41) game-forcing with a 3 response, then in response to a relay showed a club singleton, then cuebid a little before setting in 4.  Meckwell simply used Stayman and bid game, not looking for slam.  Both tables received a trump lead.  With the singleton K onside, the diamonds were playable for no losers double-dummy but the American declarer led the J at trick 2, leading to just 10 tricks after this set up both a diamond winner and a later diamond ruff.  At the other table, declarer went after the black suits.  He cashed A, ruffed a club, and took the spade finesse. After the spade finesse failed and a second trump came back, declarer finished ruffing out the clubs and started diamonds from dummy with the ace. When the king fell, he had 12 tricks: 2 IMPs and first blood to SWEDEN.

Board 20 saw a difference in evaluation:

North
1093
A10873
742
K9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
P
?

What call would you make?

North
1093
A10873
742
K9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
P
?

Rodwell chose 1, Nystrom chose 2.  Opener rebid diamonds, partner raised hearts, and this ended the bidding at both tables -- but the Swedes were 1 level higher.  Partner had AK54 K962 A5 643.  The club ace was wrong, and the defense had a trump winner in the non-opener's hand.  Both tables were able to take 5 tricks fairly easily; 5 IMPs to USA 1 for stopping at a safe level.

Board 21 featured both E/Ws reaching 4 with a 7-3 spade fit and 4 top losers.  This went down quickly at both tables for a push.

The next board showed another difference in bidding strategy:

South
A952
1076
1054
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1NT
P
?

1NT is 14-16 (Sweden) or 15-17 in 4th seat (USA).  What is your plan?

South
A952
1076
1054
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1NT
P
?

Despite his 4333 shape, Upmark chose to bid 3, Puppet Stayman, which ended up telling the defense that declarer had 4 hearts, and dummy 4 spades. This probably deflected Weinstein from leading his 5-card spade suit in favor of his 4-card diamond suit headed by the AJ.  The diamond lead set up 4 total tricks for the defense but letting declarer score the diamond king greatly simplified play and he was soon claiming 9 tricks.

Meckstroth simply bid 3NT and Rodwell got a low spade lead.  Unfortunately for him, this gave little help to the declarer (single-dummy):

West
7
AQ82
Q76
J9752
North
KQ3
KJ53
K92
K103
East
J10864
94
AJ83
84
South
A952
1076
1054
AQ6
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
22
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
5
7
K
1
1
0
3
4
Q
7
3
2
0
6
2
J
4
1
3
0
10
8
A
5
3
4
0
7
A
3
9
0
4
1
9
K
6
6
1
5
1
Q
8
2
2
1
6
1
3
10
A
J
3
7
1
9
7
2
J
2
7
2
3
4
Q
K
1
8
2
K
8
10
8
1
9
2
9 tricks claimed
N/S +400
11

The diamond suit is extremely interesting on this hand with neither side happy to break it.  Declarer was able to navigate the hand safely by crossing in clubs to lead up towards his hearts twice.  After West won the A and cleared the clubs, declarer ran major-suit winners to squeeze his opponents out of excess winners and then threw East in with a spade to lead diamonds and set up the K for a hard-earned push.  

Board 23 featured a 4 preempt at both tables on 10 KQJ10987 J1096 9 which induced both tables to miss a good spade slam with a double-fit in the blacks.  You can see further coverage of this hand here.

On board 24, the dealer held:

West
5
K7
108753
AQJ43
W
N
E
S
?

Would you open playing 2/1?  How about a system where 1 is natural and promises an unbalanced hand?

West
5
K7
108753
AQJ43
W
N
E
S
?

Levin, playing 2/1, passed.  This led to the opponents buying the hand in 2, down 1, +50.  

Sylvan, playing the 1 natural unbalanced system, opened 1.  Partner, with opening bid values, drove to 3NT:

West
5
K7
108753
AQJ43
North
KQ8
Q985432
Q4
8
East
AJ973
AJ6
92
K97
South
10642
10
AKJ6
10652
W
N
E
S
1
1
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
24
3NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
7
Q
A
2
0
1
7
6
Q
8
0
0
2
3
5
K
10
2
0
3
9
5
J
2
0
0
4
A
9 tricks claimed
E/W +400
5

The 23-HCP 3NT was unbeatable as the cards lay.  8 IMPs to SWEDEN, now leading 10-5 halfway through the round.

After another push in a part-score, Board 26 featured a nice ending in 3NT:

West
754
QJ9
AK
AKQ75
North
982
K2
QJ864
J104
East
K1063
A1054
1095
63
South
AQJ
8763
732
982
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
3
P
3
P
3N
P
P
P
D
26
3NT West
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
10
7
K
0
0
1
Q
K
A
6
2
0
2
3
2
Q
4
0
0
3
A
10
6
8
0
0
4
K
J
3
9
0
0
5
7
9
6
Q
0
0
6
5
8
5
2
0
0
7
J
2
4
3
0
0
8
9
8
5
8
0
0
9
4
2
K
A
3
1
9
J
5
4
10
3
2
9
11 tricks claimed
E/W +660
11

10 tricks are easily available with clubs 3-3 and the heart finesse working, but the 11th trick is hard to see because the hearts are blocked and there is no dummy entry outside hearts.  Sylvan managed to squeeze out an overtrick by setting up his 7.  1 IMP to SWEDEN, now leading 11-5.  

On Board 27, both Wests faced the same problem on the 4th round but chose different answers:

West
7
AK
AK108752
A96
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
?

What would you do?

West
7
AK
AK108752
A96
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
?

Levin passed, and reached a touchy 3NT declared by partner holding J964 QJ98 6 K853.  On the lead of the 2, North won the K and returned a low spade.  After some thought, Weinstein went up with the Jack.  Right!  North was up to no good with AKQ83.  Declarer quickly claimed 9 tricks with 1 spade, 4 hearts, 2 diamonds, and 2 clubs.

At the other table, Sylvan continued with 4 which saw the partnership settle in 5.  This contract effectively needed diamonds to play for at most 1 loser, which was the case.  Another push.

After another flat board played in a partial, board 29 saw good judgement in a part-score auction:

North
1065
96
AKQ5
A973
W
N
E
S
1
1
X
2NT
P
3
P
P
?

1 was in the context of a strong club system.  What call would you make?

North
1065
96
AKQ5
A973
W
N
E
S
1
1
X
2NT
P
3
P
P
?

Nystrom bid 3NT for the minors, corrected by partner to 4.  This was a success, as partner had: 4 J543 942 KQJ105.  3 would have been down 1 with both minor suits breaking evenly, but bidding 4 saved an IMP, because at the other table, the opponents stopped in 2 and responder was able to bid 3, making the decision to bid 4 over 3 slightly easier.

A difference in notrump ranges saw an opening lead problem with two very different auctions:

South
10952
Q1093
106
KQ7
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P

What would you lead?  

South
10952
Q1093
106
KQ7
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

What would you lead?

South
10952
Q1093
106
KQ7
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P

The killing lead was a top club, as partner had A9843 and the suit runs for 5 tricks.  Any other lead results in declarer taking the first 9.  However, neither player found the killing lead; another push.

Board 31 saw another overtrick IMP swing to the Swedes from a system difference.  Holding K8 JT984 8 AKJ94, Nystrom responded 2 as their only GF response.  This allowed Weinstein to overcall 2 on his ace-empty sixth.  At the other table, Rodwell responded 2 which silenced Wrang. Both tables then reached 3NT, but the overcall induced Levin to lead his singleton Q, setting up 4 heart tricks for declarer and making the road to an extra overtrick much easier.  Another IMP to SWEDEN.

The final board saw a similar auction to 3 at both tables:

West
J
AJ92
32
Q87653
North
K943
K43
AJ107
A9
East
AQ10865
87
KQ4
42
South
72
Q1065
9865
KJ10
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
2
P
2
P
2
X
P
3
P
P
P
D
32
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
8
10
J
K
1
1
0
A
2
10
3
1
2
0
9
4
J
Q
0
2
1
J
4
5
2
0
2
2
5
4
4
K
2
2
3
7
5
9
3
0
2
4
2
3
K
6
2
2
5
10
7
2
9
0
2
6
A
10
Q
Q
2
2
7
6 tricks claimed
N/S -150
9

Both tables had North open 1NT and E/W compete to 2.  South then balanced with a takeout double and N/S scrambled to 3.  East led the 8 and both declarers played A and club to the queen.  At this point, Levin led a trump back, and the players soon agreed down 2.  Sylvan led a club back.  Declarer ruffed middle, overruffed, and then the defense got a cross-ruff going for down 3.  2 more IMPs to SWEDEN, who won the match 14-5 (12.55 VP out of 20).

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