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Bermuda Bowl Semifinals, Day 1
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The most surprising casualty of the Chennai quarterfinals was theUSA1 squad, who fell to ENGLAND. With that team gone, the field was much more open. The remaining teams:

ENGLAND: David Bakhshi - David Gold; Tony Forrester - Andrew Robson; Jason Hackett - Justin Hackett, vs.

POLAND: Krzysztof Jassem - Marcin Mazurkiewicz; Jacek Kalita - MichalNowosadzki; Michal Klukowski - Piotr Gawrys

USA2: Vince Demuy - John Kranyak; Paul Fireman - Gavin Wolpert; John Hurd - Joel Wooldridge, vs.

SWEDEN: Tommy Bergdahl - Niklas Warne; Fredrik Nystrom - Johan Upmark; Johan Sylvan - Frederic Wrang

The first deal of the match featured fireworks, withUSA2 getting doubled at both tables:

West
AQ8762
J10
K75
QJ
North
4
AQ63
AQJ109
A95
East
J
K97542
3
86432
South
K10953
8
8642
K107
W
N
E
S
1
3
3
P
3NT
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
3NTX North
NS: 0 EW: 0

Wolpert, North, declared 3NT doubled on the J lead, covered by the K and A. West switched to the J, ducked, and the 10, ducked again, and finally the Q. With all four hands in view, we can see that declarer can get home by finessing in diamonds twice while dropping the doubleton QJ. However, an expert West can shift to the Q from queen-doubleton or queen-third, so declarer had to guess the position. He won the K in dummy and led a club to the 10 and jack, eventually going down one: -100.

Luckily for Wolpert, the result in the other room rendered his failure in 3NT more or less inconsequential. Kranyak landed in 4 doubled as West, possibly because of a bidding misunderstanding. He made only four trump tricks: down six for -1400 and 17 IMPs toSWEDEN.USA2 had full carryover (16 IMPs), but its lead did not survive the first board.

InENGLAND-POLAND, both tables played 3NT.

Gold, undoubled, received a low club lead: 7, Q, A. He fired a club back to the 10 and jack. West put the J through, and Gold took the A to play a spade: J, K, A. The 10 was ducked, and now a diamond exit allowed declarer to finesse, cross to the K, and pick up the diamonds, but he had to concede the last two tricks to East: -50.

Jassem was doubled in 3NT and, like Wolpert, the lead was the J, which was covered by the K. Jason Hackett won the A, played the J, ducked, andcashed the Q before continuing hearts. With two spade winners set up in dummy, Jassem won the A and played A, Q, making two spades, one heart, four diamonds, and two clubs for +550 and 12 IMPs toPOLAND, leading 12-4 (because of carryover).

After the disaster on the first board, the Americans steadily scored over the next five boards, building a 48-17 lead, leading to:

West
AKJ97654
K2
J9
J
North
AJ984
Q8643
A104
East
Q1032
1073
A1075
96
South
8
Q65
K2
KQ87532
W
N
E
S
1
4
4NT
5
P
P
X
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Jassem andMazurkiewicz arrived at the making6.Mazurkiewicz ruffed the spade lead in dummy, led a diamond to the king, and ducked a diamond when West's jack appeared. Westunderled his K, and, forced to pick between the heart finesse and a 3-3 diamond break, declarer played the odds and finessed: +1370. West's heart shift took away any problem of picking up the heart suit for no losers, but left to his own devices declarer probably would have gone right.

An alternative line of play, after the K holds, is to lead a diamond backto the queen. This keeps West off lead and allows declarer to test diamonds before finessing in hearts. Two problems with this line are: (1) it gives up on Ax with East (highly unlikely), where diamonds could be established for two discards after declarer ducks the second round, and (2) a third round of diamonds from East could create problems; declarer would likely ruff high and play to the A, but then he will fail against 3-0 trumps in either hand. I slightly prefer a diamond to the queen, but I'm not sure which line is better.

At the other table, South opened 3, so North-South didn't realize it was their hand. Everyone was done after one bid: 3— (4)— 5— (5)— all pass. Down two, and 13 IMPs toPOLAND, ahead 36-9.

In theUSA2-SWEDENmatch, Bergdahl opened a Precision-esque 2, and the auction proceeded:

W
N
E
S
2
4
5
5
P
P
6
P
P
6
X
P
P
P

Kranyak accurately saved in 6, conceding 800. At the other table the early auction duplicated one from the other semifinal: Fireman preempted 3, then (4)— 5— (5), andFiremanbid 6. If he had been left there, he probably would have made his contract, sending 11 IMPs to USA2, but West carried onto 6, and no one knew to double. When Wolpert led the A, it turned +300 into +200, andSWEDEN won 12 IMPs.

Then it wasSWEDEN's turn to go on a tear, winning an additional 14 IMPs over the next three boards.The Americans got a reprieve in the form of a 3-IMP gain and a pushed board, but thenSWEDEN avoided a doomed slam bid at the other table: 13 more IMPs toSWEDEN, back in the lead, 56-51 (in the other match, ENGLAND won 10 IMPs for +1100 vs. -650 on this deal, to trail 41-22).

The momentum of this set had been shifting in great sweeps, and it was time for the pendulum to swing back toUSA2.Wolpert-Fireman stopped in 3NT on these cards, while the Swedes bid to slam (it was flat in 3NT in ENGLAND-POLAND):

West
972
K632
104
K942
North
AK4
Q
AK98762
AQ
East
Q103
A754
J5
10875
South
J865
J1098
Q3
J63
D

After a long, complicated auction,Warne-Bergdahlreached 6 by South.Kranyakled a trump, and declarer won the Qin hand to take a club finesse. That won, but on the run of the diamondsDemuyrefused to beendplayed, discarding the A (Kranyakmust have the Kbecause otherwise declarer would win the opening lead in dummy and led a heart). Furthermore, he discarded it early enough to clueKranyakinto the position, so the defense was able to prevail without much trouble: +50 and 11 IMPs toUSA2, back in the lead, 62-56.

The lead was extended on the next deal:

West
QJ8
K9
AJ72
J753
North
92
A5
54
AKQ10962
East
AK63
Q10632
Q96
8
South
10754
J874
K1083
4
W
N
E
S
P
1
3NT
X
P
P
4
X
P
P
P
D
4X North
NS: 0 EW: 0

Once more, the Fireman-Wolpert Sylvan-Wrang table stayed low, here in 3 by East, but that didn't help the Swedes. The defense started with two rounds of clubs, ruffed with the 9 and overruffed 10. Fireman switched to a spade, which declarer won in hand in order to finesse South's K and draw trumps. Unfortunately, winning the spade in hand had blocked the suit, and when Wolpert came on lead with the A, he cashed two clubs for down one: -50.

In the other room (see diagram), North gambled 3NT, doubled by East. West had an easy pass, particularly looking at a likely stopper in declarer's presumed source of tricks. North ran to 4, doubled again, and the defense got every trick it was entitled to: two spades, one heart, two diamonds, and one club for -800 and 13 IMPs toUSA2.

The segment ended with a 1-IMP gain forUSA2. During the segment, they had outscored their opponents by 4 IMPs, to lead by 20 including carryover: 76-56.POLAND ledENGLAND 41-25.3.

At this point, sleep beckoned, and I didn't watch any of the second or third segments.SWEDEN won the second and third segments by 16 and 17 IMPs, respectively. At the halfway point (48 boards down, 48 to play), they ledUSA2 by 13 IMPs: 142-129.

POLAND won the second segment by 6 IMPs, butENGLANDcaptured the third by 11, leaving the halftime score in that matchPOLAND 99,ENGLAND 88.3.

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