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Yet Another Look
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Stepping Back

The first deal (bd#17) of the second segment in the 1959 Bermuda Bowl features a psych. This is reminiscent of two years earlier.

1957 was a good year for cars, wine and people. Though now the cars are rusty, the wine gone sour and the people are creaky. 1957 was the first win for the Italian Blue team in world championship play.

It was also the year of the psych for the Americans. Forquet related that psychingwas something we did routinely the first time we faced Italy in the 1951 Bermuda Bowl. Before looking - yet again - at board #205 from 1957, it would be useful to introduce Italian defensive methods of the time. Everyone's methods were quite different from today's approach to the game. Harold Ogust & Boris Koytchou, as per their convention card, were the psych pair. There were only a couple other, non-eventful psychs by other players.

The first six psyches from Ogust & Koytchou were:

  • Bd #2. 2nd board of set. 1st seat favorable on 4 HCP
  • Bd #44. 3rd board of set. 1st seat favorable on 0 HCP
  • Bd #51. 3rd board of set, 1st seat none vul on 3 HCP
  • Bd #63. 3rd board of set, 2nd seat favorable on 6 HCP
  • Bd #131. 11th board of 14 board set. 1st seat favorable on 6 HCP
  • Bd #137. 3rd board of set. 1st seat favorable on 4 HCP.

The BW post by John Swanson has the last one as bd #139, but that appears to be a typo. The complete layout for boards #2, #51, #63, #179, #192 and #205 are all in John’s excellent article at: https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/psychic-bids-by-us-players-during-the-1957-bermuda-bowl-and-related-deals/.

These psychs by HO/BK conform to generally accepted theory at the time. Al Roth - although he saw the psych more of a lead director than a device to disrupt auctions - held that psychs should be:

  • Weak hands, no more than 6 HCP
  • Balanced hands
  • The bid suit should be at least 4 cards
  • Non-vulnerable
  • First or second seat

HO/BK were not playing the Roth-Stone system. They also seemed happy with the potential disruptive effects of a psych. Roth would not havepsyched - or at least not advised it - on a 0-point hand with no lead directing value. For the concepts regarding the approach to systemic psychs, I refer to Roth’s 1953 book as these principles would be widely held. To my knowledge, Al Roth was the only authority who wrote much about the subject. Roth also used the word: psyche.

If we assign one point for each of the above points, then out of 36 possible points for the first six psychs, HO/BK score 34. Only two minor deviations. On #51 Boris psyched the 3-card heart suit. On #63, Ogust psyched a heart on a 3613 hand.

On bd#17, Ogust passed a 1444 4-count in first. Presumably the hand did not qualify for a psych because of the stiff spade. On bd#59 Boris passed a white, first seat flat 7 points: 103 7652 J108 AJ97. On bd#28, first favorable: 653 KJ95 K73 763 did not psych. On bd#83 in first at favorable, Boris passed: xx Kx9xxxx KJxx. All these hands were presumably too strong for a psych.

HO/BK passed plenty of otherwise potential psych hands in 1st and 2nd seat when they were red.

There are other reasons, besides the ten of hearts shift, that bd#205 stands out. This board was the only significant deviation from the partnership’s systemic psych methods. The psych was in 3rd seat. It was vulnerable. The Roth-approved suit to psych would have been spades and not hearts. It was also the only time the pair got sawed off (doubled for penalties) after a psych.

Why?

Systemic Psychs

Before regulators got serious about disallowing fun stuff, systemic psychs were common. These methods were still around when I started playing and sometimes we went that way.

A disciplined, systemic psych structure is a bit more theoretically vigorous than players who are not familiar with the method might suppose.

The psyching pair’s protection against disaster is the psychic control. The control is the one bid that partner is not allowed to pass even if he psyched. No psychic control bid came up in 1957, so we are not certain of the specific HO/BK agreement. In Roth-Stone, those controls are responses of 2NT (20-21 pts) & 3NT 22+.

Keeping the psychs very weak and employing a control prevents random disasters. The control is at least a game try opposite a psych and slam opposite a normal opening. It thus fits in nicely with the weak ceiling for an opening psych. Without a systemic control a pair can easily blow themselves up. As for example, when my opponents hoisted themselves in a midnight event. We were in six spades making, while my Canadian junior opponents played 2NT making five when the opening psycher passed Jacoby.

It was fun to be young.

Pop Quiz

North
85
KQJ98
9874
Q2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
X
P
?

Your call?

Answer:

This was the North hand on bd#44 in 1957. If you passed 1-X, your side collected +900 points (old scale) for down five. It might be the last hand of bridge the authorities let you play. Why would you ever pass 1-X unless you saw the hand record?

However, your defense will be that if you had actually seen the hand record, you would have bid to 6 for +1430. What this demonstrates is the futility of a “whack-a-mole” strategy against a pair employing systemic psychs. A systemic psych pair will not stick their heads out far enough for that to work.

This “mostly safe at low level” principle can be demonstrated by the “fert” opening in forcing/semi-forcing pass systems. One player alerts and essentially announces: “my partner just psyched, try to get us”. If whack-a-mole was a profitable strategy on balance, the authorities would not have needed to outlaw these forcing pass methods. Or psychic controls, for that matter.

On these first six psych boards of 1957, the sum of the actual table results for bidding on is much better than the sum of doubling the psychers in each of their highest bids they made in the auction. This includes being paid +900 versus the table result of 3NT+2 on the quiz hand, as Italy did not reach the slam. Two of the contracts in the psych auctions - 2 and 3 - would have made. Twice your side would have scored just +100 twice versus partials and only +500 against a vulnerable game.

It is unlikely the Italians would have cowered like today’s ACBL player and say “Oh no! They play systemic psychs, what are your suggested defenses?” The Italian defensive bidding style in the late 1950s - as we shall see - was unlikely to be fooled by a psych. Even so, the first six systemic psychs by HO&BK in 1957 produced a net win for USA.

Bd#44 & Bd#137 were pushes. USA was -310 on bd#2, and it was not the psychers fault. USA was -170 on bd#131 and -30 on #63. But Boris & Harold helped produce a net of +780 on #51. So USA was +270 on these six boards and -9,880 for the other 218 deals.

Issues Playing Systemic Psychs

Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” —Carl von Clausewitz

The real problem a pair playing systemic psychs faces is not opponents “out to get us”. The psychers probably hope the opponents think that way. A psych in poker is like a bluff in poker. It creates doubt in the minds of the opponents. In poker, if you always have it, the opposition will know how to proceed. In bridge, the psychers win when they create doubt and uncertainty for the opponents.

However, that uncertainty can also cause problems for apsych pair. Bridge involves a partner, who needs to allow for the possibility of a psych in a competitive auction.

Partner opens 1, RHO doubles, you hold: 8654 A876 A6 K108.

On bd#129 with this hand, Boris passed(!?). Lacking a fit, he needed to allow for a psych at NV from his first seat partner. Opener bid again and both tables played 5 making for a push. On bd#144, at favorable, after P-1-2-? Boris was able to raise to 2 holding: 7432 A43 J1092 Q10 as they had a known fit even if partner did psych. The systemic psych principles of length and balanced hands provides protection in the event partner raises or changes the suit.

When the defenders can exploit uncertainty in an opening bid and force that side to guess whether the opening was real or a psych, then they can turn the tables. On board #33, the psych pair ran into uncertainty after a well-timed reraise.

Koytchou
2
AJ1053
AJ103
J72
Sinisalco
AJ73
Q986
976
93
Ogust
986
K2
K84
KQ1065
Forquet
KQ1054
74
Q52
A84
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
2
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
33
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
1

Note the light opening bid byOgustin first. The pair seemed to be willing to open lighter in 1st and 2nd seat than the standard of the day, but not always. What this pair did not do, and what will be relevent, is they did not open light in 3rd seat at the one level.

On its face, Koytchou’s pass looks a little curious. Spade shortness, game-invitational values and a partner who opened. North’s 2 bid shuts out Ogust, unable to raise hearts. Once opener passed at his second turn, Koytchou cannot be certain his partner did not psych. So Boris needed to pass at his second call. A double would have extracted more, but it could lead to disaster. Alternatively, 5 is a reasonable contract, especially at total points. However, Italy tried to play the 5-2 heart fit at the other table and the USA had a pickup. But not as big a pickup if the club game had been bid and made at this table.

One can exploit these situations of the uncertainty created by systemic psyching. But as we shall see, the Italian defensive methods were not built to do that. On this particular deal, however,Forquet was able to raise to 3 and this demonstrates how disruptive that can be to a psych pair.

This deal also illustrates some parallel issues with psyching. One reason why Al Roth employed "sound opening bids" in 1st & 2nd seat was his system employed systemic psychs. That approach - as demonstrated by this deal - is not very compatible with light opening bids because when opener is pushed out of the auction, responder has no idea whether the opening bid was 11 HCP or two.

A regulatory issue with psyching is on a deal such as this. From a practical matter, many club players are going to momentarily pause and think before passing the East hand after the 2 raise by North. Responder now "knows" it was not a psych. Here, we can deduce that Boris & Harold either maintained excellent tempo or did not take advantage of potentialUI.

Finally, notice that if you saw this hand without the context of HO/BK employing systemic psychs, the table decisions are not understandable. The superficial view is HO/BK are ninnies who don't know how to bid games at total points, since Harold & Boris can make a 5-level game. Yet they sold out, bidding no higher than the two-level. The correct view is Forquet exploited a structural weakness in their approach and any ethical pair employing Boris & Harold'smethods would have had the same problem.

Italian Defensive Methods

The defensive methods can be divided into two camps: Neapolitan (employed by Forquet-Siniscalco and Chiaradia-D’Alelio), and Roman (Belladonna-Avarelli). Both approaches were based upon the idea of quantifying the strength of a defensive action.

The two features one needs to convey to partner are strength and shape. Sixty years ago, players - and the Italians in particular - prioritized the hand strength.Today, we think in terms of shape first, points later. The intersection point in the transition of the thinking regarding the underlying principles of competitive bidding was probably about 25 years ago. That was when about half the bridge world believed Larry Cohen, while the other half thought the kid from Mt. Vernon was nuts.

“See? Only second place in 1996 in the Blue Ribbon Pairs! If Larry wasn’t so caught up in this LAW nonsense, he probably could have won it all for a record fifth time!”

But since Larry published in 1992, I think Cohen’s “failure” to win for the fifth time in ‘96 was more likely akin to the scene in the movie "Patton", when George C Scott declares: “Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book.”

For all the Italian pairs in 1957, an overcall showed up to the strength of a minimum opening bid. Usually no more. Overalls could be made on 4 cards to an honor.

The double was used to start stronger hands. The hand might conform to what we think of as a takeout double today - support for the unbid suits. However, if a double was “shape suitable” that was mostly coincidence. Keep in mind that the Italians played againstcanapé systems. When opponents open short suits, the next to call is more likely to hold "take out shape" of the long suit, not necessarily the suit opened.

Roman

Double showed values. Generally about 12-16 HCP and did not promise support for unbid suits.Doubles were only a tad lighter if ideal shape. Better hands started with 1NT which began at 17 and ran as high as 23-24 points. 1NT did not promise a balanced hand, nor a stopper. However, the 1NT overcall was non-forcing, so it was not widely distributional. The big Roman 1NT overcall came up just once in 1957.One could start a good one-suited hand with X, the jump rebid was a bigGFone-suiter.

Overcalls were limited by a failure to double, usually to a maximum of about 12-13HCP, about where the double started. The overlap range was a function of judgment and preparedness. New suits after a limited overcall were constructive but non-forcing.

Jump overcalls were two-suited hands (5+/5+) that were weaker than double. The jump showed that suit and the next higher. Acue bid showed the two non-touchingsuits.

A jump to 2NT showed a strong, 2-suited hand of 16+ points or equivalent playing strength.

In responding to a double, over pass or XX, game-forcingadvancing hands jumped or cue bid. Lacking GF values the advancer would respond in his SHORT suit. (At low levels). Over a double of NT, 2 was artificial and showed a weak hand. (Lebensohlli?) If there was an intervening bid, double by advancer was takeout. As the X typically announced values, advancer did not need much incentive to respond 1NT. I have not found documentation for the range of a 1NT advance over X. Observation shows that it is lighter than what we would expect today. It is not clear to me if this is a shape response, a HCP response, or both.

On board #22 in 1957, RHO opened 1 and Avarelli doubled, holding:

K4 K2 KJ973 K942

This looks strange to modern eyes as the hand is hardly prepared for a major suit response. This leads to a common, modern-day misconception about Roman doubles. Employing Roman methods, the hand that doubles need not be prepared for a LONG suit bid by advancer. The hand needs to be prepared for a SHORT suit response by advancer.

The systemic call on bd #22 with Avarelli’s hand employing Roman defensive methods is, in fact, double. This promises opening values. A 1 overcall would have been weaker.

The reason the action of double can be taken is that if the next hand passes or redoubles, advancer would bid diamonds with shortness. Avarelli would then pass, and the pair are not any higher than if hand he overcalled. Note that this approach does not increase the chances of being penalized. An unbalanced stack behind an overcall would double as doubles by the opening side were penalty back then. That same responding hand might be bidding over the takeout double.

On board #22, if Belladonnawas short in a major and responded with that suit, Avarelli would rebid 2. The level is safe because there should now be a diamond fit. Over 2, Advancer knows about the hand strength and he can invite game holding appropriate values. If advancer jumped to 2M over the double (1-1-P-2M), that would be GF and now they can work out suits.

Neapolitan

Double started hands at about opening strength. Unlike Roman, double was not limited. The hand also need not be shape-specific, as today. If the next hand passed after the double, the Neapolitan pairs in the ‘50s played the Herbert Convention. The cheapest advance after an intervening pass was negative. Garrozzo/Forquet did not play Herbert negatives. So Forquet’s defensive bidding would change as his partnership did. Other non-jump responses were therefore positive but non-forcing. Cue-bid by advancer was GF.

Raises by the doubler were invitational. A change of suit over a low-level response to a double showed extras. A rebid in the enemy suit by the doubler was natural and showed length as these methods were built to defend canapé.

1NT overcalls were 16-18 and natural. Jump overcalls were good intermediate, one-suited hands but non-forcing. Direct cue bids were GF.

The overcall was usually limited. Overcalls in 4-card suits at the one-level were common. Again, honor fourth was allowed. Slightly stronger overcalls were more common in the Neapolitan style than in Roman.

Overcall vs Double

Chiaradia had an awkward hand for Neapolitan on #113. After 1-?

AK AQ765 QJ52 74

Belladonna, in Roman style, would have an easy double. The problem with X in Neapolitan is that call is unlimited. After a constructive 1 advance, 2 would be GF and the hand is not strong enough to continue with that over the positive. So this was a beefy 1 overcall in Neapolitan.

The hand strengths overlap at minimum opening strength for both Roman & Neapolitan approaches in direct seat. The minimum strength of a direct double was a minimum opening bid. The maximum strength of an overcall was likewise, a minimum opening. Players chose based on preparedness. After 1 - ?, holding Avarelli’s Kx / Kx / KJ9xx / Kxxx, the Neapolitan player could pass a 1 negative response. If partner responded 1M, that bid promised constructive values. The doubler could safely rebid 1NT.

However, if the hand was changed to: K9x / Kxxx / Kx / KJxx, after (1) - ? this hand would not be prepared for a 1 shortness advance in Roman. Nor would it be prepared for a 1 negative bid in Neapolitan. Either Italian defensive approach would likely overcall 1 with such a hand.

Balancing Doubles

As John Swanson noted in his article, there were only two balancing doubles by Italy in 224 boards during the 1957 match.(#179 & #192)

This is not surprising given that Italy wasted no time getting into auctions. In 1967, Belladonna & Avarelli balanced after 1m-P-P-1NT. That was 17+ HCP(!)

There was an interesting balance bid on bd#40.

Koytchou
J10
984
QJ1042
AQ4
Chiaradia
8532
K1075
K63
98
Ogust
AKQ4
62
A98
10763
D'Alelio
976
AQJ3
75
KJ52
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
40
3 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
2
A
4
3
1
0
1

South's hand looks like the world’s most normal balancing double if someone is not willing to pass 2. As the actual call was 2, it appears that double here would have promised more values in terms of strength.

Italian Competitive Examples - 1957

Bd #16 (1) - ? Belladonna overcalled 1 on K9 AK96 K1073 952.

Bd#130 - A game swing.

Sobel
98
J874
AK932
A7
Belladonna
KJ7
AQ1053
1085
QJ
Seamon
Q10632
2
J764
985
Avarelli
A54
K96
Q
K106432
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
P
2
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
130
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
Q
K
5
0
0
1
9
K
2
4
1
1
1
Q
5
2
A
0
1
2
8
7
10
A
3
2
2
6
4
Q
2
1
3
2
3
3
K
7
3
4
2
9
8
10
8
1
5
2
A
9
5
J
1
6
2
J
6
K
7
3
7
2
9

Belladonna's 1 bid is near the top range for an overcall. The QJ tight is questionable. A double is not appealing given partner might advance 1 with heart shortness and 5+ spades. Avarelli cannot directly raise hearts because it could be a 4-bagger. When Belladonna rebid 2, showing a non-min and 5-cards, Avarelli raised to game. Today we would cue bid 2 showing that you forgot to open. In Roman, the South hand is a problem for Avarelli. The 1 opening is balanced, not clubs. Avarelli would need to start with 1 and then rebid clubs. His hand is not strong enough.

In the open room:

Forquet
98
J874
AK932
A7
Ogust
KJ7
AQ1053
1085
QJ
Siniscalco
Q10632
2
J764
985
Koytchou
A54
K96
Q
K106432
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
XX
1
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
130
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
1

When Koytchou opened, Forquet doubled to show values.Siniscalco was on lead against 3NT with the East hand.

If one understands the Italian defensive methods, it is easy to find a diamond lead. The X was not necessarily prepared. The 1 advance shows five. Opener has 6+C. Doubler, at favorable, did not rebid 2. So he really will not have four and might not even have three. The hand has a stiff heart. We really expect Forquet to be something like 3541 or 2542. That he was 2452 was the jackpot. 3NT was down. The diamond lead is the thinking man’s lead. The spade is what grandma leads at the club.

Note that North's XX as a strength first action started the path to the wrong game.

Bd #132 - A good hand for Roman methods.

Sobel
AQ9532
52
A4
Q75
Belladonna
K7
A963
KQ10753
4
Seamon
KJ1087
J982
K1093
Avarelli
J10864
Q4
6
AJ862
W
N
E
S
1
X
P
2
2
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
132
2X West
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
2
6
A
0
0
1
4
K
8
4
1
1
1
4
3
A
5
3
2
1
2
7
7
9
1
3
1
A
7
Q
2
1
4
1
3
8
4
5
3
5
1
6
Q
K
10
1
6
1
6
10
8
2
0
6
2
A
3
9
6
0
6
3
9

Notice that the low-level response to the double (2) was shortness.

At the other table the auction went:

1 - X - 2 - X (values); 2 - 3

The Americans never got to saw off 2 as Ogustunderstandably felt he needed to show his diamonds. Belladonna & Avarelli had already worked out that there was no diamond fit with the shortness advance.

Bd #134 - The light overall

Sobel
AK62
973
Q52
J86
Belladonna
973
862
K96
A1053
Seamon
QJ1054
AQ10
A
K974
Avarelli
8
KJ54
J108743
Q2
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
3
4
5
X
P
P
P
D
134
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
Q
8
0
0
1
9
2
A
4
2
0
2
10
J
3
6
3
1
2
J
2
6
A
2
1
3
Q
K
7
8
3
2
3
3
5
9
5
1
3
3
K
4
4
Q
1
4
3
7
Since the 2 overcall is limited. Belladonna made a limited raise and a good sac of 5 was reached. USA had a chance on this one when Koytchou found a 3 (!) overcall at the other table. Unfortunately, Ogusttook aconservative view and raised to just 4. 4 ended the auction and made.

Bd #166 - Roman methods over double

Leventritt
K5
J10876
64
AK82
Belladonna
AQJ
A2
J85
107543
Goren
742
K954
AQ32
QJ
Avarelli
109863
Q3
K1097
96
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
XX
P
P
1NT
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
166
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
Q
6
2
2
0
1
K
2

Avarelli’s pass over the XX might look strange to us today, as we would bid some number of spades. But in Roman methods, even over XX or an intervening 1NT, a simple advance would have been shortness, not length. Belladonna led a club and Leventritt was -200 on his line, though he was never making on the club lead.

At the other table the auction was an uncontested 1-3;4. Helen Sobel found theunfortunate A lead and the game came home. For the initial action,Sobel opted to pass, whereas Belladonna doubled. Both players were aggressive bidders. Perhaps Giorgio more so on this board.

Bd #165 - Another light overcall

P-P-1-? Belladonna overcalled 1 holding 9xx AK9x 10xxx J9

The overcall is relatively safe because it is limited in strength. He wants a heart lead. Although, against 5Avarelli led the Q from KQJxxx and USA had two overtricks.

Quick & Dirty Analysis

The Italians look as if they were trying to apply science to their defensive methods.

In 1957, after P-P-1-? xx KQ10x xx K10xxx was a heart overcall - at both tables, asOgust also found a 1 bid. The difference is the Italian advancer would be much more aware of the limited strength of his partner.

The American competitive methods of the time could best be described as “winging it”. That being said, it is not evident that Italy enjoyed an edge in competitive auctions. In 1959 for example, the slam hands would cover the entire margin of victory. As for the psyching, given that Italians were quick to get into auctions and employed defensive methods that indicated hand strength, they were unlikely to be fooled or caught off guard by an opponent’s psych. It is therefore unlikely that they needed any specific, additional agreements to cope with what Ogust & Koytchou were doing. Playing against canape systems in Europe, Italy would not be unfamiliar with reaching a contract for their side in a suit that had been opened by an opponent.

The real disadvantage to Roman/Neapolitan defensive bidding of this era would be an inability to handle fast-moving auctions. Here is bd#70 from 1962 that demonstrates this.

Nail
Q7
10976
AJ863
A9
Belladonna
A9863
A
Q10542
K10
Mathe
42
Q8542
K9
QJ75
Avarelli
KJ105
KJ3
7
86432
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
X
3
P
P
P
D
70
3 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
9
7
J
0
0
1
6
A
2
3
1
1
1
2
K
J
3
3
2
1
5
7
A
2
1
3
1
6
4
K
Q
3
4
1
K
7
3
4
3
5
1
6
9
K
5
1
6
1
7

Bobby Nail must have looked at the wrong convention card when he opened his 1 canapé bid. Whereas Italian systems held that any four-card suit could be opened, few Americans would open on 10xxx. Belladonna judged his hand too strong for an overcall and wrong for a cue (showing /) so he started with double. Mathe had an invite, albeit distributional. The double did not guarantee spades, so Avarelli passed. Belladonna is not strong enough to reopen and might have lost a game swing when North America (Murray was at the other table) easily reached the spade game. Unfortunately, Charles Coon took a wrong view in the play and ended with just nine tricks.

This deal illustrates the problem inherent with a strength-first approach: one needs time to work out the hand. In a slow-moving auction, Belladonna doubles, Avarelli shows his short diamond by advancing 2. Belladonna bids 2 and partner can now offer a raise. Game is reached after a five-bid sequence. It works, providing the opponents give one the time to unwind hands.

Nowadays, game would likely be reached by the second or third bid. Perhaps:

P-P-1-2; (/m) - n - 4. (Voom!)

We might teeter and totter from table to table with canes and walkers these days, but our auctions are like lightening.

Double Trouble -1957

Here are a few hands from 1957 where the Italian method of doubling had, or might have had trouble.

Leventritt
1063
KQJ7
QJ
KQ97
Belladonna
AKJ8
K10732
AJ86
Koytchou
1098432
A964
1053
Avarelli
Q97542
A65
85
42
W
N
E
S
1
X
2
P
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
176
4 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
3
2
Q
2
0
1
A
4
2
3
2
0
2
8
9
Q
6
0
0
3
5
J
K
A
3
1
3
5
4
K
6
1
2
3
Q
2
4
8
1
3
3
J
J
2
5
2
3
4
K
6
4
10
2
3
5
8

Over the weak 2 bid, Avarelli has to pass because for all he knows, Belladonna might be 0-4 in the majors. A raise to 4 by West might have stolen the pot - 4 can make - but Leventritt passed and let the Italians back into the auction.

The next example I polled. I gave the auction as a non-passed hand because I didn’t want a bunch of “I would have preempted” abstentions and comments. Partner doubles the opposing 1 opening and responder bids 1NT. Avarelli held: Q AJ5432 876 985. Not surprisingly, not a single Bridgewinner responder selected Avarelli’s call, which was pass(!) The debate on my post was between two and three hearts. But our doubles today are very different from the Roman style of doubling sixty years ago, Avarelli has no guarantee of a heart fit and needed to pass.

Leventritt
AJ97
10
J542
KQ103
Belladonna
K632
K876
AK103
7
Koytchou
10854
Q9
Q9
AJ642
Avarelli
Q
AJ5432
876
985
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
X
1N
P
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
P
P
D
174
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
Belladonna’s 2 bid looks a little odd. A second double probably shows more values or less shape. Avarelli showed the hearts and Giorgio gave him a push, but not being able to picture what we today view as takeout double shape caused Italy to miss a game thatSobel & Goren reached at the other table.

At that table, Forquet opened the West hand 1, Sobel passed, and Siniscaloresponded 2. When Forquet passed this to Sobel, she reopened with a double. Siniscalo now bid 2, but Goren climbed in with 3 and Helen raised to game. A re-raise to 3 might have stolen the pot, but that would have shown a much better hand in the Neapolitan system.

On bd#198, Italy will get into big trouble with an off-shape double.

Speed Kills

Bridge theorists of 60 years ago created systems as if they had all day to work out the hands. And most times, they did.

While Italian defensive bidding in 1957 was not likely to have trouble with psychs, it was also not built to cause problems for a pair like Harold & Boris. The Italian overcalls could be four cards. The doubles did not directly identify fits. A “bang-bang” auction by the defense is going to pressure a psych pair. 1(maybe 2pts) - 1 - P(better wait in case) - 3 - ? (good luck).

Similarly, the American systems were not built to cause problems for Roman & Neapolitan defensive bidding. The Americans were opening 1M on 4333 hands. Partner was often hesitant to raise with three cards. Most jump bids showed strength.

Once upon a time, a military commander could take his time marching troops across a bridge. Let's get everything in place on the other side. The archers will go there, the foot soldiers over there, and then we can organize the cavalry. Meanwhile, some guy named William Wallace decides that he and his men should not wait around to be slaughtered like gentlemen and he attacks. Bridge bidding has evolved along the same lines. We start off worrying about developing our assets. It will take time before theory advances to focus on opponents.

In the 1967 BB, Roth would pass in second seat, unfavorable holding: AQ1094 A J10842 75. Maybe back then one did not care about green-lighting your 3rd seat favorable opponent to give your side an awkward decision when he fires away - because they did not. Today’s players dream about opponents who pass this to them.

"Some generals consider only unilateral action, whereas war consists of a continuous interaction of opposites … no strategy ever survives the first engagement with the enemy." - Carl von Clausewitz

Roth-Stone is too heavily armored and slow-moving for today’s game. If Al were reincarnated and passed that hand in the Spingold, his opponents would think: “Wow, for a guy who plays his cards so well, he certainly bids like a chicken.” Ironic, since Roth provided much of the blueprint for Standard American today.

If Roth kept to his sound opening bid principles through the late 1960s, it was likely not stubbornness but success at the table. As with Roman doubles, slow systems work well until the opponents figure out how to derail these method by applying pressure. In fact, Roth won that board in 1967 when he passed. Why would he change?

Many older methods had to change as bidding became lighter and faster-moving. In Goren, a limit raise has to go through a 2/1 response. That seems OK until the opponents bid. And constructive major-suit raises as suggested by Roth are a reasonable idea. But one cannot package the minimum raise in a forcing notrump if your opponents are going to bid. Today's players come crashing in. They really don’t care your 1 opening was “sound” and the 1NT response was “forcing”. Good luck working out the min heart raise after 2 or 3 by 4th seat.

As overcalls became more certainly five and would be raised more freely, as jump overcalls became weak, systemic psyching started to fade on its own. The psych pairs were the ones who got tired of guessing.

Bridge evolved from strength-first thinking to shape-first thinking. This took quite a while. But any current top team of internationalists sent back in time 55-60 years would have defeated the Blue Team. Not because the Blue Team did not have great players, but because the methods they employed do not work against the modern game.

"The Blue Club system that we played years ago just is not good enough for top-level play today....The old system was based on controls, and it has taken me many years to realize that was wrong. The distribution is the most important thing and you should gear your bidding to concentrate on that first." - Benito Garozzo

Pierre Albarran’s canapé bidding approach holds the longest success streak in world championship play. Canapé won the year before the Blue Team started their run as France defeated USA in Paris. Canapé then ran continuously, whereas The Blue Team did not. Italy was 6th in the 1960 Olympiad when France won. When North America/USA/Aces (whatever you want to call these teams) reclaimed the Bermuda Bowl in 1970 and 1971, guess what Hamman & Wolff were playing? Italy won again, the Olympiad in 1972 and the Bermuda Bowl in ‘73, ‘73 and ‘75. (In 1975, B/G were playing their Precision system, Franco-Pittalà played canapé, and F/Z played footsie.)

If we think about the canapé approach, it is very much shape oriented. It was obviously highly successful in top-level play in many variations for decades. Yet few top-level players use the approach today. I think the main reason is that the auctions have become so fast, players are uncomfortable not starting their long suit first and then hoping the opponents are kind enough to give them room to do so later.

The Roth framework of 5-card majors coupled with negative doubles to find secondary fits can be made more suitable for today’s game where everyone bids like voting in Chicago: early and a lot.

Penultimate Set Situation: Desperate

The 1957 Bermuda Bowl was divided into 18 segments. 14 were 12-board segments. Four were 14-board segments. (I have no idea why.) Koytchou and Ogust played together the 13th segment and there were no psych opportunities that round. They sat out the 14th segment. In the 15th, Leventritt partnered with Koytchou. For the 16th segment Ogust was Leventritt’s partner. USA kept switching up pairings, apparently trying to get something going. Koytchou and Ogust were back together for the 17th segment.

At that point, USA was stuck 8,270 points. There were 28 boards to try to make that up, so a need for almost +300 a board on every remaining deal.

300 points per board translates to 7 IMPs. The bad news is that needing to cover 300 every single board is like being stuck 200 IMPs at the halfway point of a Spingold match. The good news is the scoring in 1957 was total points. Whereas the IMP scale tapers off to mitigate the effects of large swings, total points remains linear. +300 is 7 IMPs. Double that is +600 points but only about 70% more IMPS for a gain of 12. Triple those 300 points is just double the IMPS for a win of 14. If a side can generate very big swings, nine 900-point wins almost covers the deficit. At this point in the match, USA is not bunting runners over.

For the 17th set, Koytchou and Ogust played against Belladonna and Avarelli. At the other table was Sobel and Leventritt sat against D’Alelio and Chiaradia.

Stretch Run - Segment 13

Bd #197

The first board of the segment was a disappointment for a team needing to hit home runs. 13 opposite 12 points. World’s easiest 3NT to bid. And simple to make with both round kings onside, diamonds 3-3, and two spade stoppers. 11 tricks came home at both tables. Tick-tock.

Bd #198

White vs red, lefty passes, partner opens a weak 2. Belladonna doubles and it is your turn to call holding: QJ9 Q3 10762 AJ93

Do you bid anything?

Bd#198

Ogust found a successful 2NT bid. This semi-psych, coupled with the odd-ball 2 opening -- certainly odd for the era, and an unusual weak two for Koytchou&Ogust -- produced a win for USA.

Belladonna
10
KJ8
AQ43
K8765
Ogust
QJ9
Q3
10762
AJ93
Avarelli
K7632
107
K98
Q42
Koytchou
A854
A96542
J5
10
W
N
E
S
P
2
X
2NT
3
P
P
P
D
198
3 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
5
3
Q
2
0
1
10
2
8
Q
1
1
1
3
7
A
J
3
2
1
J
A
2
8
0
2
2
10
J
K
A
3
3
2
5
3
10
K
2
3
3
2
4
6
9
1
4
3
A
2
4
7
1
5
3
J
4
5
8
3
6
3
5
K
Q
9
1
7
3
6
3
8
4
3
8
3
6
Q
9
6
2
8
4
7
9
K
7
2
8
5
E/W -400
13

The off-shape double got jammed and Italy ran into trouble because of the level. In a low and slow auction, Belladonna-Avarelli can work out the contract. One can hypothesize: P-1-X-XX; P (because bid now shows shortness) - 2 - P - P; 2, P- P - ? Giorgio knows spades stinks. And he knows Avarelli does not have club shortness. West corrects to 3. All pass. This could make or go off one depending on the play. North needs to lead the Q and South must duck the trick. A and heart return gives declarer a chance. Play the 10 and duck when it is covered. North is stuck and declarer will be able to play a trump up and take ruffs in his hand. Later win diamonds andendplay North to play a trump to his king.

+400 would seem at the time to the American players like a good result for N/S. It would be disappointing to learn the result in the other room. Chiardia opened 1 and rebid 2 over the 1NT response. Leventritt now big 2NT. D’Alelio sitting North doubled. South pulled to 3. When this was passed around to Sobel, Helen swung for the fences and tried 3NT. This would have had chances with good club intermediates, but failed by 3 tricks on the layout.

Bd #199

Belladonna
1072
109
AQJ10854
J
Ogust
A986
AJ2
6
A9763
Avarelli
QJ4
Q865
32
KQ105
Koytchou
K53
K743
K97
842
W
N
E
S
P
3
X
P
P
P
D
199
3X West
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
2
J
1
1
0
6
4
K
2
3
2
0
3
9
A
5
1
3
0
A
J
3
7
1
4
0
2
6
K
10
3
5
0
4
4
J
8
0
5
1
10
8
Q
5
2
5
2
2
7
10
6
0
5
3
A
3
3
9
0
5
4
5
6
10
K
3
6
4
7
8
7
Q
0
6
5
11

Ogust made an aggressive double - save for the state of the match - opposite a passed partner. Rather than trying the guess the contract, Koytchou found a sensible pass. This picked up +500 on a deal where N/S could maybe make 2. Sitting at the table, one would think this is a 300-point pickup, since 3 all pass seems more normal at total points opposite a passed partner. That was, in fact, the auction at the other table. North players at both tables led the A.

Bd #200

The 2 opening bid is a minimum range, three-suited hand in Roman with unspecified shortness. The 2 response is pass or correct.

Belladonna
Q92
3
962
AQ10865
Ogust
8764
972
A10
J972
Avarelli
AJ103
AK64
J743
3
Koytchou
K5
QJ1085
KQ85
K4
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
2
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
200
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
4
A
5
2
0
1
J
K
9
6
3
1
1
5
2
A
3
1
2
1
10
4
K
6
3
3
1
Q
9
7
7
3
4
1
8
5
2
J
1
5
1
2
3
K
A
0
5
2
Q
7
3
4
0
5
3
Q
8
10
5
3
6
3
9

This would look a trifle disappointing to Boris & Harold. One does not want part score deals needing to make up over eight thousand points. However, USA was in 2+1 at the other table. Helen Sobel opened 1, Chiaradia overcalled 2 and West’s 2 bid ended the auction. So USA did pick up +250.

Bd #201

Some more odd and swingy actions by Harold & Boris. I polled Ogust’s hand as a bidding problem.

Belladonna
A92
K10873
8532
7
Ogust
3
QJ
AK976
AK1085
Avarelli
KQ10854
964
J
Q96
Koytchou
J76
A52
Q104
J432
W
N
E
S
1
1
1NT
P
2
P
P
2
3
P
P
P
D
201
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
6
9
3
2
0
1
4
J
A
5
1
1
1
2

Over 3 in 5 would take a more aggressive view. Two clubs seems like a huge underbid given how stuck USA was in the match. Jump shifts tended to be beefier 60 years ago, but as David Gold pointed out: "his hand is GF because it is a 55 17 count facing a free 1N bid.I think that Harold was happy with 2 clubs because it translates to “partner, I did not psych”. Ogust figured his partner knew how stuck they were and probably cut them some room in case Boris was joking about 1NT. Boris obviously was joking about 1NT and elected to pass his subsequent turns. Their actions combined to miss a pretty decent game, needing a lot to go wrong not to make.

Everything was wrong and 11 tricks made on the spade continuation. The game was bid and made at the other table. However, it was played by South. The start was 1-1-2-2. D’Alelio now bid 3 and South bid 4, raised to game. This is basically cold now from that side as only Deep Finesse underleads the A to get a heart shift,

Bd #202

This was a perfect-fitting vulnerable slam on 30 HCP combined played in 4 making six at both tables.

N= AK1053 A5 1064 Q76

S= Q62 K42 A87 AKJ2

If you think you and your partner get to 7, that never happens in real life unless I am sitting East. Boris & Harold would have known there were no points to be had here and the board might be a big loss.

Bd #203

Belladonna
752
KJ3
109
AQ1053
Ogust
AQ983
94
A873
J8
Avarelli
KJ
A107652
6
7642
Koytchou
1064
Q8
KQJ542
K9
W
N
E
S
 
2
P
2N
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
3
P
P
P
D
203
3 North
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
9
Q
8
0
0
1
1

I have no idea about this auction. 2 seems more normal than 2NT. If 2NT was Ogust, it appears that Ogust does not play Ogust, or maybe Boris plays with Ogust and does not play Ogust. Even Jimmy Cayne does not think the South hand is a minimum weak-two bid. It seems as if Boris & Harold are a little scared of what the other might be up to. The auction went nowhere and Ogust was -100. This turned out great becauseon the layout, E/W actually make 11 tricks in in a round suit with their 10 opposite 8. Transpose the E & W hands and N/S make game in spades, although game does not look great single-dummy.

There were plenty of fireworks in the other room:

Leventritt
752
KJ3
109
AQ1053
D'Alelio
AQ983
94
A873
J8
Sobel
KJ
A107652
6
7642
Chiaradia
1064
Q8
KQJ542
K9
W
N
E
S
 
1
2
3
4
P
P
4
5
P
P
X
P
5
P
P
P
D
203
5 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Peter Leventritt found the Sabine Auken approved (or at least I presume so) 2 overcall over 1 and it hit the jackpot. (Memo to myself, gotta bid a bit more like Sabine.) D'Alelio forced to game with the cue.Helen decided to play game in hearts opposite whatever was in dummy. D'Alelio refused to sell out. It'shard to fault 4, though the missing cards were all wrong. When Helen bid 5 it was all over but the bill. The tab to Italywent from -550 to -700 whenChiaradiaelected to declare. It would have been better to force declarer to guess trumps for 5, but the N/S actions seem understandable.

Bd #204

Belladonna
KQJ107
AKJ8
A
A75
Ogust
A9532
6
QJ72
Q103
Avarelli
864
Q543
K
J9862
Koytchou
10972
10986543
K4
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
2
2
3
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
204
4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
K
3
A
0
0
1
A
6
3
2
0
0
2
K
2
4
7
0
0
3
K
A
4
4
1
1
3
3
2
K
A
0
1
4
5
Q
6
4
1
2
4
7
5
5
7
2
2
5
Q
9
8
2
2
2
6
6
10
7
3
3
3
6
6
J
J
8
0
3
7
10

N/S have a rare, unfavorable sacrifice. Not surprisingly, they did not find it, and we are left to wonder if a more aggressive 5 would gotten Italy too high. The Italians reached the winning game. The players in this room would have known there were no points to pick up for USA and this could be bad. It was bad since the Americans played 4 which is notmakeable given the bad trump break.

Twenty to go and it is now time for the (in?)famous board #205.

Bd #205

Belladonna
J107
K1085
AK7
A96
Ogust
KQ83
AJ32
10
8532
Avarelli
62
Q7
QJ862
KQJ10
Koytchou
A954
964
9543
74
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
3
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
205
3X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
10
2
3
0
0
1
10
J
Q
4
2
0
2
7
9
K
A
1
1
2
K
6
4
7
1
2
2
Q
2
5
10
1
3
2
3
8
A
J
3
4
2
4
7
2
6
1
5
2
8
K
9
5
0
5
3
8
3
J
6
0
5
4
A
2
Q
5
0
5
5
A
3
Q
4
0
5
6
6
5
10
7
2
5
7
9
8
J
9
0
5
8
N/S -1100
13

Look at the situation from Belladonna’s balance position. Twenty boards to go. The opponents could have not have made much of an inroad into the lead. Koytchou and Ogust, who psych a bunch, have also made few normal actions in the set, given the state of the match. For some reason, despite desperately needing big swings, they suddenly forget to bid a vulnerable game.

On bd#57 Belladonna watched Koytchou bid 4 after 1-1NT; 2-? Holding:K2 10654 J73 AQ76. 94% of BW respondents bid 3 only. (https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/bidding-problem-2-appsxexlfd/)

So why did Mr Aggressive suddenly forget to bid a vulnerable game when desperately needing big swings down the stretch? The best one can hope for is +240. But only if Italy bids a non-making game. Passing makes no sense since you have to play for the big payoff. That would be USA makes the game and Italy goes down.

After a week and a few hundred hands, any top player is going to understand his opponent’s tendencies. Boris & Harold have not opened light at the one level in 3rd or 4th once during the entire match. These guys are playing anti-JLALL. On board #46, NV, Boris passed a 3rd seat hand of AQ1092 85 10762 J7. On bd#83, Fav, AK942 10983 K10 76 was opened 2 in 3rd by Harold.

Also passed opposite a PH partner was:

Bd #26: J65 8652 K6 AK82 (BK)

Bd #76: KJ42 85 K865 A63 (BK)

Bd #127: 9653 A J95 KQ964 (HO)

Plus, they passed every single ratty count in 3rd.

Bd#4 72 Q7 KJ85 K10985

Bd#9: 542 J976 AK105 J3

Bd#91: Q54 QJ53 97 K1073

Bd #110: 953 A76 AJ109 1043 (by BK with PL)

Bd #118: 1053 AJ10 Q1092 J75 (by BK with PL)

They are not suddenly going to open totally randomly in 3rd because systemically, they will not be able to handle it. And if Boris did open light, he is going to continue to swing for the fences.

The actions by the Americans on bd#205 make no sense unless the psych pair has made a psych. If that happened, Belladonna must reopen. Ogust is a passed hand and a passed hand opposite a psych puts enough values in partner’s hand to go with Belladonna’s 15 and two heart stops to think they may well have a vulnerable game. Avarelli will not play Giorgio for four spades because that hand would have overcalled 1.

USA did reach 3NT at the other table. After three passes, Leventritt opened 1NT. Sobel raised to game. D'Alelio found that laser-accurate, Italian lead of a spade and set the contract.

NOPE! D'Alelio actually guessed to lead a low heart and Peter scampered off with ten tricks, scoring up +630 for USA. I find it odd that this hand is supposed to prove the Italian team is cheating. Is this because we ignore the -400 in the 1-5 spade fit on #198 and alsoforget about the losing opening lead on this very board by Italy at the other table? (I suspect that at least one recently barred pair would have had no problem defeating 3NT.)

After the double, Avarelli has the world’s easiest pass. He has quite a lot of stuff. He knows Giorgio will not be unbalanced or he would have doubled.

Bd #205 - The Defense

Belladonna
J107
K1085
AK7
A96
Ogust
KQ83
AJ32
10
8532
Avarelli
62
Q7
QJ862
KQJ10
Koytchou
A954
964
9543
74
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
3
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
205
3X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
10
2
3
0
0
1
10
J
Q
4
2
0
2
7
9
K
A
1
1
2
K
6
4
7
1
2
2
Q
2
5
10
1
3
2
3
8
A
J
3
4
2
4
7
2
6
1
5
2
8
K
9
5
0
5
3
8
3
J
6
0
5
4
A
2
Q
5
0
5
5
A
3
Q
4
0
5
6
6
5
10
7
2
5
7
9
8
J
9
0
5
8
N/S -1100
13

Belladonna led the K.Avarellifollowed with the deuce. This looks like SP for clubs. What else do we know?

It is pretty much a given that South cannot have a "real" 1 opening. Avarelli would not have passed the double with a heart void. Therefore the most hearts Boris can hold is four. In the Italianstyle, any 4-card suit is biddable. In the American style, opener needs 4 HCP in a 4-card suit, or QJ10. This dictum was only violated once by any of the players over the hundreds of hands. Though it was by Boris, who opened 1 on Qxxx in 4th seat on a 14-count. It also did not work out optimally because they missed their diamond fit.

How many more indicators does Belladonna he need that Boris psyched? Even the sight of dummy indicates that the 3-only heart bid showed Harold was worried about a psych. The partnership has never opened a one-bid light in 3rd seat. Even if Boris did, the state-of-the-match forces a play game opposite such a hand. 3 is fine from Harold’s view because he also knows Boris will bid the game if he did not psych.

In my view, what the 10 shift shows is that Belladonna never takes time off from thinking about the hand. It is easy for most players, ahead by a mountain of points, to mindlessly shift to the indicated club.

Payback, Baby - (It’s a bitch!)

What Giorgio was thinking about - besides the whole hand - was also this hand:

10872 763 K32 1053

That was Koytchou’s hand on bd#51 when he psyched a 1 opening and Giorgio chose to play six non-making notrumps instead of six making hearts. Save for the psych, it is unlikely that Giorgio would have missed their 5-3 heart fit and got the strain wrong.

Belladonna didn’t give a hoot about a couple hundred extra points that were going to be irrelevant to the outcome of the event. Giorgio wanted retribution. He wanted payback for board #51 and to serve notice that he knows what Boris is up to. Champion competitors never stop trying to dominate.

Calling it

Stu Ungar was one of, if not the best no-limit Texas Hold’em player. He once called an all-in bet on the river in a 50K heads-up with next to nothing. But Ungar did not simply call, wait to see his opponent’s hand, and then show or muck. Ungar called offMatloubi's cards, then said: “so I am gonna call you with this” and Stu showed him his ten-high.

A while back, I played with one of the world’s great players. At some point I will write up one of the deals because his play was amazing. One thing that stood out was in the end position. Rather than playing it out to see if he had it, he faced his hand, told his opponents what their cards were, and then his line of play.

It did not needto be that position. He called it because he wanted them to know that he knew what they were doing. This is a competitor who wants to say: “I own you. I can walk around inside your head and tell you are doing.” Champions go with their reads.

I had the opportunity to kibitz Helgemo playing and defending many hands. Perhaps a couple thousand. I can tell you that I am 100% sure thatGeir is 100% to go with his read. He is not 100% to be right. (He might argue that point:) But he is 100% to shrug it off when his read is wrong and 100% not to doubt himself on the next board.

We all want to be able to do that. When people do psych against us we want to let them know that we fielded it. That is what the 10 at trick two from Belladonna says. It says “I know what you are doing”. And the 10 gets that message across regardless of whether it produces an extra undertrick. Boris was more than good enough to know what Giorgio was playing for even if the spot made no difference.

There was a hand from 1959 that Forquet wrote up under the heading of “Belladonna’s Revenge”. This hand - bd#205 - was supposed to be the original revenge hand. Belladonna even got the probable heart holding in Avarelli’s hand for the extra points. I say probable because Avarelli did not play a high diamond. So if Boris has the A, he will not have much more for his psych.

Al Roth probably never thought much more about this hand except: “See? I am right again. If Boris psyched 1 he would have won the board.” Even if 3 was doubled, it would go for less than the game they snuck through at the other table. Boris would probably point out to Roth that he would not have won board #51 with a spade psych. Though Koytchou probably regretted at the time trying to go the well twice with another psych in the shorter major.

So why was this hand never written up as Belladonna’s Revenge?

Bd #209

Belladonna
104
J
Q1098732
K102
Ogust
982
97652
J5
754
Avarelli
AK3
AQ8
AK
Q9863
Koytchou
QJ765
K1043
64
AJ
W
N
E
S
1
1NT
X
3
P
4
P
5
P
P
P
D
209
5 East
NS: 0 EW: 0
Q
4
2
A
2
0
1
3
J
K
4
0
0
2
2
5
K
4
2
0
3
A
6
3
J
2
0
4
6
A
2
5
3
1
4
4
J
2
8
0
1
5
6

Four boards later Ogust psyched 1. Avarelli made the big, fat Roman 1NT overcall. Belladonna-Avarelli stopped out in 5. Helen Sobel bid 6 and Leventritt rolled it up in the other room.

Even though USA went on to lose the Bermuda Bowl by the substantial margin of 10,150 total points, we won the psych boards!

And Boris & Harold had the last laugh with their psychs.Laughing

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