Italy vs. Monaco at the Bermuda Bowl in Bali

The Bermuda Bowl was the premier event at the world championships in Bali, Indonesia, last month.

The 96-board final was between the two favorites, Italy and Monaco.

Italy was represented by Norberto Bocchi, Agustin Madala, Lorenzo Lauria and Alfredo Versace. (Giorgio Duboin and Antonio Sementa were also on the team but did not play in the final.)

The Monaco team was Pierre Zimmermann, Franck Multon, Fulvio Fantoni, Claudio Nunes, Geir Helgemo and Tor Helness.

It was expected to be a close match, but it turned into a rout, Italy winning by 210 international match points to 126 — and the last day was Bocchi’s birthday.

Italy gained 38 imps on Boards 20 through 22. The diagramed deal was No. 22.

At the first table, Helness (East) opened one club; Madala (South) wisely passed; Helgemo (West) responded one spade; Bocchi (North) overcalled two clubs, natural; East raised to two spades, promising four-card support (he would have doubled with three spades); and West jumped to four spades.

North led the diamond jack. South won with his ace and shifted to his singleton club. North took his ace, gave his partner a club ruff and later defeated the contract with his spade ace.

In the given auction, Nunes (South), eyeing the favorable vulnerability, overcalled with the Unusual No-Trump, showing at least 5-5 in the red suits (the two lowest-ranking unbid suits). Versace (West) doubled to indicate a good hand and interest in a penalty. Fantoni (North) passed, because he had equal length in the reds. And when South ran to three diamonds, West happily doubled again.

West’s best opening lead would have been the diamond king, but he chose the club six.

Although Nunes’s bidding left something to be desired, he handled the play perfectly — if getting out for down three can be viewed in that light.

Declarer took the first trick with dummy’s club ace and continued with the club jack. East covered with his queen, and South ruffed.

Declarer exited with a heart. Lauria (East) overtook West’s jack with his queen and shifted to his trump, which was ducked to West’s queen.

West cashed the heart ace, then led the diamond king. South won, played a spade to dummy’s ace and led the club ten. When East covered with the king, declarer discarded his spade jack.

East cashed his two heart winners, bringing everyone down to three cards.

East led his high spade queen, but South accurately threw his last heart. West had to ruff with his diamond two, then lead away from his diamond eight-six into declarer’s nine-seven.

That was “only” down three, minus 500, but it still gave Italy 12 imps on the board.

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