The world championships are under way in Bali, Indonesia. There are 22 teams in each of the three events: the Venice Cup, Bermuda Bowl and d’Orsi Senior Trophy. After a round robin of 16-board matches, eight will qualify for the knockout matches, which begin on Tuesday.
After two days, the Venice Cup teams are well placed, USA-2 being third and USA-1 fourth. In the d’Orsi Senior Trophy, USA-2 was ninth and USA-1 tenth, close behind eighth. The two Bermuda Bowl teams, though, are doing badly, with USA-1 15th and USA-2 20th. (All team rosters and results are at worldbridge.org.)
The first round contained many exciting boards. USA-2 in the Bermuda Bowl lost to Argentina. Slams were bid on three deals, and Argentina gained a huge 42 international match points on those boards. The diagramed deal was one of the American highlights, when Chip Martel (East) defended better than his opposite number.
Both Souths ended in four spades doubled, sacrificing over four hearts (a contract that would have been touch-and-go). In the given auction, Martel’s one-no-trump response was semiforcing. He had planned to rebid three hearts, showing game-invitational values and three-card support.
In four spades, South had three top losers: two hearts and one club. So he couldn’t afford to concede a spade trick.
Each West led a low heart. How should East have defended?
At the first table, Gabino Alujas (East) won with his ace and shifted to the diamond six. Mike Kamil (South) ruffed and would have done best to play a club. Instead, he led a heart, giving the defenders a second chance. East took the trick, but returned the diamond queen.
Now declarer played perfectly. He discarded a club and won with dummy’s ace, led a spade to his nine, played a club to dummy’s king, finessed his spade ten, led a club to the queen, trumped a diamond in his hand and ruffed his last heart. With eight tricks in, South led a diamond and had to score two more trump tricks with his queen and ace.
At the other table, Martel won the first trick with his heart queen, cashed the heart ace and played a third heart. When that was ruffed in the dummy, declarer could no longer take three spade finesses.
Hector Camberos (South) ruffed a diamond with his spade eight, played a club to dummy’s king and ran first the spade jack (dropping his nine), then the spade seven (underplaying his deuce). Now declarer ruffed a diamond to reduce his trump length to two (the same as East) and led a club. But Zia Mahmood (West) defended accurately. He won with his ace and led his last heart, on which East discarded his remaining club. South had to lose a trump trick for down one.
Plus 590 and plus 100 gave 12 imps to USA-2.