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The Salso Experience – World Bridge Team Championships

Salsomaggiore Terme 45th world team championships

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Salsomaggiore, a prestigious place
Battle Royal: highlights from the Bermuda Bowl
Congratulations to the winners!
Bonus: Voyage of Discovery

Salsomagiore, a prestigious place

After an interval of more than two years, it was appropriate that the resumption of World Championship play should take place in Salsomaggiore Terme (Italy 🇮🇹), a town with a long history of hosting major events that is renowned for the therapeutic and healing properties of its thermal spas.

Salsomaggiore Terme

Four world titles were up for grabs, the Bermuda Bowl, the Venice Cup, the d’Orsi Trophy and the Wuhan Cup. In all four events a complete round Robin of 23 matches was followed by a series of knock-out matches, starting with quarterfinals.

Despite the precautions taken by the World Bridge Federation, several players and officials became infected by Covid during the championships. To ensure the safety of everyone, the WBF suspended play for a day so that everyone could be tested.

That enabled play to resume the following day and with some adjustments to the schedule all champions were decided on the final day:

🇸🇪 Sweden retained the Venice Cup title they had won in Wuhan in 2019 by defeating Turkey

🇵🇱 Poland won the d’Orsi Trophy, runners-up India improving on the bronze medal they won in Wuhan

The Mixed team title for the Wuhan Cup went to 🇫🇷 France, USA 1 having to be content with the silver medals just as in Wuhan.

Salsomaggiore cups

Battle Royal: highlights from the Bermuda Bowl

The Bermuda Bowl is rightly regarded as the Holy Grail, the event that every player wants to win.

Bermuda Bowl Salsomaggiore

The final matched the 🇳🇱 Netherlands, runners-up in 2019, against 🇨🇭 Switzerland, appearing in its first ever final. It proved to be a dramatic encounter as the lead changed hands repeatedly.

With just four deals remaining Switzerland led 166-156. Focus on three of them. 🔍

Board 93

Dealer North. All Vul.

Open Room

(*) Game forcing relay.

When East bid 4♠️ West, no doubt worried about the possibility of a Diamond lead through his King, decided to let matters rest. He may have considered the possibility of playing in No-Trumps to protect the Diamond King, but he could not be sure of East’s distribution – was he 6-5 or 5-5 in the black suits? In the latter case, East’s Spade suit would need to be headed by the AQ and he would also need very good clubs and the King of Hearts.

Watching on BBO, I thought West might have preferred 4♦️ to 4♥️. However, East might think that would be a first-round control in this situation and even if that was not certain, EW must have a way for East to show his second-round control if North doubles. It was a missed opportunity. South led the 3 of Diamonds, +680.

Closed Room

The NS bidding, particularly the combination of North’s 2♥️ and South’s 4♥️, made life tough for EW, who collected +710 and an IMP when South led a Heart, 167-156.

Board 94 saw the Netherlands recover that IMP by making an overtrick in a No-Trump part score.

Board 95

Dealer South. N/S Vul.

Open Room

(1) Clubs.
(2) Interest in slam.
(3) Optional Roman Keycard Blackwood.
(4) Negative.

This looked like a potentially dangerous deal when West opened 3♥️. However, the Swiss pair had the methods both to investigate slam and stop in time, +600.

Toine van Hoof (referee) asked Bas Drijver for an explanation of the auction and its worth noting that had South wanted to offer North a choice of games, for example with five cards in a major and a five-card minor, he could respond 4♥️.

Closed Room

(1) 11/14, 5+♣️ and 4♠️ or 4♥️ or 6+♣️.
(2) Relay.
(3) Minimum, not 4♠️ or 4♥️ maybe 4♦️.

West’s delayed entry into the auction did not inconvenience NS, who had already exchanged enough information to stop at a safe level. 4 Spades was a comfortable spot and declarer collected eleven tricks, +650 and a couple of IMPs, 167-159.

Board 96

Dealer West. E/W Vul.

In recent years, I have tended to describe any 3NT game bid with less than a combined 25 points as Meckwellian. At this level, it would be no surprise to see both teams reach the nine-trick game.

Open Room

(1) 12-14.
(2) Balanced, invitational, not 4♠️ or 4♥️ or ♥️ and ♦️ or weak with ♦️.
(3) Accept a balanced invitation.

East led the Ace of Spades and when West followed with a discouraging 3, he continued with the King of Spades, followed by the 6. Declarer won with dummy’s Queen and ran the 10 of Clubs. East won with the Jack, cashed the 2 of Spades and exited with the 7 of Clubs. Declarer was up to eight tricks, but it was impossible to find another, -50.

If declarer could be sure that East started with four Spades then the play in the suit made it clear that East held an entry in at least one of the minors, which suggests that declarer should unblock dummy’s Queen of Spades, win the third round with the Jack and play a Diamond towards dummy’s Queen, hoping to find the King with East. If that is the case, declarer has excellent chances of getting up to nine ticks by playing on Clubs.

This line falls short if West started with the King of Diamonds and King-Jack of Clubs, because declarer does not have the entries to score four Club tricks.

It came down to this simple equation: could the Netherlands bid 3NT and then find a winning line?

Closed Room

Board 96 closed room
(*) (10)11-15, 2+♦️.

Systems guru Al Hollander opined that a redouble by South would have shown 4+♥️.

Netherlands stayed low for +120 but it was not enough, Switzerland winning 167-164.

Congratulations to the winners!

Click on the links below to open the detailed results (WBF website).

Bermuda Bowl

Team Switzerland ©WBF

🇨🇭 Switzerland 167 – 164 Netherlands 🇳🇱

Venice Cup

Team Sweden ©WBF

🇸🇪 Sweden 253 – 170 Turkey 🇹🇷

d’Orsi Trophy

Team Poland ©WBF

🇵🇱 Poland 239 – 194 India 🇮🇳

Wuhan Cup

Team France ©WBF

🇫🇷 France 199 – 163 USA 1 🇺🇸

BONUS: Voyage of Discovery

Follow Mark Horton for a visit to the exceptional venue of these Championships:

Moreover, in recent years the World Bridge Federation has put together an outstanding Communications team, producing Videos, Daily Bulletins and other material that keeps the bridge playing world up to date.

The Video team is headed by Director Mario Chavarria Kaifmann and Editing expert Christian Cuchian, while Sandra Leal looks after the Graphics. Their videos encompass every aspect of the Championships. Follow this link to find their productions.

The Daily Bulletins, brilliantly constructed by the Layout Editor, Francesca Canali, relies upon the services of a world-class team of writers, who report in detail on the play.

Meanwhile, photographer Claudio Fossati takes thousands of photographs helping the world to identify the stars, both new and old, as well as offering up the flavour of the Championships. You will find all the photos here.

Baby bridge
You must start early to become a champion!

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Prue Cox
Prue Cox
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There seems to be a problem somewhere as you program is running very slow and is timing out! What is wrong?!

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