World Championship Events October 29th-30th

I arrived in Estoril, Portugal for the 2005 Bermuda Bowl on the evening of Saturday, October 29th. The final round of the preliminary Round Robin stage of the event was just finishing and an exciting rematch between the two finalists from two years ago, USA1 and Italy, had just been completed. The Italians had been leading the event, living up to their billing as the favorites to win this year's Bermuda Bowl. The USA1 team had performed well up until this point, but had not yet returned to their championship form of the past several years. This match provided much excitement, with few flat boards and much for the crowds to cheer about. In the end, the USA1 team, with a strong 107-40 IMPs victory, reminded the Italians that though they have had little trouble in leading the event to this point, the defending champions are still here and ready to repeat.

On Sunday, October 30th the final Knockout stage of the event began. Some exciting matches began in all the events- Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup(women), and Senior Bowl.  Additionally, the finals of the World Computer Bridge Championships were held, with Wbridge5 knocking off the three-time defending champion, Jack, in an excellent match for computer bridge.

Bermuda Bowl Quarterfinals with carry-over
Italy vs. India 0-2.3
USA2 vs. Argentina 0-4
USA1 vs. Brazil 9-0
Egypt vs. Sweden 0-16

Venice Cup Quarterfinals with carry-over
France vs. Canada 15.5-0
China vs. Netherlands 16-0
Germany vs.England 0-3.7
USA1 vs.USA2 9-0

Senior Bowl Quarterfinals with carry-over
USA1 vs. France 11-0
Portugal vs.Indonesia 0-16
USA2 vs.Netherlands 16-0
Denmark vs. Israel 16-0

You can follow these matches live at:

One of the most impressive performances at this year's Bermuda Bowl has been by the relatively young USA2 pair, Geoff Hampson and Eric Greco. Greco-Hampson have been performing well at ACBL nationals for several years, continuously challenging the top seeds for victory.  They performed exceptionally well in the Round Robin stage of this year's Bermuda Bowl, winning the prestigious Butler rankings, which are given to the pair that scores the best against the datum. In doing so, they beat out such top pairs as Italy's Versace-Lauria and Egypt's El Ahmadi-Sadek. This clearly qualifies them as one of the best pairs in the world and solidifies them as a force in American bridge for years to come. I kibitzed Greco-Hampson during their first segment of their Quarterfinal match vs. Argentina on Sunday, October 30th. It was a close match in which Greco-Hampson played solid bridge, forcing the Argentines to earn any swings that were going to take place at their table. Greco-Hampson began board 1 by bidding and playing well to reach 4x= for an nice start to the set. Argentina struck back on board 3 by making a 1 overcall on AKQx, forcing Greco to get conservative with his 10 HCP and 9xxx in Hearts sitting behind the overcall, settling for 2=, when they could likely make 3N (but it wasn't bid at the other table either.) On Board 5 Greco-Hampson generated some action for their side by doubling the Argentines in 2, non-vul vs. vul. They slipped a trick on the defense, but still beat the contract two tricks for +500, a gain against their making non-vulnerable game. They played well the rest of the way, dropping overtricks defending a 1N contract on board 11, but defeating 3N on board 16 while their teammates made 4. It was a good start to their match and solid bridge from the exciting new American stars.

The most interest match to American observers may be in the Venice cup, where USA1 faces USA2. The first two segments were tight, with both teams battling to gain an edge. In the third segment the USA1 took hold of the match with a strong 64-12 IMP beating of USA2 to take a 58 IMP lead at the half. Though USA1 has had much success against USA2 in the last year, expect a strong, difficult match to continue.

One of the most interesting hands of the second segment was board 12. North-South can made either 6 or 6, but few pairs managed to reach the slam. The Italian pair of Fulvio Fantoni and Claudio Nunes reached 6 on an interesting auction and I asked Fantoni about the bidding.

Brd: Q2/6 #12 K J 10 4

Dlr: W J 6 4 2

Vul: NS A J 10 4


 Q 9 3
 8 6

 K 8
 7 3

 K 9 8 7
 Q 6 3 2

 K Q 9 7
 J 6 5 4 2

 A 7 5 2

 A Q 10 9 5


 A 8 3





1PassPassX (1)

Pass1 (2)Pass3 (3)

Pass3 (4)Pass3N (5)

Pass4 (6)Pass4 (7)

Pass4Pass6 (8)

All pass

(1) Two way, 8-11 or 14+ HCP

(2) Any hand without game interest opposite 8-11 HCP

(3) 14+ HCP, good Hearts

(4) Cuebid- Italian Style, 1st or 2nd round control

(5) Waitng, but minimizing hand 14-17

(6) Cuebid, still interested in slam

(7) Cuebid

(8) Slam is likely!



Contract: 6 by N


Well done by the Italians!







An example of the fine play taking place in the USA2-Argentina match came from a slam hand on board 10. Many pairs in the Bermuda Bowl, Venice Cup, and Senior bowl reach 7 and went down when the spade suit of AKJ10xxxxx opposite a void could not be played for no losers because of a 4-0 break. First the USA2 pair reached 7 to get a great result. Then, to the cheers of the Vugraph crowd, the Argentines reached the same nice 7 contract on these cards:

Dlr: E —

Vul: Both A 6 4 3

 A K 9 8 3 2

 Q J 2





 A K J 10 9 8 6 3 2


 Q 7 5






Well done by all!

The Quarterfinals with be completed Monday, October 31st with three final 16 board segments.