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U.S. Wins Big!

  by Richard Pavlicek

As I write this, the U.S. is completing the biggest rout in world-championship history, beating Brazil in the final of the Bermuda Bowl by an incredible margin of 218 IMPs. The six-man squad of Hamman-Soloway, Meckstroth-Rodwell and Nickell-Freeman were merciless, proving once again they are the most formidable team in the world.

This deal from the final (rotated for convenience) caught my interest as Jeff Meckstroth became declarer in 4 H. North’s 2 NT bid may look peculiar, but in the “Meckwell” system it showed a limit heart raise, and South jumped directly to game.

South dealsS K J 7 6 3 2WestNorthEastSouth
Both vulH K 5 31 H
D J 82 D2 NTPass4 H
C Q JPassPassPass
S Q 5TableS A 10 9 8
H 10 6H 9 4 2
D K Q 10 7 3 2D 4
C A 5 3C 10 9 7 4 2
S 4
H A Q J 8 7
D A 9 6 5
4 H SouthC K 8 6

Meckstroth won the D A, cashed one top heart, and led a spade to the king — a routine misguess based on the inference of West’s bid. The Brazilian East won and returned a club to his partner’s ace; then came the D Q and another diamond. Meckstroth handled this with ease, ruffing with the H K, then ruffing a spade to drop the queen. After drawing trumps, he could reach dummy with a club to win the S J and his game.

A stronger defense would have set the contract, and the key was patience. West should duck the first club lead (South clearly must have the king) forcing declarer to waste his club entry to dummy early, after which there is no path to 10 tricks. Try it and you will see the frustration for declarer.

The magnitude of the U.S. win is emphasized when you realize that if Brazil had gotten this deal right, they would “only” have lost by 206 IMPs. Sigh.

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© 2000 Richard Pavlicek