ACBL Bridge Beat #78: 1970 Bermuda Bowl

1970 was hardly a vintage year for the world championships. After threatening to do so in several previous years, the Blue Team retired as undefeated Bermuda Bowl champions. So the test between the champions of the Old World and the New was not to be. In theory this should have made for one of the most open Bermuda Bowls in years, but again it was a one sided affair.

As in previous years, the event was played in two stages. In the qualifying rounds, each team met each of its opponents in three separate 32-board matches. The maximum any team could win in any one match was 20 Victory Points, but teams that were beaten badly could suffer a minus score. The two teams with the greatest total of VPs at the end of the 15 qualifying rounds were to meet in four separate 32-board matches to decide the winner of the Bermuda Bowl, with VPs on the same scale as the qualifying rounds. This was a departure from previous years when the final had always been played as one long match.

The International Match Point difference between teams in each match were converted to Victory Points according to the following scale:

0-2 10-10
3-6 11-9
7-10 12-8
11-14 13-7
15-19 14-6
20-24 15-5
25-29 16-4
30-35 17-3
36-41 18-2
42-48 19-1
49-64 20-0
65-74 20-minus 2
75-84 20-minus 3
85-99 20-minus 4
Over 100 20-minus 5

The six young pros from Dallas – the Aces – were superior in all phases of the game. They ran away with the qualifying rounds and were the only team to have a positive score. The standings: North America 229 (+489); China 151 (-27); Brazil 136 (-31); Norway 118 (-91); Italy 105 (-240). Despite being edged the first session of the finals, The Aces had the title safely wrapped-up by the third of the four sessions.

It was on defense that the Aces far out-classed the rest.

Deal: 17 C

The North Americans started the second half of the round-robin against Brazil with a 7 IMP lead and more than doubled it on the first board by better defense.

Dlr: North ♠ J 9 6 5 2
Vul: None 9 7 4
A 4
♣ 8 7 3
♠ K 7 4 ♠ A Q 8
A K Q J 5 2
K J 9 3 8 7 6
♣ 6 5 4 ♣ Q 10 9 2
♠ 10 3
10 8 6 3
Q 10 5 2
♣ A K J

Closed Room

Assumpcao Goldman Chagas Eisenberg
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass
1NT Pass 3NT All Pass

The opening lead of the five of spades was won by dummy’s queen, and the six of diamonds was passed to North’s Ace. The nine of hearts shift was won in the closed hand, a club was lead to the nine and Jack and a heart was continued, declarer winning. A club to the 10 lost to the king, and South cleared the heart suit. Dummy was entered with the spade Ace and the seven of diamonds was covered by the 10, declarer’s jack winning. West tried the king of diamonds, but when the suit failed to break, he only had eight tricks.

North America (+50)

Open Room

Jacoby Barros Wolff Ferreira
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass
1NT Pass 2♣ Pass
2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

The opening lead was the same as in the closed room, but here declarer elected to win in his own hand and go after the clubs. The finesse of the nine lost to the jack and South slipped when he shifted to the deuce of diamonds, North taking the three with the ace and returning the four to the 10 and jack.

A club lost to the king and now South shifted to hearts, but too late. Declarer won, crossed to the queen of spades and finesse the nine of diamonds for his ninth trick.

The auction should have warned South off the diamond shift. Jacoby’s 2NT rebid had denied a major suit, so a minor suit lead had to be risky.

North America (+400)
Net score: North America +450 (10 IMPs)

Deal: 21 C

After a series of small reverses, the Aces re-established their lead when Jacoby found a killing attack.

Dlr: North ♠ Q 9 8 7
Vul: N-S 2
A 5 4
♣ A K J 6 5
♠ A 4 2 ♠ K J 10 5 3
J 7 6 3 K 8
6 3 2 J 10 9 8
♣ 10 8 3 ♣ Q 4
♠ 6
A Q 10 9 5 4
K Q 7
♣ 9 7 2

Closed Room

Assumpcao Goldman Chagas Eisenberg
West North East South
1♣ 1♠ 2
Pass 2NT Pass 3
Pass 3NT All Pass

A standard auction allowed North to become declarer at 3NT. East led a spade to the ace, won the spade return with the 10 and tried to get his partner back on lead for another spade. He shifted to the jack of diamonds and the defenders had no further hope of defeating the contract. North won the ace of diamonds, cashed the ace of clubs and entered dummy with the queen of diamonds. The club finesse lost, but as the king of hearts was onside a spade was the defender’s only other trick.

North America (N-S) + 600

Open Room

Jacoby Barros Wolff Ferreira
West North East South
1♠ Pass 2
Pass 3♣ Pass 3NT
All Pass

In canapé style, North opened his four-card major suit and bid his clubs over South’s 2 response. The result was that South became declarer at 3NT.

As the bidding had guaranteed that North held no more than four spades (in Neapolitan style he would have to rebid a five-card suit at the two-level), Jacoby found the imaginative lead of a low spade. East won the 10, returned the suit to his partner’s ace and another spade insured five tricks for the defenders. Wolff then put declarer to the test by shifting to his eight of hearts. Declarer decided to decline the heart finesse in favor of the club suit. He took the ace of hearts, led a club to the ace, reentered dummy with a high diamond and finessed the jack of clubs. Wolff took the club queen and the heart king for a three trick set.

North America (E-W) +300
Net score: North America +900 (14 IMPs)

In the round-robin against Italy, the North Americans were playing excellent bridge and the points were piling up. Imaginative defense by Bob Hamman accounted for 11 IMPs on this board.

Deal 25-B

Dlr: North ♠ Q 5
Vul: E-W A Q 4
Q 4
♣ K Q J 6 3 2
♠ 9 6 2 ♠ K J 8
J 8 2 K 10 7 5
A K J 8 3 2 7
♣ 4 ♣ 10 9 8 7 5
♠ A 10 7 4 3
9 6 3
10 9 6 5
♣ A

Closed Room

Tersch Wolff Cesati Jacoby
West North East South
2♣ Pass 2♠
Pass 2NT Pass 3NT
All Pass

The “Orange Club” opening bid was the equivalent of a standard one club bid, and South’s response was natural and non-forcing. However, North was absolute maximum for his bid and made a game try that South was happy to accept.

East led the five of hearts to the jack and queen, declarer led a club to the ace and led a low spade to the queen. East took his king and continued with the king of hearts to declarer’s ace. The king of clubs brought the bad news that the suit was divided 5-1. Declarer cashed the jack and queen of clubs, then finessed the 10 of spades. When that suit divided evenly, South claimed nine tricks as he had discarded a spade on the fourth club.

North America (N-S) +400

Open Room

Lawrence Morini Hamman Barbarisi
West North East South
1 Pass 1♠
2♣ Pass 2♠
Pass 2NT Pass 3NT
All Pass

The contract and the first three tricks were exactly the same as in the Closed Room. However, when Hamman won the king of spades he realized that he had clubs stopped and that the spade suit was a potential threat. Accordingly he returned the eight of spades!

From declarer’s point of view, a spade finesse at this point was sheer folly – if it lost, the defenders would certainly cash three diamond tricks to beat him. The club suit offered plain sailing to his goal, so he went up with the ace of spades, entered his hand with the ace of hearts and soon learned the unfortunate club split. Seven tricks was the limit of the hand.

North America (E-W) +100
Net score: North America +500 (11 IMPs)

The Zoom Room is available Monday through Friday, 3:30 pm-5:30 pm (Eastern).

Getting help is easier than ever with the ACBL Zoom Chat service.
Simply click the "Join Zoom Chat" button below to be taken to our dedicated zoom room.
Once there, click the "Launch Meeting" button to start your session. To hear us and vice-versa - don't forget to "Join with computer audio."

If the Zoom Room isn't available and you need answers, you can email us at

Join Zoom Chat