Sunday, September 13, 2009

The winner takes it all...

Winners of the 2009 Bermuda Bowl
Zia Mahmood, Bob Hamman, Eric Rodwell,Eric Kokish, Jeff Meckstroth, Donna Compton, Nick Nickell, Ralph Katz (photo courtesy daily bulletin)

USA2 took home the trophy with a convincing 36 IMP win over Italy. Having watched almost all of the final and the rest via the vugraph archives, I can say with certainty that Meckstroth and Rodwell, who played throughout during the knockouts, were the standout best pair in the tournament.

They demonstrated exemplary technique, tremendous mental toughness and a solid system to show their worth. On the other hand, the Italians played in a weak manner with (to my mind) obvious psychological weaknesses in their camp.

Lauria mis-saw his partner's bid, Sementa revoked as declarer, Versace made a zero percent play, Nunes failed to count his tricks, Duboin played a winner on a loser....

Bridge, as usual, was all about delivery.

The chief reason the match was not a blowout was because the other USA2 pairs were not exceptional either. Perhaps I am being unfair to the rest of the USA2 team but the truth of competitive bridge is that "Winning absolves you of all your sins."


  1. Congratulations to both USA II and Italy teams.

    I agree with your comments about Meckwell. Over the years I had the opportunity to play against Meckwell, Katz, Zia, and with Fantoni (a short session). In my opinion, Fantoni also stands out in BB finals, and I know he is a very nice player.

  2. It's great to see finally Zia win a much-deserved world championship, as he's a nice guy as well as a great player. He also puts a lot of work into his bridge, which isn't readily apparent. I'm sure this win makes up for the two seconds with Pakistan!!

  3. I watched several of the 8 sessions of the final on BBO Vugraph, and also of the semis and earlier rounds. While it is true that the Italians made uncharacterstic errors (Sementa's revoke, a rare mechanical error, Lauria's 6S/6H debacle), it is unfair to the USA2 team to single out RM. Meckwell did have the occasional inferior contract compared to the other room. Katz-Nickell were simply superb in offence and defence, and Zia-Hamman were consistent and extracted some good penalties and exercised championship bidding judgement, except for an occasional missed contract. Sure, their methods may be less glamorous or super-scientific compared to Meckwell, but I think USA2 brought out the best in all of its pairs.

  4. The Datums were: In Grand Final (only 4 tables)
    in the Qualifying. Perhaps Butler scores can be misleading? Peter Gill.

  5. Any chance of adding me to your blog list: Howard Bigot-Johnson's bizarre world of bridge.
    It's just a tongue-in-cheek blog about the lighter and darker side of bridge. Yours John Howard gibson.

  6. I think some people are missing the point. The issue here isn't about the concept but about the delivery. If you don't get it, then you should really be reading the earlier posts.

  7. Well done by USA. Australia's delivery against USA has been OK ...Results of Australia - USA
    matches at all recent Open World Championships:
    2009: Aus 16 - USA2 14, Aus 19 - USA1 11
    2008 in Beijing: Aus 16 - USA (Nickell) 14
    2007 Aus 22 - USA2 (Nickell) 8, Aus lost twice to USA1 (Jacobs) in Qualifying & Quarter Final
    2005: 15-15 (USA2), 14-16 (USA1 - Nickell)
    2004: Aus 16 - USA 14
    2003: 13-17 (USA1 Nickell), 16.5 - 12.5 (USA2)
    Peter Gill

  8. Peter,
    How about Australia's track record versus Italy ?

  9. We did beat Italy back in 1997. Since then, our losses to Italy are 3-25, 7-23, 12-18, 7-23,
    13-17 and 7-21 (stet, in 2009) plus R16 loss in 2000 by 80 imps over 64 boards and QF loss in 2003 by 112 imps over 96 boards. I wonder if our Aussie delivery against Italy is not as good as it should be, or perhaps our style suits Italy, or pure luck, or (unlike USA) Italy is too good for us (if that is our attitude, it might be a delivery problem). Peter Gill.

  10. I remember the 21-9 win against Italy in 1997. It was on the back of a monster set from Richman/Burgess against Bocchi/Duboin. That Bermuda Bowl was disappointing in a lot of respects, mainly in that Australia was qualifying comfortably at the 2/3 mark, more than 20 ahead of 9th. At the end of the round robin, Australia had slumped to 11th, more than 20 behind 8th. In that BB, the leading contenders were USA 2, Italy and France. Australia drew against USA 2 and got smashed by France.