The 42nd Bermuda Bowl has kicked off in Chennai, and after several weeks of cheat-busting Boye Brogeland (‘The Sheriff’) has kept his promise to give us a clean World Championship. Four European teams qualified with cheats — oh sorry, Mr Smirnov; ‘ethical violations’ on your part — and were replaced by squads from France, Denmark and Sweden, while Poland lost its most experienced pair, Balicki/Zmudzinski, and is playing a team of four.
The only Euro teams that survived with their reputations intact are England and Bulgaria. Geir Helgemo, probably the greatest player in the world, and his partner Tor Helness pulled out when their teammates were exposed as cheats. It is unimaginable to have a World Championship without them, but their team, Monaco, honourably withdrew as soon as the allegations were proved.
I’ll console myself by reliving the play produced by Geir on this hand at the last Bermuda Bowl:
The 4♥ opening was aggressive, but North’s raise to slam was clear. If West had found the killing Diamond lead, you wouldn’t be reading about this hand, but he chose instead a passive trump. Geir won in dummy and tried the ♠Queen, covered and ruffed. After a second trump to dummy, he threw two Diamonds on the Ace and Jack of Spades and ruffed a Spade high, but the ten did not appear. Next came four rounds of trumps, and East started to look uncomfortable. On the last trump, dummy let go of the ♦Queen, keeping three Clubs and the ♠9 and East parted with the ♦Ace. Reading the situation perfectly, Geir played a Club to the Ace in dummy and put East on play with the ♠10 — forcing him to lead away from the ♣Queen in the two card ending. It won’t be the same without you, Helgy.