Two weeks playing the Bermuda Bowl (world championships) in Chennai ended heartbreakingly for England’s awesome Open Team and their loyal supporters, who watched every board they could on BBO. They had qualified easily to the play-offs and drew USA 1 (the favourites for the gold medal) in the quarter final. After a thrilling match, England emerged victorious and the crowd (well, me and my pet budgie) went mad.
They drew Poland in the semi-final, which turned out to be the most exciting match I can remember. Ninety-six boards were played, and England took the lead for the first time after board 90 — having been over 40 IMPs down at one stage. This is the very last hand of the semi-final and England were up 4.3 IMPs — exactly their carry over:
East/West (England) were never in the bidding as 2♣ from West is conventional over a NT opening. He might have balanced over 2♠ — but who can blame him for passing? England’s Tony Forrester led ♣Ace and continued with ♦6 to the King and Ace. Declarer, Piotr Gawrys, now played ♠9 covered by the Queen and ducked. West continued with ♦10 won by the Queen and Declarer played his second spade, West offering the 8. Declarer went into the tank and all England prayed he would put in the ♠10 and go one off on a cross ruff. When he eventually played the Ace that was 8 tricks and +110.
At the other table, the English South opened 1♦, West overcalled 2♣ and eventually played 3♣ making ten tricks and +130. That was the swing Poland needed. They gained 6 imps to win by 1.7. Poland went on to beat Sweden in the final and become the new world champions. Congrats to them — they played brilliantly — but it’s still heartbreaking.