The 43rd World Bridge Championships held in Lyon has just ended after two intense weeks and hundreds of boards. The first week saw 22 teams from around the world play a complete round robin, the top eight qualifying for the play-off.
The USA entered two teams, both of whom made the quarter-final, but only one made it the whole way. USA2 had an extraordinary success, particularly in the semi-final playing against Bulgaria. About halfway through they were 46 imps down, with their prospects looking bleaker by the minute. Marty Fleisher was playing with the great Chip Martel, who won his first world title in 1985. Marty decided a big swing was needed to inject some life into his ailing team. This is the hand that, IMHO, changed the momentum of both the match and the tournament. Fleisher bid — and Martel made — a 0 per cent slam and from there led USA2 to the winners’ podium.
Marty must have been feeling the lurve, as frankly his 6♣ bid makes no sense and indeed is straight off on a spade lead. But fortune favours the brave and West led his singleton Heart which Chip won in hand with the Jack. He followed with two top trumps to dummy and played a heart to the… 8! He cashed the ♦A, drew the last trump and played the ♦K discarding a Spade in hand. Now he played a heart to the Queen, cashed the ♥A and exited a Spade to East’s singleton Ace, who, with only diamonds left, was endplayed to give a ruff and sluff for an unbelievable +920 and a 21 imp swing. USA2 went on to win the semi quite comfortably and met France in the final — beating them by a heart-stopping two imps and claiming the title. Bravo.