Shangai hands (14) - Almost flat

As you know, there are 22 teams in the Round Robin, so each board is played 22 times in the Bermuda Bowl. I haven't perused al the records but I have not so far found a board that was flat at all 11 matches, nor do I expect to find one (let alone one that would be flat allover, i.e. also in the Venice Cup and Senior Cup). Good candidates for totally flat boards are the four-of-a-major boards where two aces are missing. Not so much the 1NT-3NT boards at such high levels where various notrump ranges break the uniformity that might prevail at club level.
: Anyway, the closest I have come to a totally flat board was Board 8 of Round 16. At 19 out of 22 tables in the Bermuda Bowl, this was a 4H contract, just making. In our featured table, when Italy met with Netherlands, there was a twist: the score was the same, 420, but the contract was different, 4S. I am not privy to the Fantunes system, but apparently they cannot show a major 5-6 with longer hearts after an 1NT opening, so they reached the 5-2 fit spade instead. No harm done, since this contract also made, for 420.


Brd 8    74
West     72
None     AQ72
K3               A852
JT5              K4
KT65             843
K874             9652
De Wijs          Muller

 W   N   E   S
 P   1NT P   2H
 P   2S  P   4H
 P   4S  P   P
The real odd men out where those N-S pairs that played... 3NT with this South hand and... you guessed it, one of them were Katz-Jacobs for USA 1. They even managed to make 11 tricks (two more than double-dummy, well done). The other case was not USA 2 but the Japan team, though. Still, I can see this board as a further evidence of a national obsession with notrumps, as I facetiously wrote here, or perhaps just an influence of too much matchpoints.

Another twist now: there is a double-dummy defence against 4H: King of spades lead, another spade, spade back ruffed high by West and then... 10 of diamonds. Wouldn't declarer go up ace? Obviously, no-one led the king of spades... or, to be more accurate, there were two who led it but it was against 2H in the Venice/Senior Cup (it seems that ladies and seniors are tamer, since not all went to game with the N-S hands).

Nikos Sarantakos

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