35th World Interzonal Team Championships, Paris, France Wednesday, 31 October 2001


The IBPA Personality of the Year

Jose Damiani (France)


In 1986 Jose Damiani was made IBPA Personality of the Year. The IBPA has a tradition that no person may be made their Personality of the Year more than once. But special circumstances call for a special response.

The tragic events of 11th September in the USA created the unique situation. Should the World Championships planned over six years for Bali go ahead?

The WBF's immediate and correct response was to show backing for Bali and the hosts, Indonesia. Bali was safe, Indonesia was ready to welcome all its guests. But as the days went by, outside forces darkened, the US Government advised its citizens not to travel to Indonesia, and teams from more than one Zone stated their intention to withdraw. The WBF bowed to the inevitable and, towards the end of September, announced that the Championships would not be held in Bali.

The WBF then faced another difficult problem, what to do now? The President decided, almost single-handed, to switch the venue to Paris and hold the event at the planned time. The decision was courageous - if it had failed he knew it would be called foolhardy.


Three weeks to plan a World Championship. Impossible! The equipment was in a boat headed for Bali that had reached Singapore. Playing accommodation and a hotel for 400 people had to be found, the teams had to be persuaded to come to Paris, a hundred staff had to be re-aligned.

We know the result. Last Monday, every team but, for very understandable reasons, Pakistan, was present in the Stade de France on time. In particular, to their very great credit, Indonesia came to Paris. The WBF President had achieved three of his goals: the Championships would go ahead; bridge was seen to be "for peace"; and as the venue was a rugby stadium, bridge was clearly a sport!

There must have been little sleep for the organisers in the three weeks before the championships began. There is a saying "Cometh the hour, cometh the man". That is why we are breaking tradition and making our Personality for the Year, for the second time, Jose Damiani.

The IBPA Sportsmanship Award

An occasional award made for acts away from the table that earn the admiration of fellow bridge-players

Andrew Robson (GB)


In January this year Zia Mahmood and Andrew Robson retained their title in what many rate to be the world's toughest Pairs tournament, the Cap Gemini. Robson, happily married with a young child, a successful bridge club in London, and a bridge column in one of the world's most respected newspapers, the London Times, was a man to be envied. Less than a month later fate dealt a cruel blow.

Hill-walking was one of Andrew's favourite pastimes. Relaxing in England's beautiful Lake District, he left his wife and child at the hotel, and went for a walk on his own. Slipping on black ice, he fell some thirty feet down a ravine. He was too badly injured to use his mobile 'phone. After some hours, he was fortunately seen by another walker, who called the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team. He was flown by RAF helicopter to the Lake District hospital.

The list of his injuries was horrific. It would be quicker to name the bones which were not broken! His future was in jeopardy. But the good news was that the brain was undamaged. To a bridge-player that meant the other problems had a longterm solution.

After five months of intensive and courageous recuperation, Robson's recovery confounded the medics. He took to the bridge-table again at the American Nationals in July with distinction. He has renewed a partnership with Tony Forrester that, ten years ago, was Britain's best-known. Their team has reached the last four of the England's Trials to determine England's representatives for next year's Europeans.

For his spectacular recovery from adversity we give our Sportmanship Award to Andrew Robson.

Robson became World Junior Champion in 1989, and won the Macallan Pairs in 1990 with Tony Forrester. In 1991 he was European Team champion.

The Digital Fountain Hand of the Year

Player: David Berkowitz (USA)
Journalist: Jody Latham (USA)

Bulletin 431 page 3; ACBL Nationals at Birmingham, Alabama Nov 2000

Larry Cohen and David Berkowitz appeared to be on their way to victory in the Blue Ribbon Pairs when they had a monumental 69% game in the first final session. They finished fourth.

Early in the fourth session they scored a triumph on this exceptionally tough hand:

Board 26. Dealer East. Both Vulnerable
  ª Q J 10 6 5 4 3 2
© J
¨ Q J 10 7
§ -
ª -
© K 7 4
¨ A K 8 6 2
§ K Q J 5 3
Bridge deal ª A K 9 8
© A 6 3
¨ 9 3
§ A 10 8 6
  ª 7
© Q 10 9 8 5 2
¨ 5 4
§ 9 7 4 2

West North East South
Cohen   Berkowitz  
    1NT(a) Pass
2ª(b) 4ª 5§ (c) Pass
5¨ Pass 5© Pass
7§ All Pass    

(a) 14-16 HCP.
(b) Transfer to clubs.
(c) See IBPA Editor's comments later

South led a spade, and Berkowitz won the ace while pitching a heart from dummy. He found out about the 4-0 trump split when he led a club to the king. (It looks safe to cash the §A instead of crossing to the king, but you go down if you cash the §A.)
Berkowitz took his top diamonds and then ruffed a third diamond with the 10 (South throwing a heart). He then led ªK. If South ruffs declarer can easily set up the diamonds and pick up trumps, so South threw a second heart and West a diamond. Berkowitz now ruffed a spade (South throwing another heart) and cashed the ©K. Next came dummy's last diamond, which he ruffed with the ace (South throwing a fourth heart). Now came the eight of trumps, covered by South. Berkowitz crossed back to his own hand with the ©A and finished with a trump coup. At that point, dummy was down to the §Q-5 and South had the §7-4.

IBPA Editor: Following a query from Anders Wirgren of the 5§ call (see 432.16) Berkowitz gave his logic in 434.16. Responder, holding four hearts and long clubs, starts with Stayman. The bidding suggests responder has at most four, say three, cards in the majors and so no losers there. You make 5§ opposite a hand as weak as:
ª - © xxx ¨ xxx § Kxxxxxx

Others on the shortlist were: Boye Brogeland (Nor) by Tommy Sandsmark (435.14); Geir Helgemo (Nor) by Patrick Jourdain (437.8); Kerri Sanborn (USA) by Drew Cannell (437.13); Henrik Caspersen (Den) by Svend Novrup for e-bridge (438.7)

The Romex Award for Best Auction

Players: Henry Mansell - Craig Gower (South Africa)
Journalist: Mark Horton (England)

African Zonal Championships, Cairo Feb, 2001
Bulletin 434 page 4

Dealer: North. E/W Game.
  ª 8 3 2
© A Q 5
¨ Q J 10 7
§ 10 8 2
ª J 9 7 5
© 7 3
¨ 5 3
§ 9 6 5 4 3
Bridge deal ª K Q 10 6 4
© 9 8 4
¨ 8 6 4
§ Q 7
  ª A
© K J 10 6 2
¨ A K 9 2
§ A K J

Open Room
West North East South
Blanc Mansell Drieux Gower
  Pass Pass 2§*
Pass 2¨* Pass 2©
Pass 3© Pass 3ª*
Pass 4¨* Pass 4NT*
Pass 5§* Pass 5¨*
Pass 5NT* Pass 6§*
Pass 6¨ Pass 7¨
All Pass      


North's first response was two-way and when he bid Three Hearts at his next turn he showed a positive with heart support. Three Spades was a serious slam try and Four Diamonds was a feature. Then RKCB established that North held the top hearts, no side king and the queen of diamonds. South suggested that Seven Diamonds might be the top spot and North was happy to agree.

That was a brilliant effort after hearts had been agreed. It earned South Africa 10 IMPs when Vidal-Telgone in the Closed Room reached Six Hearts on this unopposed auction:

Craig Gower
  The problem for North/South is to find a way to play in diamonds, where, providing the trumps break 3-2, 13 tricks are available irrespective of the position of the §Q.  
Henry Mansell

North's first response promised a red ace but diamonds were never in the picture.

Others on the short list: Sigsgaard-Hagen by e-bridge (Maastricht.7); Charlsen-Saelensminde (Nor) by Lederer staff (433.8); Hanlon-McGann (Ire) by Seamus Dowling (438.9)

The Carey Limousine Award for Best Defence

Players: Jan Jansma-Louk Verhees (Net)
Journalist: Jan van Cleeff (Net)

Dutch National Teams Semifinal, 2000
Consolation mention: Erik Kirchhoff (Net)
Bulletin 433 page 14

Onstein vs Lombard

Dealer North. N/S Game.
  ª A J 8 6 4 3
© 8
¨ A 5 4
§ K 7 2
ª 7 2
© K Q J 10 6
¨ J 10 6
§ J 10 3
Bridge deal ª K Q 2
© 7 4 3
¨ 8 3
§ A Q 6 5 4
  ª 10 9
© A 9 5 2
¨ K Q 9 7 2
§ 9 8

West North East South
Jansma Eskes Verhees Von Seida
  1ª Pass 1NT
Pass 2ª Pass 3ª
Pass 4ª All Pass  

After Ruud von Seida's inspired raise to 3ª, Onno Eskes pushed on to game, a contract that in fact depends more or less on reasonable breaks in diamonds and spades. Even with both spade honours offside the contract appears to have chances.
East led a heart for the Ace and declarer immediately passed the ª10 to East's Queen. Louk Verhees recognized the problem -how to win two club tricks- and found the answer to the puzzle. He returned the §Q! This gave declarer an unexpected club trick, but it also cost him his game. If he cashes the ace of trumps and then tries to get a discard on a diamond, East will ruff and cash two club tricks. If declarer crosses to dummy for another trump finesse, Verhees would win, lead a club to partner's Jack and win the setting trick with §A.
On the actual layout a low club lead would have worked equally well. However, leading the §Q is a much better play as it caters to a possible §10 in declarer's hand. In that case, had East led a LOW club to the Jack and King, declarer would return a club, which East would have to win. East can now not prevent declarer from ruffing a club in dummy without sacrificing his second trump trick. Thus, leading the §Q created an essential entry in West's hand for a trump return, as well as establishing a second defensive club trick. At the other table the NS pair stopped at a partscore which they made.
The deal is a double IBPA award candidate because Erik Kirchhoff, player of Hok Transfer Solutions, defending the same contract in the other semi-final match versus Modalfa, led exactly the same brilliant card as Louk Verhees did! Kirchhoff gained for this team 13 imps since the declarer at the other table went one down in the same contract.
Others on the short-list were: Pavo Marinkovic (Croatia) by Maastricht staff (Maastricht.14); David Berkowitz (USA) by Larry Cohen (431.4); Zia Mahmood (USA) by Anders Wirgren (433.2); Kyle Larsen (USA) by Alan Truscott (439.13)

The okBridge Award for a Junior

Player: Jan Einar Saethre (Norway)
Journalist: Knut Kjaernsrød (Nor)

Norwegian Bridge Festival, August 2000
Bulletin 428 page 10 and 11

This last board is really the icing on the cake and was played in the Open teams final:

Dealer North. Love all.
  ª 10 8 7 6 4 3 2
© 9 6
¨ J
§ Q J 3
ª A K J
© K 7 2
¨ Q 7 6
§ A 10 4 2
Bridge deal ª 9
© A J 10 3
¨ A 4 3 2
§ K 9 7 6
  ª Q 5
© Q 8 5 4
¨ K 10 9 8 5
§ 8 5

East West
Jan Einar Sæthre Gunnar Harr
1§ 2§
2¨ 2©
3© 4§
4¨ 4NT
5¨ 5©
6§ Pass

2§ was Forcing and allowed East to describe his hand.

Everybody gathered round the table thought it would be impossible to land the contract but the junior Jan Einar Sæthre of Tromsø played brilliantly to prove the opposite.
He took the queen of spade lead with the ace and cashed the king and ace of trumps. (North showed three by contributing the knave and three). On two rounds of spades Jan Einar shed two diamonds and South one. North was placed with only three unknown cards and, Jan Einar cashed the ace of hearts and ran the knave to leave this position:

  ª 10 8 7 2
© -
¨ J
§ Q
ª -
© K
¨ Q 7 6
¨ 4 2
Bridge deal ª -
© 10 3
¨ A 2
§ 7 6
  ª -
© Q 8
¨ K 10 9 8
§ -

North's last unknown card was revealed when East cashed the ace of diamonds. North was put in with the queen of clubs as South came down to two cards in each red suit.
North had to continue spades on which East shed a diamond and West, dummy, trumped. In this process South was criss-cross squeezed. If he bared his queen of hearts, Jan Einar would cash dummy's king before trumping a diamond, and baring his diamond king would do no better. Brilliant !
IBPA Editor: Another report of this deal was submitted later by Tommy Sandsmark.

Others on the short-list were: Steve de Donder (Bel) by e-bridge (Maastricht.7); Augustin Madala (Argentina) by Matt Granovetter (429.16 and 8); Jeroen Bruggeman (Net) by Patrick Jourdain (437.10); Niek Brink (Net) by World Junior staff (439.6/7).

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