The Buffett Cup, a competition reminiscent of Golf’s Ryder Cup in its structure, begins today. Europe and the USA confront each other in individual, pair and team competitions. Every match carries points to the winning team and the team that reaches a 100 points first wins (there are a potential 198 points at stake to be won over four days of competition: in the case of a 99:99 tie the trophy remains in Europe).
Today – 13th September – the pairs matches are taking place; tomorrow, and for part of the 15th , the team matches will follow; finally, the individual matches will take place on the 15th and 16th.
Paolo Garrisi has already posted information about the event in general, so we will try just to follow the performances of our own pairs.
In the pairs, Duboin-Sementa are matched up against Sontag-Berkowitz whilst Fantoni-Nunes face Hamman-Zia. We will be specifically following the results of Antonio and Georgino, yet comparing them with those achieved by Hampson-Gitelman and the European couple of Auken-Von Arnim. The comparison will be BAM (Board A Match) over 11 boards in which every hand is worth 2 points to the winning side and 1 each for an equal score. (This is the scoring system prevalent in Europe. In the States, and on BBO, the BAM score is calculated as 1-0,0.5-0.5,0-1 respectively).
As is characteristic of this type of match, all 6 pairs from each continent are obliged to play the same system, and this system should be natural and easily understood by someone who considers herself intermediate.
On Board 1, Antonio plays a 3 Diamond contract splendidly, and with a trump play brings home 10 tricks and +130. This compared well with the 110 in 2 spades for the Americans and brought the first partial to Europe. There is no information about Board 2, but we can see that the Americans at our table made a normal number of tricks in NT… we shall see in the comparisons. Board 3 is of interest where the contract is 6D. As an aside, the problem rests in not losing more than one trick in the following spade layout. AT62 opposite Q84. We will never know how Georgino played it, other than that he executed a correct play and notched up 920 in his column. For the sake of the commentary the KJ93 were behind the Q84. It was a level board however inasmuch as Fred Gitelman played the hand wisely too.
On board 4, whilst the Italians went off in 1NT, at the other table Von Arnim played 3S very well to make. The results were therefore 5-1 to the Europeans at this stage. In fact, 5-3 as the director awarded Board 2 to the Americans. Still, Board 5 saw the Germans bid 5D (going off 2) over 4S (the last making contract) leaving the Americans to take a losing option – either to double 5D or to bid 5S going 1 off. The last option was the final choice.
Boards 6 and 7 should have been shared ( i say should have been because the play was not followed on vugraph and a claim of 12 tricks was made and the operator scored a point more or less on a whim); to jump to the defence of the organisers of this event, the operators followed the play to the last card (with a special mention of the Fellus brothers, two otherwise excellent players), had functioning sites and a running score most of the time; if , at this time, one opened the poorly-constructed Power, that were blocked, it warned you that they would soon be active. However, the movies didn’t compare some results yet they showed up in the table data.
Now, it was enough to break even on at least 1 of the 2 last boards to win the match, and with a big effort of imagination it appeared that board 10 was going to run in favour of the Europeans. The last hand therefore was redundant.
We could say that we have started off very well from a bridge point of view. On the other hand, the bridge has been of the highest standard, by just considering the make-up of the 2 teams, and it will certainly be enjoyable. With the judgement of the organisation remaining sound, the Buffett Cup will happen every 2 years, unless something unfavourable happens in the meantime.
By Gluckenval, translated by Slothy