In an interview with Jan van Cleeff (Bridgetopics.com) the day before the match, Norberto Bocchi had admitted that the most dangerous team for Italy could be The Netherlands. And against Netherlands Italy will find the second defeat (the first was against USA2 in Round 8 ) on a round robin that is a triumphal march for Blue Team.
The match is exciting. After the first two boards, Italy trailed -25 imps, but after the fourth hand the score is already a draw, 25 to 25. At the last board Holland leads by 44 imps to 26.
In the open room Norberto Bocchi and Agustin Madala bid a slam: 6 diamonds; in closed room Verhees and Van Prooijen stop just 5 diamonds. Italy gains 11 imps and reduces the margin of defeat: the final score is 44 to 37, which translated into VP becomes 16 to 14 for the Netherlands, who wins the match but by a very narrow margin.
The hand is the following:
We asked Norberto Bocchi to explain the bid.
“In this sequence – Norberto explains – 2NT shows a reverse hand with 6 cards in diamonds; the points could be 16-18 or more than 19. After 3 clubs (relais), my 3 hearts shows stop in hearth and 19+ points. Agustin’s auction 4 diamonds shows fit, of course; 4 spades means an odd number of aces out of 5 and control in spades. As you see, it’s not a slam too hard to call when the system works”.