The case for apartness

July 30, 1961

Since I am alifelong bachelor, let me make it plain that this is not a commentary on whatmatrimony does for or to a bridge partnership. It is merely a chronicle of whathappened at a recent mixed pair championship. As the name suggests, entry insuch events is restricted to pairs composed of one male and one female. Sincethis same requirement governs issuance of a marriage license, it is notsurprising that about half the mixed pair entries are husband-and-wife duos; asoften as not, victory goes to such a pair.

In the EasternStates Championships, however, some kind of record was set when the mixed pairtitle was taken, not by a married pair or an unmarried pair, but by ade-married pair, the charming Edith Kemp and her former husband, ErwinSeligman. Here is a deal in which their mutual trust contributed substantiallyto success.

The victory ofthis team was no overwhelming surprise, by the way. Mrs. Kemp has long beenrecognized as one of the country's top performers among women bridge players.Seligman, though lately absent from the tournament scene, was a familiarcompetitor in early contract-bridge tournaments. Yet the fact is, that thoughthey played together frequently in former years, they were never achampionship-winning pair while married to one another.

This time it wasdifferent. In the deal shown here they managed to get to the only makable gameon a combined seven-card trump suit, choosing that unusual contractdeliberately.

The first twobids by each of the partners require little explanation. Mrs. Kemp bid her longclub suit first; Seligman showed his biddable heart suit; Mrs. Kemp then showedher shorter but powerful spade suit and Seligman naturally returned to clubs,the suit for which he had better support. Then came East's belated entry intothe auction with a powerful diamond suit. This provided Mrs. Kemp with theopportunity for a brilliant bid. She wanted to be sure of getting to game, butshe wasn't certain where. If her partner held a diamond stopper, the bestNorth-South contract would almost certainly be three no trump. So, in spite oftwo losing diamonds in her hand, she cue-bid the opponents' suit.

It was obvious toher partner that this bid could not be showing strength in diamonds, for ifSouth had a diamond stopper in her own hand she would surely have bid no trumpherself. Hence, the "asking" character of the diamond bid was apparent.Not having a diamond stopper, North showed the next important feature of hisown hand, three-card spade support. That bid, when viewed in terms of hisearlier bids, gave a strong indication of North's complete distribution.Concluding that there were only two diamonds in North's hand, South saw thather own trump length could not be shortened by a third diamond lead, so she bidfour spades.

When dummy wasput down, it showed exactly what North had promised. After winning two diamondtricks, the defenders could not make the South hand ruff by continuing thesuit. Consequently, declarer lost only two diamonds and one heart trick, makingfour spades. These same losers, however, would have defeated a five-clubcontract.

EXTRA TRICK
A combined seven-card trump suit will frequently offer a satisfactory vehicleto game, especially when the partnership's weak suit can be ruffed by theshort-trump hand.

Both sides vulnerable North dealer

NORTH

[Jack of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[Queen of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

WEST

[9 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[10 of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[8 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[7 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]

EAST

[10 of Spades]
[8 of Spades]
[Jack of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[5 of Hearts]
[7 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[10 of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

NORTH
(Seligman)

PASS
1 [Heart]
2 [Club]
3 [Spade]
PASS

EAST

PASS
PASS
2 [Diamond]
PASS
PASS

SOUTH
(Mrs. Kemp)

1 [Club]
1 [Spade]
3 [Diamond]
4 [Spade]

WEST

PASS
PASS
PASS
PASS

Opening lead: king of diamonds

TWO ILLUSTRATIONS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)