SI Vault
 
Champions though married
Charles Goren
September 05, 1960
The big surprise at the Nationals was the victory of the happy Portugals
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 05, 1960

Champions Though Married

The big surprise at the Nationals was the victory of the happy Portugals

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

2 N.T.
PASS
PASS

NORTH
( Mrs. Sobel )

PASS
3 [Spade]
PASS

EAST
( Kay )

3 [Club]
PASS
PASS

Hirschberg's two no-trump bid was of the "unusual" variety, which was sorely misused and thoroughly clobbered throughout the tournament. It called for partner to choose between the minor suits. So, with six hearts and five spades, East had to bid his doubleton club. Schenken's double was for penalties, and when Helen Sobel took him out, his three no-trump bid represented pique rather than superior strategy. But the maestro proceeded to justify this "impossible" call by bringing home an impossible contract. And it was that much abused "unusual no trump" that provided comfort to the enemy.

West led the club 6, and East's 9 forced South's 10. South led the king of diamonds. West refused this trick and the next diamond lead as well. Schenken used his lone lead from dummy to play the heart 10, covered by East's jack and won by the queen. South's last diamond put West in, and Hirschberg, convinced that East must have three clubs, made the unfortunate choice of cashing the club ace and continuing the suit.

South's queen won, and it was now apparent that West had started with two five-card minors. South cashed the ace of hearts, and when West followed there was no doubt he also held a singleton spade. So Schenken led a low spade and West had to take his ace. Back in with a club, South had time to establish another heart by leading the 9 to East's king. The spade king and the heart 8 gave Schenken his eighth and ninth tricks, and a miraculous but meticulously played game contract was worth 740 points, or 6 IMP's, on the combined scores at the two tables.

In the Life Master Pairs a different pair led after each of the four sessions. Before the final match word went out that several pairs were in the running. The eventual winners, the Portugals, were never mentioned, but they compiled a rock-crusher in the last round and sailed by four other teams, each of which had a chance to win almost up to the final hand.

Helen Sobel and I were making a strong bid to annex the Von Zedtwitz cup for the third time. But with a score that ordinarily would win most pair championships, we had to be content with a fifth-place finish, about one full board behind the winners. Between us and the "Ports," as they are known in Los Angeles, came Texans Smith and Wolff, Warren Blank and Breslauer of Los Angeles and Sam Fry Jr. and Koytchou of New York.

Continue Story
1 2 3