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The case for apartness
Charles Goren
July 31, 1961
Since I am a lifelong bachelor, let me make it plain that this is not a commentary on what matrimony does for or to a bridge partnership. It is merely a chronicle of what happened at a recent mixed pair championship. As the name suggests, entry in such events is restricted to pairs composed of one male and one female. Since this same requirement governs issuance of a marriage license, it is not surprising that about half the mixed pair entries are husband-and-wife duos; as often as not, victory goes to such a pair.
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July 31, 1961

The Case For Apartness

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

In the Eastern States Championships, however, some kind of record was set when the mixed pair title was taken, not by a married pair or an unmarried pair, but by a de-married pair, the charming Edith Kemp and her former husband, Erwin Seligman. Here is a deal in which their mutual trust contributed substantially to success.

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

This time it was different. In the deal shown here they managed to get to the only makable game on a combined seven-card trump suit, choosing that unusual contract deliberately.

The first two bids by each of the partners require little explanation. Mrs. Kemp bid her long club suit first; Seligman showed his biddable heart suit; Mrs. Kemp then showed her 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 into the auction with a powerful diamond suit. This provided Mrs. Kemp with the opportunity for a brilliant bid. She wanted to be sure of getting to game, but she wasn't certain where. If her partner held a diamond stopper, the best North-South contract would almost certainly be three no trump. So, in spite of two losing diamonds in her hand, she cue-bid the opponents' suit.

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

When dummy was put down, it showed exactly what North had promised. After winning two diamond tricks, the defenders could not make the South hand ruff by continuing the suit. Consequently, declarer lost only two diamonds and one heart trick, making four spades. These same losers, however, would have defeated a five-club contract.

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

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