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
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
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
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
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