Tournament bridge players contend quite rightly that theirs is a game of skill. Toward the close of a major team championship, however, when only the most skillful have survived, the lucky bounce may decide who gets the silverware. Throughout the final rounds of the recent Vanderbilt Cup matches, Alvin Roth often gazed at the ceiling—but not to seek inspiration. He was beseeching the favors of fortune. His prayers were heard, for Roth's team—captained by Clifford Russell, with William Seamon, Harry Harkavy, Mrs. Edith Kemp and Albert Weiss—won this most historic of all bridge trophies in a playoff, and fortune helped on the hand below. It was played in a semifinal match against Sidney Silodor, Norman Kay, John Crawford and George Rapee.
In one room where the hand was being contested, Seamon watched the bidding move to six spades and then doubled. The contract was defeated by 500 points, but Seamon was quick to apologize to his partner for doubling. South might have decided to try six no trump, a contract that could have been defeated only by a club lead from West. So, the champions-to-be prospered in spite of the double at that table.
A little later, in another room, Russell and Harkavy had the offensive hands, and a quirk in the bidding led them to a successful slam. It went: