Problem No. 15, 2002


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The problem

Our fifteenth problem is a true story, which I have heard from my collegue writer Barry Rigal.

In a big international team tournemant some years ago, the best female player of the world, Kerri Sanborn from USA, played on the same team as Dr. George Rosenkrantz from Mexico.
   In one of their matches, one of Kerri's team mates played 3 NT after opening with 1 NT. His left hand opponent overcalled 2 hearts and his partner's 3 NT ended the auction; 400 to North-South. Strangely enough, that meant 9 IMPs to Kerri's team. The deal wasn't passed out at Kerri's table, and the tournament director wsn't called. So the question is: How could they win 9 IMPs?


Solution

If you study the IMP scale, you see that in order to win 9 IMPs, the difference has to be in the interval 370-420 points. That means if Kerri's team mates has been +400, and the hand wasn't passed out at Kerri's table, Kerri's own result has to be between -30 and +20 – and that is impossible.
   Therefore, we can deduce that the 400 points to North-South weren't 400 points to Kerri's team mates but to the other side. If then Kerri scores something between +770 and +820 her team wins exactly 9 IMPs.
   And that is what happened in real life. Only East-West were vulnerable, and the bidding at the other table was like this:

South West North East
1 NT 2 H 3 NT
pass pass pass

North, the opening leader, had something like:

    S 10 9 3
    H A Q J 7 6 3 2
    D 8
    C 7 6

East's jump to 3 notrump denied a heart stopper, so North didn't want to give declarer a trick with the king of hearts. Instead, he led the ten of spades. It was a success!
   Dummy tabled king doubleton of spades and two small hearts. South won the king with the ace, cashed the spade queen, the spade jack and two more spades, North discarding minor suit losers. Then a heart through declarer's king doubleton gave the defenders the first twelve(!) tricks...
   But +400 to North-South didn't win the board for them. At the other table, Kerri jumped to 3 hearts after West's 1 notrump opening, and when East went to 3 notrump, South bid 4 hearts. North-South doubled, of course, but with the friendly lay-out in the major suits, Kerri had ten easy tricks. 790 - 400 = 390, ans 390 translates to 9 IMPs.
   There are other solutions, of course, like Kerri scoring +800 against a doubled contract by North-South. The main point is to realize that 400 to North-South are undertricks (four vulnerable or eight non-vulnerable). Those who understood that, has found the right answer.


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