Problem no. 40, 2010

Färgglad linje

The problem

Johan (North)
H A K 4
D A 6
C A K 10 7 6 5 2
Anders (South)
S Q J 10 7 5 4 3
D 7
C Q 9 8 4 3

Twenty years ago, I was invited to participate in Icelandair Open, which is played every February in Reykjavik, Iceland (today, it has another name). My partner at that time, Mats Nilsland, couldn't go, but my partner-to-be Johan Bennet played as a substitute. We managed to win the pairs event, from which this deal comes.
   North-South were vulnerable and we met a pair from the Open Norwegian team. East opened 4H, I overcalled 4S, and West passed.
   And there Johan was, with four aces, two kings, a good seven-card suit, seeing his partner enter the bidding at the four-level vulnerable against not! Many players would probably jump to 7 notrump without further ado, but Johan had no hurry. First, he checked the quality of my spade suit with 5 notrump. I replied 6C to show one of the three top honors.
   Johan thought for a while, then emerged with 7C, hoping to catch me with three clubs or the queen. As you can imagine, I was very surprpised to see that bid, but I passed, and a few seconds later we entered 2140 to North-South.
   When the scores were displayed, we got exactly avarage on the board – though we were the only pair to bid 7Kl.


7Kl is the perfect contract in theory, but not as the cards lay...
   The evil card dealing program had handed East the king singleton in spadea. That meant that every North-South pair won all thirteen tricks. Half of the other pairs played a grand slam in spades or notrump, while the other half played a small slam in spades or notrump.
   Our +2140 was worse than +2220/2210 but better than +1470/1460, so instead of the solo top we were destined for (had spades been 3-2, or if East's singelton wasn't the king), we got exactly average. And some people claim bridge is a fair game!

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