A Mysterious Queen

Jan Jansma-Zia Mahomood

Suppose you are playing the last board of the 2013 European Open Pairs Championship. In South you get these cards:

 A K 8 5 2  K 10 2  7 5 4 2  8.

and hear East, the dealer, Pass.

What do you say? ….If you knew that the title depends on the outcome of this board … would you change your bid…This time … if you want, do it …

This Sunday June 29th 2013 ended the European Open Pairs Championship 2013, involving many of the best players in the world. Tuesday June 25, 2013: 280 pairs began to play the qualifying stage consisting in 10 segments of 10 boards each, two days of intense game (50 boards per day).

On Thursday June 27th the first 100 pairs played the semi-final stage consisting of 5 segments of 10 boards. On Friday 28 and Saturday June 29, the first 46 pairs played the final: 10 segments of 10 boards each.

With 10 boards to play, Sabine Auken from Germany and Roy Welland from United States were in the lead with 56.65% followed by Zia Mahmood-Jan Jansma with 56.16%. During the first boards of the last segment the positions remained the same, but with 3 boards to play  Zia and Jan managed to climb to the first position and remained there until board 30 … In the last board of the 2013 European Open Pairs Championship, Zia Mahmood in South received:

 A K 8 5 2 K 10 2 7 5 4 2 8.

Lets see what happened at the table…

With a perfect Zia style … South opened 1.

After Zia’s opening bid and Cima Pass, Jansma showed his FG hand with hearts with a 2 bid.

Giubilo showed his minors with 2NT, and Mahmood supported his partner suit.

Cima proposed diamonds for a possible sacrifice, but North with a double fit, an opening hand, a diamond singleton and an extra trump, was determined to play slam in heart and ask for his partner’s keycards. When he learned that his partner had two, he closed the bidding with a 6 bid.

As you can see the hand depends on the Q position…so Jansma went down. For Jansma was a very big loss… the title of the 2013 European Open Pairs Championship. For Zia Mahmood used to seduce women in the bridge events all around the world, must have been even much bitter … had not only lost the title … he had lost it in the hands of a mysterious queen: the  Q…