National Post (National Edition)
Luck does play a minimal role in sorting out winners and losers in duplicate bridge, most particularly in team matches where one player's good (or bad!) luck in getting dealt lots of high cards is counter balanced by the other team's player in the same seat getting the same good cards.
But one form of luck does have an uncanny record for cropping up in unexpected ways: the “system” luck of identical bids having slightly different ranges between two competing pairs.
When this deal came up at one table of a match, South opened one notrump, in line with his partnership's agreed range of 14-16 highcard points for the bid.
From North's perspective, that put his side's maximum assets at a combined 24 points, not nearly enough for any speculative pursuit of a possible game (but maybe the startling symmetry in the black suits was an omen?) and so he passed.
Over at the other table of the match, South also opened one notrump but his partnership's agreed range was the more traditional 1517 high-card points.
With North able to hope for a higher combined maximum, he used Stayman to seek but not find a possible spade fit and continued with two notrump to invite game.
With a hand right smack in the middle of his range, South liked the combining ten of spades and five-card diamond suit enough to accept the invitation.
And with the spade trick provided by the opening lead and the diamond suit behaving so well (3-3 split with the King onside), South skated home with ten tricks, the same ten taken at the other table but with a “lucky” game bonus attached.