Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

WMD’s and USA 1 and USA 2

Many of the matches today in the semifinals for the various world championships are very close as we come close to the halfway mark.  In the Bermuda where USA2 is playing USA 1  Going into the third segment with 32 boards played the score was USA 2 63 and USA 1 57.  USA 1 managed to score 1 imp and then 3 imps and on the first two boards but after that it was all USA 1 and they ended up with a 51 imp lead.  The final score of the segment was 49-4 and now USA 2 leads 112 to 61.  Board 12 is one of the boards that resulted in a 12 imp lose for USA 1.  It was set up by some very aggressive bidding by Lall and Grue.

Let’s look at it from various points of view.  Here is the whole deal.

Dealer: W

Vul: N-S














♣ AK1094






Grue passed and Fleisher made a normal opening bid of 1 .  Even if you like a weak 2 on these high cards with four spades it seems the wrong time in second choice.  I suppose the alternative is pass.  I think most red blooded bridge players would open as Fleisher did.  Now look at Lall’s hand.  You are white on red and your partner has passed.   Most of my partner’s would be very unhappy if I overcalled 2 here but I like it.  You probably want a club lead and if there is a save clubs seem like a likely possibility.  Besides that 2 takes away a 1 , 1 and 1NT bid from Kamil.  If you hate this bid I don’t blame you but as we will see this turned into a WMD (weapon of mass destruction).  Now Kamil bid a normal 2 and it was Grue’s turn to add some dynamite.  He bid 4 a splinter.  From Grue’s point of view if Lall has a good 2 bid then the hand might be belong to East-West and if North-South keeps bidding he has some defensive tricks in his pocket.  I like this bid a lot.  I like it better than 5 .  It is a bit of a warning to Lall not to get carried away.  Grue has defense.

Now put yourself in Fleisher’s chair.  Here is the auction so far

Grue Fleisher Kamil Lall
Pass 1 2 2
4 ?

So far you have’t even shown spade support.  You have this nice six card diamond suit which is a source of tricks and you have four card spade support with some honors.  Finally you have their suit controlled.  On the other hand you do have a minimum number of high cards for your opening bid.  There seem to me to be a few choices.  You could bid pass, double, bid 5 or bid 5 .  Does double show spades?  What else does it show?  What does pass mean here?  If you pass and then bid 5over Lall’s 5 what does that mean?  These are questions for the partnership.  My personal pick is 5 but I wouldn’t argue with Fleisher’s choice of 5.

Lall passed 5and now it was up to Kamil.  Fleisher could have a lot of hands, many of them make 6 .  Kamil knows Fleisher has none of the spade top honors.  He must have very good diamonds and quite likely no clubs.  The only remaining outside cards are the AKJ of hearts.  At the table in situations like this I usually try to picture my partner’s possible hands that make sense of the auction and then decide which one or ones are most likely.

If I am not certain than I would vote for bidding 5.  Even if Fleisher has the right hand on an auction like this something could go wrong.  For example you may be off a spade trick since West could easily have a void.  If East has J9xx or something like that spades could be a problem.  But it is so hard to decide.  Ray walked into my office as I was writing the blog and sniffed and said he thought Kamil should not bid slam since he really had nothing useful outside of spades.  He suggested that if you could bid 5 to show shortness than that was a possible choice but that wouldn’t make sense on this auction.  And that is the story of this deal perhaps.  Kamil can’t cuebid diamonds because he has a singleton in partner’s suit.  It is not a plus.  He has a few quacks outside spades.  Partner will find the way to slam if all he needs is the AKQxx of spades and the HQ on the side.  Say partner had a hand like:

J10xx Kxx AKQxxx 

Will he pass out 5 if you bid it?  What do you think?

The final auction

Grue Fleisher Kamil Lall
Pass 1 2 2
4 5 Pass 6
All pass

Now none of this is easy and none of it is clearcut but look what happened at the other table where everyone made the “textbook” bid.

The defense passed throughout.  North Hurd bid 1 , Wooldridge bid 1 , Hurd raised to two and Wooldridge bid the spade game.  They all probably thought that this was a quiet board.

The auction in the Open Room

Weinstein Hurd Levin Wooldridge
Pass 1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 4
All pass

WMD’s create swings where you don’t expect them.  Italy and the Netherlands had a third segment score of 8-12.  There were a total of 20 imps exchanged and probably no WMD’s.


Jeff LehmanOctober 25th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I can’t imagine any good player overcalling 2C if his partner had not already passed; just too likely for partner to take you seriously and overbid looking for a game. But when partner is a passed hand — and the favorable vulnerability to boot — there certainly is something positive about injecting a lead directing overcall, especially one, which, as you mention, takes so much bidding space. Lall was definitely being a “tough opponent”.

As far as the NS auctions go, my two cents worth is this. North’s club void can probably be projected by his partner, and so North should not be so enamored with that feature of his hand. Outside of the club void, his hand is not so special. Doubling 4S, if agreed as sort of a “stolen bid”, seems appropriate. And South’s hand has wasted club values and short spades. Sure it is easy to be an armchair quarterback, but it looks to me as though South should just pass 4S and then double 5C if his partner allows him to.

ConfusedOctober 26th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

From this article it is really not clear what the auction is.

LIndaOctober 27th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Sorry confused. I updated the auction to show both auctions clearly. I hope this helps.

ConfusedOctober 31st, 2011 at 12:18 am

Thanks for the update, Linda. I really like this article, and I’m glad I checked back. The auctions make sense now, just the names are mixed up (Kamil/Lall).

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