Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

There But For Fortune

I was thinking about Phil Ochs when I looked at the whole deal after it was played but at the time I was thinking more about the guy who says “ho ho ho”.

With everyone vulnerable you hold

♠ AQJ10
♥ 9
◊ Q742
♣ K1043


You open 1♣ and your partner, Colin, bids 1♥ and now righty unexpectedly bids 1♠.  This looks like a pretty good spot so you pass in tempo and hope that partner has the where-with-all to balance double.  Partner bids 2♥ and righty bids 2♠.  You are happy to greet this and a most suitable dummy appears (at least from your perspective and your side manages to get all its 8 tricks for a juicy 800.  When you look at your opponents hand his bid doesn’t seem all that unreasonable.  What do you think?

  ♠ AQJ10  
  ♥ Q  
  ◊ Q742  
Unlucky Opp ♣ K1043 Bystander Opp
♠ K986532   ♠ —
♥ 854   ♥ 1096
◊ A   ◊ K9653
♣ AQ Colin ♣ 98752
  ♠ 74  
  ♥ AKJ732  
  ◊ J108  
  ♣ J6  


So what happened at our tables?  Did many people fall into this trap?  Well actually quite a few did.  I feel sorry for the poor West at one table.  My hand (strangely?) passed and Colin’s hand opened 2♥, he bid 3♠which doesn’t seem so terrible.  Almost every North-South pair seems to have slopped a trick on defense though.  It isn’t that hard since without a club switch from Colin’s hand I am going to be endplayed eventually.  Strangely more than half the field did not double spades when they had a chance but bid over it.  They obviously didn’t hear the tinkle of jingle bells that I did.  All of the North-South’s in hearts ended badly but the notrumpers fared better.

But all did not work out quite as nicely.  Colin and I had some discussion about this deal where we got to a rather ambitious 6♥.  Here is Colin’s hand.

♠ —
♥ AK10865
◊ Q52
♣ K762


You open 1♥ and I bid 2♠ which shows a four card limited raise.  Colin bid 3♣ and I bid 3◊.   Our normal agreement is that after a limit raise all bids are slam tries.  We don’t invite in this situation we just bid game.  So we should now be in a game force with my 3◊ bid as a control.  I like 3♥ here to see if I have a spade card which would more or less make slam impossible.  But Colin wasn’t entirely sure that we were in a game force so he decided not to risk it and bid 3♠.  Now when I bid 4♣ he couldn’t be certain if I held the ace or shortness.  He just bid 6♥ and this was my hand:

♠ AJ654
♥ 9743
◊ AJ7
♣ 6

As it turns out on a non-diamond lead he can make it since the spades work brilliantly for him with KQx in one hand.  After the diamond lead he needs the finesse since he just doesn’t have the entries to make it.  I think in retrospect that I should have splintered which would have avoided the whole issue.  And it does illustrate that not being confident of your system can make things a lot harder.


Luise LeeMarch 11th, 2009 at 3:10 am

I’m curious… You said “he can make it” on a non-diamond lead… But did he get a non-diamond lead? Did he make it? I know the end result doesn’t necessarily say anything about your skill at bridge, but not knowing the final answer is a little anti-climactic 🙂

Linda LeeMarch 11th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

No the rats lead diamonds and he went down.

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