Monday, February 22, 2010

What does a 4S bid look like?

Playing IMPS on BBO last night, I had a bizarre reaction from one of my opps to a bid I made. I still think I would do the same thing next time it comes up, but I was essentially told I was crazy. But then some of the people I play with know that, so perhaps they are right after all.

Anyways, NV vs Vul, I held QT9xxxx --- A8xxx x in first seat. Some people like to pass with these hands, and back into the auction later, but I have never been a member of that camp. I truly hate allowing the opps to exchange any information at a level they are comfortable with, when I can prevent that. I believe most decent or good opps will not commit unforced errors very often, you have to remove them from their comfort zones as quickly as possible, to cause more interesting things to happen, some good, some not so good. So enough soap box standing. I did not think 3S was much of a pre-empt with this hand and this vulnerability, I really did not want to defend 4H, and I was not going to bid again if I opened 3S, so decided to take the full monty route and open 4S on the hand. This went all pass and the opening lead was a small Diamond.

Dummy hit with a VERY nice hand for me, KJxx xx J9x AJxx, nice offense and not too much defense, unless something weird happened, I should have some play for this (Diamond lead is unexpected but certainly helpful) and not much could hurt 4H. But when dummy came down with the KJxx in Spades, my LHO piped up with a quick comment about what kind of 4S bid did I have when dummy had those Spades, and what kind of person was I. I played low on the first Diamond, and won RHO’s welcome K of Diamonds with the A, looking very good now. So not being able to resist temptation, I sent back a message about ‘You have not seen anything yet’, as I played a Spade to the K and RHO’s A, LHO showing out. This sent LHO into a frenzy, calling me an crazy and not knowing what I was doing at all.

I ruffed the Heart return, pulled the last trump, led a Diamond towards board, and claimed 5 when LHO won the Q of Diamonds. LHO did not say much after that. It turns out that 5H is easy to make, since I can not ruff the Club, so it looked like this must be a decent board, wrong! At the other table, my hand believed in the pass and get back in later philosophy. So it now went P, 2H, DBL(!), 4H back to him (nice double opposite a passed hand). He easily went to 4S, which his RHO now bid 5H over, this was passed to his partner who bid again with 5S(!), and this was doubled to end the auction. Since that K of Diamonds was singleton, it is virtually impossible to go down in 5S with any reasonable Diamond play, and this was not an unreasonable day. So we would up losing 5 IMPS on the board because our opps were forced to sack at the 5 level when we were not, usually a good thing, but not today, sigh.

Incidentally, I would probably not pass with my RHO's hand in balancing seat, even if I might go for a number Vul vs Not, too much chance you are being taken. He held Ax KQxxx K KTxxx. I would have bid 4N, trying to indicate I have 2 places to play the hand. Not sure it would have mattered, I assume my partner would have bid 5S over 5H, and we may have then pushed the board. But I do not like Pass with that hand.

There was also a funny thing that happened later in the match. I picked up xx JTxx Qx A9xxx all Vul and heard the auction go 1N on my right, 3N on my left, P P back to me. I was moving the mouse to the P icon, but passed over the double icon on the way there. My laptop sometimes has phantom mouse clicks when over a hyperlink, and this proved to be one of those time, I doubled 3N with this hand. Since the game had no undo’s, I was now stuck, sigh. So I led a small Club, and dummy hit with Qxx in Clubs and a Good 3NT. To make a long story short, declarer put up the Q, partner won the K, cashed the J of Clubs (I ducked since I still needed him to have another), and led the 10 of Clubs back, down 1. I actually apologized to the opps for this, saying what had happened and that it did not deserve to be rewarded. This got a chuckle out of both opps, who were good about it, apparently they had had it happen before as well, perhaps not being as lucky. The double turned out not to matter, contract did, our partners wound up in 4S making, when my LHO’s hand, with 4333, decided to Stayman, found the 44 Spade fit, and bid 4S instead of the normal 3N.

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