Had an extremely interesting hand this week at the Team Game, both from my point of view and my opponents. All Vul, I picked up 953 KQ98 KQT95 A. My RHO opened 2S (alerted) showing 5+ Spades, and a second 5+ card suit, with less than an opening bid. This presents a problem, since if I double, and bid Diamonds over a Club bid from partner, I have shown a lot better hand than I have. And overcalling Diamonds, may lose the Heart suit. At the table, I passed, hoping partner could balance, but after the fact, I feel that overcalling 3D is the lesser of all evils, since at least it gets me involved in the auction with less later guessing. Sigh, pre-empts are there for a reason.
LHO now jumped to 4S, which went P – P to me. This has raised the level of the problem, but actually given me some great information. What I know so far, I assume LHO has 4 Spades for the Vul 4S bid, and I assume he does not have a great hand, he did not ask about his partners second suit. So this leaves me with partner having a few values, and a highly probable stiff Spade. Since I have the KQ in each red suit, the values partner has are either Clubs, a little unlikely since RHO is almost certain to have them and thus (I hope) something in them, or Aces. Since a singleton Spade, 1 Red A, and a red suit fit leaves me with 2 losers on the hand, I bid 4N as TO with 2 suits. This went P, 5D by partner, P back to me, confirming that RHO’s second suit has to be Clubs as well as giving me a place to play. . Not wanting to do the full crazy man play, I passed and the problem reverted to my LHO.
His hand was A984 J2 74 KJ974. At this point in the auction, he is certain that the opps have a Diamond fit, and that his partner probably has Clubs to go with Spades, although that is not certain. But it does point to a probable 2 suited fit by both sides, and that the opps each have a probable singleton in a black suit, so are odds on to make 5D. Backing this judgment, he now bid 5S over 5D, passing the baton to the 5D bidder.
His hand was interesting, x Axxxx AJxxx xx, the question now becomes, should he bid, pass, or double over the 5S bid. Is a pass forcing in this auction, since who is sacrificing here? And what did partner have for the 4N bid. First, I think the pass should be forcing here, it follows standard rules. The opps pre-empted on the hand, and your side voluntarily bid a game, over which the opps bid again in their pre-empt suit. Even if the method of getting to the game was unusual, nonetheless, you did freely bid a game after a pre-empt. Now, do you have enough to pass is the next question. To answer that, what should partner expect from you on this hand. 1 A and the short Spade are probable’s, so is the presence of the second A and the 5-5 enough extras to pass? I think it is a judgment call and really tough in this kind of competitive auction. It turns out that our side can make 6 of either red suit, but after the 2S and 4S bids, that is going to be hard to get to. I would expect it would take superb judgment from a very experienced pair, and even then the final contract would be in doubt till dummy came down. As is, this hand doubled 5S, ending the auction, and beat it -2 for +500, and a 5 IMP loss on the hand.
All in all, a very interesting hand, with pretty good judgment all around. And the opps get full marks for playing a system that allowed them to generate a small swing in their favor with the close possibility of a large swing.