Driving Home

Another hopeless sectional...our carpool has parts of two teams that got obliterated. Well...it only felt as if we were obliterated; we played 7 flight B and C teams and ended up 5th overall. The conversation on the ride home made the day worthwhile.

"So now you're a member of the preempt and bid again club, huh?" "Win 3. At least I didn't solo us to a grand that went down." "I can't believe it." "Huh?" "Yeah. You'd figure that with 15 zillion masterpoints, he'd know all auctions." "OK, I'll bite, what are you talking about?" "My partner has been playing forever and has a gazillion masterpoints. You'd figure he knows what every auction means." "There are 2 gazillion auctions. That's more auctions than points." "Well, he should have known what this meant." "Yeah, right. What auction did you perpetrate?" "Partner opens a notrump..." "Strong?" "Yeah, and you transfer to hearts, so he bids 2H:. You bid 2NT, invitational..." "Of course it's invitational." "...Now he bids 3C:. What's that mean?" "I know. It shows values there, is forcing, and doesn't know what game to play." "I think it depends. Is he a groper or a pervert?" "Huh?" "Yeah. A groper, like her, wants to decide between 3NT and 4H:. A pervert...I bet you are a pervert...wants to play 3C:, because he opened on a skewed hand with six clubs and fourteen points." "Well, I didn't have that, but I wanted to play 3C:." "With 15 points and six clubs, you'd've bid 3NT, so you must've had 14." "I only had five clubs and 15 points." "See, I told you you were a pervert!" "Why? What kind of stupid system would make 3C: forcing? What if you wanted to play 3C:?" "It really depends on your personality. If you open a lot of offshape strong notrumps, you'll want to play 3C: a lot. If you open those hands 1C:, it's more valuable to use the new suit as a grope to choose the right game. By the way, I'm a groper. I once won a match because I perpetrated a very similar auction, trying to decide between 3NT and 4S:. Partner thought I was a pervert and passed. 3C:, on the 4-3, was the last making contract." "If I wanted to bid game, I'd just bid game. If I wanted to play 3C: and 3C: was forcing, I can't play 3C:. It doesn't make any sense to construct a system whereby you can't play the contract you want." "OK, in your system you have the hand you want and you get to win 4...were you vulnerable?" "Of course." "In that case, win 5. I'll live with my push in 2NT. On the other hand, if I get to play 3C: as a grope, when I'm right, I'll win 13. Seems right to set one's sights at the higher target, trying to find the right game instead of the right partscore." "If I want to bid game, I'll just bid it...." "Never mind; how do you play this double..."

Jeff Goldsmith, jeff@tintin.jpl.nasa.gov, Feb. 15, 1997