Playing in a local duplicate with my regular partner, I deal with
no one vulnerable and pick up a hand far beyond my usual standard:
AK AKQ42 --- K109874
2 is the big bid in our system, but it rarely pays to open
drastic two-suiters 2, so I open 1. I expect some preemption,
and I want to get my suits in as soon as possible. LHO overcalls 1,
and partner comes in with a surprise 1. RHO bids only 2, and
I have to find a call. The bidding up to this point has been pretty tame.
I think the book bid here is 5, showing the void and heart support,
but 3, 4, 6, 2, and any other number of hearts
would have some supporters.
This is a tactical situation; I do not want them bidding 6 before
I bid 5, or at least I would like to determine whether partner has
first-round club control. I think I am willing to bid a small slam, surely,
but I would like to have the chance to stay out of the grand if partner has
Axx. I also would prefer to deter the sacrifice; 7 seems likely
to go down only four, 800, which I think is going to be good for them.
If I bid 5 and they stay quiet, partner will surely bid 5 after
which I will bid 5 and get to know about the A. I will not know
about third round club control, though I suspect I shall not until trick four or
so, regardless. These opponents do appear to be lacking in enterprise, but 5
might just convince someone to bid six. 4, a less assuming splinter raise,
only shows a singleton, but is normally bid with great high card strength and a more
balanced hand than this. It might elicit a double or a left-handed raise, but I
do not think they will trot out six. I also fancy the following possible (dream on)
I think this sequence should focus on the Q or a doubleton, since I
have shown first and second round controls in the other suits. If I were worried
about trumps, I would have used a conventional tool, so clubs is all that is
left. More realistically, one of the opponents will bid 5, but I
think I can at least find out about the A by getting in a spade cue-bid.
Of the other choices, 6 seems most reasonable. Partner will surely bid the
grand with the A, but he might also bid it with the Queen. He would not
hesitate with Ace third, but I doubt that we shall have the opportunity to
identify that holding. 3 will set up a force, but I am not sure that
partner will be in the game if they bid 5, because 3 might not
unambiguously set trumps; certainly it does not with this partner. I do not see how one of
the tactical underbids will prevent them from bidding what they have, so my
choice is 4.
The bidding proceeds:
Clearly, we are missing the A; now I am worried about going down, so
I must Pass.
As LHO leads face down (a good procedure in any form of play,)
my partner informs her that it is her partner's lead. Not only am I surprised
to be the dummy, I note that I have never bid hearts on this hand.
The opening lead is the A. Partner ruffs high, plays a trump to his
Jack with both opponents following, and leads the 3 to the King and Ace.
LHO ponders these developments
for awhile, and after about 10 seconds, partner claims, apologizing for not doing
so sooner. His hand was:
Q862 J108753 J7 3
While I am wondering why he did not bid 2, a weak bid in our methods, he
murmurs, ``I didn't want to bid 2 for fear of burying the spade suit.
Besides, I had eleven points.'' In response to my quizzical look, he says, ``four
points for high cards, three for distribution, and four for the pinochle.''
Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith