Not Once, but Twice!

Playing in a sectional Swiss, it's not our day. On the first hand, the opponents' weak NT put the wrong hand on opening lead, causing a game swing. The next match started exactly the same way at the other table. Moreover, after 27 boards, I have played one hand. It was doubled and set one. And I had mildly underbid on the hand, too. Feeling a little frustrated, with none vulnerable I pick up
 S:9732 H:AK5 D:A5 C:7542
This is not really an opening bid, but I'm tired of watching, so I open 1C:. My choice, already dubious, looks disastrous as it goes double, pass, pass back to me. I believe it is almost never right to pass in this position. If the opponents think it's right to play one of a minor doubled, they are right. I could redouble for takeout or bid something, but I think the most description sequence is to bid 1D: and then redouble for takeout. If we don't get doubled in 1D:, it's only 50 a throw. When I bid 1D:, not surprisingly, it gets doubled. Partner, however, runs to 1H:. RHO passes, and I, happily, do too. LHO thinks about this for a good while as well he might and emerges with 1NT. Three rounds of bidding and we haven't left the one-level! We don't as it goes all pass. Partner leads the H:3 and an interesting dummy hits.
S: J
H: Q8
D: 10932
C: KQ10863
S: 9732
H: AK5
D: A5
C: 7542
Pass1NTAll Pass
I wonder why dummy didn't bid 2C: or 2D:. In any case, I'm envious of his C:10. If declarer has C:Ax, he's making a lot of tricks.

Declarer plays low from dummy and I win the H:K. The H:2 does not appear, so it looks as if partner has led from a five-card suit. In order to beat this, we are going to need a spade trick unless partner has the C:A and H:J. If he has both of those, I don't think I can blow the hand, but if he has the S:K and H:J, I need to set up our seventh trick right now; partner will not be able to lead spades himself. So I shift to the S:7. Declarer plays low from hand and partner wins the S:K. He continues with the H:2. I win and continue hearts, of course; if partner needed spades played, he would have returned a higher heart.

It turns out that partner does have the H:J so we take the first seven tricks for +50. It's not exactly a huge board, but when declarer turns up with 4351 shape exactly (with the stiff C:A), I see I have pulled off a rare coup. My first bid picked off one of the two trump suits they can play. My second bid picked off the other!

Copyright © 2004 Jeff Goldsmith