Obvious candidates are the hopeless 4 call and the Breach of
discipline/fatal error of 6. I'll go with 4: the one bid
that got 45% of the blame, as it led west down the slippery slope.
1 and 2 are normal. West might have raised clubs at his second
turn with all those prime cards, but it turns out it was right to
start the brakes with 2NT on this hand, although perhaps this call
caused west to try to catch up later with disastrous consequences.
3 was normal, although some would bid 3NT. 3 is a normal slammish
move with all those aces but no clear direction, the drawback is
that East probably thought that 3 was asking for a stopper... at
least that is the only way I can explain East's next bid. 4 is an
error. Here it is time to limit your hand with 3NT.
West 4 bid seems ok. The alternative is 5, which is equally
unattractive. And 4 allows partner to bid 4NT, which you can pass... its
biggest advantage, although I suppose that west was slamming at this point,
given partner's 4 bid. 5 was a relay to 5NT, so west broke
discipline with 6. At this point it should have been clear that
the wheels had come off (how can east sign off after a 3-key
response [zero or 3 response --J] ... oh, it wasn't blackwood!)
but west was oblivious to this. West needed to form a plan with
his hand. I think an immediate club raise would have been
appropriate, even though his clubs were weak and short. [Given
that the problem was to avoid clubs, that seems odd! --Jeff]
- 4 was an atrocity; going past 3NT was silly
- Pass of 6 was giving up---East should bid 6NT
- 2 was wrong---I'd bid 1
- 6 was wrong; partner knew I had 3 keys and
wanted to play 5NT
- 4NT and 5 were just "I have no idea what's going on."
Walter has convinced me 100% that East's failure
to bid 3NT at his third turn was a blunder, not just
a misunderstanding. Until I got his note, I thought,
"perhaps East reasonably thought that West lacked a
spade stopper." That's just wrong.
I focussed on two calls that the rest of the panel
didn't consider. Firstly, passing 6 is stupid or
simply not trying to win. East knows that 6 has
no play; partner didn't raise clubs directly and
East's clubs are bad. 6NT might make. Probably not,
but it might. The only reason to pass 6 is so that
partner won't ask, "where's the hand you held during
the bidding?" when dummy hits. Of course, passing
6 is just delaying the inevitable. If 6NT were
making, passing 6 might be a partnership-ending
action with some partners.
My real heresy is that I think 2 was an error in
judgment. East had a complicated hand, but in order,
what he wants to show is (1) hearts, (2) notrump,
(3) diamonds, and (4) clubs. To use a whole level
of bidding to start one's fourth objective seems
misguided to me. 1 keeps the bidding low and will
allow East to focus on spade stops for notrump later.
2 will quite possibly make finding a 4-4 heart fit
hard or impossible. My argument is: this is
either a choice of games auction or a slam auction.
If it's a choice of games auction, we are not playing
clubs at matchpoints. If it's a slam auction, don't
start by introducing a weak suit.
Mike thinks that's crazy---he thinks East should start
describing his hand. I think shape matters, but there
should be some texture to the club suit to bid it. It
doesn't have to be a great suit, but I don't see anything
wrong with treating this hand as 2434 shape. Given the
skewed honor distribution, I think that's a better
description. [Given the quality of the heart suit,
1 is fine with me instead of 2. --Ed D.] If
the honors in hearts and clubs were switched (if East
had Q Kxxx KJx KQJxx), 6 would be laydown, so as
West, I'd never pass 3NT even if East bid it after
3. We would, however, get to 4NT thusly:
1-2; 2NT-3; 3-3NT; 4-4NT; Pass. That'd be an
intelligent auction, focussing on club quality. Good!
Since I think that's a great auction, and I think
1 is a better first bid by East, upon further
reflection, I'm upping East's blame to 95%.
West gets 5% for not bidding 5NT (but I wasn't stopping
below 6 regardless), for not divining that partner, who
refused to bid notrump three times already, had decided
to bid 4NT naturally, and for confusing partner with 3,
even though I think it's the right call.