Friday, October 12, 2007

Shanghai Deal #12

You have to wonder sometimes. It is the Bermuda Bowl, finals. Best in the world.

Opener: AKJxx-J9xxx-void-QJx
Responder: x-Q10x-AQxx-AKxxx

The contracts? USA I tried 6C, down three tricks. Norway also tried 6C, but down five.

Are these people insane?

The auction for Norway seemed logical enough, at the start. Opener tried a 1S opening, very sane. Responder, appropriately, bid 2C. I like that. Opener introduced the hearts, 2H, a good second bid. Responder bid 2NT, which makes sense. Opener now bid 3C. So far, all of this seems rather normal.

Responder now bid 3D. This might have been misunderstood, but I'm not sure how. Maybe Opener thought that this was a waiting bid? Anyway, Opener rebid the hearts, perhaps taken as a cuebid? The follow-up of a 3S call by Responder with a stiff and a 4H call from Opener with Jxxxx boggles my mind. Responder, with this interesting start, leaped to the slam with no void in hand. Sick.

OK, what about USA I? The start through 3D was identical. However, this was doubled and redoubled. This redouble advertises an obvious void, I would imagine, when Responder is looking at the Ace. So far, this makes sense. Responder now shifts tactics to bid 3H, apparently taken as support (he did have support), as opposed to a cuebid.

Anyway, Opener could not stand this and raised hearts. Again, this might make sense. It depends on what 3D showed. West, liking his hand for relatively good reason, decided to ask for Aces. This is apparently an innovation that Norway has yet to pick up. So, Opener, looking at the greatest piece of junk he could have, contextually, having already shown the void in diamonds, leaped to 6C to restate that fact and force the slam. Who needs better than Jxxxx in hearts, anyway?

Quite embarrassing.

I'm not sure why 3D makes sense, personally. I would expect that a 3D call should agree clubs absolutely. If you want to keep hearts in focus, bid 3H.

But, if you are comfortable focusing clubs, fine. Bid 3D. If that happens, though, Opener must respect that and allow the contract to play in clubs unless we back out later.

This reminds me of the "problem" faced by many folks of the 1S-2H-2H-3S auction. Hearts are agreed, period. No switching back and forth, or you end up in 6C down three or five in front of a world audience.

Lesson #1 for cuebidding -- agree on parameters for when a suit is agreed, how you bail out in a major if a minor was agreed, and what calls mean when a minor is agreed. For me, the use of an out-of-focus RKCB (1430) for minors means that one of the majors may well be "in focus." Here, hearts will be "in focus." So, after the 3D call and lots of club-focused discussion, someone might show unexpected heart length and interest in a stop by bidding 4H, but a 3H call is unambiguously a cue.

I checked on the Venice decisions by the ladies. One team bid to 4H, a sane contract. The others made the very poor decision to defend 3D and let that make for a horrible result, but at least no bizarre 6C contracts by the ladies.

The Seniors split the ticket, USA opting for that club slam again.

So, If I do my math correctly, half of the world class field decided that 6C was a great contract to try on these hands. Not really -- rather, half of the world class field apparently cannot deal with this sequence. Anyone else have the willies???

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