Saturday, April 24, 2010

Strange Little Unwind

There was for a while a strange little unwind that I played with a partner of mine, one that you might find a liking for.

Simple auction, really.  You open 1D, partner raises to 2D (limit+).

Suppose that you have a desire to show an unbalanced hand and focus the second suit.  That's easy -- bid 2H, 2S, or 3C.

Suppose that you want to focus the stiff or void, instead.  Easy again -- bid your stiff at the three-level.  3C, 3H, or 3S. 

Wait a minute.  3C covers both a real suit and a short suit.  What to do, what to do?

Easy!  Make 3D by Responder an asking bid, seeking the shortness.  If Opener has real clubs, and an unbalanced hand, he must have shortness in a major.  If he doesn't have shortness in a major, but he is unbalanced, then he must have shortness in clubs (and bids 3NT).

This was a fairly unusual solution for this problem, one that may well be worth adopting, if you also sense this problem.  I mean, there may be other solutions, like an immediate 3NT rebid to show the short club hand, but this approach just seems so symmetrical, like it was meant to be.

It kind of reminds me, though, of one of my favorite results with my wife, when she was learning to play.  I taught her splinters, but i forgot to mention that 3S would be a splinter when I open 1H.  So, she launched a 3S call on me with seven spades and a relatively weak hand.

We ended up in 6H, because I had the right hand for it.

When hearts split 3-3 with the Queen onside, my AKJxxx was just enough to pull trumps.  Her spades were just enough that I could run the suit after losing one spade.  With control everywhere else, 6H made.

Of course, it sure seems like 6H and 6S both should make, right?  Well, it turns out that my side A-Q provided ample control in 6H, but 6S fails on that lead, which was found at every other table.

This was the first occurrence (and last) of the either-or splinter-preempt, a 3S call that denies 2-6 spades and shows "15 by Leah Count," similar to Cansino Count.  You add your HCP to your spades.  If the total is 13-15 LCP, you can bid 3S.  Simple, really.  How many conventions have a 100% success rate?

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