Monday, May 19, 2008

Don't Forget to Discuss Competition, Part 2

Years ago, playing 2/1 GF, Red on White, partner opened 1♣. My RHO overcalled 1♥, an apparent pick-off move, as I held AKQJxxx in hearts, and very strong general values. This created a problem. Fortunately, however, my strength was such as to justify good old Blackwood. 4NT.

LHO verified the ruse by raising the overcall to 5♥. Partner, playing D.0,P.1, rebid 5♠. Having all four Aces, and a trick source, I blasted 7NT.

This was quite interesting timing, as the MP event was in the last round, last board for us, on a late play. As we were doing well in the event, the crowd was gathered to watch this. When the 1♥ preempt had hit the table, the kibitzers were getting their standings worth. The 7NT call, the only 7NT bid on this hand for the evening, was quite remarkable, as it would easily be set eight tricks if my LHO simply elected a diamond lead, to his partner's AKQJxxxx in diamonds. Alas, a heart hit the table, and I scored up the grand.

Of course, one part of the story was the lack of a double by RHO for an unusual lead. Whether LHO would have worked out which suit to lead is another question, but RHO knew that passing was doomed.

The second part of the question is how reasonably competent people ended up in 7NT off the AKQJxxxx in diamonds. Is Blackwood too much?

Well, as it turns out, we had discussed a new treatment that my partner liked. With 5-5 in the black suits, he was of the school that opened 1♣ and then bid spades later, twice if necessary. Unfortunately, he forgot that the first spade rebid would technically be systemic, and I preempted him out of the second spade rebid.

I'm not sure what the point here is.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't Forget to Discuss Competition

Years ago, one of my favorite hands ever allowed me to post up the impossible.

I had a nice, balanced strong 1NT opening, and I opened 1NT accordingly.

LHO doubled as some sort of conventional something. Partner leaped to 4♦. She was an unusual lady, who thought Texas Transfers were too much to remember. Instead, she like 4♦ as an asking bid. OK. So, I answered 4NT, showing a maximum (4♥ would show a minimum; 4♠ a middlish hand).

She bid 5♦, asking for Aces. I dutifully showed my two Aces -- 5NT.

She bid 6♦, asking for Kings. I dutifully showed my two Kings -- 6NT.

She thought about this, and decided to bid 7♦. This troubled me. But, knowing her generally passive nature, I assumed that 7NT would make 17 tricks if she actually bid a grand in diamonds. So, I converted this to 7NT.

This was doubled with an echo heard a few blocks over. As it was matchpoints, I sent it back. 7NTX is not a contract at matchpoints. 7NTXX is.

When the opening lead hit, I realized that she forgot the system, or interpreted the double as changing things. Of course, few have seen a four-level preempt into a minor, when vulnerable mind you, after a strong 1NT opening from partner. But, here it was, apparently. This made 7NTXX not likely to succeed.

So, always one for the challenge of the game, I set forth on my task. Having reached 7NTXX intentionally (sure, the XX was on principle, but I "trusted partner" LOL), could I lose all 13 tricks? I cannot remember the layout, but I did succeed. -7600, somewhat legitimately.

All that said, the point is more practical. Do not forget to discuss the impact of competition and fall into the trap equivalence of doubling 4NT to force the opponents to remember if R0P1 or P0R1 is used.