Friday, March 26, 2010

15 to 17 Hearts

One simple bid, so much amusement.

Last night, I think I was playing at a table of insane people.  I can attest to being insane myself, and the opponents, plus my partner, joined my ranks.

The auction seemed simple.  LHO opened 1NT, partner passed.  RHO responded with a 2D transfer to hearts.  With spades and a minor, I decided to bid 2H Michaels.  Seemed like a normal start.

However, Opener asked my partner what 2H meant, and she shook her head, finally deciding that if it sounds natural it must be natural.  I'm not sure why 2H sounds natural, especially in this auction, but OK.

So, Opener, looking at five hearts himself, found this very odd.  He was looking at five hearts.  His partner transferred to hearts, ostensibly showing five or more hearts.  RHO, Ken Rexford, said he had hearts, and Ken knows what he is doing.  So, not sure how all of this works out, but trusting that my new "natural" convention must make sense, decided that a 5-5 stack was enough to make my 2H contract in jeopardy.  So, he doubled.

My partner, with two hearts herself, saw no reason to pull my contract, as she had at least tolerance.  This at least made some sense, as Opener might have the stiff King of hearts.  Her partner, me, was good, and he'd probably realize that the only possible layout was exactly this.  If dummy hits with two hearts, and RHO has five, and Declarer has five, then the 1NT opening was with a stiff, obviously the King, so that suit would be easy to play, via the "Rabbit Coup."  Drop the stiff King.  All very plausible.

Responder had no where to go, so he passed.

I decided that passing with a stiff heart was not a good idea.  So, I tried something.  2S seemed like a reasonable "second suit" to show, having started conveniently with five of them as well.

Opener passed. 

My partner, who had four spades and two hearts, was probably somewhat amazed at my ability to read the 4-4 spade fit from the auction, and so she passed with a glimmer of pride.

Responder, who had values, was stuck.  Doubling seemed like the only solution.  Values.

I passed.

Opener now went into the tank.  This was a strange development.  No one seemed to have spades.  Plus, everyone had hearts.  Even if they had a 5-5 heart fit, the five-card stack against them seemed to doom the 4H option.  Furthermore, something seemed fishy.

Opener then realized what was apparently going on.  He decided that his partner was quite the jokester.  Obviously, 2D was intended as a pseudo-psychic, intended to throw the opponents off of a heart lead.  The double clearly must have been penalty, because Responder's backup plan, in a pinch, would be to correct any unfortunate heart bids by opener to spades.  A master plan, indeed. 

So, Opener thought about whether passing for penalty or 3NT was best.  Because I was not vulnerable and he was vulnerable, 3NT seemed prudent.

3NT unluckily went down one, when 4H wopuld have made an overtrick, even with the 2-1 stack.