Friday, October 30, 2009

Board 33

Board 33
Neither vulnerable

♠ K Q 5 A K Q 2 6 2 ♣ K J 8 4

Partner passes in first seat, RHO opens one diamond, and I double. LHO passes, partner bids one spade, and RHO bids two diamonds. I double, showing a game invitation with only three trumps (and without five hearts). With a game invitation and four trumps, I would bid three spades. There was a time when two spades showed that hand. But today it's common to play that, if RHO bids, two spades simply confirms a fourth trump and doesn't show any extras.

Partner bids two spades over my double, and I pass. I have pretty much exactly what partner expects me to have. For the record, I would play a new suit by advancer in this auction, even a reverse, as simply scrambling for a better spot--not as a progressive move. For example, if advancer was 3-3-4-3 with zero high-card points, he would bid one heart over the first double. When I double again, he knows hearts are a three-three fit, so he should bid two spades, hoping to catch me with a four-card suit there.

West leads the ace of diamonds against two spades. Partner and I apparently don't see eye-to-eye about this auction:


NORTH
♠ K Q 5
A K Q 2
6 2
♣ K J 8 4






SOUTH
♠ A J 8 3 2
10 7
10 9 3
♣ Q 9 2


West
North
East
South
Pass
1
Double
Pass
1 ♠
2
Double
Pass
2 ♠
(All pass)

If the queen of clubs were the king, I assume partner would have bid two spades on the first round. So I don't quite understand why he wouldn't just bid four spades after my second double. I play the diamond deuce--seven--three. West continues with the king of diamonds--six--jack.

I know this is a doubleton, but does West?  Shouldn't East have echoed with jack doubleton? That depends on the context. Sometimes dropping an honor at trick one shows the next lower honor in case partner wants to underlead.  But West has no conceivable reason to underlead here.  And three rounds of diamonds, forcing dummy to ruff with an honor, looks like an attractive defense.  So I think East's carding should indicate whether or not to do that.  I believe, with this dummy, that seven-jack should deny a doubleton.

I drop the nine, hoping to make it appear that East had J107. But my opponents are on the same wavelength. West continues with the queen of diamonds. Of course. I now recall an earlier board where West played low, then jack with queen-jack third. I guess the way Jack cards, this has to be jack doubleton. I ruff with the king of spades, and East discards the five of clubs.

On the queen of spades, East plays the six, and West plays the four. On the next trump, East plays the nine, I play the jack, and West discards the four of diamonds. I don't really think I can coup East, but it's worth a try. I play the deuce of clubs; West plays the ace; East, the seven. West taps me with a diamond while East pitches the ten of clubs. I suspect East was 4-4-2-3 and that was his last club. If he was 4-3-2-4, he would have been pitching hearts.  But it doesn't hurt to try. I play a club to the jack, and East ruffs. Making three. We obviously belong in game. We are lucky we can't make it.


NORTH
♠ K Q 5
A K Q 2
6 2
♣ K J 8 4


WEST
♠ 4
J 8 3
A K Q 8 5 4
♣ A 6 3


EAST
♠ 10 9 7 6
9 6 5 4
J 7
♣ 10 7 5


SOUTH
♠ A J 8 3 2
10 7
10 9 3
♣ Q 9 2



It was wrong for East to split. I'm not looking at his hand, so I have no reason to finesse the eight of spades. As it happens, I can't coup him, but he doesn't know that. I can coup him if I have jack third of hearts and a doubleton club. I play a club.  If West wins and taps me, I can cash whatever four cards I need to to come down to the requisite ending.  If West ducks, I can cash four hearts and exit with a club, forcing West to coup his partner.

But East doesn't need to work all that out. Unless he's sure he can't be couped, he should just assume he can be and play low. Defenders sometimes seem to be afraid that declarer has x-ray vision. Computers in particular have this problem, because they're programmed to look for a way to beat the contract on a double-dummy basis.

At the other table, the auction begins the same way, but my hand raises two spades to three. At least Jack is in tune with himself. If South isn't going to bid any more than two spades with the hand he held, North has to bid again. But this can't be the right way to play. There's no reason to believe South has any high cards at all, and no reason to believe he has a fifth spade. Two spades could already be too high. It's true that you should never assume partner has a yarborough in a jammed auction. Over a pre-empt, for example, you should simply credit partner with about six high-card points and bid those values for him. But we have plenty of room here, so there is no reason for North to bid his partner's cards.

South, of course, carries on to four spades, which is down one. We pick up five imps, undeservedly raising our constructive bidding average. Actually, maybe it's not undeserved. Their final contract was better than ours, but their auction had twice as many bad bids.

Me: +140
Jack: -50

Score on board 33: +5 IMPs
Total: +81 IMPs

4 comments:

  1. I disagree that dbl has to show 3 Spades. What would you do with a hand too good to overcall 1NT that had only a dbltn Spade? You have to dbl. Sometimes partner passes and sometimes you get to stay below 2NT . Therefore the weak hand can not jump to 4S with a broken 5 card suit and should either Q bid or jump to 3S

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  2. Of course you aren't likely to stay below 2NT after a 1S response since 2H would show 4-4 and at least some values.

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  3. I agree with Poohbear that the second double should substantial extra values and not four spades without a clear direction. Frequently, but not invariably, this translates as three spades.

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  4. I suppose one might play this way. But my agreement has always been that take-out doubles show support for the unbid suits and only a rebid in notrump or a jump in a new suit revokes that message. I think that allowing a second double to be ambiguous in that regard makes the auction too difficult. So I would just rebid two notrump with poohbear's example hand.

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