Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Board 68

Board 68
Both sides vulnerable

♠ 10 6 5 2 6 A J 9 6 5 4 ♣ Q 10

Partner opens one heart in second seat. If I bid one spade, I will probably have to bury the diamond suit, which is, after all, the main feature of my hand. If I bid one notrump, I can rebid diamonds over most of partner's actions.

What makes one notrump even more attractive is that Jack is going to bid one spade at the other table. So one notrump meets both of Edgar's criteria for a swing action: My counterpart isn't going to bid it, and it is eminently reasonable. In fact, it's so reasonable that it is arguably superior.

I bid one notrump, LHO bids two clubs, and partner bids three diamonds. Five diamonds seems about right. I assume this shows about a limit raise in playing strength (i.e., eight losers) but with more shape and less in high cards than a normal limit raise, since I had the option of bidding three spades. It suggests a singleton heart, since I have precluded our playing that suit. It also denies a club control. I'm not sure how Jack would interpret a four spade bid at this point. But if four spades is a cue-bid in support of diamonds, then five diamonds should deny a spade control as well.

Partner raises five diamonds to six. West leads the queen of spades to East's ace, and partner claims.

♠ 10 6 5 2
A J 9 6 5 4
♣ Q 10

♠ Q J 4
9 7 4 3 2
♣ 9 7 5 4

♠ A 9 7 3
10 8
♣ K J 8 6 3 2

♠ K 8
A K Q J 5
K 10 8 3 2
♣ A

1 NT
2 ♣
(All pass)

At the other table, South opens one heart, North responds one spade, and East passes. That seems strange. The one spade bid should make two clubs more attractive, not less attractive. Partner's expected spade length has gone down and the chance of finding him with club support has gone up. Whatever East's reason, his decision show the importance of taking your swing action early in the hand. If you can induce your opponents to act differently than your teammates, the players at each table will find themselves facing different decisions, which is precisely what you are trying to accomplish. You will have increased the standard deviation of your results without biasing the expectation significantly one way or the other.

South bids three diamonds. North is not in quite the same position here as I was, since this three-diamond bid might be based on a three-card suit. Five diamonds by North is almost an illegal call. Nonetheless, with this hand it's a standout. The fact that it's almost illegal makes it highly descriptive. It indicates North hasn't the slightest interest in any other strain even if South was bidding diamonds semi-artificially. South, of course, carries on to six.

At my table, East bid clubs and West led a spade. At this table, East passed, so West of course leads a club. Since hearts don't break, declarer can't make seven. So the effect of my one notrump butterfly was simply to induce a different opening lead.

Me: +1370
Jack: +1370

Score on Board 68: 0 IMPs
Total: -144 IMPs


  1. Hi,

    I don't understand this reversed minors thing. "With the minors reversed, it would be fairly routine to respond one notrump, since one spade leaves you in hopeless position if partner rebids two diamonds."
    1H-1S-2C with the current hand isn't better (unless you play 2D as natural weak in this situation).
    The difference is that after 1H-1N-2C you're better placed with diamonds than after 1H-1N-2D with clubs.
    So I'd rather bid one notrump with this hand than with the one with clubs.

  2. You're right. In context my comment makes no sense, so I removed it. When I made the comment, I was intending to discuss an old-fashioned treatment that went by the wayside after the advent of forcing notrump: 1H - 1N / 2D - 2S to show a black-suit misfit. I later decided not to discuss this treatment, but I didn't rethink my opening remarks.