Saturday, May 11, 2013

Extraneous Factors

You have:

While you are still counting your points, your partner opens 1♠!

You have learned to stay calm when big hands occur, so you bid 2.  No problem, it is forcing.  Partner responds 3♣, conventional, a brilliant treatment from Eric Kokish, the premier bridge coach and bidding wizard in the world.  Here are all the responses possible when opener has a heart fit.

4 = 5-4 in majors, 2-2 in minors, no Ace no King in minors, so you know right away if you have 2 losers somewhere. Quick, informative, economical.
4♣/4 = splinter with 4 card heart fit
3= fit, not the 4, nor the 4♣/4 hand
3♣ = can be natural, 5 cards, good hand or 3 card heart fit with a singleton in a minor.

After 3♣, responder bids 3 to enquire.  Responses :

3 = heart fit, singleton ♣
3♠ = heart fit, singleton
3N = 5 card club suit, no heart fit, good hand

Here is the sequence we had.

As responder, your hand is getting better and better.  This ♣ singleton is good news.

We continue:

Now you know enough as responder, so you go for RKCB.  Opener shows 2 without the queen, heart is trumps obviously.  Time to stop and count.

Opener has Ace of hearts, Ace of diamonds and singleton club.  That is only 8 points. She could have Jack of spades, Jack of hearts, 10 points.  Thus she needs Queen of diamonds to get to 12 points.  If she doesnt have one of the Jacks in majors, she should have the Jack of diamonds.  Or she could have the useless Jack of clubs.

With the double fit and all the aces, you are able to count to 13 tricks: 5 spades, 5 hearts, AK of diamonds and Ace of clubs, 13 tricks.  But… one of the majors could break 4-1 and you don’t have 13 tricks anymore.  So you should play in one major in order to be able to establish the other major if it breaks 4-1.  Which major will you choose?
With AKQ in spades, partner is a favorite to hold Jxxxx in spades.
You know she has Axx in hearts, but does she have AJx?

You are still there, thinking, counting, trying to take the optimal decision.

Are there other factors you should consider?

Well yes, extraneous factors in fact, but of paramount importance.  Who is your partner?
As a matter of fact, you are playing with your wife.  Not important, you say?  Think again!

I had a partner once who, in a slam forcing sequence, saw his wife passed 4nt.  Considerate as he was, he managed to make only 10 tricks, so she would not feel bad.  When he told me that story, he added: I would not be able to do that today, I would get blasted by her after that for treating her as inferior.

So you are playing with your wife and, well, I must add another twist: today is her birthday!
Still not important, you say?  Very, very, very important, I say.

So what do you do?  Do you adopt your usual manly attitude and bid 7, on the principle that you are a better player than she is?  What if you go down???

Or you'll let her play 7♠, as a gift for her birthday and a mark of confidence?

I bid 7♠.  She was understandably startled, as from her first bid, she never knew I had a spade fit.

Did they live happily ever after, you wonder? Yes. All majors behaved and she scored 2210. Happy Birthday!

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