This blog provides supplementary thoughts and ideas to the site. If you haven't seen the main site, there is a lot there including the Martel and Rodwell interviews, photos, and articles. This blog is focused on advancing bridge theory by discussing the application of new ideas. All original content is copyright 2009 Glen Ashton.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sometimes a good bid gets a bad result

Yesterday a bad 3rd quarter cost the Diamond team the match, and the winning Jansma team faces the all star and original 4th seed Meltzer team today. In the 3rd quarter one particular board had both the Diamond pairs having a bad result, but understandable. By understandable, I mean I could easily take the same actions at the table, and suffer the same bad results.

At the Open Room table, after partner overcalls in hearts and RHO shows heart shortness with a spade fit, Platnick knows that a club lead might be crucial against a spade contract.

It turns out it isn't as South's clubs can't be discarded, but on many other layouts a club lead could be essential against a spade slam. Thus Platnick bid 5C, lead directional. If this was doubled, he would retreat to 5H. It was not doubled. It went down 8, for -800, against, at best, -450 in 4S or 5S. I liked the 5C bid, bad result and all.

In the Closed Room, West was quiet and North used a heart splinter, showing heart shortness, spade fit, and game going values. Here the game going values were based a little more on shape and a little less on points.

South bid Roman Key Card Blackwood. Now if West hadn't doubled, North's bid is 5NT, showing two keycards (SK, DA) and a useful void. This gets the partnership too high, but if the North hand had one more diamond then 6S was home on the heart lead made at the table.

However West did double 4NT for some reason, at least according to the hand record. Now I think it is quite understandable to play "system on" over this double - it keeps the partnership in the land of "we know what we are doing". Others though might want to use the extra bidding space, perhaps showing the 5C reply to 4NT now with pass, the 5D reply to 4NT now with redouble, and the 5H reply to 4NT now with 5C etc. In effect this shifts all bids down two steps. Thus the 5NT reply would be 5H, assuming both players knew that this step reduction would apply after the double. If North's reply was 5H, it would have allowed South to stop in 5S.

Still stopping on 5S opposite two keycards and a useful void could have been wrong if North had two aces, since a missing spade king would be likely to fall if North had 4 or 5 spades. Thus even if North-South had used a two-step reduction after the double of RKCB, it still could have been right for South to try 6S, hoping for two aces in dummy, or a heart lead and a dummy that could provide club discards.

Thus we have a board where both partnerships did something understandable, but it cost the team 13 IMPs, as part of the 3rd quarter loss of 45-14. Sometimes it's just not the day for your bids.


  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said…

    Did you see a board in which one side had a 5-4 spade fit that makes six? Both pairs (of one match) played something else.

    If you did, what board it is? (I think it was played Saturday.)

  • At 8:27 PM, Blogger Glen Ashton said…

    It was board 7.

    S: AK643
    H: 5
    D: AKJT73
    C: A

    S: Q982
    H: K987642
    D: 5
    C: 9

    South declarer.

    Closed room: 3H-4C;-4D-4H (4C RKCB for Hs)
    Open room: P-1C;-1D-2D;-3H-4D;-4H (1C Polish, 1D negative, 2D unknown)

    +650 in both rooms.

  • At 10:30 PM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said…

    Thanks, Glen.

  • At 1:39 PM, Blogger Martin said…

    This is called a Jansma double. He has done this a lot in the Netherlands, doubling 4NT for no apparent reason, just to see how the opponents would cope...and often they wouldn't.

  • At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Bruce Scott said…

    And sometimes two bad bids lead to a bad result. Unless E-W have agreements that cover these bids, both 2H and 5C were bad bids. 2H is only a misdemeanor. A bit under strength, at conditions of contest where partner will be stretching (vul at IMPs). It is perfectly acceptable to agree to overcall light at the 2 level, but only by agreement. The west hand is a good classic weak two. It is not a vulnerable two level overcall in standard bidding. (I have certainly played in partnerships where that is a 2 level overcall, but there needs to be agreement to that effect.) 5C is absolutely terrible. You don't make up meanings for bids at IMPs. 5C really SHOULD be either lead directing or consultative in regards to bidding on (and promise heart support in either event), BUT needs agreement to this effect. Bidding it without such an agreement is egregious. 5C would probably pick up a few votes in the MSC, but would certainly lag behind 5H and 6H. I'm glad they lost IMPs on the board. They deserved it. In You Be the Judge, East gets 75% of the blame. West is at least in the neighborhood with his 2H call.

    I have considerably more sympathy for the Gitelman-Moss partnership.

    Isn't it pretty common for ACBL pairs to play DOPI/ROPI/DEPO (if for nothing else than the fact that the convention card suggests it?)


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