Monday, January 5, 2015

More insanity

I apologize to my readers for the two-month hiatus in bridge articles. Just pressure or work, and the fact that we are in the midst of the second snowiest winter ever here in the Boston area. I usually keep a few drafts ready to turn into something for times like this. This hand actually arose a few months ago.

If you're looking for stories of bridge insanity, just go to a random BBO table late at night (Eastern time) and start to play. This kind of stuff will curl your hair.

Here's a typical example (borrowing S. J. Simon's character names):



I was essentially an innocent bystander in this debacle ("Mrs. Guggenheim", i.e. dummy). Had we agreed Lebensohl, then I probably would have bid 2NT over 2H and passed partner's 3C bid. But as it was, my bid wasn't all that bad.

Stoppers are for the birds, apparently. So, despite a magnificent fit in clubs, and three small hearts, "Mr. Smug" bid 3NT. The "Unlucky Expert" would have done better on this occasion to lead his fourth best heart! But having shown a good suit in the auction, he decided on the expert strategy of starting ace and asking for count or unblock. Well, maybe not -- we can only guess. Perhaps he thought declarer would have only Qx for his "stopper". In any case, "Futile Willy" was oblivious. He simply followed with his three hearts from the bottom up, blocking the suit. Thus my side made 630 when we should have been down 200. Total chucks by E/W: 830.

And, while I'm pointing out errors, did you notice that declarer didn't bother to claim as soon as he saw East's spade lead? The hand was over but, as so often happens, he dragged it out for a few more tricks.

We gained only 7 IMPs on this deal because, as you can see, we can make game in clubs legitimately. And lest you think that I'm making this up, I assure you that it actually happened exactly like this twice (!) on this board (of 16 total plays).