Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A couple of difficult competitive situations

Sometimes, it seems, there just is no way to compete successfully.  You just have to give up and hope for the best.

Here's a case in point.  White on red.  You deal yourself ♠83 QJ86 KQJ3 ♣J75 and open 1NT (12-14).  LHO bids 2♠ (natural) and partner bids 2NT (Lebensohl).  RHO bids 3♠.  What now?  In my opinion, double stands out, saying please bid your suit (or 3NT if that's where you're heading).  Admittedly, we don't necessarily have the balance of power.  But we are at favorable vulnerability and we have good support for the other suits.  There's a danger that partner will pass and they'll make exactly 3♠, but if he has a good long suit of his own then he should bid it now.

Now, what if you pass and partner reopens with double?  He seems to be suggesting that he can support any suit, even though he's suggested a single-suited hand with the Lebensohl bid.  Or could it be that partner was planning on bidding 3NT (going via Lebensohl to show a stopper)?  In that case, he's suggesting that you pass.

Unfortunately, 3♠ would have been our top spot (-200) for an excellent score.  3♠X was almost a bottom (-1130).  It was one of those hands where although we (just) had the balance of power (21hcp), the hand categorically belongs to the opponents.  Our offensive par was only 70 (1).  Our defensive par (and the absolute par) was -650.  You may be wondering how anyone could score worse than -1130.  The answer is that the result at another table was 4♠X making 6 (1190).

Here's the second difficult hand: ♠A7 Q87 AKQ832 ♣AK.  Second to speak, you're debating whether to open 2♣ or 2NT (surely not 1?)  when RHO start proceedings with 1.  Now what?  You elect to double this and LHO passes and partner bids 2♣.  Since you have a GOSH (good one-suited hand), you have to bid 3 (the call that you would have made directly in the old days before weak jump overcalls took over) in order to show your strength (by agreement, 2 would suggest an off-shape non-minimum double with spades and diamonds but no enthusiasm for clubs).  Partner bids 3.  What now?  Can you be sure partner has half a stopper in hearts?  Or can you be sure that RHO has both the ace and king?

Unfortunately, I bid 3♠ to suggest a spade stop but only a tentative heart stop.  Whether that meaning is right, I'm not sure.  Surely if I wasn't interested in notrump at all, I would simply bid 4.

Anyway, partner with JT4 of hearts decided to bid 4.  This was just the holding that allowed 3NT to make and consign 4 to the trash bin.

Any comments?

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