Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Staying with the program

One of the best and most memorable bits of bridge advice I've ever received came from my own dear wife, Kim.  At the time, I thought I was the one that was supposed to be doling out the advice, but that's another story.

"Stay with the program," was what she said.  I had wimped out in the run up to a slam (or possibly I passed a forcing bid, the details have been blissfully erased from my memory).  But I have never forgotten the advice.

Here's an example of what I mean.  Names have been omitted but my partner understands that he didn't stay with the program on this occasion!

His hand was ♠AK86 Q8 A98532 ♣7, red on white at matchpoints and LHO had dealt and passed.  I opened 1NT (12-14) and partner (with hand shown) bid 2 (game-forcing Stayman).  I rebid 2NT (no four-card major and no five-card minor).  Partner bid 3.  I now bid 3.  This bid implicitly accepts diamonds as the trump suit (unless of course we later elect to play in NT) and shows a heart control, and by extension some interest in slam.  It was at this point that partner dropped the ball and bid 3NT.  Either of 3♠ or 4 ("minorwood") would have got us to the lay-down 6.  Instead, we languished in a contract that was destined to go down 1.  However, I was so discombobulated at missing the slam that I forgot I wasn't even in a contract at all and so "cross-ruffed" my way to down 3.

The moral of the story is this.  If you make a bid that invites a slam (or game) and then partner makes a forward-going bid, even if his hand is limited, it's your duty to cooperate.  You cannot wimp out.  In other words...

Stay with the program!

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