Monday, February 15, 2010

The world's worst bids?...

... or a Tale of Two Three-Diamond bids.

Some people just never know when to shut up, it seems. Unfortunately, I'm one of them. I'll come to that later. Both of these candidates for world's worst bid were perpetrated in the A/X pairs at the Cromwell regional.

A well known expert from Connecticut came to our table with this hand: ♠84 K8 9765432 ♣Q4. At love all, my partner opened on his right with 1♣. Our hero bid 3 which I doubled (negative). I was holding a 4333 11-point hand including AJT and was planning to bid 3NT unless my partner bid spades (in which case 4♠) [we play weak no-trumps so there was a reasonable chance that partner had a balanced 15-17, failing that a hand with a good club suit]. To my surprise, partner left the double in. We were destined to score 1100 but we managed to butcher the defense so badly that we only took 500.  Declarer observed drolly that at least he'd be beating the pairs in 2X down 4!  But it was not to be.  500 for us was a clear top as our best possible normal result would have been 460.

Now we come to the other candidate for world's worst bid.  I picked up ♠J82 95 AQT8654 ♣7 vulnerable against not.  My LHO opened 2♣ (strong, artificial), partner passed and RHO bid 3♣ (a positive, game-forcing bid).  You guessed it: I bid 3.  This was doubled (penalty) on my left and all passed.  Unfortunately, partner's dummy had good and bad news.  The good news was that, as expected, he had a bad hand: four points to be precise.  The bad news was that his four points were the A :(  Together with my other red ace, we could set any slam by the opponents (there were no voids).  Had that ace been in one of the opponents hands, where it was supposed to be, we would have been down 800 but there would have been lots of 990s at the other tables.  -500 got us the fine score of one matchpoint.  So, were there two other people sharing the same result?  No.  One of the other pairs in our direction managed to go to bed with two aces defending 3NT!

Was my bid really so terrible?  My partner thought so.  I'm not so sure.  I would be interested to know if any other players in my seat made it.  If they did, they got away with it, perhaps with LHO bidding 3NT (he held K2).

There were lots of ways that it could win.  First, my partner might not have had that heart ace.  Alternatively, the K might have been on my right.  Or perhaps they would eschew notrump knowing they had only one diamond stopper, bid 5♣ and be beaten by our two aces and diamond ruff.  Or, as mentioned above, LHO might simply bid 3NT and we'd be off the hook and partner would get off to a good opening lead.  Despite our two aces and obvious diamond ruff, there were two 480s the other way and one 490 (as well as the 520 already mentioned).

The most dangerous bids are the ones where RHO is limited in some way and where LHO's double is for penalties.  This setting allows LHO to make an accurate judgment.  But in this case both LHO and RHO were unlimited and, moreover, only one of them had thus far bid a real suit.  A small slam, or even a grand slam, were still very real possibilities at the time of my bid.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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