Sunday, April 4, 2010

More discipline

There are two distinct types of discipline breach.  One is a uni-lateral breach (also known, when it works, as "operating").  The other is known as hanging partner out to dry.

Let's look at a couple of examples. First, hanging partner out to dry. It's the first board of the National Swiss (i.e. IMPs) and you hold ♠532 T83 Q965 ♣974.  Both sides are vulnerable. Partner deals and opens 1.  RHO bids 1♠.  Your call?  Pass is the disciplined call.  2 risks hanging partner out to dry. Why?  Partner is still very much in this auction.  The opponents (one of the best teams in the event) bid to 4♠ and partner with a balanced 18-count and three sure tricks and a probable fourth (the K) doubles (in other words, he believes you rather than the opponents).  Then, with every expectation of collecting 500, he misdefends allowing declarer's singleton Q to score an early trick, thus kissing goodbye to one of the three sure tricks.  Declarer draws trump and claims.  So instead of defending 4♠ for down one (+6 imps), we actually allow them to make 790 (-12 imps).  That little stunt cost 18 imps!

Now, what about a uni-lateral breach?   It's match-points and you pick up a reasonable hand (to be honest, I don't remember the hand exactly): ♠AK KQ82 QT84 ♣A54.  RHO opens 1♠ and you bid 1NT.  LHO raises the ante to 2♠ and partner bids 2NT (Lebensohl).  You dutifully bid 3♣ and partner completes the picture with 3.  Everyone at the table knows that this is to play.  Partner is not inviting game.  But partner might have KJxxxx and still bid this way.  You take a unilateral decision: 3NT.  Partner is done and won't be taking any further action unless it is to double a 4♠ call (which you won't mind).  Unfortunately, partner's hand is something like ♠87 J94 J97652 ♣Q62.  You can't set up the diamonds and a heart trick before they get four spades and the A.  Was this such a terrible action?  Yes, it was undisciplined (partner requested you to pass and you overruled her).  But there was a realistic expectation of making 3NT within the parameters of partner's actions.

My contention is that these two types of disciplinary breach are not the same.  The first is a felony, the second a misdemeanor.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

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