"Down one is good bridge only for flawed bidders."
      - creed of The Fallible Genius

A Minor Problem

I am back for another session of pairs at the Vancouver Bridge Centre. This is our third round of a very confusing Howell movement. Everyone gets to the table on time and I view we are sitting against two ladies, both of whom I have never seen before. I don't know how this round will go­ hopefully quickly because I am feeling the need for my next cigarette. Our second round opponents were unbearably slow which didn't leave me much time this round to satiate my nicotene and tar dependence.

Everything goes smoothly on the first two boards of this round. The first, a bottom; the second, a top. I am beginning to believe our opponents to be fairly capable bidders and players. Their bidding is agressive and their play is at a good tempo. This is good news for my habit because it is likely we will finish the round early. I check the time and we are already 5 minutes ahead in the round.

The only swing available to us to gain this round will have to be on this, our third and final board. I pick up the following and immediately start fantasizing about opening this hand in third seat.

Vul: Them
Dlr: Pard
S J  H 8  D K J 8 7 3  C K J 10 8 6 3

I love to open in third seat at these colours­ it is usually a license to steal, usually by opening very light or by psyching. The tough part about psyching in this situation is that I am usually not amply prepared. Usually, gleaning the safest, yet most effective psyche possible requires some thought. But when it goes Pass­Pass­ to me, it is more likely that I will get caught psyching if I huddle first than if I just psyche without a second thought. Therefore, it is important to think about my third seat action well before partner and RHO have passed.

Well, some ideas go through my head about the best psyche that I could make, and then the unexpected happens: TWO PASSES.. to me! It is time for me to enter the auction.

Which do you think is the best psyche available?
Do you think I should just bid 3C (perhaps 4C, 3D or even Pass?) or do you think these are the right conditions for a psyche?
Do you think I should have my head examined for such bidding tactics?

The Fallible Genius - a chronicle by Brad Bart
January 30, 1998