Never psyche two times in a row, at least not if your opponents are expecting it.

Getting the Most Out of Your Cards
(a story from Red Deer Regional)

This week I am playing in the Red Deer Regional and it has been an excellent tournament thus far.

Today's event is the open pairs and I am sitting in the South seat, which means (if newspaper columns are any indication) that I will be declaring most of the hands. Today's session has been going well, but not spectacularly so.

The next round is called and our new opponents sit in their seats with happy looks on their faces. Undoubtedly, they have been having a good session so far and they may very well be our section leaders, at least for the time being. The fact that they look confident is the only incentive I need to play well.

I pull my first hand out of the shoe and while I am sorting, righty throws a PASS card on the table. This is what I see.

Vul: Both
Dlr: Righty
S Q  H K J 10 7 6 3  D 4  C K 10 9 6 2

A decent hand, indeed.

6-5 hands are always powerful, especially with good body cards in their long suits. Even though I have a lot of tricks, I am inclined to pass this hand and hope to come back in later. A 2H or 3H preempt would be too weak for such a beauty, and a 1H opening would seem to overstate my values. Since there is no nice opening bid for this one, I'll just hold my breath and PASS.

Lefty also PASSES and partner opens ONE SPADE in fourth seat which is PASSED to me. I choose to game­force with TWO HEARTS and partner rebids THREE DIAMONDS.

Where have I seen this auction before? It is clear that we are in a misfit, but my stiff SQ may still be valuable, so I bid THREE HEARTS. The next thing I hear after partner's PASS is the thud of lefty's C7 on the table.

Vul: Both
Dlr: Righty
Scoring: Matchpoints
PARD (dummy)
S K J 10 8 6
D K J 9 8 3



All Pass


Contract: 3H
Opening Lead: C7
H K J 10 7 6 3
D 4
C K 10 9 6 2

It appears that partner was able to smell the misfit as well.

He probably asked himself, "How could a passed hand do so much bidding?" and he probably deduced (correctly) that I didn't preempt the hand in hearts because I had clubs as well. Unfortunately for us, we have all of the spots in every suit, which means that even though we may have communication problems, 3NT will probably make. Unlucky.

I play the CJ from the dummy and righty stews over this for a minute and eventually plays the C5.

How do you think I should proceed?

The Fallible Genius - a chronicle by Brad Bart
August 19, 1998