Thursday, December 4, 2008

The greatest sin in bridge

I played online last night with Xwing. A player against us held this hand:
K Q 6 K 10 7 3 Q 10 2 10 3 2.
His partner opened 1 in first seat and his right-hand opponent passed. He bid 1NT. I suppose he saw he had 10 high-card points and intended to make a delayed limit raise.

This player is a slave to HCP, and I don't like his bid. Yes, you have 10 HCP, but you have 3=4=3=3 distribution and 4 of your points are queens. If you believe in Losing Trick Count, you have nine losers (the way I count), and it takes eight losers to be able to make a limit raise. My method: you have one spade loser, two heart losers, two diamond losers and three club losers for eight losers. But wait, you have to adjust for aces and queens. You have two queens for one more loser and no aces so that's a total of nine losers and a hand worth a simple raise to 2. [Thanks to Karen Copeland who first taught me this.]

Over his 1NT, I overcalled 2. His partner jumped to 3 and his RHO bid 5.

Because he had not supported before, he had a dilemma. He didn't want to bid at the five level, yet he had support for both is partner's suits. He decided to double. This was his second chance to support, but again he did not -- a true sinner. After his partner pulled to 5, he gave a preference to 5 which ended the auction.

The opening lead was the A which was ruffed. After a few cards were played, declarer claimed seven! Here are the four hands:

K Q 6
K 10 7 3
Q 10 2
10 3 2
9 8 3
A Q 9 6 5 J 8 4 2
J 6 4 8 7
K 8 6 4 A Q J 7 5
A J 10 7 5 4 2
A K 9 5 3

Not raising your partner has to be about the worst thing you can do. Besides the technical reasons for this, there are psychological reasons. Your partner likes it when you support him! It brings him into the picture. I consider not raising when you should as the greatest sin in bridge.

If you look at the results by clicking here, you'll notice that out of the 69 North-South pairs, 26 of them bid slam. In almost every case, North raised spades, simplifying the auction.

There were other weird results. It was passed out at one table (surely a mis-mouse), It was played in 3NT at another and that was down two (one heart and five clubs for the defense). Several players opened 4, and got what they deserved (they played it there, making an easy 12 tricks).

Are you a sinner? If so, is it time to repent?

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