Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Play safe in a doubled contract

Playing with Kate in a 12-board IMP tournament on Bridge Base Online, on the first deal I picked up:
K Q 8 4 Q 9 5 K J 8 Q J 9.

Left-hand opponent passed, and my partner opened 2NT. We play a version of Precision Club where this shows 5-5 or 6-5 in the minors with less than an opening bid, usually around 5 to 11 high-card points. What would you do?

I knew our side may have only half the deck, and there's no room to explore, so conservatism is the order of the day. I bid 3 and Alerted my opponents that this was non-forcing. Left-hand opponent thought forever before doubling and this was passed out. The opening lead was the 7 and this was what I saw (hands rotated):

It looked like I was going to make it! Off to a great start! Maybe this would be our night!

There are, however, traps. What if I played low and East won? He could shift to a diamond and the opponents can manage a ruff when they get in with their ace of trumps. This is not the time to go for an overtrick.

Accordingly, I rose with the A and led a trump. West won, led a spade to East's ace. Now, East cashed the A, led a heart to his partner's king who returned a diamond, ruffed for down one -- ouch. Here are all four hands:

I thought I was playing safe, but I was playing with fire. If I had ducked the opening lead, I could have made the contract. What do you think of West's takeout double? I like to get in there and compete, but this was certainly aggressive -- maybe my sour grapes are showing.

For down 100, we scored -3.2 IMPs. No one scored +470, but it looks like that would have been around +8 IMPs, a significant turn-around.


  1. The 4-1 splits with singleton aces was just unlucky.

  2. @Valliappa: I was thinking later -- this is probably the equivalent of a poker bad beat story, lol.

  3. Rising on trick 1 also leaves you susceptible to a tapout any time RHO has Axxx of trumps and LHO has the HK.