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Greed is a terrible thing

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 7:42 AM
Red Bird and I were back at the table yesterday for more bridge.  You would have thought we were tired of the game after back-to-back weeks at tournaments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but after three travel days we were anxiouss to get our bridge fix.  There were thirteen tables at the afternoon game and our first opponents were Voluble and Tolerant.
I picked up a rather nice hand:  KJ  T53  AKQ9876   9.  I was considering whether my hand was worth a 1D opener followed by a jump to 3D as my rebid.  However, Red Bird was Dealer and she opened 1H.  Tolerant Passed and I had an easy bid of 2D (Game Force - I will show the heart fit at my next turn).  Voluble (so-called because he is very vocal in the instant post-mortem on every deal) chose to enter the auction with Double (promising both black suits).  Nothing daunted, Red Bird jumped to 3H (she was in love with her hearts).  Tolerant Passed again and now I was in a quandary.  If Red Bird had 18 points (which her bid suggested) we may have a slam - my hand had only 5 losers and her jump suggested she had no more than 6 losers.  However, I had not yet had the opportunity to show a fit so I should not mess about.
I chose to bid 4NT (1430 for hearts) and to my dismay heard Red Bird show 2 key cards plus the trump Queen.  This was not enough for Slam but we were already beyond the safe contract of 5H.  I gritted my teeth and bid 6H as if I had not a care in the world.
Voluble couldn't wait to get the red Double card on the table.  Tolerant led the Diamond Jack, won in Dummy with Ace.  Red Bird then led a low heart off the Dummy, the JH appearing from Voluble, creating a much-needed entry to Dummy via the Heart 10.  She cleared the trumps, ending in Dummy with that gorgeous ten and ran all her diamonds, pitching all those dreadful losers.  6HX, making 7 for +1860.  I never saw that score before.
Then the post-mortem began. " Lead a black suit", screamed Voluble.  "Why?" asked Tolerant.  You doubled for me to lead Dummy's first bid suit.  It's even got a special name.  What is it, Rosie?"
"It's a Lightner Double," I told him.
"Yes," said Tolerant.  "A Lightner Double.  All you have to do, Volly, is not Double.  I will lead a black suit and she goes down.  I knew you had the black suits, and I was going to lead my spade 10, but your double told me to forget that and lead Rosie's first bid suit."
We were Vulnerable so down 1 would be -100, -200 if we were doubled.  Voluble had risked everything for the difference between those two scores - insignificant.  In fact, his poor double netted him -1860 instead of plus 100.  Greed is a terrible thing.
The full hand:
                                              A532                                          T986
                                         J                                             976
                                         5432                                       J
                                         AJ85                                       K7632
The bidding should have gone:
                    Red Bird           Tolerant           Rosie         Voluble
                    1H                    P                      2D               X
                    2H                    P                      3H               P
                    4H                    P                      P                 P
Result   4H making 5    +650
Tolerant would have lead S10 and all the defence can do is cash its 2 black Aces.
I would not have looked for the doomed slam without Red Bird's jump.  The beauty of the Two Over One system is that we knew we had Game as soon as I bid 2D, so we can take our time.

Categories: Bridge

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