A visit to the Psychiatrist
Playing bridge on BBO with my college partner against random opponents, I pick up a relatively sane hand. (Nobody Vulnerable)
S:6 H:KJ763 D:AJ872 C:J2
RHO and I pass and LHO opens 1 Heart in 3rd seat. Partner bids 1 Spade. RHO bids 2 Hearts.
Hearts are apparently 5=0=3=5 around the table. Even if I had a penalty double I wouldn’t do it, because hearts are behind me, but I don’t have one so I pass as does LHO.
Partner is in it with 2 Spades. RHO is also in it and bids 3 Hearts. He probably has a stiff spade, or is just making a bad bid. It happens a lot on BBO.
This I can unambiguously double for penalty. Yes, it might make (with hearts behind me) but partner bid 1S then 2S when I was a passed hand. He might have very well just pre-empted to 2S with a random 10 count or even 11 or 12. I would. I think partner has a solid opener. Even if lots of it is in spades, I like my chances, and against random opponents, I love them.
My LHO (opener) runs to 4 clubs. This has to be an escape bid (why not play 3H doubled?) I recognize it as an escape bid but don’t reach the obvious conclusion — Opener has lied. But I do realize something is fishy.
I’m not the only one who misses this conclusion because RHO corrects back to 4 Hearts (a suit I’ve already doubled) and I double again, ending the auction.
RHO Me LHO CHO -------------- P P 1H 1S 2H P P 2S 3H X 4C P 4H X AP
Partner leads the spade ace (ace from AK) and dummy hits with:
S: J2 H:QT954 D:T65 C:A94
Opener didn’t fudge a four card major. This was an out-and-out psyche. Partner switches to the diamond four and I win the ace. Is partner’s four a singleton? That would give declarer four diamonds and presumably four spades. I honestly can’t tell if that’s a better psyche than if declarer has the stiff diamond and has long clubs. Not only do I not know who is short in diamonds, I have no idea how many hearts anyone has.
I switch to a heart and declarer shows out. Partner wins the ace (declarer pitching a spade) and now it’s just brutal.
Partner’s spade queen winning (I pitch a club)
Spade king ruffed with the 9 and overruffed with the jack, declarer playing the ten of spades.
At this point I know who has the stiff diamond.
Diamond to declarer’s king, partner ruffs.
Partner cashes the high spade, dummy pitches a diamond and I pitch my remaining club (declarer pitches a diamond)
Spade ruffed with the five and overruffed with the six.
Diamond ruff by partner, overruffed by dummy (my diamonds are now high, as declarer has doggedly kept clubs).
Dummy has H:Q C:Axx and I have H:K7 D:Jx
Declarer leads a club but I ruff, pull his trump and have the rest. Down nine doubled (mercifully not vulnerable) for 2300. As partner said, “they bid game, we made slam.”
I have a fair amount of sympathy for the psyche. If responder had just made the book bid of 4 Hearts, I would have been pickled. At that point I would suspect foul play (RHO should only have 3 hearts, which typically means a balanced opener, but RHO was a passed hand), but I’d have no convenient bid and partner, looking at three hearts, would not dream of doubling (although perhaps might gamble four spades, which would fail).
So — A nice try by opener.
Full hand on BBO (at least for a few days).