Rare wild animal sighted at the bridge table!
Playing online (with random opposition) on the first hand my LHO opens 1C, 2N (unusual) and I hold
S:J9xxx H:Kxx D:Qx C:xxx
Sure, I only have 6 points, but five of them are in partners 5+ card suits. Before I can bid RHO bids 3S. I like my hand, but I don’t like it at 4 hearts and in any case lets see where they land. 3S is probably forcing. It is, and LHO bids 3N and RHO bids 6N.
Which happens to be cold, partner having bid 2N on the red jacks and out. (RHO held AKxxx AQx Axx xx and naturally assumed the HK was in the pocket, but even though it was off that was the only trick lost, declarer had 12 tricks off the top).
So its that kind of night.
Later on partner opens 1C in first seat (everyone vul) and I glance down at:
S:J9xxx H:x D:KJ9xx C:J9 (I do like my J9 combinations)
LHO passes and I have an easy 1S bid (planning on retreating to diamonds after the inevitable 1N or 2C rebid), but things take a turn…
CHO RHO MEO LHO --------------- 1D P 1S 2H 2S* 3H 4S 5H *2S promises 4 spades. DBL P ?
No way am I leaving this double in. Yes, partner may have the set in his hand, but I have zero defense. Worse, I probably take away at least 1/2 a trick (or more) from partners defense. Hands with double fits (and this looks like one) tend to have more tricks than the Law of Total tricks expects. I bid 4S thinking that it would make OR be a good sacrifice. At matchpoints I would leave the double in, giving them the last guess.
But this is IMPs, and I think it too likely that one contract is making. And in any case being wrong and turning +200 into -200 isn’t a disaster (leaving in the double when both contracts make is a disaster! And it could very well be). I’d be surprised if I’m turning +500 into -500, but I’ve been wrong before…
I flee to five spades. This gets doubled quickly by LHO and I play it there. The hand holds only one surprise — LHO doubled with a void. While the double gets us down three (for -800), the void also means E-W are cold for 6H.
I’m not sure why partner (having ATxx xxx AQxxxx x) doubled. I assume he thought 4S created a forcing pass situation (where the opponents cannot play undoubled. In that case pass would imply willingness for me to carry on), but like many partnerships, we aren’t on firm ground on this. (If I had bid 4H instead of 4S, making a strong raise, we would definitely be in a forcing pass …. ) But it has worked out. If partner had a stronger double, then I might well have turned +200 into -500.
I’m busy patting myself on the back for turning -1050 (ish) into -800 (and conveniently ignoring the fact that if I’d not bid 4S I could have gotten out for -680) when I realize that partner has doubled a making slam at the five level — A stripe tailed ape! Yes, yes, technically a Stripe tailed ape is done in a non-competitive auction, but its that kind of night, where even when I make the right decision (my bid improved the score) I lose and this is the first time I’ve caught a glimpse of one in years, so I’m not going to be too picky.
S:J9xxx H:x D:KJ9xx C:J9 S:KQ87 H:KTxx D:x C:QTxx S: -- H:AQJxx D:xx C:AKxxxx S:ATxx H:xxx D:AQTxx C:x