Manila Standard – 19 Jul 1999

I had made a passing remark in a previous article on the highly distributional hands the computer dealt us in the match against Japan. We lost heavily on Board 6 because both our pairs did not know how to appreciate the freakish nature of the hand and just did not bid their hands nearly enough.

In our table the Japanese East found an opening bid of one spade on his 8 high carder, obviously their style on highly distributional hands.

South overcalled with two diamonds on his bid hand which I raised when West made a negative double. Despite his weak hand, East bid his club suit at the four level and was raised to game when South competed with four diamonds. Unbelievably South meekly gave up and preferred to take his chances in defending against the club game. I myself would have bid on. No way will I allow the opponents to buy the hand when my 7-card suit had been freely raised by partner. Of course 5 clubs made with an overtrick whereas it would take double dummy defense (heart lead, club back for a heart ruff) to set five diamonds.

In the other table, our pair was completely outbid in this hand. Our East player passed, not surprisingly, and made a feeble overcall of one spade when South opened a diamond and got a one heart response. South rebid 3NT which is universally played as a complete shutout bid, usually based on a long minor suit. And again surprisingly, East passed this out. This is really very bad judgment. You have a fantastic two-suiter, one of which has not been bid yet, a void and a singleton on the side suits, and you know LHO is bidding a notrump game on long diamonds.

Grant Baze
Grant Baze

The bid of 4 at this point simply stands out, despite a passing partner, despite the unfavorable vulnerability, despite having only 8 high card points. How I wish I had told this teammate about the advice Grant Baze (one of the top experts in the USA) gave me about 6-6 and 7-6 hands before this deal came up.

Grant said that whether you are playing match points, imps, rubber bridge, vulnerable, not vulnerable, opposite a weak or strong partner, just keep bidding your two suiter until your partner doubles. This hand only proves how accurate this piece of advice is.

E-W may only have a combined total of 16 high card points yet they have a cold slam in clubs whereas N-S’s par for the hand, on their 24 points collection, is to take a sacrifice at 6 diamonds for two down. We lost a double game swing on this hand, 14 imps away, when who knows that may have happened if our South in the Open Room had bid on to five diamonds while our East in the Closed Room had reopened with four clubs. It stands to reason West may have doubled 5 and led his singleton spade, allowing the contract to easily make while our West in the Closed Room would have continued on to five clubs on his excellent support and spade shortness.