Oct 132002

N/S Vul
Dealer: West
Lead: CJ

S J 10 7 6 4
H A 6 3
D Q 9 2
C J 2
S A K Q 5 3 2
D 7 6 5
C Q 9 8
[W - E] justinl
S 9 8
H K J 10 8 4
D A J 4
C 7 6 4
H 9 7 5 2
D K 10 8 3
C A K 10 5 3
1 S
2 S
2 C


Today, for once, a hand on which Gee’s partner really does sell him down the river. No, really.

Gee, South, at unfavorable vulnerability, makes a reasonable 2C bid over West’s 1S opener and East’s forcing notrump. Double is the other choice, but the awful hearts could easily put you down 500 in 2H against a part score the other way.

Mini-Gee, North, doubles West’s 2S for penalties, which is fine but for the fact that you have to back up bids like that with actual defense. Seaman Lall promptly redoubles, alerting it to the specs as a Bones Redouble. We owe this modern extension of the Bones Principleā„¢ to Ira Chorush. It can be enumerated as follows: When Gee doubles a freely bid contract for penalties, always redouble, relying on a combination of errors in judgment and defense. It will prove to be a profitable action 90% of the time.

Justin’s alert, then, was erroneous, as it was Mini-Gee, not Gee, who doubled. But since the contract is a part score, perhaps we could safely call it a miniature Bones Redouble.

The contract looks to be off 2 on casual inspection, and Mini gets the defense off to a fine start by leading the CJ. Gee cashes two clubs and gives his partner a third round ruff with his lowest club, the 3. I’m not sure what this means in the strange world of Roman carding, but ordinarily it would ask for a diamond shift. Mini takes his ruff, ponders the layout, and leads a low heart.

Now the hand is cold. Simply play the HK and lead another high heart back, discarding a diamond. The second diamond loser goes on the remaining heart, and declarer loses two clubs, a ruff, a trump, and a heart, making 2.

But West, in a fit of generosity, lets the heart run around to his queen, sticking himself in hand and giving the defense another chance. His best chance now is to cash three rounds of trump and throw North in with a fourth round, hoping he will try to cash his HA instead of shifting to diamonds. Instead he plays three rounds of trump and leads a diamond. North plays the 9 and declarer ducks in dummy. Gee now makes his one defensive error of the hand and it’s a beauty: knowing that his partner holds DQ and HA and that a diamond return will always beat the contract, he lets the D9 hold, allowing his partner to try to cash the heart. Sure enough, North, who can also mark his partner for the DK, plays the HA, and the Bones Redouble cashes in for 640.

I apportion blame for this catastrophe 80%-20% N/S. Declarer earns demerits for nearly allowing a cold hand to get away and dummy, Seaman Lall, for an incorrect alert of an unsound redouble. Gee’s sins look minor by comparison, and it’s only fair that he should be the hero every once in a while.

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