Mar 042003

N/S Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: H3

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



1 S
3 H

1 D
3 D
4 C


For the STCP™ bidding misfits often proves troublesome. A brief lesson from the master may clear up some of the subtler points involved.

Gee opens a diamond and jump rebids 3D over the 1S response, giving his partner a problem. Pass wins, as it so often does; 3D makes exactly three and there is no game on the layout. But North very reasonably chooses 3H to show his 5-5 hand in the majors; there could easily be a major suit game available if Gee holds three of either. East doubles, chancily, for a heart lead and it’s back to the maestro.

At this stage the STCP™, scenting a misfit and knowing his partner is at least 5-5, might take a simple preference to three spades to show his excellent two-card support. (With three in either major South should bid game.) This approach, however, hides the four-card club suit, in which you could conceivably have a seven-card fit (assuming North is void diamonds) that you may well want to play at the four-level. The maestro therefore spurns the spade preference in favor of four clubs.

West doubles, of course, and poor North, who figures Gee to be 1-1-6-5 with a hand not quite good enough for a three club rebid, passes.

A heart is led, and there appear to be eight tricks for declarer, the 4-2 fit notwithstanding: two spades, two diamonds, the heart ace, a diamond ruff (West figures to have both club honors on the auction), and two heart ruffs in hand. Yet is -500 enough to guarantee the zero? Why take chances?

Gee wins the heart ace, cashes the diamond ace, and leads…a trump! West rises with the king, marking the trump ace, and plays another heart. Gee ruffs, cashes two spades in hand, and makes the key play of a low diamond, ruffing with the jack as both defenders follow. He attempts to cash the spade ace, sluffing a diamond, but West ruffs, cashes the trump ace, and plays his last heart, and now, no matter what Gee does, the trump queen is his last trick. -800, and the zero is assured.

Who’s to blame? Let’s listen:

G: not better to play with a known 7 card trump than a probably 6 card trump suit? (Yes, this was Gee, not his partner. —Ed.)
eran1: but u must be 6-5 why no 3S? i take u 6-5-1-1
G: no, with 6-5 I bid D, then C then D again
Spec #1: huh????
G: with 5-5 I bid D then C then C
eran1: so why no 3sp?
Spec #2: lolol
Spec #3: did he just type that?
G: with 6-4, I bid D then D then C

See? Bidding misfits is easy!

  2 Responses to “The Line Less Traveled”


    A reasonably well known principle of expert bidding may be expressed as a slogan as “no new suits at the 4 level.” That is to say, barring a few special exceptions, in an unimpeded auction any new suit bid at the 4 level is in some sense an indication of considerable support for a previously bid suit. Thus 4 clubs here would be assumed by most in the expert community to be something like x KQx AKJxxx Axx (i.e a very good raise to 4 hearts).

    Partner’s hand is, of course, unlimited, so it is important to distinguish between “grades” of raises to 4 hearts (or conceivably 4 spades).

    In this context Eran1 should probably not have passed 4 clubs doubled or as Gee suggests bid 4 diamonds but rather should bid 4 hearts, indicating no slam interest (pass would be stronger).

    It is interesting to see that bridge is indeed a conversation but, like most conversations, they are most useful when conducted in the same language.


    Bridge, as Ira points out, is indeed a conversation. The trouble was that Gee’s partner (that is always the trouble) forgot to finish his conversation. He asked Gee an apple with “why no 3S?” and Gee answered with an orange “with 6-5 I bid this and with 5-5 I bid that.” So then Gee’s pard asked appley “so why no 3S?” and Gee retorted orangey “with 6-4 I bid something else”. This is now where Gee’s pard should have finished the conversation (since Gee had no other distributions with which to change the subject) “SO, WHY DID YOU NOT BID 3S, GERARD???” This in effect warns Newton that an apple is falling from the tree, and it would be unwise to be sitting under it peeling an orange.

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