Jun 152003
 

E/W Vul
IMPs
Dealer: South
Lead: H8

Maestro
S A J 7 6
H 5
D Q J 8 7 2
C 10 6 2
modaddy
S 10 9 4 3
H 8 3 2
D K 6 3
C A K 7
[W - E] tashi
S K 8 5 2
H A 10 9 7 4
D A 9 4
C 3
woodee
S Q
H K Q J 6
D 10 5
C Q J 9 8 5 4
West

Pass
2 H
Dbl

North

Pass
Pass
Pass

East

1 H
Pass
Pass

South
Pass
Pass
3 C
Pass

 

Geeselle, of WWGD, offers this little lesson on balancing:

Today we find Gee agreeing reluctantly to play with Woodee, whose stats do not meet his customary exacting standards. As Gee will be the very first to tell you, intermediate or even advanced players have a tough time in situations that the maestro dispatches with ease:

I dont care about his stats…… it means nothing [and a good thing too—Ed.]… what means something is that he wrote intermediate…At the first hand that does not come straight out of the book it is a sure loss, because intermediate and even most advanced players don’t know how to.

How to what? In any case, you catch his drift.

Fast forward a few days, to the first hand that does not come straight from the book. Woodee, I think reasonably, opted to pass in first seat. It is 6-4, yes, but also aceless and the lonely lady is of unknown value at this point. He might have bid 2C over 1H on the second round, but opted again to pass. After the single raise by his left hand opponent (2 1/2 QTs but three hearts and dead flat), Woodee carefully weighed the situation. Favorable vulnerability. Their side rated to have approximately half the deck. Could he set 2H? Would 3C put them in much peril? Perhaps these words of the great theorist Mike Lawrence reverberated in his mind:

On those sequences where your opponents have shown a fit and limited values, your attitude toward reopening should range from strongly inclined to obsessive. It is almost inexcusable to allow your opponent to play at the two level when they want to.

Mike Lawrence may be an expert, but there are experts and there are EXPERTs. No sooner had Woodee bid 3C than Gee felt compelled to intercede. “What are you doing partner?” he asked compassionately.

Later on, a spectator, forgetting that the better part of valor is discretion, took a stab at Gee’s question:

Spec #1: it’s called balancing i think
G: another 4 IMPs gone
G: you must be joking?????
Spec #1: joking about what? isn’t that what 3c is?
G:If you dont know what a balancing bid is, dont talk about it

That’s telling him. Gee returned to the table to dismiss poor Woodee, and the specs returned to their customary form:

Spec #2: Not knowing what things are doesn’t stop gee from talking about them
Spec #2: Must have hit his -200 imp limit for the day
Spec #3: yes -32 is enough to make anyone sleepy
Gerard is now a spectator.
Spec #3: very unlucky set
G: no… was not unlucky
Spec #2: How big a gun did they hold on you? :)
Spec #1: so 3c wasn’t a balancing bid? geez i must be more confused than usual
G: he passed twice… come on… be real!
Spec #4: i love this game

Three hearts was the usual contract, in the face of stiff competition in clubs, for off 1. No other pair was doubled in three clubs, understandably at IMPs, and only two were permitted to play in 2H with the N/S cards. So many lessons, so little time.

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