Defense

Oct 142002
 

Both Vul
IMPs
Dealer: East
Lead: SA

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

1NT
Pass
Pass

North

2 S
Pass
Pass

East
Pass
2NT
4 H
South
1 D
3 S
Pass

 

Yesterday we had a brief respite, a hand where Gee’s play, though bad, was possibly the best at the table. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

The score was tied in a team game when today’s hand came down, the last in a ten-board match.

The bidding is pretty normal. N/S go down 1 in three spades, but East, with most of the opponents’ high cards marked, takes a flyer at the heart game.

Gee leads the SA and continues spades. Timo, North, wins the second spade and shifts to a club; Gee cashes his ace and leads another. Now declarer, after pulling trump in two rounds, needs four diamond tricks to make: how do you play the suit?

The book says you play the ace and finesse the jack on the second round if the queen doesn’t drop; this wins against Qxx or Qx onside, or a singleton queen in either hand, for around 30%. In this case, however, Gee is almost certainly marked with the DQ for his opening bid; N/S have 16 points and Timo has already shown up with the spade king and a club honor. Furthermore Gee can have no more than six cards in the majors, so with seven in the minors he must have at least four diamonds.

Is it hopeless? Not quite. Declarer leads the D10; and Gee, holding Q987 and looking at AKJx in dummy, plays low. Declarer repeats the finesse and claims. Now it might look to STCPs™ like me that the contract always goes down as long as Gee covers the 10; it even looks that way to Timo, who asks Gee why he didn’t. “It didn’t matter,” Gee explains, “because she could ruff the fourth round of diamonds anyway.”

Oct 132002
 

N/S Vul
IMPs
Dealer: West
Lead: CJ

petit_g
S J 10 7 6 4
H A 6 3
D Q 9 2
C J 2
icewater
S A K Q 5 3 2
H Q
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
Maestro
S
H 9 7 5 2
D K 10 8 3
C A K 10 5 3
West
1 S
2 S
Pass
North
Pass
Dbl
Pass
East
1NT
Rdbl
South
2 C
Pass

 

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 Principle™ 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.

Oct 112002
 

N/S Vul
IMPs
Dealer: North
Lead: C3

laurel
S K 8 7 3
H Q 9 5 2
D 8 6
C K 6 2
samik
S 9 6 2
H K 8 7 6
D 10 3
C A J 8 5
[W - E] jdonn
S A J
H J 4 3
D K Q 9 2
C Q 10 7 3
Gerard
S Q 10 5 4
H A 10
D A J 7 5 4
C 9 4
West

Dbl
2 C
Pass
Pass

North
Pass
1NT
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 C
Pass
Pass
3 C
South
1 D
Pass
2 S
Pass

 

Every call is normal today until West’s 2C is passed around to Gee. Does he pass? Nah, E/W have about half the points, why sell out to two lousy clubs? OK, does he bid 2D? Well, his partner implied a diamond doubleton, but she could have just one, that seems problematic. Yet partner did promise something in the majors with her 1NT bid…clearly there’s only one answer: yes, it’s 2S, on Q10xx, the passed-hand balancing reverse, with two and a half twists from the pike position.

Again Gee’s masterly table feel has landed his side in their best fit. East, staggered, manages to recover in time to compete to 3C on nothing in particular — although I don’t blame him for bidding something, anything, on that auction — and there the matter ends. 3C has no chance against ordinary defense, but unorthodox bidding often calls for unorthodox play. Gee opens the HA, ignores his partner’s encouraging 5, and shifts to the DA and another diamond. This is the end of the defense. Declarer wins the second diamond and plays trump ace and another trump. (North now has no way to get to South’s hand for a diamond ruff to kill one of declarer’s discards. This is the vital importance of cashing the HA at trick 1.) He wins the spade return, draws the last trump, tosses two hearts on the diamonds, and claims.

STCPs™ should pause here to ponder the exquisite timing involved. The heart ace and another heart will defeat the contract. So too will the diamond ace and another diamond (provided North finds the heart shift). Only the alert defender who thinks to lead both aces can allow the hand to make. Be honest now: did you expect anything less?

Oct 052002
 

E/W Vul
MPs
Dealer: South
Lead: D3

petit_g
S K 10 5 3
H Q 9 6 4
D Q 10 3 2
C A
a-yummy
S J 4
H 10 7 3
D J 7 5 4
C K 9 8 5
[W - E] Sauron
S A Q 9 6 2
H A J 5
D
C Q J 10 6 4
Maestro
S 8 7
H K 8 2
D A K 9 8 6
C 7 3 2
West

Pass
Pass
3 C
Pass
Pass

North

Pass
Pass
3 D
Dbl

East

1 S
Dbl
4 C
Pass

South
Pass
2 D
Pass
Pass
Pass

Gee noted in his incisive discussion of yesterday’s hand that he made a special point of correcting Mini-Gee’s lead of the spade deuce very mildly, “not wanting to look nasty towards [his partner].” And surely no one understands the importance of proper care and feeding of one’s partner better than Gee. As he sagely writes in Bridge Is a Conversation, “The Rule #1 of any partnership in bridge is: Never make your partner feel inadequate.”

Perhaps, then, it is a good time to watch Gee put Rule #1 into practice, with the same partner, the very next day.

Today’s auction is rather orthodox, at least until we get to the three-level or so. Quite a few players would open the North hand in third position with 11 points, good spots and four spades, but it’s borderline and I don’t fault a pass. A more serious error is to fail to show the four-card diamond support immediately. A raise to three diamonds might buy the hand; East would have to think twice about a reopening double that could force his side to play a seven-card fit at the three-level.

But at the table North passes, and E/W locate their club fit, and North bids 3D over West’s 3C, one round too late. East makes a fine competitive bid of 4C with his excellent offensive and mediocre defensive hand. This is passed around to North, who thinks, and thinks, and thinks some more, and finally doubles. Is the double a good call? North certainly had a better hand than he’d shown, but no, not really, not even at matchpoints. In a case like this Gee knows exactly what to do. First he pulls to 4D, despite the fact that he is effectively barred from the auction by North’s slow double. Then he lets his student have it:

G: efes… I am confiscating your double button forever
Spec #1: UI [“Unauthorized information.” —Ed.]
Spec #2: coffeehousing back in popularity?
G: in fact
G: undo please
G: I am gonna pass
Spec #1: lol
G: so he sees what happens
Spec #3: oyyyyyyy
Spec #2: oh geez
Spec #1: ah, drawn and quartered

Well, here we are in 4CX. West ruffs the diamond lead in dummy and leads trump. Mini-Gee takes the ace and shifts to a spade, ducked in dummy and won with declarer’s SJ. At this point declarer makes four easily by repeating the spade finesse, ruffing a spade and drawing trump. West decides instead to ruff another diamond first. Then she plays a second round of trump, leaving Gee with one outstanding as Mini-Gee signals hearts by discarding the 9. Now declarer repeats the spade finesse, which holds.

Declarer continues with a low spade. Gee ruffs, giving away the overtrick and ensuring the stone bottom, to make sure his partner really learns his lesson this time. After the hand they have a few more words, for repetition is the essence of pedagogy:

G: that’s what you wanted, efes?
Spec #2: which was worse? making that coffee housing comment or g undoing his bid to ‘teach his student a lesson?’
Spec #1: neither
Spec #4: petulant
Spec #1: embarrassing efes
G: efes…. you are not to double for the next 3 months
petit_g: your hand bids 4 d
petit_g: not funny at all
G: no, I agree, it is not funny… but you promised to be careful with your doubles, but you keep going
petit_g: my double was correct
Spec #2: humiliation the key to learning?
G: I dont know how to stop you from doing that
G: huh?
petit_g: i had 11 points… single club ace
G: so what, you already told me about your 11 points [Um, when was that exactly? —Ed.]
Spec #5: this from a man who the last time I played w/him threw away the setting trick in a doubled contract
petit_g: last hand for me… ty all… good nite. … good nite G

Oct 042002
 

None Vul
IMPs
Dealer: East
Lead: S2

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

1 H
3NT

North

Pass
Pass

East
1 C
2 C
Pass
South
Pass
Pass
Pass

 

One of Gee’s countless innovations in bidding and play is Roman leads, his refinement and extension of Roman discards. I can do no better than to quote his definitive treatment of the subject:

At the first occurrence of play in a suit,
a) Lead of the Ace asks partner for a count in the suit (Standard or Upside Down as agreed by partnership…)
b) Lead of any other honor shows presence of at least 1 more honor in the suit and asks partner to play according to Roman carding or discard as the case may be. I recommend highest of touching honors.
a) Lead of an odd card encourages partner to return in the suit being led. It tends to show at least an honor in the suit being played.
b) Lead of an even discard discourages partner to return in the suit being led. It tends to show lack of honor in that suit. A relatively high even card suggests a shift to a higher-ranking suit other than the trump suit. A relatively low even card suggests a shift to a lower-ranking suit other than the trump suit.

Got all that? (The two-letter alphabet is in the original.) Now let’s watch Roman leads in action.

E/W can make ten tricks in clubs but have no legitimate game. West takes a flyer at 3NT after East rebids his club suit, and indeed 3NT would make on a low heart lead. North, to his credit, chooses a spade instead, but playing Roman leads, which one?

The deuce discourages, denies — “tends to show lack of,” as Gee elegantly phrases it — an honor, and asks for a diamond. (Presumably clubs are out.) The eight or ten discourages, denies an honor, and asks for a heart. The jack shows a second honor, although it’s not entirely clear to me which one. Not the queen, certainly, since you’re supposed to lead highest of touching. The ace? The king?

Mini-Gee finally selects the deuce, which asks for the wrong suit in return — not that there’s a right one — and blocks the suit into the bargain. Declarer ducks in dummy (I would fly the queen and hope), and Gee wins the SK. Let’s pause and think the hand out along with him. We can see seven tricks in dummy. West has shown a balanced near-opener, and any possible diamond finesse is on, so there must be at least eight tricks in the minors, if not nine. Everything indicates that the defense needs to cash out. The question is, which major? You can continue the one your partner has led (admittedly with a discouraging card), in which you hold AKxxx, or shift to the one declarer has bid, and your partner has not signaled for, in which you hold 9xxx.

The choice is clear. Gee shifts to the H6. Declarer plays low, and North wins the HA. To some defenders this might indicate that declarer has another heart honor or two. North’s subsequent return of the S8 — a not very informative spot, but still, it is a spade — might even confirm it.

Gee wins the SK and shifts back to a heart.

It may be some time yet before the pupil surpasses the master.

Sep 272002
 

E/W Vul
IMPs
Dealer: South
Lead: HQ

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

Pass
Dbl
Pass

North

1NT
Pass
Pass

East
Pass
Pass
3 D
Pass
South
Pass
2 D
Dbl

How long must an STCP™ study to acquaint himself with the darker recesses of the expert mind? Longer than I have. A lot longer.

The partnership of davekent, North, and Gee, South, returns for today’s hand, from the same session as yesterday’s. I understand the bidding up to a point. 1NT is normal. The 2D transfer is normal. The double is risky — for all West knows N/S make 2DXX — but within the range of normality.

North’s pass of the double shows exactly two hearts; he would accept the transfer with three or more. (This sequence, at Gee tables, has been discussed.) East holds a powerful offensive hand after his partner’s double. Many players would bid 4D, but East, who is sure he can beat 3NT but not at all sure he can beat 4H, bids 3D instead, which looks pretty good to me. Certainly one can’t quarrel with the results.

Gee now doubles. I can work out four possible meanings for this bid:
1. Penalty. He has a game-going hand with some diamond strength and is trying to smoke out East’s bogus two-card raise.
2. Takeout for the other suits. He has a weak distributional hand, something like 4-5-0-4.
3. A retransfer.
4. SashaA is in spec, causing Gee’s hand to shake and making him mismouse.

North chooses option 1, penalty, and passes. The play isn’t cheap either. Declarer wins Gee’s HQ lead with the ace, plays two rounds of trump, and leads a low club to the queen, which holds but leaves him with two club losers. North wins the club continuation and leads a low spade, allowing East to make his stiff queen, and then continues spades when he gets in with CA, allowing him to dump his heart loser on the long clubs. Some might argue that -1070 merits a sticks and wheels logo, but we shall stickle for the formalities.

For those of you wondering what the double was, exactly, Gee clears it up in the post mortem, after a fashion:

G: Sorry Dave.. I did not want to play that 2H contract… my hand too bad and yours too good
Spec #1: huh?
Spec #2: his hand too bad to play 2H?
Spec #3: As I said, “if you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with bullshit”
Spec #4: the dbl was a re-xfer
Spec #5: how about Dr. Robert? is he still on the ship?
Spec #6: all I know is that I am turning blue and going into rigor mortis
Spec #1: if someone comprehends that please explain it to me?
Spec #7: Dr. R in drunken stupor
davekent: I still have no idea what you meant by the double
lawjon: retransfer maybe
Spec #8: Tell Us G
Spec #6: maybe it was a checkback stayman double? Spec #9: for the other three suits?
G: was re-transfer
davekent: hehe – you are kidding i hope?
Spec #4: and we have a winner!
lawjon: you shd have alerted it to dave
Spec #1: when do you let partner know Ds are trumps?
G: no, I am not… I had 6 of them hearts
Spec #6: poor dave
Spec #8: oh my
Spec #3: lololol
Spec #9: Dave is being very stalwart in the face of adversity

Sep 242002
 

N/S Vul
IMPs
Dealer: North
Lead: S7

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

2 S
Pass

North
Pass
4 H
Pass
East
Pass
4 S
Pass
South
1NT
Dbl

In bridge defense takes two forms: in the play and in the post mortem. Too often the first necessitates the second.

Today Gee, South, opens a standard 1NT and West ventures a 2S, showing spades and a minor, that is rather thin, even at unfavorable. North jumps to 4H with his stiff spade. This isn’t a terrible bid, but if they are playing Lebensohl then a forcing 3H, showing five hearts and asking South to choose a game, is much better. On the actual layout 4H is almost certainly down while 3NT makes nine tricks at least.

East’s 4S bid can’t be faulted at the vulnerability, nor can Gee’s double. North knows that the defense has most of the points and makes the logical choice of a trump lead.

Declarer wins Gee’s SQ with the ace and does the best he can by leading D7. North wisely plays D2, allowing Gee to win, which he does with DQ, and continue trump. Two more rounds of trump force declarer to eat three diamonds, putting the contract three in the glue for 500. Gee’s aversion to trump leads, however, is well-known, and the specs begin to buzz:

Spec #1: is G bristling again?
Spec #2: probably trump lead
Spec #3: will he continue trumps? i think no
Spec #4: what is he thinking about now….. throw a trump on the table!!
Spec #5: think no, definite NO

Gee leads the CA. This finishes the defense. Declarer ruffs, cashes the HA and CK, cross-ruffs clubs and diamonds, and manages an overtrick in the ending, for the coup de grace, when Gee discards on the good long club and ruffs the losing heart. 690. The specs are shocked, shocked:

Spec #4: pathetic
Spec #1: LOL
Spec #6: G at work…
Spec #7: that was inspired
Spec #2: bad even on the g scale

But now Gee demonstrates what great defense really is:

G: you really fooled me there pd :(
Spec #8: wow!!!!
Spec #4: ???
Spec #3: fooled him?????
Spec #6: pd to blame
Spec #9: the Ace???? when he can see the King
Spec #2: oh its his pds fault we shd have known
Spec #4: fooled him??? pard made a great opening lead
johnjay: what did i do?
Spec #2: lol
Spec #1: well he might ask!
G: the 4H
Spec #10: trump lead indicates shortness in dummy long suit
Spec #8: thought p had club k
G: why 4H?
Spec #1: notice G will get TWO spade tricks this way
Spec #5: no he wont
Spec #8: take the offense g
Spec #4: why club ace?
Spec #1: what chutzpah! first the club ace, THEN criticize the bidding
Spec #6: misclick… “obvious”
Spec #5: john seems to be having a little trouble finding the right words
G: I based my defense around you having 6 hearts and short in one of the minors
Spec #4: with spade lead – down 500
Spec #11: no comment by john :) (his pard)
johnjay: he doesnt do so well if you lead trumps
Spec #3: trump lead means that he is short in a minor according to G. Something like 1-6-5-1… interesting
Spec #9: is this the end of a beautiful friendship?
Spec #8: quite the analyst

Sep 232002
 

E/W Vul
IMPs
Dealer: East
Lead: D9

petit_g
S K 9 4
H K Q 7 2
D K J 8 5 2
C 6
mclucky
S A J
H 9 8 5
D A 7 6 4
C K 9 4 2
[W - E] a-yummy
S 10 7 3
H A J 10 6 4
D Q 10 3
C A Q
Maestro
S Q 8 6 5 2
H 3
D 9
C J 10 8 7 5 3
West

3 H
Pass

North
1 D
Dbl

East
1 H
Pass

South
2NT
Pass

A few days ago my faithful correspondent O_Bones remarked on an innovation he christened the “unusual unusual notrump.” It appears he spoke too soon. Either that or I’m going to run out of names.

Grand un petit Gee reprise yesterday’s roles as South and North, respectively. An ordinary 1D first seat opener and 1H overcall finds our hero in difficulties. The sissified pass of a cowardly STCP™ can be rejected out of hand. A bold STCP™ might consider a negative double, but Chronicles readers know this is always wrong with a five-card major. 1S maybe, but then how to show the glorious clubs?

Gee’s answer is the unusual unusual notrump: 2NT, to show 5-5 or better in the unbid suits. The STCP™ would play 2NT here to show a balanced invitational hand with a heart stopper, but you know, small-time once, small-time forever. McLucky, West, must count himself even more fortunate than usual to hold an opening hand in fourth seat on this auction. He swallows his incredulity and musters a raise to 3H.

North knows somebody’s lying, but who? Holding KQxx of hearts he doubles, reasonably, instead of waiting around to find out. This is passed to Gee, who has the defensive tricks he promised, give or take two or three, and stands it.

Against 3HX Gee leads his stiff D9. Declarer makes four by going up with the DA and running the trump 9. He ducks the diamond. North wins the DK and returns his singleton club. Declarer wins and can still make by playing trump, conceding the two trump honors, a diamond and a spade. Instead he unaccountably plays another round of clubs. North ruffs, gives Gee a diamond ruff, and later comes to a spade and another trump trick. Down 1. A triumph for the unusual unusual notrump. I guess.

Sep 222002
 

None Vul
MPs
Dealer: East
Lead: D10

petit_g
S 10 6 5
H A K J 10 4
D J 9 6 4 2
C
classact
S A J 9
H 9 8 5 3
D 10 8
C J 9 8 4
[W - E] a-yummy
S Q 8 2
H Q 7 6
D Q 7 5 3
C 10 7 2
Maestro
S K 7 4 3
H 2
D A K
C A K Q 6 5 3
West

Pass
Pass
Pass

North

1 H
3 D
Pass

East
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
South
1 C
3 C
4 S

 

Today we elaborate a few intricacies of captain theory for those to whom yesterday’s lecture was not entirely clear.

Gee, sitting South, opens an unexceptionable 1C in second seat. His partner, mini-Gee, responds an equally reasonable 1H, and Gee bypasses his spade suit, discounts his eight playing tricks, and bids a non-forcing 3C.

Or so it appears. It turns out, however, that mini-Gee has appointed himself captain with the 1H bid, and therefore any rebid by Gee is non-forcing. As Gee instructed the specs after the hand:

Spec #1: was 3c a forcing bid last hand?
G: no… I was the crew
G: crew cant make forcing bids
Spec #1: but if you bid 2s as you probably shd wdn’t that be forcing?
G: why would I bid 2S? I have a 6/4 hand, not a 5/4 or a 6/5
Spec #2: if you did, though, would it be forcing?
G: no as the crew I can never make a forcing bid
Spec #1: what made you the crew?
G: I was the dealer
G: the dealer is always the crew
Spec #1: but dealers always make jump shifts and reverses – those are forcing
G: no, they are not
Spec #3: always thought a jump shift by opener was forcing
G: it is not

Let’s review. 2S? Not forcing. 4NT rkc? Not forcing. Running around to the other side of the table, sticking a gun in your partner’s ear, and saying “bid or I’ll kill you”? Not forcing.

Nonetheless mini-Gee has an easy 3D bid over 3C, showing, in all likelihood, at least nine red cards. Any idiot could bid 3NT now with the South cards. But a player who can bypass Kxxx of spades on the first round and then introduce them at the four-level without so much of a hint of support from partner — that’s no ordinary idiot.

Against 4S West leads the D10, as good as anything. Gee wins the DK and plays three top clubs, discarding diamonds from dummy, with both defenders following. Then he takes two top hearts and ruffs a low heart in hand, dropping East’s HQ. He cashes the DA for his eighth trick, and leads a club to dummy. East overruffs dummy’s S5 with the S8, and makes the crucial error of returning the S2 instead of the SQ. West wins the SJ as Gee plays low, and is endplayed. Since 3NT almost always comes to nine tricks, making 4 is good for 90% of the matchpoints. And it’s so simple too, requiring only a 4-3 club split, a 4-3 heart split, a 3-3 spade split and a defensive error.

“Bet this one won’t make Aaron’s column,” Gee crows to the specs after the hand. Does he really expect me to resist an invitation like that?

Sep 122002
 

E/W Vul
IMPs
Dealer: South
Lead: C2

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

Pass
2 S
Pass

North

2 H
3 D
Pass

East

Dbl
4 S
Pass

South
1NT
Pass
Dbl

 

At the Chronicles we welcome dialogue and dissent. Today the noted expert shotgun, perhaps unaware that this entire site is a tribute, speaks up in defense of our hero. –Ed.

To all who have read the poison pen of Evil Aaron (E.A.), it is time for someone to speak in defense of the expert and gentleman Gerard Cohen (Gee). He is kind enough to let you spec him and learn from him. Yet some of you repay him by harassing him and making fun of him. My mama once said if you don’t have anything nice to say, you should not say anything at all. Also, to quote something else, he who hath never made a bad bid or play should cast the first aspersion. These Chronicles are merely a collection of some bad boards in Gee’s illustrious career as a teacher and a player on OKBridge. And even these are mainly his partner’s fault, along with some bad luck. Even players of Gee’s stature will take a zero now and then.

What E.A. has done is to collect all these bad results, without any acknowledgement of the thousands of good results that Gerard has collected over the years, to besmirch his good name. Today, for instance, we have a disaster that E.A. would reflexively blame on Gee. Let’s subject it to some objective analysis.

Gee opens a weak notrump and his partner bids two hearts, neglecting his longest suit. When you are going to play a part score, go for your best fit: who cares if it’s a major or minor at IMPs? If North bids his diamonds first, Gee will know when the opponents reach the spade game to bid 5D, down only one. Instead North bids his hearts and then bids diamonds at the three level, showing a good hand with more hearts than diamonds. When four spades comes around to Gee, he is looking at the top of his notrump range and his partner has bid twice, promising at least 8 or 9 points. The opponents can’t possibly be making 4S and Gee doubles, as any expert would.

Fu leads his stiff club, on which Gee drops the ten. Declarer plays trump. Gee grabs the ace and leads another club away from his jack. The 9 holds, Fu is unable to ruff, and declarer claims 6. Skeptics may criticize Gee for not holding it to 5. But he needed a way to beat the hand and was looking for the extra spades that his partner showed during the auction. What’s another doubled overtrick at IMPs?

This is not to blame dickfu either, a fine player in his own right. These hands very rarely come up and are quite difficult to judge. My purpose is to make sure that everyone realizes that Gee is being wrongfully made fun of on this website and in his spec. This has to stop.