The Bones Principle Revisited – The Gee Chronicles
Jul 222002

Both Vul
Dealer: South
Lead: S6

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

3 S


1 S


2 D
4 D

2 S

So many people sent me this hand from last night that I feel obliged to publish it. Besides, I kind of like it myself.

Gee, sitting East with 10 pts, 1-4-5-3 and five diamonds to the Q8, inserts a 2D overcall over North’s spade opener. Lesser players might double for takeout, or even pass. This sets the specs murmuring:

Bachelor #1: 2 vully D’s??? time for the bones principle
Bachelor #2: 2D? geesom

OK. I’ll settle for “geesom.” South raises to 2S, passed around to Gee, who reopens with a double. The spec buzz grows louder:

Bachelor #3: and a reopening dbl with 10 to back it up
Bachelor #1: after a spade pump gee would go for stix and wheels again
Bachelor #1: X???? lolol–this is insane

Poor West, who figures if his partner is willing to force him to bid at the three-level that they must have a pretty good shot at game, makes a 3S asking bid. Since Gee is almost certainly stiff or void on the auction this might be considered sub-optimal. Gee pulls to 4D, and the Bones Principle, which could have been profitably invoked at the two-level, is violated at the four-level as South neglects to double.

The defense taps Gee with spades, and he loses control of the hand pretty fast, winding up with two heart tricks, two spade ruffs and two club tricks for down 4. Sticks and Wheels if doubled, but we just finished a week of that, and you were bored with it anyway. After the hand Gee visits spec himself, where he overhears Bachelor #4 inquiring, reasonably, if O_Bones invented the Bones Principle.

Gee: please, spare me…the Bones Principle is as stupid as its inventor…when my partners overbid or don’t tell me their hand properly (90% of the time) I go to forbidden places. If he cannot see that, he should not pretend to be an “expert”…good night and god bless you all.

And God bless you all, and to all a good night.

  3 Responses to “The Bones Principle Revisited”


    Gee is correct. Clearly the Bones Principle is EXACTLY as stupid as its inventor; but then I have never professed to be a genius, merely smarter than the average bear. Gee, however, apparently does not appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the principle, since it was invented with only him (and perhaps Moshe Pipick) in mind, and clearly would NOT work with approximately 99.9% of the world’s bridge players, a statistic that alone proves the principle has absolutely NO practical application outside its parameters. Therefore I must agree that anyone who invents something THAT useless MUST be stupid, as Gee has so succinctly observed. We must give credit where it is due, after all. In reply to Gee’s comment that he goes to forbidden places when his “partners overbid or don’t tell him (sic) their hands properly (90% of the time),” we must also credit him with discovering many new areas of forbiddenality, on a par with Rod Serling’s talent for exploring new dimensions. Of course, that leaves only the 10% of the time when Gee overbids or misdescribes himself, but being an expert he naturally makes fewer errors than his partners.


    I didn’t realize this hand had generated so much interest. I was there watching this comedy of errors unfold. And I have to raise a point about one of Gee’s comments.

    Gee mentioned about his pard not bidding properly. Clearly, after the 2S bid, Bach had to say something other than Pass. His pard has made a 2-level overcall of a 3rd seat opening. If Gee had had a proper 2D bid, the hand easily belongs to EW.

    Now what that call should be is very debatable. From his spade holding, he knows that Gee is short in spades, but did not make a takeout double, so the likelihood that Gee has hearts is lesser. Therefore, he could make a Responsive Double, knowing that pard is unlikely to bid 3H and even if he does the hand may survive on power (high card strength in the other suits). This is probably his best call other than Pass.

    Of course, the point is moot as Gee did not have his 1st bid. Bach, quite reasonably, allowed for this possibility with his Pass. The reopening double told Bach that Gee did have a his bid and more. So now, he tries to show his extra strength with a 3S cuebid, angling towards 3N probably.

    So, in the end, Gee did make a true statement about his pd not bidding his hand properly. Where they might have ended up had Bach bid his hand properly is anyone’s guess. And the result would have been similar or worse to the one they actually got.

    As an aside, after 4D, the fog of misbids perpetrated by the opposition prevented pinpin from doubling. Indeed, I am sure that pinpin figured the auction was not over yet and was planning to double the final contract.

    So, on this hand, Gee made 2 clearcut incorrect calls. While Bach made, arguably, 1. Now about that 90% statement …. hmmm.


    South was feeling pretty charitable I see.

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