A K Q J 9 8 6
A 10 4
J 9 8 7 4
A 10 8 4
A K Q 5
K J 7 6 3 2
10 7 5
K Q J 8 7 5 3 2
Like in any communication between people, people and machines and machines and machines, there need to be a protocol, and so far, no one has identified bridge’s mysterious communication protocol.
–G. Cohen, Bridge Is A Conversation
Today we have a rather remarkable, though brief, auction that all non-experts could study with profit.
North’s 3NT opener is gambling, showing a solid seven- or eight-card minor with nothing outside. East has a very solid 4D overcall and makes it. (4NT as takeout for the reds is also possible.) South bids the spade game with his eight-bagger, and all eyes turn to our hero, sitting West.
Gee holds four diamonds to the A10 for support, a stiff in South’s suit and a first-round control in North’s. An extremely conservative bid would be 5D; it’s barely possible that East holds something like x AQx KQJxxx xxx, where slam is on the heart finesse, which on the bidding must be off. A bold bidder might leap directly to slam on the reasonable assumption that East holds, well, what he actually holds. An intermediate choice might be a 5C cue bid, showing trump support and slam interest, over which East would bid 6D.
Gee passes. East can’t double, and 4S buys the auction. Gee leads his stiff club and gets the ruff he has coming for down 2, 100 to E/W. After the hand Gee’s partner mildly inquires why he didn’t raise in diamonds. “I didn’t think 4S could make,” says Gee, “and I was giving you a chance to double.”
“I don’t think they’d let us play in 5H, pard,” Gee continues. Those of you who are tempted to question his bidding judgment should consider the scrupulous accuracy of this post mortem. The opponents may well have refused to let them play in 5H, or 5D; they might have chosen to drive them into slam instead. Gee did indeed give his partner a chance to double. And 4S doesn’t make.