Quod Licet Jovi, Non Licet Bovi – The Gee Chronicles
Aug 052002

None Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: DA

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

1 D


3 H

1 C


In a recent column Gee’s partner made a second-seat vulnerable overcall of 1H with 3S, holding KQxxxxx Qxxx x x. In the post mortem Gee remarked that it was “unexpected that my partner made a pre-emptive overcall with 7 and a 4-card suit.”

OK then. Today we take a closer look at 3-level overcalls. East opens 1C, South passes, West replies 1D. The ordinary player might pass, would pass, with the North hand. Gee calls 3H.

Now I know what you’re thinking. If the 3S overcall was wrong how can this one be right? Look more closely. The 3S overcall was made with seven to the KQ; Gee’s is with five to the 10. All the difference in the world. And sure, Gee has an outside four-bagger, but it’s only headed by the 10, and it’s in a suit the opponents haven’t bid. No comparison there.

Gee is also not vulnerable, giving him an extra margin of safety. And finally his 3H was in fourth, not second seat. His partner having passed makes it almost certain that the opponents have at least a game. And they do; 3NT makes 4 or 5.

The opponents, however, double instead of bidding their NT game. The play is lengthy and sanguinary. The defense leads the DA, cashes the SK and leads a second diamond, won by West with the K. West cashes the SQ and gives East a third-round diamond ruff. East cashes a third round of spades, West sluffing her stiff club, and gives West a club ruff, Gee playing CQ from dummy. Gee ruffs the fourth-round of diamonds in hand with the deuce (discarding his last club doesn’t help), and the HQ from East forces the HK from dummy. West still has two trump tricks coming, for down 5.

These expert bids work out every once in a while, I know they do. Don’t they?

  2 Responses to “Quod Licet Jovi, Non Licet Bovi”


    We must give Gee credit where it is due, for while his 3H bid requires only a modicum of grey matter (about equal to that possessed of the bovine ilk) it does take the cojones of a bull; after all, to risk (and receive) stix & wheels in a totally non-vulnerable situation is nothing if not commendable regardless of how one measures levels of testosterone. The opponents could be cold for a grand slam on the auction (it was nervy of Gee’s partner to hold an ace) which all other players holding those cards would naturally bid. Even though Gee’s foray into the nether zones of bridge conversation would now be flying for a 1400 number, it would still be winning a full 3 IMPs over the rest of the OKB expert field, which would be recording minuses of 1510 or 1520. It is this understanding of the subtleties of the scoring system that enables Gee to venture into realms of bidding unattainable by the average expert, and we should celebrate it. Non licet bovi.


    I was there. Painful.

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