In the Brig – The Gee Chronicles
Sep 142002

None Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: D2

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



1 S
3 D
4 D
6 H

2 D
1 C
2 H
3 H
5 C


Today we feature Captain Gee and Seaman Lall, a partnership already well-known to our readers, in another scientific slam auction.

The trouble begins when Gee opens 1C instead of 1NT. Although hands with two doubletons often don’t play well in notrump, if you begin with 1C you have no adequate rebid over a 1S response, and it is a law of bridge that if there’s one response you can’t handle that’s the response you get.

In accordance with this principle the Seaman bids 1S. East overcalls 2D, and our hero has a problem. Lacking three spades he can’t double for support. Pass understates his hand. 3C overstates his clubs slightly but may be the least of the evils. Then there is 2H, the actual, forcing bid, suggesting 5-5 and a powerful hand.

North is happy to hear the 2H bid, with his excellent heart support and opening values, and cues his diamond ace. East doubles for a diamond lead, and our hero is again in a quandary. Can’t bid notrump with two dead diamonds. A belated spade raise is too risky; North might play the hand. Pass is possible, but where’s the fun in that? Now 3H, that’s a fun bid.

At this point Gee has opened clubs, rebid hearts, declined to support spades, declined to bid notrump, and showed a strong hand. So North knows he’s 5-5 at least, probably with something like Ax KQJxx x AQ10xx. He cues diamonds again to show first round control, Gee answers with 5C (what else can he bid by now?), and the Seaman, handling his unaccustomed role of captain with aplomb, confidently jumps to 6H.

Well. 6H does make double dummy on anything but a diamond lead. There are only two hitches: declarer isn’t playing double dummy, and West, as instructed, leads a diamond. Gee misguesses trump and winds up down 3, not that he had any hope of success on any line. The Seaman maintains a discreet silence after the hand. There are severe penalties for insubordination on the high seas.

  9 Responses to “In the Brig”


    What is this nonsense about 55? With 55 one standardly opens the higher suit. The bidding says 44 45 56 46 47 57 at the time 2H was bid. 2H was fine especially since the QJ seems useful. The bad bid was 3H over 3D X. Here, pass would convey the 45 shape and not 3415. Also, the support double is not a mandatory bid. If one has 7 clubs or even 6 real good ones, one might choose to bid those. Even the 3415 hands there is a question of double versus bidding the 4 card suit first followed by support unless my pard always now believes that the non-double means the later support is Hx.


    i hate to take gerard’s side (ow it’s giving me a cramp) but he seems less at fault than usual here. 1c seems pretty normal and 2h doesn’t suggest 5, nor is it an overbid on this hand. 3s for his third bid does seem the obvious choice I admit, all the more once you haven’t support doubled, but he was cool for the first 2 rounds! And wouldn’t the example hand you gave that he might have shown have opened 1h?


    I have to agree with Gee’s opening and first (only first) rebid. I think it is more descriptive when you have 13 out of 16 hcp concentrated in 2 5-4 suits and you are exposed in not 1 but 2 suits. It looks like wheels came of the cart when 3H was bid. I want to know what would we need OR what should we look for in a hand in order to bid 3 common sense spades?


    I think 1 club isnt the right opener with 2-4-5-2 and 15-16, since you most likely aren’t prepared to reverse. Once he did open 1C, he was forced into reversing. My 3D bid was just forcing asking for a further description, and over the double G could bid 3S or pass with his hand. I thought with a pass available 3H was surely 5-6 with a nice hand. When G went past 4h over my cuebid (which I took as a very serious slam try in hearts) I bid the slam.


    I don’t understand why there are so many proponents of 1NT as an opening bid. It is just one of 2 possible bids for an awkward hand. The small doubleton diamond is not particularly characteristic of 1NT. At least with 1C he could handle 1D, 1H, 1NT. With 1S, he judged that his spades were useful or at least more potentially useful than it was originally so that the overbid of 2H wasn’t so bad. Therefore, 1C, especially with a good suit was certainly not a bad bid. The situation changes a bit if his hand were 2452 because he does not have as much flexibility with the response so that 1NT may become a necessary evil.


      Larry…his hand is 2452, am I wrong? And yes, i don’t think 1 club is a bad bid, but I like 1NT better.


        Justin…his hand is 2425 not 2452…look carefully lol, you are wrong. With 2452, one might be forced into the not too beautiful 1NT.


          oops 2425…i am blind…still i think 1nt is better :) *puts glasses on* haha


            1NT could be right but when you have 9 cards in 2 suits, bidding 1NT hampers getting to fits particularly the clubs. It could be a bad hand e.g. Axxx xxx x Jxxxx where a club partial is cold and game is possible while 1NT might go down. It could be a good hand e.g. xx AQx Axx xxxxx and others where you are down in 3NT and cold for 5C with the suit never being mentioned.

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