10 6 5
A K J 10 4
J 9 6 4 2
A J 9
9 8 5 3
J 9 8 4
Q 8 2
Q 7 6
Q 7 5 3
10 7 2
K 7 4 3
A K Q 6 5 3
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?