Toil and Trouble – The Gee Chronicles
Oct 052002

E/W Vul
Dealer: South
Lead: D3

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

3 C


3 D


1 S
4 C

2 D

Gee noted in his incisive discussion of yesterday’s hand that he made a special point of correcting Mini-Gee’s lead of the spade deuce very mildly, “not wanting to look nasty towards [his partner].” And surely no one understands the importance of proper care and feeding of one’s partner better than Gee. As he sagely writes in Bridge Is a Conversation, “The Rule #1 of any partnership in bridge is: Never make your partner feel inadequate.”

Perhaps, then, it is a good time to watch Gee put Rule #1 into practice, with the same partner, the very next day.

Today’s auction is rather orthodox, at least until we get to the three-level or so. Quite a few players would open the North hand in third position with 11 points, good spots and four spades, but it’s borderline and I don’t fault a pass. A more serious error is to fail to show the four-card diamond support immediately. A raise to three diamonds might buy the hand; East would have to think twice about a reopening double that could force his side to play a seven-card fit at the three-level.

But at the table North passes, and E/W locate their club fit, and North bids 3D over West’s 3C, one round too late. East makes a fine competitive bid of 4C with his excellent offensive and mediocre defensive hand. This is passed around to North, who thinks, and thinks, and thinks some more, and finally doubles. Is the double a good call? North certainly had a better hand than he’d shown, but no, not really, not even at matchpoints. In a case like this Gee knows exactly what to do. First he pulls to 4D, despite the fact that he is effectively barred from the auction by North’s slow double. Then he lets his student have it:

G: efes… I am confiscating your double button forever
Spec #1: UI [“Unauthorized information.” —Ed.]
Spec #2: coffeehousing back in popularity?
G: in fact
G: undo please
G: I am gonna pass
Spec #1: lol
G: so he sees what happens
Spec #3: oyyyyyyy
Spec #2: oh geez
Spec #1: ah, drawn and quartered

Well, here we are in 4CX. West ruffs the diamond lead in dummy and leads trump. Mini-Gee takes the ace and shifts to a spade, ducked in dummy and won with declarer’s SJ. At this point declarer makes four easily by repeating the spade finesse, ruffing a spade and drawing trump. West decides instead to ruff another diamond first. Then she plays a second round of trump, leaving Gee with one outstanding as Mini-Gee signals hearts by discarding the 9. Now declarer repeats the spade finesse, which holds.

Declarer continues with a low spade. Gee ruffs, giving away the overtrick and ensuring the stone bottom, to make sure his partner really learns his lesson this time. After the hand they have a few more words, for repetition is the essence of pedagogy:

G: that’s what you wanted, efes?
Spec #2: which was worse? making that coffee housing comment or g undoing his bid to ‘teach his student a lesson?’
Spec #1: neither
Spec #4: petulant
Spec #1: embarrassing efes
G: efes…. you are not to double for the next 3 months
petit_g: your hand bids 4 d
petit_g: not funny at all
G: no, I agree, it is not funny… but you promised to be careful with your doubles, but you keep going
petit_g: my double was correct
Spec #2: humiliation the key to learning?
G: I dont know how to stop you from doing that
G: huh?
petit_g: i had 11 points… single club ace
G: so what, you already told me about your 11 points [Um, when was that exactly? —Ed.]
Spec #5: this from a man who the last time I played w/him threw away the setting trick in a doubled contract
petit_g: last hand for me… ty all… good nite. … good nite G

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