Join Bridge Winners
Choice of Lies
(Page of 3)

So, I participated in a bidding contest today. First hand out of the box I pick up

South
105
K
KQ10874
K752
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
?
Great. Hundreds of bidding sequences over 1N openers and the contest finds one pattern that falls through the cracks. The lies from which you can choose are

3, natural, GF. Partner will bid 3, over which you can show spade shortness with 3, or heart shortness with 3N or 4, depending on whether you are willing for the auction to die in 3N. You can also RKC in diamonds by rebidding 4.

3. Shows exactly two spades, one heart, and 55 minors.

2 (size ask initially) followed by 3. Shows a balanced diamond slam try. You can certainly stop in game, including 3N, but this sequence is not normally used to offer a choice of games. (Added based upon comment below)

Of course, you can just bid 3N, but that isn't likely to be right in a bidding contest. (Or is it ???)

Your choice?

Showing a singleton King just seems wrong. Partner will not bid 3N when the King actually creates a second stopper. It also completely ignores another potential problem, your doubleton spade. On the other hand it seems perverse to show a singleton spade. In both cases it will be impossible to get to clubs when it is right.

3 is no panacea. Partner may not bid 3N when it is right for fear your singleton heart is small. If he bids 4 there will be a tiny chance he will be in a 43 fit ... what does he do with four spades triple three and no heart stopper? On balance, though, it will be the only way to get to clubs when it's right, and partner will at least be aware of the potential stopper problem in both majors.

You bid 3. Partner bids 4.

South
105
K
KQ10874
K752
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3
P
4
P
?
Now what? 4 would be kickback, and 4N a diamond cuebid.

I chose to bid 5. It takes a perfect hand for slam to be on. At matchpoints (the presumed form of scoring for the contest) we may be fine to have just bid the minor-suit game than 3N. And if we needed to be in 3N, the old adage about bidding slam in the minor won't likely work, because partner will have too much wasted in the majors for us to make 6. Now it was partner's turn to go into the tank. Try to forget my hand for the moment.

North
A632
AJ
J92
AQ93
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
3
P
4
P
5
P
?

What was he thinking? He observed that the following combination of circumstances creates an unusual opportunity.

1) We are at four of a minor, and are forced to five of that suit, and

2) We play Kickback.

If I want to sign off, I have a foolproof way of doing so, by "lying" about slam interest and bidding Kickback, then signing off. Partner cannot possibly move over that. So a simple raise to 5 should convey something else. What could it be? A hand with a source of tricks, but one that needs controls. Exactly the hand I had! And, he had the necessary key-card rich hand. The only control he had to worry about was diamonds, which had to be my source of tricks.

I wish I could say he bid 6. He wasn't confident that, absent discussion, I would draw the same inferences. And, indeed, I had not. It would have been a Rueful Rabbit moment.

As a side note, I agree that 6 is the better slam, only because it isn't subject to a diamond ruff. (Although, it does have a smaller probability of a club ruff.) However, if the opening leader has Axx, he may not foresee the possibility of a ruff since I have lied about my diamond length. Lies have myriad implications.

I am curious if anyone else has an explicit agreement with their partner about raising four of a minor to five in a forcing auction. Seems like it would have merit, but potentially easy to forget. And it wouldn't work for majors.

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