"Two-Suited Monster" Compiled by Shawn
of the bidding
of a hand at the recent
How would you have bid it?
The game is Matchpoints, and you're in fourth seat. The opponents are vulnerable, and you are not. You hold:
for sixteen highcard points and beautiful distribution favouring the majors. The bidding:
L.H.Opp. Partner R.H.Opp You
3D Pass 5D ???
Kathie Macnab, who brought this hand to our attention, bid six diamonds! Her partner preferred hearts to spades, and they played six hearts.
This conservative novice would have instinctively bid five spades as opposed to a brazen "pick-your-major, partner" call of six diamonds. This would likely make my power hand the closed hand and keep us at the five-level unless partner really liked spades--in which case six spades would be bid and cold if partner has the ace of clubs. Kathie was suspicious that slam was afoot though, so she didn't want to be at the five-level! Further, if she bids six diamonds, the opponents no longer have that option themselves.
Paul Conrad also liked the six diamonds call. If partner bids six hearts, has the queen, and also has the ace of clubs, six hearts makes. Again, if partner prefers spades, six spades looks easy. "It's a poker game, actually", says Paul. "You have to guess what that five diamonds bid means. Maybe the vulnerability
shows that he's got a strong hand, maybe he's just continuing the pre-empt, right? He could have 15-high in which case your partner has nothing, or he could be just keeping you out of four hearts or four spades."
Charlie Nakel, our club's masterpoint leader for April (congrats, Charlie) prefers a double over any other call. Partner can correct to a major or let it ride. Down two is worth 500 points, better than making game-in-a-major, which isn't there to bid at the four-level anymore anyway. Some people thought this wasn't sufficiently aggressive, but this call has its merits. Charlie's an experienced rubber player one must also remember, and at total points a double may well be most players' call of choice.
Gerry Callaghan is equally comfortable with calls of six diamonds or a double. He notes that there's no way to know if one should be in slam, game, or defense--and the opponents leave very little space to explore.
If you're wondering how it all played out in the end, don't. This is a bidding exercise. As it turns out, no game makes for either side (so if you can defend five diamonds doubled, the matchpoints are yours), but we're only talking about the bidding here. In the ACBL Bridge Bulletin's "It's your Call" column the bids the experts agree on often fail at the table for the lay of the cards, but they would work "most" of the time, and, over time, the percentages win out.
Percentages? Don't look at me...my erstwhile Thursday night partner reminds me I don't yet know how to count to 13 never mind percentages...