A situation you’ve never been in before.

April 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm 6 comments

PPS: Sorry!! You are not vul vs vul.

PS: the score is also know at the other table when they play it, which I mention due to Richard’s as yet suspended comment.

It’s not like I haven’t had the odd rant here about how bridge is the only sport in the world were the participants think it is right not to know what the score is while you are playing.

So here I was recently with this hand:


RHO, Versace, opens 1S and you double. Two spades on your left, 3D (should be five) from partner, 3S on your right.

Before you give your opinion, the situation is like this. It is the last board of the match and you are 2 IMPs up. What do you do?

As I sat there cogitating, it did rather irk me that this should NOT be a new problem. I should have spent my whole bridge life knowing what the score is and having appropriate experience of how to respond to the various possible situations.

Instead, I am responding from a position of ignorance. I expect all things being equal we pass here – play at the two level, defend at the three level? Do the precise circumstances change things? And if so, how? We might be thinking about 4D. Is it also possible we are thinking about double?

Darned if I knew. Comments suppressed for now.:


Entry filed under: bidding, Cayne matches.

Long time…. A situation you’ve never been in before, concluded.

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Khokan  |  April 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I bid 4D, but can live with pass. The right decision hinges on partner’s heart length – who knows?

    Whatever double shows, it isn’t this hand.

  • 2. Ben Thompson  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I don’t think the score matters a lot here. This looks like a partscore swing only. If we get it right, we win. If we get it wrong, we have to wait for the other table. The annoying way to get it wrong would be to bid 4D, get doubled, and go 2 off against 3S making at the other table to lose 4 imps, and the match by 2.

    I think EW are probably in a 6-3 fit – lefty almost always has exactly 3 for 2S, and righty doesn’t look like he has the extra values or solid suit that would tempt him to bid 3S with a 5-bagger. We seem to have a 5-4 (or perhaps longer) D fit, so competing to 4D looks around about right. If they bid 4S now, they were probably always doing it if it was right.

    So – get doubled and lose by 2 imps?

  • 3. Chris Mulley  |  April 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    For me, this would be a Lebensohl auction – partner has shown some values (maybe 8 – 11 or so), having not tried to get to 3D via 2NT.

    Given the difference is only two imps, I think vulnerability is quite important to me. If I am not vulnerable, I am much more comfortable bidding 4D – if this goes down a couple undoubled (or down one doubled) and 3 spades was making, that will still be OK. Conversely, if 3S is going one off, if they are vulnerable, that gets back enough of our +130 when 4D was making.

    If I didn’t know the score, I wouldn’t consider doubling 3S, even with partner promising some values. Knowing the score, again depending on vulnerability, it might be necessary to “protect our partscore” by doubling. If they are non-vulnerable, I don’t think it can be right to defend 3S undoubled when leading by 2 imps.

    Summing up my thoughts:

    At nil, I bid 4D.
    At favourable, I bid 4D.
    At All, I pass.
    At unfavourable, I double.

    If I do not have the Lebensohl inference available, I think I will definitely bid 4D if non-vulnerable (still) and will pass if vulnerable.

  • 4. Bill Jacobs  |  April 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I apply the Law. You have 9, they have 9. So either 3S = -140, and 4D = -50/-100 (or -100/-200 doubled); or 3S = +50/+100, 4D = +130.

    Given you know you are 2 imps up, shouldn’t you state the vulnerability?

    If we are not vulnerable, it would appear that the law is telling us to bid 4D!

    How else can you decode this situation other than to use the law of total tricks? Of course, it could be out-by-one and you lose the match, but what possible alternative method could anyone else suggest to work your way through the decision?

  • 5. phil markey  |  April 13, 2010 at 11:11 am

    yawn and pass

    nearly all the time when you know the score the answer to the problem is going to be the same as when you didnt know the score – knowing the score distorts your perception of the problem – why add a further level of complexity to an already complex game ?

  • 6. Richard  |  April 13, 2010 at 1:49 am

    My first thought was that there are two questions here, but it’s not really that simple, is it. After thinking about it for a while, I decided I was so nervous playing against Versace that I’d probably screw it up anyway, so what the hell.
    But I did have one pertinent thought. Our team-mates didn’t know the score when they played the board (or did they?). Does that make a difference to our strategy?


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