Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The grave yard

Here's a field excursion to the Europeans Teams Championship last year in Warshaw. It's from match 22, board 7 (W/all, deal rotated) and our contestants were dealt:


The auction went (1S) - pass - (1NT) to you. What's your call?

This is an auction that frequently causes trip to the cementary. The primary danger sign is shortness in LHO's major suit. Here's the full deal:


This is what I've got:
In Netherlands - Belarus, both Muller and Zhuravel doubled but Medusheusk and Ramondt saved them by bidding 2C, leading to 2S.
In France - Germany, Mouiel doubled but Marsaal didn't. Elinescu bid 2C over X.
In Spain - Polen, Tuszynski and Wasik both doubled once again leading Skrzypczak and de Pablos to bid 2C. At this table Wichmann wasn't satisfied which this and doubled 2S on the way out for -670.
In Israel - Italy, Laura and Liran both doubled but here Duboin knew to pass (Fohrer didn't) and collected +400 on defence vs 2D.
For Sweden Björnlund doubled, that was passed out and desperate defence resulted in -580 (2S went down at the other table).

So why is this a dangerous auction? Well, if I have a stiff and they haven't located a prime fit then partner as probably 4+ cards in that suit and the risk of not finding a prime fit our way has increased (a lot). This is a potential misfit auction and those must be handled very carefully without extra values. Any marginal call should be avoided and X is, in my view, a clear anti-percentage action on the hand in question.

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that so many felt compelled to double and I'm even shocked to see so many 2C calls (after X). As for our contestants, some were punished, most were unscattered. The datum in Warshaw was N-S +100 (lots of declarers went down in 2S).

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