Wednesday, August 29, 2007

High flyer

Often some of the biggest results come when you've exposed yourself to a sizeable minus and the opponents misjudge and suffer instead. Some people are willing to take risks like that, by choice, others wouldn't dream of it.

What would you do with the following hand after partner opens a mini-NT (10-12) in 1st position with all white and the next hand passes?

J
J63
T96
T87542

Pass, transfer to clubs or go for the juggler with 3NT? Maybe you could catch the next guy with an awkward hand, passing it out. Maybe they bid 4M and are cold for slam.

Kit Woolsey, who's a pretty experienced guy by any standard belongs to category 1; he's willing to shoot it out. He is the one who wrote about 'loading the dice', the 'double flaw' theory etc (classic instructions!) about taking positions, in one of my all-time favorite bridge books "Matchpoints".

Kit bid a confident 3NT in a flash with his LHO on the same side of the screen.

I had xxxx/AKQ9x/AKx/Q and could see that 3NT was very likely to be based on clubs but also that the 'clear-cut' X might not be a winner. 3NT could make with a spade lead or they could escape to 4C when even 3NT undoubled would be a better score for us. On the other hand partner would be more likely to find a heart lead from shortness after X.

Brushing negative thinking aside I reached for the obvious X and another one after the 4C-runout, leaving it to partner to sweat it out.

This time, I can tell you, he wasn't exactly sweating...

______J
______J63
______96
______T87542
8642________K953
AKQ95_______T2
AK4_________QJ8
Q___________KJ93
______AQT7
______874
______7532
______A6

Kit didn't buy a great layout for his crew and this went a mere 6 down for -1400 with 4S going down in other direction. Wolff-Morse played 3NT, holding the loss to 14 imps.

As crazy as the 3NT-bid may seem at first sight, it could easily have turned out a winner. What if the K of hearts had been with my partner? Would I have doubled with xxx/AQxxx/AKx/Q? Probably not.

When they try to gun you down, don't be intimidated.
Turn the table.

3 comments:

Niklas Warne said...

On the other hand, that would give Freddan K9xx/Kx/QJx/KJ9x, making it a "mandatory" double of the mini no trump.

3NT is cool when it works, but in my mind, it's losing bridge because you're too weak. When RHO passes you know that LHO has a VERY strong hand, so chances that you won't be doubled are minute.

With x/xxx/xxx/KJxxxx 3NT is more likely to succeed because a) you might escape the double and b) if they double, the run out to 4C is more likely to be affordable.

ulven said...

I agree that hand was too weak for this stunt. I'm more hesitant to agree that the example hand would/should double 1NT without aces/good 5-card suit.

Petter said...

Kent Karlsson, a frequent 3NT bidder in the passed now thinks 2NT is a winner.