A mirage (from the Latin mirare, meaning 'to appear, to seem') is something I can suffer from at occasion, and it stems from reading to much into the bidding and/or the opponent's choices and general quirks. Some sort of mutant form of table presence going wrong, diverting you from the main track. It sets your mind off on erroneous ways, causing you to stray from more straight logic or 'truth' (for lack of better word). This malady hit me on this hand from last Sunday when I had:
Matchpoints, all white and LHO opens a weak 1NT (12-14), partner doubles and the next hand pauses, and then passes. Hrm.
I think the normal bid on this hand is 3H, showing a rather weak hand with long hearts and sufficient playing strength. Bidding 2H doesn't show the potential of the hand and could be just crap. Passing is way off for even contemplating, although it could be a winner.
And yet, 2H was what I bid. Why? Because I read to much into the pause without any knowledge of that person's skill level and ways. I asked about pass, which was just neutral and a suggestion to play 1NT. I got thinking that RHO probably had something like a 5-card diamond suit and some overall strength because otherwise, it would be better to run.
If RHO had some strength, this was maybe a partscore deal and partner was likely minimum for double and I therefore decided to just bid the nothing bid of 2H. See how wrong this thing went in my head? This was faulty thinking for more reasons than one. If my take on RHO is correct, a 3D bid may be forthcoming and I need to bid 3H anyways, but now maybe attracting a double if wrong.
So, I broke one of my own cardinal rules, "when in doubt bid the normal bid", here 3H, and deservedly paid a price when this was the layout:
I have no idea what the heck RHO was contemplating but it can't have been anything bridgerelated ;-) Pass was a really bad bid that worked fine here with me messing up with an probably equally bad bid and there is no excuse for me racing my mind in the wrong direction.
Result was a missed game - partner would have had an easy raise over a direct 3H.
Don't fall prey to the bridge 'mirage'.