We are playing a knockout match against a pair playing the EHAA system. EHAA stands for "Every Hand An Adventure." They open weak two bids in any of the four suits on any hand with a five-card suit and 5-11 HCP. No exceptions. This causes each side to have to make a lot of guesses. They have been there before much more than we have, but they are giving up equity in order to create variance, so in theory, their system should play to our advantage. That's in the long run. In the short run, their luck will tend to dominate the match.

With both sides vulnerable, I am in third seat with

 S:Q109x H:Jx D:AJ96 C:Q108
Amazingly enough, there are two passes to me. I don't much believe in opening light in third seat; it's really hard to avoid serious problems after a negative double, which is a very common occurrance. This time, however, I'm tired of their bringing the match to me. I rationalize that suits are probably breaking well if RHO doesn't have a 5-card suit, so I open 1S:. Partner trots out Drury, I cry "Uncle" with 2S:, and all pass. Dummy is a pretty impressive sight:
S: J743
H: AK7
D: 842
C: K53
S: Q1096
H: J4
D: AJ96
C: Q108
The opening lead is the H:2, lowest from an odd number. Despite four trumps and four controls in dummy, 2S: is far from cold.

The lead is probably from the H:Q, since hearts appear to be 5-3, but if that's so, the C:J is just as likely to be onside. I prefer not to commit myself this early, so I rise with the H:A. RHO contributes the ten, playing standard signals, so I have done the right thing. Entries to dummy are scarce, so I lead a diamond to the nine. Without a great deal of thought, LHO wins with the D:K and continues hearts. RHO contributes the H:9 to this trick. Interesting. That looks like he's denying the C:A. Again, since entries are in short supply, I try a second diamond. If they ruff a diamond, that might not be the end of the world, particularly if it is with a long trump. I'm going to have to deal with the fourth diamond at some point anyway. I lead a small diamond off dummy and RHO inserts the D:7. What's this? He didn't play the ten, the card he is known to hold. RHO is a good player; if he held D:10xxx, he'd surely play the ten on the second trick in case I considered dropping his partner's honor the second time around. This time, however, that's not my plan, so I stick in the D:J and it holds. So diamonds are 2-4. I might as well start trumps, and since I will need to overruff the 4th diamond sometimes, I start trumps by running the S:9. Surprise! LHO immediately plays the S:K and goes into a tank. LHO eventually emerges from his tank by cashing the S:A. RHO shows out, pitching a heart. Not the H:Q. What? That means that hearts are 3-5, but RHO had a five-card suit and didn't open...and he has already shown up with four HCP! So LHO has all the remaining honors. How nice to know that! It means the club finesse is doomed. How often does declarer get to know that the key jack is offside by trick six?

LHO continues with a third trump as RHO pitches another heart. I am now playing double dummy. RHO originally had  S:x H:Q109xx D:Q107x C:xxx, so the hand as it stands now is

S: J
H: 7
D: 8
C: K53
S: x
H: x
C: AJxx
H: Q
D: K10
C: xxx
S: Q
D: A6
C: Q108
The only card I don't know about is the C:9, but that won't matter. I need four of the last six tricks, and I have them available. I lead the C:10. I don't actually plan to run it, but LHO now knows I know he has the C:J, so he covers. He can't afford to play the C:A or I'll have two clubs, a trump, and the D:A. If he exits with a heart, I'll make nine tricks since the D:K is a dummy entry. If he exits with his trump or a club, RHO will be squeezed for nine tricks if he has (as seems likely) the H:8. So I get to win the C:K. Now I ruff the last heart and play the D:A. If LHO declines to ruff, I can cash two clubs and dummy will be good, so he ruffs, but now he's endplayed and has to give me a second club trick by leading away from his C:A. Despite getting the D:A ruffed, I make 8 tricks for +110.

Too bad the information I got from their system only helped me make a partscore. Five IMPs against this team is nothing, well within the noise they create.

Copyright © 2004 Jeff Goldsmith