Playing in a two-session unit party, one of my
teammates and I are discussing the weakness of
the field. I tell her that one way to judge
a field is to listen to the room. Experts rarely
snap their cards or drill them into the table;
beginners usually do. I don't know why, but
that's the way it is. This room sounds like
a popcorn machine.
Playing in the last match after dinner, we encounter
a pair I've not seen before. They drill their cards
into the table harder than I've ever seen.
Their elbows are above their ears! I assume they
are very weak players. If they played a lot of
bridge, they'd have shoulders like NFL lineman.
I pick up my best hand of the day.
AQ764 AK9 AKQJ4
I don't like to open two-suiters 2, but
this hand makes game opposite a 3334 Yarborough.
For that matter, partner may pass 1 with
nondescript hands laydown for a grand. It's not
long before I regret my choice.
2 was waiting, and we do not have a 2nd
negative at the four-level. Partner is a good
player, but he and I don't have a lot of detailed
agreements; if I were to try 5NT, I assume he
would sign off in 6 without two high
spades. I am pretty sure he doesn't have them.
I don't see a scientific way to avoid slam, despite
partner's possibly having a 2344 Yarborough, which
would not yield much play. If he has that, we
need to be in 6, I guess. Maybe that's
what I ought to bid. I'm going to be more
optimistic than that, though, and try for the
grand. My plan is to cue 5 and then raise
5 to slam. If partner has a high trump
and a little something, I think he'll know to
go on. If partner tanks before signing off in
5, I'll have a problem, but I think I
can convince a committee that passing 5
is not an option. In any case, partner almost
certainly has an automatic 5 bid, so a
tank is unlikely to happen.
Partner does bid the expected 5 in tempo.
Something I didn't consider happens. RHO doubles.
With feeling. She obviously thinks she's beating
this a lot. There's no way she's ever heard of
a Stripe Tailed Ape doubleshe thinks we are
nailed. Maybe I ought to run to 6? Or
redouble? Hmm. I honestly have no idea what to
do. I was about to bid a slam, not having any
idea if it was right, and my opponent is sure I
can't make five. After a little consideration,
I finally judge to pass. Maybe I'll save five
IMPs against slam doubled going down at the
other table. Maybe she got me. We shall see.
Everyone passes. RHO looks very surprised and
wants to bid again. "But he (my partner) bid
5 after I doubled 5!" Yup, she
got me. She thought she was doubling 5.
No wonder she was so sure. Dummy comes down
J8532 QJ7 82 864
I ruff the club lead, cross to dummy in hearts
and take a spade finesse. They are 2-1 with the
K onside, so I made two doubled overtricks.
Lose four IMPs.
I've never before seen a true Stripe Tailed Ape
double. This one had the extra merit of being
extremely convincing. RHO knew she was
beating the contract she doubled. How could I
Copyright © 2005 Jeff Goldsmith