Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bridge Blog 525: Biding my tongue

          Partner Pawan Matta said Tuesday one reason she likes playing with me is that I don’t yell at her if she makes mistakes. I don’t yell at anybody for what I think are misplays, although I may try to make a constructive suggestion after the hand is over. Plus, I’m no authority. I make mistakes, too. And some of the things that I think are right -- they’re dead wrong.
          A more combustible partner might have yelled at Pawan on Tuesday for Board 7, where Jerry Geiger and John Ziemer inserted themselves into our halting march toward a vulnerable Heart contract by bidding Spades. When they hit 3 (also vulnerable) Spades, I doubled and Pawan left it in for penalty. I was happy enough. Despite my good hand, I wasn’t sure we’d make 4 Hearts.
          We were well on our way to setting them on the sixth or seventh trick when Pawan trumped a Diamond. Two or three tricks later, however, she discovered the Ace of Diamonds sticking to the back of another card in her hand. (Note to club director Bill F: She thought the cards were sticky.) We limped to the end of play, setting them one trick, but sustained a two-trick penalty, giving them plus 930 and giving us an absolute bottom board. Hey, I shrugged, it happens to all of us.
          At the end of the day, however, I couldn’t help wondering if that revoke made the difference between our 51.22% game and what we needed to get some points (around 54%). A 10-point swing, from bottom to top board, would’ve done it. Surely we could have set them by two tricks. I checked the travelers, the scoring slips. Turns out 3 Spades doubled was a loser even if we put them down two. At three or four tables, our hand made 4 Hearts. Even if we bid it and made it, we wouldn’t have inched into the point column.
          There was no danger of getting points Monday in my game with Marie Suprinick, a sorry 37.50% effort. She took me to task, however, for a No Trump bidding sequence. I’d opened 1 NT against Carolyn Siracuse and Doug Dean, Marie bid 2 Spades for a relay to the minors, then Carolyn bid 3 Clubs. Well, shucks, that was supposed to be my bid. To register a stolen bid, and for penalty, too, I doubled. Marie bid 3 Diamonds. The correcting bid. I passed.
But it wasn’t correcting, Marie said later, after we went down four for a bottom board. She wanted to transfer to Hearts. I should have known that, she suggested. But on Tuesday, she withdrew her protest. She’d talked to Mike Silverman. If she introduced a suit at the 3-level in that bidding sequence, he told her, it wasn’t a cue bid. It would be real suit.

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