Last game of the day with Celine Murray on Wednesday, there are two passes to me and I’ve got a 10-point hand – five-card Spade suit headed by Ace-King and an outside King, Diamonds probably. The way I understand the Rule of 15 – 10 points + 5 Spades = 15 – I should open it. So I do. Celine then bids 2 Hearts. I have only two Hearts and no obvious responding bid. I pass. She goes down three vulnerable. Bottom board.
I should have bid, Celine contends. Hers was a new suit at the 2 level, a demand bid. She had an 11-point hand. She thought we might have game. I apologized, but said I thought that, as a passed hand, she was showing me no Spade support and a big preference for Hearts. Plus, I was opening light in the third seat. Turns out she also had three Spades and figured that a simple raise wouldn’t have showed enough strength. If I recall correctly, other pairs made seven tricks in Spades, so we wouldn’t have done very well there, either.
I’m still baffled by this one on Friday when one of my opponents, Margaret Miles, starts talking about a partner who did the same thing to her – passed, then made a 2-bid over her weak third-seat opener and berated her for passing because he was giving her a demand bid. Margaret, who’s been playing this game seriously a lot longer than I have, maintained that a passed hand has no claim to a demand bid and that if they bid a suit, that’s where they want to play it. She couldn’t remember who the guy was, but she didn’t want to play with him again.