Trust your partner, that’s what they tell you. And often that’s what I try to do, even though my partners shouldn’t always trust me. Today, Friday, I should have thought of partner Sharon Chang’s jump bid to 4 Diamonds as a real Diamond bid, but because she mentioned splinter bids in our conversation before we played, I thought she was supporting my opening Clubs and, after the opponents bid 4 Hearts, I bid 5 Clubs. We had six Clubs between us. She had eight Diamonds all by herself. I went down four doubled. I should have trusted her Diamonds, since it made 4 Diamonds. (Of course, she might have corrected to 5 Diamonds, but perhaps she thought I had six or seven Clubs instead of four.)
But what prompted this rumination was a hand Monday afternoon, played by my partner that day, Judy Zeckhauser. Judy’s a rookie. Well, a step or two above a rookie now that she’s gotten 20 master points. And I enjoy partnering with her. We play a nice, simple game. No extraneous conventions. And certainly no splinter bids. Judy and I had a good morning Monday (double sessions at the Airport Bridge Club for North American Pairs competition), 54.76%, third overall, but we could tell the afternoon wasn’t going our way and I was getting that uneasy feeling about Judy. Board 11 here didn’t help. At least we weren’t vulnerable. Here are the hands.
Spades: K-J-9-5; Hearts: K-9; Diamonds: A-4; Clubs: A-Q-J-4-3.
Spades: A-8-3-2; Hearts: 7-4-3; Diamonds: J-10-8; Clubs: 10-9-5.
North (Barbara Sadkin)
Spades: Q-10-7-6; Hearts: Q-5-2; Diamonds: Q-9-7-6-2; Clubs: 8.
South (June Feuerstein)
Spades: 4; Hearts: A-J-10-8-6; Diamonds: K-5-3; Clubs: K-7-6-2.
I don’t recall the bidding. South is dealer. Nobody’s vulnerable. It’s possible that everyone passed around to Judy and she would have opened a Club. Then South overcalls a Heart, I pass, North either passes or bids 2 Hearts and Judy goes to Spades. I support her Spades – after all, I have the Ace – and Judy, with her little what-the-hell smile, goes to 4 Spades. I’m relieved that we aren’t doubled.
I’m not sure of the play, but the trump break is bad and Judy has only one entry to my hand, that Ace of Spades. Plus I think she holds back on taking the first trick with one or her Aces, which gives the opponents an opening. She runs out of trump and the opponents get to run their Hearts and Diamonds and trump her Clubs. Judy takes only four tricks. It’s a bottom board. Top board is 3 Spades doubled and made, played by West. Another 3 Spade bid goes down one. West plays 3 Clubs, down two. And at a couple tables, South gets to play it at 3 Hearts, making three and four.