January in the mid-South dawned cold and bleak. On the first weekend there was a local sectional. After bombing out the first couple of sessions, the Kid (henceforth to be known as Mr. Miyagi) changed tactics and demanded that I tell him the exact distribution of his hand on every board. We had a 40% game, but I got the message. Count on, count off. The rest of the weekend saw much better results.
And since then the handful of times I’ve dragged myself off to the club has reminded me precisely why I don’t play there more often. This afternoon encompassed exactly why I find my new home away from home so d_mned annoying.
This was only my second time playing with this partner and our bidding understandings are still all a bit hazy. We had an ill-fated Jacoby 2NT followed by cue-bidding auction that culminated in my bidding Blackwood to confirm the number of aces she was holding. She replied that she had 1 or 4 (5♦) — bad news since I was looking at three dead diamonds and the AK of trump so even if her on were the ace of diamonds things were about to get tricky. The only good news was that my RHO did not make a lead directing double. So I bid 5♠ knowing full well I was in trouble; there was a long hesitation by my partner during which I started to hope that one of us was wrong about what sort of Blackwood we were playing and she actually had 0 or 3. She passed and my hopes were dashed when my RHO now started asking questions about our earlier cuebids. I still thought I had a chance of scraping out eleven tricks because, you’ll recall, that he had not doubled for a diamond lead.
The opening lead hit … a diamond, of course. Dummy came down when three small diamonds, and all of her other values in the suit in which I’d shown a splinter; my RHO promptly cashed his ace and king of diamonds and the ace of clubs. We were down two when he returned yet another diamond to his partner’s queen. After the hand, he was reveling in his brilliant double, “Well, I had an ace-king and an ace so I figured we were beating it.” Now I fully recognize that it was my own fault for pushing this auction too high (it’s probably still a good idea not to bid Blackwood when wide open in a suit even if you think you have reason to think your partner has it covered), but I just had to ask, “Why didn’t you double five diamonds?” He looked confused, “She was just responding to your bid.” “Yes, but don’t you always want a diamond lead? Given that auction I never would have led a diamond, I would have looked for you to have a void somewhere.” He got angry as if I were accusing him of something, which I suppose I was, but I really would love to know why when given a lead directing double on a platter he refused to take it and then got the d_mn lead anyway. This is why I hate playing at this club.
Later in the day after my opponents got to game with a Drury auction and I was on opening lead I wanted to confirm what sort of Drury they were playing, “Regular, the only kind she remembers,” my LHO muttered. “In that case what did her rebid of two diamonds show?” “Nothing,” he said. “So she doesn’t have a full opening bid?” “Reverse Drury,” the soon-to-be declarer chimed in, “We play reverse Drury.” “So does her bid say anything about diamonds.” He shrugged, I waited. “She could have a void and bid that way,” he said. “So nothing about diamonds, thank you,” I said. I led a diamond. Then the Declarer spoke up again, “It does show something in diamonds, but it won’t make a difference.” Turns out she was right, she was down one anyway, but when my opening lead was won in dummy with the eight I was seeing red.
In the former case, the player was sort of a beginner so I could excuse it — sort of, but in this case the opponent knew d_mn well that it showed something in diamonds. He’s just a jack-@ss.
But with opponents like these, I must admit, the gifts are as plentiful as the fixes. Playing the hand well doesn’t often pay off well because the defense is pretty bad, but here’s my favorite hand of the day anyway (link here). A pushy bid on my part, but it was a “state of the match” sort of thing and I was thinking my partner probably had extras. Later in the day on a very similar auction I would pass now knowing that her subsequent raise to three of minor could be quite unsound (and that time she was a passed hand to boot), only then I hit her with a twelve-count that would have made for a very easy nine tricks in NT.