Ray Lee

Life at the top must be different

Anyone reading this blog knows that I really don’t play much bridge any more.  A good part of the reason for this is that I find the opponents to be generally unpleasant, and I don’t like spending time with them — I have better things to do.  Case in point was a couple of years ago in an evening 1-session team game at a Nationals.  Two deals stand out in my recollection.

In the first I held basically a yarborough except for five solid spades to the queen.  The opps bid uncontested to three spades, where they subsided.  I ventured a double (no-one was going to coup me out these tricks!) and was surprised to beat them only one trick.  Clearly they were too low! (Actually they were, so my double pushed the board.)   But they behaved as though I had done something either nefarious or ridiculous.  How dare I double them, was the attitude.  Especially for a one-trick set, at IMPs.

Shortly after that, I picked up something like six clubs to the ace, king, queen and a side card.  At favorable vulnerability partner passed and RHO opened a spade.  I decided that the circumstances warranted a jump to three clubs, ostensibly weak.  With partner already a passed hand this could hardly get into much trouble, and they probably wouldn’t play me for my side card when I was defending.  Lo and behold, it all came to pass.  This time, they practically accused me of cheating, spending much time quizzing my partner and examining the convention card.

I mention this, because the whole thing raised doubts — maybe I shouldn’t have taken these actions…  But today, I feel vindicated.  Let me digress a moment.

Larry Cohen published a very nice piece of software a few years back, entitled ‘My Favorite 52’, in which he walks you very instructively through the bidding and play of some favorite deals from his own career.  And are they ever good.  Master Point Press will be publishing this material in book form this summer, and I was doing some work on the manuscript this morning when I came across the following hand:

♠Q63 ♥— ♦983 ♣AKQ10964

Larry was holding this in the Cavendish, at favorable vulnerability.  Partner passed, and RHO opened one diamond.  What do you think Larry did?

YES- he bid three clubs, just like I did, and for the same reasons!  Partner raised to five, the opponents doubled, got off to the wrong lead, and failed to beat it after some rather neat declarer play by Larry.

Curiously, he doesn’t mention anyone accusing him of cheating, or spending hours cross-examining his partner.  I guess life at the top must be different.


Glen AshtonJanuary 21st, 2009 at 12:09 am

It is best to describe expert style “weak” jump overcalls as preemptive, not weak, since they cover a lot of territory in certain situations, the main one being opposite a passed hand. Your preemptive jump overcall was fine.

Yes, some bridge opponents can be “generally unpleasant” – that makes it even more fun beating them!

Dan NeillJanuary 21st, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I agree with Ray about the decision to not play because of general unpleasantness. Some people’s idea of what a game should be is different from others’.

Ray LeeJanuary 23rd, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Agreed, Glen, that’s a better adjective — however, the ACBL requires you tick one box out of Weak, Intermediate, and Strong 🙂

SubbuJune 2nd, 2009 at 9:47 pm

I wonder if it is ok to tick all weak and intermediate and if the opponents as then explain it as variable or preemptive.

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