♠ J 3
♥ A 10 5
♦ A Q 9 8 7 6
♣ K J
♠ K 10 4 2
♥ K J 8 6 4
♦ 5 4
♣ 10 2
♠ Q 9 8 6 5
♥ 9 3 2
♦ J 2
♣ A 5 4
♠ A 7
♥ Q 7
♦ K 10 3
♣ Q 9 8 7 6 3
By Mike Lawrence
During the Lille World Championships, I ran into an incredible assortment of opening two bids. There were three or four different meanings for every opening two bid including two notrump. Almost half of the opening two notrump bids did not mean points but some two suited holding. When an opponent came to your table, the first thing you did was grab their convention card and look at the meaning of their two bids. It was exciting.
Here is one of them. During our match against the Maas team, our opponents opened two clubs on eight or nine occasions. I know that at my table, it came up five times and I learned to hate every one of them.
Against an auction somewhat like this one, West led a heart and South wrapped up twelve tricks. From West’s perspective, this seems unlucky but unavoidable, since leading a spade just does not make sense without a bid from East.
At my table, Hugh Ross and I also got to three notrump from the South hand, but West did lead a spade.
How did this happen? Did one of us bid hearts along the way to discourage a heart lead?
No. That was not the problem.
The reason it happened was that East and West were using one of the dreaded two bids that were so prevalent this week. In this case, a two club bid shows a weak hand with at least four-four in the majors. With the vulnerability being what it is, our West player had a five-four hand to cater to possible bad luck.
Hugh overcalled two diamonds and East, knowing that West had four spades at least, competed with two spades.
We might have found a way to five of a minor, but we did not and I declared three notrump from the South side. West had enough information to lead spades and that was that.
Down one, lose thirteen IMPs, and on to the next event.
Hugh’s remark after a diet of these two club bids, all of them dreadfully effective, was that he was going to petition the ACBL to make them legal in the states.
I can hardly wait.