„Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!“ The other day, I lied to partner not once but twice in one game. It caused me some anxious moments I can tell you. This was the hand I picked up as dealer:
One’s first priority is of course to open 1NT, and at first sight this hand with 15 high card points and an acceptably even distribution looked good for that.
However, ever the pessimist, before I went ahead I had another look at my cards. My doubleton Spade Queen Jack was not good news. In the worst case they could be obliterated by the opponents Ace and King.
I did have a five card suit in Clubs as a source to develop tricks, true, but it was missing the top honours and could be hard to set up after an expected battering in Spades.
Also five of my seven high cards were Queens and Jacks which are known to be over‑valued in the points system (and so termed derisively as “Quacks” by some players).
That’s why, against my rule-abiding nature, I decided to open with 1 Club.
1. First Offence: Not opening 1NT
I accepted that that this opening may lead to me underbidding my hand, but thought “Partner knows I am a cautious type and will compensate”. Then thought “Wait a minute, I am playing funbridge on the Internet, and partner is a Robot”.
As usual partner responded with a bid I didn’t want to hear : 1 Heart.
Now what? I still didn’t want to bid 1NT, didn’t have a 4 card second suit to bid, and didn’t want to rebid my feeble Clubs either.
So I bid 2 Hearts as the least worst option.
2. Second Offence: Supporting with less than 4 cards
Thinking, OK I only have three but they do include the Ace and the Ten, so hopefully partner won’t mind. Actually also hoping partner will Pass and bring an end to this series of lies.
In football I would have been shown the red card and be walking off for an early shower by now. However this is Bridge and you have to stay to share the pain.
Partner continued mercilessly with 2NT showing a game going hand with slam interest.
Thinking I must have got the Robot overheated I decided it was time to calm it down and end the bidding by signing off in 4H.
But the Robot was only playing with me and went to 4NT. Playing Roman Key Card Blackwood my two aces obliged me to reply 5 Hearts with the faint hope that we would stop there but no, partner went on bid 6H triumphantly. Was is it with Robots these days that they behave so rowdily?
To recap the bidding went as follows (my interpretations):
1. Oh Dear
2. Oh No
3. Oh God
If I had a human partner then when I put my hand on the table I would have had some explaining to do about my short Hearts. The good news was that it was funbridge so I didn’t have make excuses. The bad news was that it was funbridge so the hands were rotated and I had to play the mess myself.
The Ace of Clubs was lead by East and I could see that I was playing this 16 point hand as declarer:
One blessing I thought after that lead, now my King of Clubs will stand up. Another blessing followed when East followed with another club on which West inexplicably played the Queen to the bare King.
This defensive error set up my clubs with a discard on which to dump my losing Spade (although as it happens the King of Spades was onside so I could have run the Queen through it, if my nerves had been strong enough).
Slam was made somewhat fortunately with combined 31 high card points and 7 trumps, thanks to us having all the trump honours and a break no worse than 4-2.
The full hands were:
As this was a funbridge challenge I could see what my challenger did. She opened 1NT and, after Stayman, her Robot partner drove her to a 6NT slam which went down 1 on a Heart lead from West. A gain of 17 IMPs to me. Truly fortune favours the wicked.