I was West on this deal from the final of the Life Master Pairs at the Summer Nationals in Long Beach. My son Rich opened 2 not exactly everyones idea of a weak two-bid; but with a singleton spade and favorable vulnerability at matchpoints, its a winning tactic. The biggest downside is having to bear the chuckles if you put down the hand as dummy.
After Souths 2 overcall, I bid 2 NT (forcing) to try for game. Had North passed, Rich would bid 3 (artificial) to show exactly five hearts, a pet convention of mine; then wed probably stop in 3 . When Norths 3 was passed around, it seemed the opponents had overstepped their bounds so I doubled. I couldnt be sure of setting 3 ; but at matchpoints I also couldnt settle for a mere 100 against a partscore, and game our way had to be odds-against. Yes, Ive seen Richs weak two-bids before.
Declarer ruffed the second diamond and led a spade to the king; then a club to the king. On the surface it may seem that 3 is makable with clubs 3-3, but this is an illusion; the lack of entries and trump control make even eight tricks difficult. Another trump lead was futile, so declarer led a club from hand; then ruffed the diamond return, and ruffed a club in dummy.
Declarer next led the 5 and, knowing Rich could not have two aces from the bidding, ducked hoping I had a blank ace. Rich was careful to cover with the six and won the trick (imagine carelessly playing low, ouch); then a heart return went to the king and my ace. The deal was now an open book, so I cashed the A (declarer unblocked dummys queen) and returned a diamond to create another trick; down two.
While declarer could never make 3 , it would have been better to start clubs from hand; then eight tricks would come home with routine technique. I suppose it could also be argued that Souths 2 overcall was the real culprit. But its a big zoo out there.
© 2003 Richard Pavlicek