After Anny overcalled 1♠ to 'Chelle's 1♥ opener, Bar took a red “X” card out of the bidding box and placed it on the table. Almost simultaneously 'Chelle said “Alert! That's a Malcolm X.”
Mitty gave her a puzzled look. “What's that? I never heard of a bid with that name.”
'Chelle's smile was patient. “It's what was called Sputnik, you probably know it as a negative double,” she said. “But that was long ago and far away, sista. Things have changed, and Bar and I decided that bridge should keep up with the times and demography.”
Mitty seemed dubious. “That might work up in the Northeast and out on the West Coast. In the real...er....the heartland, it's likely to go down about as well as evolution or global warming.”
Anny, who in other times would have nodded in agreement, was still flush with new found independence. “What other conventions have gotten new names?” she asked.
The explanation was left to Bar. “It all started with the 2♣ response to 1NT.” he said. “Since very few people today remember Sam Stayman, we decided to change the name of his convention to something they'd remember. We call it 'Hey Man.'”
“Same for Blackwood,” chimed in Chelle. “Black isn't very PC, and we thought African-Americanwood was a little unwieldy. We decided on Old Joe, cuz he needs something to be remembered by.”
“We're still working on some other ideas,” continued Bar. “Shaq instead of Jacoby 2NT 'cuz it's a strong raise, cappucino because it's easier to remember than Cappelletti, JoLo for a high-low signal, MJ for the Michaels cue bid...”
Anny was puzzled. “Which MJ is that for, Jordan or Jackson?” she asked.
“Makes no difference. In any event,” smiled Bar, “bidding 2♣ over 1♣ or 2♦ over 1♦ is a two-way bid. We're still working on more, and suggestions are certainly welcome.”
Bar and 'Chelle unveiled another of their new convention names in a subsequent deal: Metrorail, which was to replace “transfer” in their new nomenclature. Nevertheless, Mitty was the man in the spotlight after his opponents' optimistic auction, during which 'Chelle had also employed Babyfood (nee Gerber) to ask for aces) landed them in 6♠.
Hearing his opponents bid it up to the slam, Mitty reexamined his hand.
♠K5 ♥QT94 ♦A54 ♣QT98
Something, he thought, didn't add up. “Karl always says that it takes 32 points to make slam, and there are 40 points in the deck. I have 11, so they can't possibly make it,” he mused, before putting the red “X” card on the table. Forget that Muhammad Ali stuff – or was it Jeremiah Wright? This double was all business.
South West North East
The opening lead was the ♦10 and Mitty was forced to win the second round to avoid being endplayed right away. Entering dummy with the ♦Q at Trick Three, 'Chelle ran the ♠10, picked up the missing king on the second round, and entered dummy in spades to run that suit. Mitty was able to discard one club and one heart on the third and fourth spades, but he was squeezed on the fifth. A club would establish 'Chelles ♣9 for the 12th trick. Reducing the hearts to a ♥Q doubleton wouldn't do any good either.
At this point, Mitty took an action that his advisers would have hated. Instead of fighting to the bitter, predetermined end, he conceded. “The rest are yours,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders. “There's no point in playing on.”
'Chelle accepted the concession like a lady. “Thank you Mitty,” she said. “It's the first time we've used Metrorail in actual play, and it was a rousing success.”
Anny frowned. “I don't think conventions, whatever you call them, had anything to do with this hand,” she said. “You didn't have enough points for the slam, but you made it anyway. It's just like the title of that book, 'Points, Schmoints.' By the way, what are you going to call the Bergen raise convention? Oslo? Stockholm? Maybe Helsinki would be a good moniker for that one.”
Plus... it's free!