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Is this a cardinal sin?

Whenever I take exception to an action by one of the world's great players, I risk being chastised, but this one strikes a nerve with me, so here goes.

First, let me say that I have the greatest respect for Eric Greco.  His partnership with Geoff Hampson is widely thought of as the 2nd best in the United States.  I always look forward to magazine bidding polls when Eric is on the panel.  His comments are very instructive.

This is a board from the 2015 USBC Finals.

Hampson
K9
K7
1098743
Q54
Fireman
AQJ4
A5
K
AK8762
Greco
7632
J963
AQJ6
J
Wolpert
1085
Q10842
52
1093
W
N
E
S
 
P
2
P
2
3
4
5
X
P
5
P
6
P
P
6
X
P
P
P
D
12
6X West
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
J
3
4
1
1
0
A
3
2
7
1
2
0
8
2
9
Q
0
2
1
8
K
A
2
2
2
2
6
8
K
5
0
2
3
5
7
Q
10
2
2
4
9
10
9
4
0
2
5
7
2
J
5
2
2
6
J
Q
10
J
0
2
7
K
A
3
5
1
3
7
Q
6
8
9
1
4
7
9 tricks claimed
E/W -500
11

While this "disaster" was taking place, Joey Silver, another world-class player whose record I will never be able to match, commented on-line that "[G]reco[']s bid looks normal." To paraphrase one of my wife's favorite expressions (she is doing a doctorate in moral theology), "normal, [apparently]...but not normative."

The purpose of making a pressure bid like 5 is to force the opponents to make the final guess.  The pressure bid may even be a phantom sacrifice (like it was here), but the opponents have to work it out.  In my opinion, you bid the first time to the level you are willing to risk to give maximum pressure to the opponents.  When the pressure bid is at the five-level, the opponents will get it wrong at least part of the time.  To make a pressure bid and then sacrifice yourself, assuming that the opponents did the right thing (even if the sacrifice seems like it is inexpensive against a game and you are trying to minimize any swing) is giving the opponents two bites at the apple and, in my world, may be disrespectful to your partner.  Your pressure bid suggests to partner that they can sacrifice with no defensive tricks, but you have already done your work.

Some of the time, partner can double 6 to warn you not to bid again, but why should he/she have to?  In this case, partner isn't sure he can beat 6.  Why should he give away the defensive nature of his hand?

 

 

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