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Would you fill out a recorder form?

MPs, at favorable vulnerability against a very experienced pair of players (though they don't play together often), this hand comes up. You are West:

4 West
NS: 0 EW: 0

You can quibble about the inability to distinguish between a 3 card and 4 card raise. Indeed, my normal preference is to play the 2/2 constructive raises with 3/4 cards, but partner thinks that's not the best set of agreements in a big club/limited opening context, preferring FSJ after the double of 1M, so you need the 2/2 bids to be natural and non-forcing, and our results after 1M doubled suggest that he's probably right, or, at least, not wrong by much if he's wrong at all, so you are playing what you're playing.

You can also quibble with 4. Clearly doubling 3 would have been a maximal double, and perhaps I should have done that. However, I decided that 1 in a Meckwell Lite style understated the strength of this hand once partner has support, and there are a lot of hands that make game that partner wouldn't consider it. I want to be in game opposite the two black kings and the T, even if partner doesn't have a 4th trump, and definitely if he does even without the T. So I bid 4 and hoped. I know it's MPs, but I checked. They still pay game bonuses at MPs.

Right or wrong, these were the decisions we made at the table. I'm not suggesting that I think they were ironclad, but I think they were reasonable. If you think that the situation in which I placed myself was so ridiculous that it doesn't matter, I understand. If not and you can separate your different decisions from the problem at hand, please read on.

LHO led the A, and before dummy was down I asked about leads and carding, since I'd need to know sooner or later anyway. They play A from AK, UDCA and suit preference in the trump suit. I called for a low club from dummy, RHO plays the 6 and I dropped the 8. If they get a club ruff, I'll need the SK onside, so I want to discourage. I'm not a good player, but even I can make the baby falsecards when appropriate.

The operation was a success. LHO shifted to the Q, and I won the ace in hand. Now for the trumps.

I can't handle 4-0 trumps either way. They're certain to get a club ruff. There are a lot of high cards available in diamonds for both their bids, and the double doesn't tell me one way or the other whether my LHO has the K. At IMPs, I think I'd play A, low spade and try to score it up. However, this is MPs. If LHO has the Kx, 5 is cold, and I might well get a bad score for 4. I predict that at least a significant hunk of the room, assuming LHO's double is standard, to begin with 1-(X)-2 (4 card mixed raise), and getting to 4 is likely on that auction.

So I lead the Q and LHO hitches. This wasn't a subtle hitch. As you'll see, I called him on it, and he acknowledged a hitch. Though I was thinking of rising with the A and leading back (RHO with Kxx still beats this with a club return, so it didn't hurt to play the SQ once LHO follows), I decided to ride the Q. It loses to the K, a club comes back and I'm down one.

Let me start by admitting that I did not handle this well. (I will privately apologize next time I see him. This was not my finest hour.) I felt coffehoused. I looked at LHO. "Why would you hitch on the spade? You are a better player than that."

"I agree that I hitched, but I was thinking about what suit I wanted back if she got in with the trump suit preference," he said. (Again. He was calm. I behaved poorly.)

"Right," I sneered. "So when I was thinking at trick 1 before calling from dummy, it never occurred to you that I was going to try to pull trump at some point, so you should be thinking about this then?"

"Give me a break," he said, and that ended it. I like LHO. He's a nice guy. But I still felt like he was coffee housing and I paid the price.

So I want to file a Recorder form. Not because it will definitely change this behavior, but because we have an excellent unit recorder who will explain that I felt jobbed and why, and it might change his behavior in the future, or at least make him aware that he needs to try harder not to hitch in this situation.


But: I clearly overbid the hand. Under half the tables were in game. I could have doubled over 3. Then it's not a top or bottom decision, but an average/average- decision, with +170 being average, +140 being a bit below. I was overbidding because I thought the hand was good in a precision context, but, well, could have been my mistake.

But: I was spared best defense. (Club - club - club ruff and now I still need to find the K.) Blaming him now is just taking a double shot. It's my own damned fault. Own up and take my bottom. If I take inference from their breaks in tempo, I do it at my own risk, and I know that.

But: In his defense, I'm a fairly fast player after trick one. (I take a long time at trick one.) I'm not Leo Lasota quick, but I'm quicker than average. Once I got the heart lead to my hand, I was pretty quick to play a trump. It's probably not fair for me to expect him to be ready for a trump lead as quickly as I routinely play. Yes, of course I never turn mine over if someone is looking, so he could have stopped me once I won the A, but still, people do need processing time. And people often fear that asking to see a card or think in the middle of a hand will give information away to declarer, or, worse, give partner an ethical problem. Whether or not that fear is well placed, it can happen.

So, do I file a recorder? Or do I just chalk it up to experience and try to remind myself that not everyone plays smoothly and maybe they're thinking about things I'm not? And maybe the problem is in the mirror.

Input is, as always, appreciated.

No, you shouldn't file a recorder.
Yes, you should file a recorder.

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