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Foul is Fair
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In matchpoint competition a point is awarded for every better score comparison , regardless of the magnitude of the win or loss. Ties win a half a matchpoint. Superficially, this resembles BAM scoring. The main difference is that in a BAM event, your score will compared against the competent players at just one other table. In matchpoints, your score is compared against a room full of crazy people.

This hand was from last week.

South
J3
K1042
A8742
K2
W
N
E
S
P
?

What is your call?

I might open this white at MP with a partner not prone to burying me for bidding. Red, I am no hurry to count out hundreds. So I passed. But I would have opened in second if the majors were reversed.

Third seat opened with 1. Partner overcalled 2. This is “weak” but could be anything. You are willing to bet on six hearts. Beyond that, partner's hand can be random. Pass to you. Your call?

Your options are a 2NT inquiry, some number or hearts, a 3 cue bid or something cute.

The problem with raising hearts is the opponents will bid. That is what crazies do. They pass at low levels, but if a passed hand raises an ostensibly weak bid, the opponents will back in. 2NT is the normal inquiry. The problem with 2NT is opener can double to show values. Another issue is if opener has the minors – partner can have four spades - opener will bid 3.

I selected 3. The cute option I considered was a 4 call.

The auction now continued: pass - pass - pass.

This was not how I imagined the auction would develop. I was regretting not having “splintered”. The dealer, now in balancing seat took a while to pass. She asked my partner about 3 was told “it is non-forcing”.

“Even after a 1 opening?”

Partner looked startled. Oops. Sometimes it turns out that you are the crazy people.

The K was led and dummy hit:  

North
5
987653
K5
QJ109
South
J3
K1042
A8743
K2
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
2
P
3
P
P
P

I went down three for -300.  Pretty foul.  Except that trumps broke 5-1.  That is foul, but fair.  Because they were making 4.   Unfortunately, going for just -300 was only a 75% result because three pairs failed to reach game, playing in three only spades.

I am telling you, it is so annoying not getting field protection.

One needs luck to win at matchpoints. The best way to be lucky is to make your own. Dealer had this hand:

A10xxxx QJ x xxxx

The hand did not meet the partnership definition of a vulnerable weak two bid. After the 2 overcall, it looked like only 4 HCP - with a stiff in partner's suit. When it came back around for a third time, dealer now has a weird decision. The opponents have gotten to a silly spot. Why would you bid here and let them off the hook?

Most players would look at the E-W result and classify something like this as a “fix”. Those crazy people playing N-S. The crazies made a horrible WJO, passed a cue bid, missed their ten-card major fit and landed on their feet.

There is no justice.  (Or is there?)

If one thinks about it, my opponents were on the same willing page as I wanted them to be. I was trying to keep them out of the auction and they were obliging me. Granted, it was not exactly how I drew it up, but why quibble with success?  The other way of looking at the E-W situation was that they had a vulnerable game in spades.  When were they going to bid?

If your bidding system is based on assuming the opponents will not be crazy, good luck.  You will need it.

It is OK (I suppose) to decide the West hand is not a vulnerable weak-two opener. I have one long-time partner who plays this way. However, having passed originally, there is no way he would pass over the 2 overcall. One has to get into auctions at some point. If one keeps defining every turn to bid as “DANGER!”, you will be safe right up until the score is entered.

A main problem was that, as with most pairs, they believed that a double of the 3 cue shows diamonds. This should be takeout. The way the bridge gods intended. Partner did not offer a competitive raise to 3. So do you want double to alert partner that if they now stop out at three only hearts maybe we should compete to four diamonds? Yeah, that will happen sometime in your bridge life.  If you like diamonds so much, bid.  Is that crazy?

Maybe crazy is waiting for the perfect hand.  My opponents were never getting more than 25% for their timidity because had they bounced into 4 after initially passing, I was bidding 5 and that was going for just -500 and the same MP score.  Par was 5H-x for -500 but no one was there.

Bridge is all about risk versus reward.  Many players have a skewed view of risk.  I blame their mothers.  Yes, moms are wonderful people.  They love us so much they constantly caution us:  "be careful, you'll poke someone's eye out".  It is either that or break your neck.  Yet my whole childhood, we never poked someone's eye out.  OK, full disclosure time.  I got my hand up in front of my right eye just in time and the bobby pin that was fired at me buried into the palm of my hand.  (BTW, I am not sure why telling an 8-year old boy that he might earn a pirate's patch would do anything other than encourage such an activity.)

Neither did any of us break our necks.  This despite doing back flips off the table in the basement onto the concrete floor.  Now my brother Patrick didn't rotate completely and broke his collar bone.  But that heals.  No broken neck.

The math worked out to three successful back flips to one broken collar bone.  I can see how my mom might not be happy with that risk-reward ratio.  My mom was also my first bridge teacher.  She would not be happy with the broken collar bone at IMPs.  But at MP, she would have advised me:  "Three back flips to one broken collar bone?  Jump dammit!"

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