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Mark Lair's TWO Great Bids

What is the most costly (and/or boneheaded) lead you have ever made? Here's mine.

You are leading the three day Roth Swiss with four matches to go, teamed with Bart Bramley and Liam Milne, a young Australian. You sit down against Mike Passell (West) and Chris Compton (East).

Holding AKJTxxxx JTx x x, all white, in first seat, you open four spades. It goes pass, pass and Compton bids 5 clubs.

You pass. Over Passell's cue bid of 5 spades, your long-time partner, Mark Lair, bids 6 hearts, and Compton now bids the club grand. You pass, Passell passes and Lair does not double.

You think: 6 hearts sounds like a bold, lead directing bid, so you finger the heart jack. But wait. Compton's seven clubs strongly suggests first round control of hearts, and Passell's five spades almost definitely shows the spade void, unless he is channeling Steve Weinstein. So Lair either holds the heart ace and real heart length, in which case Compton has the heart void, or Lair holds the heart void and Compton has some hearts headed by the ace. If Lair holds the heart void, the opponents have been silent about their ten card heart fit.

And Lair did NOT double the grand. With a heart void wouldn't he demand a heart lead by doubling? But would the double of the grand now cancel the heart lead request? So after two minutes you decide Lair has the heart length to the ace and Compton has the heart void, so you make the "passive" lead of the spade king, hoping for a slow red suit trick eventually.

Here is the whole layout:

 

 

West
KQxxxx
AQxx
10xx
North
Qxx
KJxxxxx
xxx
East
xx
Axxx
AKQJxxx
South
AKJ10xxxx
J10x
x
x
W
N
E
S
4
P
P
5
P
5
6
7
P
P
P
D
7 East
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

 

 

To your horror, Lair has the heart void and they take their 13 tricks. Lair has made not one, but two, great bids: First the 6 hearts asking for the heart lead, and second the PASS over 7 clubs. If he had doubled, Passell would likely run to seven hearts on his substantial (silent) heart suit.

If Passell had run, Lair could now salvage quite a bit by sacrificing seven spades, but Lair's pass of seven hearts gets all the imps.

You do not win the Roth Swiss.

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