Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Picture Bids

About a year ago, I learned of a way to show a specific hand type that is helpful in certain types of auctions.  What does it mean when you open one of a minor and partner jumps to four of a major?  What if there is interference in between?  I don't think that there is a well-defined meaning for this bid. 

I heard through the grapevine that some experts use this bid to show a very specific hand:  a solid seven-card suit with no outside controls, e.g.,


Because the bid is so specific, I call it a "picture bid".  I don't know where this idea originated.  I learned of it from my partner Dave Neuman, who heard of it from another friend of mine, who didn't know where he got it.  Anyway, since I didn't have a better use for the bid, I decided to adopt it, with one variant:  it can also be a 7-card one loser suit with an outside ace, e.g.,


So the bid promises 7 tricks.  

I discussed playing this with Jenn before the recent regional.  Unfortunately, we had not discussed whether or not it applied after interference.  Accordingly, we had a missed opportunity in the regional IMP Pairs.  On the very first board, I picked up, vulnerable in third seat:


Jenn opened 1 Diamond, and RHO bid 1 Spade.  I thought that the picture bid agreement applied here, so I bid 4 Hearts.  Jenn wasn't on the same page, so she passed holding


If she had read it correctly, she would have bid at least 6 Hearts and even would have thought about a grand slam.  We made 6, losing a diamond trick.  The IMP par was  +650 our way, so it was a 1-IMP gain, almost a non-event.  However, we lost a great opportunity to win 13 IMPs if she had just bid 6 Hearts.  This would probably have made, as it did at our table after a spade lead. 

It turned out that my RHO had a diamond void, so there were pairs going down in 6 or 7 hearts.  Curiously, if 6 Hearts is doubled (a Lightner double asking for the lead of dummy's first bid suit, diamonds), it will be made as it would warn declarer to not put up dummy's ace on the opening lead.  If it isn't doubled, and a diamond is led anyway, the slam would go down since the ace would be ruffed and another diamond would have to be lost.  However, if a spade is led, the slam makes since dummy's ace of spades provides a parking spot for the diamond loser. 

I suspect that some pairs were doubled in 7 Hearts.  There is no escape from this double, as 7 No Trump cannot be made from either side.  If it is declared by the hand with the long diamonds, a heart lead takes out dummy's only entry so you cannot finesse twice against QJxx and pick up the diamonds.  If it is played from the other side, a spade or club lead beats it for the same reason. 

Jenn doesn't particularly like the bid as she thinks it takes up too much bidding room, so whether we leave it on our card is in question.  In my opinion, however, it has a lot of merit.

Good luck!

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

Jenn doesn't particularly like the bid as she thinks it takes up too much bidding room,

Yes, that's why its definiton must be so precise.