Duplicate players are natural bullies, obsessed with rules, tending towards being control freaks who love the game of bridge. At my club, I am dispelling any bad image of duplicate players. Every inexperienced player is allowed to ask a question during the bidding, such as “what does my partner’s bid mean?” Rules need to be relaxed for those getting used to the format of duplicate. Undo’s are also allowed.
I started this column insulting bridge players, tongue in cheek, and now I am going to continue. Bridge players, in general, are liars. Yes, liars. No matter how good a bidding system is, it never matches every hand the player will encounter. So a player often has to make a white lie. That is okay, just part of the game, however one needs to know how to lie. The next time, when one fudges a bid to match a difficult-seeming hand, one must remember that it is better to lie about length of a suit then the strength of the hand. Not only does one not want to exaggerate the strength of one’s hand, one also does not want to hide points from partner. Furthermore, one always refrains from bidding No Trump without a stopper in a suit bid by the opponents. To reiterate, one lies about length not about strength and not about a stopper.
White lies do not usually occur in competition. If your Right Hand Opponent bids, he keeps the bidding open for partner and allows you to pass instead of making a white lie. Furthermore if your partner has chosen to overcall instead of doubling you always have the option of passing.
One common lie that most bridge players make is responding with One No Trump without a balanced hand and without the unbid suits stopped.
The bidding: North has 15 to 17 HCP’s but has an unbalanced hand. He opens One Spade, and South responds One No Trump because a new suit at the two-level would show 10 points or more. North bids his second suit, Clubs, giving partner a choice of two suits. South, instead of choosing which singleton is trump, bids Two Diamonds which is to be passed. If South had ten points, he would have bid Two Diamonds directly over One Spade.
The Play: West’s best lead is a trump, and the unbid suit can wait. Declarer will lose five tricks unless the defense do not take the trump off of dummy. The defense want to grab their Heart tricks and never allow dummy’s Spades to be used for discards. The Club King will be a place for a Heart or a Spade. Declarer will get six Diamonds and two Clubs for +90.