SI Vault
 
He tipped his mitt
Charles Goren
May 12, 1958
The purpose of a psychic bid is to steal something belonging to the enemy by issuing a form of propaganda that will create a false impression in his mind. But the practical advantages of bluff bidding seem to this department to have been grossly exaggerated. All too often, the psychic defeats its own purpose by giving the opponents information which they could obtain in no other way. In the current offering, for example, it is easy to follow the parabola of this psychic boomerang.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 12, 1958

He Tipped His Mitt

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

The purpose of a psychic bid is to steal something belonging to the enemy by issuing a form of propaganda that will create a false impression in his mind. But the practical advantages of bluff bidding seem to this department to have been grossly exaggerated. All too often, the psychic defeats its own purpose by giving the opponents information which they could obtain in no other way. In the current offering, for example, it is easy to follow the parabola of this psychic boomerang.

In opening the bidding with one heart, no doubt it was West's purpose to divert the enemy's attention from the suit in which he considered they had their best chance for game. Later, having convinced himself that this Machiavellian scheme had succeeded, West set out to capitalize on it further by doubling the final contract of three no trump. His enterprise was based on the expectation of bringing in the club suit with the loss of only one trick. Had he anticipated North's redouble, West might have been less eager to increase the stakes.

The double removed whatever slim chance there was of West's psychic bid fooling the enemy. When the 5 of clubs was opened and dummy appeared, the trickery of West's opening bid was completely revealed. If West had made no bids at all, declarer might have followed the conventional manner of playing the hearts, finessing up to dummy. However, East's raise of hearts made it clear that East—not West—had the remains of the heart suit. This rendered declarer's prospects of bringing home the entire suit extremely lean, but he had no choice except to hope that West's singleton was the 10 spot.

So declarer played dummy's jack of clubs on trick one. When it held, he was in strategic position to start development of the heart suit in the only manner which could succeed. He led dummy's jack of hearts and played low when East ducked. Life took on a golden hue when West contributed the 10. On another heart lead, South was able to win with the 7. He cashed the ace and, with the heart suit now taken care of, he prepared the ground for another coup, leading a spade to dummy's jack.

East won with the queen but couldn't return a club. Dummy won the diamond return with the ace. The ace of hearts dropped East's queen, the last heart was cashed and then the ace of spades. By this time, the distribution was clear. On the next spade lead, South finessed the 9 and his king brought home the redoubled contract with an overtrick.

Declarer's analysis proved entirely sound. Because of West's opening bid of one heart, it was reasonable to suppose that the bulk of the outstanding hearts would be found in East's hand. The remote chance that West would show up with the lone queen of hearts had to be risked, for if South's conclusion was correct, a first-round finesse was mandatory. Actually West's psychic bid, instead of confusing the issue, had clarified it for South and had, in reality, "tipped his mitt."

EXTRA TRICK
The effect of a penalty double is to increase the stakes of a particular hand, but the person doubled may receive in return sufficient information to fully compensate. Therefore, before you double, consider whether you have more to lose than to gain.

1