In a game of both accurancy and deceit, is lying ever a valuable tool..?


Lying in bridge is usually a bad idea. Not only will it confuse your opponents and your partner (possibly to your short-term advantage), more importantly, it begins to eat away at partnership confidence. A question sent to me recently reminded me of a time long ago when I lied - and, thankfully, it proved to be the right moment.

SOUTH

s Q8

h AK86532

d 4

c AKJ

The scene was the final of the Devonshire Cup, a Teams event played with Rubber Bridge scoring - a fine format indeed.

I opened 2D, showing a Strong 2 in one of the suits. Partner relayed with 2H, and I bid 3H. Strangely, this seemed enough for my good partner to bid 4NT. I replied 5C (showing 0 or 3 key-cards) and he bid 5D, which asked whether I held the trump queen.

I said that I did, bidding 6C - showing Qh and Kc simultaneously. Partner then bid 7H.

East asked me what partner's 5D bid meant and I told him. He looked thoroughly unimpressed. He led Kd. Thanks to the relay, my partner would be playing the hand, so I put down my cards. This was his hand.

NORTH

s AKJ43

h 974

d A752

c 7

This is a perfect hand and, as long as hearts do not split 3-0 all is easy. Partner won the lead, laid down Ah and, after what seemed like an eternity, both East and West followed. One more trump to draw and the rest were his. 7H bid and made.

West had held both Qh and Jh and was furious at my lie, calling for the director, but my explanation was simple. I expected partner to have 3-card heart support for hearts, since he had launched into RKCB when I had only shown a 6-card suit and, therefore, as I actually held a 7-card suit, I felt the seventh card was as good as holding the queen.

Our opponents had bid only 6H at the other table and this, combined with other smaller gains, led to us lifting the trophy.

My subsequent lies, misrepresentations, and "expert" bids have not always met with such success...

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