'Walking the Dog' in a Competitive Auction
An interesting hand (Board 20) came up in the Mayfield Cup on 20th October:
Your partner, West, deals at Game All and you are surprised to hear him open 1D (Acol, natural, 4+ cards).
|S || 8 7 4|
|H || 10|
|D || K 8 7 5 4 3 2|
|C || A 6|
Right hand opponent, North, now chips in with a Michaels bid of 2D, showing at least 5/5 in the majors, weak or very strong. What do you bid now?
Make your choice and read on.
With only four cards in the majors, you are almost sure that the auction will soon get 'lively'. In my judgement, your options are;
a) Pre-empt the auction to the full and raise partner to 5D immediately, at a slight risk of missing 3NT if partner is strong balances or even 6D. I think most experienced players would choose this bid.
b) Cue your singleton with a splinter bid of 3H. (Remember opponents have already bid this suit via Michaels so the call can't be natural.). The danger here is that opponents now have more room to get together in their best major.
c) Or something else, e,g 'Walk the Dog' (WTD) with a fatuous underbid of say, 3D or even Pass.
I don't know how this expression entered bridge jargon, but 'Walking the Dog' is an old ruse where you grossly underbid or distort your hand in the early rounds of a competitive auction so as to encourage a double from opponents when you finally emerge from the bushes.
At the table East, one of our strongest players, found a most imaginative "psychic" bid of 3C with his Ace doubleton, an interesting variation of WTD, or that was what it looked like to me afterwards!.
The auction now did get lively as expected.
I was the sucker sitting South who doubled, expecting a couple of club tricks and something in the wash from partner's 'strong' Michaels (he had bid again freely in round 2).
Disaster! 6D was cold on a combined 21 count. And it needs a heart ruff to defeat 5S.
Board 20 Both Vul - Dealer West
| A Q J 5 3 2|
| K Q 7 6 4|
| 7 4|
|--||8 7 4|
|A J 8 5||10|
|A Q J 9 6||K 8 7 5 4 3 2|
|Q 8 3 2||A 6|
I wonder if East plays poker in his spare time?
| K 10 9 6|
| 9 3 2|
| K J 10 9 5|
Roger Morton 27/10/2015