Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toying with voidwood

Yesterday I had following hand:

Playing a natural system (pretty basic actually), partner opened 1 in 1st seat, Vulnerable. What's your plan?

I thought of several possibilities:
2 = natural, forcing for 1 round
2NT = GF with fit
4 = splinter
5 = voidwood

Normally I prefer to bid 2, but with this partner I wasn't sure I could set up a GF at 3-level if he rebids 2. After 2NT we play pretty standard responses, so with a minimum hand he'll rebid 4 which we don't want! I thought my hand was too strong for a splinter, so voidwood was the only thing left. However, if partner doesn't have a control in we may already be too high... Nothing was really satisfying. Then I thought a little further, and found a response that was imo better than all the rest. Can you find it?

I bid 5 Diamonds, voidwood. This solves the problem in (who will lead this suit now?) and lets us play 6 pretty comfortable. The auction continued as follows:
1 - pass - 5! - 6
pass! - pass - 7 - pass
pass - pass

Partner's pass should show 1 keycard (not counting A), so I made a gamble and bid the grand slam.

Partner's hand was:

The slam is laydown, but the trumps were 4-0! After a lead you'll have to count on a 3-3 split so you can play some kind of dummy reversal ruffing some s. Otherwise you can only make 12 tricks...

While I was dummy, I was thinking about these Zia voidwoods (I've seen him do this several times as well, voidwood with another void). Actually they work amaizingly well, although this hand doesn't illustrate this completely. For example, partner has A: without it, the killing lead would've been avoided. He also has Q, a lucky card. Playing 6 (this was my initial plan) while partner had xxx obviously would've been a better example, but I don't like to change the hands.
Nevertheless the Zia voidwood works in the sense that opponents don't know there's a suit wide open, and the hand should practically be over once they've lead the wrong suit. I think it's less useful if you have a control of your own.

1 comment:

Mike said...


You open 1H and hear 1S! Cheers for the idea. It's begging for it. So you psych 5D & to make it look as iffy as possible he bids 5H and you give up in 5S, before he remembers the responses and bids the 6th.

The guy on lead is holding DA-K and CA! And picks the wrong one of course. This sets up partner's CK for a diamond discard. He has ATxx in spades (which break 2-2) and xx in hearts which are 4-1 offside (with QT to 4) - therefore he uses those 2 remaining spades to ruff out the hearts & throws 2 diamonds from Qxx on the 5th and 6th hearts, using club ruffs to yet back over to my hand of course. Therefore, our teammates manage to double 4H (following a Kaplan inversion cock up) and get it 2 off & it didn't matter (of course).

I tried it again on the following hand:


I was playing against team captain & paid professionals & we were a few down at half time and I decided I needed a result. I opened 1H and it goes:

............P - P
1H - (2H) - 2S - (2NT)

Where 2NT is asking which minor accompanies the spades (why 'ya can't just play spades-diamonds I'll never know). 2S shows a max pass with 3+ hearts and I thought I had a value raise to 6H but given that I have already decided where I want to play why not shove in a 5D bid, with every intention of using the blue card given the nasty surprise I've got up my sleeve. This has several advantages: firstly, if I go off it won't be more than 1 and who cares about turning 100 into 200, but the redoubled upside is must larger; secondly they may flee to 7m which may either be phantom, go for more than 980 and even if it doesn't will surely go for 800 - prospects are not good for them long term. And of course I may attract (whether redoubled or not), the same fatal mistake in clubs as happened on the first hand because - surely he can handle a spade lead if he's going 6, right? (Ie please don't lead a spade) - thus demonstrating this psych can have value holding a diamond control of your own, surely?