A Drury Festival

  A DRURY FESTIVAL by Danny Kleinman

As modern "authorities" persuade more and more bridge players to play Reverse Drury, Drury lovers use their convention on more and more hands. Three deals from a recent tournament illustrate. I'll present them as problems for the participants.

(Hand shown is always South's)

(1) matchpoints, E-W vul

Q95 ©QJ105 A93 983

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
  ----    ----   1
©    pass
  ?

What's the problem?

There's no problem if you don't play Drury. You have a sound single raise, not a limit raise. Confronted with a choice between 2© and 3©, you have an easy 2© raise. Then, if partner invites game, you can accept gladly. If you bid 2©, everyone will pass, and partner will declare a very comfortable partscore contract.

However, the actual South was a Drury lover. Futile Willie's Law, which is fast gaining popularity , says, "If an artificial call is one of your possible choices, choose it!" Heeding Futile Willie's Law, South bid 2, Reverse Drury.

(2) matchpoints, E-W vul

Q95 ©QJ105 A93 983

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
  ----    ----   1
©    pass
  2
*  double  2©    3         *Reverse Drury
  ?

Darn that West! If West hadn't intervened with a double, you'd know what partner's 2© showed: a sub-minimum opening. Now, however, you're not sure: couldn't partner have passed West's double to show a sub-minimum?

Anyway, if you pass, how will partner know whether your Reverse Drury 2 was based on your actual four good trumps or on the three low trumps you might have had (yes, by current standards, ©653 constitutes "good support")?

That was the thinking of the actual South, who raised to 3©, perhaps regretting that he had not insisted on playing Two-Way Reverse Drury, in which 2 shows four trumps and 2 shows three---or is it the reverse?

In 3©, North had a chance, needing only to guess which defender to play for the J … and guessed wrong. Perhaps 3© failed because South's hand was too strong for his sequence: if the 9 had been the deuce instead, North couldn't have guessed wrong.

(3) matchpoints, N-S vul

©A10532 K87 K964

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
 -----    -----   -----    pass
 pass    1
     pass  2*          *Reverse Drury

 ?

Opportunity knocks: will you heed the call?

The actual South did, bidding 2©, which he could not have bid over the 3 limit raise that East might have made if not playing Drury, nor the 2 raise that East should have made despite playing Drury. West jumped to 4, and North led the ©Q from ©Q4 … right through dummy's ©K86. When South took dummy's ©K with the ©A and returned the ©3, West finessed the ©9 and made 4.

A triumph for Drury!

(4) matchpoints, none vul

62 ©85 AQ86 Q10743

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
 ----    pass   pass   1

 pass    2*   double  2©            *Reverse Drury
  ?

Warning! Plan required.

Mrs. Guggenheim would bid 3, a competitive bid that looks safe enough, and defeats the main purpose of Drury, which (except when responder has six clubs and must jump to 3 to show them) is to avoid getting to the 3-level unnecessarily.

However, the actual South was The Unlucky Expert, who anticipated the killing defense that would beat 4 (or 4© if that was the game that East-West bid): low club lead to North, diamond return through East's king-third, two diamond tricks, diamond ruff, and voila---down one!

(5) matchpoints, none vul

62 ©85 AQ86 Q10743

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
  -----  pass    pass   1

  pass  2*   double   2©         *Reverse Drury
  3
   3©    pass   pass
  ?

Bob Hamman has a Law, Total Tricks has a Law, Futile Willie has a Law, why shouldn't The Unlucky Expert have a Law too? Well he does. The Unlucky Expert's Law says, "Everybody bids as well as I do."

East and West having stopped in 3©, South, in accordance with The Unlucky Expert's Law, assumed that they were in the right spot, cold for 140 in 3© but with no chance for 420 in 4© (or 4). In that case, 4 down one, even if doubled, would be a profitable save.

(6) matchpoints, none vul

62 ©85 AQ86 Q10743

SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST
 ------   pass   pass    1

 pass   2*   double   2©      *Reverse Drury
 3
(!)  3©    pass   pass
 4
   pass   pass    4©
 ?

Hmmm, thought South. East and West must know what they're doing (doesn't everybody?). Since they can make 4© for 420, 5 should be a fine save, costing only 300 if doubled and set two. 

Unlucky ! West doubled 5, and with the K off side, South had no way of avoiding a diamond loser along with two losers in each major. Down three, a 500-point set, more than the 450 that East and West could have scored in 4. The result in a heart contract would be less certain; with best play East can take ten tricks, but a greedy or incautious declarer might take only seven.

East and West were in a confused auction, as most pairs are when playing a convention whose details they have not mastered thoroughly.

What does a 2© reply by a 1 opener to a Drury 2 mean?

The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge is silent on this issue. Amalya Kearse, in her Bridge Conventions Complete, illustrates with a hand containing moderate extra values. Bill Root and Richard Pavlicek, in their Modern Bridge Conventions, describe it as a natural negative reply (the best treatment, for it permits the partnership to play in a superior 2© on a 4-4 or 4-5 fit when responder has only three spades).

However, West had yet another understanding of East's 2©: he thought it was a "Help Suit Game Try" and bid 3© to show that he had help in hearts.

If you play (any form of Drury), do you know what every continuation means? 

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