There are three reasons why I never make ‘psychic’ bids. First, because I’m a wimp. Second, because I often play with partners who are better than me, and I feel it would be arrogant to manipulate the bidding. And third, because you really have to know what you’re doing with psychic bids — and I’m not sure I do. But I know someone who does — Alex Hydes, my partner in the World Mixed Teams which are taking place in Poland this week (along with the Open, Women’s and Seniors). It’s a huge privilege to be on the England team — and to be partnering Alex in particular. He’s a ballsy, flair player — and I’d better brace myself as he probably psyches more than any other English international. On this deal, from the Premier League trials, he was sitting West, partnering Gunnar Hallberg, against Heather Dhondy and Brian Callaghan. Pity his opponents:
At favourable vulnerability, Alex opened 1♠ third in hand (at least he had an honour). Gunnar jumped to game in good faith, North (Heather) doubled again, and Brian Callaghan bid 4NT (a huge relief to Alex), showing two places to play. They found their heart fit, but Alex’s bid had made it possible for Gunnar to lead ♠A from ♠AJ86 — something he would never normally have done (as you can see, any other suit allows declarer to get rid of two losing spades). Gunnar continued with the ♠J to declarer’s ♠Q and Alex’s ♠K. Alex played a third spade hoping to find Gunnar with the ♠10 — no such luck, but when declarer won and cashed the ♥A, he was pleased to see Gunnar’s ♥J fall, making his ♥10 a winner. May the gods be as kind to us in Wroclaw!