It was the final of the 100 Acre Wood Pairs. For the last round Christopher Robin and Pooh were playing Tigger and Eeyore. Tigger was the dealer and excitedly sorted his cards with little grunts of satisfaction. After much chin scratching and intense study of distant late afternoon clouds he bid 1NT. Eeyore correctly intoned: "12 - 14" but then went on: "balanced, no singleton, only one doubleton - ".
"Yes, we get the picture," said Christopher Robin.
"Do we? When?" said Pooh. Christopher Robin passed and Eeyore went into a huddle, shifting in his seat and dropping his cards while his tail knocked over the bidding box. When order had finally been restored Eeyore resignedly and slowly passed.
"Your bid Pooh," said Christopher Robin.
"Is it?" said Pooh, who up until now had been laboriously sorting his cards by some secret system known only to himself. "What's happened so far?" The auction was explained to him and then Pooh made a sound such as "Aha" as if to say well that tells me all I need to know doesn't it and then with great craftiness - he passed as well.
"Right, 1NT it is then," said Christopher Robin, controlling the urge to throw his toys out of the pram, "Any questions partner?"
"Yes. When's dinner?" said Pooh.
Tigger did his utmost bestest to go down but even he managed to wind up with 9 tricks in the end. As he won each trick he leapt up and down giggling: "Did I win that? Did I really win that? I won that. Which hand am I in?" As Christopher Robin scored the traveller Tigger tried to teach a disinterested Eeyore the finer points of the high five but without much success. Christopher Robin noted that he and Pooh had scored a complete top as everyone else had been in 3NT but he doubted it would be enough to beat Rabbit and Owl.
Later, as they ambled back to Pooh's house, Christopher Robin pointed out that as Tigger had 15 HCP points on that hand he just was too good to open 1NT. Especially as Eeyore had 10 HCP and they should have been in the making game of 3NT with a combined total of 25 HCP.
"You see, Pooh, it's partnership game."
"Now he tells me, already..." growled Pooh in a surprisingly good New York Bronx accent.
"Thing is, Pooh, if you lie to partner - your beloved partner - however small the lie, partner can only get it wrong. Tigger should have opened 1 of a suit and then REBID 1NT, showing 15 - 16 HCP. Eeyore with his 10 HCP can now safely bid 3NT knowing the partnership has a combined holding of 25 HCP - enough to attempt game. Do you remember that other hand where I opened 1C and you responded 1NT, Pooh?"
Pooh narrowed his eyes and thought as hard as a bear can think and finally said "Oh ye-es." in the nonchalant devil may care voice he used when he had no idea what anyone was talking about.
"You had a balanced 9 count, true, but you also had 4 Hearts. As did I."
"I didn't know that, Christopher Robin. How could I know that?" said Pooh spreading his arms wide and appealing to the gathering dusk.
"True. But if you bid 1H first then you have a chance of finding out. As it happens I bid 3NT which can never make while 4H is cold on any defence. We have to work together to find our best combined contract. If you withhold information from me then I can only get it wrong. Do you see?" said Christopher Robin more in hope than expectation.
"Oh ye-es." said Pooh hurriedly. "Can we have dinner now?"
Christopher Robin sighed as the sun sank below the distant trees. "The real trouble is that Owl and Rabbit won. Even though he's only an Owl, we'll have weeks of him crowing".