Ron Nelken: 3. We are outgunned.
Michael Davy: 4. might disturb them a bit.
Paul Tranmer: 4. This should give EW a sufficiently big headache!
Paul Gipson: 5. Now it's their problem.
I know I promised you a quiet forum this month, but I can't
resist throwing at least one wild hand into each set. Frank
Stewart has taken to calling our recent Problem Fives "The Goofy
Problem of the Month". Well, they may be goofy, but they are all
real, and more often than not they are submitted by you guys, so
thanks for that.
Wild as this hand is, it's still a very
simple choice of 3, 4 or 5. We have a guaranteed ceiling of 800
here, so many of you went straight for the max:
Pat O'Connor: 5. If partner has nothing, they have a slam.
Manuel Paulo: 5. I am risking 4
imps (-800 versus -650) in order to trouble the opponents' way to slam, when they can make it.
Barbara Hunter: 5. This may go crashing down but
don't think bidding 3 or 4 is much use.
Leigh Matheson: 5. When partner has: 1 or 2 tricks: good sac, they make game; 0 tricks: very good sac, they make slam; 3 tricks: +750, we make game. It's a win-win-win situation.
Tim Francis-Wright: 5. I can afford to have 5 go down two if they are making game; the only time 5 goes down 3 and they do not make slam is if the opponents have 2-2 clubs, or if West has
one club and partner has Jx or better in spades. I was tempted by 4, but that still gives them room to explore slam.
Fraser Rew: 5. Possibly a save against a slam. -800 is a distinct possibility but this will be 5 imps out at worst and I'm not sure which opponent will be able to double.
Zbych Bednarek: 5. 800
against game or even slam. Let them guess, slam or double.
Alan Jones: 5. If this goes for 800 I expect opponents to be able to make a slam.
800 is a noble goal, but a few of you saw it as the more
Boris Richter: 5. Let us hope it is high enough :)
David Hester: 5. Colour me yellowish.
Amiram Millet: 5. Almost maximum jamming and best
description of my hand. We might sacrifice higher.
If you do like to go for 800, here's a more imaginative way
to do it (although on the actual deal, the slightest misdefence
would give you +750):
Ron Landgraff: 3NT. A wild stab! They are likely cold for game or slam. Naturally if they double, I will pull to
7 or 8 undoubled vulnerable undertricks will be embarrassing, but who knows what it will talk them out of.
Kajsa Larson: 3NT. Now they hopefully do not reach slam...
Emil Battista: 4. Just the hand
I have been waiting for to open with 3 (Gambling 3NT) and I am not dealer!
Chickening out of 3NT just because the opps bid 2/1? Wimp.
But well done, Emil, you got 500 points this month (not quite
enough to win your annual bet against Roger though).
actual deal, the opponents have just six tricks to cash against
3NT, and two of them are quite hard to find. But back to the
David Davies: 5. If they bid 4/, I will bid 5 will I not? By doing it now they are more likely to make a mistake.
Tim Trahair: 5. Probably a sacrifice. 3NT
seems too risky with the prospect that North may be void in
David Matthews: 5. The opponents obviously have game and may well have slam on so I will make it difficult. They may get it wrong. One time in
ten it will cost exactly 800 when no slam is on but even then its still only 4
Ken Berry: 5. This won't end the auction. (Maybe double will.. but it looks like slam is on for them.. maybe partner has a club void?)
Assuming we do wish to save in 5, there are two ways to do
it: the slow way and the fast way (some might say the slow way
and the right way). Here are a couple of votes for the
Britta Johansson: Pass. I would wait and see where opponents are headed and how strong they are. It's unlikely that partner has enough controls for us to make 5 and
opponents have already shared a lot of information. A freak distribution may make life difficult for them and they might end up too high.
Duncan Roe: Pass. Let's see what develops. I can still bid 5 over their 4 of a major, if they get there
Roger Yandle: 5. Let opps have last guess.
Damo Nair: 5. Let them work it out at the 5 level. No 4 for me, pass is better than 4.
Peter Evans: 5. I suspect they have game their way in spades or diamonds. Put them under pressure straight away. If partner doesn't have a trick, then they could well have slam. If partner does have a trick, you're not going down too far.
Sam Arber: 5.
Want to be in 5 so bid it right away, others have to guess what to do next now.
Stephen Bartos: 5.
Deprive EW of the chance to find an easy game in a major.
Richard Morse: 5. Might as well make life as difficult as possible while minimising the risk of a penalty greater than 500.
Kay O'Connor: 5. Simple minded but I think this might be the best way to keep them out of slam.
Bill Bennett: 5.
EW are very likely to hold game, and I have no defence. One
trick from partner is enough for this bid to show a profit.
Nigel Guthrie: 5. 5 is another stand-out. So I hope I've scored 500 marks -- like everybody else.
A fascinating prediction, in more ways than one.
Yes, this set has produced more 500s than any set I have ever
compiled -- Brian Thorp, Ming Chan, Emil Battista and Ulf
Nilsson. On the other hand, you, Nigel, achieved your lowest score in
two years! Not sure what to make of that...
A couple of people
/ machines dismissed the 5 bid on the grounds that it wouldn't
Tony Treloar: 3. Enough for now I think. I want a club lead if partner has one. Little value in pre-empting.
Bridge Baron: 3. If East had dealt and opened at the one-level, Bridge Baron would be leaping to 4. In the given situation, it would take the plunge in 5 with another "sure" trick somewhere to ward off -800: A52 9 6 AKQJ7542, or the like, would do. But with both opponents having shown something about their hands, Bridge Baron thinks that the preemptive value of jumping to 4 is diminished, and the danger in jumping to 5 is too great, so it sticks in a meek 3.
The top score goes to what Peter
Smith called the "Goldilocks" bid:
Eric Leong: 4. Taking up just enough bidding room for the opponents to allow them to get to the wrong contract and setting up the club sacrifice for partner to decide if the opponents bid a slam.
Ulf Nilsson: 4. 5 will just be followed by a red card and a sizeable minus score which may be the right thing if slam is on for opps. Too
committal for me. 4 takes away space and puts the most number of horses in the race for us (they end up in the wrong suit or level). 3 is just feeble.
Martyn Rew: 4. partner may well have the suit that they end up in or maybe a couple of tricks to try for game so 4 is a balance between taking their space and only digging a little hole
Frank Campbell: 4. North might have an offsuit ace but I think 5 risks going for 800 so prefer to let them guess at what game to bid.
Denis Haynes: 4. Show partner my strength. I may not be able to bid clubs if I bid 3 spades next.
Terry Dunne: 4. A straight guess between 4 and 5. For East and West, this is a 30 HCP pack and they may well have enough of those points to make slam. 4 gives us a chance of them stopping in game whereas one of them is bound to bid over 5 and that is likely to get them excited.
Kevin Davies, David Monahan: 4. The rule of 2/3 for pre-empts give partner a clear indication of my trick making capability (showing 8 at this vulnerability) and also my high ODR (high to play, low to defend).
Hoi-Ming Chan: 4. Psyching usually doesn't work against good players.
Rainer Herrmann: 4. Anything could be right.
The full deal:
We changed the conditions of the problem -- the actual deal
took place in a Matchpoint event at nil vul. South bid 5 and
was doubled for -300 and 13% of the matchpoints. Several
East-West pairs played in 4;
all but one of them were defeated by a heart ruff.
us to the end of another year. As expected Ulf Nilsson
from Sweden has held on to 1st place, having extended his lead
to 170 points. Ulf will be a guest on the magazine's expert
panel in 2009, and has also agreed to write a couple of articles
Over the next few days I'll stick up some photos of the other
players on the leader board -- so if we don't have a photo of
you, send one in to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get your smiling face
directly underneath this paragraph...
Thanks very much to the
readers and the experts for all your interesting comments and
for your continued support of this forum, one of the
cornerstones of our magazine (which will be arriving in your
homes this week by the way). Merry Christmas etc, and I'll hope
to see you all again in the happy new year.