Readers' Bidding Forum with Brad Coles -- February 2009

The following comments were received from the readers of Australia's national bridge magazine, Australian Bridge, and other bridge enthusiasts. The same problems are also discussed in the magazine, by an international panel of Andrew Robson, Larry Cohen, Mike Lawrence, Bob Jones, Marshall Miles, Frank Stewart, Eddie Kantar and Zia, as well as many top Australian players.
Scroll down to see the final scores
Submit answers for the April forum
Hand One - North deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 63
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 8652
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AJ97
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KJ7

 


West North East South
  1NT pass 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 1
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) pass ?

   1. Simple Stayman.

 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
2NT 1007561
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 701513
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 60011
3NT 5056
Pass 4059

Before starting our first forum for 2009, I'd like to make a formal welcome to all the 1st-time entrants joining us from Sweden this month. This column has attracted a lot of interest up north due to Ulf Nilsson's win last year, and 9 of the Swedish entries have made it on to the leaderboard (450 or higher).

I closed last year with a promise that if you send us all your toughest problems, you'll have an inside track to a high score -- now it's time to see if it actually works.

Roger Yandle: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Gee this hand looks familiar! Presumably pard is max with four spades. It's unlikely she'll have a heart stopper but since I don't know West it might be possible. Not sure what I'll do if (when) pard bids 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Emil Battista: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Unanimous?

Roger was South on the actual deal, and Emil was West. Sadly, a little knowledge can be dangerous, and knowing the full deal they were able to avoid the doomed (but top-scoring) 2NT contract. Emil's choice of 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) was not a hit with the panel, but he did have plenty of reader support:

Lindsay Coker: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Cannot pass this on our point count. If partner has heart stoppers he can bid 3NT, otherwise probably pass.

Kajsa Larson: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Hopefully partner can guess that I have a lousy four card heart suit, and that 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) can be a 4-card suit, since I didn't support spades.

David Hester: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I am assuming that Stayman promises a major; if it does not, this problem is much harder, and my best shot might be 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) in the hope that partner will read it as an enquiry about his heart stops. (But will he?). If it does, all is well: I am denying spades and showing four hearts with no stop and moderate strength.

Barbara Whitmee: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner will realise I have four weak hearts.

Henri de Jong: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Source of tricks and gives pard the chance to bid 3NT with a H stopper

Tim Trahair: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). This tells Partner we have enough points for 3NT, 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) but no stopper and 4 Ds. If he has good Hs, which seems unlikely, he can bid 3NT.

Bastiaan Korner: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Tough but 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) looks like an overbid.

Duncan Roe: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). With at least 25 HCP between us we should make something, but perhaps not 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 2NT.

Michael Davy: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). which says-do you have a heart stopper?

Dean Pokorny: 2NT. What else? 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would sound forcing, pass is absurd...

3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is one way to find out if there is a heart stopper, but there were no less than three alternative stopper asks suggested:

Jameson Cole: 3NT. Direct denies. Hope partner is on the same wavelength.

Alvin P. Bluthman: 2NT. I hope partner has a stopper.

OK, that last one isn't a true stopper ask, but we all have to rely on hope occasionally. Jameson's 3NT, denying a stopper, is part of the Lebensohl structure; playing Lebensohl, 2NT shows a stopper and 3NT denies one. However, Lebensohl only applies on the 1st round; 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) followed by 2NT is a simple non-forcing invitation.

Mats Hedstrom: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Ask for stopper. If no stopper we will bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Hoi-Ming Chan, Aake Sjoeberg: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Asking for a stopper.

Malcolm Ewashkiw: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This may be ambiguous, but how else am I to get partner to bid 3NT with a heart stopper?

Paul Freeland: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Please do something sensible partner. If the rebid is 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) then that's where we'll play!!!

Paul Tranmer: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bid 3NT with a heart stop please, else describe. I'm beginning to wish I had passed 1NT which, with a poor 9 count, I might well have done!

Also having doubts our choice of 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) on the first round:

Alan Jones: 2NT. I'm not sure I want to bid Stayman with this collection! Even a raise to 2NT is marginal.

Tom Moss: 2NT. I don't think much of the 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bid.

Martyn Rew: 2NT. Ouch! Serves me right for a stupid initial Stayman response.

Robert Black: 2NT. What I should have bid last time! If game goes down on a lead they should not have found, I have a written apology for my (former?) partner.

Michael Burt: 2NT. Why didn't I bid 2NT to start with?

Strangely, not a single panellist objected to the 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bid. It's worth noting that many people play 2NT as a transfer to diamonds, forcing them to bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) with any balanced invitation (as David Hester suggested in his comment). The alternative method, playing 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) as a transfer to either minor, comes with its own set of flaws -- no system is perfect.

For whatever reason, our original intention here was to rebid 2NT (or 3NT), and most people intend to continue with the original plan.

Pontus Silow: 2NT. The same bid I would have made without West's intervention.

Damo Nair: 2NT. Shows almost exactly what I have?! Doesn't it? The only alternative worth considering is probably 3NT.

Erin Tewes: 2NT. This is what I was going to bid anyway, wasn't it?

Rainer Herrmann: 2NT. What I would have bid without the intervention. I do not see any alternatives.

Michael Smart: 2NT. Yuk - stuck with my normal rebid (assume 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would be forcing and imply 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)). If partner has max he can bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to be sure or 3NT with stop.

A few people thought the heart suit was not a threat:

Terry Dunne: 2NT. Partner and I have 6 hearts between us, so maybe they won't run. This has to be better than a 4-2 spade fit...

Christer Enkvist: 3NT. Wouldn't surprise me the least if east has a heart void.

Tony Treloar: 2NT. Tough problem! Describes the hand, invitational with 4 hearts. Partner would be entitled to think you have a stopper though. In my dreams East is void anyway.

Fred Altstock: 3NT. Should have enough for game.

Dean Eidler: 3NT. In a funny way the hand looks better rather than worse now. Assuming we don't lose the first five hearts of course.

Taking the opposite view:

Leigh Matheson: 2NT. Without the overcall 3NT is mandatory. But West's overcall says he has 5 ok hearts and outside entry(s). This means partner needs a double heart stop in order to make 3NT. An invite will do. Partner can still bid game with a double heart stop.

Sartaj Hans: 2NT. I suppose I should underbid now that they have bid one of my suits.

For the record, Bridge Baron did his usual simulation on this deal, returning an expected value of 37 for 2NT, and -90 for 3NT. A clear indicator that our hand has gotten worse, not better.

Ken Berry: 2NT. The bid to make when you don't really want to bid.

John R. Mayne: 2NT. Rather than going wrong on strength or orientation, I choose to go wrong on both.

Ron Landgraff: 2NT. Can I double partner? Does his spade bid show five? A maximum? Even if he has a max 3NT may not make, but it is imps and RHO didn't support!

Paul Gipson: 2NT. Looks like a classic double. Oh, can I not double CHO? He may have five spades but will presumably be forced in hearts and threatened with overruffs, so pass does not look great. I'll just transfer the problem to him, invite and let him work it out.

I have a useful bidding technique for hands where you want to double your partner; more details in Problem Two.

Manuel Paulo: 2NT. After the Stayman failure, and despite West's overcall, I should show my balanced shape and limited strength.

Joe O'Flynn: 2NT. Back to pard. He'll know I have hearts.

Kay O'Connor: 2NT. Partner's spades may be as bad as my hearts and at least 2NT specifies my point range. Fortunately, Partner is an expert and will figure my bid out.

Peter Oakley: 2NT. Partner will now know I have four hearts, but without an honour I'm not happy to see him squirm in an unlikely game contract.

Richard Morse: 2NT. This is right for values and I don't fancy our chances in spades any more than no-trumps, particularly since the spades could be splitting badly on the bidding.

Denis Haynes: 2NT. Cant support spades and maybe the hearts will hold in NTs. The points are light for 2NT but a possible 6 card fit in spades may be worse.

Eric Leong: 2NT. I can't pass. The only available cheap nonforcing bid is 2NT.

Mats Nilsland: 2NT. I like to give partner a chance to do something intelligent - even if I don't know him/her...

Ron Nelken: 2NT. Inviting game, partner can hopefully cover hearts.

Zbych Bednarek: 2NT. The lesser lie; our side has points for 2½NT.

Next up, we have the longest answer we've ever received to a BF problem. Ron's answer eclipses the previous record, which was set (and broken 12 times) by Jill Courtney. I couldn't even imagine where to start editing it, so we're printing it in full.

Ron Lel: 2NT. Nick, this is not a good problem for a bidding forum because we don't know enough about the agreements in use. What does 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) mean? Would partner always bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) with a 4-card suit, or does it show a maximum? If the agreement is that partner passes with a minimum, then I have 2 options here - 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 2NT. 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would show a hand with long diamonds; I don't have that, however the 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bid suggests that NT isn't making unless I have 8 or 9 fast tricks. Anyway as this is unchartered territory, I will bid 2NT, the bid I would have made without interference. However if 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) shows four spades and a maximum, the situation is quite different. Now a 2NT bid from me is redundant unless you like playing 2NT as a forcing transfer to 3NT, as partner will always accept BECAUSE she has a maximum. So 2NT has another meaning -- scrambling. In other words, the sort of hand we have, invitational, but with reservations and having at least one other place to play. As in both cases I would bid 2NT, I will do so here, but really feel like I should abstain.

I have two responses to this comment. Firstly, my name is Brad, not Nick. Nick left the magazine in 2003. Are you just trying to get back at me for constantly forgetting where Laos is?

Secondly, I think it is very rare for even a regular partnership to put that much work into Stayman. This problem does highlight the need for further discussion about a convention that I'm sure many of us take for granted. Here are some more thoughts about how this sequence should be played:

Fraser Rew: 2NT. Whatever it shows. Last time I bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) in this sequence I got told off by my partner and this hand shows why. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) may be off with game cold, or may be off the same number as game. Pard may even have a stopper.

Conny Wahlgren: 2NT. Especially if North promises a heart stopper with 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Sam Arber: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner should be maximum, possibly may have weak 5 card spade suit with no good rebid, probably has heart stopper so 3NT seems reasonable as likely to have fillers in minor.

Göran Hestner: 2NT. We don't know if the 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid promises anything else besides four spades -- might also promise a maximum. West probably have some values in at least one of the minors, and if he has not he has a good hearts that might give 5 tricks. 2NT also gives opener a chance to bid 3 in minor as a suggestion, or 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) in case 5 card major might have been an exception in the NT-openers hand.

Frank Campbell: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I can't pass 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and AB Standard system notes say we are playing cue raises so 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is out. Pard will hopefully get the right inferences from 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). With lousy hearts and no spades 2NT in the first place may have been the better response.

We do play cue raises, but this is not a cue-raise situation, as 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) here would be invitational. Even if there was any doubt about this, (a) 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would have no preemptive value at all, and (b) on this auction South cannot have a hand where a preempt would be appropriate.  

This has been a long and difficult problem; so it's fitting that we finish with the simplest choice, and the one that Roger chose at the table:

David Davies: Pass. Game was borderline with my not fantastic 9 points and now the 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) call means the defence will go well even if partner has a heart stop. This is the best call to stay low, I think we are unlikely to go plus whatever we do.

Peter Nuoristo: Pass. I hope pard has five spades. Looks difficult to find a better contract now.

Boris Richter: Pass. Probably best, we don't have a vulnerable game at stake and it doesn't look good in NT.

The full deal:
spades AK95
hearts 107
diamonds Q962
clubs A84
spades Q42
hearts AKQ943
diamonds 84
clubs 96
spades J1087
hearts J 
diamonds 1053
clubs Q10532
spades 63
hearts 8652
diamonds AKJ7
clubs KJ7
 

Note that the diamonds9 has been swapped with the diamondsK -- at the table NS were playing a weak notrump so we have adjusted the problem to fit AB Standard.
North's 2spades made eight tricks, while 2NT would have lost the first six heart tricks. There are 11 tricks available in diamonds.


Hand Two - North deals, nil vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) KJ973
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A96
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AQ4
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 52

 


West North East South
  pass pass 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 1 dbl 2 pass ?

   1. Weak jump overcall.
   2. Negative double.
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 1004043
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)902025
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)901011
Pass 802513
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)1053
Dbl005

Fraser Rew: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Can I interest anyone in a 1NT opening (whatever it shows?)

Niek Van Vucht: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Showing a minimum opening without a fit.

Christer Enkvist: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). With 5323 (xxx in clubs) it is much harder. Now it is a no-brainer.

John R. Mayne: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I see no other obvious way to find the 3-3 fit.

Normally bridge is about finding 8-card fits; here we have an unusual situation where our goal is to find a 7-card fit. We all have a good laugh when we see top players end up in a 3-3, but sometimes it can be hard to avoid.

Tim Trahair: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Difficult to know what to do. Seems North has two or fewer spades, four hearts and four diamonds. Pass seems too risky, so I plump for playing in a Moysian fit.

Manuel Paulo: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I don't want to emphasize my five card suit, and a Moysian fit may be our best strain.

Malcolm Ewashkiw: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Spades are too weak and hearts aren't long enough. Yes, I know the 4-3 from the 3-side is enticing, but with bad splits likely it's not for me.

Boris Richter: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Hoping partner is holding five diamonds and four hearts, passing is just too extreme since they have seemingly at least a nine card fit.

Pontus Silow: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner has either at least two spades or at least 9 red cards. If 9 reds, it is more likely to be 4-5 than 5-4. If doubled, retreating to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) looks sensible.

3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is certainly the best chance of a 5-3 fit, but it's also the best chance of a 3-3 fit. Therefore...

Ken Berry: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Hopefully this is a full-Moysian, not a 3-3.

Michael Smart: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Have to opt for the known 7+ card fit (will accept a 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) invite).

Ron Lel: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would almost certainly show 4. Partner should be aware that I might make this bid on a 3 card suit.

Paul Tranmer: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). As my 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) opening bid promised 5, pard should be aware that my 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bid could show only three in a 5332 shape hand. At least we are in a 7 card fit and the moysian fit could play well.

One advantage of 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is the matchpoint scoring:

Sam Arber: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Can't rebid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) as matchpoints rather than 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), only other option is pass.

Terry Dunne: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). The choice is between 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), with 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) having the matchpoint advantage. I do not rebid a suit without 6 of them.

And another advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your point of view) -- 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is the choice most likely to get us to game:

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If partner raises, then 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is game, whereas 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would not have been.

Richard Morse: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). My hand has improved but partner has passed, and will surely bid again if he has the shape needed to make game. I cannot see much point in passing or in angling for 3NT, even if I knew how to do the latter.

Dean Pokorny: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I have a great hand to play the heart game in moysian-fit... With a weaker hand I would have rebid 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Frank Campbell: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If I bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) North may try for game so I prefer to bid diamonds hoping he is 4/5 in the red suits or can bid 3NT with clubs stopped.

Yes, there's another argument for 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) -- it leaves all other strains open:

Hoi-Ming Chan: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Allows partner to bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 3NT, without misleading partner about having 4 hearts or a club stop.

Robert Black: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Hoping to hear 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) from partner.

Denis Haynes: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Allows partner room to bid hearts or spades at the three level or NT if they hold clubs stoppers.

John Furedy: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Forcing for one round, and allowing 3-level bids; if bid 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), I'll bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Allowing 3-level bids, yes; forcing, definitely not.

Tony Treloar: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Another toughie. Can't rebid spades so best to deny 4 hearts. Partner might just have a good club stopper but was investigating the heart fit.

Peter Oakley: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). best of a bad lot - two honours here if partner fancies trying 3NT.

Tim Francis-Wright: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If partner is being nice to me, she will bid 3NT now.

Alvin P. Bluthman: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Impossible problem. Now my goal is to give partner the room to rebid in a second suit if he has one.

Goran Hestner: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 14 good points, id show my values diamond even if its only 3 card, hoping that partner has say images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)AJx and four hearts and can bid 3 NT -- if not he has the chance to pass with 4 card diamonds, or bid 3 hearts with 4(+) good hearts, or even invitational 3 spade with Hx.

Roger Yandle: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Looks like our best chance for game is 3NT. Hopefully pard can bid it once he knows I've got diamonds covered.

David Hester: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Again I have to hope that diamonds are a guy's best friend. There ought to be a provision for cases when you have to bid and have no bid to make; could we allow a bid of 'help'?

When I used to run novelty games for youth players, we allowed a special bid, "Å". The rules: "Å" keeps the bidding open for one more round without affecting the final contract, but it costs your side 10 points off the contract score (regardless of who ends up declaring or whether the contract makes).

The concept hasn't really caught on in mainstream bridge yet, but there is an equally imaginative option: a stunning 5% of the readers chose to double! (Names withheld to protect the guilty). Technically, given that partner has already doubled, I would have thought redouble was a better choice.

Barbara Hunter: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Temporise with 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), maybe partner can bid 3NT or go back to spades.

Leigh Matheson: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I don't have a club stack, I don't have 4 hearts, I don't have 6 spades, I don't have a club stopper. I don't have any other bid.

Speaking of a club stack, not everyone felt that a stack was necessary. Many of the bidders did give some thought to passing...

Bastiaan Korner: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). maybe pass is better; but who knows?

Damo Nair: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Passing just doesn't feel right. I'm not bidding 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), may be 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is a better bid.

... although the vulnerability was intimidating for some:

Zbych Bednarek: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). At MP +100 in 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)x would be worse than any 3-level partscore.

Paul Freeland: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Concerned that 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)x may make, and even if only 1 light then if we can make 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)/images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)/images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) we will be better off.

Ron Landgraff: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I am sorely tempted to pass but I fear they may be only down one (if that!) and we have a reasonable shot at 140 in spades or hearts. Preempts work!

It takes a lot of courage to pass a takeout double with a doubleton in a bidding forum, so I wish we could have given more points to this lot :

Paul Gipson: Pass. Going for the magic +300 or something ending in -70.

Jameson Cole: Pass. If partner has full values for his negative double (at the 3 level), it should be a slaughter.

Ron Nelken: Pass. It is matchpoints. Let's try to take 5 tricks instead of 9.

David Davies: Pass. My feeling is that partner is likely to be quite balanced; it may be difficult to find a making partscore.

Fred Altstock: Pass. No where to go. Lets get penalty points.

Barbara Whitmee: Pass. Perhaps our only chance of a plus score.

Eric Leong: Pass. The clearest shot for a good plus source is to go after the opponents with a meat axe.

Emil Battista: Pass. The most likely way to a plus score. Or a minus 470

Pass was the winner on the actual deal, and it was also the majority choice when this problem was first posed in 1999. The full deal:
spades A8
hearts J7542
diamonds KT73
clubs J4
spades 652
hearts KQ8
diamonds 5
clubs KQ10976
spades Q104
hearts 103 
diamonds J9862
clubs A83
spades KJ973
hearts A96
diamonds AQ4
clubs 52
 


Hand Three - West deals, EW vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) K76
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 763
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AKJT3
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 63

 


West North East South
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) pass pass ?
Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 100 4044
Dbl 90 3014
Pass 80 3042

The simplest problem of the month, with only three options and a guaranteed award of at least 80 points. Let's start with the bidders, and find out why they chose to insist on diamonds over the more flexible double.

Peter Oakley: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Unlikely to be doubled in 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), and this is the best suit for partner to lead if opponents go on. Don't fancy my Double being left in without partner leading a diamond.

Manuel Paulo: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner can't have a good hand with a five card major suit; so, I don't double. But I must protect; so, I introduce my nice diamonds.

Sam Arber: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner has not bid a major unlikely to have 5 card reasonable one, if he has he may now bid it over your 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Goran Hestner: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner might be hoping for a double, but I only have 11 points. If partner has a good hand 3NT should make for 400, even if we could have had 500 in 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). With no 4 card major and so many points in diamonds, 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is best.

Lindsay Coker: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Double will get a major from North; yuk.

Jameson Cole: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Maybe the opps won't find the heart switch.

Amiram Millet: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Very close to start with a double.

Ron Landgraff: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I think Double would be highly speculative. 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) gives us a chance for a plus and who knows partner could have a perfecta for Diamonds (he didn't double).

Alvin P. Bluthman: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If I pass, how is partner to find the right lead?

Interesting comment; he's actually even less likely to find the right lead if he is dummy.

John Furedy: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). this looks to be both the best bid and also is a good lead director. And it retains 3NT for p.

Alan Jones: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). This should make it easier for partner to bid 3NT with appropriate values.

Boris Richter: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Too good for those diamonds to just sit quietly in the pass out seat, maybe partner can even envision a NT game.

Eric Leong: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I don't mind partner stretching to bid 3NT with my good diamond suit.

Emil Battista: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Would not relish thought of hearing 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) over double.

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Double could work better but is likely to get us to an major game.

This is the first of two balancing problems this month. As regular readers of this column will know, the requirements for a 4th seat "overcall" are much lower than a direct overcall.

Roger Yandle: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Balancing - I'd need another king to bid this in first seat. Pard could have as little as Axx Axx xxx Kxx and 3NT is a good bet.

Larry brose: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner probably has 10-11 points

Robert Black: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Somebody has some points. Maybe partner.

Damo Nair: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). What's the catch? Pass and watch them go down 2?

Tony Treloar: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner has something and would likely overcall with a good 5 card major, so I don't think we are missing a major game. Can't sell out to the pre-empt.

Tim Francis-Wright: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Pass could be right, but the vulnerability is right to try to steal the partscore bonus.

David Hester: Pass. I am not a seal. If I balance on this, I will need protection myself but deserve extermination.

Hoi-Ming Chan: Pass. The hand is just a tad too weak to balance.

Ron Lel: Dbl. This is very close. In second seat this is a clear cut pass. In 4th seat I double.

There were a few people (names withheld) who wanted to double, but chose 3D because they thought double would show a better hand. I think this is a flawed argument; if you are strong enough to act, then you are strong enough to make sure you get to the right spot. If you think you are a king short on values, isn't it even more important that you describe your hand accurately and play in the right denomination?

Leigh Matheson: Dbl. Tough decision. If we play in a 4-3 fit, trumps will break badly, so we really must describe the shape right. After double partner can choose to bid game with a 5-card major. If I bid 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) however, partner will responds 3M and then I'm stuck.

Dean Pokorny: Dbl. Protective, hoping partner has clubs to penalise. 2nd choice - pass. 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would be bad bridge.

Paul Freeland: Dbl. Must protect, and have tolerance for all the unbid suits.

Fraser Rew: Dbl. Not even close.

John R. Mayne: Dbl. This is an opportunity to play in a 4-3, so that's better than the problems so far. The upside of double is a successful penalty pass; in my native country, people preempt rather less excitingly than they do in Aussieland. Assuming West is an Aussie or me, there's a chance that sitting the double will be profitable.

John's native country is the United States of America, which coincidentally is where problems 4 and 5 came from (where EW preempted at the 4-level). By comparison, this gentle Aussie 3-level opening is quite tame (although to be fair, I have seen Aussies open 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) on a five-card suit -- but you can blame the British for that, specifically Andrew Robson and Oliver Segal in Partnership Bidding At Bridge).

Denis Haynes: Dbl. Gives partner the option of both majors or penalty pass.

Paul Gipson: Dbl. Our flexible friend. Hands with shortage should act, and with 3-card support in both majors I am not afraid to compete.

Malcolm Ewashkiw: Dbl. Need to protect. Double has the largest upside.

Lastly, the passers; they have been "demoted" below the doublers, because the majority of the panel chose to take action.

Frank Campbell: Pass. 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is the only other possible action but with 8 losers I can't see much upside in it.

Paul Tranmer: Pass. As p would strain to bid directly over the pre-empt I am very happy to pass here. My hand offers some good defence and I'd rather take plus 100 than minus 300!

Bridge Baron: Pass. Bridge Baron wants just slightly more overall strength, or a somewhat stronger suit, to balance. K76 J63 AKJT3 63 would work, as would J76 763 AKQJ9 63. But the given hand is just a little too weak, and it doesn't quite have the suit quality in diamonds. Bridge Baron certainly would overcall with AKJT3 in preference to doubling here, unless it held a significantly stronger hand.

Duncan Roe: Pass. Can't see any other sensible bid.

Niek Van Vucht: Pass. Even at favourable vulnerability, it doesn't look good enought to bid with.

Terry Dunne: Pass. I have nowhere near enough strength/shape to bid at this level.

Richard Morse: Pass. My experience of this sort of hand is that bidding almost invariably leads to disappointment because the opponents wake up or because partner gets over-excited.

Tim Trahair: Pass. North is not willing to bid and probably has a balanced hand and a few HCP. 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is another possibility but could well fail. Hope to set 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

David Davies: Pass. Not quite enough for action even with the good diamond suit. If partner has some values we may get them off.

Rainer Herrmann: Pass. Table presence could be helpful here.

ken berry: Pass. there exists a chance that this will get 200 score, where I see only minus lots of 50 elsewhere.

Barbara Hunter: Pass. Why should I struggle in 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) we might take them down .

Fred Altstock: Pass. Something wrong here... who has the points !!!!

I think your partner has them. Unfortunately I don't have the full details of the deal at this time; as usual, if anyone recognises it, please send it in.


Hand Four - North deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) A42
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A42
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 73
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AQ852

 


West North East South
  1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ?
Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
Dbl 1008573
4NT 7059
Pass 40109
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 1008
5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 001

 

Our fourth problem is not so much a bidding problem as a springboard for system discussion. While 73% of readers agreed with the double, there was virtually no agreement on exactly what that double meant.

David Hester: Dbl. At this level, it should have a penalty flavour.

Michael Davy: Dbl. Penalty.

Alvin P. Bluthman: Dbl. Assuming it to be for penalties. No obvious fit, but probably 5-6 defensive tricks.

Bill Bennett: Dbl. 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) surely cannot make whilst 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is at best doubtful.

Niek Van Vucht: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). AB standard limits responsive doubles to 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), so bid naturally?

This last comment could be a cultural difference; a responsive double is defined as an immediate double of an opponent's raise after partner has made a takeout double. If we double in this auction, that would be a negative double. Either way, NOT a penalty double.  

Fred Altstock: Dbl. Lets get some penalty points. Not sure if we can get 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) home ?

Peter Oakley: Dbl. I'm on lead with diamonds doubleton, 3 aces and a likely ruff - and that's without a black-suit trick with partner!

Emil Battista: Dbl. The most likely way to a plus score. Or a minus 590.

Manuel Paulo: Dbl. Maybe we could have made 4NT or a slam. Nevertheless, I try for "the best result possible; not the best possible result" (S.J.Simon).

David Davies: Dbl. The vulnerability suggests not defending but it is easy to see things going wrong when declaring. I'll take the money; if partner does take it out I'll have more confidence in his values.

AB Standard (and almost everyone else) plays negative doubles to 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). In common use, the term negative double is basically defined as takeout. However, players have a tendency to massage the definition a little as the need arises:

Tony Treloar: Dbl. Showing good defensive values. If partner has a long diamond suit then he can still bid. Unfortunately 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) might be the best game but it is off the menu now unless partner has a freaky minor 2 suiter. I bid 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) over 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Boris Richter: Dbl. Partner can leave the double without four spades or bid game, waiting for a reopening double is risky since we might even make 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on a Moysian fit, with a hand so rich in quick tricks it might work, and if partner does not reopen as it can happen it will be a complete disaster.

Frank Campbell: Dbl. Looks the most likely plus, North should have some defense or get the message I have values.

Kay O'Connor: Dbl. On the principle that if I don't show some strength now it may be too late

Eric Leong: Dbl. Double shows cards not a trump stack.

Henri de Jong: Dbl. Cards, we need to hear more from pard.

"Cards" is not an unreasonable description -- the higher the level, the greater the need to use a takeout double on hands with imperfect shape. As a result, partner is allowed to use some judgement in deciding to leave the double in (just like all the passers on Problem Two). Nevertheless, it's still a takeout double.

Paul Tranmer: Dbl. A no-brainer, frankly. Unless partner is wildly distributional he will pass and we'll take the money. Should partner bid on I'll be well placed to co-operate.

Tim Francis-Wright: Dbl. The good news is that we have a game on. The bad news is that it might be in our 3-3 fit.

Barbara Hunter: Dbl. Partner will know I've got a good hand and not many diamonds, so over to him.

John Furedy: Dbl. Allows for a 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) contract by partner.

Malcolm Ewashkiw: Dbl. Doesn't seem to be any other option.

Leigh Matheson: Dbl. I don't have a suit I'm willing to bid at this level.

Richard Morse: Dbl. Not good enough for 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), not enough diamonds to commit to diamonds. This isn't perfect but it seems least of evils.

Nigel Guthrie: Dbl. Pass seems a bit namby pamby.

Ken Berry: Dbl. this is a hopeful bid, hopeful that partner knows what to do

John R. Mayne: Dbl. This seems obvious. Partner will do the right thing before I raise him too high.

Robert Black: Dbl. Trusting partner to do the right thing- whatever that may be.

Ron Lel: Dbl. Seriously what else can you do here. I think the problem will come on the next round if there is one.

Which brings us to the real point of this problem. What do we do after partner pulls the double?

Fraser Rew: Dbl. I wish that pulling 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) to 4NT was takeout but I can't convince myself that it is. Nonetheless, I must act and this is the least of evils.

Rainer Herrmann: Dbl. If partner bids 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) I will bid 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Hoi-Ming Chan: Dbl. I'll worry about what to do later if partner bids 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Paul Freeland: Dbl. It seems highly unlikely that partner can convert this to penalties but you never know!! Over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) I will pass, but over 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) will bid 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), and over 4NT or 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bid 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Sam Arber: Dbl. Partner could be 4144 or more likely 54 or 63 in minors. Would raise 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) to 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Still thinking about bidding on.

Paul Gipson: Dbl. Staying fixed. If partner bids then I will get interested in higher things.

Valter Johansson: Pass. I Don't want p bidding 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) after a double

For those who really couldn't bring themselves to distort a takeout double this far, there were not many possible alternatives:

Bridge Baron: Pass. Handcuffed by system. Bridge Baron figures, after simulating 20 deals, that a penalty double of 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) would be worth +396, as opposed to +106.5 for passing... but a double here would be negative in AB Standard. Maybe partner can reopen.

Dean Pokorny: Pass. If partner has a balancing double (short hearts), I'll blast 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If he doesn't have it, I'm very happy to defend 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).  

Jameson Cole: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This is the only bid that shows my strength.

Barbara Whitmee: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Could double and lead diamond seven, however we are vul at IMPs and I feel we could make five clubs.

Erin Tewes: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Don't have four spades for double and partner can still rebid diamonds if he likes.

Kajsa Larson: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If p now bids 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), I will bid 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Terry Dunne: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). My hand is strong enough and clubs are what I have. While partner might be 5-0-6-2, it's more likely that he is 4-1-4-4 or 4-0-5-4 and will bid spades if I double.

Joe O'flynn: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Pass or correct

Damo Nair: Dbl. 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is too unilateral. What is 4NT in this situation?

Without explicit discussion, I would have assumed 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) was to play, and 4NT was pick-a-minor. However, all but one of the 4NT bidders intended 4NT as natural, including the sole advocate on the expert panel.

Frank Stewart: 4NT. The system notes say that we – questionably, in my opinion – use negative doubles to four hearts. Therefore, I hope North will treat 4NT as natural. I hate to let the opponents push us around, but we may have a slam.

Ron Landgraff: 4NT. Double will get us a plus but not a very big plus. If partner pulls to a minor, I'll sit for 5 Diamonds, and bid 6 Clubs over 5 Clubs.

Tim Trahair: 4NT. Ace asking. North presumably has few hearts but together we have 27 or more HCP. East is bluffing and trying to prevent us finding a vul game or slam. Finding the slam will be difficult!

Denis Haynes: 4NT. I hope partner understands that this is not asking for aces!

Roger Yandle: 4NT. Dbl would be negative according to AB Standard so I'm bidding a natural 4NT. Hopefully pard will see it that way also.

Amiram Millet: 4NT. Very close to 5NT = Pick a slam.

Duncan Roe: 4NT. Worth a play, as long as North's diamonds are good.

This problem is from Frank Vine's new book North of the Master Solver's Club. Frank recommends that South should bid 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). He writes: "When the opponent draws his gun it is suicide to run or hide. You have to draw your own gun and shoot it out. In bridge, there is no other way to survive."

On the actual deal, North held images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)3 images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)8 images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)AKQ10986 images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)K976.
South bid 4NT, intending to play there. North corrected to 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and South passed, concerned that North might think he was in a Blackwood auction. At the other table they made 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), after a less aggressive (some would say less Australian) intervention from EW.



Hand Five - West deals, NS vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) J9542
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ---
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) K4
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KJT532

 


West North East South
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) pass pass ?

  

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 1003522
Pass 902554
Dbl 801517
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 70254
4NT 2001
Other 002

Ron Landgraff: Pass. Why is this problem here? I have at most 8 HCP. Partner is limited to roughly 15 or less! And we are red! If it is a fix, it's a fix!

Ron is fairly new to this column, and doesn't yet realise that I throw in a balancing problem every six months or so, and Pass has never received the top score. We went as low as a 4-count last year, and still the panel voted for a bid in passout seat at the 4-level.

Nevertheless, the readers are still bailing out as fast as they can.

Ron Lel: Pass. Yes, yes, 6-5 "come alive" but that is going a bit far. It looks quite likely that partner has a penalty pass of a double. I don't want to defend with this load of trash. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 4NT are far too unilateral.

Eric Leong: Pass. I don't like to enter random lotteries. It could be very right to bid or very WRONG.

Barbara Whitmee: Pass. I have nice distribution, but a bit too dangerous to bid here.

Robert Black: Pass. He's got me! I would like to know West's track record. Perhaps partner has the rest of the hearts, and the points, but I have neither.

Roger Yandle: Pass. I'm feeling pessimistic about this deal. If I dbl (for takeout) pard will no doubt leave it in, if I bid spades she'll have clubs and if I bid clubs she'll have spades. So I'm passing and hoping we'll take them down.

Paul Tranmer: Pass. Need to know more about EW's methods here, in particular do they use 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) as a "good" 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) opener? Without that knowledge, I'm going to pass and hope to beat it. Wild distribution abounds here so discretion will prove the better part of valour, I believe.

Zbych Bednarek: Pass. No bullets, no battle. Pass is the hardest word in bridge.

Alvin P. Bluthman: Pass. Partner could be sitting over the preemptor with hearts, or even diamonds. He knows not to lead a spade, because I would have bid the suit with strength as well as length there.

Denis Haynes: Pass. Partner has no 5 card suit, and may have all the other hearts!

Dean Pokorny: Pass. Too weak and off-shape for a protective double.

The biggest argument in favour of the pass is the vulnerability, with -200 or worse placing us at risk of an outright bottom. 

Alan Jones: Pass. At unfavourable vulnerability, there is too great a risk of losing 500+ to avoid giving up 420.

Frank Campbell: Pass. I don't see how I can act with 8 points at this vulnerability.

Bill Bennett: Pass. 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) probably makes, but any bid from me is likely to lose more if doubled.

Valter Johansson: Pass. could be right to bid but wrong zones

Michael Burt: Pass. Great distribution but 8 points, vulnerable and bidding at the 4/5 level. I am not brave enough.

Tony Treloar: Pass. Have to pay the pre-empt. Sure the hand has possibilities but one of those is -1400.

Richard Morse: Pass. Wrong vulnerability and too great a risk of a big penalty even with my pleasing shape.

Peter Oakley: Pass. Partner has points, yes, but I'm not sticking my neck out vul, right or wrong.

Tim Trahair: Pass. Perhaps we can set 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)s as N may have 4 of them. 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) could be a worthwhile save but is pretty risky as we are vul.

Goran Hestner: Pass. Tricky - West likely short spades. I have no aces what so ever so double feels like giving wrong info to partner. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) hoping for the best might be very expensive.

Rounding out his most generous set of scores ever, Phil has awarded 90 points to the pass, a strange decision when 75% of the panel chose to act. For those who choose to not have the opponents walk all over you, we have several options. Let's start with bidding to our most likely contract:

Manuel Paulo: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This is a very dangerous bid! At IMPs I would pass, but Matchpoints is another game.

David Davies: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is less likely to get mauled but at matchpoints that is less of an issue. There is a good chance of finding partner with reasonable spades.

Hoi-Ming Chan: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Could easily be the last making place.

Joe O'flynn: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I think it is our hand

Pontus Silow: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). It is unlikely that letting EW play in 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) will give us a good board. There are no guaranteed ways of getting a better board, but I just can't keep from trying.

Fred Altstock: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Lets chance 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner may have some good spades which we need.

Boris Richter: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Risky business I guess but it might work.

Sam Arber: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Tempted to pass but only 6 loser hand.

Tim Francis-Wright: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). What a headache. 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) could easily be making, in which case we want to sacrifice. And if it isn't making, we rate to have a game. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) rates to be better, on average, than 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), but only by a little bit. At IMPs, I would be tempted to bid 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) because the suit is better and the chance for a huge loss would be lessened.

One big advantage of 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is that it gives us two chances to reach a good spot:

Rainer Herrmann: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Risky, but so is any other action including pass. If 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) gets doubled I will run to 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Paul Freeland, Ingerun Sjosvard: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). And if doubled will run to 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Amiram Millet: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Might show clubs later.

Malcolm Ewashkiw: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This is like one of those shell games - opt for spades and clubs is right; opt for clubs and spades is right.

John R. Mayne: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Yeah, yeah. Wrong suit, too weak, don't care. 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is a transfer, and I accept it with a void.

Joe Lentz: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). "When in doubt, bid four spades over four hearts", a maxim from Larry Cohen's To Bid or Not to Bid.

Those last two comments were echoed by one of the expert panelists, if not by the man himself:

Steve and Barbara Shepard: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Doesn't Larry Cohen play 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) opening bids by the opponents as transfers to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) by us? We'll go with that.

Larry Cohen: Dbl. I love to bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), but this is just a bit too extreme for me. I like to reopen with shortness – also a bit extreme with this hand, but partner could have them killed and I love to make partner happy. However, he won't be so happy with dummy if he bids 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)!

The double was also supported by Ron Klinger, Michael Ware, and a smattering of readers:

Damo Nair: Dbl. I'm not sitting for this, I'm no girly man! 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is a bit scary.

Duncan Roe: Dbl. Hoping that N made a trap pass (with maybe 4 of the 5 H that W doesn't have)

Fraser Rew: Dbl. I hate it. But doubling here seems to work for everyone else so I'll give it a go. Otherwise I end up in 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), or off in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) with 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) cold.

Jameson Cole: Dbl. I should be able to take a couple of tricks. Now if partner does his share, we got him. If he takes it out to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), even better.

Terry Dunne: Dbl. Yes, I would like more HCP, but surely I have to bid with this shape. At least dbl allows us to play in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). The alternative, 4NT, could also get us to spades but one level too high.

We'll finish up with the minority choices, all of which stand an excellent chance of being winners at the table:

John Furedy: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I assume Michaels can be used at this level. Preferable to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid which is a poor lead director if opps go to 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 5NT by partner would ask for my minor, and in that case 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) would be a reasonable spot.

Kay O'Connor: 4NT. Relying on the fact partner is an expert and either now or in subsequent bidding will figure out that I have a two suiter.

Emil Battista: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 4NT or 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is too red blooded even for an aggressive bidder

Barbara Hunter: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This may not be a good idea seems hard to get a good score here.

Leigh Matheson: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Matchpoints or not, you must bid what you've got. And on this hand you've got a chunky, long club suit. By my calculations an 8+ card club fit is an 81% chance, whereas an 8+ card spade fit is a mere 32% chance.

This problem is also from Frank Vine's book, and again he recommends a strong action. At the table he passed, believing that the rest of the field would not bid with only 8 points. He found his partner with images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)AQ images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Q963 images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)AQ875 images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)97.

As with Problem Four, the rest of the field did not have to cope with an Aussie-style opening. Most Wests opened 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), allowing North-South an easy auction to one of their three available games.
 

 

Thanks again 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). 


Top scores for February
1Andrew Thompson NZL500
1Mats Nilsland SWE500
1Manuel Paulo POR500
1Tim Francis-wright USA500
1Joe Lentz USA500
6Tom Kiss NSW490
6Michael Smart ACT490
6Robert Black SA490
6Mark Reeve GBR490
6TonyTreloar Qld490
6John Sheean NSW490
6Rick Lu NSW490
6Toby Weinstein USA490
6Alan Jones Qld490
6Peter Oakley NZL490
6Alvin P. Bluthman USA490
17Michael Burt ACT480
17Eino Backman SWE480
17Rosalind Dey NSW480
17Leigh Blizzard Tas480
17Tania Black SA480
17Dominic Connolly NSW480
17Paul Janicki CAN480
17Andrew Macalister GBR480
17Damo Nair USA480
17Larissa Cowlishaw ACT480
17John R. Mayne USA480
17Ivan Demeny NSW480
17Nigel Guthrie GBR480
17Pontus Silow SWE480
17Ingerun Sjosvard SWE480
17Robert Back SWE480
33Amiram Millet ISR470
33Pat O'connor NSW470
33Stephen Bartos ACT470
33Ian Patterson Qld470
33Ian Erratt NSW470
33Rick Giles USA470
33Ron Lel LAO470
33Eric Leong USA470
33Conny Wahlgren SWE470
33Michael Wilkinson NSW470
33Peter Stride Qld470
33Niklas Warne SWE470
33Rainer Herrmann GER470
33Zbych Bednarek POL470
50Ivan Nanev BUL460
50Rex Fox Vic460
50Bob Fisher Qld460
50Aake Sjoeberg SWE460
50John Compton NSW460
50Paul Gipson GBR460
50David Winter Vic460
50Alexander Cook NSW460
50Maurice Buxton 460
50Fraser Rew NZL460
50Richard Morse GBR460
50Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN460
50Paul Freeland NZL460
50Dimce Siljanovski MKD460
50Andrew Edgley Vic460
50Leigh Matheson NSW460
50Leon Slonim Vic460
50Martyn Rew NZL460
50Sam Arber Vic460
66A Pengilly GBR450
66Michael Davy Vic450
66Peder Linder SWE450
66Julian Gauld NSW450
66Lindsay Coker Vic450
66Nicholas Beaumont Vic450
66Ken Berry NSW450
66Ron Nelken USA450
66Tony Nunn NSW450
66Bastiaan Korner NED450
66Hoi-ming Chan NSW450
66Denis Haynes ACT450
66Gareth Birdsall GBR450
66Peter Nolan Vic450
66Barbara Hunter NSW450
66Ron Landgraff USA450
66David Johnson CAN450

Leading scores for 2009
1Andrew Thompson NZL500
1Mats Nilsland SWE500
1Manuel Paulo POR500
1Tim Francis-wright USA500
1Joe Lentz USA500
6Tom Kiss NSW490
6Michael Smart ACT490
6Robert Black SA490
6Mark Reeve GBR490
6TonyTreloar Qld490
6John Sheean NSW490
6Rick Lu NSW490
6Toby Weinstein USA490
6Alan Jones Qld490
6Peter Oakley NZL490
6Alvin P. Bluthman USA490
17Michael Burt ACT480
17Eino Backman SWE480
17Rosalind Dey NSW480
17Leigh Blizzard Tas480
17Tania Black SA480
17Dominic Connolly NSW480
17Paul Janicki CAN480
17Andrew Macalister GBR480
17Damo Nair USA480
17Larissa Cowlishaw ACT480
17John R. Mayne USA480
17Ivan Demeny NSW480
17Nigel Guthrie GBR480
17Pontus Silow SWE480
17Ingerun Sjosvard SWE480
17Robert Back SWE480
33Amiram Millet ISR470
33Pat O'connor NSW470
33Stephen Bartos ACT470
33Ian Patterson Qld470
33Ian Erratt NSW470
33Rick Giles USA470
33Ron Lel LAO470
33Eric Leong USA470
33Conny Wahlgren SWE470
33Michael Wilkinson NSW470
33Peter Stride Qld470
33Niklas Warne SWE470
33Rainer Herrmann GER470
33Zbych Bednarek POL470
50Ivan Nanev BUL460
50Rex Fox Vic460
50Bob Fisher Qld460
50Aake Sjoeberg SWE460
50John Compton NSW460
50Paul Gipson GBR460
50David Winter Vic460
50Alexander Cook NSW460
50Maurice Buxton 460
50Fraser Rew NZL460
50Richard Morse GBR460
50Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN460
50Paul Freeland NZL460
50Dimce Siljanovski MKD460
50Andrew Edgley Vic460
50Leigh Matheson NSW460
50Leon Slonim Vic460
50Martyn Rew NZL460
50Sam Arber Vic460
66A Pengilly GBR450
66Michael Davy Vic450
66Peder Linder SWE450
66Julian Gauld NSW450
66Lindsay Coker Vic450
66Nicholas Beaumont Vic450
66Ken Berry NSW450
66Ron Nelken USA450
66Tony Nunn NSW450
66Bastiaan Korner NED450
66Hoi-ming Chan NSW450
66Denis Haynes ACT450
66Gareth Birdsall GBR450
66Peter Nolan Vic450
66Barbara Hunter NSW450
66Ron Landgraff USA450
66David Johnson CAN450
Thank you to all the readers and visitors who entered this month's forum. Click here to try your luck at the next set of problems, to be answered in the April issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check out your February issue to see what the experts had to say about this month's hands.