Readers' Bidding Forum with Brad Coles June-July 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, as well as many top Australian players.
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Hand One - West deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AJ2
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) KT9753
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) J3
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 97


West North East South
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) ?



Call Award %
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 1008843
Pass 801318
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 6004
3NT 30020
Dbl 20013
Other 001

Welcome to our 3rd forum of 2009. A tough set of problems this month; on every problem, the readers came up with at least three different answers that received zero votes from the panel.

Our first problem drew an almost unanimous panel vote for 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), with only Stephen Burgess, Dave Beauchamp and Tim Cope voting to stay silent.

Denis Haynes: Pass. I assume East has a big hand to support West's preempt. We are vulnerable and I can see several losing tricks, let the opposition try to make nine tricks.

Richard Morse: Pass. This is very ominous. At least one spade honour is likely to be on my left and the opponents are likely to have long clubs as well. The only way for them to get to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on this auction is for me to intervene now. If partner has extra values he can always make another move.

Duncan Roe: Pass. Too high to come in now.

Alexander Cook: Pass. We have 5 HCP in the opponent's suit.

Dean Pokorny: Pass. Partner with a decent overcall (say 1363) and spade shortness will double and I will pull it to 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If partner passes (with, say, a marginal 1264 hand), I'm happy with it.

Rather than wait to hear about spade shortness from partner, many people chose to simply infer it from the opponents' bidding:

David Monahan: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If they have a fit, we have a fit and 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) looks like a good possibility. Can live with 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) if partner has both minors with his spade shortage.

Michael Yuen: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I choose to believe that opps have 9+card spade fit and we belong to a suit contract not 3NT.

Hoi-Ming Chan: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner's likely to have a singleton spade. 3NT without the hearts running won't make.

Paul Gipson: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). The alternative of double does not do justice to the heart length and, with spade shortage, partner is highly likely to have adequate support.

Wayne Somerville (also Bastiaan Korner, Zbych Bednarek, Aake Sjoeberg): 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner with his likely singleton spade should have enough support.

Ron Landgraff: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). IMPs -- what else? Pard likely has 0-1 spades so notrump looks dicey. 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is a real stretch with only 7 useful points. Defensively the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K may be wasted.

Roger Yandle: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Pard is short of spades so looks to have some hearts. Need to be in game vul at IMPs.

Shyam Sashital (similarly Tony Treloar): 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner is most likely to produce at least a doubleton in hearts. The obvious way for opponents to stop ruffs in dummy is an opening trump lead which solves trump guesses for us. All in all, I think game in hearts should be decent.

There are no guarantees of course. The spade shortage may not be there; it may not be accompanied by heart length; and there still might not be ten tricks. But if we are making 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), the only way to get there is to bid it now.

David Hester: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). There are potential disasters either way and I am a timid soul, but my partner is more forgiving of disasters caused by action.

Paul Tranmer: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Could be stepping into the lion's den here but at this vulnerability must go for game. Needs only a couple of working cards from pard which is not that unlikely given the known spade shortage.

David Davies (along with David Matthews): 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). On a bad day this could be a telephone number but it is so easy to come up with hands that have play for 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner's marked shortage in spades suggests some hearts.

Ron Lel: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner must have a decent hand to come in at the three-level at this vulnerability. While 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is a risk, there are really no other options.

Robert Black, Barbara Hunter: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Forcing to game -- 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) if necessary! Partner's vul overcall should be strong with less than four hearts. If less than two I hope she will go to 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Frank Campbell (similarly Manuel Paulo, Bill Bennett): 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner should have the strongest hand here and be short in spades. With six hearts at IMPs this is a reasonable chance

Those last three comments are based on the assumption that partner has a good hand for his vulnerable overcall, so those readers may be disappointed when they see what Burgess had for his bid.

Fred Altstock: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner has some values somewhere. Hopefully he has a bit in hearts as well.

Paul Freeland: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). At IMP scoring, don't want to miss the possibility of a vulnerable game. If partner has solid diamonds with little else I would expect him to start with a cue-bid asking for a stop for 3NT.

Peter Stride: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Where is the pull-down menu of possible bids, I usually choose the 2nd of 3 and the 3rd of more than 3 -- that scored top marks recently.

As you all know, I normally I include a drop-down box with all the possible answers, but I removed it this month. Partly because I suspected that Peter had cracked the winning formula, but mostly because there was one problem this month (Q4) that really only had one possible answer. So rather than have unanimous readers as well as a unanimous panel, I thought I'd leave you guys to come up with your own options. Results later.

Bridge Baron: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). No 3NT with wide-open clubs. No guaranteed diamond fit. But Bridge Baron considers this hand to be just strong enough to gamble on 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). (It would pass with AJ2-K109753-43-97.)

Pontus Silow: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I expect this to play better than 3NT.

The panel also expected 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to play better than 3NT, but a fifth of the readers went the other way:

Christer Enkvist: 3NT. Axx against weak twos is a super-stopper, and AJx probably two tricks.

Tim Francis-Wright: 3NT. Curse these youngsters and their newfangled preemptive bids! There's no way to investigate hearts, so given a choice between double, 3NT, and 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), double is facing the wrong colours, 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is too unilateral, and 3NT has the most ways to gain.

Rainer Herrmann: 3NT. Hard to say which game is more likely to make. However if 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is wrong it is more likely to be doubled.

Maurice Buxton: 3NT. If not now, when? Not exactly guaranteed, but rates to be a decent shot.

John R. Mayne: 3NT. Oddly, hearts likely plays better opposite soft hearts (like Jx) than good hearts (like AQx). There's no way to ask the question, so I'll play in 3NT.

If I'm interpreting this comment correctly, 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) should be the better contract. Isn't partner more likely to have Jx than AQx?

Sam Arber: 3NT. Partner appears to have singleton spade, did not double, may only have two hearts, long diamonds and clubs stopped.

Anthony Goldstein: 3NT. Probably the best way to describe the hand. Pass is not an option.

Martyn Rew: 3NT. Small risk. Big reward.

Leigh Matheson: 3NT. The obvious Bidding Forum choice.

Boris Richter: 3NT. When one is vulnerable at IMPs bidding close games is rewarding in the long run.

Eric Leong: 3NT. With or without a heart fit, 3NT could be a make. Without a good heart fit, 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is certainly not a make.

Unfortunately none of the panel voted for 3NT, with only Eric Kokish even suggesting the possibility. Here are some more bids the panel rejected:

Emil Battista: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A vulnerable 3-level overcall should be better than a collection of queens and jacks -- unless partner likes bridge in the twilight zone the Jim Wallis style.

Lindsay Coker: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Well, I can hardly bid hearts.

Tania Black: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is unilateral; double is not for penalties; and partner has promised a good suit and a good hand.

Actually, I think 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is the unilateral choice. It commits the partnership to diamonds, while 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) (in theory) allows us to play in either diamonds or hearts.

Tania implies that she would make a penalty double if there was one available; the following readers (except one) are happy for the double to be for takeout:

Tim Trahair: Dbl. North has few if any spades, long diamonds and 10 or so HCP, but may have 4 clubs or hearts. If he bids 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) then correct to diamonds. If he bids 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) then pass.

Peter Oakley: Dbl. We're being bullied by the opponents, but 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) might be a disaster. Partner's next bid is likely to be 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) which will be hard for opponents to double.

Wilma Domjan: Dbl. Weak for heart bid. My 9 points plus partner's bid indicates hands are evenly balanced point wise. Calls indicates suits are highly unbalanced. Hope for spade bid by West.

Nigel Guthrie: Dbl. Followed by 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), should suggest tolerance for alternatives.

Niek Van Vucht: Dbl. Penalties.

This deal is from the Yeh Bros Pairs on the Gold Coast:
spades 74
hearts 4
diamonds AK10987
clubs K652
spades K8653
hearts J62
diamonds 2
clubs A843
spades Q109
hearts AQ8 
diamonds Q654
clubs QJ10
spades AJ2
hearts K109753
diamonds J3
clubs 97

South bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) at the table, which was misdefended for just two off undoubled.


Hand Two - South deals, nil vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) A94
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A952
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 6
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AKJ84


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


Call Award %
Pass 100334
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)701326
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 30828

One of our hardest ever problems in my opinion -- in fact, there were more readers scoring zero on this problem than there were scoring 100. I still have no idea where to begin with this problem, so let's start with the top reader vote (and the bottom panel vote):

Leigh Matheson: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I must be missing something; I can’t see any alternative.

Mats Nilsland (similarly Aake Sjoeberg, Frank Campbell): 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). The natural bid stands out.

Richard Morse: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Good shape, good tops, worth the semi-reverse in my book. Passing 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is a losing game and doubling risks something silly in diamonds from partner.

Sam Arber, Bastiaan Korner: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Good enough for a reverse.

Good enough for a reverse if partner has enough points to respond -- if partner has a yarborough I would have thought we'd need a little extra. 

Stephen Bartos: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not strong enough for a reverse, want to describe club holding better.

Manuel Paulo: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This is an overbid, for sure; but, at MP and NV, I can't resist.

Ingerun Sjosvard: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This is an overbid but if I am lucky I get away with it. :)

Phil Davis: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Depending on change of suit agreement.

Our exact agreement is that your hand should be good enough to justify your bids.

Fred Altstock: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner could have a little bit in hearts I am hoping and we are not vulnerable.

Tim Trahair: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Forcing, showing strength and few diamonds. If North bids 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) then pass. If he bids 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) we will need to try 3NT.

So in other words, we will play in a partscore if we have a fit, otherwise we'll go to game.

Martyn Rew: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Gives partner some options. Further bidding dependent on which one he takes.

Peter Oakley: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner could yet come to life?

Paul Tranmer: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Cannot believe it's right to reopen with a double here so I'll bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to focus pard's attention on my two suits. If pard then emerged from under his stone with a bid of 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) I'll pass it.

Several people saw this as a choice between 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and double:

Emil Battista: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Double could be OK too, but 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) from partner will hardly be welcome.

Ron Landgraff: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Yes, I know 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) doubled could be bloody - but whose blood? It is pairs isn't it?

Peder Linder: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Dbl might very well be the best bid.

Which brings us to the 4th highest scoring bid:

Paul Freeland: Dbl. Partner may just have enough for a trap pass, and over a diamond rebid by partner I will bid hearts and hope for the best.

Wilma Domjan: Dbl. Somebody has points or spades - maybe partner.

Alvin P. Bluthman: Dbl. Yes, partner may bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) (though he doesn't have to), and I will pass. Anything else (including pass) from partner looks like a good score for us.

Alvin plans to pass partner's assumed 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) bid, but there are several other plans on the table:

Duncan Roe: Dbl. And convert 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to 2NT.

Dean Pokorny, Michael Smart, Michael Yuen: Dbl. 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is hardly two down. So, I'll double and pull 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

David Matthews: Dbl. If Partner continues with 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) I will bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) showing my shape and strength. Even images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Kxxx should be enough for game.

Zbych Bednarek: Dbl. Seems partner has nothing or is trapping. I'll correct 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), but pass 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If he bids 2NT I'll raise.

David Monahan: Dbl. Double shows a likely heart suit and gives partner a chance to convert to penalties (trap pass is unlikely), bid NT with stopper or support clubs if no heart support. I would bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) over a simple 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) from partner showing two suits.

Barbara Hunter: Dbl. I would like to see if partner has hearts; I can repeat clubs if necessary. He may of course have good spade holding.

Bill Bennett: Dbl. North will bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), but he may have four hearts and at worst we may finish in 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

That plan sounds reasonably foolproof, although I'm sure there is a flaw somewhere. Working our way up the ladder, our next step sets new standards for the definition of a rebiddable suit:

John R. Mayne: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Chipping this 50 a trick isn't quite good enough. I'll try for a plus; double is going to lead to a 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) call by partner, and that's bad.

Roger Yandle: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Doesn't look like pard has made a trap pass so I'll compete. Double would be nice to try and find heart fit but pard always bids diamonds in this situation.

Alexander Cook: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I don't like rebidding 1NT with a singleton diamond.

Larissa Cowlishaw: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I expect partner to bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with a weak long suit or pass.

Denis Haynes: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I play a short club and I need to bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) to show partner I have at least four clubs.

Robert Black: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not willing to give up yet, nor to find a bid over 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) after I double. Partner has few points and/or few hearts.

Tim Francis-Wright: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner could have a spade stack, but doubling implies better diamonds than this. If she has that spade stack, 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is hardly a bad description of this hand.

Tania Black: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner has diamonds +/- clubs, and few points, and might not see the joke if I bid 1NT.

Tony Treloar: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner is marked with some points here but hasn't made a negative double or bid 1NT, so 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) seems like a very realistic contract.

Rainer Herrmann: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner is unlikely to have a penalty double nor to have hearts 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) does not overstate your diamond support.

David Davies: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner probably has a mediocre hand with diamonds so not much on. Might even pass if they were vulnerable, but three off is a lot to play for.

David Hester: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). We are playing short club and negative doubles, which argue for clubs over hearts. It is tempting to pass.

Next we have the notrump bidders. If we were worried that a double would exaggerate our diamond holding, a 1NT bid is a much milder exaggeration.

Maurice Buxton: 1NT. Yes, I know this is disgusting, and I may have to pretend I mistook the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)2 for the images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)2. But 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is feeble and double is more disgusting, especially as partner didn't double 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) for takeout and so is unlikely to have four hearts anyway, but could well have diamonds. If he has a penalty double of 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), eh, never mind, it only comes up every other year or so.

Damo Nair: 1NT. Definitely not selling out. Maybe 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is better.

Fraser Rew: 1NT. I'm a bit light for this (should be 18-19 in a strong NT system), though Pass may be best, and pard may even bid spades (naturally) next time.

Nigel Guthrie: 1NT. IMO Pass or 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) are alternatives but double is dangerous.

Ron Lel: 1NT. At IMPs I think a pass is clear cut, as my aim is to score a plus on this board. If I double and then correct 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), I am showing a better hand in my opinion, and am also risking a correction to 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). To make 1NT I really only need to find pd with images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)Q. Other cards are a bonus.

Boris Richter: 1NT. No negative double from partner and playing in a NT contract at Matchpoints is rewarding in the long run.

Paul Gipson: 1NT. Matchpoints at love all is often a race to 1NT and I appear to be winning. Does it really matter what it shows?

Such an accurate, insightful, practical comment, it really seems a shame to give it just 80 points. But with a third of the expert vote, here is the winning choice (by which I mean the choice that scores the top award, not the one that works):

Shyam Sashital: Pass. If partner is diligent on negative doubles, he does not have a 4-card heart (or very low in HCP). I'm selling out because I suspect West is a good two-suiter (diamonds and spades) and EW can score much better in a diamond partial.

Bridge Baron: Pass. Offshape and too weak for 1NT. A little too weak to venture 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), because partner may have to go to the three-level to correct to clubs. Bridge Baron goes quietly.

Eric Leong: Pass. Partner couldn't make a negative double or bid 1NT or bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Why should I give LHO another chance to find a better contract like either a better diamond partial or even a spade game?

Wayne Somerville: Pass. Partner didn't support, double or bid 1NT. They are likely in a 5-2 fit. I don't want to double because partner will often bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Lindsay Coker: Pass. Sounds as though West has a stack, and if I double pard will bid diamonds. He always does, and this time there's no paddle.

The full deal:
spades 1085
hearts Q87
diamonds K54
clubs 9532
spades KQJ763
hearts J103
diamonds A83
clubs Q
spades 2
hearts K64 
diamonds QJ10972
clubs 1076
spades A94
hearts A952
diamonds 6
clubs AKJ84

West's 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will make an overtrick, while we can make three different partscores – 1NT, 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). East-West have the last word, as they can make 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), although we still have a profitable save in 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).


Hand Four - West deals, EW vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 72
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) K3
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AKQ8643
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) A5


West North East South
1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) pass pass ?
Call Award %
3NT 10010047
Dbl 50023
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 5001
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 4004
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 3004
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 20014
1NT 1004
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 1003
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 1001


Dean Pokorny: 3NT. Clear-cut. If this hand isn't a 3NT balancing then this bid doesn't exist at all.

Eric Leong: 3NT. Isn't this hand a perfect text book bid?

Leigh Matheson: 3NT. The obvious Bidding Forum choice.

Paul Gipson, Nigel Guthrie, Peder Linder: 3NT. Just being practical.

Peter Oakley: 3NT. This gamble won't be popular, specially if partner hasn't a club honour, but I can't resist it.

Ron Lel: 3NT. Should be unanimous.

Conflicting predictions there from Peter and Ron. Ron's prediction of unanimity was echoed by about half of the expert panel, and for once, was accurate. Unanimous with the experts anyway, but 52% of the readers disagree. Let's start with some of the minorities:

Stephen Bartos: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Could in play turn out to be weaker than it looks (but with a positive response from partner, a winner).

Martyn Rew: 1NT. 1NT should get partner interested. Shows the lack of majors and has a diamond rebid option.

Fred Altstock: 1NT. Should have an easy 7 tricks at least.

Bridge Baron: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Unfortunately, Bridge Baron still doesn't consider this to be Michaels in balancing seat, eighteen months after the last time it earned a 0 in the Australian Bridge Bidding Forum for this sort of bid. Let's hope that, since our wheels grind slowly, they grind exceeding fine...

Tim Francis-Wright: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I am tempted by 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) -- I assume that it looks for 3NT if partner has a stopper in clubs -- but 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) caters to partner showing a major. In that case, I had an easy rebid.

Maha Hoenig: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I can't double but I can bid again and again.

Wilma Domjan: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Make it hard for West to bid and hope partner has a trick.

David Monahan: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Seriously considered 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), but the 3NT option from partner, or over a spade bid from partner, should not be ignored.

Anthony Goldstein: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partscore competition and with West on lead you may only lose four tricks. However two off doubled will be bad.

Emil Battista: Dbl. 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) hardly describes this powerhouse.

As usual, "double" is not a complete answer is itself -- the key issue is what you plan to do on the next round...

Lisa Westwood: Dbl. Bid diamonds later to show a strong hand.

Ingerun Sjosvard: Dbl. I will bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) next time.

Tony Treloar: Dbl. I'll bid 3NT over whatever partner does.

Many people were planning to wait for a spade bid from partner before bidding 3NT:

Jim Thatcher: Dbl. 3NT looks good if partner shows spades.

Denis Haynes: Dbl. Force partner to bid and make a decision on repeating diamonds or bidding notrumps, depending on partner's bid.

Tania Black: Dbl. Hoping for good news from partner over West's probable rebid.

Robert Black: Dbl. I might have gambled 3NT at pairs, and we still might get there.

Barb Whitmee, Paul Tranmer, Lindsay Coker, Bill Bennett: Dbl. If partner bids spades then I will try 3NT. Anything else I will just bid diamonds.

Duncan Roe: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 3NT tempts, but only if North can bid.

Alvin P. Bluthman: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). My first thought was 3NT, expecting the diamonds to run, and hoping that partner held a spade stopper (in that scenario, 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) by me is anti-positional). But I can bid that later, if I am given the opportunity.

Barbara Hunter: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Can always jump in diamonds later if necessary. A spade bid from partner might see us in 3NT.

Ironically, this same fear of a spade lead was also the motivation for many of the 3NT bidders:

Boris Richter: 3NT. Describing my hand in one bid and perhaps preventing a spade lead as well.

Rainer Herrmann: 3NT. If a spade leads beats 3NT, EW might be able to compete in spades anyway if you go slowly.

Shyam Sashital: 3NT. After a 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) opening, West is unlikely to have a 5-card spade and may lead a heart to our advantage.

David Matthews: 3NT. Giving no information away. Heart lead may well give me my 9th trick.

David Hester: 3NT. Men and mice should agree on this. The alternative of double casts too much light on the situation.

Roger Yandle: 3NT. Looks like I've got 8 tricks, so hopefully pard has got spades covered. I've decided on the direct route so the opps know as little about my hand as possible. It would be nice if they led a heart.

Sam Arber: 3NT. May get heart lead for 9 tricks or rely on dummy for stoppers.

Damo Nair: 3NT. I'll take a chance that they can't run the first 5 spade tricks.

Richard Morse: 3NT. Who knows? This is where we are likely to end up, so probably better to do so giving away little info to the opposition.

David Davies: 3NT. Will have play opposite any hand with a spade honour, or whenever opps lead hearts. Anything else risks partner bidding notrumps first thus exposing the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K.

John R. Mayne: 3NT. Why describe? I think I'll take nine tricks; let's bid it. I'm seldom as confident as this that this is the 100-point answer, and if it isn't, it should be.

Michael Burt: 3NT. A risky bid but probably worth it at IMPs. Going there directly may make it harder for West to find the correct lead and EW the correct defence. It is not easy to see an alternative way to get there without giving away information to EW. On a club lead partner only needs to have images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)A or images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)A and a reasonable diamond break for 9 tricks.

Tim Trahair: 3NT. Gambling. North should be able to deduce we have long and strong diamonds. All we need from him is a couple of diamonds and an outside trick.

Ron Landgraff: 3NT. You only live once! The real problem comes if they double!!

Fraser Rew: 3NT. Nothing else appeals. It should make and gives P a reasonable picture of my hand.

Paul Freeland: 3NT. Partner can clarify whether I have a strong balanced hand, or a running minor by bidding 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Maurice Buxton: 3NT. Presumably West and I have most of the points between us if neither North or East can find a bid over 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I need one quick trick and a few diamond spots from partner, and if all else fails it may pose a problem for West. Even if it's only how loudly to double!

Frank Campbell: 3NT. The most likely game needing hopefully only one trick from partner.

The full deal:
spades J10985
hearts AJ96
diamonds 75
clubs 102
spades AK43
hearts 1085
diamonds J2
clubs KQ74
spades Q6
hearts Q742 
diamonds 109
clubs J9863
spades 72
hearts K3
diamonds AKQ8643
clubs A5

At the table, four of the 16 pairs reached 3NT, two of them by the direct route. Other pairs were in diamond partscores or going down in 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Hand Five - West deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) K986
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) KQJT953
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 4
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) A


West North East South
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) pass ?


Call Award %
4NT 1002925
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 9086
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 802521
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 802118