Our first problem this month has produced
a very strange situation: among the
10 different bids proposed, there were votes for all three denominations of notrumps (about 10% of panellists and readers for each denomination).
Manuel Paulo: 3NT. Partner's last pass shows some values; I hope they include one ace or the club king.
Duncan Roe: 3NT. N converted my take-out Dbl to penalties, so he figures to have some useful cards, especially in H
Barbara Whitmee: 3NT. Partner surely has hearts stopped, and I don't want east leading a spade through my king at trick one. So better for me to bid no trumps than north.
Ron Lel: 3NT. One of the assumptions in a bidding competition is that CHO is an
expert. Although based on some of the bids I have seen from the "expert" panel, this is clearly a dubious assumption. Here we are nv, partner has not opened with a weak 2 bid first in hand and yet has made a penalty pass of a one level overcall. Partner's H have to be headed by 5 to the QJ or KQ, and given the failure to open a weak 2, probably the former. Pd probably should have another card to justify the penalty pass. My C suit is reasonably good and based on this and my
estimation of partner's holding, I am bidding 3NT.
I have no idea what Ron is referring to with his comment
about the panel -- I think all the panel bids are brilliant!
Thanks guys for all your support.
Moving on to the lower
notrump bids, and Michael raises a good point about the strength
of the various levels:
Michael Smart: 2NT. Keeps a 3 bailout in the picture;
don't want to punish partner when he has a string of hearts and out. (Note: 1NT here should not be 18-20 opposite a penalty pass.)
Sam Arber: 2NT. Partner obviously has hearts. Next choice is 2 asking him for stopper as well.
Naren Gupta: 2NT. Strong hand with spade stopper.
Alan Jones: 1NT. It appears that partner has hearts while east has not. NT will avoid a nasty cross ruff developing.
Michael Burt: 1NT. North's pass of the double (rather than bidding 1NT)
suggests that North has some points (about 6 points) but that they are in hearts. It also suggests that most of West's points are not in hearts and that they are in the wrong place from South's perspective. 3NT could be very tough even though we have the points for game as many key cards will be with West and South probably can't get to North's heart tricks (but on the other hand there may be end play possibilities). 1NT will probably score better than clubs and there is a good chance that 3NT won't make.
Tony Treloar: 1NT. Partner has stuff but not much of it may be all that useful. A good time to right side the NT contract.
Robert Black: 1NT. Partner is prepared to defend 1 doubled. Does he have a good hand or just six hearts to the jack? He now has another chance.
Nigel Guthrie: 1NT. Were pass forcing, it would stand out.
I have no idea whether pass is forcing, but we do have some guidance from the
panel. Tim Cope, Larry Cohen and Bob Jones stated that it
is clearly forcing, while the other passers Michael Ware and Marshall
Miles were silent on the issue. Some more mixed views:
Par Ol-Mars: Pass. As my spades are to weak for a
diamond and no other bid is tempting. I choose Pass and
expect partner to take some action after the penalty Pass.
Leigh Matheson: Pass. Sounds like partner wants to defend.
Jacco Hop: Pass. Normally I would double for T/O here. But since I
don't think many people play that here I will leave this to partner. For me this is forcing.
I agree with Jacco about the double; after our side has made
a penalty pass, the most common treatment is for future doubles
to be for penalty. Ron Klinger and Eddie Kantar
voted to double, intending penalty. Some of the readers agreed,
Barbara Hunter: Dbl. I think partner has hearts so will be able to convert to NT if he doesn't like the
Roger Yandle: Dbl. Partner is a passed hand but has made a penalty pass of 1 so has got long hearts and some points so its looks like we've got enough points for game but its not obvious where. 3NT might be OK but there could be communication problems between the hands. So I'm opting for a penalty double and then see what partner says.
Paul Freeland: Dbl. Partner is marked with some values and long hearts, but couldn't open, so maybe they have 4+ spades as well. Could catch opps in 2X when we can't make 3NT?
Paul Gipson: Dbl. Pass is not forcing so I have to take some action. I trust (that is, live in hope) that partner will remove the double with short spades and long clubs.
Henri de Jong: Dbl. would like to bid 2, but partner may take this as
natural, especially after the x of 1 I need to hear from partner
bid that carries some ambiguity -- this is certainly a
complicated auction. Of course, if we agree that double is for
penalty, there should be no question of 2 being natural.
Dan Baker: 2. Good problem. We probably have a game somewhere, and I don't know if we can take 1 down three. Nor am I 100% sure pass is forcing - if it is, it's perfect (if partner has the hand to hit this, we may well collect 800, and if not his bid will give me a pretty good idea what to do next). Seems to me like it should be, but I'll make an unambiguous force rather than trying to win the postmortem when it goes all pass, +100.
Ron Landgraff: 2. I would have opened 2 for better or for worse. Now I need to show the strong hand which pard does not yet know about. 1 Dbled not likely to work well at MP.
Zbych Bednarek: 2. Prt has trapping pass on hearts, lets explore possibility game (maybe slam??)
James Coutts: 2. Second choice: 3NT.
Rainer Herrmann: 2. Spades are inadequate for one level double. 2 should hint at this distribution. With more spades I might have doubled, with more diamonds I might have preferred to reverse.
That just leaves the club suit. As with notrumps, there is no
agreement in level, although most people feel that both 2 and
3 are non forcing.
Christer Enkvist: 2. A jump to 3 may be the easiest way to buy the contract but also the only way of giving EW a huge plus score.
Michael Davy: 2. I bid what I think I can make.
Damo Nair: 2. I'm just not interested in playing in a 1-level contract for penalties.
Frank Campbell: 2. It looks like North has long hearts, East long spades with both having little else. I may not be able to set 1 so will try for for the likely plus.
Emil Battista: 2. Partner does have 13 cards, a couple of them should be clubs
Fred Altstock: 2. Tell partner that we have clubs and still want to compete
Tim Trahair: 2. This is a pretty weird sequence of bidding. N could not manage X or 1NT over our opening, so it appears he doesn't have 4 Hs or Ss. E's 1 bid suggests he is pretty weak and probably has very few Hs. 2 hopefully shows N we are strong. However game is unlikely to be on unless N can venture a bid.
Jack Lai: 3. 2 might be too low. South double is only reopen and does not promise a strong hand
Wilma Domjan: 3. 3 possible and pushes opposition to 3 level or pass. Possible partner will support bid or oppositions final bid could be doubled.
Pontus Silow: 3. I wish I knew how partner would interpret a pass (and a possible pass+pull).
Ian McCance: 3. Need a source of tricks for NT, so partner needs something in clubs. If so will ask. Presumably 3 asks about spades since we already know about hearts?
Jenny Monger: 3. Partner shows no support. Unlikely to make game in either clubs or no trumps
Bridge Baron: 3. Partner's penalty pass suggests that we can make a game, and we may even have an outside chance at a slam. So we're not likely to get rich defending 1. 3 shows both the strength of this hand and the club length; partner should have a pretty good picture of how to proceed. Replace the DQ with the D2 and Bridge Baron would simply overcall 2.
Andrew McKee: 3. P must have nothing, still can't let them have a free run. 2 gives them too much bidding space, 3 puts pressure on them.
I can see how at first glance this auction might be
deceptive, and I expect there are a few people who think partner
has nothing. However, partner has made an undertaking to beat
the opponents' 1 contract, so he is sure to have some values --
hence Michael Smart's earlier comment that we do not need extra
values to bid 1NT.
Having said that, I now have to reveal that this auction took
place in an intermediate game, so on this occasion partner did
happen to have nothing. The full deal: