Readers' Bidding Forum with Brad Coles -- December 2010

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, both vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) KQ8642
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) K842
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) ---
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) JT9


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



Call Award %
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 100 37 25
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 80 32 14
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 70 11 20
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 50 5 1
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 40 16 22
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 30 0 3
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 20 0 6
Pass 0 0 6
Other 0 0 3

As regular readers will know, I like to make the last set of the year a simple one. Unlike the Summer Festival or the ANC, where the hands in the last match are littered with slams and 6-0 breaks, in this game you get an easy run in the last round. Simple overcalls, responses to 1NT, and one question where the entire field gets 100. Who says I'm not a nice guy?

The first problem is the most complex, involving a choice between a known minor fit or a speculative major:

Paul Gipson: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Superficially 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) looks more attractive at Matchpoints, but where are my hearts going especially if partner is short in spades? At least 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is progressive.

Rainer Herrmann: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). At Matchpoints try to protect your plus score.

Duncan Roe: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Best tell partner we have a fit in clubs - could be difficult to do that economically if I bid my spade length now instead.

Jacco Hop: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Rebidding spades seems tempting but you likely have to knock out the images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)A and then lose your low hearts, which wont happen if you play in clubs. Forcing to game is not my cup of tea in Matchpoints. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) also prevents them from balancing with 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner is likely to have 1246 I think.

Note that some of those comments correctly cite the Matchpoint scoring as the reason to play in the minor, despite the common belief that Pairs is a major-suit game:

Jack Lai: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). It's Matchpoints, I hope to get 9 tricks.

Nigel Guthrie: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Our hand has improved. Even if we can make a trick more in clubs, provided we make our contract, spades score as well or better than clubs.

Tony Treloar: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Just bid my hand, happy enough to defend if they find their diamond fit and partner can't support.

Robert Black: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Looks like a rebiddable suit.

Gipson also pointed out that 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is the more constructive option, another argument erroneously appropriated by the 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bidders:

Martyn Rew: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Hard to see this hand going anywhere without partner having at least a couple of spades, so letting on about the length may help.

Stephen Bartos: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Slightly conservative, but want to show the 6 card major while leaving partner room to show other features if any.

Barbara Hunter: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner rebids clubs you could jump support.

Toby Weinstein: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Hope pard can raise with a doubleton honor.

It's certainly not illegal for partner to bid again with a doubleton honour, but I'd consider it rare. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is the most discouraging option available here. Well, apart from this one:

Dean Pokorny: Pass. Opener most probably has 1246. This is wrong time to make moves.

Guy Herzmark: Pass. Unlikely to make game - best play in known 8+ club fit.

The panellists and the readers agreed that the hand was slightly too strong for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), and the readers showed a lot of support for the next available spade bid:

Michael Burt: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). All my points should be useful. images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)J109 should go nicely with partner's suit, images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K is well placed. Give my partner two spades and 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) looks a very good chance.

Bastiaan Korner: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). An overbid, but less so than 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is an underbid.

Niek Van Vucht: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Invitational, will bid clubs if partner can't find 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Fred Altstock: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Need to show six spades. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is better than 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Emil Battista: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner will not disappoint by holding less than two spades.

Sam Arber: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Look for spade fit at MP. Is 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) a splinter agreeing clubs?

Yes it is -- more on that later.

Tim Trahair: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Shows a strong hand for game and at least six spades. Unfortunately it cramps the bidding space. Lets see what North now has to say. Game could be on in spades or clubs.

Tom Moss: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). What the hand is worth.

Bridge Baron: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Rebidding a six-card major in a constructive auction is a very high priority for Bridge Baron -- much higher than raising a minor suit (unless there's a likely slam in a minor).

I do have a lot of sympathy for 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) -- it's certainly no surprise that Bridge Baron made that choice, as it's almost a textbook bid (six-card suit, 10-12 points). But the biggest problem with 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is that it doesn't have one single advantage over 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Manuel Paulo: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I don't know which is our best strain -- notrump, spades or clubs -- so I ask partner's help.

Ron Landgraff: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Flexible! Find out more about partner's hand. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) still in the picture. Even 3NT (after 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)-3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)-3NT).

Leigh Matheson: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Make the most flexible bid possible. Partner will bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) with a doubleton. Otherwise retreat to the safety of 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Alex Kemeny: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Unassuming cue bid. Pard has already denied three spades, so must now bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) with any doubleton. I will pass 2NT or 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), but apart from that, we are into game.

Joe O'Flynn: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Where are the diamonds? Let's see what North has to say.

Damo Nair: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). One round force. Need to find out what the best contract is, 3NT, 4/5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Several of the 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders intended it as a one-round force, which is the best way to play in this situation. However the majority believed it was forcing to game, and were happy to take the extra push:

Peter Qvist: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Forcing to game.

Frank Campbell: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I would like to get to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This looks like the best start.

Zbych Bednarek: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Certain game, slam is still possible. I should have four clubs to splinter here.

Ron Lel: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). It would help to know whether South had he option of the old fashioned double showing exactly four spades, and therefore 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is 5+ cards. I guess 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is the most flexible bid of all. Hopefully pd will be able to bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and now I will bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) forcing.

Dan Baker: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). A little light on high cards, but with a void, the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K behind the bidder, secondary support for clubs, and a long spade suit, I like our shot at game in one of the black suits. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is tempting but won't work well if partner doesn't have two spades for us, so let's hear some more.

Christer Enkvist: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). A void-showing splinter is tempting but partner is weak so let's set the tempo and find out if we are to have spades or clubs as trump before investigating the slam options.

Michael Smart: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We have 10+ tricks in some black suit fit, but prefer spades at duplicate scoring. So I'll commit to game in order to clarify partner's spade holding: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) will elicit 3-card spade support; failing that, 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) by me next time around will fetch a raise with most doubletons. (BTW, what's 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) here - fourth suit forcing?)

Like most bids in a natural auction, 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) here is natural -- it's the only bid we have available to show a diamond suit. Higher diamond bids are splinters, with the 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) splinter receiving just one vote from the panel ...

Tim Cope: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). On the principle that any unnecessary jump is a splinter when the lower bid in the same suit is forcing (which 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would be), this pretty much describes my hand. Partner can now give delayed support with a doubleton so a spade contract need not be missed.

... although a few readers did go for the higher splinter:

Pontus Silow: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Should show at least five good spades and tolerance for clubs...and a diamond void of course.

Vince Kelly: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Splinter first round control in diamonds and club support.


Hand Two - East deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AJ92
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) Q987
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AJ83
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) A


West North East South
    1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ?


Call Award %
1NT 100 53 40
Pass 90 37 12
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 50 5 10
Dbl 20 5 36
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 1
Other 0 0 1

The current issue of Australian Bridge contains three hands where an expert player chose to open or overcall 1NT holding a singleton. One of these appears in Paul's article on the Spring National final, one plays a supporting role in Problem Four of this forum, and the other is right here:

Paul Gipson: 1NT. At love all the first side to bid 1NT normally wins 4 imps and it does get my values across. Double works well when partner bids spades and there is competition, but 1NT does not preclude finding a spade contract.

Roger Yandle: 1NT. Balanced hand, 15-18 HCP, heart stopper. What else?

Niek Van Vucht: 1NT. Values and stopper.

Zbych Bednarek: 1NT. Stiff ace is better than two small.

Michael Burt: 1NT. This describes my points and good intermediates well. I don't like the singleton club but if I have to have a singleton, at least it is a good one. I have good values in hearts which are likely to be wasted in a suit contract.

Manuel Paulo: 1NT. As ABS does not use minELC, I can't double; to pass and to overcall 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) are sound possibilities, but I choose to overcall 1NT (the black deuce looks like a club).

By "minELC", Manuel is referring to Equal Level Conversion Doubles. This very sensible agreement means that if partner responds to a double and you correct to a new suit, you are not showing extra values (as long as your bid is below two of the opponent's suit). So in this auction, Double followed by 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would show a minimum hand with four spades and (preferably) five diamonds. If you wanted to show the traditional strong single-suiter, you would need to rebid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Michael Smart: 1NT. Gets my strength across. Also, the hearts will pull their weight in NT better than in a suit contract.

Ron Landgraff: 1NT. Describes the hand. Down 500 won't be the first time.

Rainer Herrmann: 1NT. Least of evils.

Tom Moss: 1NT. The least bad bid.

Nigel Guthrie: 1NT. Pass/Double/1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)/1NT are all possible but this is the least flawed.

The other two available bids attracted just one vote each from the panel (Double from Jill Courtney and 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) from Bob Jones). In discussing alternatives to 1NT, the 1NT bidders generally preferred 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over Double:

Ingerun Sjosvard: 1NT. 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is also ok.

Jacco Hop: 1NT. 1NT shows hand type and HCP. Second choice for me is pass and not 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Although I think there will be quite a few votes for 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Ron Lel: 1NT. There are a number of possibilities here; 1NT, 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and I suppose even a double, though I really dislike that bid - what will you do over 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)? 1NT at least expresses the values of the hand.

Bob argued that 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) had more ways to win than 1NT, but only a few readers agreed:

Bob Jones: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I choose 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 1NT, but it is close. Both calls have obvious flaws, but I think 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) has more ways to win. I think the passers (if any) are way too timid.

Joe O'Flynn: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 16 pts but not many tricks. I must bid something so try the spades.

Leigh Matheson: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I would like to have another spade honour, but the 9 will do.

Alex Kemeny: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). OK to bid a decent 4-card suit when holding four in the suit bid by RHO. Prefer to reserve 1NT for 4333, 4432 or 5332 hands.

Pontus Silow: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). No bid is perfect, but thank you for giving me AJ92 in spades.

As it turns out, I wish I had made the spades a little stronger and the clubs a little weaker!

While the 1NT bidders were tolerant of the 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) option, they were not as accepting of the Double:

Robert Black: 1NT. Double might find a spade fit, but might more likely lead to a tough decision over partner's 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Damo Nair: 1NT. Need to get in. If I were to double I'd have to convert a probable 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) call to 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). But I don't have a 5-card suit and I'm a point or two short.

Emil Battista: 1NT. Not great. I do not travel to pass with 15 HCP and double will generate an unwelcome number of clubs.

Dan Baker: 1NT. Not ideal with the aces-and-spaces type hand (although I do at least have semi-useful spots) or the stiff club, but if I double I know darn well partner's going to bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and then what?

Dean Pokorny: 1NT. Cannot see a good reason to bid 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 1NT seems better than pass. Double is absurd.

Most of the doublers had a plan on how to deal with the dreaded 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) response:

Fred Altstock: Dbl. Enough points to double and can support spades or diamonds.

Michael Davy: Dbl. I can handle anything partner bids.

Frank Campbell: Dbl. I have four spades. NT is the fallback option if North bids clubs.

Barbara Whitmee: Dbl. If partner bids clubs I will call no trumps.

Guy Herzmark: Dbl. Looks for spade or diamond fit; could play in NT too if partner bids clubs.

Diana McAlister: Dbl. Planning to rebid NT if partner doesn't bid spades.

Martyn Rew: Dbl. Shows strong likelihood of a 4-card spade suit and should still be able to show strength and/or a heart stop after partner's bid. Bidding 1NT may make a spade game more difficult to arrive at.

Tim Trahair: Dbl. Should bid with such a powerhouse. If North responds 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), can then bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to show no interest in clubs.

All of the doublers except for Tim are planning to rebid notrump, but that sequence shows a hand too strong to overcall 1NT (18-19). Given that this will often cause partner to put you a level too high, it must surely be better to pass 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Bridge Baron: Pass. Bridge Baron can overcall 1NT with a high singleton honor, but requires a better stopper in opener's suit to do so. One more HCP and Bridge Baron would be forced to double, but as it is, it's a maximum pass.

Tony Treloar: Pass. Nice hand but pass seems to work best with length in their suit.

Murray Perrin: Pass. And hope that partner doubles, then you can show your heart stopper and strength.

Barbara Hunter: Pass. Play the waiting game.

Toby Weinstein: Pass. Wait further bidding. 1NT is misguided.

There were also a few votes for 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), but I've deleted the comments. In general they were under the impression that while 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) promises five, a bid in a minor can be made on four. This is not true; all overcalls promise five, and while some people are willing to break this rule at the one-level, it is completely unheard of to do it at the two-level.

Hand Three - North deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AQT3
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) JT3
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) A63
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) A83


West North East South
1NT pass ?

 1NT is 15-17.

Call Award %
3NT 100 53 31
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 90 42 48
4NT 40 5 16
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 0 0 3
Other 0 0 2

Barbara Whitmee: 3NT. No shortage means no Stayman. Maximum of 32 HCPs with no long suit means slam not likely to succeed.

The most straightforward problem of the set, a referendum on two well-known theories that we all tend to ignore in practice:
1) two strong balanced hands usually play better in notrumps than in a suit, and
2) two balanced hands usually require full values for slam.

On the first issue, the panel was split 11 votes to 8 in favour of rejecting any possible spade fit:  

Robert Black: 3NT. Finding a spade fit may not improve this hand, which has 8 losers, no ruffing value, and 32 combined HCP max.

Alex Kemeny: 3NT. 4333 hands should eschew Stayman. 6NT is a pipe dream.

John Sheean: 3NT. With my flat hand a major contract is out. With a max point total of 32, 6NT is also out unless partner has a 5 card minor and images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)K (or it's onside).

Frank Campbell: 3NT. If our NT included a 5 card major I might bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). AB Standard plays simple Stayman so 3NT it is. Looking for slam is not an option unless there was a way to find out if North is maximum with a 5 card minor.

On the issue of whether to look for slam, again the majority chose to go with the common wisdom:

Sam Arber: 3NT. 8 loser hand, don't try for slam.

Tony Treloar: 3NT. Can't see any more in it.

Pontus Silow: 3NT. I can live with not being in slam on these hands.

Michael Burt: 3NT. No shape and few intermediate cards. Slam is not sensible (8 loser hand plus 5 or 6 losers from partner - too many for slam).

Ron Landgraff: 3NT. Slam is unlikely even opposite a maximum with a 5 card suit.

Murray Perrin: 3NT. Too flat to go any higher, 3NT is were you want to be.

Stephen Bartos: 3NT. This hand is not as good as HCP might suggest.

Joe O'Flynn: 3NT. My flat hand and poor intermediates makes me cautious.

A handful of people voted against looking for the spade fit, but in favour of looking for slam:

Manuel Paulo: 4NT. Quantitative, because I value my hand (with three aces) at more than 15 HCPs. Against Stayman there is my 4333 distribution; nevertheless, if partner accepts my proposal, he can bid his suits up the line.

Leigh Matheson: 4NT. Impossible to know what makes at this stage. I'd like to start my usual relay auction with my usual partner. Without agreements, the best we can do is invite. Opposite xxx AKQ Jxxx KQJ, 4NT is a stretch. Opposite KJx KQxx Kxxx KQ, 6NT is laydown.

Jack Lai: 4NT. Invite. 4333, forget the spade suit.

Damo Nair: 4NT. Maybe North has a 5-card minor and we'd be in good shape in slam.

Rainer Herrmann: 4NT. My conclusion from some double dummy computer simulations: 3NT is too timid, 6NT will often make opposite 16-17 or when opener has a reasonable 5 card suit. Actually a bad scenario is when opener has a 4 card spade suit. Here even 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is against the odds though better than 6NT. A good strategy might be to bid Stayman and give up if opener shows a 4 card spade suit and otherwise invite 6NT.

Dan Baker: 4NT. If partner has a max, slam is probably the 50-50 shot we need it to be to go for it. Gerber won't tell what we need to know (Kxx KQxx KQJx Kx is laydown, Jxx Ax KQJx KQxx needs a finesse and a good split in one of the black suits). And 4333 hands usually play better in NT.

There were a few votes for Gerber, but as Dan says, finding the missing ace will not make it any easier to choose a sensible contract.

In contrast to the 4NT bidders, there were some people interested in a spade fit but not interested in slam...

Tim Trahair: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Slam could be on but seems a little unlikely with two balanced hands and 30 to 32 HCP. We may have a fit in spades, otherwise can play in 3NT.

Emil Battista: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Slam prospects not high, but we can get pretend to be scientific and roll out 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) before resting in 3NT.

Ron Lel: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Just because I am 4333 does not mean that partner is. Great hand for Keri.

Bridge Baron: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Yes, Bridge Baron bids Stayman with a 4-3-3-3, unless playing the French system.

Guy Herzmark: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Try to find 8+ spade fit; if not 3NT. Unlikely to make a slam.

Roger Yandle: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). With the methods available in AB Standard, finding a sensible slam is difficult. Even if pard is max we're right on the borderline for slam and my 4333 shape is a shortcoming. If we've got a spade fit then 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) seems sensible, if not then 3NT it is.

Ingerun Sjosvard: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Maybe p has four spades and a weak doubleton heart.

... and some were only interested in slam if we have a spade fit:

Toby Weinstein: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If pard has four spades will invite slam.

Michael Smart: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Looking for spades. Lacking a range probe, won't move past game without a spade fit.

Jacco Hop: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Kxxxx AQx Kx KQx makes slam cold and grand slam decent. With KJxx xx KQJx KQx, 3NT might go down :-) I hope we have a forcing bid available below 3NT if partner shows four spades.

Paul Gipson: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Prepared to offer a quantitative 4NT if we have a spade fit.

Only the best partnerships will have discussed whether 4NT is quantitative over 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Dean proposes one of the common methods for avoiding this confusion, also answering Jacco's question:

Dean Pokorny: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If partner bids 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), I rebid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to show a forcing spade raise. If not, I sign-off in 3NT.

And finally, rejecting both Proposition One and Proposition Two, there were some votes for ordering everything on the menu:

Zbych Bednarek: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If North does not have spades, I'll jump to 4NT, quantitative.

Duncan Roe: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Almost certainly we are heading for slam, but let's find out as much as we can on the way.

Martyn Rew: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Best to find out as much as possible before too much bidding space gets used.

Nigel Guthrie: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Worth 16+ because of the three aces and two tens; so make a mild effort. A 4-4 spade fit may be worth an extra trick if partner has a doubleton elsewhere.

Larry Cohen made the same comment about the aces and tens, pointing out the power of our cards if partner has images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)J9x and/or images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)AQxx. The full deal:

spades J7652
hearts AK4
diamonds K5
clubs KQ2
spades 9
hearts 98765
diamonds Q92
clubs J765
spades K84
hearts Q2
diamonds J10874
clubs 1094
spades AQ103
hearts J103
diamonds A63
clubs A83

At the table South bid 3NT, making 12 tricks after a losing heart finesse. The other table reached 6spades after a 1spades opening. Out of 84 pairs, 30 bid slam, 18 played in notrump games (including four in 4NT and one in 5NT) and the remaining 36 played spade games (ten of those at the five-level).

Hand Four - North deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 85
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) AQ54
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AKQJ
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 953


West North East South
  1NT 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) * ?

1NT is 15-17.
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is both majors, 5+4+ either way.

Call Award %
Dbl 100 79 60
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 70 16 7
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 70 5 2
3NT 30 0 5
4NT 20 0 7
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 10 0 4
Pass 0 0 6
6NT 0 0 5
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 0 0 2
Other 0 0 2

Our next problem provides us with several options to choose from. Some people hope to defend the opponents' partscore, some would like to look for a slam, and there are a few who are just happy to bid a pedestrian game. As it happens, all three of these camps choose to start the bidding the same way:

Ron Lel: Dbl. I will start off with a double and see what happens. I can make a spade cue bid later to ask for a stopper.

Michael Smart: Dbl. Keeping options open for now, in case partner can penalise spades. (Don't care if this is penalty interest or merely BOP.)

Nigel Guthrie: Dbl. At last another 100 free marks.

Damo Nair: Dbl. An all-purpose bid given that we have no agreements.

Jacco Hop: Dbl. To show points and usually exactly one major.

Tony Treloar: Dbl. Interesting hand, East has a lot of major cards or a death wish. I'll just start by telling partner that 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)x might be a bit of fun.

Most of the doublers were aiming to penalise; I have to admit that it wouldn't have occurred to me to accept 800 (or possibly 500) when we have a likely vulnerable slam. But the panel and readers totally disagreed:

Rob Avery: Dbl. I can penalize one of them!!!

Frank Campbell: Dbl. Opponents have 9 HCP maximum and unless they can jag a 9-card fit it is hard to see them making five tricks. It is possible they may end in 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)x but I will see what happens from here. As East should have all their assets I don't think we have slam but +800 is possible.

Niek Van Vucht: Dbl. Interest in penalties; suits do not look right for a slam.

Manuel Paulo: Dbl. It looks a fine call either way: I have good diamonds, and I wish to double one of the majors.

Alex Kemeny: Dbl. Wanting to penalise at least one of their suits. If 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) comes back to me, I will bid 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to show my heart values and invite NT when pard has spades stopped.

Dan Baker: Dbl. The vulnerability makes this a mess, but I don't see a huge preempt coming (they have at most nine spades). Punt for now; if partner wants to whack 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) I'll sit (by the Law, if he has even three spades, if 6NT makes we should expect to take 1100 defending 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)).

Ron Landgraff: Dbl. Must keep penalty open. Slam and 3NT may not make. 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to show a Heart stop but no Spade stop would be nice but is that system?

Yep, that's the standard interpretation, and it provides a perfect chance for us to quickly show an important feature of our hand. But it only received a handful of votes:

Bob Jones: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). When the opponents show two suits, cue bid the one you can stop. The next bid will be trickier. I'm guessing 4NT over 2NT, 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) over 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I don't know where it will end. I also don't know if partner will be talking to me after this hand.

Andrew Robson: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Stopper showing. Might double but we have a certain game and a very possible slam and will hardly get more than 800 so let's bid our cards.

Toby Weinstein: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I can see that 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is a possible, need methods to get there.

Jack Lai: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Show heart stoppers; if partner can bid NT again, he should have spade stoppers, in that case, can invite partner to NT slam.

Joe O'Flynn: Dbl. Can we stop spades for NT? Must be game somewhere.

Some of the doublers were simply marking time (and locking in the 100 point award) while they decided how to best look for slam:

Duncan Roe: Dbl. Intending to control-bid after partner's response. Should be a slam contract, but don't have to bid it this round.

Emil Battista: Dbl. We are going somewhere, not sure about destination yet.

Paul Gipson: Dbl. The subsequent auction will be easier if we let the opponents tell us which suit to worry about.

Robert Black: Dbl. Point showing; and 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over their 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) might get us to 6NT.

Christer Enkvist: Dbl. For penalty but the primary reason is to show strength and find out a little more about partner's hand. Spades may be a problem in 6NT but there will be ample time to find out about that.

Dean Pokorny: Dbl. The best strategy here is to play double as "values" and retain negative doubles (intending to double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and pass 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)x).

Paul Lavings made exactly the same comment.

John Sheean: Dbl. Shows good diamonds and at least a game going hand. With partner's HCP in spades and clubs and images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K finessable we should find our way to 6NT.

Murray Perrin: Dbl. This says we have game/slam on and I can double at least one of their suits. The other option is to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and see what occurs; this would let you know if partner has spades stopped.

Martyn Rew: Dbl. Worst case scenario, the double can be used for lead direction, but will be enough to give partner confidence to bid again.

Despite the overwhelming vote for double, the readers still found room for no less than nine alternative choices, including three different levels of notrump bids:

Rainer Herrmann: 6NT. Even if North is minimum (15 HCP) double dummy simulation shows that 6NT still makes around 50% of the time and after the intervention North should play this close to double dummy.

Guy Herzmark: 3NT. Best practical shot - though may miss suit slam.

Michael Burt: 3NT. Partner has to have just the right cards for slam to be on with my flat distribution. The most likely outcome seems to be 11 tricks. Partner almost certainly has the ace or king of spades and the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K with East. 3NT is enough.

Fred Altstock: 3NT. Let's go for the kill.

I'm not sure that 3NT qualifies as "going for the kill", but it does guarantee a score of at least 600 points, something that can't be said for the majority choice. There were also many votes for 4NT (the 2nd highest reader vote in fact); but none of them provided a comment.

Tim Trahair: Pass. What a strange situation to be in. East has 9 HCP at best and must have a weird distribution to chance a bid. West can have very little and will be dismayed at having to bid. After his bid can decide what to do next. We may make more from doubling on the next bid, although it is possible there is a game or perhaps even a slam in diamonds or hearts.

A decent plan, but possibly overlooking the possibility of 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) being passed out. Give East a 5503, North 4234 and West 2263, and it's not clear for North to bid again after West passes 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Other minority choices included Gerber, 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), and this straightforward option:

Leigh Matheson: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Natural and game forcing. Surely the most descriptive bid available.

Sam Arber: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Probably 3NT is the best spot but we still need to look for slam.

The full deal:

spades A43
hearts K
diamonds 8743
clubs AKQT7
spades J962
hearts J1098
diamonds 6
clubs J864
spades KQ107
hearts 7632
diamonds 10952
clubs 2
spades 85
hearts AQ54
diamonds AKQJ
clubs 953

A couple of unusual actions there: North was an expert in a playful mood, while East was simply an adherent of the Minsk style (you may have seen their T-shirts -- "there is no such thing as an uncontested auction"). He was in fact the same player who sat East on Problem 5 in the last issue.

As I said last month, a spot of erratic bidding should not influence our decisions here. For the purposes of answering the question, we assume all the players are experts bidding correctly. We show the full deal for interest only, not to justify the "correct" answer.

Hand Five - North deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) ---
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) KJ8743
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AKJ4
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KJ5

West North East South
  1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) ?

1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is natural, 4+ diamonds.
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is a weak jump overcall. West intends to raise to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at his first turn.

Call Award %
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 100 -- 56
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)/6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 100 52 --
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)/5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 100 11 --
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)/5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 11 --
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)/5NT 100 5 --
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)/Dbl 100 5 --
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 80 11 10
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 80 5 11
5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 80 0 2
6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 20 0 3
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 10 0 9
Dbl 10 0 7
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 10 0 1
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 1

Our final problem comes in two parts:
1) Would you bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) at your first turn, and
2) If so, what is your plan if West bids 4
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), passed back to you?

While the panel voted overwhelmingly in favour of the 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bid, many of the readers preferred to get the diamond support in while they had a chance. They were supported by some of our most-revered experts:

Patrick Huang: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). A direct slam try which is clearer than a 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) cue. Also I don't have to worry about West's 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) raise. I am at least bidding 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with this hand and hope to be able to cue bid our way into a laydown grand slam.

Andrew Robson: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This answer has the merit of avoiding the follow up question. Seriously I am driving 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and looking for seven so this is a a clear start. No need to cloud the issue by bidding hearts.

Mike Lawrence: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I was quite unsure about this bid until I remembered that it was IMP scoring. My bid shows a game forcing diamond hand and gives up on hearts. This bid is not something I can do except for the fact that partner promises real diamonds. Since I am going to be making slam tries no matter how the bidding goes, my 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid will prepare us for that 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) call. Now that I have shown diamond support, my bids over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will be unambiguous. What will I bid over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)? Well, partner did pass 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) (I assume) but I am still willing to try again with 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Jumping to slam is a little too much. If partner has the two important aces and decent diamonds, he should know to bid 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and now my 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid will clarify things and will leave room for partner to bid 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Duncan Roe: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Good raise in diamonds. I think it conveys more strength than 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), at the expense of making any heart fit harder to find.

Ron Landgraff: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). At IMPs, set the trump suit, planning to try 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Stretching to find a grand in a likely crowded auction seems too much.

Tom Moss: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Unambiguously forcing, intending to pull 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) doubled.

Toby Weinstein: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). At pairs would bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Alex Smith: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I expect my partner to bid 4NT RKCB and decide the final contract.

Guy Herzmark: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Splinter - looking for diamond slam if partner has images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)A.

Pontus Silow: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This would be tougher at Matchpoints, where dropping hearts could be fatal. However, 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) could easily be the best spot regardless of scoring.

Barbara Hunter: 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Asks partner to bid a slam.

Christer Enkvist: 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Void.

Moving on to the 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders (and remembering that we did request an answer for the next round of the auction as well):

Paul Gipson: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bidding my longest suit looks the best way to start.

Tim Trahair: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We know that West is going to bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), so let's tell North about the hearts while we have a chance. If we have a fit in hearts then slam is probably on.

Michael Davy: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If I bid 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) would West's bid then be insufficient? I think I would do better at the table if I always knew LHO bid before my own.

5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) certainly would put a cramp in our footnote, but as Andrew Robson pointed out earlier, there are better ways of doing that! Jacco agrees with Robson, but prefers to bank on a pass from West:

Jacco Hop: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bid our own suits first. Although if you know West will raise to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) you would better bid that yourself to show your void and diamond support. Although could be silly opposite Qxx AQxx xxxx Ax where you might go down in 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) where 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is cold.

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)/4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would be OK too but I hate double.

Martyn Rew: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). No use having six hearts and keeping them a secret from partner. Can revert to diamonds if partner is not interested in my hearts.

Ron Lel: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I don't see the problem here. Are we playing negative free bids all of a sudden? When 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) comes back to me I will reassess the situation.

An unusual choice; it's your turn to bid, you're not sure what to do, so you reach for the bidding box and pull out the "I'm reassessing the situation" card! The panellists did not have the "reassess" option, and the clear majority of them went for 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes):

Dean Pokorny: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Intending to follow with 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Ingerun Sjosvard: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If West does bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and p passes I will bid 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If pard doubles? Difficult, but I lean towards 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) rather than passing the double.

Leigh Matheson: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Slam is happening. We may as well find the best strain.

Murray Perrin: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This is forcing and you want to find out if there is a heart fit before looking for slam which will be on in either hearts of diamonds.

Dan Baker: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Natural and forcing. Got to get the suit in before we get preempted any further. If 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) comes back around to me undoubled, I'll probably try 5NT pick-a-slam; if partner doubles I may try only 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) out of concern over wasted values.

The readers were more conservative than the panellists, with many not even looking for a slam:

Sam Arber: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Alan Jones: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Followed by 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Robert Black: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). And 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Damo Nair: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I'll bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Roger Yandle: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) gets passed back to me I can bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) showing my shape and strength.

Niek Van Vucht: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Natural and forcing within Lebensohl convention. I will bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) after 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) - Pass.

Jack Lai: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Intend to bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) if partner pass the 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) from West.

In contrast to the 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) bidders, many people chose to not only force to slam, but look for a grand along the way:

Michael Smart: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). And balancing with 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over their 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Manuel Paulo: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is natural (5+ hearts) and forcing. I intend to cue-bid spades at my next turn.

Emil Battista: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). if LHO bids 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and partner passes I will bid 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner shows up with only one ace and that being images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)A then as one panellist said many moons ago, "tante pis". (Keith McNeil was not interested in panelist's auntie health problems).

Rainer Herrmann: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Here I do not see what the alternatives are. I will cue-bid my spade void next.

Michael Burt: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We look to be in slam territory (5 loser hand) and I want to bid my hand in a forcing descriptive way. If West bids 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), I will get very excited (slam or grand slam) using exclusion Blackwood as we have at least a 4-4 fit in diamonds.

Frank Campbell: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). It is not possible for us to know what West may do and this should not influence our bid (or the marks). I must get my 6 card heart suit in the picture as North should have most of the values I don't have in my 3 suits. Even if West does bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) I will go 5NT or 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or whatever else is needed.

Don't worry Frank; although we are interested in the 2nd round action, we are not taking that into account for the marking. All the 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders get the 100 points, and even the non-3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders have been well-treated (it's not often you get 80 points on a problem where the top panel choice was almost unanimous).

That brings us to the end of another year. Congratulations to our winner for the year, Paul Gipson from Scotland. We'll be saying goodbye to Paul for a year as he joins the expert panel in the magazine for 2011. Check out the December-January issue of the magazine for a profile of the year's top scorers.

Thanks to all 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. Happy holidays.

Top scores for December 2010
1Michael Smart ACT490
1Derek Pocock WA490
1Ron Lel LAO490
4Tim Runting 480
4Ron Landgraff USA480
4Gareth Birdsall GBR480
7Tom Estenson USA470
7Valter Johansson SWE470
7Paul Gipson GBR470
7Robert Black SA470
7Jacco Hop NED470
7Par Ol-Mars OO470
13Nigel Guthrie GBR460
13Andrew MacAlister GBR460
13Gary Lane NSW460
16Joe O'Flynn Vic450
17David Taylor 440
17Damo Nair USA440
17Manuel Paulo POR440
17Dan Baker USA440
21Paul Freeland NZL430
21Fredrik Jarlvik SWE430
21Niek Van Vucht ACT430
21Emil Battista NSW430
21Pravin Nahar NSW430
21Ian Patterson Qld430
27Christer Enkvist SWE420
27Tom Moss NSW420
27Frank Campbell NSW420
27Trish Whitton NSW420
31Peter Qvist OO410
32Dan Walivaara 400
32Toby Weinstein USA400
34Jim Thatcher NSW390
34Murray Perrin Qld390
34Ken Berry NSW390
34Peter Stride Qld390
34David Johnson CAN390
34Dean Pokorny OO390
34Zbych Bednarek POL390
34Arthur Porter SA390
42Barbara Hunter NSW380
42Alexander Cook NSW380
42Tania Black SA380
42Martyn Rew NZL380
42Dennis Lakner 380
47Michael Burt ACT370
47Tony Treloar Qld370
49Alex Kemeny NSW360
50Bastiaan Korner NED350
50Pat O'Connor NSW350
50Peter Tarlinton NSW350
50Rick Giles USA350
50Ingerun Sjosvard SWE350
50Sam Arber Vic350
50Duncan Roe Vic350
50David Read NSW350
50Phil Davis NZL350
59Peter Nuoristo SWE340
59Phil Benamy 340
59Dominic Connolly NSW340
59Stephen Bartos ACT340
63John Sheean NSW330
63Leigh Blizzard Tas330
63Bridge Baron USA330
63Alan Jones Qld330
63Roger Yandle NSW330
68Rainer Herrmann GER320

Final scores for 2010
1Paul Gipson GBR2740
2Andrew MacAlister GBR2645
3Michael Smart ACT2630
3Jacco Hop NED2630
5Peter Stride Qld2580
6Gareth Birdsall GBR2570
7Dean Pokorny OO2560
8Manuel Paulo POR2490
9Ron Lel LAO2465
10Michael Burt ACT2390
11Tom Moss NSW2375
12Gary Lane NSW2365
13Tony Treloar Qld2360
14Nigel Guthrie GBR2340
15Sam Arber Vic2335
16Zbych Bednarek POL2320
17Dan Baker USA2300
18Damo Nair USA2280
19Rainer Herrmann GER2275
20Pat O'Connor NSW2260
21Leigh Blizzard Tas2250
22Pravin Nahar NSW2230
23Dominic Connolly NSW2220
23Valter Johansson SWE2220
25Michael Davy Vic2200
25John Sheean NSW2200
27Frank Campbell NSW2180
28Toby Weinstein USA2175
28Joe O'Flynn Vic2175
30Ian Patterson Qld2160
30Christer Enkvist SWE2160
32Pontus Silow SWE2150
33Arthur Porter SA2110
34Tania Black SA2100
35Kay O'Connor NSW2070
36Paul Freeland NZL2060
37Alan Jones Qld2050
38Alexander Cook NSW2040
39Robert Black SA2030
40Pär Ol-Mårs 2010
41Roger Yandle NSW2000
42Peter Nuoristo SWE1990
43Bridge Baron USA1980
44Jack Lai OO1970
45Tim Trahair NSW1960
46Martyn Rew NZL1950
46Peter Tarlinton NSW1950
46Derek Pocock WA1950
49Jim Thatcher NSW1940
49Emil Battista NSW1940
51Rick Lu NSW1920
51Bastiaan Korner NED1920
51Joe Lentz USA1920
54David Read NSW1890
54Michael Yuen NSW1890
56Barbara Hunter NSW1870
56Ron Landgraff USA1870
58Duncan Roe Vic1850
59Ivan Demeny NSW1810
60Andrew McKee Qld1800
61Stephen Bartos ACT1790
62Barbara Whitmee Qld1660
63Trish Whitton NSW1650
64Ian Spight NSW1610
65Fredrik Jarlvik SWE1580
66Larissa Cowlishaw ACT1570
67Fred Altstock Vic1500
68Tom Estenson USA1470
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 February-March issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check out your December-January issue to see what the experts had to say about this month's hands.