We start this month with
a familiar problem in the modern game. Opponents these
days are opening with 10 points, responding with 3 points --
and here we are struggling
to find our voice, yet wondering if we should be in game.
Manuel Paulo: 3NT. Matchpoints suggest notrump, and red versus white points at game.
Emil Battista: 3NT. It might make.
Barbara Hunter: 3NT. Looks like four tricks in South's hand, can partner have
the other five?
Given how hard it was to get into this auction, it could be argued that 3NT
is overkill -- it's possible that just declaring will get us a decent
Lindsay Coker: 2NT. Could be the losing option, but partner does have something, so this has to be bid.
Pontus Silow: 2NT. Goldilocks.
Margaret Reid: 2NT. Good chance of making -- ongoing bid if pard has stuff.
Pete McAllister: 2NT. Good chances of +120 if they're not making, or -50 against -90/-110. I don't think 2 is likely to be off two.
David Scott: 2NT. Partner probably has 8+ points but could have 6+ spades -- my bid shows no immediate fit with spades but stoppers in their suits.
Alan Jones, Tania Black: 2NT. South seems to have the best hand at the table!
Tim Trahair: 2NT. We probably have the strongest hand and possibly 3NT is on if North has good spades and more than 10 HCP. He can go on if he wishes.
JC Clement: 2NT. I hope this is natural... but I'm not sure.
Typically when you pass a few times and then come in with
2NT, there is an artificial meaning attached. Here, of
course, no such meaning is possible, and natural is the only
possible interpretation. However, the majority preferred to
play in a suit anyway:
Nigel Kearney: 2. The 5-2 (or 6-2) spade fit will usually play better than NT. It's close to a pass as we could easily concede 100 instead of 90 by defending but often we will make or they will bid one more.
Sam Arber: 2.
Likely to make 2 and 2 doubled may only be 100. 2NT may be hard to make.
Maurice Buxton: 2. Partner clearly has a few decent cards, but we're probably scratching for tricks in NT unless both E and W are rock bottom. Defending 2 doesn't look inviting either, even doubled. A third pass seems pusillanimous though, and after this mutually stuttering auction backing in with 2 must surely imply something like this.
Damo Nair: 2. I think this enough at MPs. Cards are all in opponent's suits.
Daniel Skipper: 2.
+110 better than +100.
Charles Scholl: 2. Aiming for the most likely plus score.
Derek Pocock: 2.
Better for 110 or 140 rather than probable 100 from 2 doubled.
Wayne Somerville: 2. I'd rather be +110 than +50 or +100. Partner should have a decent suit for a passed hand sandwich overcall.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2.
Trying for 110 vs a probable +50. Assuming everybody has their bid, partner has a minimum. I'll double everything else.
Archie Julien: 2. East has shown 12 to 15 HCPs, I have 14 HCPs, and West has 6 to 9 HCPs, leaving partner with 2 to 8 HCPs. Thus, I place partner with six-card or longer spade suit. With my nice hand and a partner who overcalled vul,
I am going to be too aggressive to pass. At 2, partner may have one or two spade tricks, my
Q could be likely ruffed out and my J caught, bringing our total to four or five such that 2
makes. I don't think game is likely opposite a partner who has passed. Partner shouldn't take 2 higher. 2NT looks fraught with danger because we cannot count on developing spade tricks in the case if partner has no outside entry.
Archie's analysis of points puts
a lot of faith in the opponents having full
traditional values for their bids. That's not always the
case -- raise your hand if you've ever opened a
distributional 10-count! It's better to trust partner than
to trust the opponents.
Roger Yandle: 2. I assume pard wouldn't make a frivolous overcall at unfav vul so it looks like we've got the majority of the points. East hasn't tried NT so it looks like West has the spades under pard so it looks like the cards are sitting well for us. If the opps push on I'll double.
Tony Treloar: 2. Selling out to 2 seems a little wet... 2 should be -1 at worst, but I am hoping to be shooting at 3.
Joe O'Flynn: 2. I've got to bid something. The 5-2 fit looks best.
Frank Campbell: 2. Can't leave them in 2. I have
three quick tricks and although 2NT is tempting I think this may be better.
Rainer Herrmann: 2. I doubt that anyone can double 2 and chances for 8 tricks are reasonable for either side.
Toby Weinstein: 2.
Tempted to bid 2NT.
Ken Berry: 2. Wish it had more science than a guess.
Taking a gamble on partner's interpretive skills:
Par Ol-Mars: 2. Double is for penalty and would indicate longer
diamonds, but would be an option if they were vulnerable. 2 should show 2-4 in majors. Partner knows I had the strength to bid 1, and when I didn't do that or doubled now I have only
Alex Kemeny: 2. Shows my strong hand but still allows partner to bail out in 2 when he is minimum. 2 may be our last making contract; it's pairs, so we must minimise the chance of making a minus score.
Having kept our mouth shut so far, a few people thought it
best to not get involved at this late stage:
Nigel Guthrie: Pass. At pairs, double is just possible but fraught because, if unsuccessful it may deter partner from future enterprise.
Murray Perrin: Pass. East is very shapely, notrumps is no good as you have nothing to run.
Larry Brose: Pass. I thought of NT, but don't want to give opponents info.
Duncan Roe: Pass. I'm placing partner with six spades and less than 6 points. Sure I have
three quick tricks, but then what?
Dan Baker: Pass. Misfit. Stay out. Even down one in 2 is worse than the opponents making 2. Tempted to double (penalty, as every suit has been bid), but that would let East play the hand pretty much double-dummy; better +50 than -180.
Barbara Whitmee: Pass. And lead the spade four. If we could make 2NT then we will beat
2. Going down two vul will be a bad score for us.
Ron Lel: Pass. The opps have bid three suits and I have a small doubleton in support of partner. Pass.
Fraser Rew: Pass. We can't make anything (it seems that RHO is 2254, LHO is 4432 and P is 5323) so even -90 may be good, or -110 may beat all the -200s. It's not an obvious lead (A and 4 could both be right). And going plus looks like it would be worth a lot.
Dean Pokorny: Pass. When I do not have neither a penalty nor a negative double, it seems pretty normal to pass and take my 40%. If we instead double as "partner, do something", this will drive us often to 2, and we do not want that.
Kajsa Larson: Pass. Why didn't I bid 1 my first turn?
Well, there are good vulnerable
overcalls, and there are bad vulnerable overcalls, and then
there's this hand. But Kajsa wasn't alone in wishing we had entered the
auction sooner: on the expert panel, Kate McCallum wanted to
overcall 1NT on the 14-count, or else double 2 for
penalties, while Ron Klinger and Sartaj Hans wanted to raise
partner's spades on the previous round. Likewise:
Dean Eidler: 2. Would have raised 1 to 2 last time.
Bridge Baron: 3. What Bridge Baron would have bid last round. Bridge Baron thinks partner's overcall as a passed hand in sandwich position is likely to be a six-card suit, so game is possible if partner has a maximum passed hand, despite no ruffing value in South's hand.
The expert majority agreed that we should not be in the
auction, but felt that it was too cowardly to defend
undoubled with a likely 23-24 HCP. Therefore:
Michael Smart, Bastiaan Korner, Peter Nuoristo: Dbl. ...and lead
three rounds of trumps.
Don Hinchey: Dbl. 2NT has some appeal, especially if we're having a solid game and don't want to risk a gamble. But I think the opponents are stealing and thieves should be punished. BTW, pard should have legit values (10-11 HCPs), since I would favor a spade lead anyway.
Kees Schaafsma: Dbl. Also if they run to 2; I'll lead my
king against 2.
Leigh Matheson: Dbl. Finally the strongest hand at the table gets to say something, and it says +300 will be a fine score.
R. Samuel Leopold Stein: Dbl. I'll be happy wherever we land. If all pass, I will lead a trump, a trump and a trump.
Jacco Hop: Dbl. It is Matchpoints so you cant let them steal from you.
Tim Stewart: Dbl. Seems right for penalties -- we have the majority of the points, good diamonds and what looks like a misfit. Partner won't take it out because I've passed twice.
Peter Vlas: Dbl. Should be sort of optional I guess.
Tom Estenson: Dbl. Since it's Matchpoints...
Tom Moss, Mark LaForge: Dbl. They can't possibly make after three rounds of
Ron Landgraff: Dbl. Unusual for this vulnerability at MP. But we likely have 22+ points and good defense. 300+ is possible!
Michael Burt: Dbl. We look to have the balance of points but partner has only
five spades (otherwise would have opened 2). 2 is no certainty and EW look likely to go off (possibly 2 off).
Robert Black: Dbl. With a 5-6 card major opposite a (weak) 1NT play in the major. But double should be for penalties and I expect a
two trick defeat. If my expert partner feels the pressure 2 should play well enough.
The actual deal, from the Bathurst
At the table, Pass and Double
would both have earned a bottom board (+50 and +100
respectively). Bidding either major was worth 70%, and if
you chose notrumps, then you have +120 for a 40% score (or,
if opponents slip in defence, +150 for a 2nd top).