Readers' Bidding Forum
with Brad Coles
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.
| Scroll down
to see the final scores
answers for the December-January
to Australian Bridge magazine
| Hand One - West deals, both vul, Matchpoints.
You are South.
Welcome to the penultimate forum
for 2011. Our first problem this month is a rarity for this
IMP-centric column: a Matchpoint choice between a large guaranteed
penalty or a doubtful game. We are already sitting on a score of 400 or
more, but the panel majority (52%) says we need something better.
Dan Baker: 3NT. Too bad we're not playing penalty doubles! 2NT would show a balanced hand of this strength, but most such hands don't have this kind of source of tricks.
Boris Richter: 3NT. Giving up on getting to slam when partner is holding a flat ten count, but that is basically impossible. If you double first partner won't bid NT, in most circumstances he won't be holding the club ace, and furthermore by bidding NT yourself you are protecting the spade king from an adverse spade lead.
Duncan Roe: 3NT. Should succeed most of the time. It gives little away to the oppos, and we don't need much from partner -- 3 HCP, if they are Q and J that would be great.
Leigh Matheson: 3NT. A pair of queens opposite should be enough. Getting there quick improves the chances of gaining a (vital matchpoint) overtrick on the opening lead.
Murray Perrin: 3NT. Partner should have about 4-7 points and on a good day
you only need one trick from partner. 2NT is safer but if partner moves you will
end up in 3NT.
If partner has a weak six-card major he will transfer you to it.
Sam Arber: 3NT. Either pass or 3NT. 1 is sure to go off but not enough to beat 3NT. May only have 1 stopper in major and going off but worth the risk.
Rainer Herrmann: 3NT. It's either 3NT or pass. But West most likely holds a weak notrump type hand, in which case I fancy 3NT.
3NT was not a popular reader choice, with most
thinking game is unlikely:
Wayne Somerville: Pass. Going down down down, into the burning ring of fire. I expect this to be at least 300 with nothing on our way. The main danger of course is that 3NT does make our way, but partner rates to only have 1 entry and that entry is unlikely to be in clubs (anything else makes 3NT anti-percentage double dummy at least)
Alan Jones, Par Ol-Mars, Pontus Silow, Damo Nair, John R Mayne, Zbych Bednarek,
Jack Lai: Pass. Making game is dicey. Let's score in 100s.
David Matthews: Pass. Can you make a game? Maybe. Will you get a plus score with Pass - Yes.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. I am going to get at least 100. Opposite the right points I might get 600, but the points and distribution have to be exactly right. Since +200 is a real possibility, I am going to pass and not play partner for the magic hand.
Tim Trahair: Pass. If West has about 13 HCP, North and East have little between them, so game for us is unlikely to be on. Looks as if we should set 1 by several tricks. If North has most of the missing HCP, game could be on for us but then we are likely to set 1 by more.
More, yes; but the last few
overtricks will be purely for show.
Kees Schaafsma: Pass. Defending 1 will outscore playing 2NT (the main alternative bid) on nearly all possible outcomes. 3NT looks tempting but the less than 50% chance of making 3NT is not enough at
Michael Burt: Pass. Clubs look like the best place for us to be. A good chance of collecting 200+ which will often be a good matchpoint score as game may well not be there.
Ron Lel: Pass. I am going to pass at this vulnerability. This would be much harder vul vs nv. I don't expect to pick up as much as a vul game, of course, but then there is no guarantee I can make a vul game either. Pd could not overcall 1m and we overcall fairly light.
Spotting some irony in the
Michael Smart: Pass. When is +200 bad at pairs? Certainly not when partner has a pittance. It's the +300 score that really worries me...
At the table it was 500, which
is even more worrying.
Robert Black: Pass. I know that west can not make 1. But I do not know what we can make that beats 200.
Tom Moss: Pass. 1 is unlikely to make. Will take the hundreds.
Emil Battista: Pass. I want to watch declarer suffer. Partner may not be amused if we have a better spot which we could find by not passing. This hand reminds me of one where partner bid 2 with a club shortage and a huge hand with and 5-5 in the majors. Our team mates were not amused by my pass.
Jacco Hop: Pass. Take the money and run. 2nd choice would be 3NT. In
other tables might respond light with the East cards and then my hand
would be really tough to bid, so I accept my +200 or more.
Some would even be happy with
less than 200, worried that any move may lead to a minus:
Charles Scholl: Pass. Seems likely to be our best chance for
+200 or more, against possibly struggling to make 2NT after
doubling and showing my strength
Tania Black: Pass. We get a plus score in hundreds, and
looking for 3NT may give us a minus in hundreds.
Roger Yandle: Pass. It looks like I've got a positive at present and any move by me could well turn that into a negative. There's some chance we've got game on if partner has the right cards (e.g. QJ and J) but its much more likely we'll end up in a partscore when we've got
Barbara Hunter: Pass. I feel I will get a better score this way, at equal
And some were worried that
East-West may have their own plus score:
Manuel Paulo: Pass. West should have four spades and/or hearts, then finding some fit if I double, or taking five tricks if I bid notrump. Passing, I hope to score at least +200.
Martyn Rew: Pass. Anything else and you provide wriggle room. I am sure that West has no desire to play 1 and the score should beat a partscore anyway.
The two remaining choices
involve a compromise of sorts: giving up on the big penalty,
but not willing to commit immediately to the game bonus.
Seems a shame, but at least plus 120 beats minus 100. (Like
last month, the kiwis are bidding in unison again -- should I
Nigel Guthrie: 2NT.
Luckily, there's a system bid for this.
Daniel Skipper: 2NT. 19-21 balanced.
Nigel Kearney: 2NT. We don't need much for game so cannot pass.
Fraser Rew: 2NT. Can't bring myself to pass with such a good chance of game, even though we will defeat 1 by many tricks, and any other bid is insane, even if I'm a bit light in high cards. Given that nobody is bidding the majors, LHO rates to be balanced, so 12-14, and RHO 0-4 or so, giving partner at least 3 points and possibly more. J10xx-J10xx-xxxx-x provides an excellent chance at game.
Alex Kemeny: 2NT. A little offshape, but about right on values. Partner figures to have a little help in the majors.
And finally, the most offshape
takeout double in history, with various continuation plans:
Don Hinchey: Dbl. A ghoulish hand -- and just in time for Halloween! I will begin with a double and hope to exit this macabre mix with some number of notrump.
Peter Vlas: Dbl. And later some sort of NT bid. And if I'm lucky, partner is sleeping :-)
Tony Treloar: Dbl. Followed by 2NT on the next round.
Margaret Reid: Dbl. If pard bids anything we will be in 3NT.
Frank Campbell: Dbl. Not sure where I'm going, but have to do something. Maybe 3NT is on.
Peter Lipp: Dbl. Passing might be +200 or +300 only, and 3NT is still possible.
Archie Julien: Dbl. Then bid to show 16+ HCPs. If partner has fewer than 9 or 10 HCPs, he will probably only on the one level. Then, I would just rebid 3 to invite game with his having anything. Of course, if he jumps to the two level, then we are close to slam, and I would then bid 4NT.
Bridge Baron: Dbl. This round is easy; next round, Bridge Baron plans to bid 3NT if partner shows a sign of life, or pass if partner bids 1 of a suit.
Ron Landgraff: Dbl. Too strong for 1NT, particularly in this seat. After partner's bid I'll pursue NT.
So that's one vote for passing a
4-2 fit at the 1-level, one for rebidding 3 (optimistically
intended as natural), and the rest planning to rebid
notrumps. For the record, standard methods do specify
textbook point ranges for both 2NT and Double-2NT, but I
don't know what those ranges are (that's Klinger's job). Both routes have been
given the same award.
The full deal, from Sam Krass of
The deal was played in an A-flight
and a B-flight game at Grand Slam. All but one of the
A-flight pairs bid and made game, usually 3NT. In the
B-flight game only three out of 18 pairs reached 3NT. Two
pairs played in 4 by North (one off), two defended 1 (five
off), and the others played in club partscores (making 4 or
| Hand Two - West deals, NS vul, IMPs.
You are South.
On our second problem we have
another big hand, and we need to decide just how big it
is. Doubling followed by 2 is a very strong action, and the
panel voted for that in a landslide:
Nigel Guthrie, Robert Black: 2. Underbid, but you need a bit for game.
Wayne Somerville: 2. Very nice hand. This is a bit of an underbid, but 5332
doesn't tend to play that well, especially when partner's response made our hand
worse if anything.
Tim Trahair: 2. Describes our hand well,
indicating a good suit and 19+ HCP. If North can venture another
bid we may find game somewhere.
Ron Lel, Tony Treloar, Damo Nair, Manuel Paulo: 2. If partner has anything
she will move over this; if not I am in
a decent spot.
Barbara Hunter: 2. Partner now knows I'm strong, see if he has any thing else
Don Hinchey: 2. The forced 2 bid is ambiguous, showing roughly 0-9
points. If partner is toward the top, I'll hear about it. If he's on the bottom,
I'm prepared to deadhead the hand.
Par Ol-Mars: 2. I don't think I am strong enough to bid
2 which is the only alternative. If over 2 he bids 3 of
either minor, pass may lead to poor contracts and to follow up
with a forcing 3 is not good, as already
3 might be to high.
Duncan Roe: 2. We forced partner to
bid, and still don't know if he has any
points. We could blast 3NT now, but try 2 first in case the
spade game is superior.
Bridge Baron: 2. Presumably that was the plan all along.
Not necessarily; if we had been planning to show this as
a balanced hand, we would still have started with a double.
Several people did choose that route:
Fraser Rew: 2NT. 2 and 3 are insane, and as much as I'd like to bid 2, that should show much more in
diamonds. Hoping that I may get to show spades on the way to 3NT.
Pontus Silow: 2NT. Awkward, I hate to go minus with these hands.
Tania Black: 2NT. Balanced, and hoping for a trick from partner.
Peter Vlas: 2NT. An underbid, but with my single heart-stop I prefer this to 3NT.
John R. Mayne: 2NT. This is right on values and probably orientation. No reason to force a pointless and pointful 5-3 spade fit.
Preferring to play notrumps from
partner's side (or not at all):
Rainer Herrmann: 2. What the hand is worth, while anything else is an
overbid. 2 could easily be our last positive score. If we have enough for 3NT,
it should be played from North and North should suggest it over 2.
Zbych Bednarek: 2. I have to check possibility of 3NT from
David Matthews: 2. Partner may have half a stopper and be able to bid
Michael Smart: 2. Too big for 2. Intending to follow up with 3, wanting to give partner a shot at showing a half stop for 3NT. Can always retreat to spades. (partner will bid 3 over 3
with three spades and no half stopper).
Boris Richter: 2. Showing your strength, the preferred
contract, not NT in this case, and spade length.
Daniel Skipper: 2. Aces aren't stops. I'd rather play in
a 5-2 spade fit than 3NT.
Nigel Kearney: 2. Double and bid is a strong
action so there is no need to go crazy. If NT is right it
should be from partner's side and 2 by us is much more of
an overbid than 2 is an underbid.
So exactly how strong is double
then 2? It has become
stronger over the years, as the range of the simple 1 overcall
becomes wider and wider. It certainly isn't unlimited; at the very least, I would
expect the following choices to be stronger:
Archie Julien: 3.
Double followed by a bid to show 16+ HCPs. Skip a level to show this fine hand that will make game with the least help from partner.
Emil Battista: 3. Should only be a couple off if partner only holds 13 cards.
Dan Baker: 3. The initial plan was to double and bid spades. I don't see any reason to change that plan. 2 here would show a good hand, but this goes well beyond "good". Not quite forcing (partner could have had to respond on a yarborough) but highly encouraging.
Barbara Whitmee: 4. Don't need partner to have much to make the contract. Know where most of the missing points are.
One person is willing to expand
the 1 overcall range
all the way to 21:
Jacco Hop: 2.
I wouldn't double the first time. The intention of double
was to bid spades later, so that is what we do. I would fear getting too high by using this start
but that that is life:) Bidding notrump from my side seems
Here is another strong option, which received a third
of the reader vote:
Alexander Cook: 2. A 3 bid would show
six spades. 2 does not show the strength of the hand.
Murray Perrin: 2. If you bid 2 some partners will pass. All you need from partner is 4-5 points and you have game so you have to try to find out if partner has something If partner bids 3 then bid 3, your spades are good enough in strength.
Ron Landgraff: 2. I play this as like an opening 2 bid. Target is 3NT, 4, or 5. If partner has a bust, we may go for a number. (Won't be the first time!!)
Michael Burt: 2. Forcing and should get a better idea if what is in partner's hand, if partner doesn't have hearts stopped.
Roger Yandle: 2. I don't need much from partner for game to be on so I'll show her that I've got a powerhouse before bidding my spades.
Frank Campbell: 2. 4 or 3NT may be right. See what happens next.
Alex Kemeny: 2. I do have 21 HCP and I'd like to hear more from partner before committing.
Peter Lipp: 2. Want to know more about partner's hand. 3NT or 4 are still possible and I don't know which. Hope to know more soon.
Kees Schaafsma: 2. Now pard may bid either 2, showing three spades or 2NT with a heart stopper or of course
he may bid at the 3-level. 2 is also forcing but less flexible.
One advantage of 2 is that if
partner can reinforce our heart stopper, we may get to an
excellent 3NT instead of a poor 4, even with a 5-3 spade
Charles Scholl: 2. If partner has as little as xx-Qxx-Qxxxx-Jxx we should make 3NT. If partner rebids diamonds I'll stop.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2.
Too strong for just 2. Partner has to bid again. 2 from partner would promise
three (he denied four) and I would raise to 3. Over 2NT (unlikely, but he might have 6 points and a heart-stopper) I bid 3NT. After 3m I pass or correct to 3.
Leigh Matheson: 2. Followed by 3 -- lands us in 3NT when
partner has a second heart stopper and 4 when
Martyn Rew: 2.
Almost eight tricks cold. A stopper in hearts
(as opposed to a heart stopper) would make nine for no trumps
and 3 next bid can give partner a choice or the option to
pass with no stopper, no points and less than three spades.
There is no full deal for this
problem; it was provided by Paul Lavings, who was asked for his
advice on the hand.
| Hand Three - East deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
Our next problem, from the
Spingold, inspired a lot of emails among the bridge
community over the last few months. The discussion initially
suggested a 3-horse race, but when forced to commit on the
record, nearly all the experts went mainstream:
Margaret Reid: 3NT. 15-18, hope pard has a few points.
Nigel Kearney: 3NT. 3 could work out better but we can't have everything and experience tells me 3NT is the percentage action.
Leigh Matheson: 3NT. Bidding 3 works fine when partner has spade support... and fails dismally when
Rainer Herrmann: 3NT. Close decision, but 3NT usually wins in these scenarios.
Fraser Rew: 3NT. I hate bridge sometimes.
Pontus Silow: 3NT. Is it a slow 3NT or a slow double that shows a choice between three of a major and 3NT? ;-)
Damo Nair: 3NT. It's a complete guess. It's dangerous to bid & to pass.
Sam Arber: 3NT. May have weakness in hearts, just hope and pray.
Peter Vlas: 3NT. Old school say I should be able to place
partner with 7-8 points. If I don't do anything it ends here. I
don't dbl because of the hearts. If it's a bad day I'm toast.
Jacco Hop: 3NT. Over 3 partner will frequently raise lacking a diamond stopper with Ax
or Qx. If they can run hearts too bad for us.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3NT. Right point-range, right stoppers in diamonds. 4 unlikely to play better (probably
Charles Scholl: 3NT. Too many ways to make 3NT when 4 is down, and 3 might not be any safer.
Michael Smart: 3NT. With a double stopper, prefer 3NT to 3.
John R. Mayne: 3NT. What else? 3 is playing for more of a parlay.
The readers did see this as a three-horse race, and the
top vote went to 3 by a nose.
Alex Kemeny: 3.
Six losers, respectable suit. Have to take action.
Kees Schaafsma: 3. Vernes Law, 15 total tricks and 16 points warrant bidding.
Tony Treloar: 3. With weak majors and 7 HCP in diamonds seems right to devalue the hand a little.
Robert Black: 3. A sound overcall, I hope.
Par Ol-Mars: 3. Have an extra
four points for this bid, but think this is better than the alternatives Dbl (not strong enough) or 3NT which commits to game and suppress the spade suit. The AK in opener's suit would have been worth much more in another suit.
The problem with 3 is not only that it's "heavy";
it's more that it makes it impossible to reach 3NT (and vice versa).
Dan Baker: 3. The only road to 3NT is to bid it now, but where are the hearts? If West has them, even if partner has a stopper I'll need him to have the spade ace too. Suit play has a better chance.
Wayne Somerville: 3NT. Most likely game, partner is never going to be able to bid 3NT after a 3 overcall.
Ron Landgraff: 3. Spades are not good enough for Dbl then
spades over partner's club or heart bid. Preempts work! 3NT by South may founder on
heart leads through North's stopper(s). 3NT by North maybe the only making game but I don't see a way to get there.
Archie Julien: 3. Accurate description of this hand. I am not taking a flying leap into 3NT vul, with a heart suit like mine.
Daniel Skipper: 3. But I'm not going to pretend I like it.
Don Hinchey: 3. WTP?
As I frequently have to point
out in this column, you can only get away with comments like
"WTP" if you choose the winning answer! Possible spoiler:
watch out for our December forum to see which expert
panellist writes "This is bidding 101, how can a problem
like this be in this forum," on a minority answer.
A few of the 3 bidders
mentioned that they had included Double in their
Michael Burt: 3. The hand is probably just a little light for the double after the pre-empt with the diamonds not being that useful for setting up a suit, so settle for a reluctant 3.
Roger Yandle: 3. Dbl or 3NT could also be right. I guess I'll find out once dummy goes down.
Frank Campbell: 3. Double (followed by 3NT over 3) might be right but I'll bid what I've got.
... while others were more
Ron Lel: 3. I don't like 3NT and I have to bid with this. Double is absurd, of course.
Manuel Paulo: 3. With only two hearts I reject a takeout double, and spades are not solid to risk 3NT.
Nigel Guthrie: 3. 3NT/4 are the most likely game prospects. Double may appear to be more flexible but what do you do if partner responds in a minor?
Murray Perrin: 3.
Not sure about this one, but double is out (doubleton heart).
It is a toss up between 3NT and 3.
At the table South did choose Double, which received a quarter
of the readers votes but no panellists:
David Matthews: Dbl. 3 is just too weak and partner will not
visualize a 17 point hand. So I will start with double and bid 3 over 3.
Tania Black: Dbl. And 3NT after partner's 3.
Emil Battista: Dbl. Cannot stomach 3 or pass. If partner bids 4, axed, then I might have to pretend 7 is 7.
Barbara Hunter: Dbl. Hope partner doesn't bid 4.
Pat O'Connor: Dbl. I will bid 3NT over 3.
Duncan Roe: Dbl. If 3 comes back, bid 3NT.
Tim Trahair: Dbl. If North can manage 3 we can chance 3NT.
Peter Lipp: Dbl. Partner might pass 3 when 3NT is still possible.
Martyn Rew: Dbl. Wait and see whether it is West or North that bids hearts and plan from there.
Boris Richter: Dbl. Well, we do have a balanced hand, don't we?
Zbych Bednarek: Dbl. A flexible bid. We can play 4M or 3NT.
This hand was provided by Boye Brogeland, who faced this problem in the Spingold. He
was kind enough to share his thought processes with us:
Boye Brogeland: My instinct is to bid 3NT with this hand; I have diamonds well stopped and I am a bit too strong for a 3 bid, which could create difficulties for partner without spade support or a diamond stopper. On the other hand I would like to play in spades when my partner has at least four spades. It can even be right to play in spades when he has a doubleton if the
heart suit is open. By bidding 3NT directly, I don't get spades into the picture. Therefore, my choice is to start with a double. If partner bids 3, I follow up with 3NT. To me this doesn't show additional strength compared to bidding 3NT directly, it just says that I have a flexible hand that are looking for a different game than notrump. If partner bids 3 over my double, I raise to 4. If partner commits to game showing spades (either by bidding 4
for the majors), I would make a slam try. The only really
difficult bid I could get from partner over the double is 4.
Should I now pass risking to play in a 4-2-fit, or should I
which partner would probably assume includes a spade and
some more values? I don't know what's right in the long run.
At the table partner did bid 4,
and I chose to bid 4.
Not a triumph as partner's hand was xx KQJTx T9xx Kx.
| Hand Four - South deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
It's surprising how often we've
been able to sneak opening bid problems into this forum over
the past few years, as you'd think that deciding what to
open would be one of the easiest parts of the game. This
little monster attracted support for every level of
diamonds, and a few other options.
Fraser Rew: 1. This is an opening bid, so I start with my longest suit. Easy game.
Sam Arber: 1.
Pass or 1.
Prefer to open, may be harder to get suits in later.
Tim Trahair: 1. We have a freak distribution. Enough to manage an opening bid but too strong for 3.
Margaret Reid: 1. Have to bid with 7-5; intend (hope) to show
spades in due course, or else rebid diamonds.
Rainer Herrmann: 1. I refuse to pass or preempt with this type of 5 loser hand.
Toby Weinstein: 1.
Pass and hope to show both suits.
Martyn Rew: 1. The spades are only worth a mention if partner indicates that he has some and would like support, but the hand is potentially too strong for a pre-empt.
1 was the unanimous choice when the hand arose at the
Bermuda Bowl last month, but it received only 18%
endorsement from panellists and readers. The top vote in
both camps was for pass:
Pontus Silow: Pass. I am looking forward to bids and comments on this one.
Murray Perrin: Pass. I hate to do it but in first or second seat it is a pass. Third or fourth seat easy bid, 7-5 great hand, but spades are too weak for first seat. If spades were Q10987 then I would open it.
Daniel Skipper, Damo Nair: Pass. Nothing fits.
Roger Yandle: Pass. In first seat I'm too weak for a 1-level bid and too strong and distributional for a pre-emptive bid so I'll wait and see what happens. I'm sure I'll get another chance to bid later.
Tony Treloar: Pass. Taking a bid here will likely mislead partner in one direction or another. Take a chance on missing the boat, but with this freaky distribution the oppos might land in a misfit themselves.
John R. Mayne: Pass. There's much to be said for 1 or 5; 5 could easily buy it and be right, and 1 has plenty of offense and some defense. Lesser preempts seem seriously misguided.
Many passers did not mention 1
as an option, suggesting that their choice was purely
between pass and preempt:
Manuel Paulo: Pass. With five spades and two first-round controls I don't preempt.
Wayne Somerville: Pass. I don't believe in pre-empting with a side 5 card major. I'll pass for now and bid viciously later. Luckily we have spades in case it comes back to us at 4.
Elin LindstrÃm Claessen: Pass. Too good a hand to bid preemptive.
Ron Landgraff: Pass. Too many flaws to preempt (void, 5 card major, potentially good defense).
Frank Campbell: Pass. The auction has a long way to go and 3 might miss the spades.
Planning to come in later:
Par Ol-Mars: Pass. Have never believed in opening with sub-minimum distributed hands. Will often have a chance to come in later and show the hand type.
Don Hinchey, David Matthews, Tania Black: Pass. No
opening bid does justice to this freak. I'll listen for now
and decide if it's prudent to compete later.
Nigel Guthrie, Bridge Baron: Pass and act later describes this hand well.
Alex Kemeny: Pass. Since there is no bid that describes my hand, I will make no bid. It's likely I can come in later.
Jack Lai: Pass. With this type of hand, believe must have chance to bid next round in which could get more hints which bid/suit will be better.
Michael Smart: Pass. Holding the boss suit, I'm happy to listen first and come in later.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. I hope I can offer this hand the second round as a 2-suiter. And let's not forget: partner might have the opening hand on this board.
There are some conventions for
describing two suiters, and some people were wishing for one
of those. One of our European correspondents tells us the
Italians would not approve:
Jacco Hop: Pass. Italians taught us to pass 6-6 or 7-5.
Robert Black: Pass. No bid describes this two suiter in the system, so I hope to get a chance later.
Alan Jones: 1. In our system we could open 2 to show spades and a minor.
Peter Vlas: Pass. Spades are too bad, diamonds kills the spades and I don't like to preempt on hands like this. I might though consider a 2 (Muiderberg/Polish) on a wild day and in need of a score.
Ron Lel: Pass. What a great hand for Wilkosz. As I am not playing this excellent convention I will pass and try to come in later.
I'm not sure what Wilkosz is,
but I think it's a 2 opening showing any weak 5-5 other
than both minors. Muiderberg twos promise five cards in the
opened suit, and a 4-card minor (on this hand you would get
to choose which half of the diamond suit is the 4-card
minor). Another popular convention is an RCO 2NT (or if you
are a Klinger disciple, an OCR 2).
Pass took the top score, leading me yet again to rail
against the injustice in a system that gives 100 points to a
pass when 60% of the panel chose to bid. Accordingly, Phil
has liberally upgraded the scores for most of the bidders.
Duncan Roe: 2. Show the
spades if partner is strong enough to take action.
Zbych Bednarek: 3. 7 card suiter is worth bid it.
Forget the spades.
Larry Brose: 3. I can take
five diamonds and two spades (probably) so I need help from partner. If I bid 1 then opponents can communicate.
Nigel Kearney: 3. Passing makes it too easy for opponents and we will have a problem on the next round anyway if we do that. I am not a purist so I have no problem preempting then bidding again. The hand is worth 4 but there is too much risk that will end the auction on hands where be belong in spades.
Dan Baker: 4. I do not have it in me to pass with a classic 3-preempt suit and point count, and the extra-crazy distribution is reason to go one higher. Pass may give partner a chance to uncover a monster spade fit; it may also let the opponents find a boatload of hearts or clubs.
Michael Burt: 4. Probably about as high as can be justified (only just) with this collection. Pre-empt hard or pass.
I have to confess that I meddled with the panel
this month, by inviting a guest answer from a former
panellist whose answer I already knew:
Stephen Burgess: 5. Obviously can be very wrong, but what's the alternative? 1, followed by spades, overstates the strength (that is what Bobby would do). If I pass then cue, partner never knows about the extra diamond length and we end up in spades – it's amazing how often you lose trump control, even opposite three card spade support.
Leigh Matheson: 5. Hopefully Stephen Burgess is on the expert panel this month...
I was fortunate enough to play in a
team with Stephen in NZ again this year, and we spent some
time talking about his alleged habit of opening game on any
7-4 or better. There have been rumours that he no longer supports
what is now known as "Burgess Theory", but I can assure you
he is still very much a believer.
Barbara Hunter: 5. I don't see any other bid.
Emil Battista: 5. I think Paul Marston would bid 5 - and he is a slightly better player than me.
There was also a significant amount of reader support for
opening 1 or 2, which didn't fare so well in the awards. I
can appreciate what the 1 bidders were thinking, but it
never pays to take focus away from a 7-card suit.
The problem originally came from
the Grand Slam Bridge Centre, but against all odds it came
up again the following month in Veldhoven. Here is the first
Three NS pairs got to the 6-level
(800 or worse), while the other pairs were doubled in 5 or
5 for smaller penalties.
Then in the Bermuda Bowl semi-final
we saw the same hand again (with the Q and
All four Norths opened 1 (Joe Grue, Norberto Bocchi, Bas Drijver, Martin Fleisher) with
three of them ending in the cold 4. Grue and Fleisher were
doubled, but Grue went down after an aggressive defence.
East led a club to the king, and West switched to the 3.
South guessed to play small from dummy, and when the ten
forced the king (dummy's only entry) he was in trouble. An
immediate spade finesse seemed risky and unlikely; he chose
to draw trumps instead, and eventually conceded a spade
trick for one off.
| Hand Five - East deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
1. Weak, both majors, 5+4+ either way.
Our final problem is another of
our 2-4 efforts, with a twist where the opponents have
also laid a claim to the spade suit. Never in the forum have
we seen so many people give almost identical comments:
Charles Scholl, David Matthews, Arthur Porter, Ron Lel, Zbych Bednarek,
Margaret Reid, Tim Runting: 4NT. Let partner pick the minor.
Michael Smart: 4NT. Pick a minor. Yes, partner could have bid 4NT for takeout and didn't... but then we're not going to get rich defending 4.
Tim Trahair: 4NT. Pick a suit, preferably a minor. The system has negative doubles up to 4 so we must bid. North may well have most of the HCP and possibly no 5-card suit.
Jim Greer: 4NT. 4NT says 'Pick a minor'. If only my partners would realise this.
Don Hinchey: 4NT. I don't like the colors, but I like defending 4 less.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 4NT. Not enough defense to let the double stand. Double by partner is under the majors-hand, therefore takeout is primary meaning and 5 in a minor probably enough with this dummy.
Leigh Matheson: 4NT. With ruff(s) coming from my hand, a club trump suit has as much prospect as a diamond trump suit.
Frank Campbell: 4NT. AB Standard takeout doubles are over weak 2's and preempts to 4. I don’t know whether North has asked if 4 is preemptive and I can't, nor is there any footnote so its a guess. If 4 is not preemptive I pass.
Frank asks if 4 is "preemptive"
(by which he means "weak", not the actual meaning "taking up
space"). Nigel Guthrie asked a similar question. The reason
there is no footnote is quite simple when you think of it:
it's none of our business! West will bid 4 with a balanced
16-count (eg Kx-AJxx-Axx-Axxx), and he'll bid the same thing
if he has the right 3-count (x-Kxxxxx-x-xxxxx is not
unlikely on our hand). East doesn't
care which hand West has, and South is not entitled to know
either. That's the beauty of preempts (by which I mean
"taking up space", not "weak hands").
In other words, competitive
decisions are about fit, not points:
Damo Nair: 5. With these soft values 4 could easily make. 5 is a two-way shot, could be a good sac or it may make.
Robert Black: 5. E-W seem to have found a fit, and partner has made a takeout double, or is reading another system card.
Nigel Guthrie: 5. ...should avoid a 4-3 or 3-3 fit. Pass is the cowards way out especially as opponents appear to have an 10-12 card fit.
Rainer Herrmann: 5. I take out my partner's takeout doubles. This could easily be a double game swing.
Jacco Hop: 5. Looking at my hand 790 vs
600 is not unlikely. Partner doubles for takeout and I have a
singleton in their suit and only half a defensive trick.
Dan Baker: 5. Bidding my best suit over partner's takeout doubles usually serves me well. 4 is a trick cheaper but is a known bad break, even assuming partner has five (which he likely does not).
Duncan Roe: 5. Double of 4 is still takeout, so bid my best suit.
Alex Kemeny: 5. Partner looks to be very strong and I have a decent 8 loser hand with some shape.
Peter Lipp: 5. Not sure we can stand 4x.
Wayne Somerville: 5. This is a bit of a guess. Qxx is a horrible spade holding to have here. Could be conceding 500 in a phantom, or could be a double game swing. I just hope partner has Axx xx Axxx AQJx or something.
The 5 bidders didn't think it
appropriate to leave the choice for partner, citing various
dangers in the 4NT bid:
Alexander Cook: 5. A 4NT bid could leave you in a 4-3 fit at the five level when you have a diamond fit.
Fraser Rew: 5. Pass is crazy and if (when?) he bids 5 over 4NT I'll have a nagging feeling that maybe we're in the wrong spot.
Daniel Skipper: 5. Pass doesn't seem right, they'll make too many spade ruffs. With such disparate minors 4NT seems designed to punish partner.
John R. Mayne: 5. Really? I'm not bidding 4NT with this suit disparity, and the probable stiff-v-stiff doesn't make life better. I think 5 is standout.
Murray Perrin: 5. It is a toss up between 4NT, pick your best minor partner, or 5. I chose 5 because you know you have a fit with partner. It may go down as west is short in
spades. These ones are much harder than last month.
The winning bid at the table would
have been pass, the call chosen by panellists Tim Bourke,
Marshall Miles and Sartaj Hans. Pass is a
pretty big position to take in my opinion, but it's easier
if you have time for a simulation:
Bridge Baron: Pass. Aren't you supposed to take out takeout doubles? Yes, but simulation shows +333.00 on average defending 4 doubled, and only +38.33 on average playing 5.
A few people commented that over
this 2 convention, partner should not have doubled with
Archie Julien: Pass. Bidding anything after partner's dbl, looks scary to me. If partner wants us in spades, then he should have a long enough spade suit to just bid them. If he wants to know my minors, he could have bid 4NT.
Roger Yandle: Pass. I'm assuming pard would bid 4NT for takeout to the minors so this must be saying he's got points. With my motley collection it doesn't look like anything will be making our way so I'm going to defend and hope for the best
Christer Enkvist: Pass. If partner wants to make a take-out he can bid both 4p and 4NT.
Sam Arber: Pass. if partner wanted to play in minor would bid 4NT seems more penalty although could be 5234 shape with
Tony Treloar: Pass. If partner wanted to be taken out into the minors wouldn't he bid 4NT? This double looks like penalties so I leave it in.
It's been a very long time since
a first-round double has been for penalties -- if I recall
correctly, a few of the (much) older players were playing
that way when I started in the late 80s. It's also not out
of the question that North could have some spade interest;
four spades with East will not always prohibit a 4 contract
by us. In fact, I saw a hand recently where an opponent made
a legit 1 opening (his suit was Jxxxx), and our only making
slam was 6. It happens.
Even after recognising the takeout double, a few managed
to judge the position well:
Ron Landgraff: Pass. My hand is more defensive than offensive.
Par Ol-Mars: Pass. Close between Pass and 5. I think it is good rule to bid in positions like this when you think there is a really good chance you will make your contract, which is not entirely so here.
Nigel Kearney: Pass. Slam is far off and we will usually collect at least 500 when we have a game or 200/500 when we have no game.
Peter Vlas: Pass. Partner knows what he's doing, I trust him.
Pontus Silow: Pass. 4NT is the alternative, but not today.
The full deal,
from Nigel Rosendorff:
Passing would have been the winner,
with bad breaks all around and partner having a very
unsuitable hand. Yes, it was a takeout double, but what
else could North do? Sometimes preempts work.
See you again next month, where we
announce the winner for the year. Leigh and Ron are leading
the Australian charge, but some very intimidating scores
from Europe are likely to win the competition.
Congratulations especially to Dean Pokorny, who has had two
500 and two 490 scores so far this year!
Speaking of Europe, I'd like to
apologise to the British players who have asked me to stop
using the country code GBR to indiscriminately describe all
British countries. I've added some extra country codes to
the web page now, please feel free to identify yourselves
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
Top scores for October 2011
|1||Dean Pokorny CRO||490|
|2||Conny Wahlgren SWE||490|
|3||Tom Moss NSW||490|
|4||Gareth Birdsall GBR||490|
|5||Wayne Somerville IRL||480|
|6||Jacco Hop NED||480|
|7||Valter Johansson SWE||480|
|8||Damo Nair USA||480|
|9||Rainer Herrmann GER||470|
|10||Manuel Paulo POR||460|
|11||Peter Nuoristo SWE||460|
L Claessen SWE||460|
|14||Ig Nieuwenhuis NED||450|
|17||Robert Black SA||450|
|18||Michael Smart ACT||450|
|19||Robert Bäck SWE||450|
|20||R Samuel Leopold Stein ||450|
|21||Charles Scholl USA||450|
|22||Tim Runting Qld||450|
|24||Tom Kiss NSW||440|
|25||Margaret Reid NSW||440|
|26||Jim Thatcher NSW||440|
|27||Paul Freeland NZL||440|
|29||Gary Lane NSW||430|
|30||Michael Wilkinson NSW||430|
|31||Paul Janicki CAN||430|
|32||Toby Weinstein USA||430|
John R Mayne USA||420|
|36||Michael Yuen NSW||420|
|37||Tom Rushford Vic||420|
|38||Christer Enkvist SWE||420|
|39||Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN||420|
|41||Murray Perrin Qld||420|
|42||Nigel Guthrie GBR||420|
|44||Leigh Matheson NSW||420|
|47||Peter Vlas NED||420|
|48||Geof Brod USA||420|
|49||Duncan Roe Vic||410|
|50||Tom Estenson USA||410|
|52||Leigh Blizzard Tas||400|
|53||Alan Jones Qld||400|
|54||Nigel Kearney NZL||400|
|55||Tim Trahair NSW||400|
|56||Sam Arber Vic||400|
|57||Trish Whitton NSW||400|
|59||Kay O'Connor NSW||400|
|60||Alexander Cook NSW||400|
|61||Dominic Connolly NSW||400|
|62||Pontus Silow SWE||390|
|63||Arthur Porter SA||390|
|64||Niek Van Vucht ACT||390|
|65||Frank Campbell NSW||390|
|66||John Moser CAN||390|
|67||Tony Treloar Qld||390|
|68||Bridge Baron USA||390|
|69||David Matthews WA||380|
|71||Roger Yandle NSW||380|
|73||Kajsa Fröjd SWE||380|
|74||Fredrik Jarlvik SWE||380|
|76||Alex Kemeny NSW||380|
|77||Andrew Macalister GBR||380|
|78||David Winter Vic||380|
|79||Bastiaan Korner NED||380|
|80||Fraser Rew NZL||370|
|82||Barbara Hunter NSW||370||
Leading scores for 2011
|1||Dean Pokorny CRO||2320|
|2||Jacco Hop NED||2290|
|3||Gareth Birdsall GBR||2290|
|6||Conny Wahlgren SWE||2240|
|7||Valter Johansson SWE||2220|
|8||Wayne Somerville IRL||2180|
|10||Leigh Matheson NSW||2170|
|11||Tom Moss NSW||2160|
|12||Rainer Herrmann GER||2160|
|13||Nigel Kearney NZL||2150|
|14||Fredrik Jarlvik SWE||2140|
|15||Paul Janicki CAN||2140|
|16||Ig Nieuwenhuis NED||2140|
|17||Peter Stride Qld||2120|
|18||Dominic Connolly NSW||2110|
|19||Tom Estenson USA||2110|
|21||Henri De Jong Vic||2090|
|23||Paul Freeland NZL||2060|
|24||Roger Yandle NSW||2060|
|25||Peter Vlas NED||2050|
|26||Tony Treloar Qld||2050|
|27||Murray Perrin Qld||2040|
|28||Damo Nair USA||2040|
|29||Arthur Porter SA||2040|
|30||Peter Nuoristo SWE||2030|
|31||Tom Rushford Vic||2030|
|32||Michael Yuen NSW||2030|
|33||Fraser Rew NZL||2020|
|34||Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN||2020|
|35||Leigh Blizzard Tas||2000|
|36||Charles Scholl USA||2000|
|37||Gary Lane NSW||2000|
|38||Tom Kiss NSW||1990|
|40||Peter Tarlinton NSW||1990|
|41||Derek Pocock WA||1980|
|42||Niek Van Vucht ACT||1980|
|43||Rick Giles USA||1950|
|45||Kay O'Connor NSW||1940|
|46||Kajsa Fröjd SWE||1930|
|47||Frank Campbell NSW||1920|
|48||Robert Black SA||1910|
|49||Margaret Reid NSW||1910|
|50||Trish Whitton NSW||1910|
|51||Sam Arber Vic||1900|
|52||Zbych Bednarek POL||1900|
|53||Toby Weinstein USA||1890|
|54||Barbara Hunter NSW||1890|
|55||Tim Runting Qld||1880|
|56||Manuel Paulo POR||1880|
|57||Dan Baker USA||1870|
|58||Bastiaan Korner NED||1870|
|59||Martyn Rew NZL||1860|
|60||Jim Thatcher NSW||1860|
|61||Pat O'Connor NSW||1850|
|62||David Johnson CAN||1850|
|63||Michael Burt ACT||1840|
|64||Pontus Silow SWE||1840|
|65||Tim Trahair NSW||1840|
|66||Ian Patterson Qld||1830|
|67||Ron Landgraff USA||1830|
John R Mayne USA||1810|
|69||Tania Black SA||1810|
|70||Andrew Macalister GBR||1810|
|71||Duncan Roe Vic||1800|
|72||Geof Brod USA||1790|
|73||Guy Herzmark GBR||1780|
|75||Rick Lu NSW||1770|
|76||Dan Wälivaara SWE||1760|
|77||Michael Davy Vic||1750|
|78||Alex Kemeny NSW||1750|
|Thank you to all the
readers and visitors
who entered this month's
to try your luck at the next set of problems, to be answered in the
December-January issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check
out your October-November issue to see what the experts said
about this month's hands.