Readers' Bidding Forum with Brad Coles -- November 2011

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) K2
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A6
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AQT
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KQJT82

 


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

 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3NT 100 52 15
Pass 90 29 37
2NT 60 14 14
Dbl 60 5 32
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 10 0 2
Other 0 0 1

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 images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)Q and images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)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. 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) by several tricks. If North has most of the missing HCP, game could be on for us but then we are likely to set 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) by more.

More, yes; but the last few overtricks will be purely for show.

Kees Schaafsma: Pass. Defending 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 Matchpoints.

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 situation:

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 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). But I do not know what we can make that beats 200.

Tom Moss: Pass. 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 Matchpoints 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. images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)QJ and images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)J) but its much more likely we'll end up in a partscore when we've got +200 defending.

Barbara Hunter: Pass. I feel I will get a better score this way, at equal vul.

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 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 suspect collusion?)

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 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 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 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) (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 Double Bay:

spades J85
hearts KJ1054 
diamonds 865
clubs 64
spades AQ63
hearts Q87
diamonds 72
clubs A753
spades 10974
hearts 932
diamonds KJ943
clubs 9
spades K2
hearts A6
diamonds AQ10
clubs KQJ1082

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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) by North (one off), two defended 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) (five off), and the others played in club partscores (making 4 or 5).


Hand Two - West deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AKQJ8
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A98
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) KJ
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KT8

 


West North East South
pass pass 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) dbl
pass 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) pass ?


 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 76 41
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 60 19 30
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 50 5 15
2NT 40 0 10
3NT 10 0 3
Other 0 0 1

On our second problem we have another big hand, and we need to decide just how big it is. Doubling followed by 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is a very strong action, and the panel voted for that in a landslide:

Nigel Guthrie, Robert Black: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Underbid, but you need a bit for game.

Wayne Somerville: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner has anything she will move over this; if not I am in a decent spot.

Barbara Hunter: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner now knows I'm strong, see if he has any thing else to say.

Don Hinchey: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). The forced 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 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: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I don't think I am strong enough to bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) which is the only alternative. If over 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) he bids 3 of either minor, pass may lead to poor contracts and to follow up with a forcing 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is not good, as already 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) might be to high.

Duncan Roe: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We forced partner to bid, and still don't know if he has any points. We could blast 3NT now, but try 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) first in case the spade game is superior.

Bridge Baron: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) are insane, and as much as I'd like to bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), 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: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). What the hand is worth, while anything else is an overbid. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Zbych Bednarek: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I have to check possibility of 3NT from partner's hand.

David Matthews: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner may have half a stopper and be able to bid notrumps.

Michael Smart: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Too big for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Intending to follow up with 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), wanting to give partner a shot at showing a half stop for 3NT. Can always retreat to spades. (partner will bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) with three spades and no half stopper).

Boris Richter: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Showing your strength, the preferred contract, not NT in this case, and spade length.

Daniel Skipper: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Aces aren't stops. I'd rather play in a 5-2 spade fit than 3NT.

Nigel Kearney: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) by us is much more of an overbid than 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is an underbid.

So exactly how strong is double then 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)? It has become stronger over the years, as the range of the simple 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Should only be a couple off if partner only holds 13 cards.

Dan Baker: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). The initial plan was to double and bid spades. I don't see any reason to change that plan. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) overcall range all the way to 21:   

Jacco Hop: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 very silly.

Here is another strong option, which received a third of the reader vote:

Alexander Cook: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). A 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid would show six spades. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) does not show the strength of the hand.

Murray Perrin: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If you bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) then bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), your spades are good enough in strength.

Ron Landgraff: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I play this as like an opening 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bid. Target is 3NT, 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If partner has a bust, we may go for a number. (Won't be the first time!!)

Michael Burt: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Forcing and should get a better idea if what is in partner's hand, if partner doesn't have hearts stopped.

Roger Yandle: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 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: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 3NT may be right. See what happens next.

Alex Kemeny: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I do have 21 HCP and I'd like to hear more from partner before committing.

Peter Lipp: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Want to know more about partner's hand. 3NT or 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) are still possible and I don't know which. Hope to know more soon.

Kees Schaafsma: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Now pard may bid either 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), showing three spades or 2NT with a heart stopper or of course he may bid at the 3-level. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is also forcing but less flexible.

One advantage of 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is that if partner can reinforce our heart stopper, we may get to an excellent 3NT instead of a poor 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), even with a 5-3 spade fit.

Charles Scholl: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If partner has as little as xx-Qxx-Qxxxx-Jxx we should make 3NT. If partner rebids diamonds I'll stop.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Too strong for just 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner has to bid again. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Leigh Matheson: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Followed by 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) -- lands us in 3NT when partner has a second heart stopper and 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) when he doesn’t.

Martyn Rew: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Almost eight tricks cold. A stopper in hearts (as opposed to a heart stopper) would make nine for no trumps and 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) KJT74
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 93
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AK7
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AQ9

 


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

 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3NT 100 86 31
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 70 14 42
Dbl 30 0 24
Pass 10 0 2

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. 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) could work out better but we can't have everything and experience tells me 3NT is the percentage action.

Leigh Matheson: 3NT. Bidding 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) works fine when partner has spade support... and fails dismally when he doesn’t.

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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) unlikely to play better (probably distributed badly).

Charles Scholl: 3NT. Too many ways to make 3NT when 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is down, and 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) might not be any safer.

Michael Smart: 3NT. With a double stopper, prefer 3NT to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

John R. Mayne: 3NT. What else? 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is playing for more of a parlay.

The readers did see this as a three-horse race, and the top vote went to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) by a nose. 

Alex Kemeny: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Six losers, respectable suit. Have to take action.

Kees Schaafsma: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Vernes Law, 15 total tricks and 16 points warrant bidding.

Tony Treloar: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). With weak majors and 7 HCP in diamonds seems right to devalue the hand a little.

Robert Black: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). A sound overcall, I hope.

Par Ol-Mars: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is not only that it's "heavy"; it's more that it makes it impossible to reach 3NT (and vice versa).

Dan Baker: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) overcall.

Ron Landgraff: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Accurate description of this hand. I am not taking a flying leap into 3NT vul, with a heart suit like mine.

Daniel Skipper: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). But I'm not going to pretend I like it.

Don Hinchey: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bidders mentioned that they had included Double in their considerations...

Michael Burt: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Roger Yandle: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Dbl or 3NT could also be right. I guess I'll find out once dummy goes down.

Frank Campbell: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Double (followed by 3NT over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)) might be right but I'll bid what I've got.

... while others were more dismissive:

Ron Lel: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I don't like 3NT and I have to bid with this. Double is absurd, of course.

Manuel Paulo: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). With only two hearts I reject a takeout double, and spades are not solid to risk 3NT.

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 3NT/4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Not sure about this one, but double is out (doubleton heart). It is a toss up between 3NT and 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

At the table South did choose Double, which received a quarter of the readers votes but no panellists:

David Matthews: Dbl. 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is just too weak and partner will not visualize a 17 point hand. So I will start with double and bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Tania Black: Dbl. And 3NT after partner's 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Emil Battista: Dbl. Cannot stomach 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or pass. If partner bids 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), axed, then I might have to pretend images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)7 is images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)7.

Barbara Hunter: Dbl. Hope partner doesn't bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Pat O'Connor: Dbl. I will bid 3NT over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Duncan Roe: Dbl. If 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) comes back, bid 3NT.

Tim Trahair: Dbl. If North can manage 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) we can chance 3NT.

Peter Lipp: Dbl. Partner might pass 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), 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 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over my double, I raise to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner commits to game showing spades (either by bidding 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) for the majors), I would make a slam try. The only really difficult bid I could get from partner over the double is 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Should I now pass risking to play in a 4-2-fit, or should I bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), and I chose to bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Not a triumph as partner's hand was images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)xx images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)KQJTx images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)T9xx images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)Kx.


Hand Four - South deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) Q5432
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 3
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AJT9865
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) ---

 


West North East South
      ?

 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
Pass 100 40 57
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 90 5 2
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 80 32 10
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 80 18 18
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 60 5 4
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 30 0 4
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 10 0 4
Other 0 0 1
 

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: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). This is an opening bid, so I start with my longest suit. Easy game.

Sam Arber: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Pass or 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Prefer to open, may be harder to get suits in later.

Tim Trahair: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). We have a freak distribution. Enough to manage an opening bid but too strong for 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Margaret Reid: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Have to bid with 7-5; intend (hope) to show spades in due course, or else rebid diamonds.

Rainer Herrmann: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I refuse to pass or preempt with this type of 5 loser hand.

Toby Weinstein: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Pass and hope to show both suits.

Martyn Rew: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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.

1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 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 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes); 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) could easily buy it and be right, and 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) has plenty of offense and some defense. Lesser preempts seem seriously misguided.

Many passers did not mention 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

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 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 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: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). In our system we could open 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) (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 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 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 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)).

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. Including:

Duncan Roe: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Show the spades if partner is strong enough to take action.

Zbych Bednarek: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 7 card suiter is worth bid it. Forget the spades.

Larry Brose: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I can take five diamonds and two spades (probably) so I need help from partner. If I bid 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) then opponents can communicate.

Nigel Kearney: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) but there is too much risk that will end the auction on hands where be belong in spades.

Dan Baker: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Obviously can be very wrong, but what's the alternative? 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), 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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I don't see any other bid.

Emil Battista: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I think Paul Marston would bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) - and he is a slightly better player than me.

There was also a significant amount of reader support for opening 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), which didn't fare so well in the awards. I can appreciate what the 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 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 one:

spades 10
hearts A2 
diamonds Q2
clubs AQJ108752
spades J986
hearts K9874
diamonds K43
clubs 3
spades AK7
hearts QJ1065
diamonds 7
clubs K964
spades Q5432
hearts 3
diamonds AJ109865
clubs ---

Three NS pairs got to the 6-level (800 or worse), while the other pairs were doubled in 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) for smaller penalties.

Then in the Bermuda Bowl semi-final we saw the same hand again (with the spadesQ and diamondsA swapped):

spades AJ852
hearts --- 
diamonds QJ109842
clubs 2
spades Q73
hearts A953
diamonds K7
clubs AK105
spades 104
hearts Q762
diamonds A3
clubs Q9873
spades K96
hearts KJ1084
diamonds 65
clubs J64

All four Norths opened 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) (Joe Grue, Norberto Bocchi, Bas Drijver, Martin Fleisher) with three of them ending in the cold 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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 spades3. 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.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) Q43
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 6
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) KQ843
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) T762

West North East South
    2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 1 pass
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) dbl pass ?

1. Weak, both majors, 5+4+ either way.
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
4NT 100 48 22
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 90 33 45
Pass 60 19 28
Other 0 0 5

Our final problem is another of our 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)-4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Tim Trahair: 4NT. Pick a suit, preferably a minor. The system has negative doubles up to 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I don’t know whether North has asked if 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is preemptive and I can't, nor is there any footnote so its a guess. If 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is not preemptive I pass.

Frank asks if 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). With these soft values 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) could easily make. 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is a two-way shot, could be a good sac or it may make.

Robert Black: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). E-W seem to have found a fit, and partner has made a takeout double, or is reading another system card.

Nigel Guthrie: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). ...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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I take out my partner's takeout doubles. This could easily be a double game swing.

Jacco Hop: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Bidding my best suit over partner's takeout doubles usually serves me well. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is a trick cheaper but is a known bad break, even assuming partner has five (which he likely does not).

Duncan Roe: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Double of 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is still takeout, so bid my best suit.

Alex Kemeny: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner looks to be very strong and I have a decent 8 loser hand with some shape.

Peter Lipp: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Not sure we can stand 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)x.

Wayne Somerville: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) bidders didn't think it appropriate to leave the choice for partner, citing various dangers in the 4NT bid:

Alexander Cook: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A 4NT bid could leave you in a 4-3 fit at the five level when you have a diamond fit.

Fraser Rew: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Pass is crazy and if (when?) he bids 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) over 4NT I'll have a nagging feeling that maybe we're in the wrong spot.

Daniel Skipper: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Really? I'm not bidding 4NT with this suit disparity, and the probable stiff-v-stiff doesn't make life better. I think 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is standout.

Murray Perrin: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). It is a toss up between 4NT, pick your best minor partner, or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I chose 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 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 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) doubled, and only +38.33 on average playing 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

A few people commented that over this 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) convention, partner should not have doubled with both minors:

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 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)p and 4NT.

Sam Arber: Pass. if partner wanted to play in minor would bid 4NT seems more penalty although could be 5234 shape with five spades.

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 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) contract by us. In fact, I saw a hand recently where an opponent made a legit 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) opening (his suit was Jxxxx), and our only making slam was 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 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 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 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:

spades A97
hearts A73
diamonds A105
clubs AQ54
spades J10
hearts KQ954
diamonds 2
clubs KJ983
spades K8652
hearts J1082
diamonds J976
clubs ---
spades Q43
hearts
diamonds KQ843
clubs 10762
     
West North East South
    2diamonds pass
4hearts dbl pass 4NT
pass 5clubs pass pass
dbl

  all pass

 

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 accordingly. 

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.

 

Top scores for October 2011
1Dean Pokorny CRO490
2Conny Wahlgren SWE490
3Tom Moss NSW490
4Gareth Birdsall GBR490
5Wayne Somerville IRL480
6Jacco Hop NED480
7Valter Johansson SWE480
8Damo Nair USA480
9Rainer Herrmann GER470
10Manuel Paulo POR460
11Peter Nuoristo SWE460
12Elin L Claessen SWE460
13Ron Lel LAO460
14Ig Nieuwenhuis NED450
15Mark Laforge IND450
17Robert Black SA450
18Michael Smart ACT450
19Robert Bäck SWE450
20R Samuel Leopold Stein 450
21Charles Scholl USA450
22Tim Runting Qld450
23Bram Amsel BEL440
24Tom Kiss NSW440
25Margaret Reid NSW440
26Jim Thatcher NSW440
27Paul Freeland NZL440
28David Woulds GBR440
29Gary Lane NSW430
30Michael Wilkinson NSW430
31Paul Janicki CAN430
32Toby Weinstein USA430
33Don Hinchey USA430
35 John R Mayne USA420
36Michael Yuen NSW420
37Tom Rushford Vic420
38Christer Enkvist SWE420
39Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN420
40Daniel Skipper NZL420
41Murray Perrin Qld420
42Nigel Guthrie GBR420
43Par Ol-Mars THA420
44Leigh Matheson NSW420
45Peter Qvist DEN420
46Kees Schaafsma NED 420
47Peter Vlas NED420
48Geof Brod USA420
49Duncan Roe Vic410
50Tom Estenson USA410
51Bruce Ballard NZL410
52Leigh Blizzard Tas400
53Alan Jones Qld400
54Nigel Kearney NZL400
55Tim Trahair NSW400
56Sam Arber Vic400
57Trish Whitton NSW400
58Vedran Zoric CRO 400
59Kay O'Connor NSW400
60Alexander Cook NSW400
61Dominic Connolly NSW400
62Pontus Silow SWE390
63Arthur Porter SA390
64Niek Van Vucht ACT390
65Frank Campbell NSW390
66John Moser CAN390
67Tony Treloar Qld390
68Bridge Baron USA390
69David Matthews WA380
71Roger Yandle NSW380
72John Evans Vic380
73Kajsa Fröjd SWE380
74Fredrik Jarlvik SWE380
75Jack Lai HKG380
76Alex Kemeny NSW380
77Andrew Macalister GBR380
78David Winter Vic380
79Bastiaan Korner NED380
80Fraser Rew NZL370
82Barbara Hunter NSW370

Leading scores for 2011
1Dean Pokorny CRO2320
2Jacco Hop NED2290
3Gareth Birdsall GBR2290
4Mark Laforge IND2270
5Nigel Guthrie SCO2250
6Conny Wahlgren SWE2240
7Valter Johansson SWE2220
8Wayne Somerville IRL2180
9Ron Lel LAO2170
10Leigh Matheson NSW2170
11Tom Moss NSW2160
12Rainer Herrmann GER2160
13Nigel Kearney NZL2150
14Fredrik Jarlvik SWE2140
15Paul Janicki CAN2140
16Ig Nieuwenhuis NED2140
17Peter Stride Qld2120
18Dominic Connolly NSW2110
19Tom Estenson USA2110
20Bram Amsel BEL2100
21Henri De Jong Vic2090
22Par Ol-Mars THA2080
23Paul Freeland NZL2060
24Roger Yandle NSW2060
25Peter Vlas NED2050
26Tony Treloar Qld2050
27Murray Perrin Qld2040
28Damo Nair USA2040
29Arthur Porter SA2040
30Peter Nuoristo SWE2030
31Tom Rushford Vic2030
32Michael Yuen NSW2030
33Fraser Rew NZL2020
34Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN2020
35Leigh Blizzard Tas2000
36Charles Scholl USA2000
37Gary Lane NSW2000
38Tom Kiss NSW1990
39Peter Qvist DEN1990
40Peter Tarlinton NSW1990
41Derek Pocock WA1980
42Niek Van Vucht ACT1980
43Rick Giles USA1950
44Jack Lai HKG1940
45Kay O'Connor NSW1940
46Kajsa Fröjd SWE1930
47Frank Campbell NSW1920
48Robert Black SA1910
49Margaret Reid NSW1910
50Trish Whitton NSW1910
51Sam Arber Vic1900
52Zbych Bednarek POL1900
53Toby Weinstein USA1890
54Barbara Hunter NSW1890
55Tim Runting Qld1880
56Manuel Paulo POR1880
57Dan Baker USA1870
58Bastiaan Korner NED1870
59Martyn Rew NZL1860
60Jim Thatcher NSW1860
61Pat O'Connor NSW1850
62David Johnson CAN1850
63Michael Burt ACT1840
64Pontus Silow SWE1840
65Tim Trahair NSW1840
66Ian Patterson Qld1830
67Ron Landgraff USA1830
68 John R Mayne USA1810
69Tania Black SA1810
70Andrew Macalister GBR1810
71Duncan Roe Vic1800
72Geof Brod USA1790
73Guy Herzmark GBR1780
74Don Hinchey USA1780
75Rick Lu NSW1770
76Dan Wälivaara SWE1760
77Michael Davy Vic1750
78Alex Kemeny NSW1750
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 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.