Our final problem is a bit of a gamble, with the
outcome depending on whether EW can make 3NT. If they can, it seems likely we
can get out for 500 in 4, with a possible windfall if we can hold it to 200.
The panel and the readers were in
perfect alignment, with both teams voting 2:1 in favour of
Damo Nair: 4. The singleton club
and QT in North's suit makes bid 4.
David Matthews: 4. 3NT is definitely making so its an easy sacrifice hoping to go only
one or two off. Problem is they may go on with 4NT giving me another decision at the 5-level.
Graham Wakefield: 4. Confident they will make 3NT. Partner has signalled willingness to compete in two suits I have good holdings. Minus
three doubled seems very unlikely and (much) better days very possible.
Alan Jones: 4.
Hoping to be no more than two light.
Tania Black: 4.
Not expecting to make 10, nor willing to defend 3NT.
Bjarne Andersen: 4.
Hopefully cheaper than letting them win 3NT.
Duncan Roe: 4. 4 HCP + 3 length points again. If 4 fails, they could likely make 3NT so sacrifice would be worth it.
Peter Nuoristo: 4.
Spade support to my 7-cards! nice! 3NT may be home, 4
may be home or cheap.
Assuming everyone has
what they showed, then East knew his side's point range was
23-25. The fact that he chose to bid game suggests that he thinks
he has a source of tricks:
Tim Trahair: 4. East is prepared to go to 3NT with few HCP so my guess is that he has a 7-card suit possibly headed by the AK and knows West has at least
two of that suit. If so North may well have something like a 4-5-2-2 distribution. 4 will probably will prove to be a sacrifice and the question is can we make
Hans van Vooren: 4. I don't think this will make, but I just can't stand declarer's smug face while cashing his
seven club tricks.
Michael Burt: 4. The bidding suggests EW can run
nine tricks in the minors once in and hence are very likely to make 3NT. 4 will probably be two off and maybe only one off so go for 4.
Tony Treloar: 4. I think 4 is going
OK, my greatest fear is taking them out of a not making 3NT into a making 5-minor.
Martyn Rew: 4.
Quite likely to be up against the best part of nine tricks off the top in the minors.
Rainer Herrmann: 4. I hope I do not push them into a making minor suit slam.
Robert Black: 4. They have bid very confidently to 3NT, and East seems to have found a source of tricks, so I sacrifice.
Barbara Hunter: 4. Think they will make NT on minors with one spade stopper.
Phil Hocking: 4. If 3NT makes EW then making 4 or going off doubled
two or less is still a better score in IMPS for NS. EW are likely to have lots of clubs.
Peter Vlas: 4. If partner has anything we should be able to get away with max
3NT will be based on a long minor.
Wayne Somerville: 4. It looks like 3NT is making in the minors, and our hands look like they fit pretty well. I would only be a little surprised if both 3NT and 4 made (give partner Kxx-KJxxxx-x-Axx, opener having AJx of spades and responder
six reasonable diamonds).
Derek Pocock: 4. Looks as if 3NT will be made with the holding in the minor suits, so 4 should be a good sacrifice. If partner has single diamond and there's a winning finesse in spades, might well make 4. Problem is action over 5?
Ian McCance: Pass. 4 could well be profitable but I have no defence against minors.
A couple of those comments suggested the opponents
may have a better spot in East's minor. Here is the opposing view:
Fraser Rew: 4. On the one hand, you shouldn't save against 3NT, and you shouldn't act in front of partner when he's the strong hand. Against that, we have a 10-card fit, all my points are working, I have a shortage, I'm pretty sure 3NT is making, and I may push them into a non-making 5-minor.
David Kalnins: 4. I reckon 3NT will make and we will go for about 500. 800 is unlikely. The auction is not over and hopefully they will find a way for us to go plus!
There were a couple of comments
about our previous bidding:
Jacco Hop: 4. Probably
one off and I have no reason not to believe 3NT. Question why didn't I open something? For example 2?
Alexander Cook: Pass. I would have bid 2 (weak) the previous round.
Richard Morse: 4.
Rather wishing I'd opened 3.
Actually, if the bidding had
started 3, 3NT, our partner would be facing the problem
now. He has a massive hand; I think he would either double
3NT (-950), or bid 4 (and
if he's feeling cocky, redouble). Maybe that's
a problem for next month.
Margaret Reid: 4. We have a 10-card
fit so lets bid four.
Emil Battista: 4.
11 trumps so we should make 11 tricks. Does Larry concur? Or
should various adjustments be applied?
Well, that's not technically how
the Law works... You don't hear much about the Law's
approach to 3NT, but for those who are interested, here's a
The total number of tricks,
when they play in notrump
and we play in a suit
seven plus the number of our trumps.
Then there are adjustments for their
long suit (add one for each card beyond five) and for our
shortages (half for a singleton, one for a void).
So the total on this deal is
something like 7 + 10 (our spades) + 1 (for their assumed
6th club) + 1/2 (for our shortage) = about 19, meaning one of us should
make our contract.
(Note that I am assuming partner has
three trumps -- there is no reason why he would have four).
Jack Lai: 4.
Partner has three spades + five hearts leaving at most 5-card minor. 4 should be a good sacrifice.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 4.
No defense, might go only two off, three off will be but 5 imps against a making 3NT. Seems like a good investment and who knows: opposite the right 3613, this might even make.
John R Mayne: 4. We're off about five tricks here. -800 isn't the disaster, the disaster is when they've got to guess clubs for 3NT, but not for 5, if we push them there. Close call.
Par Ol-Mars: 4. Can be a good save or even make and 800 against 630 is not a disaster.
Leigh Matheson: 4. I can live with my decision if 3NT and 4 are both one off. Otherwise bidding is a big winner.
For the record, both sides one
off is actually 7 imps out:
Dan Baker: Pass. 4 is tempting, but I suspect that it only gains 3-4 IMPs when it's right (-500 vs -600 or 630) but loses at least 7 (-200 vs +100 or more) when it's wrong.
As a few people pointed out, that's even worse than going
for -800, which is only 4 or 5 imps out against the
presumably cold game.
And even if we do get out for -200
against a making game, that's just 9 imps in. So in reality
the upside is not much better than the downside.
Mick McAuliffe: Pass. 3NT might be shaky as
partner looks to have three spades, which should be plenty to give the lead back to you if have
heart control also. A sacrifice to 4 could be worse.
Kees Schaafsma: Pass. 3NT sounds like gambling to me. 4 may provoke 5 or 5 from East.
JC Clement: Pass. And hope to beat it. 4 is probably down
two, but can be worse.
Alan Boyce: Pass. My hand is missing too much in the top end so I'm taking the low road and trying to defeat 3NT. Also they may only be in a 23 HCP 3NT game
Ron Lel: Pass. Do you really want me to bid 4 vulnerable? I don't think so.
Roger Yandle: Pass. Ron Klinger says not to sacrifice against 3NT so I'll be interested to see his reply here.
You know your Klinger rules. That's the 2nd time you've
duplicated his comment:
Ron Klinger: In the short term, 4 might be right. In
the long term, sacrificing against 3NT is a losing
proposition. 4 is taking a sure minus, when there will be
enough days when we beat 3NT.
Alex Kemeny: Pass. Sacrificing against 3NT hardly ever works.
Michael Smart: Pass. East may well have a 1444 7 count and is stuck for a bid. We have a fit, so they have a fit. We could be beating 3NT with a minor game/slam cold, so not happy to sacrifice, especially when they know nothing about their suit holdings, only points schmoints.
Larry Brose: Pass. hope to defeat the contract by partner's entries in spades.
Richard Semmens: Pass. Not confident of beating 3NT with such poor spades, and 4 is likely to cost too much at this vulnerability.
Bridge Baron: Pass. The ten-card spade fit is nice, but where would we find the rest of the tricks in a 4 contract?
James Coutts: Pass. Tough hand. 4 could be costly if partner has three diamonds, and 3NT could be down on a bad club split if partner has three off-side. Also tempting to
double if that asks for a heart lead (or to hope they run to 4-minor where the stakes are lower). But I'll just go for the middle of the road action.
Barbara Whitmee: Pass before the doubling starts. They may only make eight tricks in 3NT.
And for the final word, here is
the little known footnote to Klinger's sacrifice rule:
Charles Scholl: 4. Don't sacrifice at IMPs unless it's
clearly right (such as here).
Although the votes happened to
fall heavily on the side of 4, I'm sure this was a close
decision for most people (hence the high score for the
The full deal, supplied by Michael
Wilkinson from the VCC:
Our 4 would be one off, with the
opponents making 4NT. They cannot make game in either minor.
For anyone who followed the Law
arithmetic above, it's interesting to note that there are
actually 19 total tricks available. Don't celebrate too soon
though; our assumption that East had a long suit was false,
so there should have been only 18 tricks.
There are also 19 tricks available
if we assume diamonds as trumps, which is consistent with
the trump count.
Thanks for joining me for another
forum, and congratulations to Jim Thatcher for this month's
only perfect score. We'll be back in December with the final issue
of the year. The questions for that issue are