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December 2018

Readers' Bidding Forum with Nigel Kearney, December 2018

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, Frank Stewart,
Eddie Kantar, and Zia Mahmood, as well as many top Australian players.

The moderators of this forum are Brad Coles, Fraser Rew and Nigel Kearney.
This month's moderator is Nigel Kearney.

Click here to submit        
answers for February      

                Scroll down to see final scores
Hand One - North deals, both vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AKQ5
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) AK2
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) KT2
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) QJ9

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


Call Award %
Dbl 100 38 8
2NT 90 19 9
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 70 25 24
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 70 13 23
3NT 40 6 5
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 40 0 9
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 20 0 22

Welcome back. There are lots of competitive judgement decisions this month, which are my favourite ones.

On the first problem we have an eight-card spade fit and enough to invite game. The simple approach is to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes):

Brad Johnston: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). The free 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) rebid reassures me that my clubs are likely wastepaper, but I'm too strong for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes); have too many spades for a notrump rebid; and can't drive to game. Hence 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Peter Vlas: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Although partner may be pointless with three spades I want to make a statement without jumping to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner should be able to take the right call.

Neil M. Silverman: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Going low. Probably wont do well in the scoring but at table could be big winner.

Tania Black: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Could lose four tricks quickly if partner has three clubs, and 2 or 3 points of the outstanding 5.

Robb Gordon: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Devaluing club holding.

Our club holding is at risk of being ruffed out and we can avoid that with this choice:

Brian Lawless: 2NT. Partner need have no values at all. This bid must show a very powerful hand. I'm concerned about the club ruff if playing in spades.

Fraser Rew: 2NT. I can say from experience that raising spades on this hand doesn't go well.

Dan Baker: 2NT. Partner hasn't promised anything at all. Five spades to nothing would give me eight easy tricks, but I need a red-suit honor as well to get to nine. At IMPs I think I'd have to bid 3NT anyway, but less need to push at Matchpoints.

Alex Kemeny: 2NT. Shows 19-21 balanced. A contract of 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will probably start with images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)A, images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)K, club ruff, images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)A so let's angle for NT for now.

Ron Lel: 2NT. This is a very difficult problem. Partner is marked with nothing. I would like to bid 3NT and playing IMPs I might. My reason for avoiding a spade contract is that I can see a club ruff looming. So, what to bid? At MPs I will double, and then bid 2NT over partner's 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and reconsider if partner bids something else.

John R Mayne: 2NT. This is right on values, and partner can still rebid spades when right, or sometimes when wrong. Partner with Jxxxxx-xx-xx-Txx is off quickly in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), while 3NT is a heavy favorite.

Phillip Alder and Frank Stewart in the magazine make the point that even just five small spades and the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)J may be enough for 3NT, as RHO will be strip-squeezed if holding the heart queen and we are likely to know his club length so there will be no guess.

But on the other hand, something like xxxx-xxx-Qxxx-xx will usually make 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and might even survive a 4-1 spade break, while 2NT has no play. A 4-4 fit very often plays a trick better.

A. K. Simon: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I need a magic hand opposite to make game. Playing in spades, I expect to take one more trick than in notrump.

Michael Burt: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). It will be difficult to make game - bail out at a low level. Spades could well be one trick better than notrumps.

Robert Black: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). West and North are broke. I need all five missing points from partner to make a game; and most of them to make eight tricks.

This could work and may even be the percentage action, though it will nearly always end the auction and risks a bottom when partner does have enough for game. The room will be bidding more so even down one in 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) could be a good score if partner has nothing.

Christine Chandler: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Cue raise and shows strong spade support; partner to correct to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if minimum or 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) with 6+ HCPs.

Sayantan Konar: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Extra strength.

Cathy Hocking: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Fit showing cue bid for partner's spade suit can cuebid from there. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) should be on at least.

Niek Van Vucht: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Forcing for one round, will pass 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) response.

David Matthews: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If partner can do no better than bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) then that is where we will play.

Tony Treloar: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Let's find out if partner is alive. Unlikely they have a club stopper given what we know but no harm in finding out.

Murray Perrin: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Meaning four-card support and 20 plus bid game if you have some shape eg 5431/4333 and with no points/shape bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Sam Arber: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). One more enquiry, partner sure to be weak. Will be in game but maybe 3NT not 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Phil Hocking: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Pard should be <8HCP and a 9+loser. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) shows four-card support for Pard with game going strength and allows pard to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if they are a bust.

David Caprera: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner may let you down but you should always play him for a trick.

Emil Battista: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner, do you just have 13 cards or a little more to show? 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) too wimpy and 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is still reachable after partner bids over 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Patrice Fincias: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Showing a very strong hand. Partner can have a Yarborough and could be even too high at the three-level.

Tim Trahair: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Shows four-card spade support and forces partner to bid again. Game should be on and if partner can manage more than 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), we could look for slam.

Todd Holes: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Would like to roll the dice with 3NT, but 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) can't hurt along the way.

The 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bidders have different intentions, from looking for slam to possibly stopping in a part score. Some are setting spades and others are leaving the choice of strain open. If notrump is right I think we have to bid it first. Partner doesn't know our hand so even with images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)Kxx he is unlikely to prefer notrump to a 4-4 spade fit.

The most aggressive choice is:

Nigel Guthrie: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Crude but shows values.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). hoping for one red queen and the images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)J (to overruff West in the 3rd trick).

Peter Lipp: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Not sure I have nine tricks in notrump and not sure who is short in clubs.

Martyn Rew: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Picking here that partner has 0-4 points, hopefully with a shortage in clubs. Unfortunately partner will be playing this one, but images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)A will likely be with East which should make the images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)K good.

Alan Jones: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Safer than 3NT. Partner must have four spades (at least) since he can't have the dreaded 3-3-3-4.

Dean Pokorny: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Seeking for 3NT is too speculative. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will be an OK game if partner holds 1-2 clubs, as he is expected to.

Bastiaan Korner: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). What else?

Nobody provided an example where an immediate 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is necessary. My view is that partner will bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on nearly all hands where we want to be there. The people who will go down in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), either by bidding it immediately or after 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), are the reason I expect a decent score for bidding 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and don't need to take a risky action such as 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 2NT.

There were also some doublers:

David Appleton: Dbl. Agreements? I think 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is most four-card support, so double includes the 16+ raises. I prefer 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) as an unbalanced hand. One option is 2NT, 19-21. Summary: probably better to start double, but after a two-level call from partner, we will have to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Rainer Herrmann: Dbl. I intend to follow up with a jump or raise to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) Nevertheless game is not very likely, but I can hardly do less.

Roger Yandle: Dbl. I'm concerned 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will start images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)A, images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)K club ruff, images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)A so I won't commit to that just yet. Maybe 3NT will be a better bet - give partner Jxxxx-Qx-xxx-xxx. If partner rebids spades I'll try 2NT hopefully showing a very strong balanced hand.

This may be a partnership style issue. To me, double suggests doubt about strain, not AKQx support, and is unlikely to elicit useful information or inform partner. However it was the most popular expert choice.

Hand Two - West deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) QT743
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) Q4
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) KQ4
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 987

West North East South
pass 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) dbl 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) pass
pass 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) pass ?


Call Award %
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 100 50 27
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 90 31 10
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 30 6 16
Pass 10 13 37
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 10 0 7
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 10 0 2
Other 0 0 1

Our red suit honours will be very useful, and therefore our hand is much better than partner will expect, so I really dislike this choice:

Peter Lipp: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Give partner the chance to bid four.

John R Mayne: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Keeping the ball in play; partner with xx-AKTxx-AJTxx-x has play for 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), and partner will push on with a little more than that. I prefer 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to passing. 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is just too rich - partner's looking at her heart cards, and a bad break is likely.

Michael Burt: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner is bidding on shape rather than points. 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is not without risk but it might get us to the only game that makes.

Tania Black: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner is shapely, but has not forced me to bid.

Tim Trahair: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Promises two hearts and moderate values. If EW bid to 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) we can show diamond support

Todd Holes: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Showing Hx, not giving up yet.

3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is giving up because partner is going to pass it like a shot. We've heard him bid red suits three times and it's up to us to recognize the value of our hand. Partner won't take a fourth unilateral action opposite simple preference even with something like x-AKxxxx-AJxxx-x. We could have QJxxx-xx-xx-Qxxx but he'll be hoping for a bit more so he can struggle home in 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Pass is not much better but is at least a safer partscore and was also chosen by two of the expert panel. (One of those, Frank Stewart, passed mainly because he objected to our previous pass over 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). He thought it would be undisciplined to pass then and bid now. - Brad)

Cathy Hocking: Pass. East has doubled and West had a free bid. I can't see 3NT making with the opps bidding clubs, and also can't see 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) making.

Christine Chandler: Pass. Game is unlikely so happy to play for partscore.

Peter Vlas: Pass. I don't believe in 3NT here and with a flat hand this should be enough.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. I don't see a realistic chance for game, though partner may have xx-AKxxx-Axxxx-x. Then there are ten tricks if hearts break or he has the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)J as well. But bidding for the magic hand...

Tony Treloar: Pass. looks like the right spot.

Phil Hocking: Pass. No need to complicate life anymore.

Murray Perrin: Pass. Partner is bidding shape 5-5, don't hang them for doing this.

Brad Johnston: Pass. We probably aren't making game; there are a lot of points in this deck, so it sounds like there's distribution. Partner didn't double 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), so probably 1-6-5-1? But on repeated black suit leads with hearts not breaking you may well get tapped off. My diamonds are better than my hearts, and partner may just have a weird 5-5 hand; I want an assured fit.

David Caprera: Pass. Yes, that vul game siren is crying out to me but I know that it is her trick to get me to crash on the rocks. If partner has the hand that really makes game, they had stronger actions available.

I don't know what those stronger actions are. Anyway I would be hoping for a minimum opening with 11 red cards. With only 10 red cards 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would be very pushy and we might still have some play for game.

People who submit more than one set of answers always run the risk of some light mockery:

Martyn Rew #1: Pass. Hard to see enough to go to game here.

Martyn Rew #2: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If Partner has no more than three black cards, slam could be on, but I will leave that for partner to think about.

From partscore to possible slam is quite an upgrade. I prefer the second evaluation and others also bid 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes):

David Matthews: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Have to give partner a boost. I am much better than I might be with diamond and heart support.

Roger Yandle: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). it looks like all the suits are splitting badly so I'm going to encourage partner without going overboard.

Ron Lel: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Three good cards in partner's suits, we are vulnerable and it's the real form of the game, not MPs. I cannot resist a vulnerable game and partner will not be able to pick me for these cards. 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and pass happily if partner bids 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

I'd still like to do a bit more to encourage partner to try 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Our Qx is big. For me it is between the scientific 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and the simple and natural 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Robb Gordon: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Gives partner a chance to try 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) while inviting in diamonds.

Neil M. Silverman: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I have a great hand now and feel I owe partner a bid. He might work out that I am bringing both hearts and diamonds into play.

Fraser Rew: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I was happy to defend 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), so this should be choice of games, rather than a slam try. I know game will often go off, but vulnerable at IMPs, the bonus is too much temptation.

David Appleton: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If even I think pass is wimpy, time to bid. Further, partner ought to be better than just AKxxx and Axxxx. Since I want to offer a raise, why not try to involve partner, it he has images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)AKJxx and images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)A, maybe he will offer 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) now.

Brian Lawless: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This must offer partner a choice of red-suit games.

Rainer Herrmann: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I hope partner will understand this as a choice between the red suits. Partner's hearts could be weak or he could have six diamonds.

I answered 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) on the panel for reasons similar to Rainer's, but now prefer 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This must show a doubleton heart honour because three cards in hearts is not consistent with our previous auction. We must also have a hand that has improved, hence diamond values. 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) does leave hearts as an option but we might have xx not Qx which is a big difference.

Kees Schaafsma: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). A no-brainer opposite x(x)-AKJxx(x)-Axxxx-xx, I just lack the room to ask for the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)J.

Sam Arber: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Go for game 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) seems better than 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Patrice Fincias: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I have three key cards in partner's suits. No defensive force available for my partner.

Emil Battista: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I will be ready for post mortem when 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) fails and 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is a make. expect partner to be 6511 or 6520 - with six hearts, of course.

Robert Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If partner does not have six hearts they should be good ones. We could lose three tricks in the black suits in 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Dean Pokorny: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Let's make a vulnerable game if partner's hand is something like: Jx-AKJxx-AJxxx-x.

Alex Kemeny: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). My red cards are fantastic. Not too worried about partner getting forced in clubs, he can force them back with diamonds if necessary.

A. K. Simon: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Not much wastage here. I hope hearts don't break TOO badly...

Peter Nuoristo: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner seems to have 56 in hearts and diamonds (or 65?), hopefully x-AKxxx-Axxxxx-x.

Zbych Bednarek: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner showed at least 5-5 in the reds. My support images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)KQ and images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Q looks excellent.

Nigel Guthrie: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Tells partner that his 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) bid improved my hand.

Dan Baker: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If partner has xx-AKJxx-AJxxx-x, 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is a great contract. His hand can't be too much worse than that, and it could be better. Even with my spade values wasted, those fitting red honours (and the scoring) make this too tempting.

Thirteen out of sixteen of the expert panel chose either 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Our hand is now too good to stop in a partscore.

Hand Three - East deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 542
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) QT854
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) T632
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) A

West North East South
    2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) * pass
pass 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) pass pass
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) dbl pass 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) pass pass ?

   2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) = weak with spades and a minor.  

Call Award %
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 100 56 68
Dbl 70 25 20
Pass 30 13 13
6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 10 6 0

It's unfortunate things have gone this far without us ever saying the word 'diamonds'. Now it is getting a bit high but we have one last chance to support partner. This was the clear majority choice of both readers and experts.

David Caprera: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A good partnership question is whether double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), and then correcting clubs to diamonds, is a good hand or just equal level conversion. (For us, it would not promise extras.)

Dan Baker: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Big double-fits are nice. The one warning sign is West's failure to raise spades; it's possible we have three quick spade losers or two plus a ruff, while we have three cashing aces against 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). But I'm willing to risk trading +50 for -50 to take a shot at 400.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Chances of this making are too good. Why did I not raise to 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) immediately?

Tim Trahair: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Giving partner a choice of contracts.

Patrice Fincias: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Good fit in diamonds, only one sure trick in defense. I prefer to compete.

Neil M. Silverman: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Hard to see this auction happening but whatever partner and West are doing 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) has to have some play.

Robert Black: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Have I met this West before? He comes in at the four-level opposite a weak partner, yet North cannot double for penalties.

Peter Lipp: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I am forced to guess and have more than promised.

Fraser Rew: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I hardly ever bid five-over-five. But if not now, when?

Robb Gordon: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I have never seen this auction before.

Roger Yandle: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I know the five-level belongs to the opponents but something tells me this isn't the time to test that out.

A. K. Simon: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I would have raised diamonds at my 2nd turn.

Brian Lawless: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Must be cheaper than a making 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), which is certainly possible. We don't have much defence and 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) may even make.

Rainer Herrmann: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). North is more likely to hold three hearts and six diamonds for this bidding and it could be crucial that North declares.

Cathy Hocking: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Not vulnerable partner does not agree with my suit. Hopefully 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) will make or it is a good sacrifice.

Murray Perrin: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner has shown a good hand with the double (no real heart support) so support with 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

John R Mayne: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). The five-level belongs to us this time.

Tony Treloar: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). This feels a little like insurance and neither 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) can make but for some reason I find myself bidding it.

Ron Lel: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). This should have some play.

Nigel Guthrie: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Too little, too late?

Tania Black: 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). We seem to have a fit, and the opponents seem both to be weak, yet partner cannot double 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Much will depend on partner's major suit holdings. If he has Qxx-AKx-AKxxxx-x, 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) will lose the first three tricks, but if it is Axx-AJx-AKxxxx-x we might even make 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). It looks like the double will get us at least 100 and often 300 so maybe we should just take a sure plus:

Dean Pokorny: Dbl. Even if partner's hand is as good as Axx-Kxx-AKJxxx-x, 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) might not make. Let's leave the five-level to the opponents.

Alex Kemeny: Dbl. I am taking whatever is on offer against 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) rather than risk going to the five-level with my semi-balanced hand. Partner rates to have a 3-4-5-1 shape and about six losers.

Martyn Rew: Dbl. Seems like a sacrifice here, but bidding 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) looks very unsafe. Take what can be made here.

Todd Holes: Dbl. Take my plus.

David Appleton: Dbl. We have likely 3-3 spades. So partner is likely 3-3-6-1, as with 3-4-5-1 I suspect double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is more attractive. Even if Axx-AJx-AQJxxx-x, when 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is possible, spade issues make me prefer double.

Some chose to just pass:

David Matthews: Pass. Anything could be right here - the lack of an original double by partner is troubling. West must be short in spades and the opposition must have a huge club fit. 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is likely down so I will just defend.

Peter Vlas: Pass. I seem to have hit the jackpot with 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), but with this flat hand I fear too many losers. Especially spades seem dangerous.

Emil Battista: Pass. Partner did not double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) opening and did not double 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I have one sure trick but, is that enough to double? Bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)? I think not. squeak, squeak

Michael Burt: Pass. West has not supported spades which suggests we have spade losers and will go down at the five-level. West passed the first time but has bid to the five-level. It has the look of being a sacrifice but might not be in practice.

This seems unduly pessimistic. Partner's double at the four-level without encouragement from me ought to be a decent hand and LHO bid to 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) all by himself after choosing to pass 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Down two seems more likely than making and we may have a game to protect.

The full deal:

spades Q96
hearts AKJ6
diamonds AK987
clubs J
spades K8
hearts 92
diamonds QJ4
clubs K85432
spades AJ1073
hearts 73
diamonds 5
clubs Q10976
spades 542
hearts Q10854
diamonds 10632
clubs A

West's 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is two off, but a good sacrifice against our 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We can't make anything at the five-level. Despite all the criticism of the auction by the expert panellists, every call (so far) has improved or maintained its side's score (with the possible exception of 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), which improved West's score from -130 to -50, but allowed NS to find 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)). - BC.

Hand Four - West deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) J98
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A85
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 7
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AJ9753

West North East South
1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ?
Call Award %
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 100 56 37
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 90 19 7
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 70 0 25
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 50 19 3
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 40 6 1
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 20 0 16
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 0 0 10
Other 0 0 1

With our strength and shape opposite a vulnerable overcall, we're worth about three and half spades, so two actions I definitely would not choose are:

Cathy Hocking: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Fit with partner's suit, but not willing to go over 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Just being competitive.

Peter Vlas: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) would show spade support I would choose that, but I'm not sure about AB Standard on this. So I pick the cheap way out.

Phil Hocking: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Minimum rebid with 8-loser and we are red?

Kees Schaafsma: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I'll take the blame. I wish I could bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) as a fit-bid.

Our club suit might be key to making the right decision if they compete in hearts. If partner's values are in clubs and an opponent is short, that will reduce our defensive tricks. But if partner's values are in diamonds, the hand is more of a misfit which would suggest defending. This is the reasoning behind fit-jumps:

Nigel Guthrie: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Fit-jump.

Brad Johnston: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This is a fit-bid, showing a spade fit and a source of tricks in clubs. The hand's not perfect, with relatively bad clubs and only three spades, but if I bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) I may not have a cheap chance to show my spades (especially if 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is non-forcing).

I don't believe fit-jumps are part of AB standard. 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) as a splinter is a poor description of our hand, but 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is an option:

Patrice Fincias: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Splinter: short in diamonds and good hand in order to help partner in case opponents pushing at the five-level.

With a fourth trump this would be ideal. It could still work though.

If we want to show clubs, we can just bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and support spades later. No experts chose this but plenty of readers did. It is not clear how many believed it was forcing and how many were just hoping for another turn.

Michael Burt: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). All my points and cards look like they are working and game could well be on despite only having around 22 points between us. I need partner to have club support or six spades. Hopefully 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) will give me a better idea of whether game is actually on or not.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). And I will support spades over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Fraser Rew: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I like this hand enough to bid it twice. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is good for diagnosing a double fit, and it's not always at 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) when it gets back to me.

Martyn Rew: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I suspect that 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is ultimately where this will end up but I need to show partner that he has options as well, before we get there.

David Appleton: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Then 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) as a slam try. Also prefer a splinter to have four-card support.

Sam Arber: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Should imply spade support.

Robb Gordon: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Spades aren't good enough for a fit-jump.

Brian Lawless: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This must show spade support in a goodish hand.

A. K. Simon: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This should help us judge if and when they bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Ron Lel: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). A 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) fit-non-jump would be ideal but AB Standard has not adopted that yet. Nevertheless this is what I am bidding. If 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) gets back to me I will bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If pd bids 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and this comes to me I will also bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If it goes all pass, (I believe 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is non forcing), I will feign a stomach ache and give this hand to a kibitzer to play.

When you bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) next partner will have a pretty good picture. But I don't see why 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) would not end the auction if partner has a moderate 5-2-4-2 or something similar. Of course somebody will usually bid and you might make 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) but not 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). The assertion that 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) suggests spade support seems like wishful thinking though. There are more straightforward ways to support spades:

Roger Yandle: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I have a good spade raise so I will tell partner about it.

Christine Chandler: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). As NS is vulnerable, I'd expect partner's overcall of 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) to be equal to an opening hand, so I'd bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) as a cue raise to show that I'm happy to play in 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if they're a basic bid or 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if they have something extra.

Emil Battista: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Fit showing? Stopper asking? Prepared to bid 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), or double 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). No rush to decide.

Murray Perrin: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Good spade support and 9-10 points in support. Don't splinter with only three spades.

Alex Kemeny: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I don't want to jump to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) which may punish a partner who has made a minimal overcall. If pard retreats to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), I will pass.

Dean Pokorny: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If I had 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 10 HCP in a balanced hand, I would bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). However, with such a good hand as 3316, I owe my partner at least a game try.

John R Mayne: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Invitational in spades; I don't see the sequence to show partner this hand properly without being more slam-encouraging than I like.

David Caprera: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Looks like a good limit raise. Need to show support.

Tony Treloar: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Nice controls make this hand worth a cue raise.

Dan Baker: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Really depends on system. If 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is forcing, that followed by 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) gets the hand across pretty well. If you have a fit-jump as an option, that's reasonable too. At least I'm sure partner will read this as a good hand for him.

Tim Trahair: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Showing three-card support for spades and 10 or so HCP.

Neil M. Silverman: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). With no conventional agreements available seems as good a choice as any.

Todd Holes: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Would like a fourth spade. Can't have it all.

Tania Black: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Would like to have four card support.

Even simpler:

Rainer Herrmann: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). A slight tactical overbid.

This was also chosen by three members of the expert panel, and has a lot of merit. Partner won't know we have this much defence but we have enough to double if they bid on and we want to give LHO as a hard a decision as possible.

Sartaj Hans: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Bash first, ask questions later. Many ways to win: might be cold, might make on lead or misdefence, might be a sacrifice, might induce an unsuccessful 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bid.

The problem is from Peter Gill at the Slawa Congress in Poland, with no hand record.

Hand Five - West deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) ---
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) AT986432
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) QT52
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) J
West North East South
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) * dbl pass ?

   2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) = a natural weak two.  

Call Award %
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 31 22
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 80 25 36
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 70 13 12
5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 60 13 6
2NT 50 6 8
6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 30 13 10
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 30 0 5
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 1

The issue is whether we should invite slam, and if so, how to do that. Since RHO did not raise, we might wonder where all the spades are. Partner might have a hand stronger than a 2NT overcall with good spades, or a strong hand with lots of clubs:

Robb Gordon: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). It is beyond strange that East couldn't act. Sounds like partner has a good balanced hand. I am taking it slowly.

David Caprera: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). What? AB standard doesn't have a bid for an 8-4 hand? Preposterous! Why was there no spade raise? (The dog that didn't bark.)

Robert Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Give up on slam unless partner is interested.

Christine Chandler: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Natural, game forcing.

Neil M. Silverman: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Sounds like partner has a 2NT opening or East is fooling around. Either way, not likely to go all pass.

Peter Vlas: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). That's where I want to be. In my opinion 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) suggests more strength and leave things out in the open.

Tony Treloar: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This might be a little good for this bid but should still get us to slam when right.

Alan Jones: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Who knows? Was that meant to be a penalty double by partner?

We can also use Lebensohl to get to 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Without any detailed agreement, this sounds weaker and therefore more shapely than an immediate 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We also get to find out whether partner has a typical takeout double or something else.

Martyn Rew: 2NT. After partner's 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) will show shape rather than high card strength.

Dean Pokorny: 2NT. If I jump to 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), partner will never pass. Lebensohl 2NT is the best way to: 1) buy 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), or 2) reach 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)/7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) (in the case partner continues with 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 2NT).

Brad Johnston: 2NT. Seems suspicious - I have a spade void and partner made a takeout double. If he has a double and bid he won't complete the relay, so I'll have a better idea of what to do next round. I can decide what to do later, but it's probably bidding 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to play or supporting diamonds.

Niklas Andrén: 2NT. To find out if partner is strong. 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) over 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

When playing Lebensohl, 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) here is invitational not forcing. Of course it is very unlikely to be passed on this hand because either partner has spades and therefore extra values, or RHO is walking the dog. Two experts chose 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) for tactical reasons and it does have the benefit of showing our suit while keeping the bidding relatively low to let partner get his hand off his chest so he won't feel as bad when we then ignore him and keep bidding hearts.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I'm expecting a club bid next (that always happens), but he did double, so I'll start by introducing my hearts. Over his next bid I may have a problem, but can cue after a red bid and rebid hearts later.

Phil Hocking: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). A forcing bid showing hearts as my suit. Can look for slam hopefully.

Peter Nuoristo: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bid slowly. Partner might be strong with clubs, or even better with diamonds.

David Matthews: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). For me, playing Lebensohl means that a three-level bid is 100% forcing to game. We may be able to cue spades later (or KickBack or Voidwood, whichever is your agreement).

The cue bid is always popular on these problems and was the preferred expert choice.

Tim Trahair: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Asking partner to bid his suit. We can follow that with 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) showing our long suit and letting him decide where to go next. Slam or even grand slam in hearts must be a real possibility.

Peter Lipp: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Chances for slam are good. So overbid a little.

Cathy Hocking: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Five-loser hand. Cuebid to let partner know I have a good hand forcing a rebid by partner. Then I will let him know my heart suit, maybe slam is on. Too strong to bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or even directly bidding 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I think partner has a good hand as East passed after North doubled; they could have bid but chose not to.

Brian Lawless: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner bids 3NT, I will then bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If he bids anything else, 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) will be a good bet.

David Appleton: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Only because others are worse and ripping partner's response to hearts is a slam try.

Michael Burt: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Slam in hearts or diamonds looks a real possibility. 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is likely to be taken by partner as encouraging and elicit more information.

Arthur Porter: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Strong, tell me more partner. 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) must be a good chance.

Roger Yandle: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Where are all the spades? If partner has some then they must have a hand that's too strong to overcall 2NT. Hence slam is a real possibility. Hopefully my bid will let partner describe their hand further without cutting off and avenues just yet.

John R Mayne: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Where are the spades? Partner sounds very strong with tripleton garbage spades (with more, she just has to bid notrump). I intend to follow whatever partner does with 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), and I will be happy to cooperate with slam tries. When the 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders catch xxx-KQ5-AK43-Axx and attempt to blame partner, I'm not buying what they're selling.

The problem with this is that we are suggesting more high card values than we have. Of course we have compensating shape, but partner with a big balanced hand will be a bit stuck over 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and might even take a shot at 6NT which is unlikely to be best.

If not 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), then maybe 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This could work but will need an understanding partner:

Dan Baker: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Followed by 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Is it too much to hope partner will interpret that as a void + freak shape, given that a real monster hand would have started with a regular cue instead of a jump cue?

A. K. Simon: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Bizarre. Why didn't East raise spades? I imagine partner will bid 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), then over my 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) he will know to disregard his spade values. Or so I hope.

Rainer Herrmann: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I would rather jump to 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) than to game. Partner seems to be strong.

Murray Perrin: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). North has a monster. I changed from 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) exclusion key card for hearts; it depends on system. One does not have to worry about the queen as there is a 10-card fit or better.

Todd Holes: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). What is East up to? 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), then keep bidding hearts.

Here's the simplest way to try for slam:

Gary Lane: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 5-loser opposite 7-loser. 12 tricks with no defence.

Patrice Fincias: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Could be an underbid!

Alex Kemeny: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I think this hand has had too much publicity for you to have selected it. I expect a singleton images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Q in dummy and I'll drop the singleton images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)K on my left to make this contract. (Obviously not enough publicity Alex; it seems word hasn't gotten out about the cold 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) you just missed. - Brad)

Emil Battista: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Just in case partner has forgotten Lebensohl! And on this bombshell I shall say see you next year.

Fraser Rew: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Sue me.

Ron Lel: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This is a very difficult hand. I am really put off by East's failure to raise spades which suggests partner has a few. If this is the case then partner should have a very good notrump-type hand. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I would do what I would do at the table and bid 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Please, why are we not playing transfers here? (Ron, you know I love transfers in every possible situation, but virtually no experts play transfers in this position, with good reason. My previous articles have discussed why Lebensohl is more appropriate than Rubensohl here. - Brad)

Ron, you need to consider that partner doesn't know we have figured out his hand, and that we are bidding his hand when we bid 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Sometimes partners feel entitled to bid their own hand, so you'll find yourself taking 12 tricks in 7images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I think partner will raise 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) on the sorts of hands the 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders are hoping for. So I prefer this:

Tania Black: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Feeling optimistic, but cannot show hand otherwise.

Zbych Bednarek: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Looking for slam (depends on heart honours in partner's hand and aces).

That's all for now. Have a good Christmas and see you next year.

The full deal, from Peter Gill at the Territory Gold Festival:

spades A84
hearts Q
diamonds AKJ74
clubs AQ72
spades KJ7653
hearts K
diamonds 3
clubs 109653
spades Q1092
hearts J75
diamonds 986
clubs K84
hearts A10986432
diamonds Q1052
clubs J

More than half of the pairs in 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) went down (presumably by running the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Q). No one bid the easy 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) although there were a few pairs in 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Congratulations to our 2018 Readers' Race winner, Paul Sontag of Canada.

The February questions are online now, here, and the magazine should have arrived by the time you read this. We have also had some requests to make the archives of our previous forums available, so we will be working to do this over the next few weeks.

Merry Christmas, and we'll be back here again in early February. -Brad

Top scores for December
1Martyn Rew NZL490
2Damo Nair USA470
3Peter Heatherington470
4Arthur Porter SA470
5Tom Moss NSW450
6Brian Lawless GBR450
7Peter Nuoristo SWE440
8Leigh Blizzard Tas440
9Neil Silverman USA440
10Pravin Nahar NSW430
11Roger Yandle NSW430
12Geof Brod USA430
13David Appleton 430
14Paul Sontag CAN430
15Dominic Connolly NSW420
16Dan Baker USA420
17David Woulds GBR420
18Jack Lai 420
19Nigel Guthrie GBR420
20Robert Black SA420
21Rainer Herrmann GER410
22Robb Gordon USA410
23Sam Arber Vic400
24Ian Patterson Qld400
25John R Mayne USA400
26Alex Kemeny NSW390
27Alexander Schennikov 380
28Fraser Rew NZL380
29Charles Scholl USA380
30Niklas Andrén SWE380
31Joe Lentz USA380
32Tim Trahair NSW380
33Andrea Viscovich ITA370
34Andrew Macalister GBR370
35Peter Stride Qld370
36Peter Robinson Qld370
37Zbych Bednarek POL370
38Pat O'Connor NSW360
39Tony Treloar Qld360
40David Caprera USA360
41Neil Ewart 360
42Bruce Ballard NZL360
43Par Ol-Mars350
45Artur Wasiak POL350
46Leigh Matheson NSW350
47Conny Wahlgren SWE350
49Sayantan Konar 350
50Peter Qvist SWE350
51A. K. Simon 340
52Patrice Fincias FRA340
53Dean Pokorny CRO340
54Tania Black SA340
55Peter Lipp330
56Mick Mcauliffe NSW330
57Emil Battista NSW330
58Christer Enkvist SWE330
59Ron Lel LAO320
60Cor Lof NED320
61Kees Schaafsma NED320
62Bastiaan Korner NED320
63Reg Gauvin 320
64Hans Van Vooren NED310
65Gary Lane NSW310
66Steve Kipperman 310
67Vlad Dragalchuk 310
68Niek Van Vucht ACT310
69Fredrik Jarlvik SWE310
70Murray Perrin Qld310
71Bram Amsel 300
72David Matthews WA300
73Alpay Ari 300
74Cathy Hocking NSW300
75Peter Tarlinton NSW300

Final scores for 2018
1Paul Sontag CAN2340
2David Appleton ACT2280
3Arthur Porter SA2180
4Rainer Herrmann GER2110
5Neil Silverman USA2100
6Geof Brod USA2100
7David Woulds GBR2090
8Vlad Dragalchuk 2090
9Damo Nair USA2090
10Brian Lawless GBR2090
11Artur Wasiak POL2090
12Fraser Rew NZL2080
13Andrew Macalister GBR2040
14Pat O'Connor NSW2010
15John R Mayne USA2000
16Peter Nuoristo SWE1990
17Dean Pokorny CRO1990
18Roger Yandle NSW1980
19Pravin Nahar NSW1980
20Leigh Blizzard Tas1980
21Nigel Guthrie GBR1970
22Gary Lane NSW1970
23Peter Qvist SWE1960
24Ian Patterson Qld1960
25Dominic Connolly NSW1960
26Dan Baker USA1960
27Neil Ewart 1950
28Fredrik Jarlvik SWE1950
29Martyn Rew NZL1940
30Joe Lentz USA1930
31Cor Lof NED1920
32Patrice Fincias FRA1910
33Steve Kipperman 1910
34Alexander Schennikov 1900
35Todd Holes USA1890
36Jack Lai 1890
37Bram Amsel 1880
38Alex Kemeny NSW1870
39Christine Chandler 1860
40Ig Nieuwenhuis NED1860
41Robert Black SA1850
42Peter Stride Qld1840
43Bruce Ballard NZL1840
44Sam Arber Vic1820
45Barbara Hunter NSW1820
46Cathy Hocking NSW1810
47Hans Van Vooren NED1810
48David Matthews WA1780
49Peter Lipp 1770
50Conny Wahlgren SWE1770
51Rick Lu NSW1740
52Niek Van Vucht ACT1740
53Emil Battista NSW1740
54Mick Mcauliffe NSW1720
55David Johnson CAN1720
56Ron Landgraff USA1710
57Andrea Viscovich ITA1700
58Peter Vlas NED1660
59Michael Burt ACT1650
60David Winter Vic1640
61David Caprera USA1640
62Henri De Jong Vic1620
63Tim Trahair NSW1620
64Phil Hocking NSW1610
65Murray Perrin Qld1610
66Jim Thatcher NSW1600
67Barbara Whitmee Qld1600
68Gerald Koonce USA1600
69Richard Canton 1530
70Bastiaan Korner NED1520
71Par Ol-Mars 1510
72Tania Black SA1510
73Julian Foster NSW1510
Thank you to all the readers and visitors who entered this year's forums.
Click here to try your luck at the next set of problems, to be answered in the
February issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check out your
December issue to see what the experts said about this month's hands.