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July 2018

Readers' Bidding Forum with Nigel Kearney, July 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.

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answers for September     

                Scroll down to see final scores
 
Hand One - North deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 86
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A7
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) A9
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AQ86432

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

 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3NT 100 58 31
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 90 24 6
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 30 12 50
2NT 30 0 3
Dbl 20 6 2
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 10 0 3
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 0 0 4
Pass 0 0 1
Other 0 0 1

Hello again. We have an excellent set of problems this month, dealing with situations that occur quite often at the table and involving finely balanced issues of judgment, style, and system. I’d recommend reading the whole thing plus the panel comments in the magazine.

In problem one we'd like to invite game, but the opponents' bidding means 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) now sounds more competitive and less encouraging than it would be if we had jumped to 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Should we go low with 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), blast 3NT, or investigate with 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)?

The 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bidders can be divided into two camps. About half were settling for a part score:`

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) might miss 3N but 2N is macho and pass is wimpy. A misdescriptive double might cut the mustard.

Martyn Rew: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). A part score may be the best option to go for here.

Phil Hocking: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Each side has about 20HCP. Partner should be showing a spade stopper so let’s see if opps want to bid game in spades.

Cathy Hocking: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I have a five loser hand in clubs. Partner would have bid 2NT if he had 10-12 points. I think bidding 4 clubs in an IMPs match could be fatal.

Peter Vlas: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I know it's tempting to go for 3NT, but it seems too unlikely for me. Partner needs a spade stop and Kx or xx(x) with a side entry and/or favourable clubs.

Fraser Rew: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I know, I know, 3NT could have nine top tricks. Or, a club finesse could lose, or they may lead a red suit, or clubs may break badly, so it's high risk for low reward (non vul). Anyway, 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) doesn't end the auction, and an immediate 3NT may incite a good 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid.

David Appleton: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). It'd be nice to play some form of good-bad here (although bad-good is slightly better). Hence 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) ought to be heavy extras. If the match needed it, I'd check for a stopper with 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) which was not guaranteed by 1NT.

Andrea Viscovich: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If Partner has King of Clubs we have 3 NT, should I bid 2 or 3 NT? Maybe yes.

Peter Lipp: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner should have some clubs ...

A. K. Simon: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This suit is rebiddable.

Nik Mitchell: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). You have a seven card club suit and some aces outside so you seem pretty safe to bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

A number of panellists and readers mentioned a good/bad 2NT, i.e. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is stronger and 2NT is a puppet to 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) with a weaker, competitive hand. That would certainly help here but is not in our toolkit. The remaining 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bidders expect partner to make the right decision.

David Matthews: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). You never know - with Kx in Clubs and a spade stopper partner might be able to bid 3NT.

Roger Yandle: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). if we had been vul I would have just blasted 3NT. Non-vul I'm happy to give pard some say in the matter.

Derek Pocock: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). All very nice if partner has club King and a spade stop but that will be up to them. All I can do is show my hand.

Julian Foster: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I hope this will tip partner off that the images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)K is gold dust and with it he can try 3NT (I must have something else outside clubs to have opened the bidding). Without images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)K in partner's hand, this will surely be enough.

Timothy Wright: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner's 1NT could include club length - or club shortness and diamond length. She may not expect seven of them, but she can count on six of them and will do the right thing with Kx(x) of clubs--or with x(x) of clubs.

Tim Trahair: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Showing we have long clubs and letting North decide where to next. Possibly game in clubs or NT is on.

John R Mayne: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). There will be 3N bidders, and I think it's reasonable to shoot it out. Instead, I am a chicken, but a partner-involving one.

Ron Lel: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This seems easy. Partner will know to bid 3NT if it is correct.

David Caprera: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Those who have a non-standard agreement for 2N might have a different call. Partner can bid 3N with a club fit.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). With a maximum 1NT bid with the club King, partner may want to try 3NT. I'll offer my trick source.

This is a question of style but I think it’s optimistic to expect partner to act again. There will be plenty of hands where we want to compete rather than sell out to 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I’d hate to have pass with something like x Axx AQx Q109xxx. The actual hand is much better than that. Hence:

Herbert C Wilton: 3NT. At IMPs, what else?

Neil Silverman: 3NT. Couldn't imagine bidding anything else!

Dean Pokorny: 3NT. Even if partner holds xxx in clubs and a single stopper in spades, 3NT has still decent chances.

Damo Nair: 3NT. Even opposite 2 small clubs 3NT is fair.

Alex Kemeny: 3NT. Given that two black kings and nothing else will see 3NT cold, I have to take a shot at it.

Steve Robinson: 3NT. I hope to run the clubs and take at least ten tricks.

Henri de Jong: 3NT. IMPs, I know we need an entry and for the the images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)K to be with East in case pard hasn't got it. Not sure about matchpoints.

Ron Landgraff: 3NT. Meckstroth says “They pay game bonuses don't they?”

Rainer Herrmann: 3NT. Partner cannot have too many cards in the majors. So chances are good that 3NT has play and could be cold

Brian Lawless: 3NT. Partner has not doubled or bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) so should have some kind of fit in clubs.

Tony Treloar: 3NT. Playing Good/Bad 2NT it is a 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bid but without that bid I just punt 3NT.

Todd Holes: 3NT. This could fail miserably. But no negative double, so partner has something in clubs. I'm hoping for the King.

3NT was the top panel choice. We can also try a middle route as four panellists did:

Dan Baker: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner has already showed one stopper, so this should be asking for a double stop or help to run clubs.

This involves partner but it does force us to the four level so only gains when 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) makes and 3NT does not. For example if partner has a fairly ordinary QJx Kxx Jxxx Jxx then both 3NT and 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) have the same chance of making so we may as well be in the one that pays a bonus. The cue bid also allows LHO to double (or not) which might hurt us since it isn’t clear whether a spade or a heart is the best lead for them against 3NT.

The remaining readers had higher ambitions in clubs or were concerned about our defensive chances. It looks like we can manage four tricks against spades and our 7222 shape is not appealing for a high level club contract. Opposite a sharp hand such as Kxx Kxx Kxxx xxx we’d prefer 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) to 3NT but I think that contracting for eleven tricks is against the odds.

Mick McAuliffe: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 5 loser if played in clubs, but not a lot of defensive value against a 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid. Tempted to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), but 3NT could hinge entirely on where the club King is. 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) looks to sit nicely between saying I have a good hand for clubs, and interfering with their bidding.

Ian Patterson: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Assuming East has three Spades for his raise, partner's failure to give a negative double suggests 3 Spades and 3+ Clubs.

Barbara Hunter: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I don't think we should leave space for 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

The full deal:

spades K54
hearts J98
diamonds J1076
clubs K109
spades QJ973
hearts K1043
diamonds Q84
clubs 7
spades A102
hearts Q652
diamonds K532
clubs J5
spades 86
hearts A7
diamonds A9
clubs AQ86432

Only three of the 14 NS pairs reached the easy 3NT, with most pairs playing 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or defending 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). On double dummy play EW can also make game, with both of South's aces coming down doubleton and the images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)K onside.


Hand Two - West deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) K6
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 8
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) K9752
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) K9743

 
West North East South
1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) pass ?

  
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 40 28
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 50 18 16
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 40 18 11
Pass 30 18 37
1NT 20 6 0
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 0 0 7
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 0 0 1

This is a tough hand where anything could work. The advantages and disadvantages of each choice are not hard to imagine so we rely mainly on judgment to help us choose the percentage action. AB Standard defines 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) as forcing, therefore suggesting a better hand and probably a better suit than what we have. Some chose these anyway:

Phil Hocking: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A potential six loser allows for a rebid of 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if partner repeats spades.

Alex Kemeny: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A slight stretch but a vulnerable game is possible. Start describing.

Mick McAuliffe: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I would like the hand more if I had the 10 in both minors, and a lot more if had the Q... anyway, I would be hoping to be able to bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) next and then spades... nice to make a plan, even if it goes to s...!

Steve Robinson: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Too strong to pass and this will play better in a minor.

Martyn Rew: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). if partner goes to 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), I will pass.

A. K. Simon: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Seems most flexible I will pass a 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) rebid by partner.

Tim Trahair: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Forcing and showing a 5+ club suit. If North can bid again we may settle in a part contract in S, D or C.

Todd Holes: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Forcing. I have enough to explore a bit.

Henri de Jong: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Hoping to play in D, S or C. Not prepared to pass 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Leigh Matheson: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If partner rebids 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) I intend to invite with 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). So 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) keeps all strains available.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Since I'm not allowed a Rosenkranz X (and I will not raise on Xx), I'll leave partner the most room I can for a second suit

Dan Baker: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Wish East had raised hearts; then I'd have a perfect responsive double. As it is, 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) leaves room for partner to bid diamonds, whereas 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would make it difficult if partner has clubs.

Dan's point is a good one. The hearts must be somewhere so if we get an uncontested auction, partner will probably have a few of them and therefore may not fit either minor. Bidding 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) then 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) could get us dangerously high. 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) will locate a nine card fit in either minor and at worst we play 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) in a 5-2 instead of 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) in a 5-3.

The majority of both readers and panellists chose to support spades immediately.

David Caprera: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Too good to pass. A spade short but the best lie. Tempting to bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) so I can say, 'it was my better minor'.

Fraser Rew: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Can't remember the last time I raised on a doubleton, but I'm struggling for an alternative here. I'm not bidding either of those moth-eaten minors, or pushing to the 3-level with a cue raise, and I think I have too much to pass. Incidentally, I didn't think anyone still played 2m here as forcing.

Nik Mitchell: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Dislike this option the least. You do have some support for partner with Kx, the odds you can get a heart ruff look pretty good on the expected heart lead, and I hope partner will have some cards in one of the minors.

Neil Silverman: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Good hand with no great bid. The lack of a third spade stops me from q-bidding.

Nigel Guthrie: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Kx with a singleton is almost as good as three small. Not strong enough to bid a new suit.

Peter Lipp: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Not going to bid 2 in the minors.

Rainer Herrmann: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Not ideal, but what else?

Michael Burt: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Points and heart shortage compensate for only having 2 spades. Worth a one level raise.

John R Mayne: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This is ominous. With East not raising hearts, either West is going to bid some more of them, or partner's got a stack of 'em. Either way, 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) looks like the winner.

David Appleton: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). With heavy overcalls common, I cannot afford a pass. This is the best of the other options.

Tania Black: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Would have liked a third spade, but it should not encourage partner to bid on; and it may stop west too.

The risk with 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is that we encourage partner to bid too much if they compete. We have neither the ability to ruff nor a trick source. After a 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) raise it is quite likely they will bid more hearts and partner will bid more spades and be disappointed with the dummy. Though some preferred a stronger raise:

Tony Treloar: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Looks like the bid that will get us to the right spot most often.

Damo Nair: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). So I owe North another spade. But 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is the least of all evils.

To me, this is a clear overbid. We are a spade short to agree spades as trumps and our singleton therefore also has less than its usual value. One or both of our minor kings will not be a trick so it doesn't look like the right time to upgrade.

The remaining readers chose to pass:

Cathy Hocking: Pass. Considering the options given I have no alternative but to pass and wait to see what happens next as I don't have a forcing hand. I can come back into the auction.

Dean Pokorny: Pass. Describing such a hand with a delayed double is seldom a bad option. Raising to 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) instead doesn't feel good because partner will compete over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

David Matthews: Pass. Even with the strong overcalling culture now in vogue you can often get in trouble by raising. Let's await developments, which might be 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) passed out.

Julian Foster: Pass. Feel unlikely to get passed out here. Will be easier to show this hand with a competitive double later - e.g. after 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) P P back to me. That is quite a plausible auction - East didn't raise hearts and we only have one so there's a good chance West is about to rebid them. If he doesn't then partner will have quite a few hearts meaning our hands then fit less well and we probably don't want to be doing more anyway.

Peter Vlas: Pass. Game is a long way off and with a pass i might get some more intel for the unlikely spade game.

Ron Landgraff: Pass. Game is remote unless partner is very strong. I can bid later if necessary, with more information.

Brad Johnston: Pass. I have an awkward amount of both spades and hearts. I don't like bidding a constructive nf 2m; as even guessing which one is a mild crapshoot. I hope it goes something like 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) p p ? or x 2m 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ? and I can act then.

Robert Black: Pass. No fit; no hurry. 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) may be our last making contract.

Derek Pocock: Pass. Not particularly wonderful opposite a simple one level overcall and we'll just see what develops given East's pass.

Emil Battista: Pass. When will doubling partner be introduced?

Timothy Wright: Pass. Where are all of the hearts? And why did East not bid no trumps? Forcing with 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) seems too aggressive.

Roger Yandle: Pass. Where are all the hearts? I'm also concerned that our points are not well placed. I'm happy to pass now and if that doesn't end the auction then I'm well placed to compete.

Pat O'Connor: Pass. Will come back in if partner is doubled for penalties.

Ron Lel: Pass. Would like to make a negative double, but the opps might object.

Passing hands like this is becoming unfashionable as overcalls get stronger. There is certainly some risk but I wouldn't be surprised if pass is the percentage action. We are well placed to double on the next round and our heart shortage increases the chance that there will be a next round.


Hand Three - West deals, both vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) Q9542
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) AQT
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) ---
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) K8542

 
West North East South
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) pass ?

  
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
Pass 100 53 43
2NT 90 41 51
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 10 6 5
Other 0 0 1

In contrast to Problem Two, all our choices here are horrible. 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) could easily be our last making spot, or it might fail with 3NT or even 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) cold. Importantly, it is matchpoints, so frequency of success is our main concern.

Both readers and panellists were split evenly between 2NT and pass:.

Dean Pokorny: 2NT. 2NT is better than 3NT since it gives partner room to rebid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). In that case, we are happily reaching the slam zone.

Timothy Wright: 2NT. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is the best alternative, but then what do I do after a 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) rebid from partner?

David Caprera: 2NT. Could get passed out in 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with 3N cold.

Pat O'Connor: 2NT. Droppable in AB Standard.

Julian Foster: 2NT. Hate it with void diamond but I have too much to give up. We could even still have a big club fit!

Tania Black: 2NT. Hoping to reach dummy!

Peter Lipp: 2NT. I can't pass, can I? ;)

Damo Nair: 2NT. I cannot possibly pass with this hand. Should be ok opposite six decent diamonds.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2NT. I have to bid something. My partner knows I sometimes do this when I have the strength but (extreme) shortness in his suit.

Michael Burt: 2NT. I've a good hand but looks a potential mismatch - show the stopper and encouragement (but not too much encouragement).

Martyn Rew: 2NT. If partner bids on, I will likely pass.

Alex Kemeny: 2NT. Pretty nasty but what else? Enough HCP for this option.

Cathy Hocking: 2NT. Showing spade cover and not agreeing with partners diamonds. Cover in the other suits.

David Appleton: 2NT. Thank you partner. Too much to pass again, other options being worse. I do feel soiled today.

Peter Vlas: 2NT. The least positive positive response.

John R Mayne: 2NT. This looks like an ugly misfit, but pass is abhorrent and we can still get to clubs now. If partner leaves us here, I'll be very happy I didn't bid 3N, though maybe less happy I didn't bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Steve Robinson: 2NT. Too strong to pass and this might not play well in diamonds.

Fraser Rew: 2NT. Tough problem. 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) should show a pretty good hand. I'm worried that partner may think I have support, but I'm also worried about missing a game, or languishing in 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) when we have a better fit available.

There are different views about 2NT. My view is that it tends to be aimed at 3NT, often with some help in partner's suit. When not accepting, the overcaller will usually rebid their suit rather than pass, especially after a vulnerable overcall. So bidding 2NT as a rescue is unlikely to work, even before you consider that 2NT may not play as well as 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Patrick Huang's example hand of xx xxx AKJxxx Ax seems fairly typical and illustrates how easily 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) may be the last plus. Even if you could scramble eight tricks in 2NT you won't get to play there. So I'm firmly in this camp:

Patrick Huang: Pass. My guess is being conservative on this misfitting hand will get us more MP than being optimistic. To go down one less than in 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) maybe enough to win the board. Of course we might miss 3NT when partner has xx-Jx-AKJxxx-AQx but he is more likely to hold xx-xxx-AKJxxx-Ax. My pass also set up a trap for the opponents.

Rainer Herrmann: Pass. Chances that we have game are not high, but the risks of bidding on are high.

Tony Treloar: Pass. Even if partner has a good overcall, 3NT might struggle. Pass at matchpoints seems ok.

Brian Lawless: Pass. 2NT is tempting but the communication is likely to be impossible. Let's see what West bids - if anything.

Charles Scholl: Pass. 2NT is tempting but dangerous. NT works if partner has multiple entries outside of diamonds and a suit that is almost solid, but with both he might have doubled first.

Phil Hocking: Pass. A strong hand if partner has clubs but would not like to see a repeat of diamonds at the three level. Some defensive strength if West rebids spades.

Roger Yandle: Pass. I hope LHO will re-open.

Neil Silverman: Pass. I cant see any intelligent bid going forward. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) could be a winner but too rich for my blood.

Robert Black: Pass. I have a few tricks, but may find partner's diamonds unreachable in 2NT. East's pass may not be from weakness, but from a lack of Spades and a surfeit of diamonds.

Derek Pocock: Pass. May look good for defence rather than go exploring opposite a void and can then take action if double comes in from West or other bid to enable us to assess a penalty.

Zbych Bednarek: Pass. misfit, as low as possible.

Nik Mitchell: Pass. Partner is second seat vul, so will be decent, having a diamond void is awful. You need a lot of tricks from partner to make 3N. Bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) later if they come back in.

David Matthews: Pass. Similar to Q2 better to await developments when there is a misfit.

Leigh Matheson: Pass. This could easily be the last making contract.

Herbert C Wilton: Pass. Trouble is brewing. I'll wait.

A. K. Simon: Pass. Unusual to pass with so much stuff, but there is no source of tricks for notrump

Emil Battista: Pass. We are probably too high already! Axe will fall if opponents bid again

Brad Johnston: Pass. We're not doubled yet, then I can have a rescue XX. Bidding 2N with a void just isn't good bridge, where are my tricks?

Nigel Guthrie: Pass. When you fall into quicksand, don't panic.

Ron Landgraff: Pass. Who knows? West may not double.

Ron Lel: Pass. The diamond void really detracts from this hand. I suspect there will be further bidding so can make a bid later.

Gary Lane: Pass. The bidding will not stop here.

Unlike Ron and Gary, I do expect the bidding to stop here as LHO will have little extra strength and too many diamonds to reopen.

Finally:

Henri de Jong: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not 2NT

Dan Baker: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Tempted to bid 2NT but partner would probably expect a bit more length in diamonds than I have.

Given our flimsy club suit and the fact that RHO will be over-ruffing spades, we really need partner to have four or more clubs for this to work out, and in that case he can bid them himself over 2NT.

The full deal:

spades AJ
hearts 93
diamonds KQ764
clubs QJ97
spades K10873
hearts K8
diamonds A10932
clubs A
spades 6
hearts J76542
diamonds J85
clubs 1063
spades Q9542
hearts AQ10
diamonds
clubs K8542

Three Easts were left in 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), going for 200, 300 and 400. The remaining ten EW pairs all went plus, one of them defending 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Four pairs made 3NT, four were in club or notrump partscores, and one defended 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).


Hand Four - North deals, both vul. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 8653
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ---
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AKJ5
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AQ953

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

  1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) = 3+, better minor.
  Two part question: what do you bid at Matchpoints, and what do you bid in a Knockout Teams match?

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) / 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 100 6 5
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) / 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 90 6 3
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) / 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 90 0 3
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 80 28 22
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 80 24 12
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) / 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 80 12 10
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) / 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 70 0 5
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) / 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 70 0 2
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 60 6 12
1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) / 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 60 0 2
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) / 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 60 0 1
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 50 12 18
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) / 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 40 6 0
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) / 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 40 0 1
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) / 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 30 0 3

We are asked for our choices at both matchpoint and IMP scoring. We can bid a new suit, splinter with 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), or bid 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) inverted and presumably denying a major. So there are lots of permutations. First the 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bidders:

David Matthews: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Best contract may well be 3NT.

Fraser Rew: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I can always raise clubs later, or bid an artificial game force (2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), in standard methods) and follow up with 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If partner has a weak no trump with spade cards, 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) could be the only making game, and a splinter won't get us there; if he has a singleton spade and good hearts, he might bid 3NT over a splinter and watch them cash five spade tricks. 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) makes it too hard to untangle all the features of the hand. 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) could be the right spot, but obviously I'm not going to lose my Young Player credentials by bidding a four-card minor ahead of a four-card major.

Cathy Hocking: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I would prefer to look for a 4 4 major fit first. I can always agree with clubs or diamonds. As I am void in hearts this makes my hand stronger. We could be in for slam. Slow arrival to find the best contract.

Tania Black: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). It's the system, and it's forcing.

Peter Vlas: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Technically I play T-Walsh so no option. But even without playing (T-)Walsh I would still like to examine a possible spade fit before committing to a club game/slam even though statistics show that partner has real clubs over 90% of the time

Alex Kemeny: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). The distinction between matchpoints and teams is way too subtle for me so I will just make what I think is the normal bid in both forms of the game. Yes they may bid hearts but if partner has spades we have the boss suit.

Robert Black: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). To deny the (miserable) spade suit by bidding 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) (inverted) would be a system violation. Best to be friendly to partner.

Rainer Herrmann: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We could belong in spades at either matchpoints or IMPs

Steve Robinson: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Why not see if partner has four spades? If I bid one diamond, partner would get confused when I support clubs since I would ignore the diamonds and support clubs right away.

A 4-4 spade fit may be our best spot, especially at matchpoints. But I'm not sure what the plan is if partner raises spades. Can we still get to 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) opposite AQxx Qxx Qx Kxxx but stop in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) opposite AQJx Kxx Qx Jxxx? Keeping our options open is good but only if we can, in practice, enjoy them.

A club contract will often be best and the issue will be level. Starting with our worst suit will not help with that. A 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) response still leaves spades as an option if partner has them, and paints a clearer picture of our hand if he doesn't. This was also the top panel choice.

Christine Chandler: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). have enough points in hand to bid again and force to game.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I am not giving a weak 4-card suit preference over a strong suit. With a void I'm willing to look for a high spade contract if partner bids them now. Can explore the club fit later, if necessary, after fourth suit.

Tony Treloar: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I hope this will give me the chance to shape out and make the necessary slam try later on.

Henri de Jong: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Really like to find out more about pard's hand and hope no interference from opps.

Martyn Rew: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Taking up space does not seem clever here. Partner has a maximum of 4 HCP in clubs for his opening bid, so there has to be a range of options available.

A third option is a 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) splinter. This gets across quite a lot of our hand in one bid.

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is descriptive and consultative, showing 5+ clubs with heart shortage, encouraging partner to use informed judgement in subsequent key decisions. Conceivably, you might reach 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) even after a heart splinter but that is the case for a 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), instead. 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) seem to be mastermind bids, although, admittedly, they might lead to better outcomes.

Dan Baker: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bidding this ugly spade suit is a great way to miss a slam or get to the wrong one. I have some sympathy for 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at matchpoints but I think 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is still likely to be right.

Ron Landgraff: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Put spade in with clubs and hope 4 spades is not on.

Damo Nair: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). There could easily be a slam opposite a spade control.

With a heart void, we can't assume opponents will remain silent. If the auction is at 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) by our next turn, we'll be pleased to have started with 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) describing our hand and creating a force. Apart from losing the spade suit, the downside is that we don't really have a typical splinter due to the void, weak spades, and being extra strong. Can we respect a signoff by partner when even Ax KJxx Qxx Kxxx is enough?

The final option is 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) which is not very descriptive but establishes a game force and allows us space to learn more.

A. K. Simon: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Best to set trumps as soon as possible.

Leigh Matheson: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Bidding longest suit first is usually best with a game forcing hand. A splinter shows a minimum game force (in accordance with the fast arrival principle) and this hand is too strong.

David Caprera: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I realize I am in the minority that does not believe 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) denies 4M with a game forcing hand.

David Appleton: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Splintering should have equal other suits, and over 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) ought to be about whether to bid 3NT or not, not whether to bid a slam (i.e. usually a bad idea with a void). At least I am bidding my best suit first.

John R Mayne: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This is a slam-screamer, and we can't avoid a 4-4 spade fit if we bid spades now.

Neil Silverman: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This seems more a conventional question, than IMPs vs MP. It would clearly depend on what some of my other agreements are if I bid 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Many of us play 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) GF which makes this hand easier to bid.

These arguments are quite persuasive. We want to tell partner about the club fit and establish a force, but we don't want to leap around to describe our hand when we can't really do so fully and may end up having to make the final decision ourselves.

Other readers had different choices at matchpoints vs IMPs. Keeping spades in play is more attractive at Matchpoints, compared to just focusing on clubs because we might get 620 instead of 600. The issue is whether we should compromise our investigation of clubs when slam looks as promising as it does here.

Timothy Wright: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) at Matchpoints, 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at IMPs. I will have time to show a game-going hand with clubs later, but hiding the spades now is wrong.

Roger Yandle: 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) at Matchpoints, 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) at IMPs. At MPs I don't want to shut out a possible spade fit but if I bid spades first I'll have a rebid problem if pard rebids clubs so I'll start with diamonds and see what pard has to say. At IMPs I'm really interested in investigating a club slam so will start with an inverted raise, effectively bypassing spades. I'm not splintering in hearts because of my void.

Derek Pocock: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at Matchpoints, 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) at IMPs. Can't discount four card major potential at MP or inhibit a spade lead, whilst at IMPs we need to be in the correct contract.

Julian Foster: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at Matchpoints, 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) at IMPs. Still too much chance of +650 in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at MPs which will only lose to pairs who bid a making slam. It may also inhibit a spade lead if partner ends up declarer. At IMPs playing 5m is OK so I'll show the club support to try and explore for slam. I prefer 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) over 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) because I think I'll struggle later to get across just how good my club support is if I bid 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I also prefer 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) which feels too unilateral here and risks locking us into clubs too soon.

Phil Hocking: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at Matchpoints, 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) at IMPs. In matchpoints a spade fit should give 620 making 10 tricks or 650 over 600 for clubs making 11 so would rather go looking. In teams would like to eliminate opposition interference so will be happy in clubs.

Todd Holes: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at Matchpoints, 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) at IMPs. Is that spade suit worth mentioning? I'm not so sure, it looks like a three card suit! I feel better about the splinter.

Dean Pokorny: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at Matchpoints, 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) at IMPs. Splintering is the easiest way to find a solid game/slam contract. At matchpoints, losing the spade fit could be costly if partner's heart-stopper isn't solid enough.


Hand Five - East deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) A864
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 3
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) K87654
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 53
 
West North East South
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) pass
pass dbl pass ?

  
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 100 59 10
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 70 12 18
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 60 24 35
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 50 6 21
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 30 0 16

Again this is very close. We have a good hand if there is a fit but may struggle if not. Starting with the pessimists:

Henri de Jong: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 7 losers, bid spades with 4-5 but diamonds with 4-6. Yes we may very likely have a spade fit, but pard could also have more hearts. Tough hand.

Alex Kemeny: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Bidding a four card suit ahead of a six bagger seems a corruption of the hand. If partner bids 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) then I can show my other suit.

Dan Baker: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Given that partner's balancing, I need a little more to jump. But not much more.

Herbert C Wilton: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Hoping to get another bid in.

Charles Scholl : 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If partner bids hearts next, I'll bid spades, probably just three but four would be tempting.

Mick McAuliffe: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If partner is a big hand, then will likely change suit, and then I can show spades. With my suit quality, I would rather a 6/3(or 2) than a 4/4 where my diamonds might be junk.

Peter Vlas: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner can expect around seven points with me and does not guarantee four spades. If he has more we'll speed up, but I prefer to put on the brakes first

Julian Foster: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner is protecting so doesn't have to have a big hand - hence I want the protection of a long trump suit if this is the final contract. If partner is bidding again 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) allows us room to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if he bids 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Martyn Rew: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). This should not set partner's expectations of this hand too high, but does leave multiple options open.

I've learned something here because I thought it was normal to bid a four card major ahead of a longer minor in response to a takeout double, unless very weak. But Mike Lawrence, Larry Cohen and others choose 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and hope to bid a natural 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Steve Robinson: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner asked me to bid a major.

Rainer Herrmann: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner should not assume I am broke.

Robert Black: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner's hand will be big, but not a certain guarantee for game.

Christine Chandler: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Prefer to show a 4 card major than long diamonds when I have only one bid available unless forced.

David Appleton: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). More as a compromise that partner might raise. One of the joys of having depression is that my partners seem to balance on 3532 shapes here, at least often enough to want some leeway. At pairs, I might settle for 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Tim Trahair: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Showing our spade suit and modest strength. North may go to game if strong enough or bid another suit in which case we can show our minor

Brad Johnston: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Sounds like my mate has a reasonable hand, with the club distributions around the table. But the H singleton is likely opposite strength and this is definitely an auction where I could just get pen-smashed. No red badge of courage for me.

Timothy Wright: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We want to try for the 10 trick game, but partner's balancing double does not promise the Rock of Gibraltar.

Nigel Guthrie: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). You have a great hand but 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is enough for now. If partner continues with 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), you might think about correcting to 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) but no need to worry yet.

They make a very strong case. Partner may have stretched to reopen and will play us for some cards if we bid only 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We're vulnerable at IMPs which calls for aggression but partner knows this too. It is easy for LHO to double if we get too high. The doubleton club and stiff heart are the wrong way around. If partner has the 3532 suggested by David Appleton and didn't overcall 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), he ought to be strong enough that 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) has chances and we can still get there.

I'm now leaning towards 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) being enough, though I voted for 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) along with most of the panel.

Ron Landgraff: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Drive to game.

Roger Yandle: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Pard might be stretching in the pass out seat but vul at IMPs I need to push for game. I'll convert 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) showing spades and diamonds.

Dean Pokorny: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I hope the 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)-4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)-4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) sequence shows a game raise with four spades and longer diamonds, since our range is hardly good enough for slam tries.

Fraser Rew: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Then pull 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and hope partner can work out that I've got spades and longer diamonds. If he thinks it's a slam try in spades, which seems unlikely given my failure to overcall, we may be able to bail in 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) anyway.

Brian Lawless: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Two places to play. Over 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) from partner, I am happy to bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Too strong for a bid of 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Ron Lel: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Will bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to show spades and diamonds.

I agree that 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) suggests two places to play, at least initially, and the panel comments back that up. If we're going to commit to game, 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) definitely seems the best way to ensure we reach the correct one. So I like it better than this choice:

Andrea Viscovich: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at MP

Neil Silverman: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Could easily be wrong but certainly might be best shot at game.

A. K. Simon: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Excellent problem. 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is just a guess

Nik Mitchell: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner might have heart wastage, but I feel like we might have game on, and if we do its probably in spades.

Tania Black: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner would not have doubled at the three level without both majors

Michael Burt: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This could go badly wrong if partner has only 3 spades but partner has doubled rather than bidding a suit which increases the chances of 4+ spades. If partner has 4+ spades and an opening hand, 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) looks a reasonable chance.

Finally, there is the option to invite in diamonds.

Phil Hocking: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is too weak. Considering partner may bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) so can bid 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) then partner could convert to diamonds.

David Matthews: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Game Forcing. If partner bids 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) I can continue with 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Cathy Hocking: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I this was my partner I would be assured he had hearts and spades or 16 plus points. Game should be on. Can be converted to spades or five diamonds if partner bids hearts after my diamond bid.

John R Mayne: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I've been bidding 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on hands like this for a while, and it doesn't seem to work great. Let's try cowardice for a change.

Damo Nair: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If North can't stand it I've always got 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Ian Patterson: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If partner has enough to bid again with 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) then I will show the spades.

Todd Holes: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Showing something, but keeping 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) in the picture.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). the hand is much stronger than it Looks because of the sixth diamond. Partner should not assume a 1-suiter and can correct to diamonds after 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)-4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). With longer spades I'd start by bidding those.

Tony Treloar: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Will convert 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) (rightly or wrongly)

I'm not hopeful of hearing 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) over 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner is more likely to pass or raise, including on hands with spades. I'm even more sceptical about my subsequent 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) being understood as natural rather than a cue bid given my earlier lack of interest in a spade contract. The more flexible cue bid gets the 100 points.

That's all for this month. See you again soon.

The September questions are online now, here, and the July magazine should have arrived by the time you read this. This month's leaderboard will be published later this weekend.

Thanks for joining us again; our next issue will be in September, shortly after the Australia-Wide Open Pairs results come out. – Brad



Top scores for July
1To be advised0
     

Leading scores for 2018
1To be advised0
     
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