We have an unusually high-scoring set this month, with 36
people scoring over 400 points. This means either (a) we have a lot of really
good bidders among our readership, or (b) I have been setting problems that are
too easy. If you believe the answer is (b), please send me some difficult
problems to use next year. Your generous donation can help to ensure that this
upward trend in bidding standards is brought to a quick end.
David Hester: 3. Game is not in view, and a diamond contract that makes scores better than a heart contract that doesn't.
Andrew Gordon: 3. Limit raise. Very good fit, normally showing
five card support.
Malcolm Olivestone: 3. We have
four losers in spades and clubs. Game seems most unlikely.
Nathan Crafti: 3. I have
five diamonds in support of my partner. I have an intermediate hand. I don't have enough for a cue raise. I don't see the problem.
Most people did see the problem, or
at least one of the following problems:
(1) Do we want to be constructive or defensive?
(2) If defensive, do we want to push them into game, or
keep them out of game?
(3) If constructive, we have three cuebids available -
what does each one mean?
(4) Is there any point in showing the heart suit?
Let's start by looking at the cuebids:
2. Nice problem. Pard and I have
two cuebids available here, in clubs and spades. We play that the
club cue bid shows some
heart values as well.
Robin Cross: 2. The 'higher' cuebid shows 4+ card limit raise values in my methods. If partner bids hearts, I will raise since I have already shown 4+ card support for diamonds.
Barry Noble: 2. Limit raise, stronger than 3.
Jameson Cole: 2. Clues partner in on the good diamond fit immediately. If we have a heart fit, perhaps partner can uncover it, however, we are likely to be outbid because of the two bad doubletons in their suits.
Sam Arber: 2. Good raise to 3.
The other option is 2.
Keep them guessing by not mentioning the heart suit.
Concealing the heart suit might keep them guessing, but
it may be partner who needs to guess. In the interests of
helping partner, put me in with:
GMJ Hofman: 3.
Nigel Guthrie: 3. It isn't clear, from the system summary, whether or not this is a fit jump but, anyway, it's worth risking for the lead.
A good effort from Nigel, backing his judgement in
spite of doubt about how the bid would be scored.
Denis Haynes: 2. Show the hearts and wait for the next round to support diamonds.
Manuel Paulo: 2. On the way to 3 -- the value bid
-- I show my heart values, allowing partner to better evaluate his hand.
For those that chose to support diamonds directly,
there is the question of where we want the auction to end:
Peter Robinson: 4. I reckon it's their hand, but there's no certainty they'll make the game they're about to bid.
Alexander Cook: 5. At favourable vulnerability, a jump to 5 is worth the risk to stop the opponents bidding 4. This bid puts maximum pressure on the opponents and makes them do the guesswork.
Frank Campbell: 4. I have
five good trumps and useful values. Doubt they can make game but this
shouldn't be expensive and could make.
Rex Fox: 5. With
six loser count should not go for more than -500 if doubled.
Eric Leong: 4. Who knows? With our side holding at least a ten card fit in diamonds bidding 4 might result in buying the contract when the opponents have a game or get the opponents to overbid.
Tim Trahair: 2. As inverted minors are in the system, this seems an economical bid. If EW have a fit in the black suits we may need to end up considering a sacrifice in 5.
Apologies to anyone else who felt
that inverted minors were in play here. Inverted minors
are only played in uncontested auctions. In contested
auctions, cue raises are available for constructive
supporting hands. It is essential to show trump support in
competitive auctions, so a natural 2 is a necessity, for
those hands where you can't afford to do more.
In fact, some people (inexplicably) did feel that we
can't afford to do more:
Meshack Kgosidialwa: 2. Show partner 6-9
points and diamond support.
Fred Altstock: 2. Give some support to partner
since we are not vulnerable.
Two thirds of the panel chose to support diamonds, but
their votes were split among six different actions. So, in
keeping with our hideous policy of giving the top score to
the bid with the most votes, the 100 points goes to the
minority who chose to give the opponents a free run:
Steve Johnston: Dbl. I am prepared to bid 4 over 3.
Ming Chan: Dbl. Too much for a simple 3
Richard Bowdery: Dbl. This is an easy one for me, my system dictates that
double shows diamond support plus four cards in the unbid
Just because the system gives you a bid that shows
hearts as well as diamond support, that doesn't mean you always
have to use it. Have you weighed up the benefits of a preemptive
diamond bid, against the chances of partner caring about your
Paul Hardy: Dbl. Majors first, so I show my
hearts before supporting diamonds.
The reason for "majors first" is because it's easier to
But can we really play this hand in 4?
If we have a heart fit to go with our ten diamonds, that
leaves us with only eight black cards.
That leaves the opponents with about a thousand spades,
and the final word. They outrank both our red suits, so do
we really care whether we play in hearts or diamonds?
Apparently, we do:
Craig Taberner: Dbl. Double to
show fourth suit, and later support diamonds.
Zbych Bednarek: Dbl. Showing hearts -- good enuff
for partner to lead, while I have an easy Q
lead from my side.
Margaret Reid: Dbl. Showing hearts. I will support
diamonds in due course.
Fraser Rew: Dbl. Then bid diamonds if pard doesn't bid hearts. Tougher at
IMPs. I suppose having 2 showing diamonds with heart tolerance could make sense (2 being the cue raise) but it's a bit too much to expect
pard to work it out at the table.
Sydney Frish: Dbl. Prepared to bid
diamonds later to necessary level. But to show hearts first could be important for
partner should he be on lead.