Return to front page
Enter the next forum
Archive of past forums
Readers' Bidding Forum with Brad Coles – April-May 2007
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, Phillip Alder, Bob
Jones, Marshall Miles, Frank Stewart, Eddie Kantar, Eric Kokish and Zia Mahmood, as well as many top
Scroll down to see the final scores
Submit answers for the
Hand One - West deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
Over the past few issues we've seen a lot of bidding
problems with seven or more different answers; now for a change, here
is a whole set of problems with only a few possible
choices. I'm a little concerned that this could cause a
sudden spike in readers' scores, but I've still got the
rest of the year to rectify that if necessary.
people thought our first problem was the toughest of the set, but
the readers' votes matched the expert vote almost perfectly.
Ken Berry: 5. I like my shape.
Frank Campbell: 5.
Not much defence to double but I think we can make 5.
Barbara Whitmee: 5. Five losers opposite partner's
probable 8 losers means 11 tricks. Q may be useful
to help establish his hearts. Alternatively, partner may
be able to set up my clubs.
Rex Fox: 5. Trust your teammates do the same at the other table.
Bridge Baron: 5. Bridge Baron uses simulation to choose this call.
Boris Richter: 5.
I am strong offensively, I have some working cards in
partner's heart suit and this auction is strongly
suggesting that there are many tricks out there. I like my side six club suit and my good holdings in the heart suit.
Martyn Rew: 5.
Should be a doddle unless partner has overstated his hand.
Richard Morse: 5. Worth the push, I think. All my cards should be working, and I don't think they can make
Noting the lack of vulnerability, several
people were just looking to take out some insurance:
Jeremy Kennard: 5.
At IMPs, happy to be one off in 5
even if 5 is one off, rather than pass 5 and find it makes.
Zbych Bednarek: 5.
Even if 5
both fail, one off is good bridge!
Jameson Cole: 5. There
is too much chance of game our way, and too much chance of game
their way. Must avoid a double game swing. PS. hope partner didn't make a slow pass.
Helena Dawson: 5. Not going to double 5,
300 is the maximum. If 5 doesn't make, 5 probably does. If 5 does make, 5
is a good sacrifice.
David Hester: 5. OK if either contract makes.
Others were thinking of a slam rather than a sacrifice,
although it seems unlikely that partner will take
anything as a slam try after our 4
bid on the previous
Terry Dunne: 5. Partner's pass shows
– at worst
– uncertainty whether to defend or not. He should view this as a strong invitation to bid slam.
Paul Tranmer: 5. In my view, 4 on the last round was an underbid, so I’ll soldier on again here. North didn’t double 5 so I see no good reason to do so although I would expect it to go one or two off. Bidding it slowly like this is also likely to persuade West to defend a contract I expect to make.
Tim Trahair: 5. It seems that North has 10+
points, with few diamonds and probably four spades; also East has little other than perhaps
diamonds. Reluctant to pass and don't want to double
– North's hand may even be good enough to venture 6!
Sydney Frish: 5. With a 5 loser hand and very likely 9 trumps between us I would have preferred to bid 5 on the second round – would have made it more difficult for opponents and easier for partner to decide on further action.
Sydney and Tim both believe we have a nine-card spade
fit. In fact, the entire problem hinges on partner's
– does he have three or four?
Manuel Paulo: Dbl. It looks like a deal with 19 total tricks.
Martin Eggins: 5. Partner should be 4531 or 4522. Since all I need for 5 is K, a chunky
heart and another card, this looks better than double.
Sam Arber: 5.
Partner probably only has three spades as may have made takeout double.
Hearts may be better, as we can take the tap in the
Sartaj Hans suggested that partner is
sure to have only three
card support, as with four card support a good partner would
anticipate our problem and bid 3,
I hadn't thought of this, but it makes a lot of sense
with a heart suit good enough to
overcall, and four card spade support, there is
certainly no danger in partner bidding 3.
And if partner does in fact have only three
spades, then it is surely wrong for us to be bidding on
at the five level.
David Matthews: Dbl. Must do something so will leave it to partner to decide. I certainly do not want to be tapped if partner only has
three spades. 5 doubled may be our best score.
Bruce Minchinton: Dbl. Opps do not have a second suit to run. Expect
them to be three off.
Lindsay Coker: Dbl. It looks as though West probably has
diamonds and clubs, giving
East a good few hearts; partner is almost certainly going to have some
diamonds, hopefully enough. Bidding on will give them a plus.
Margaret Reid: Dbl. This action should be a plus for us
– not sure we can make 5 or 5.
Amiram Millet: Dbl. Though 5
will be better on some occasions. Would be tougher at
Fred Altstock: Dbl. Happy to double for penalties. Think we might be a trick short in 5.
David Monahan: Dbl. While 5 may make, the Law of Total Tricks suggests double to be the best options at IMPs.
Birol Guvenc : Dbl. My partner's pass shows strong hand
– he would double with a moderate hand, because the
five level belongs to the opponents.
Birol's comment is suggesting that partner's pass is
forcing, a view supported by Eric Kokish in the
magazine. But most people do not feel that is the case,
particularly this lot:
Steve Hurley: Pass. Too much work to be done in 5, and sounds like distribution will let 5 make.
Eric Leong: Pass. I think East has both majors for his bidding. I don't want to pay off -300 or more against an uncertain game.
Bastiaan Korner: Pass. Don't try to be too clever.
Erin Tewes: Pass. Points split evenly, voids and singletons abounding, be grateful it's them and not you!
Finally, the minority votes. I've given this choice a
last-minute upgrade to 50 points after receiving some emails
from the readers:
Henri de Jong: 5. Would have bid 5 at my second turn, which may have assisted partner.
Henri suggests 5
on the second round, and in the magazine Karen
McCallum and Jill Courtney suggested 6
on the third round. This just goes to show what a truly
awful bid our 1
was. I'm surprised so few people complained about that.
Nick Bailey: 5. I don't want to defend the hand, will let partner know about doubleton heart in case he would rather play 5.
Leigh Matheson: 5. This distributional hand has to bid on, and the most descriptive bid is 5. The hand could play better with hearts as trumps, particularly if partner has 6+ hearts and a few small diamonds.
Nigel Guthrie: 5. It is likely to be our hand but 5 may play better opposite e.g. Kx-AKJxxx-xx-Qxx.
The deal is from the quarterfinal on the NEC Cup in Yokohama.
The Australian player bid 5, trading +500 for -100. An extra
heart or spade with North would have been enough to make +450,
but defending 5 is certainly a safer way to make a plus score.
Further details of the
deal appear on page 28 of the April issue.
Hand Two - North deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
1. Weak notrump, 11-14 balanced.
2. Transfer to hearts.
Sydney Frish: 3.
This is the problem with the
wide range of weak NT: 11 or 14 HCP? If a game is on,
it’s more likely in hearts.
Bridge Baron: 3. I've always used the commercial version of Bridge Baron in every bidding forum it's entered
– until this problem. The commercial version of Bridge Baron can't interpret partner's 1NT bid as 11 to 14. If it interprets 1NT as 11 to 13, it bids 3. If it interprets 1NT as 12 to 14, it bids 4. (This is a sign of a good bidding forum problem, I think!) So I hacked it to interpret partner's 1NT bid as 11 to 14, and it bid 3. (With luck, we'll have a way to enter the 11 to 14 interpretation in the commercial version of Bridge Baron soon.) By the way, Bridge Baron uses simulation to make all these decisions between 3 and 4.
Bridge Baron confirms what we already suspected
the decision between 3 and 4 was close. However, the
panel threw a spanner in the works by rejecting both
Leigh Matheson: 3NT. Nine tricks are likely enough, even opposite a minimum.
Steve Hurley: 3NT. If the suit was a minor, it would be 3NT. The minimum values still indicate 3NT.
Gary Lane: 3NT. See P10, hand 7 of the February
Yes, there are a lot of similarities with that hand. Nicely spotted!
David Matthews: 3NT. On balance this is the best chance to make game.
Jameson Cole: 3NT. What I think we can make, most of the time. 6 heart tricks, an outside AK, A, or trick given on the opening lead. This doesn't preclude partner from bidding 4 when it is right. The ability to make slam would require a distorted distribution.
Sam Arber: 3NT. May be easier than 4, with
the lead coming up to partner.
Paul Tranmer: 3NT. At this vulnerability we must be in game and I believe the hoary old adage that nine tricks are easier than ten applies. Partner will “only” have to provide
three tricks from his balanced 11-13 and whilst it is possible we’ll lose the first five tricks it’s actually quite unlikely.
Nigel Guthrie: 3NT. Worth the risk at teams
Ken Berry: 2NT. Hopefully I have the same six tricks
in either contract. Partner will make the right move!
Richard Morse: 2NT. Must be worth one more shot and the solidity of the hearts makes NT worth offering.
Eric Leong: 3NT. Give partner Axx-xxx-Axx-Axxx or
similar and 4 has little or no play. Why didn't I bid
In fact at the table David Stern did bid 3NT directly,
without showing the major first. Our enforced transfer
caused a problem for some overseas players:
Boris Richter: 3. I would have bid 4 instead of 2
here, I think that this hand belongs to game. Now since I play here 4
as a mild slam try I'll have to invite to game only
instead of bidding game myself.
Bob Jones made the same comment in the magazine. Boris,
I've changed your answer to 4,
since we didn't anticipate the problems this sequence
would cause for Texas players.
David Hester: 3. I considered 2NT, but it seems inappropriate with one point outside hearts.
Helena Dawson: 3. Notrump won't work well with a singleton.
Denis Haynes, Stephen Bartos & Fred Altstock: 3.
Invite partner to game if maximum.
Jeremy Kennard: 3. Partner can decide to bid 3NT with good holdings in other suits.
With no stops in other suits am a little reluctant to just bid 3NT.
Martin Eggins: 3. Invitational. A balanced 11 means losers galore. I see no way of ascertaining partner's
spade or diamond values but my six trumps,
J and club shortage should assist.
Dean Sole: 3. Show the six good hearts, let partner evaluate his hand
for 3, 3NT,
The readers' majority unsurprisingly went for 4
sure most of them were expecting an easy 100 points
Martyn Rew: 4. Hard to imagine partner having a hand which would make 3NT safer.
Bastiaan Korner: 4.
Don't want to miss a vulnerable game; perhaps 3NT is better but I can't find out.
Emil Battista: 4. And hope partner does not have club AKQ.
Bruce Minchinton: 4. Not watertight, but worth the risk.
Manuel Paulo, Frank Campbell and Terry Dunne: 4. At IMPs, vulnerable, it's a must.
Nick Bailey: 4. Bit of a gamble perhaps, but with such quality trumps and a stiff club, I don't think I would like to play only 3.
Margaret Reid: 4. Good chance of making with the right cards (in the right places).
Tim Trahair: 4. If we bid 3, North may correct to 3NT which will probably be a disaster
– we would then need to correct to 4. So the options seem to be Pass or 4
– we are likely to provide 6 tricks so Pass would be wimpish.
You are right
– pass is a bit wimpish. Unlike this choice,
which is not wimpish at all:
Zbych Bednarek: 4. I'm sure we have game, but what about
slam? With Axx-xx-AKQxx-xxx partner can bid 6.
At the table no one was looking for 40% slams
– just getting to game was worth 10 imps. Gary was
right, the hand was from page 10 of the February issue,
although we swapped the majors so that you wouldn't recognise the hand (pretty tricky, huh?).
Hand Three - North deals, nil vul, IMPs.
You are South.
is better minor, 3+ clubs.
Thank you to Tom Moss for this excellent
problem, where more than half the readers opted for the
lowest scoring of the four options. Let's find out why.
David Hester: 1NT. WTP?
Margaret Reid: 1NT. What else?
Fred Altstock: 1NT. Only bid possible !!!
Pretty convincing arguments, and worth every
cent of the 40-point award.
Helena Dawson: 1NT. Not exactly dangerous is it?
Denis Haynes: 1NT. 6-9 points and a flat hand.
Frank Campbell: 1NT. I have 8 points, no 4 card major, no support for partner and a flat hand, which is a 1NT bid.
Sydney Frish: 1NT. With Pass a very close
– almost equal
Martyn Rew: 1NT. Albeit that 7653 is not a great stopper.
Emil Battista: 1NT. I do have cards in the opponents suit!
Amiram Millet: 1NT. Next hand I'll have a diamond stopper...
Bruce Minchinton: 1NT. No stopper, but points
are worth showing. A negative double would imply 4 card majors which
I don't have.
Yes, you wouldn't want to show something you don't
have, would you!
Jeremy Kennard: 1NT. Not ideal but lets partner know I have some stuff. don't like double with 3-3 in the majors.
Manuel Paulo: 1NT. To describe my hand-type; partner can check for a stopper if he is bidding on.
Dean Sole: 1NT. Gets the values and hand shape across well.
Nick Bailey: 1NT. We have to lie about something, and it seems the diamond stop is less misleading than misrepresenting our strength or major suit holdings.
Bridge Baron: 1NT. Five years ago, Bridge Baron would have passed, but in the interim, it's decided that 'stoppers are for children' in this auction.
The computer becomes a little bit more human every day!
Jameson Cole: 1NT. I play this doesn't promise a stopper at the one level. It is right on strength and shape and somewhat preemptive. It implies support for partner's clubs and denies interest in bidding again.
Richard Morse: 1NT. Least bad bid, unless you promise a stopper with 1NT. Everything else is a distortion of shape or values.
All three bids (1NT, Dbl, and to a small
degree 2) carry the same risk
– partner may expect
something you don't have, and put you in the wrong game.
However, in the case of 1NT, the downside will be
terminal. Partner may still make 4 or 4 (or even 5)
after finding fewer trumps in dummy than he expects, but
3NT could be over before it starts.
Terry Dunne: Pass. No doubt there will be support for 1NT, but I've had partner raise to 3NT often enough with his 18-19 HCP and my stopper.
Sam Arber: Pass. Tempting to bid 1NT but being played by wrong hand; if I bid 1NT partner may raise to 3 and they cash five diamond tricks.
Henri de Jong: Pass. Can't play NT from my side.
Eric Leong: Pass. I see no compelling reason to make a misdescriptive bid now so partner can make a mistake later.
Paul Tranmer: Pass. Unless partner is either strong or distributional I’d prefer to defend. I expect
a reopening double from partner with a chunky 14+ point
hand or he can bid a suit with a distributional hand. Either way I’ll be well placed to proceed.
Bastiaan Korner: Pass. Silly hand.
Ken Berry: Pass. East has preempted me... will have a second bid, (or if not an interesting lead problem).
Yes, the preemptive 1 overcall doesn't come up often, but it can be a devastating weapon.
Lindsay Coker: Pass. There may be another opportunity, but pass here might tell partner about our diamonds.
David Matthews: Pass. We are likely to be forced in a major contract. If West bids 2 I will reconsider if it comes round to me again.
Zbych Bednarek: Pass. No major, no stopper, no clubs. Just wait for partner.
John Leenders: Pass. Partner is still there and can come in later if appropriate.
Steve Hurley: Pass. You can bid later. Sometimes you're stymied, just wear it.
Nigel Guthrie: Pass. 100 free marks J. Pass seems to be the least flawed call available.
Alexander Cook: Pass. A negative double would show 4-4 in the majors, 2 would show
four clubs, 1NT would show a diamond stopper. With a 4333 pattern, passing is obvious.
I really want to present a sequel to this problem next month, to
find out what these people are planning to bid on the next
round. But that would be unfair to the majority of people who
didn't vote for the pass.
This next choice seems more natural to me:
Leigh Matheson: 2. You would raise partner's major suit in an instant. Why hesitate with the minor? Partner can still choose to play in notrumps with a stopper. Bidding 2 also hinders the opponents' ability to find a major suit fit.
Barbara Whitmee: 2. Would have been 1NT without the intervening diamond bid.
2 seems to describe the hand fairly well, but I can see why
that bid isn't for everyone. Here is a more mainstream option:
show both majors now, so that you won't have to guess which one
to show later:
Erin Tewes: Dbl. It'd be nice to have four of each major, but any other bid is a bigger lie and you can't really pass. 4-3 fit is ok, pards can bid NT if she has stopper.
Tim Trahair: Dbl. Need to tell pard we have a few points.
Double may suggest that we don't have a 4 card suit other perhaps than
diamonds. May end up playing in a 7 card fit. Possibly
North will bid 1NT or if he has five clubs may rebid them.
David Monahan: Dbl. Select the bid you dislike the least.
Martin Eggins: Dbl. Either more clubs, 1NT or a low level Moysian major fit will be fine. My silence would leave partner thinking West has remainder of
Boris Richter: Dbl. Bad shape but with
relatively nice cards, if partner is holding a singleton
or a low doubleton diamond we have good fitting cards
for an 'Italian fit' especially if the suit is spades.
Maybe we can even find a game if partner is 4315 or
4216, or stronger with no diamond stopper. Perhaps a bit risky but worth a try.
This deal is from the NSW Interstate Team Selection
event. The winning bid on the deal is, well, pretty much
anything. Although I'm still really curious to see what the
passers are planning to do on the next round!
Hand Four - North deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
We play Bergen raises:
2NT would be a game force raise.
would be a four-card raise, 6-9 points.
would be a four-card raise, 10-12 points.
would be a preemptive raise.
would be just a normal single raise.
Richard Morse: 2. In my experience these hands do not always play as good as they look.
Steve Hurley: 4. 10 card fit means game in my book.
Manuel Paulo: 4. Following the Law.
Another problem which stumped many readers, with 38%
straying off the beaten track. Doubtless many of them
will blame Larry Cohen for their choice, so let's go to
the magazine and give him a chance to defend himself:
Larry Cohen: 3.
Thanks for the opportunity to vent: this is not a hand to drive
to the 4-level with ten trumps. The 5332 shape and general soft
nature are enough cause to pull it in a notch. People who
critique the jump to 4 and blame the LAW should instead blame
the player for not adjusting properly.
Now that our liability
insurance is all paid up, let's hear the answers:
Helena Dawson: 4. Law of total tricks. They probably have a huge heart fit.
Terry Dunne: 4. We have 10 trumps. I know some would like a singleton for this bid, but we have more strength than we might have.
Paul Tranmer: 4. Obey the law! 10 card trump fit equals the four level. It’s also a good each way shot as if partner is good it’ll make and if not it’ll be a cheap sacrifice against the opp’s game contract.
David Matthews: 4. Standard pre-emptive raise in my opinion.
Barbara Whitmee: 4. Would like to hold a singleton for this bid, but I am feeling optimistic and we are vul at IMPs.
Dean Sole: 4. Is 4 37% or better to make? I'd think so.
Martyn Rew: 4.
Anything else might distract your partner from where you want to be and maybe give the opponents a look in.
I've upgraded the award for 4,
in response to several appeals from readers. There was
also reader support for a few other minority choices,
but the experts viewed this problem as a simple choice between
Bergen-1 and Bergen-2. Bergen-2 was a 2 to 1 winner:
Ian Patterson: 3.
Limit raise with 8 losers.
Emil Battista: 3. The queens may not pull their weight, but we do have
five spades and a bullet.
Alexander Cook: 3. With the fifth trump and a doubleton I am treating this hand as a limit raise.
Adding a point for the fifth trump is fine, but did you
also count the point for the J? They can't both be
worth a point. And a point for the doubleton heart as
well as two for the
I think there's some creative accounting going on here.
Bastiaan Korner: 3.
Cheating a bit.
Rex Fox: 3. May be an overbid.
Ken Berry: 3. Who counts points... must have some extra value for 5th spade.
Sydney Frish: 3. The fifth trump must be worth at least another point. But at the table I'd bid 4
– it may make it more difficult for opponents to find the 'killing lead'.
Playing for the bidding forum win rather than the bid
you'd make at the table? It worked this time.
Henri de Jong: 3. Very tough as we are too good for 2 and any 3-level bid may already be too high with so many losers. We do have 5 trumps, possibly some working
queens and this is IMPs.
Martin Eggins: 3. 1 more Spade = 1 less loser so my HCP has been gently(?) upgraded.
Nigel Guthrie: 3. Knock off a loser for the fifth spade. The bullet compensates for the quacks. Game at teams seems reasonable if opener has a midgeon to spare e.g. ATxxx-KJx-x-Kxxx.
Now we're adding points for midgeons! Hang on, let me
check my textbook, I don't remember that chapter.
Leigh Matheson: 3. Any excuse will do for an upgrade. Whilst the heart shortage is dubious, the extra trump length will do just fine.
Jeremy Kennard: 3.
Not enough shape, and unsupported queens make for not enough for 4. But still have 9 count with 5 trumps so must invite.
Lindsay Coker, Denis Haynes, John Leenders and Sam
Arber: 3. The extra trump puts this 9 points into the must invite range.
Too strong for 4.
Tim Trahair: 3. We have 10 HCP revalued but 5 card support. Too strong for 3 but not strong enough for 4. No doubt the experts will disagree!
Bridge Baron: 3. With five (or more) trumps, Bridge Baron never makes a 3 Bergen raise; it chooses among 4,
3 and 2NT. It's a point too strong for 4 and two points too weak for 2NT.
Jameson Cole: 3.
Definitely too weak for a game forcing raise. The two queens may fill gaps in partner's hand, but they are not as valuable as Q and AQ in two of the other suits. Still, the opportunity for a vulnerable game even at less than 50% should not be passed up. 3 would be cowardly.
"Cowardly" is a bit harsh. I have a lot of
sympathy for this next group, who score only 60 points.
Nick Bailey: 3. Despite the fact that we have
five trumps, Qx and Qxx
are not worth a jump to 4. I will accept a game try from partner.
Eric Leong: 3. One would think 3 is the precise system bid especially given the doubtful holding in hearts.
Bruce Minchinton: 3. A conservative bid because HCP are spread across all the suits.
Boris Richter: 3. This is a bad 9-count with a good fit for spades.
Margaret Reid: 3. Not the right shape for 4. Let
pard choose the contract.
This one is from the Yokohama Swiss Teams at the recent
NEC festival in Japan. Again, we changed the hand
slightly, giving South the J
instead of the 10.
In retrospect, it looks like if we had left the deal as
it was, the vote may have been much more evenly split
since many of the 3
bidders were scratching for every point they could find
to justify their choice.
At the table South
actually bid 2,
buying the contract at the two-level for a six imp pickup. EW do
have a game in hearts available (good news for the LAW bidders),
but it was difficult for them to reach it.
Hand Five - West deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
Frank Campbell: Pass. You must still be on your
quest to find the weakest hand for a 4 level overcall.
The quest is over! With only 4 HCP we've managed
to entice 62% of experts and 42% of readers
– I doubt
I'll ever be able to improve on that! Next month I'll
start looking for the strongest hand you'll pass with at
the 1-level (oh hang on, that was problem 3).
Martin Eggins: 4.
East's pass gives me the clearest info to move even with only 4
HCP. East's pass suggests a fair share of the tricks are in partner's hand. Double looks putrid since partner may leave it in.
Jeremy Kennard: 4. I don't like it much but can't bring myself to pass with 7-5 shape.
Boris Richter: 4. Partner has probably some length in spades with some kind of stopper there, and he does not rate to have 15+
HCP nor an unbalanced hand and therefore he is not very likely to bid anything over 4, while East is not strong enough to bid game. Still, maybe now he will. And he rates to go down.
Tim Trahair: 4. If
I double, North may leave it in and be horribly disappointed with our defensive values
– or bid 4 which we will need to correct to 4. So let's go straight to 4 with fingers crossed. If North
is reasonably balanced 4 may make.
Fred Altstock: 4. Not being vulnerable and have not much defence against spades.
Steve Hurley: 4. I expect partner to have values likely spades but not hearts. 4 is best chance at game. I bid 5 if doubled.
Sam Arber: 4.
Hope partner does not get too excited.
Barbara Whitmee: 4.
Only because East passed. Hope I don't put EW into a
making spade game though.
Ken Berry: 4.
Again, I like my shape (so does my wife!).
studies show that over 50% of people are unhappy with their
shape, so it's good to know that you are not one of them. But at
the moment we're discussing bridge problems.
Let's see what
the cowards, I mean the cautious players, have to say:
Emil Battista: Pass. I have been on a red meat free diet for a while.
As Sam Neill says, red meat is an essential
part of the diet of the most highly developed species on
– we were meant to eat it. Email me and I'll
give you the number of a good nutritionist. But at the
moment we're discussing bridge problems.
Helena Dawson: Pass. They're not in game and any bid from me might go horribly wrong.
Nigel Guthrie: Pass. 4 may be OK opposite a sensitive partner who picks up on why you immediately close your hand, remove your deaf-aid, and write down the final contract.
Alexander Cook: Pass. With only 4 HCP passing is best even with the exceptional shape. If you bid, partner may overestimate the strength of your hand. You could gain a lot by bidding but you could also lose a lot by bidding as well.
Sydney Frish: Pass. And congratulate the heroes who found a winning (?) 4 bid. If the remaining 30 points are evenly divided between partner and RHO, there is no game on either way.
Margaret Reid: Pass. I don't preempt over a preempt. Pard can bid NT or
double with a good hand.
John Leenders: Pass. Never preempt over a preempt my mother told me.
This response cost John the perfect 500 on this set,
but 490 is still a pretty rare score in this column. The
rule of preempting over a preempt is a good rule, but it
applies to auctions like (2)-3.
In our auction, 4 is
not a preempt
– it's a balancing overcall,
which in a way is the opposite of a preempt. The whole
point of balancing is to undo the damage done to your
poor preempted partner.
Amiram Millet: Pass. Excellent shape but too high even for balancing.
David Hester: Pass. Life expectancy of lemmings is poor.
Eric Leong: Pass. Partner rates to have 9-10 cards in spades and diamonds. East seems to be something like 1444 with some
points. I can see paying off -800 easily when 3 was going down.
Martyn Rew: Pass. Anything else and you will have a bit of explaining to do when partner pops
six spades on the table as dummy.
Erin Tewes: Pass. Anything else would lie about
your hand, and will excite your partner unnecessarily. Probably can give pards some ruffs.
Manuel Paulo: Pass. I'm afraid lest the opponents should
bid and make game.
A couple of answers have mentioned the fear
of EW making game. But is it really possible that a pair
who didn't bid game initially will be able to take ten
tricks despite foul breaks in every suit?
Bruce Minchinton: Pass. Opponents missed game as I trust partner to bid if he/she could.
Dean Sole: Pass. If partner has his bits in the right places for us to make 4 then E-W are likely to make 4.
Bridge Baron: Pass. Bridge Baron isn't even close to being tempted. It doesn't consider the possibility that partner is praying for the chance to convert a double to penalties.
This is an interesting insight into the problems a
programmer faces when creating a bridge-bot. It's one thing to teach a computer to bid his own
hand; it's another thing to teach him to wonder why his partner
bids a certain way.
Of course, the human players are all perfectly aware
that partner wants a protective double, but they chose
to protect him in a different way:
Terry Dunne: Pass. Partner is likely to sit
a double, and we simply don't have enough firepower to bid 4.
Nick Bailey: Pass. If I double it is likely partner will want to pass, and this is a poor hand to defend with. 4 seems rash, with poor trumps and only a 4 count.
Tony Treloar: Pass. I am very tempted to double for partner to convert to penalties, as partner figures to have the bulk of the missing strength and some values in spades. But
I don't because it is too misleading and potentially dangerous.
Jameson Cole: Pass. North rates to hold about
two hearts (with three decent hearts he might have doubled). I think this is time to go quietly as game is unlikely our way and chances of partner making
three spade tricks and two outside tricks appear quite good. The A should also make. Double is wrong since it risks partner bidding diamonds.
Is there really anyone here who believes partner is
going to bid 4 here? If our passing partner has
diamonds, not spades, then that means East has the spades
and the points
– surely he would have raised to 4.
Put me down with the minority yet again:
Ian Patterson: Dbl. Bid 4 if partner bids 4, bid 5 if partner bids 4.
Richard Morse: Dbl. Expecting partner to convert, and will correct diamonds to hearts. East is marked with fair values but passing is too feeble with this shape.
Paul Tranmer: Dbl. The hardest question for some time. Get this one wrong and you may be looking for a new partner and you’ll almost certainly be looking for new teammates.
Partner must have at least 14 points, so is most likely passing
with a spade stack. So I’ll double and hope to hit partner with KJ10x-xx-AKxx-Kxx.
David Matthews: Dbl. Partner must have a good hand with
spades but not enough to bid 3NT. If partner bids doesn't pass but bids 4 then I will correct to 4.
Lindsay Coker: Dbl. Lacking a heart honour, bidding is as much a gamble as pass, but
I have to protect partner; if he doesn't have spades, then he'll bid and drop us in it.
Leigh Matheson: Dbl. It looks like partner has a
spade stack and is looking to spill blood on this deal.
I agree entirely, which gives me a final
score of 330 out of 500 this month. And that's after
seeing all the answers, and upgrading some of the awards
myself. So I'm off to enrol in one of Paul's refresher
courses, and hopefully I'll see you all again in a
couple of months.
The deal is from the selection event for the Australian Youth
Team (deal has been rotated for convenience). Full details are
in my article on the Australian Youth Championships, on page 19
of the February issue.
The top scores for the month are listed below. Note
that these scores will differ slightly from those
published in the magazine. This is because several of the
bids received from readers are not found by any members of
the expert panel, and have a score of zero at the time of
printing. Once all the reader's votes are in, including
the occasional appeal, these responses are sometimes
upgraded causing changes to the scores and rankings.
Top scores for April
|6||Henri de Jong||450
Progress scores for 2007
|3||Henri de Jong||860
|35||Peter van Casteren||740|
|41||T L Goodwin||720|
|46||Birol Guvenc ||710
Thank you to all the readers and visitors who entered this
month's forum. Click
here to try your luck at the
next set of problems, to be answered in the
issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check out your
April issue to see what the experts had to say about this