The second of this month's problems to feature 11
different answers! In fact just about every bid from 4
to 6NT is covered, the only exceptions being 5
But the majority choice was clear, with half the readers
and half the panellists demonstrating that they have
absolutely no courage at all:
Fred Altstock: 4. Partner has probably
hearts and spades and singleton diamond. He can pick heart or spade game.
Isabel Michie: 4. Partner has a void or singleton diamond,
and is not trying for 3NT. Therefore he has good majors, maybe 4-4. He can pass or correct.
Denis Haynes: 4. Allows partner to either pass, correct to spades or bid 5. Why didn't South bid 1 in the first place! How
many diamonds are there in the pack? I don't like what I see!
Ron Lel: 4. One word on the auction. I think the
double sucks. Why not just bid 1 here?
I wish Ron and Denis had elaborated on this point. Why would
they want to deny four spades? It's not like the suit is
terrible or anything. Obviously the downside of showing
both majors is that partner could end up as declarer --
I've never met their partners so I don't know if that is
Dean Sole: 4. Doesn't rule out spades.
Cathy Hui: 4. Pass or correct. Slam is unlikely.
Jeremy Rosen and Martin Wardle: 4.
As North has jumped rather than bidding 3
he probably has a diamond shortage so either 4405 or 4414. He
also wants be in game opposite a possible 7 count so he probably
has 18-19 points. The K is worthless therefore
we have about a 9 count. Without controls in any suit and with
only a combined 28 count slam doesn't look promising.
I have a lot of respect for point counters -- I
attribute some of my biggest disasters to my failure to
count points. But let's check the maths here. 18-19
points and a 4405, you say:
That's 14 HCP and a void -- not a laydown slam I admit,
but with a finesse through the overcaller, I've seen
worse. (Yes, I know I threw in a bonus tenspot -- but
there are four in the pack, we deserve to get at least one!)
Rex Fox: 4. Pard is is likely 4405, but should be bad breaks in a slam.
Bruce Minchinton: 4. Am discounting the diamond values in my hand as partner is void or singleton. Partner has strong hand, but with my 10 HCP (outside of
diamonds) not enough for slam.
I bet you'll become even more timid once you realise
you actually have 9 HCP, not ten!
Duncan Roe: 4. I think partner read my double to indicate strength in both majors and is now asking me to pick one. I have no real preference so bid 4 leaving him free to try 4 if he really prefers them.
Bridge Baron: 4. Partner forced Bridge Baron to bid something, so it's bidding its cheapest four-card suit. If Bridge Baron had had the option of bidding a certain processed meat product from the Hormel Foods Corporation on this hand, it might have done so, but apparently that option is only available on Hand One.
Everybody's making fun of my SPAM filter! Maybe I'll
think of something different to put in next month.
Barbara Hunter: 4. Perhaps a bit wimpish,
but no first round controls and K probably wasted.
Ian Smith: 4. Assuming partner has majors.
John Furedy: 4. I assume pard has at least one four-card major, so I'll bid my cheaper one first. If I had 5-4 in spades and hearts, I'd bid spades first.
There's a fair bit of disagreement over whether partner
has one major or two. This next lot are betting all
their money on two:
Martin Eggins: 4. Believing partner is asking me to bid my preferred major, I have. The 9 looks more appealing than the 6.
Vic Liersch: 4. Slam is only a remote possibility and
partner has taken away the bidding room. Bid the preferred major.
Tim Trahair: 4. North seems to be saying pick a game. Presumably he has a
4414 or perhaps 4405 distribution. In the unlikely event that East goes to 5 we will then have the options of
double or 5.
Terry Dunne: 4. The wasted K stops me getting too excited. Partner would need 3 aces and 2 kings for slam to be a chance given that we're likely to have a diamond loser. Even then we'd need to be able to pick up the Q.
Fraser Rew: 4.
Doesn't look like a diamond void as West appears to have at most 3 and East at most 6
-- though if so there must be some reason for the lack of a jump overcall. (How long did East think for over 4?) But whatever's going on I have a nice hand, but I also have only one useful control and nine working points. 4 rather than 4 because my spades are stronger and because I do have vague extras and if partner has just made a slam try in hearts we can probably afford to be at the five level.
Ken Berry: 4.
This is my stronger major. It looks like partner is quite strong.
Sydney Frish: 4. North gave me a choice and it may be marginally safer sitting with the stronger major over East.
Bastiaan Korner: 4. I agree not very courageous but 5 seems exaggerated.
For those who are willing to offer partner some
cooperation, there are two primary ways forward: as
usual, it's the multi-4NT or the all-purpose cue.
Roger Yandle: 4NT. I'm hoping this is natural, with slam interest in NT or majors, showing possible wasted values in diamonds.
Margaret Reid: 4NT. Partner has a good hand lets look for slam in a major.
Richard Morse: 4NT. I don't think this can be Blackwood since we have not agreed a suit, so I hope it shows what I have, a
balanced hand with a bit extra for partner.
We haven't agreed a suit, but one of our younger, more
adventurous panellists has an answer for that:
Leigh Matheson: 4NT.
If partner has something like AQxx-Axxx-void-AKxxx, then 7 is an even money chance of making. In situations like these where there are two possible trump suits, both major suit kings are considered keycards, making 6 in total, and the responses are: 5 = 0/3 keycards, 5 = 1/4 keycards, 5 = 2 keycards no
queen, 5 = 2 keycards + lower ranked
queen (hearts), 5NT = 2 keycards + higher ranked queen (spades), 6 = 2 keycards + both
queens. (See Polish club system notes.)
You uni students spend waaay too much time thinking.
Here's an unexpected problem with 4NT:
Boris Richter: 6.
4NT is asking for trouble, partner might bid 6NT (you never
know). Probably bidding 5 is best but I am afraid he will interpret this as showing an ace.
Therefore 6. Hope I am playing with the right partner :-)
Eric Leong: 5NT. I should probably strangle
partner for ambushing me with an undiscussed
conventional bid. However, whatever partner has my hand
has to be magic for him. I would have bid the same way
without the spade king and the club queen, and my
jacks are excellent fillers. So I bid 5NT telling
partner to pick a slam. Perhaps partner with Axx-AKx-void-AKJ10xxx can gather some courage and bid 7.
It's always been my philosophy that in every session
with a new partner, you should make at least one
undiscussed bid. It stops them from becoming complacent.
But it's important to know how to react appropriately:
David Hester: 5. This is a revenge bid. I cannot imagine why 'partner' has used so much space to tell me he is short in diamonds, which I already knew, so I will use more space to make him tell me what are trumps. It will be a close race who sacks whom first. A slam may not be on, as I have no ace, but I hope he has at least 4 of the 5 or 6.
Frank Campbell: 5. North is good enough to play in 4 of either major over my 1st level double so slam is a
possibility but how do I find out preferably with him as
declarer. If I bid game he will pass and Blackwood is of little help to me. Hopefully 5 shows an invitational hand in either major allowing him to bid it or pick a slam.
David Monahan: 5. Cue bid suggesting slam interest for a partner who was prepared to force game opposite a minimum double and my hand is far from a minimum, especially with our double fit.
David Matthews: 5. 6 or 6 is a distinct possibility as partner may well have AQxx-AKxx-void-KJxxx. My C is a big card so am happy to make a forward move.
John Leenders: 5. Partner shows both majors and must be strong. 5 says I have got both majors and points. He can go 6 with
three aces and a singleton diamond.
Sam Arber: 5.
Partner seems 4414 or 4405 strong. soft values but do not want to miss out on slam with 12 points.
Tell partner willing to play at slam level, if he bids at 5 level pass.
Paul Tranmer: 5. I bid 5 in case pard is 4306 rather than 4405. I will then raise 5 or 5 to 6.
Nigel Guthrie: 5. You can hardly refuse partner's invitation with
nine prime points, even without any aces.
Paul Gipson: 5. Although control challenged, how can I do less?
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.