We end the year with possibly the
strongest hand ever held in this forum, and partner is
bidding. So, obviously:
Nigel Kearney: Pass. Close to bidding 4 to invite in diamonds.
Roger Yandle: Pass. It would be nice to know what pard's preempts are like at favourable vul. If they're made on bus tickets, which is the fashion nowadays, then this is probably the limit. If he's stronger than that then I'm in for a bad score.
Charles Scholl: Pass. No transportation for a notrump contract and too many losers for 5. I'll pass quietly and hope the opponents get into trouble.
Jacco Hop: Pass. Partner is
favourable so even we miss game it wont be such a big deal.
Rainer Herrmann: Pass. You might tempt me at different colours.
Well done; a lot of people commented that pass was
probably correct, but only a handful actually did it.
The readers' vote was split fairly
evenly between the three main minus scores, with most of
those choosing go straight to game, suppressing the heart
Manuel Paulo: 5. To bid game looks mandatory.
Dan Baker: 5. 3NT is no good unless partner has Qxx of hearts and KQ+ in diamonds - and if he does, 5 is just as safe (barring an immediate ruff). No real chance of
six; partner can't have an ace and solid diamonds (West wouldn't have an opener).
Tim Trahair: 5. 3NT might be on, but it seems likely there will be no entry to North's hand to enjoy what
diamond winners he has after we play the A. So go for the contract which seems likely to be on.
Damo Nair: 5. Even opposite KQTxxxx, 5 is pretty reasonable.
Todd Holes: 5. Getting to those lovely diamonds an issue in 3NT. My other choice is pass.
John Newman: 5. I can't think of a better bid, I look forward to reading about this one.
Ian McCance: 5. I have no idea. Looks wrong missing two aces.
James Coutts: 5. Might not make but rates to have more play than 3NT most of the time, and it may not be obvious to east to lead a heart.
Barbara Hunter: 5. Might work, NT didn't look like a good prospect.
Leigh Matheson: 5. Odds on East will lead a club. And odds on 5 is cold on that club lead. Partner should have a more “normal” pre-empt hand for his overcall rather than what he might have if he’d opened 3 in 1st seat at favourable.
Phil Hocking: 5. Partner at best is likely to have KQJxxxx of diamonds and no other HCP. Favourable vul. East may have zero to one points and be on lead so should lead a club to West who can only lead into South's hand giving the opportunity to get rid of North's losers.
Ron Lel: 5. Partner's 3 can be quite weak at this vulnerability. I will not hang her. By the way, I wonder how many will bid 3NT. That is an awful bid.
Mick McAuliffe: 5. Shut the bidding down. looks like partner has stretched the truth
and has about 3-4pts only - so his points should be in
diamonds. Maybe eight diamonds to make up for the fib? Anyway, East at lead has nothing
and no lead indicators from West. Two to one they guess wrong lead.
Tony Treloar: 5. This is where I want to be even if we have a heart fit so I'll just get us there. Very unlikely there is an entry to partner's hand for 3NT.
5 certainly has some chance of
making (well, one chance at least, as described by Phil
Hocking above). Having slightly less chance:
David Kalnins: 3NT.
Seems like the most likely contract to make.
If we have an eight card heart fit we probably have three heart losers.
Stephen Bartos: 3NT.
A long minor suit will almost always work well in NT. an entry into the North hand, either in clubs or hearts, is more likely than not.
Michael Smart: 3NT. Choices:
partner might raise 3 to 4 with honour-small, or might decline an inv 4 holding KQ to 7 and out? So need to take charge and bid game. Prefer 3NT, as 5 risks club leads and a trump promotion.
Fraser Rew: 3NT. Could make as many tricks as 3 does.
Paul Sontag: 3NT. Even though my gut says pass (how are we actually going to make 3NT?) I will fall into the trap.
Wayne Somerville: 3NT. I was taught not to bid 3NT with singleton ace in partner's preempt, but I'm not far off making it in hand and it's not like partner isn't forbidden from having a useful card in hearts. The problem with 5 is it is too often beat with a club ruff.
Robert Black: 3NT. If my expert partner has no entry for NT, and he is missing the A, he can take out to 4, which I shall raise.
Tania Black: 3NT. If Partner has no entry outside diamonds he is welcome to take out to 4 or 5.
Toby Weinstein: 3NT. Tough problem. Pass could be right.
David Matthews: 3NT. Tricky as I will have difficulty getting to partners hand but I need to protect my
Next, we have a bid that keeps all
three games in the picture (as well as allowing a nice stop in
4). Of all the possible ways to get a minus score, this one
is surely more flexible than the alternatives.
Kees Schaafsma: 3. A smoke screen. Maybe East won't lead its singleton club if West decides to double 5.
Sam Arber: 3. Bid 3 first forcing looking for 5 eventually.
Bridge Baron: 3. Can't just trot out 3NT without
checking for a heart fit.
JC Clement: 3. Forcing; I hesitate between 3NT and 3.
Margaret Reid: 3. Forcing for one round at least.
Emil Battista: 3. Forcing. Heart suit is not ideal, but it is a 5 card suit. 3NT
(by me) or 4 should have more than some play.
Murray Perrin: 3. I have a monster, don't stop below 6.
John R Mayne: 3. Playing opposite me or the Aussies who used to post on rec.games.bridge, pass smoothly and hope for a reopen. Give the passers a medal! (And if I've misguessed the field and pass gets 100 because of the split in other votes, I shall not complain about the stupid 100-point-for-plurality rule on this problem.)
3NT bidders need solid diamonds and an entry, which is a 1 bid. Punish them!
As to the followup after partner bids over 3? I intend to pass the likely 4 bid. So at least I tie the passers at the table.
Technically the plurality rule
is having an effect here, as pass falls one vote short of an
outright majority. But with no other bid getting more than
three votes, it's obvious to give Pass the top score using
any scoring rules
(especially since no one seems very convinced that we should
Peter Vlas: 3. Problem is what he will bid with two hearts -- 4 or 4. I hope in case of 4 he will at least have some values there.
Hans van Vooren: 3. Forcing. I don't want to play 3NT since I can very probably not reach partner unless he has something in hearts. And if he does have something in hearts, I want to play in that suit. 5 without a heart fit.
Richard Semmens: 3. I am taking a risk of missing 3NT, but that is looking problematic for entries. Partner is likely to have
hearts since the opponents have a spade fit.
Jack Lai: 3. If
I'm lucky, partner might have three hearts; if not, can still survive in 4.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3. If partner has anything extra I will hear
something other than 4. If he does bid 4, difficult. I'll start
thinking about that after bidding 3.
Alex Kemeny: 3. Sure, the suit is anaemic but partner can have three hearts in this auction. If partner can only proffer 4, I will raise him to game. There is a risk that he will raise me with a doubleton, but no action is perfect.
Unless he can bid 3 as a stopper ask, implying a solid suit, I do not like 3NT with the stiff ace in his suit.
Phil gave 3 a very poor score,
because he felt that exposing the heart position was likely
to get us doubled in whatever silly game we end up in. That
sounds a little paranoid to me, and I've upgraded it to
equal 5. More controversially, I've also mildly upgraded
his score for 3NT.
The full deal, from bidding practice on Bridge Base Online:
Fraser Rew bid 3NT.
Since it was a bidding practice session, the hand was not
played out. In the magazine we stated that 3NT would
probably fail at the table, but on closer analysis I think
Fraser would have made it.
That's it for another year;
congratulations to Paul Sontag of Canada for a strong
performance all year long. If you want to come back to this
page in a few days, I will update it with photos and
profiles of the top scorers for the year. (If you haven't
sent me a photo yet, now is the time...)
Happy holidays to all, and I'll
look forward to seeing you here again in March with the first issue
of 2014. The questions for that issue are already
While you're here, click on the
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