Home Survey Subscribe Bidding Forum Australia-Wide Pairs Contact Us  

    
Your national bridge magazine
       JUNE ISSUE OUT NOW -- SUBSCRIBE HERE
Readers' Bidding
Forum Answers
March 2014

Readers' Bidding Forum with Michael Wilkinson, March 2014

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.
Click here to submit
answers for May
Scroll down to
see final scores
 
 
Hand One - North deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AK873
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) AJT5
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) T
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) K54

 


West North East South
  1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) pass 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)
pass 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) pass 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)*
pass 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) pass ?

2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) = 4th suit forcing.
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
4H 100 41 33
5H 70 14 5
4NT 60 9 14
3S 50 18 12
4C 50 4 3
3NT 40 14 33

Hi everyone, Brad here, welcome to the March 2014 forum. I won't be hosting the forum this month (people who crossed my path at the Gold Coast will know why). Sitting in for me, at very short notice, is current Australian team member Michael Wilkinson.

This will be the first forum I've missed in eleven years, so maybe many of you will welcome a change of voice! Anyway, I'll be back on deck in a couple of months. For now, please welcome Michael Wilkinson...

*    *    *    *    *

Welcome to the March reader’s bidding forum. Brad is doing a very good impersonation of a sick person, so you’re stuck with me. Unlike Brad, I don’t intend to be kind to those who make bad bids.

The first problem is a nice easy one. Summing it up nicely we have:

Fraser Rew: 4H. Even if partner has something like void-Kxxx-KQxxx-AQxx, there's work to be done in 6H, and he doesn't have to have that much. I can't really show this hand below game, and even 5H could be in trouble opposite something unsuitable, so I reluctantly sign off.

Tania Black: 4H. Found a fit, and enough for game!

Peter Vlas: 4H. I can draw a few hands with which 6H, or even 7H has good play, but 1) partner did not reverse, 2) AK of spades are less the usual. If I were a dreamer I would bid 4NT.

Ian McCance: 4H. I must confirm a genuine heart suit. Slam might be close but we need extra with a misfit. I have already forced to game, will leave next move if any to partner

Larry Cohen: 4H. Worth 4 and a half hearts, but without special methods, no way to say so. Not good enough for RKC (picture x KQxx KQxx Qxxx). This is the only clear way to show the 4-4 heart fit (partner has 4 hearts, but he doesn't know we do).

So let's move on to problem 2? I suppose we should give a bit of time to those who disagree with us.

Eric Kokish: 4NT. This is not a good bid, but in standard methods South has only two slam tries explicitly agreeing hearts - 5H and 4NT, as 3S, 4C and 4D are all natural. Although 4NT over 2C would be quantitative, I believe it should also be quantitative after 3H, South dallying with 2H to get some potentially useful information. In such a scheme, the real solution to the heart slam try problem is to define 3S as two-way: either 6+S or a slam try with 5+S and 4+H, initiating a set of coded rebids for opener, who is known to have 0 or 1 spade. Details available on request.

The key sentence there was the first one. Clearly Paul Lavings thinks we do have this agreement:

Paul Lavings: 3S. Any bid seems like strong support for that suit, so I'll try 3S. Then when I bid 4H later it all may become clear. When in an awkward spot the cheapest bid has much merit.

Manuel Paulo: 4NT. Slam is likely when partner holds, e.g., - KQxx Axxxx Axxx.

In these sort of situations it's reasonable to play partner for a perfect minimum, not a perfect maximum. I quite like this next response:

Kees Schaafsma: 5H. Fast arrival; Every suit is under control; Denies the Queen of Hearts (else 4NT); Needs and asks for the Queen of Hearts or compensating values (2 keys + Queen of Hearts ain't enough else 4NT). 4C followed by 5H (slow arrival) would show a similar stronger hand which requires 3 keys and doesn't need the Queen of Hearts.

The problems Kees doesn’t cover are that 5H may be too high and partner might not think about the situation that deeply (I know I wouldn’t) – he does have some support from the panel...

Zia: 5H. I would like to control bid for hearts, but 4C agrees clubs. I can underbid with 4H or overbid with 5H. As a rule I usually overbid... so 5H. Sorry partner.
Michael Ware: 5H. Swayed by the the 10H. We have good cards, but only a 4-4 fit and no way other than this to invite in Hearts. Without 10H the 5 level would be too risky.

Sartaj Hans: 5H. This seems like the only real way to invite slam. While there is a risk of being overboard in 5H, it is a risk worth taking because slam is very playable opposite sharp minimums like x,KQxx,Axxx,Axxx

I strongly agree with Peter Smith’s decision to promote 5H for the reasons outlined. Personally I think partner has 4 hearts. David Kalnins makes another point:

David Kalnins: 4H. Slam is possible opposite partner's minimum 1444 or 0454 shape hand; I prefer playing it safe opposite 3 suited hands with only an 8 card fit. Can partner have a 13(54) shape with three small hearts? If so, 4H will play remarkably well opposite that shape as well.

Even if partner only has three hearts this might be the right spot. Hence I have little time for:

Leigh Matheson: 3NT. At just 3H there is not enough room left to get a useful slam exploration auction going.

Nigel Guthrie: 3NT. x-Kxx-AQxxx-QJxx. A 4-4 H fit is possible but unlikely. A 4-3 fit may play OK but 3N may be safer.

Margaret Reid: 3NT. I have good stopper looks like he doesn't.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 3NT. if partner has the magical 0454 with both minor Aces and a heart-honour we have a chance for 6!h. My partner never has the magic hand, therefore I will bid the most likely game.

And even less for:

John Newman: 3S. The most accurate bid is long-pause-then-4H (jokes). 4C has a lot going for it if the meaning is clear, but I can't settle on it, so I'm going to bid 3S, a lie which backs partner into a corner. It should be safe opposite 1-4-4-4 or 0-4-5-4, I'll get to bid 4H next and my awesome partner will realise other slam tries were more ambiguous/had no brakes/I hardly know what I'm doing.

4C has nothing going for it – it suggests we have 4+clubs – partner does not have a 5th club they would have bid 3C over 2H.

  


Hand Two - South deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) KT3
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 7
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AQJT52
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AKQ

 


West North East South
      1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)
pass 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) pass 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)
pass 2NT pass ?

2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) = natural and forcing.
2NT = natural and invitational (typically 10-11, but in previous forums some of you have done it with 9).
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3S 100 72 36
3D 60 18 9
4H 40 5 1
3H 40 5 13
4D 10 0 19
3NT 10 0 11
Other 0 0 11


Another easy problem. When we bid 2C it was so that we could show our 3 card support and singleton heart. A minimum hand with three card support would have raised immediately. Opposite partner’s invitational 2NT or 3S bid is forcing. The only thing we haven’t shown now is that we have significant extras (not just extras) – the next round of the bidding is a far more interesting problem. Fraser Rew realises this and answers the unasked questions:

Fraser Rew: 3S. Forcing, obviously. If he bids 3NT, I'll bid 4D; if he bids 4S, I'll try 6D, showing a strong preference for Diamonds, in context (5NT would be pick-a-suit) and hope we're not off two key cards.

Summing up for the sane:

Kees Schaafsma: 3S. Belated support is forcing. (A la Squire or are his methods old-fashioned these days?)

James Coutts: 3S. Can't be anything other than forcing with three spades right?

Bridge Baron: 3S. Delayed spade support, showing exactly three spades, and more than a minimum. I have a maximum for my 2C bid, but that shouldn't be a problem.

And now for the less so:

Derek Pocock: 4D. Bypassing 3NT, showing good tolerance for Spades and hoping for cue bids to go slamming

Phil Hocking: 4D. North didn't bid 2D suggesting 2-3 diamond and hopes for a better contract, didn't bid 2H as forcing to game suggesting minimum points and probably less than 4 hearts but a heart stopper and didn't agree with South's clubs suggesting few than 4 clubs. South also didn't rebid spades so not totally in love with spades either. Limited enters to North in NT's.

Alex Kemeny: 4D. Partner did not use FSF, so that implies she has just 4 spades (especially if FSF at the 2 level is not GF, which I prefer). Again, treating the uncontested 4-minor bid as Minorwood would be ideal (and my preference), allowing us to stop in 4NT when necessary.

Niek Van Vucht: 4H. Splinter.

Niek misses the fact that 3S shows a singleton heart – therefore 4H must be a void surely.

Tim Bourke: 3D. This is 100% forcing: with a weak hand with 6 diamonds and 4 clubs I would rebid 2D then 3C over 2NT. It's too early to show the spade support.

Next round of the bidding it will be too late.

This problem is from a bidding practice session, so there is no full deal. Partner held AQ942-J1053-K-962, so we can make 6D.


Hand Three - South deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AQ3
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 75
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) KJ864
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KQ4

 


West North East South
      1NT
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) pass pass ?

Double is takeout from both sides.
 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
Dbl 100 82 50
Pass 40 18 45
Other 0 0 5

Double or pass are the only options we will consider, nil vul or at matchpoints double would be automatic – here there is merit to:

Patrick Huang: Pass. I may have a tougher problem if this is MP. At Vul and imps, the downside significantly outweights the upside. The range of 2H is wide, oppnents may have missed a game here.

Leigh Matheson: Pass. Chances of finding a fit a bleak – partner would have bid 2S directly with a 5-card spade suit.

Tim Cope: Pass. The risk reward ratio of bidding at teams looks suspect without a 4th spade and a minimum NT opening. If partner has nothing and maybe East has a strongish hand without heart support at this vul we may be booked for -800 by bidding. Would be a tougher question at pairs where -100 may be better than -110, or +110 better than +100 - here the reward factor is greater and doubling might be worth considering.

On the whole though I come down on the side of:

John Newman: Dbl. Playing this style of doubles I have to give partner a chance to make a penalty pass even though my hand sucks in this context.

James Coutts: Dbl. Partner will (should?) expect me to back in with this hand and not punish me. Surely ...

Tony Treloar: Dbl. if partner's double is for takeout then you must protect on this hand

Charles Scholl: Dbl. Trapped by our methods, don't I always have to reopen with shortness and no wasted values in the overcalled suit? Sometimes we'll end up at 2S on a 3-3 fit but sometimes 2Hx will go for a number.

Roger Yandle: Dbl. I've been personally assured by no less an authority than Brad Coles that all experts would make a re-opening double with this hand!

Matthew Thomson: Dbl. This hand is from an "improvers course", an automatic double, unanimous I hope. Everything else zero, 3D and pass awful. If you open 1NT and have any doubleton, except Qx and maybe Kx (or two honours) in their overcalled suit, double for takeout is compulsory.

Bridge Baron needs to go back to supervised:

Bridge Baron: 3D. Reveal the five-card diamond suit. Don't need extra strength for this bid.

This problem was hypothetical, provided by Roger Yandle.


Hand Four - West deals, nil vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) T542
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A5
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) A9
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) K8763

 


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

 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
1NT 100 59 22
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 50 23 27
Pass 40 18 49
Dbl 0 0 2
 

Nil vul is the bidders vul, Matchpoints is a bidders game. My system notes suggest I should pass with this hand – but my heart is with:

Kees Schaafsma: 1NT. I can't think of a more popular contract for our side and it will as always be difficult for the defence.

Gary Hyett: 1NT. 2C a long way second, especially at pairs. I suppose some days they are now going to bid their cold 4H, but I'm prepared to take that small risk.

John Newman: 1NT. Partner has J9 of spades and these opponents will lead three rounds of spades.

Zia: 1NT. Though if you tell me 2C was better I would believe you. If you said pass was better, I would say too bad.

I have some sympathy for:

Charles Scholl: 2C. Pass or 1NT might work out better but at matchpoints a club contract is a more likely plus score and I don't want partner to pull 1NTx to a red suit.

Paul Lavings: 2C. Better to bid your suit, rather than 1NT, so partner has the choice later to raise to 3C. Also if you bid 1NT without a stopper you give opps the option of leaving you to suffer there.

Matthew Thomson: 2C. This is a suit hand for now, if you don't bid clubs the suit will be lost. A possible reason for passing is that they have a likely heart fit, but with two aces and a king - bid. If partner has long diamonds they can bid them easily over 2C. Don't like 1NT.

And even some for:

Michael Ware: Pass. Hmm. Another unanimous Panel surely. If Partner can't bid over 1S, neither can we.

John R Mayne: Pass. I've seen this movie: 1S-P-P-2C 3H-P-4H-AP Partner is either short in spades (and therefore quite weak) or has spades (in which case we should shut up now.)

James Coutts: Pass. Not at all interested in defending any number of hearts.

But none for:

Emil Battista: Dbl. Not defending 1S! 2C overcall on that suit hardly appealing so Double again. 

This problem is an alteration of the actual deal, which looked like this:

spades AQ
hearts Q109 
diamonds Q32
clubs J9542
spades J10963
hearts KJ82
diamonds K10
clubs AQ
spades K7
hearts 7643
diamonds J87654
clubs 10
spades 8542
hearts A5
diamonds A9
clubs K8763

Three of the 13 pairs defended 1S for -80 and an average board. For the bidders, half of the North players went too high in notrumps or 4C, while others stopped low or successfully defended 3H.  


Hand Five - South deals, NS vul, IMPs. You are South.
 
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) K8542
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 8
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AJ9532
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) K

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


 

Call Award %
Experts
%
Readers
3S 100 31 24
3H 60 18 17
4H 60 14 7
4S 60 14 40
2S 30 14 5
4C 60 9 4
Other 0 0 3

My partnership with Griff now has the agreement that the jump to 4M shows a 1561. In the real world I think the mini-splinter on the low singleton is probably best:

Michael Ware: 3H. I want to bid more, but dont want to excite partner too much.

Phil Gue: 3H. I'm pushing on to game and a splinter is the best way. Since 2H is natural and strong, 3H is a splinter.

Roger Yandle: 3H. Splinter. My hand has improved no end with pard's response. It's unlikely pard has a min hand, otherwise why aren't the opps bidding their hearts, so hopefully this'll help us get to slam if it's on.

Leigh Matheson: 3H. The cheapest splinter.

Fraser Rew: 3H. This has to be a splinter, right? I'm a high-card minimum, obviously, but the great shape makes me upgrade.

John Newman: 3H. Even if partner psyched 4S has chances.

I can see partner misevaluating opposite:

Michael Burt: 3S. South has a 6 loser hand with the fit. Bid the hand as if it is a 6 loser hand with 3S and see where partner wants to go as partner probably has a much better hand point wise than I do.

Rainer Herrmann: 3S. The #value# bid

John R Mayne: 3S. What the hand is worth. More is foolhardy; less is chicken. I don't think 4D shows this hand, so 3S it is.

Zia: 3S. Splinter is too much. This hand needs two aces AND a diamond fit or shortage. Too many people overbid these hands and can't stop. The fact that opps are silent means part has a big hand. Many years ago in Seattle (world championship, quarter final against Poland I believe) I bid to 7S doubled after a similar hand type. LHO doubled, and after we passed showed me the QJ10 of trumps. Not so bad news when his partner led the ace of trumps... we were slightly too high and lucky to make eleven! I learnt my lesson... and now I share it with the Aussie public.

James Coutts: 4S. Value bid even if partner doesn't automatically assume a distributional hand.

Emil Battista: 4S. Lots of Hearts and Clubs missing not to mention fact that both opponents silent. Since 4NT not included in your dropdown then hoping that leap to 4S interpreted as #I have a great hand for spades and get opportunity to show DA after partner bids 5C. I also believe in flying porcine fauna!

Jacco Hop: 4S. Shows a 4S-6D and not much extra and that is very close to what I have. If partner has 2 aces with something in diamond or 3 aces he wont pass this. Sure 4S might be too high opposite xxxx KQJ xx JT9x but that is life. Bidding a #smart# 3S wont make it easier because how are we going to reavulate over slamtry? Going for 4C or 3H/4H(whatever is a heart splinter) will often lead to unsafe 5level lets say facing J9xx Axx xx AQxx

Matthew Thomson: 4S. Shows typically a 5422 shape and about 17-18 points, exactly what I think I have. Diamonds too weak to jump to 4D. I want to be in game and if partner moves over 4S that's fine. Splintering is unlikely to help partner, I see many poor results when hands like this (a big two suiter, not a three suiter) splinter.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2S. if partner can move we'll make game, if he doesn't we need the magic hand to reach game. Since 3!s might be too much pass seems prudent

Paul Sontag : 2S. Stiff King means I don't have to #overbid#.Terence Reese advised caution with such hands.

Robert Black: 2S. Wimpish, but (a) no one has bid hearts yet; (b)a bid of 3 or 4 Spades might just pre-empt partner if he has a big hand; and (c)I only started with 11 HCPs, including the singleton K of Clubs.

Frank Stewart: 2S. I know this might end the auction when we can make four (though even a sound invitation for North such as Axxx,KQx,xx,Qxxx makes us an underdog). A greater danger is that if I take stronger action, overbidding my high cards, we will get too high. If I raise to three spades (or splinter -- gruesome thought), North will drive to at least the five level with Qxxx,AKx,xx,AQxx.

And I think he will definitely expect more for:

Paul Lavings: 4C. From opps passes I will assume partner has a good hand. My CK seems to be of little use, but I prefer to make room to hear 4D. If partner has five spades and a few key controls we are in business.

Charles Scholl: 4H. 4C takes up less room but is a little misleading; 4D fit-showing could work out but the suit should be stronger.

Bob Jones: 4H. Again, with no great conviction. 4S should show a balanced 19 or so, so that is out. 4D should show a hand like this, but I'm not going there without a chat. I splinter in hearts because my king of clubs might be a useful high card value. Both opponents have passed, so partner probably has a good hand. I might be encouraging him too much, but I have to get to 4H with a player like this.

The full deal:

spades A10963
hearts A74
diamonds K8
clubs A86
spades QJ7
hearts QJ1092
diamonds 74
clubs Q54
spades ---
hearts K653
diamonds Q106
clubs J109732
spades K8542
hearts 8
diamonds AJ9532
clubs K

Most bids should lead to the good grand slam, which fails on the 3-0 spade break. At the table everyone stopped in the small slam -- the deal is from a club duplicate, and it is well known that it is risky to bid a grand slam in a club duplicate (this deal demonstrating why).  

Thanks for joining us for the first forum of the year. The questions for the May issue have already been online for some time, here. Brad will be back hosting the forum again next month. 

While you're here, click on the Home link at the top of this page and check out our brand new web site.

 

Top scores for March
1Denis Haynes ACT480
2Rainer Herrmann GER460
3Dean Pokorny 460
4Bastiaan Korner NED460
5Geof Brod USA440
6John Newman NSW410
6Kajsa Fröjd SWE410
6Toby Weinstein USA410
9Ian Patterson Qld400
9Jacco Hop NED400
9Fraser Rew NZL400
9Ian McCance Vic400
9Damo Nair USA400
9Nigel Guthrie GBR400
9Wayne Somerville IRL400
9Roger Yandle NSW400
9James Coutts NZL400
9Pravin Nahar NSW400
19Tim Trahair NSW390
19Julian Gauld NSW390
21Duncan Roe Vic380
21Hans Van Vooren NED380
21Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN380
21Leon Slonim Vic380
25Gary Hyett GBR370
25Paul Sontag 370
25Ron Lel LAO370
25Pat O'connor NSW370
25Kees Schaafsma NED370
30Nancy Kent USA360
30Tom Kiss NSW360
30Bjarne Andersen DEN360
30Valter Johansson SWE360
34Dean Eidler NZL350
34Alexander Cook NSW350
34John Shield NSW350
34Mark Hangartner 350
34Andrew Macalister GBR350
34Kay O'Connor NSW350
40Leigh Blizzard Tas340
40Todd Holes USA340
40Peter Vlas NED340
40Peter Tarlinton NSW340
40Fi Nadir 340
45Dror Axelrod ISR330
46Jim Thatcher NSW320
46David Winter Vic320
46Conny Wahlgren SWE320
46Dan Baker USA320
49Bram Amsel 310
49Manuel Paulo POR310
49Tony Treloar Qld310
49Gary Lane NSW310
53Richard Semmens SA300
53David Graham 300
53Tom Moss NSW300
53Tania Black SA300
53Par Ol-Mars 300
53Christer Enkvist SWE300
53Alpay Ari 300
53Nigel Kearney NZL300
53Peter Qvist 300
53Jim Greer GBR300
63Margaret Reid NSW290
63Niklas Andrén SWE290
63Michael Davy Vic290
63Alan Jones Qld290
63Alan Boyce 290
   

Leading scores for 2014
1Denis Haynes ACT480
2Rainer Herrmann GER460
3Dean Pokorny 460
4Bastiaan Korner NED460
5Geof Brod USA440
6John Newman NSW410
6Kajsa Fröjd SWE410
6Toby Weinstein USA410
9Ian Patterson Qld400
9Jacco Hop NED400
9Fraser Rew NZL400
9Ian MCcance Vic400
9Damo Nair USA400
9Nigel Guthrie GBR400
9Wayne Somerville IRL400
9Roger Yandle NSW400
9James Coutts NZL400
9Pravin Nahar NSW400
19Tim Trahair NSW390
19Julian Gauld NSW390
21Duncan Roe Vic380
21Hans Van Vooren NED380
21Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN380
21Leon Slonim Vic380
25Gary Hyett GBR370
25Paul Sontag 370
25Ron Lel LAO370
25Pat O'connor NSW370
25Kees Schaafsma NED370
30Nancy Kent USA360
30Tom Kiss NSW360
30Bjarne Andersen DEN360
30Valter Johansson SWE360
34Dean Eidler NZL350
34Alexander Cook NSW350
34John Shield NSW350
34Mark Hangartner 350
34Andrew Macalister GBR350
34Kay O'Connor NSW350
40Leigh Blizzard Tas340
40Todd Holes USA340
40Peter Vlas NED340
40Peter Tarlinton NSW340
40Fi Nadir 340
45Dror Axelrod ISR330
46Jim Thatcher NSW320
46David Winter Vic320
46Conny Wahlgren SWE320
46Dan Baker USA320
49Bram Amsel 310
49Manuel Paulo POR310
49Tony Treloar Qld310
49Gary Lane NSW310
53Richard Semmens SA300
53David Graham 300
53Tom Moss NSW300
53Tania Black SA300
53Par Ol-Mars 300
53Christer Enkvist SWE300
53Alpay Ari 300
53Nigel Kearney NZL300
53Peter Qvist 300
53Jim Greer GBR300
63Margaret Reid NSW290
63Niklas Andrén SWE290
63Michael Davy Vic290
63Alan Jones Qld290
63Alan Boyce 290
   
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
May issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check out your
March issue to see what the experts said about this month's hands.