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August 2014

Readers' Bidding Forum with Brad Coles, August 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.

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Hand One - South deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AJ64
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) A
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) A8632
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) J76


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

  2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is "standard", not game forcing.

Call Award %
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 50 34
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 90 35 37
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 40 15 22
2NT 30 0 5
Other 0 0 2

We start this month's forum with a hand that looks like a system problem, but is actually a valuation problem. Well, it's a bit of a system problem, in the sense that the problem would be easier if we played 2/1 game forcing, but no one ever said life was meant to be easy.

If we were playing 2/1, this would be an easy 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid; maybe it's a point or two light, depending on your reversing style, but still quite safe if partner has GF values. 

Rick Giles: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). If 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) had been GF then I'd bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), not showing extra strength but shape.

In our actual system, Standard American (named for the furthest country on earth from the only country that plays it) several people were concerned 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would get us too high:

Roger Yandle: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). An underbid but if pard passes then we probably haven't got game on.

Zbych Bednarek: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Too weak for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Nigel Guthrie: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Too weak to reverse and poor support for 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), when there's an acceptable alternative (KQx-xxx-Kxx-KQxx).

Wayne Somerville: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I don't want to lose the spade fit (1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)-2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)-3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)-3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) sounds like a probe for 3NT), but I don't have enough for a reverse, so I'll rebid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and await further developments.

Phil Hocking: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner hasn't bid 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) but ought to have honour cards outside of clubs. Bidding 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is too strong, 2NT a potential disaster so repeat diamonds.

Rainer Herrmann: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Agreements matter here. For example 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is fine if it forces to game with longer diamonds, but for others it simply denies five diamonds. Playing both 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)-2NT as non-forcing and 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)-2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) not as a game force looks to me like a poor combination.

It is true that many people play 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) as denying five diamonds, in fact that's how it's played in Max Hardy's definitive 2/1 textbook (page 12). However, I've never heard of anyone playing that way outside of a 2/1 GF framework; I don't see how it would be workable. Certainly all our Australian readers know that our 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) shows longer diamonds -- apologies if I've tripped up any of the Europeans (yes, I know I promised last month that I'd find a way to handicap the European readers, but I was just kidding, honestly...). 

Tim Trahair: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). The least worst of the other possible bids, although would prefer to have six diamonds. Too unbalanced for 2NT, 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is nearly OK but invites 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) from North and what do we do then?

Ian McCance: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Tempted to raise clubs but do have an extra diamond and clubs not good enough to burn up the space.

Tony Treloar: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Even if 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is not game forcing this should be a one round force... will raise 2NT or 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) to 3NT, bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) over 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), and raise spades depending on what comes next.

This last comment seems slightly flawed; the only reason to bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is if you don't think you're good enough for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If you want to make a forcing bid, why not choose 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)?

It seems foreign to me to rebid such a poor suit when there is a decent alternative, and the experts and readers voted strongly for two alternatives. First, the always reliable support with support:

Alex Kemeny, Manuel Paulo: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). One of the most sensible things you can do in this game is to support partner.

Leigh Matheson: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Paints a rather clear picture of the hand, showing support, limiting strength and there is a convenient follow up for anything partner does next. Lots of good things.

David Matthews: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). A simple raise. If partner is only 10-11 points and five clubs then 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is probably where we need to play. Partner will continue if he is better.

Robert Black: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not necessarily to play, and partner has not finished.

Sam Arber: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not quite good enough for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid although could miss 4-4 spade fit.

Margaret Copland: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not strong enough to reverse, diamond suit not good/long enough to repeat. Support of clubs is a minimum bid.

Andrea Viscovich: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). With three aces and ruffing hearts I will support clubs.

Fraser Rew: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). With four spades and less than a game force, partner would start with 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), right? This just looks like the sort of hand that's going to be -50 if I do any more.

Ron Lel: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Despite the stiff and three aces, my hand is not that good.

John R Mayne: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). The 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bidders are just wrong; that should show extras in a standard format. This leaves 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), which shows another diamond, or 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), which shows this.

It's true; in case there are any doubters, a reverse after a two-level response is absolutely game forcing in any standard system (which means, as you say, you need "extras" when responder might have just a 10-count). You often hear club players say "we don't play reverses", which is gibberish. You may not know you play reverses, but they still require extra strength whether you know it or not -- it's a simple matter of safety. If you routinely rebid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on a 13-count, even if "that's how we play it", you'll lose a lot more than you win (and not just on the hands where you get too high -- more on that later).

The twist on this problem is: this hand does have sufficient extras to force to game!

Matthew Thomson: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Great hand with three aces and 5431 shape. If I only had one bid I'd try 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Paul Lavings: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I'm more than happy to force to game.

Steve and Barbara Shepard: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Three aces and club fit make the hand good enough to force to game.

Peter Fordham: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This hand is simply too strong to raise to 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) with its three aces.

Julian Foster: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Prepared to GF opposite 10+ (and way too good for 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)) so this seems best. Besides, we could be making 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if partner is strong with 4315 shape or something like that. Hard to reach that unless I bid spades now.

Charles Scholl: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We should be in game and 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) would not be forcing, so 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) fits best. I'll support clubs over anything from partner except 3NT.

Michael Smart: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Strong enough, with excellent controls and a fit. Bidding out my hand with 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) next time around (implying three cards, otherwise I would have splintered immediately).

James Coutts: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Can't say I understand why people choose not to play 2/1, but 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) here is not forcing and all my aces seem too strong for that.

Bridge Baron: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Just barely strong enough for this bid, but quality points in aces and a jack in partner's suit. By the way, I'm sad to hear that as an American I can't win the free movie tickets, but so it goes. 

Cute, Bridge Baron does puns. Yeah, it's a shame you weren't eligible, but we simply couldn't afford the plane flight to get you down here! I imagine that the Baron would be a big movie fan, as he can't have much of a social life (although he did answer these questions while playing the NABC in Las Vegas).

The movie tickets were won by Derek Pocock, Henri de Jong, Julian Foster, Tom Kiss and Barbara Hunter. They each win a double pass to And So It Goes, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton (click here for details).  

Emil Battista: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). A bit of an overbid. 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is wimpy. So is 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) -- especially if 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) response can be made with only 4 clubs. Still 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) should keep us out of really hot water.

Jacco Hop: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Enough to game force and tells our shape to start with. We have a bad 14 but opposite 10+ and our secondary club fit we should be able to go to game.

Peter Vlas: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Overbidding a little, but I want to play game and all pictures seem right.

Kees Schaafsma: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Should pard be minimum with six clubs I expect a heart fragment as well which favours game in clubs.

Dan Baker: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Very tough call between 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), but I think it will be tough to convince partner it's a genuine spade fit if you start with 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and he's 4-3-1-5 or 4-2-1-6.

Since we've been discussing common misconceptions about reverses, before we move on I'd like to briefly (or not) get a couple more out of the way:

Mick McAuliffe: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Aces and spaces. 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) should make if that is where we finish.

Barbara Hunter: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Wait and see, we may just end in 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

While it's true that 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) does not force us to game, 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) does. You may like to think, "I've stretched a little to bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), but I'll make up for it by passing 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)". Bad idea.
Your partner thinks you have 15+ points, therefore...
He thinks we have 25+ points, and...
He thinks you know we have 25+ points, so...
He believes you know we are in a game force now, which means...
He believes his 3
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) rebid is forcing.

He may have a 19-count, simply conserving space to find the best fit for his grand slam.

Here's another very common error:

Larissa Cowlishaw: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Shows the shape of the hand, not a reverse as partner has bid at the next level. Partner may have a major with opening points.

Sorry, it's still a reverse even after partner bids at the 2-level. Yes, partner is now 10+ instead of 6+, but we are also higher. If you bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) without reversing values of your own, partner will have to (for example) give preference to 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with a minimum 2-3-3-5, when you should be in 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Worse, you can't even pass 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) (see my previous comment).

Worse still, if you're one of the afore-mentioned players who think you can pass 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), because 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) isn't game forcing (because "it's not a reverse") then partner won't be able to bid 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with a good hand. He'll have to jump to 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with any 13-count, when you should be in 3NT.

OK, that's the end of my discourse on reverses -- time to move on to something a little more complicated...

Hand Two - South deals, both vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) A42
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ---
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AJ9762
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AK84


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


Call Award %
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 100 65 42
3NT 70 30 25
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 50 5 22
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 20 0 6
Other 0 0 6

The votes on our next problem are split between two separate but equally important groups: the optimists, who bid slams when they have lots of points and heaps of first-round controls, and the pessimists, who stop bidding when they have a misfit. These are their stories.

Julian Foster: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Although I have a spade stop it doesn't look like a NT hand. Could even be going off in 3NT with 7images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) having chances (eg opposite xxx AKJxx Q QJ10x). That's a fairly contrived hand of course but 6m is a very realistic chance. So I just bid naturally and see what partner does next.

Michael Smart: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Could be the right strain, and allows partner to excite me with a 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 'preference' (or push my off button with 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) sign off).

Michael Burt: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Slam is quite possibly on but which one? I need to continue to describe my hand.

Niklas Andrén: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Probably slam if partner bids a minor now.

Margaret Reid: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Forward going bid Looks like we should be in 5 or 6 of a minor

Manuel Paulo: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). My hand looks strong enough to show my second suit.

Emil Battista: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Ish keeps reminding us "with 6-4 bid more". Repeating diamonds or introducing clubs can wait.

To be fair, Ish also bids more without a 6-4.

Jacco Hop: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Bidding 3NT here could be correct but we might easily have slam and perhaps partner bids something smart. This is actually an interesting situation to discuss how to do a slam try for hearts. My first answer was 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) but completely ruling out 3NT is probably not wise.

Damo Nair: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Making 3NT would depend on a minor suit fit. Perhaps 5 of minor would then be simpler?

True, even with no slam on, 3NT may well have its own problems if there is no fit. I often hear people say "you shouldn't bid 3NT on a misfit", and I think this is the hand they had in mind. In fact, most of the 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bidders were not so much looking for slam, as avoiding a misfit-3NT.

Ron Lel: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). There are two choices, 3NT and 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). No doubt some will opt for 3NT. This is a foul bid with a heart void. If pd has no diamond honour, from where are my tricks going to come?

Alex Kemeny: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). With the void I do not consider 3NT. Let partner choose a minor but if he bids 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), I will pass.

Andrea Viscovich: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). We should play game in a minor. 3NT is not an option here.

John R Mayne: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Bypassing 3NT is very painful. Partner even with honor doubleton in diamonds can have a hand where 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is better. I would bid 3NT at Matchpoints, but I can't quite stand it here.

James Coutts: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I have diamonds and clubs. No hearts. Am I missing something? Surely I don't have a suppressed desire to bid/play 3NT.

Barbara Hunter: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Cant see NT as a proposition.

Dan Baker: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Patterning out, headed for game somewhere (hopefully not 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), but I'll pass if partner bids it).

Ian McCance: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Or maybe 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)? 3NT is for the birds.

Ron says 3NT is foul, Ian says it's for the birds. Let's hear from the chickens who are afraid to go past 3NT:

Fraser Rew: 3NT. It's a misfit, so we may not belong any higher. And if I bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), partner may bid too high on the wrong hands (anyone feel like being dummy in 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)?)

Roger Yandle: 3NT. Looks like a misfit so maybe this is the best spot.

Larry Brose: 3NT. Misfit hand. Probably going down in hearts, so might as well gamble in NT.

Peter Vlas: 3NT. Stepping on the brakes a little in this misfit. If partner has a one-sided weakish hand I expect him to bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Wayne Somerville: 3NT. A bit of a guess, but at least we can hold up a round or two.

Nigel Guthrie: 3NT. As good a guess as any (xx AQJxxx Kx Qxx).

Rick Giles: 3NT. If 3NT is a possibility, then don't go past it.

Duncan Roe: 3NT. Should be OK as long as partner has some good hearts.

Tania Black: 3NT. Cheapest game, forced by partner, hoping he has an entry or two.

Tim Trahair: 3NT. Presumably North has seven hearts and 10 or more HCP. Accordingly he may have entries to enjoy his hearts in due course. If he doesn't have entries he will need to bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Bridge Baron: 3NT. Hamman's Rule. Our spade texture isn't great, but at least we do have a full unambiguous stopper. On the auction, partner rates to have enough cards in the minor suits to make 3NT playable, especially if partner leaves me in 3NT.

OK, not all of those comments were using 3NT as a panic room; some of them actually thought it might be a good spot. And it might be an even better spot if we could drum up another spade stopper:

Alan Jones, Phil Hocking: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Happy to play in 3NT if partner has a spade stopper.

David Matthews, Zbych Bednarek: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner has a spade stop then we might be best in 3NT. Otherwise there is still time to get to 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Robert Black: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner has forced to game, and 3NT may be a good spot. Or 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)?

Sam Arber: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Tempted to bid 3NT but may need half stopper. I'll pass 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Leigh Matheson: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Gives partner (potentially) two opportunities to rebid hearts -- if partner can't bid hearts again, I don't really want to raise them.

Finally, a few people who probably would have liked to get to 3NT, but were worried that an attempt to play in 3NT may sound like a balanced hand (implying heart tolerance):

Charles Scholl: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I would like to bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) asking partner to bid NT with a spade stopper, but partner will expect heart support and we could well have a minor suit slam. 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) shows my strength and suggests long diamonds.

Jack Lai: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) might lead partner to think I have something in hearts. So choose to bid the suit.

Tony Treloar: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Harder at Matchpoints, but this way partner doesn't expect heart support (he would likely convert 3NT to 4hearts if we bid 3NT).

The full deal, from the Gold Coast Teams:

spades Q5
hearts AQJ93 
diamonds K10843
clubs 7
spades K109876
hearts K65
diamonds 5
clubs Q93
spades J3
hearts 108742
diamonds Q
clubs J10652
spades A42
hearts ---
diamonds AJ9762
clubs AK84

South bid 3NT, and North passed, missing an easy grand. I don't think North comes off completely blameless here either, but that's a problem for another day.

Hand Three - North deals, EW vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) Q54
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) T9
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) KT3
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) AT876


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


Call Award %
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 100 55 37
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 80 30 22
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 40 10 14
3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 30 0 2
Pass 20 5 19
3NT 10 0 4
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 10 0 1

Next, our third minor-suit-oriented problem of the month, and one of three problems where 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) got the top score. I have a lot of sympathy for this tiny minority, who would have been big winners at the table:

Robert Black: 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). On the way to game, and hiding the club fit to avoid, hopefully, a ruff in 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Tania Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 10 tricks look easier than 11.

Many of the 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bidders on the expert panel suggested/hoped that partner would bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) next and we would play there, with Sartaj going so far as to say:

Sartaj Hans: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Hoping partner can bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) as 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) feels a long way away.

A small handful of readers echoed that wish:

Bridge Baron: 3NT. Hope we appreciated our unambiguous spade stopper on the last deal, because our spade 'stopper' here is rather tenuous. Again, the auction doesn't have to be over if partner can bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Kees Schaafsma: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Over 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) I'll bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to show my heart tolerance. Is right opposite xx-AKQJx-x-KQxxx.

Ron Lel: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Good problem. Avoiding the poor 3NT bid leaves you with three choices, pass, 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I choose 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) because partner can still bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) with good hearts. Passing seems taking a huge view with an ace and a king.

Ian McCance: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner has rejected 3NT. Leaving room for 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Barbara Hunter: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not sure if 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) would be better.

Phil Hocking: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner more likely a void or one spade. Choice between hearts or clubs with a rebid of 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) showing fewer than three hearts, or a bid in 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) showing solid support. If Partner has a solid heart suit a 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bid by North would allow me to retreat to 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) with no heart support.

A couple of people wanted to bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) themselves but felt the pips weren't quite up to the job:

James Coutts: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Not much wasted in spades and sounds like a 10-card fit. T9 of hearts means I would like to offer hearts, but 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) sounds more like images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Kx or similar, and I don't want to get tapped in the 5-2 unless partner has very good trumps.

Julian Foster: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I think I'm happy to try 3NT if partner can provide a spade stop. If not will try 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) but there's a risk that could be off three tricks. Given oppo haven't raised beyond 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) there's a fair chance partner has 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) which isn't so good for our side. Might consider trying to play 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) if I had images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)Qx but I think too much chance of deep trump losers in 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) here.

This expert comment turned out to be a little ironic:

Peter Fordham: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is best spot, partner ought to have bid 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) not 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

On the actual deal, partner had six clubs and five hearts, and has already guessed well to show the hearts first (giving us our only chance to get to 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)). We can't really blame him for introducing his semi-solid six-card club suit at the three-level, and we won't be seeing him rebid hearts any time soon.

Assuming we do have three top losers, 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) isn't the only contract worth looking at:

Roger Yandle: 3NT. Probably not what pard wants to hear but 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) doesn't look like a good option.

Alex Kemeny: 3NT. images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)Q54 should be sufficient as long as West has exactly three spades which is likely. With this maximum I have to shoot for game and this one seems the most likely.

Wayne Somerville: 3NT. The opponents probably have eight spades between them. It is between 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 3NT (3NT will play better in partner's hand with images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)Kx, but he won't bid 3NT over 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) with images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)Jx). An 11 trick game feels far away, but may well be right.

Manuel Paulo: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I suggest 3NT, knowing that, on the other hand, 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) should not be a disaster.

Michael Smart: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Expressing concern about the quality of my promised stopper. Prefer to keep 3NT in scope rather than commit to some number of clubs.

David Matthews: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I have an absolute maximum and partner has bid strongly. 3NT is a possibility as is 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes).

Fraser Rew: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). My hand has improved. I'm bidding game, I just need partner to tell me the strain.

Dan Baker: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Need help on the spade stopper.

Zbych Bednarek: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Needed another spade stopper at pard's hand for 3NT (for sure without heart support).

And even less risky than 3NT:

Andrea Viscovich: Pass. Anyone expecting a club game over here?

Duncan Roe: Pass. Don't fancy NT with the E-W spade fit. Will rebid clubs if West keeps going but don't feel I have enough HCP to bid five.

Larry Brose: Pass. Going to lose two or three tricks in spades.

Leigh Matheson: Pass. Partner did not double, so what game can we make?

Alan Jones: Pass. Too many potential losers for five.

Emil Battista: Pass. We have found a good fit for a small positive instead of a bigger positive in a making 3NT.

Pass could certainly be right, but the following comment neatly dismisses that choice:

John R Mayne: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Since x-AKxxx-Ax-J9xxx makes game excellent, I have to move. Anything more aggressive than the simple raise is counter-indicated by the wasted spade queen.

John also added that we should be playing a 2NT convention in this position, so we can distinguish that hand from the following hand:

Nigel Guthrie: 3spades. Start to show slam suitability (x-AKxxxx-Ax-KQxx).

Damo Nair: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Could easily have a slam if North shows up with spade shortness. Bidding 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) does not get across the huge club fit.

Expert panellist Tim Cope also objected to our lack of a Good/Bad 2NT convention; however, since we don't have one, it's much safer to play for John's example hand than Nigel's. Tim offered the example xx-KQJxx-x-KQJxx, opposite which pass is the winner, but that's a very specifically bad hand and too pessimistic to act on.

Tony Treloar: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). All I can manage, but at least tells partner that we have a good club fit and I have some extras.

Bastiaan Korner: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) isn't forcing, but I have a nice hand.

Margaret Copland: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). giving preference to clubs, showing max 1NT values and that my spade stop no longer enough for 3NT.

Niklas Andrén: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I think 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is an overbid.

Michael Burt: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I'm not forced to bid, so 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) should be encouraging.

Peter Vlas: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If he picks my 5-card suit he deserves a positive response with this maximum hand.

Jacco Hop: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). If partner passes that is okay, going to play in hearts could be good but 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is NF and we have primarily club support and our diamond and spade honours have questionable value especially because partner might be 2515.

Tim Trahair: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). North has a strong hand so 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) may well be on. He may well have five clubs as well as hearts.

Charles Scholl: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner rates to have a couple of spades and I suspect the expert bid is 3NT, but this looks more like "support with support" to me.

This problem and the next one were provided by Orlando Wu, from the NSW Interstate Teams selection:

spades 10
hearts AQJ83 
diamonds 2
clubs KQJ952
spades A832
hearts 765
diamonds QJ974
clubs 4
spades KJ976
hearts K42
diamonds A865
clubs 3
spades Q54
hearts 109
diamonds K103
clubs A10876

With three quick losers, the only making game is 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Hand Four - West deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 98
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 93
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) J84
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) K87652


West North East South
pass 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) pass
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) pass 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) pass
pass dbl pass ?


Call Award %
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 100 55 65
Pass 90 30 19
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 30 15 4
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 10 0 11
Other 0 0 1

Our next problem was intended as a simple choice between 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), but was complicated by some confusion about partner's pass of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Julian Foster: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Wonder what partner's double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would have meant? Good spades or takeout of hearts? If it would have been takeout then this presumably is penalty. But that seems very unlikely -- partner can't have a trump stack so can hardly be sure of five tricks in his hand.

Michael Smart: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Did partner think that a double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would be a good hand or good spades? The pass followed by a balancing double at the 3 level suggests he thought the latter, so I envisage a strong 5431 (a 5-5 or 6-4 might have been shown directly over 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)).

Charles Scholl: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) has merit, but this rates to be a better fit and if partner's spades were great she would have doubled the cue bid.

James Coutts: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I do have two spades so I could support those, but I presume partner could have doubled 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) to emphasise that suit. Seems logical that this is classic takeout double shape.

Peter Vlas: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I run. Sitting in front of the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)A partner can hardly have a decent penalty double and if his spades were excellent he could have doubled one round earlier.

Margaret Copland: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Reading as a takeout double based on 5440 shape -- he can't have enough hearts to be for penalty or have the extra spades to double the first round or bid at 3 level.

For me, a double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is absolutely takeout of hearts, but I have clashed on this issue with several partners (specifically, people who get most of their bridge literature from America).

In some circles, as all the above comments clearly demonstrate, a double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) means "I have very good spades". (Or, if you're smart enough to appreciate the value of not gratuitously giving the opponents extra options, your partnership should at least switch pass and double so double would be "I do NOT have good spades, please lead something else against 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)".)

The upshot of all this, is that if double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would have been takeout, why didn't partner do that?   

Jacco Hop: Pass. Very odd auction. Partner didn't double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) to show extras so I have no idea what he has. A very weak takeout? A penalty double? I guess the last one because that makes more sense than weak takeout because why not show your hand the first time around if you can.

Damo Nair: Pass. North didn't double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), so he won't have heart shortage.

Those two were the only readers to decide that partner's double was for penalty, and to back their judgement. A few were almost sure it was penalty, but not willing to risk it, while others simply decided there weren't enough hearts in the deck:

John R Mayne: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I think partner should be able to double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) for takeout, so this double is penalty. I am uncertain that partner is at the same place, and I am running from fear -- fear of a mistake and fear of not matching the consensus on this hand. I salute the passers.

Tony Treloar: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Insurance. I am a little bemused that partner took no action last time but has doubled now. I don't think it can be for penalties looking at xx in hearts.

Dan Baker: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner can't have a heart stack and I have no defense. I expect we get at least two more tricks in clubs than spades.

Bridge Baron: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). We treat partner's double as takeout, leading to the obvious club suit. Yes, partner did have the opportunity to double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), which in some partnerships would mean that doubling now is for penalty. Our heart holding militates against that interpretation, though.

Ian McCance: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Without confidence but Pass too risky.

David Matthews: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Could the double be for penalties? Unlikely after the cue raise, so I think partner wants to compete. Partner surely cant have six spades otherwise he would bid them so he may be 5233. 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) should have some play. The only nagging feeling is why did partner pass 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)?

Sam Arber: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Does not seem penalty but probably wrong.

Margaret Reid: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Delayed support. Hope pd's double is not for penalties.

Alex Kemeny: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Call me a wimp but West believes he can make 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and even though partner has extras, I agree. 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) leaves at least three options open to partner (spades, clubs or pass).

The remaining comments were all quite clear that the delayed double was still for takeout, but delivered a resounding verdict against bidding game:

Niklas Andrén: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner is a strong 5143/5134?

Manuel Paulo: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This looks like the denomination where my hand has some value.

Tim Trahair: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Can't leave the double in. However it seems North may have as many as three hearts, so 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is not likely to be on.

Leigh Matheson: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner did not double 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), so surely this is automatic.

Wayne Somerville: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner has a strong takeout double hand, but we have the worst possible heart holding, so I will take the low road.

Robert Black: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I did not want to bid but partner made me!

Rick Giles: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner will not like my hand for defence.

Nigel Guthrie: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Partner's double is constructive not merely protective because if I held a heart-stack, I could have doubled 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) might be an underbid.

Duncan Roe, Roger Yandle, Michael Burt: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This has to be a take out double surely?

Andrea Viscovich: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I don't like 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) nor pass here.

Tania Black: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Let partner make nine tricks in spades; making ten in clubs seems less appealing.

Ron Lel: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This is a very odd sequence. I assume this is takeout, especially after the cue raise.

Fraser Rew: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Even knowing the full layout, I don't think it's a 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bid. Partner should be 5-1 in the majors (no double of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) means only five; opps would bid game with an 11-card fit but pard wouldn't double with two of them). KQJ10x-x-AKxx-Axx puts us on a club split.

The full deal:

spades AJ753
hearts 8 
diamonds AK109
clubs A104
spades K64
hearts K765
diamonds Q752
clubs QJ
spades Q102
hearts AQJ1042
diamonds 63
clubs 93
spades 98
hearts 93
diamonds J84
clubs K87652

With the friendly layout in both minors, we can make a slam in clubs. North admitted that he passed 2spades because he wasn't sure what double would mean (although it's hard to see how double could have gone wrong).

If partner had doubled 2spades, we would have been in a position to make an aggressive free bid of 4clubs over 3hearts, which would have got us to game.   

Hand Five - North deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 98
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) AK987
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) AJ9843
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) ---

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


Call Award %
5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 100 50 17
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 90 20 37
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 60 15 21
5NT 30 15 3
6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 10 0 2
Pass 0 0 13
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 1
Other 0 0 6

When I first saw this problem, I (wrongly) thought it was an easy 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) bid.

Charles Scholl: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) might show the shape better but would probably be passed or 'corrected' to 4NT. 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) should get us to the right slam.

Andrea Viscovich: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Six or seven? Only worried by spades.

Zbych Bednarek: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). For sure pd must have diamond support, seems 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) or maybe 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) wil be better than NT contract.

Michael Smart: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Partner can still have three diamonds, so I will hopefully hear a 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid. If partner implies a xx diamond with 4NT signoff, I can kick once more with 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to show my strength and shape.

Kees Schaafsma: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Seems obvious. A non-forcing 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) could easily be a weaker hand (xx-QJTxx-KQJxxx-void).

Margaret Copland: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Showing slam interest in a red suit.

Fraser Rew: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Hoping that we can have an intelligent auction to grand.

Yeah, that's what I thought. Any intelligent auction to a grand is a great way to win imps. However, 85% of panellists and 79% of readers have given up on any chance of a grand, with the majority of readers merely (some barely) inviting even the small slam.

Robert Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We have 30-31 HCP, but no certain fit, except in diamonds, and two quick spade losers, so slam chances are marginal. But if partner wants to know, I have three key cards in hearts!

Tania Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Showing a six card diamond suit, and no help in spades, if that helps partner to assess slam prospects.

Barbara Hunter, Emil Battista, Jack Lai: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner now knows my shape, over to him.

Michael Burt: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This could well be a horrible misfit but give partner Kx diamonds and slam could well be on. Going past 3NT should be encouraging and should confirm a six diamond - five heart hand and some interest in going further.

Ron Lel: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This seems obvious as it describes my values and my shape. I am not passing and not making a slam move. I will cooperate with any move towards slam that partner wishes to make.

Roger Yandle: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We can make anything from game to grand. It will depend on how much pard has got wasted in clubs. I'm not sure how I find that out though so I'll bid out my shape and let him decide. If he prefers to diamonds then I'll bid slam.

4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) certainly does make the shape clear, but the 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders are far from clear on the issue of strength. Roger mentions the grand slam wistfully, but (like most of the 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders) is quite content if partner wants to stop in game. A few others appear to have no slam interest at all:

Damo Nair: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). North did bid NT twice and should show up with some cards in the reds, since he didn't rebid clubs or any spades.

Phil Hocking: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). North should have heart support and this confirms long diamonds.

Larissa Cowlishaw: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Partner can bid 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) without a heart fit.

And then there's this:

Peter Vlas: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This should be forcing.

It's a shame Peter didn't give any reasons about why this should be forcing. A couple of our expert panellists did explain why it's at least constructive:

Phillip Alder: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This shows a really good hand, because if I had a so-so 5-6, I would have bid 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), not reversed.

David Kalnins: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Bidding diamonds before hearts shows a good hand. If you have less than game force values opposite a 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) opening, bid hearts before diamonds. In this instance slam is not clear at all, so I'm going to follow through with showing my hand type and letting partner infer my strength. If partner has sharp cards and a fit he can cuebid in response.

It makes sense, but let's consider the example hand given by Kees Schaafsma at the beginning (xx-QJTxx-KQJxxx-void) -- we wouldn't want partner moving over 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) if we had that. Responding 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) with that hand could see you in a silly 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) contract with 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) cold.

Most of the experts chose to force to slam immediately, with the majority opting for the natural route of 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) (although a couple of readers believed that even this was droppable):

Nigel Guthrie: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Natural slam try (KJ-xxx-KQx-AKQxx).

Wayne Somerville: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Slam probably makes, I'll make doubly sure partner knows we're 6-5, while giving him the chance to get out with something like AKQ-xxx-xx-AKQxx.

Sam Arber: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Too good to bid 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) looking for slam especially diamonds.

John R Mayne: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). This is revenge bidding for Problem 4. You want to puzzle me with an unlikely double? I'll make a puzzling jump. That'll show you.

Lol, I bet you didn't expect to be in the majority John. Not as puzzling as you thought.

Leigh Matheson: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Yes partner I'm serious. Pick one.

David Matthews: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) would be to play so this will tell partner we need to be in slam in one of my suits. 6NT is not out of the question either.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Pick a red slam, I have 6-5 in the reds.

Dan Baker: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Show extreme distribution and slam values. Partner should never pass this.

Julian Foster: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I think it's clear to bid some number of hearts. If we weren't prepared to pattern out fully then we should have responded 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) initially.

Or, translated into Swedish...

Niklas Andrén: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). If you have brought with the devil in the boat, you have to row him ashore (Swedish proverb).  

5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) wasn't the only slam force on the menu (and this one makes absolutely sure that we do get to slam):

Jacco Hop: 5NT. Pick a slam.

James Coutts: 5NT. Pick a slam. I will bid 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) over 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), and since I am offering alternative strains (must be diamonds and hearts) when partner has denied four hearts, I must have five. Is that too deep to be deduced at the table? Maybe. But bidding 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) now doesn't seem like it will help us.

Tony Treloar: 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I guess this is some sort of pick a slam showing concern about the position of the spade honours. I can convert 6images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) to 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and then partner can correct if necessary.

I'll upgrade the 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bid to be equal with 5NT; the intention was right.

Normally I don't publish the answers for the minority answers (on the grounds that if you scored a zero you don't necessarily want the world to know). However, on this occasion there were so many votes for playing in notrumps, that I figure there's safety in numbers.

Margaret Reid: 6NT. We should be in slam.

Bridge Baron: 6NT. +835 for 6NT to +499 for 3NT, a big winner in simulation. Often they defend worse if you just blast to slam. 

I believe the Baron's style is to choose its two preferred options, and then simulate scores for just those options. On this occasion I think a simulation for 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) would have been much more useful.

Manuel Paulo: 4NT. I agree with the strain and ask partner to define the level.

Ian McCance: 4NT. Partner may be on a long club suit so a potential misfit and won't force a red suit contract.

Alan Jones: Pass. Nine tricks could be easier than 10 or 11.

Duncan Roe: Pass. Happy to subside in game. We have no suit fit, but I expect partner has a spade stop.

Alex Kemeny: Pass. I have shown my 6-5 shape and partner has made a decision, so I respect it. We have over 30 HCP but with no fit 12 tricks is speculative.

Tim Trahair: Pass. North is showing a strong balanced hand with no interest in the red suits despite our strong bidding. So he is likely to have long clubs and perhaps four spades.

Larry Brose: Pass. Luke to princess Leia, "Listen to your heart" (partner)

The full deal, from Kings and Queens:

spades AJ2
hearts Q63 
diamonds K5
clubs AK1053
spades K6543
hearts 4
diamonds Q6
clubs QJ942
spades Q107
hearts J1052
diamonds 1072
clubs 876
spades 98
hearts AK987
diamonds AJ9843
clubs ---

Out of 26 tables, 13 pairs bid and made a small slam. Three pairs recorded a minus score (presumably in a grand slam).

Thanks again for joining us. We hope to see you all again next month; the questions for the October issue are already online, here.  

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Movie ticket winners
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They each win a double pass to the new film And So It Goes.
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In Cinemas August 7.
View the trailer on YouTube.

Top scores for August
1Derek Pocock WA490
1Bastiaan Korner NED490
1Henri De Jong Vic490
1John R Mayne USA490
1Tom Kiss NSW490
6Barbara Hunter NSW480
6Julian Foster NSW480
6Dan Baker USA480
6Michael Burt ACT480
6Ron Lel LAO480
11Bjarne Andersen DEN460
11Tom Moss NSW460
11Geof Brod USA460
11Michael Seldon NSW460
11Peter Vlas NED460
11Charles Scholl USA460
17Margaret Copland Vic450
18Michael Smart ACT440
19Niklas Andrén SWE440
20Mark Jappe SA 440
21Niek Van Vucht ACT430
22Kajsa Fröjd SWE430
23Fi Nadir CAN430
24Dean Eidler NZL430
25Martyn Rew NZL430
26Kay O'Connor NSW430
27Ig Nieuwenhuis NED430
28Todd Holes USA430
29Arthur Porter SA430
30David Matthews WA420
31Dean Pokorny CRO420
32Gary Lane NSW420
33John Newman NSW420
34Peter Tarlinton NSW420
35Hans Van Vooren NED420
36Jim Thatcher NSW420
37Paul Sontag CAN420
38Damo Nair USA410
39Ivan Demeny NSW410
40Murray Perrin Qld410
41Toby Weinstein USA410
42Fredrik Jarlvik SWE410
43Mark Laforge 400
44Peter Stride Qld400
45Conny Wahlgren SWE400
46Fraser Rew NSW400
47Dror Axelrod ISR400
48Duncan McKinley 400
49Nigel Guthrie GBR390
50Pat O'Connor NSW390
51Bram Amsel 390
52Mats Hedström SWE390
53Radoslav Radev 390
54Dominic Connolly NSW390
55Leigh Blizzard Tas390
56Larissa Cowlishaw ACT380
57Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN380
58Phil Hocking NSW380
59Sam Arber Vic380
60JC Clement 380
61Ian Patterson Qld380
62Nancy Kent USA370
63David Woulds GBR370
64Mark Hangartner 370
65Leon Slonim Vic370
66Jacco Hop NED370
67Manuel Paulo POR370
68James Coutts NZL370
69Gareth Birdsall GBR370
70Emil Battista NSW360
71Robert Black SA360
72Leigh Matheson NSW360
73Trish Whitton 360
74Kees Schaafsma NED360
75Pravin Nahar NSW360

Leading scores for 2014
1Bastiaan Korner NED1360
2Kajsa Fröjd SWE1340
3Geof Brod USA1330
4Dean Pokorny CRO1310
5Fraser Rew NSW1290
5Paul Sontag CAN1290
7John Newman NSW1270
8Dan Baker USA1260
8Hans Van Vooren NED1260
10James Coutts NZL1230
11Charles Scholl USA1210
12Jacco Hop NED1210
13Rainer Herrmann GER1210
14Ron Lel LAO1210
15Tom Kiss NSW1200
16Niklas Andrén SWE1190
17Todd Holes USA1190
18Ian Patterson Qld1190
19Bjarne Andersen DEN1180
20Fi Nadir CAN1180
21Nigel Guthrie GBR1170
22Damo Nair USA1170
23Toby Weinstein USA1170
24Kees Schaafsma NED1140
25Gary Lane NSW1140
26Kay O'Connor NSW1140
27Andrew Macalister GBR1140
28Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN1130
29John R Mayne USA1130
30Pravin Nahar NSW1130
31Henri De Jong Vic1120
32Pat O'Connor NSW1120
33Leigh Blizzard Tas1110
34Tom Moss NSW1110
35Barbara Hunter NSW1110
36Dean Eidler NZL1110
37Conny Wahlgren SWE1110
38John Shield NSW1100
39Michael Burt ACT1100
40Jim Thatcher NSW1100
41Dror Axelrod ISR1100
42Mark Laforge 1090
43Michael Seldon NSW1090
44Ian McCance Vic1090
45Peter Tarlinton NSW1080
46Wayne Somerville IRL1080
47Roger Yandle NSW1080
48Peter Qvist DEN1060
49David Matthews WA1060
50Andrea Viscovich ITA1060
51Nancy Kent USA1050
52Bram Amsel 1050
53Arthur Porter SA1050
54Murray Perrin Qld1040
55Leigh Matheson NSW1030
56Manuel Paulo POR1030
57David Woulds GBR1030
58Alexander Cook NSW1030
59Tim Trahair NSW1020
60Derek Pocock WA1020
61Robert Black SA1010
62Sam Arber Vic1010
63Martyn Rew NZL1010
64Alan Boyce Qld1000
65Ivan Demeny NSW990
66Emil Battista NSW990
67Ig Nieuwenhuis NED990
68Dominic Connolly NSW980
69David Winter Vic980
70Rick Lu NSW980
71Fredrik Jarlvik SWE980
72Peter Stride Qld980
73Niek Van Vucht ACT970
74Jack Lai 960
75Zbych Bednarek POL960
Thank you to all the readers and visitors who entered this month's forum.
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August issue to see what the experts said about this month's hands.