month we welcome another guest
moderator, Fraser Rew from Sydney.
"Do you want
to play Gold Coast?", I asked the
"I guess, but
somebody's going to have to do the
And that's the
story of how I ended up having the power
of god for a month, free to ridicule,
criticise and castigate without fear of
anyone answering back. Hmmm... maybe
this is why I'm never left in charge of
The first hand raises a lot of questions: What does a
takeout double show? Something you might
have heard is that The Short Hand Must
Act - meaning that when they pre-empt,
it's up to the person in the partnership
with shortage to bid. If neither of you
is short, it's a misfit, so maybe you
should both be passing. So if partner is
short and still can't scrape up a bid,
he must be really weak. Such was the
thinking that motivated...
Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. horrible
problem. but I'm reluctant to turn a
probable plus into a minus. partner
couldn't bid despite being short in
hearts. Nor could East. chance we can
make requires perfect hand from partner.
I dont play him for that. Hoping for
Ron Landgraff: Pass. I do not
see the game!
Ian McCance: Pass. Nothing left in
Brian Lawless: Pass. If
pard can't bid, neither can I!
Mayne: Pass. Nice problem! 3N has solid
chances to make, but going down many is
a real possibility. I probably need two
of the spade ace, diamond ace and
diamond king, plus non-running clubs to
make, so I am going full coward.
Anything but 3N or pass is terrible.
Griff Ware: Pass. Partner couldn't
make a take-out double, which decreases
the odds that bidding is the correct
Sid Ismail: Pass. Take your
medicine and beat 3 now.
Smart: Pass. We could make game or go
for sticks and circles. Partner probably
has a short heart, yet couldn't
act...which decreases the chance we are
missing a vul game. So I'll try for a
Duncan Roe: Pass. We may
get 3 off, but dbl would be takeout.
Bridge Baron: Pass. With four cards in
the opponent's suit, we'd only act here
with a monster or a powerful side suit
(QJ10xx doesn't cut it.)
Pass. A very good chance of getting 3
off. If we can't get 3 off, we are
probably going off in our contract.
John R Mayne: Pass. Nice problem! 3N has
solid chances to make, but going down
many is a real possibility. I probably
need two of the spade ace, diamond ace
and diamond king, plus non-running clubs
to make, so I am going full coward.
Anything but 3N or pass is terrible.
summarising the previous eleven answers
Phil Hocking: Pass. Chances are
partner will bid 4 after a double then
difficult to convert to a NT contract
below 6. Only 2 other hearts not
accounted meaning any suit contract our
way could be ruffed in hearts twice as
East didn't raise partner. Pass is
lowest potential damage and may even
give a plus N/S.
last of the Optimists, who considered
Pass to be one of the many calls
available. Some Passers, however, are
Leigh Matheson: Pass. If you take
action, every choice is flawed.
True, but so is
David Kalnins: Pass.
Nice preempt - I'm fixed for a bid and
passing to go plus (hopefully).
agree with their bid, I don't like their
reasoning. Pass is not the absence of a
call; it's a call in its own right.
Sometimes it's the most dangerous call
and sometimes it's the most positive.
majority of both the readers' and the
expert panel think that, the misfit and
partner's silence notwithstanding, we
should move forward: we do have a
15-count with a void, after all.
advocated by Terence Reese was: a
four-card overcall over their preempt.
This got a few takers, including two
expert panellists and the following
intrepid bidders. Let's see the
3. Hate this one. Pass could be the
last plus, especially today with rubbish
preempts. I could be short on trumps
very fast. But dbl will lead to Clubs by
P i'm afraid and there is no way out
then, 4 loses the spades and for 3NT I
lack the tricks
John Newman: 3. I can
see 4 or even 3NT making opposite a
partner who couldn't act. East might
give me a snip. +620 or -800, I'll learn
Will partner really bid 3NT with his
small singleton and the lead going
through your potential stopper and into
3. Terrible bid. The others are worse.
While I admire their creativity, those
are not the voices of confidence I was
hoping to hear to change my mind. Words
of wisdom that have served me well: when
Reese advises on card play, do exactly
as he says; when he advises on bidding,
do the opposite. Now for another
minority action. 4 got five takers,
whose views were summarised by...
Peter Robinson: 4. Great problem.
Partner's silence with short hearts
suggests weakness and/or not many
spades, so the "clever" 3 isn't, and
3NT could be ridiculous. East is
hovering, but if his values are
concentrated in clubs we have an answer.
If partner has length in both minors, as
I expect, then a suitable yarborough
would be enough to make 10 tricks - East
may have to overruff hearts with
winners. Maybe the negative punt of pass
is the winner, but I don't need much for
game or slam.
The problem with 4 is that it's
aiming at such a small target. It goes
past 3NT; partner will never bid 4 on
his likely four-card suit; it's unlikely
that we can take 11 tricks in game; RHO
might double and collect a number. The
only real positive is that we might
trade -140 for +130, but that's a rare
occurence. Because of this, many pairs
play 4m here as showing 5 cards in the
minor and The last of the minority
Jim Greer: 4.
4 showing spades and diamonds.
been 5-5 in my book and will force us
uncomfortably high most of the time.
Still, at least it tells partner about
nine of our cards, and on the likely
Heart lead against 4 we'll be ruffing
in the short hand. Now for a bid that
was second most popular amongst the
readers but got only two votes from the
panel - still, some of the readers in
this group have had some excellent
results at the table. Reading some of
the answers, it appears that they may be
expecting partner to pass on a lot of
hands on which the experts expect
partner to act:
Manuel Paulo: 3NT. It's likely that
North holds about nine points with a
3-1-3-6 distribution or similar.
would double on that.
Robert Black: 3NT. A double might not
necessarily lead to a 4 bid from
partner. And if RHO #saves# by bidding
4 a double then will show my shape
(unless partner takes it for penalties;
but his shape will probably guide him).
never really pass the double, so RHO has
nothing to save against. This might be
good for you, because many players would
play a second double would as 100%
3NT. Dbl or pass could also be right but
I'm punting on 3NT. This hand looks very
familiar(hand 5 in the December bidding
forum) so I hope I don't get a club
Sam Arber: 3NT. Double will
bypass 3 nt 4 s may be better but prefer
to bid 3 nt and take chances on club
Richard Morse: 3NT. Everything is
sick - but passing seems too supine and
this at least tells (warns) partner
where my values are.
It's not often
that I do diving for the dictionary, but
Richard's done it. If you're wondering,
supine (in this context) means inactive
out of laziness.
(Fraser is very
young, and he probably doesn't remember
Keith McNeil, who used that word quite a
Kearney: 3NT. I don't want to defend
undoubled at this vulnerability and 3NT
is my best guess.
Nigel Guthrie: 3NT.
Partner is likely to hold a club suit.
Axx x xxx KJxxxx.
maximum for a Pass, and even so you may
make only three spades, two hearts and
Somerville: 3NT. Red against White at
IMPs, letting them play in 3 is a big
position. I'll try 3NT and hope partner
doesn't get too excited about a possible
club slam. I don't want to double as if
partner bids clubs, I will feel as if
we've passed our most likely game.
Baker: 3NT. Risky, but we can't settle
for 50 a trick when 600 might be there.
Double leaves no recovery if partner
Alex Kemeny: 3NT. They can
be robbing us blind here, so I must act.
Give partner as little as SJ and DK and
a club honour and 8 tricks are virtually
certain. Partner could have much more
Gary Hyett: 3NT. Ugh. At
least I've got a heart guard. Dbl and
pass could both work better.
Vooren: 3NT. Whatever I do can be wrong.
3NT has two advantages: partner can
still bid a long suit if he has one, and
we may avoid all kinds of nasty breaks
in our trump suit even if we find the
there are not many voices of confidence
in that group. Finally, let's hear from
the plurality - can they convince us
that Pass wasn't the right choice? Well,
Bastiaan Korner: Dbl. Annoying, that
is why people preempt, but I cannot pass
Patrice Fincias: Dbl. Dbl is more
positive when vulnerable. It would be
frustrating to pass and be able to make
4 or 5. 3NT would be my choice at
Matchpoints; a kind partner will begin
with 7 tricks in clubs.
solid clubs, partner should shut his
eyes and bid 3NT. This partner does,
Deana Wilson: Dbl.
have to do something
Tania Black: Dbl.
Hoping not to hear 4.
Dbl. With the void this is too strong
for a meek overcall
before heard of a void in a side suit
being seen as a positive thing.
Mick McAuliffe: Dbl. Tough choice, but I
suppose that is what these things are
about. Hope for a spade reply, but
expect a club that will overbid
diamonds, which partner may overvalue.
Still is a 4 loser & worth a fib if
Barbara Hunter: Dbl. not sure about
this seems wimpy to pass
Dbl. With reversed vulnerability, pass
would be very tempting. I hope partner
bids his 4 spades before his 5 clubs.
however, had planned the auction out . .
Barbara Whitmee: Dbl. Double, but if we
were desperate for points I might bid a
risky 3NT hoping partner has something
Margaret Copland: Dbl. for
takeout showing four spades, one neat
response is either support spades or bid
NT as pick a minor.
bids 3NT he's not asking you to pick a
contract, he's picked it himself.
Damo Nair: Dbl. I'm planning 4 over 4.
I'm not bidding 3 or 3NT.
Enkvist: Dbl. If partner bid clubs I
have values to bid diamonds. 3NT and we
will miss a lot of slams!
rejected 3NT because partner was too
likely to drive towards slam, but
Christer was more in line with the
Dbl. Partner has short H and hasn't
acted so will be pretty weak. But we
still make game opposite so many weak
hands that I think we need to act.
Double seems the most flexible, only 4
from partner presenting us with a
problem. I'll bid 4 over that and at
least imply D and S. 3NT could obviously
be right but the hand feels suity.
Niklas Andrén: Dbl. planning the crazy
overbid 4 over 4.
Derek Pocock: Dbl.
ready to bid 4 over 4 and guaranteeing
four spades.. Interesting too if partner
Anne Paul: Dbl. showing 4
spades, over partner's 4 clubs bid 4
diamonds. I believe 3NT is not option
because of communication problems
David Matthews: Dbl. The danger of
missing game offsets the likelihood that
partner will bid 4.
Tony Treloar: Dbl. Will correct clubs
to diamonds as is necessary, implying 4
spades. If partner can't overcall clubs
they can't bid them twice in response to
the double. Would be much harder if the
minors were switched.
None of the
doublers said what they'd do over 3,
but I guess they'd all raise: if you can
bid at the 4-level on a possible misfit,
you'd surely bid there on a fit as well.
This at least has a benefit over 4 that
you can find a Spade fit.
The deal is from the World Youth Championships, and was used in our bidding challenge last month (page 13 of the December issue, hand 5). Nicoleta Giura chose to double, while Renee Cooper chose pass.
table, the American player chose to
balance with 3NT. See the December issue
for full details of how that turned out.