Home Survey Subscribe Bidding Forum Australia-Wide Pairs Contact Us  

Your national bridge magazine
Readers' Bidding
Forum Answers
April 2015

Readers' Bidding Forum with Fraser Rew, April 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 June     

                Scroll down to see final scores
Hand One - West deals, EW vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) QJT975
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) ---
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) T652
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) Q95


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

2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is not forcing.

Call Award %
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 83 48
Pass 30 17 43
3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 8
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 0 0 1
Well, who would have thought? Apparently I did such a good job last month that Brad's asked me to stay on as moderator. And my dad's still talking to me as well! Does life get any better than this?

And because I'm sure you were all dying to ask about our Gold Coast results, we crashed out in the pairs and narrowly missed qualifying for the Teams knockout. Sixth on datums was better than so many of the so-called 'experts' managed -- remind me why they get their own bidding forum panel?

First things first: I was pleased that nobody objected to 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on this problem. Some people are taught that you Must Never Respond With Less Than Six Points, but obviously any of our panel who were taught that have had it knocked out of them, or were too nervous to object (though that wasn't the case on other problems). Obviously, this hand is being played in Diamonds or Spades.

Amongst the readers, there were two main camps: those who pass 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) in spite of the Matchpoints conditions and those who bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), but only because of the Matchpoints conditions (they would Pass at imps). As an unreconstructed matchpoints slut, I'm with the latter group, but let's see who has made the better arguments:

Zbych Bednarek: Pass. Sometimes 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will be make the same 8 tricks as 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) for 110 vs 90 (big difference at matchpoints) but no bullets no fight

Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is tempting, but often this plays better as my hand is more useful to partner than his hand is for me in a spade contract.

Andrea Viscovich: Pass. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is good, but maybe I can score +150 in Diamonds vs +140 is Spades

Sam Arber: Pass. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) may be better at Matchpoints.

Nigel Guthrie: Pass. [Playing Partner for] x KQxxx AJxx Kxx. Take the money. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) sometimes scores more but partner might treat it as more constructive than this.

Peter Vlas: Pass. A good way to get a nice plus. I fear that a constructive 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) may lead to disaster

It shouldn't be too constructive - 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is invitational, after all; and 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is just a suggestion of contract.

Brad Johnston: Pass. At matchpoints being in 2 minor is a great spot . The solid pushers [intermediate/low honour cards to back up higher honours - in this case the 10 9 7 - FR] in spades make me want to bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) here, but that feels like losing bridge with all the misfits I'd be signing up to play. Only danger is a couple of trump leads against us early.

Phil Hocking: Pass. Diamonds may give a positive score with any other bid escalating the bidding and the chance of going down.

Michael Smart: Pass. Take a positive. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is tempting...while 8 tricks in spades = 9 tricks in diamonds (+110), 9 tricks in spades scores better than 10 in diamonds! I then woke up, pinched myself and remembered partner had taken a NF action. 

Rex Fox: Pass. Get a plus score, if ops compete then raise Diamonds.

Of the expert panel, only the normally aggressive Mike Ware agreed with this group about the importance of going plus at matchpoints.

Dan Baker: Pass. Close between Pass and 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Spades are plenty good enough to rebid, but in diamonds we have a definite fit and either a side source of tricks or a crossruff. Pass also has the advantage of not having to worry about what to do if partner bids 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) over 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) holding an invitational 6-4 hand.

Brian Lawless: Pass. Defenders will start on Clubs whatever I do. If we have 3 Club losers, 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) will become really difficult. Take the money in 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Can't see opponents competing.

Ron Landgraff: Pass. Duh! I knew that 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) was not forcing. If they bid clubs, I will bid 3 diamonds.

Alan Jones: Pass. Happy the man who finds a fit!

Duncan Roe: Pass. Partner has landed in a fit. Game seems unlikely so just play there.

Barbara Whitmee: Pass. Partner minimum. Glad to find a fit. Not eleven tricks there. If I bid spades again we might end up in NT going down.

Derek Pocock: Pass. Phew- found a fit; I might even contest to 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) if the opposition contests in Clubs

Those of you who tuned in last time might have noticed that I'm often swayed by the confidence of people answering a particular way, and not many of that group seemed thrilled about Passing. True, almost half of the readers opted for that, but most of them sounded like they were very close to bidding 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Are the 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)-because-it's-matchpoints bidders any more confident?

Roger Yandle: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). at IMPs I think I'd pass 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) since we've found a fit but at MPs I'm stretching for the major suit part score. Even though pard has shown 9+ red cards he could still have something in spades and even a small singleton won't be hopeless.

Wayne Somerville: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If we pass, we are almost certainly getting a trump lead, and now our 4 card support doesn't look so good. By bidding 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), I expect to score +140 vs +110 or +110 vs +90.

Henri de Jong: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Pairs and I like my images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)7

John R Mayne: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner has about 1.3 spades on the auction, and we don't figure to get tapped out. If 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) was better, c'est la mort, but I think this is percentage.

Robert Black: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Probably as many tricks as in 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)

Ian Patterson: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Then raise Diamonds if Partner bids again.

Ian McCance: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Should probably pass but good texture.

David Kalnins: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I reckon I will score at least 110 in spades, and no more than 110 in diamonds.

Griff Ware: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Passing might miss a game on some rare occasions, but may also stop us getting too high, and the low road is often correct at MP. So I would like to pass. But maybe I'll get a better score in spades, given how strong my spades are.

Rainer Herrmann: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This bid is not forcing either.

David Matthews: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). [ ... ] surely we can scramble the additional 4 outside tricks required [ ... ] 

Jacco Hop: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Very likely to, on average, score us the most points.

Emil Battista: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We have an 8 card fit in diamonds, but passing a non forcing bid is still too wimpy. If Spade contracts are going off it will only be 50s

Hans van Vooren: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Well, it's matchpoints. The spades are just solid enough give it a shot.

Jack Lai: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Will choose pass if it is IMP. But MP, better try 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) as the suit quality is rather good

Dean Pokorny: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Matchpoint bid. If partner rebids 2NT, I will correct to 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

There wasn't much confidence there either. but Dean, as with Dan Baker earlier, touches on a point raised by many of the Experts: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) doesn't end the auction. Is this a good or a bad thing?

Funny you should ask, because there was another group of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) bidders: those who did so not because it's matchpoints, but would do so at imps as well. True, this is only a 5-count, but it's 6-4 and it has an almost solid suit, and who raised the possibility of:

Bridge Baron: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Book bid, not simulation -- can't let the six-card suit go by.

Though he (it?) doesn't say so, I suspect that Bridge Baron would have bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) at imps as well.

Kees Schaafsma: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) has more chances than 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), we might even have game opposite Axx/AKxxx/Axxx/x.

Peter Robinson: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Tempted to say this is due to the scoring, but I suspect I'd make the same bid at teams. Priority is the high-scoring partscore, but game could be on if partner has support.

That's a point not raised by other panellists: the chance of that juicy, juicy game bonus. As much as I like raising on three-card support, I agree that Kees's example hand is too strong for that; indeed, with all that Heart wastage, this is far from an ideal hand, and yet 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is pretty good. Although, as with Diamond contracts, game is no picnic on repeated trump leads. Something that nobody raised is that if we Pass, the auction is over, but on some freak hands, we can reach 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) when that's best (for example, partner will 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) with -/Jxxxx/AKQxx/AKx). These additional benefits of 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) make it a clear winner in my mind. The expert panel was also split mostly along two lines, but not the same two lines: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) won in a landslide, some bidding it because it's matchpoints, some bidding it with faint aspirations of higher things. And how bad can it be? We don't have just any six-card suit; four of the top six honours make this a good suit, and we'd surely be happy playing there opposite most singletons.

Finally, there was a minority who thought they had enough to raise:

Tania Black: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). My hand has improved, and we have a fit.

Tim Trahair: 3images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Not strong enough for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). This keeps the bidding open and gives N the opportunity to show 3 card images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) support in the unlikely event he has it.

That seems optimistic to me. 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is non-forcing, the hand is a misfit and we have to ruff a lot of Hearts before the suit will set up. As Wayne identified earlier, the textbooks say to lead trumps against this auction; given our anaemic trumps, even 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) may be too high. With some partners, I play that 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is forcing here (Hi, Brad), but I'm pretty sure that they'd all prefer that I bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) on this.

The full deal:

spades 4
hearts AKQ76
diamonds KQ874
clubs A7
spades 63
hearts J10843
diamonds 9
clubs KJ863
spades AK82
hearts 952
diamonds AJ3
clubs 1042
spades QJ10975
hearts ---
diamonds 10652
clubs Q95

The par score of 140 in 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) was worth 100%, two pairs scored 92% for 130, and six pairs dropped a trick (in either partscore) to make 110.

Hand Two - South deals, nil vul, IMPs. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) K82
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) JT95
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) J943
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) Q2


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

1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) promises an unbalanced hand, and 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is to play.

Call Award %
2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 100 44 40
Dbl 90 28 10
Pass 60 28 42
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 20 0 8

A few people, both experts and readers, questioned our Pass on the previous round, believing that Double shows a hand with scattered values and four hearts. However, Pass isn't unreasonable.

One thing that everyone seemed to agree on is that the opponents look to have settled into at least an eight-card fit - partly from partner's original takeout Double, partly from RHO's decision to bid Clubs rather than No Trumps. We're often told to bid 3m over the opponents' 2M when they have a fit, so 2m must be even better. However, this is a poor seven count, especially with the opening bid over us. Against that, opponents may bid on; even if they don't, they're unlikely to find a double, and if we do go off it will only be in 50s, and they must surely be making something. Can the pessimists convince us that we should give up on the possibility of +90 vs -90, or +50 vs -90?

Kees Schaafsma: Pass. Bidding a red suit is guesswork if North has 4-3 in the red suits. Double fails opposite 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)-333 and lacks defensive values should pard pass. 

Ron Landgraff: Pass. Hope they do not bid 3NT! If they do, lead a low spade, if you are on lead: if not, lead it anyway.

I'd almost be doubling 3NT, with a 7-count opposite a takeout double.

Bridge Baron: Pass. I know, I know, if the opponents have an eight-card club fit, we must have an eight-card fit in some other suit [not necessarily - your partnership's 26 cards can be 5 cards in their 8-card suit, plus three seven-card 'fits'. Though in this case, partner would have to be 4333 exactly, on which he might not double - FR]. It's probably in diamonds, but it could be in hearts. Anyway, partner will have another chance to bid.

Rex Fox: Pass. No compelling reason to bid.

Hans van Vooren: Pass. My hand hasn't exactly gone up in value and we aren't going anywhere. If West passes as well, partner will know that I have a few points, and probably bad/defensive ones.

Brad Johnston: Pass. None of those cards look particularly savoury. Partner can balance, so there's no need for us to prebalance.

Alan Jones: Pass. Our opponents look to be in line for a spade heart cross ruff if we try diamonds. I trust partner to lead a trump.

Phil Hocking: Pass. Partner has an opening hand with 3-4 diamonds, hearts and spades. It would appear the points are going to break pretty evenly. Ops probably have a 3-5 club fit with chances of cross ruffing while a diamond contract our way probably does not have the same potential. IMPs scoring limits the damage.

Stephen Bartos: Pass. partner will bid his/her preferred suit again if strong; nothing very appealing to bid in this hand

Derek Pocock: Pass. This is becoming a habit in the Forum.

Brian Lawless: Pass. Where am I going? My Club values are wasted as is Jimages/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Effective 4 count. Any positive action could see the axe wielded by opponents. I could have just about doubled 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) to show a 4-card suit but too late now.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. why not 1NT on the second round? Balancing now with 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is too dangerous. 

Peter Robinson: Pass. Yep, looks like the same hand as before, and opps aren't even finished yet.

Last time I wrote about Optimistic and Pessimistic passing. That group seemed to be well inside the Pessimistic camp. Those who do act are split into three camps. The most obvious is to go for our unbid four-card suit. 

Duncan Roe: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A nuisance (to the opponents) bid. Partner will know it is marginal because I passed his double after RHO bid.

Nigel Guthrie: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). What would double mean now? -- surely not this hand that, traditionally, should have doubled 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

Tania Black: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Enough to venture a bid after 2 passes.

Peter Vlas: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Getting in while we can. I think this should be an acceptable risk

David Matthews: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I am balancing given that 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) or 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is likely to make.

David Kalnins: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I can hardly pass them in their 8+ card club fit with half the points at the 2 level.

Robert Black: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I do not expect to defeat 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), and it should not encourage partner after my two passes.

Wayne Somerville: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I might have doubled 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) the round before. Now I bid 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) since this could easily be a double partscore swing.

Dan Baker: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Not sure I like the pass last round - double (showing 4 hearts as I play it, I've had too many people pick off our suit in these auctions when it's 4-4-4-1 around the table) would have allowed partner to confirm or deny a fit there, in which case 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) becomes obvious if he denies.

Roger Yandle: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Points are likely divided, my images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)Q may be useless and my images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)K isn't well placed I just can't let the opps play at the 2 level once they've found a fit. 

Emil Battista: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Some more 50s

Henri de Jong: 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Would much prefer X if it is Takeout.

That's all very well if partner has four diamonds, but what about 4432 shape, when we would prefer to play 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) (the 4-1 split and trump finesses into the wrong hand notwithstanding). In this day and age, 4423 is a lively possibility. In either case, a takeout Double will get us to 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) (partner will bid 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) with either of my example hands). I was worried that Double would be for penalties (the only other way to show a hand with values and good Clubs is to bid 1NT on the previous round, which we may be loath to do), but only a couple of experts and readers shared my concern.

Michael Smart: Dbl. Cannot sell out to a known 9+ card fit at the 2 level when we have half the deck. 

Zbych Bednarek: Dbl. It must show both reds. Maybe East psyched 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes).

The psych occurred to a few others, but given West's failure to raise, it does seem unlikely. More likely is the situation that Dan raises - East has four Hearts, but we want to play there anyway. 

Jacco Hop: Dbl. Responsive double

Tim Trahair: Dbl. Tells N we have support for images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) and D and lets him decide where we play.

So there was slight disagreement about whether the Double showed the Reds or the other three suits, which obviously depends on how readily we would bid 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) on a four-card suit. As noted above, 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) may well be the best spot. A few panellists bid it directly, which strikes me as odd: there's nothing to suggest either that RHO has psyched or that partner has four hearts (though he'll always have at least three).

John R Mayne: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Double should be penalty here, so that's out. Passing is minus, while bidding may be plus and won't get hit. We should be able to play this almost double dummy, so I'm OK with the 4-1 heart break. 

Rainer Herrmann: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). I would not have passed the previous round. 

Dean Pokorny: 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). The opponents have 9 cards in clubs, meaning - they should play 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). The only way to prevent their 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is trying to buy 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) against a bad break. This might induce a pass from west with 4126. 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would be a bad bid. Not only because partner could be 4423, but because it would often induce partner to lead a diamond against the subsequent 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Doubling is good, but only if partner is on the same wavelength.

Only Dean explained why he preferred the four-card suit they have bid to the one that they haven't, and as much as I'm glad that he did, I disagree with his reasoning: would you pass 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) with a 4126 hand and a partner who prefers Clubs to No Trumps?

All in all, the 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) bidders and Doublers put up a better case than the 2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) bidders and Passers. If the Double were unambiguously for takeout, it would have generated a lot more votes from both panels.

The last word goes to the player who held the hand at the table:

Griff Ware: 2D. I wasn't certain this was right at the time, and I'm still not certain, but I'll back my previous choice; someone might try to take something away from me if I don't ;-). Even if it's wrong on a given deal, the opponents might bid on and save me!

This was the third-last board of the Open Playoffs, which sealed a one-imp win for Griff's team:

spades 10763
hearts A83
diamonds AKQ6
clubs J10
spades AJ95
hearts K2
diamonds 102
clubs A7643
spades Q4
hearts Q764
diamonds 875
clubs K985
spades K82
hearts J1095
diamonds J943
clubs Q2

See the April issue of the magazine for details of what happened.

Hand Three - North deals, EW vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AKT854
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) KQT98
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) J5
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) ---


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


Call Award %
4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 100 89 33
5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 80 6 3
4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 80 6 14
4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 0 0 16
Pass 0 0 13
4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 0 0 6
6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 5
5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 0 0 3
6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 0 0 2
5NT 0 0 2
5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 0 0 1
4NT 0 0 1

This next one was a great one for the readers' panel, but not so much for the experts. The experts were almost unanimous in bidding 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Only a third of the readers found the bid favoured by 88% of panellists, and 47% bid something not even mentioned by the experts. To me, this seemed easy: We have known eight card fit, with a void and not one but two potential sources of tricks outside that. Furthermore, it's uncertain whether we have a fit in any other suit. Surely we're heading for Diamonds here?

The readers disagreed: 13 of the 21 possible calls open to us were found by the panel. As much as I'm a fan of Fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio, this is taking things to extremes. Let's start with three calls not found by any of experts, all of which involve stopping in game:

Tania Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). 6/5 in the majors, and no help in Clubs

Robert Black: 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Showing my shape! If partner has a double stop and no cards in the majors I may have to apologise 

Rex Fox: 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Should play better in spades even opposite, e.g. x Ax AKQxxx QJ9x

Ron Landgraff: Pass. I am chicken! 6 of almost anything could make! But at match points NT will survive.

Sam Arber: Pass. Might miss 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes).

Hans van Vooren: Pass. Rolling the dice.

Bridge Baron: Pass. Simulation: +453.35 in 3NT, +436.10 in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Yes, we might be missing a slam, but which slam, and do we even have one?

Duncan Roe: Pass. With a club stop, 9 tricks should be easy for partner, though the hand is basically a misfit. With that in mind, I don't like to explore slam prospects

That's true, but we have a fine 13-count opposite a jump - surely we can make something more? This next group was looking for a slam, but possibly looking in the wrong places ... 

John Shield: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Asking for aces

Brad Johnston: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Hopefully partner will be able to show tertiary support for spades, or secondary for Hearts before driving to slam with all those nice intemediaries (and the Jimages/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)).

Derek Pocock: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Hoping that diamond force shows some tolerance for my first suit and expecting slam in Diamonds or spades.

Andrea Viscovich: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Maybe 4NT could be ok too.

Jim Thatcher: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). This must be an inquiry for aces. With 4 losers opposite a 5 or 6 loser hand, a grand slam may be possible. Most other bids could possibly be passed

Henri de Jong: 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). To get to 6 or 7 images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) I need to cue images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) which implies some images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) support.

Of the experts, only Peter Fordham bid 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), but he intended it as Fourth Suit Forcing, looking for 4M or 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). None of the other experts mentioned it, so we don't know exactly why they rejected it. My guess would be that partner may not agree that 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is Gerber. Even if they do, this doesn't look like a hand to be asking for Aces with. If partner has one Ace, slam may be excellent (Q/Jxx/AKQ10xxx/Kx), mediocre (Q/Jx/AQTxxxx/KQJ) or no play (-/Jxx/KQ10xxxx/AKQ). If he has two, grand may be excellent (as on the actual hand - see below), or a small slam may be mediocre (x/Jxx/AQ10xxx/AKQ). The 4NT bidders didn't comment, but I've always played that as quantitative, which seems like a misdescription.

Of the other 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) bidders, I don't know why 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) should show Diamonds when we've so far bid only the majors - like Fordham, I would play it as a general force.

Tim Trahair: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Exclusion Blackwood asking for Kimages/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) other than in images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)s and showing slam interest. If N can show 3 key cards, a grand slam may be on. 

Zbych Bednarek: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Must be void in clubs (5530 or similar). Our side has at least 8 trumps and the diamond grand is close - I need only images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)AKQ and images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)A. (Over 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) from Partner [Three Key Cards for Diamonds, but not including images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)A - FR]: 5images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) from me = still looking for slam, 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would show images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)[6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) would show the Diamond Queen and Spade King, as I play it - FR], then 7images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) asks Partner to choose between 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and 7images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Without 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) from Partner, an easy 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) from me.)

Michael Smart: 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Voidwood (implicitly in partner's suit, since he has shown no support for either of mine).

Klinger was the only expert to bid 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes), though Kate McCallum said she would have bid it if it were unambiguously Exclusion, and Patrick Huang sympathised.

Rounding out the minority views were a few who jumped directly to slam. I certainly sympthise with this: it's going to be hard to pinpoint a grand but we almost always want to be in a small slam, and if we bid it quickly the defence will be much harder:

Barbara Whitmee: 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Good chance of making. If I rebid hearts to show my shape we may end up playing in four hearts when partner passes.

Emil Battista: 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). Pass or correct - to spades of course.

If we're going to be blasting, I much prefer Barbara's bid to Emil's. Although it's Matchpoints, you don't get many of those for going -50 on hands like this one. Even if we find an 8-card fit, we may be in a no-play spot when 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is cold. And will he guess to pass 6images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) on xx/Jx/AKQxxx/AQx, when 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) loses a trump trick and the images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)A?

Dan Baker: 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). We're playing 6, I just need to know where. Will offer 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) if partner doesn't bid 6 of a major.

Good reasoning, except that 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is normally played as slam invitational, although Tim Bourke nominated it as his second choice. So on then to the plurality.

Roger Yandle: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). a diamond slam must have some chance so I'll let pard know about my diamond support. Hopefully he can set up one of my majors.

Phil Hocking: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). A slam has potential. Slow arrival may be the way to find out more about the hands.

David Matthews: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). After partners strong rebid, slam is a distinct possibility and I have some support and a void. There is little point in rebidding Hearts as partner has already denied any interest in my suits. Partner could well be something like 1=2=7=3. 

Brian Lawless: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Forcing, of course. 3NT is almost certainly OK but let's see if we can get some belated support for one of the majors. Slam still possible in any of 3 suits!

John R Mayne: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I can force, show at least 11 of my cards, and give partner the opportunity to be smart? How can this be wrong? (If I am alone and score 30 points, I'm unrepentant.)

Griff Ware: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Pass is not an option. It will be hard to stop short of slam here, even when slam is bad. Perhaps I'll get to bid 5NT "pick a slam" at a later point in the auction. But I will stop if partner signs off in 4NT now … assuming that 4NT would be a sign-off! I certainly don't want to play only 5images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) at MPs, if that's what comes next.

Peter Vlas: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). I'm afraid 4images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) might be too ambiguous and 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) is non-forcing. As I'm heading for a slam 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) would be my best option

Peter Robinson: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Second choice 5images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), but the slower route should get us there, and maybe to a better spot.

Kay O'Connor: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Showing my diamond fragment and inviting slam.

Jack Lai: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Slam is near.

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Slam invitation in Diamonds. Confirming that 3images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) was not a minimum and offering secondary supprt in Diamonds. Even though partner has club values, 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) rates to be good opposite good diamonds.

Wayne Somerville: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). We could have a grand on here (x Ax AKQxxx Qxxx) so I'm not going to pre-empt it with a 5NT pick-a-slam bid. I'm bidding a quiet 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) in the hope partner will cuebid hearts.

Dean Pokorny: 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Without better agreements, 4images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is forward going with 2+ diamonds. If partner rebids 4images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes), this is still natural, not a cuebid, meaning - my subsequent 4NT is RKCB for hearts.

Curiously, none of these bidders, and very few of the experts, had a plan for getting to 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). Zbych was on his own on that one, and as much as it's a risk to bid 5images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) when it's undisciscussed, there's a probably top board if we can work our way around the issues. If you're committing to a diamond slam, the possibility of getting to 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is the only reason to not just blast six. And we'll need partner not to worry about a club loser, but be very concerned about trump quality. The more I look at it, the more I like 6images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes). However, the crowd - of whom I was assuredly one - has spoken.

The full deal, from Peter Smith: North held images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)AJ and images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)AKQ so 7images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and 7images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) were both making. 

Hand Four - North deals, nil vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AKT
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) K72
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 9765
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 864


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

1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is better minor.

Call Award %
Dbl 100 56 22
Pass 50 28 21
1NT 40 11 52
1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 20 6 1
2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 20 0 2
Other 0 0 1

Ah, this is more like it: a problem with several options, none of which is close to describing our hand. Let's re-cap: Pass is 0-4, or something like 0-8 with no good bid, and we're two points too strong for that; 1M shows four and Double shows 4-4 in the majors, neither of which we have; 1NT shows a Diamond stopper and 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) shows four-card support. So, which lie do we tell? I play transfers in some of my regular partnerships, so Double = Hearts, 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) = Spades 1NT = 11-12 balanced and 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) shows anything else. That's not part of AB Standard, of course, so we have to muddle through as best we can.

The smallest lie is 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) or 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), for which we're only one card short. However, only one expert (Matthew Thomson, confidently predicting a top board for 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)). Only one reader found that bid, though he didn't go into much detail:

Kees Schaafsma: 1images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). In my opinion the smallest lie. 

Let's hear now from the other minorities ... 

Dan Baker: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). The stopperless 1NT might be a more accurate description of shape, but in my experience 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) overcalls tend to be pretty good suits - there's no preemptive value and the opponents can likely compete higher in a major, so there's little to gain by doing it on a lousy suit.

Stephen Bartos: 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). To show some points and deny a 4 card major.

True, but why *that* three card suit when you have two others to choose from?

Zbych Bednarek: Pass. Few points but what should I bid? 1NT without a Diamond stopper, Double without a four card major? Let's wait for partner to reopen.

Pass here looks like it's out of pessimism, rather than optimism - and readers from last month would know that as much as I'm happy to Pass, I don't like doing it because the other calls are all bad. Let's see if there was more to it than that ... 

Rainer Herrmann: Pass. Good you did not ask what to do next round, if there is one. 

Derek Pocock: Pass. Hoping for reopening double or show a major from distributional hand 

Wayne Somerville: Pass. I don't know what I'm going to do if partner reopens with a double (likely), but 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) overcalls tend to be reasonably solid so I'm not afraid of missing game.

Jacco Hop: Pass. I have no bid so I pass. 

John R Mayne: Pass. If this gets passed out, I'm OK with it. I would double with if one of my diamonds were a major-suit card, but partner's allowed to maneuver to a 4-3 fit, too. When that's a 3-3 fit, it's tougher. 

Barbara Whitmee: Pass. Pass this round. Was bidding 1NT before the diamonds were mentioned. Partner will think I have a stopper if I bid it now.

Nigel Guthrie: Pass. If partner passes, 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) may be OK.

Ron Landgraff: Pass. Too much unknown. 4/3 major suit fits will not play well. If pard has extras, I will hear about it.

Most of these readers acknowledge that the main problem with Pass will be the next round. Partner will re-open any time he has Diamond shortage - which, given our length, is most of the time - so if it gets passed out, the hand was a screaming misfit and we've probably done fine. However, he may not believe that we're this strong, and if partner does re-open with a double, what do we do? Nobody answered that, and only Wayne acknowledged the problem. Next is a bid that is, in my view, hopelessly over-used - the Double after 1images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)-(1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes)):

Tim Trahair: Dbl. 1NT seems too ambitious with four weak Diamonds and East presumably holding at least 5. Double keeps the bidding open and shows support for spades and hearts.

Duncan Roe: Dbl. All choices are bad: too many points to pass, no images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) stop for NT, wrong shape for Dbl, too short to support images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Dbl is the least bad I think

David Matthews: Dbl. Although it is a lie, I must tell partner I have some points. The other possible bid is 1NT but my lack of a stopper precludes this bid as I do not want to hear a jump to 3NT.

Ian McCance: Dbl. May end up in a 3-3 fit but nice clean points.

Brian Lawless: Dbl. Anyone who thinks that X guarantees 4 cards in one or the other (or both majors) will spend eternity puzzling over this hand.

David Kalnins: Dbl. Double shows both majors or no major - easy.

Peter Robinson: Dbl. Flexible. Pard can bid his major, or not. Too many losers for 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes), even if it's not absolutely forcing to game.

Dean Pokorny: Dbl. How is possible not to include 2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) in the answers? However, I double, since a partial contract in Moysian will often be the best MP score.

Roger Yandle: Dbl. I've got too much to bid 1NT and no stopper to bid 2NT so I'm opting for dbl. I know that shows both majors but I'm only 1 card short in each suit!

Bastiaan Korner: Dbl. Not ideal, I know.

It would have been nice for some elucidation here: what do these readers do over 1NT or 1 Major? If partner jumps to 2 Major, what's he showing and how do we get ourselves out? It's not enough to just get past this round; it would be good to have the entire auction planned out. Can the 1NT bidders do any better?

Henri de Jong: 1NT. Could pass, but West has not yet bid so I'll act now

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 1NT. Everything else is worse in my opinion. This at least gets the values across and I do have compensation for my lousy Diamond stopper.

Peter Vlas: 1NT. Flat hand, no intermediates and descriptive. Does not promise a solid D stopper

Larry Brose: 1NT. I hope partner doesn't leave me here.

Tania Black: 1NT. If I turn out to be dummy I may slip a heart in with my diamonds.

Brad Johnston: 1NT. Matchpoints in won by bidding NT before the opposition.

Phil Hocking: 1NT. N/S should at least try for a part contract. Double is going to suggest 4-4 in the majors and potentially get North bidding too high in the wrong direction. 1NT as it is a 9 loser hand.

Robert Black: 1NT. No other option (except 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes)) and it only needs 7 tricks. 

Griff Ware: 1NT. I'm bidding now, because I will also face a problem if I pass and partner reopens with a double. Doubtful that partner would bid NT on his own. Wish I could bid 1spades = no major, attempt at transfer to NT. 2images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) is a possibility, but too much of a gamble, I think.

Kay O'Connor: 1NT. Not much of a diamond stopper but showing points.

Emil Battista: 1NT. Only a tiny bit strong. But gets message across re lack of a 4 card major. Four small to the 9 unlikely to be a stopper, but then again only responded 1NT - not an iron clad guarantee of a stopper

Rex Fox: 1NT. Seems most likely strain. Partner shouldn't expect much of a stopper in Diamonds.

Hans van Vooren: 1NT. Showing shape and strength. 1NT doesn't necessarily show a stopper.

Bridge Baron: 1NT. Six to ten high-card points, balanced hand, diamond "stopper". Looks like what I have. Technically, 9765 isn't a stopper, but we treat it as one.

Alan Jones: 1NT. The extra point should compensate for the "weak" diamond stopper.

Michael Smart: 1NT. Whereas 3NT guarantees a stop, 1NT merely says 'this is the best description of my hand' (8-10 and no major). Partner can always check back for a stopper (and should).

One thing not raised is that if partner bids an invitational 2NT, do we look at our maximum and raise, or do we look at stopperless Diamonds and pass? However, all other bids should be easier to handle. I voted for 1NT and nothing that I've read has dissuaded me. Yes, I'd prefer a stopper, but I wasn't dealt one, and at least I've given a pretty good description of my hand, so partner should be well placed to make a decision.

The full deal:

spades J76
hearts AJ43
diamonds A82
clubs Q92
spades 8542
hearts Q1096
diamonds Q
clubs 10753
spades Q93
hearts 85
diamonds KJ1043
clubs AKJ
spades AK10
hearts K72
diamonds 9765
clubs 864

North - South can make 1NT or 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes). In practice, many pairs made 120. Several East - West pairs managed to buy it in 1images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) and they were all allowed to make.

Hand Five - North deals, both vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) AQ8764
images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 9
images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) 83
images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) KQ52

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

2images/diamondsm.gif (109 bytes) is not forcing. 4th suit is forcing to game.

Call Award %
2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 100 39 28
3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 80 28 33
2NT 80 22 21
3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) 30 11 15
3NT 0 0 2
2images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 0 0 1
I was surprised by the expert panel's conservatism on this hand: although it's a misfit, we do have a good eleven-count opposite an opening bid - to my mind, that's worth an invitation? Especially when 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) won in a landslide on the first hand, you're making it very difficult for partner to judge when 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) apparently has such a wide range. Taking the low road regardless is ... 

Roger Yandle: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). At IMPs I'd be more aggressive and bid 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) but it looks like there's a misfit so I'm downgrading my hand.

Peter Vlas: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Constructive, non forcing. As long as we have no decent fit I don't want to play any game

Peter Robinson: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Enough on a misfit, but no need to panic yet.

Rainer Herrmann: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Interesting that I choose the same bids for hand one and five. 

Brian Lawless: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Not weak as I would Pass or prefer on a poor hand. 6-0 better than 5-1

Robert Black: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Same sequence as in #1, and I have more; but not enough to force to game.

Michael Smart: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Should deny a weak hand, otherwise I would pass or give preference to hearts. The suit quality doesn't merit an invitational 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Alan Jones: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Showing the long spade suit. I am reluctant to force on a misfit.

Hans van Vooren: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Trying to go plus. As far as I am concerned, this hand is nastier at IMPs.

Nigel Guthrie: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is tempting but 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) should be constructive (see hand 1). At MPs, a + score can be a good score.

Zbych Bednarek: 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). You can call me chicken. I am too weak for a jump to 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is an underbid. 2NT would be show 5-4 in the blacks.

Something not raised by many readers is what partner needs to raise: will he do it on a good 12-count with doubleton spade such as J10/Axxxx/AQxx/Jx? We would like him to, and many of the experts say that they would raise on such a hand, but it's far from certain - especially if 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) can be based on a five-count, as in Problem 1.

So if we want to bid Spades, maybe we should try an invitational 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Fortunately, all the readers realised that the modern treatment is invitational and not game forcing, as it may have been 30 years ago. Playing there opposite a small singleton won't be much fun. However, although it loses on suit quality, the point count and shape are both spot on. A bat out of hell once told me that two out of three ain't bad - can these readers convince me that it was right?

Jacco Hop: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I am suprised that we don't play 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes) 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) either as invitational or weak (see hand 1). I guess 1images/heartsm.gif (112 bytes)-2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is strong so I will invite with 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and I know it is not pretty.

Sam Arber: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). 2NT Second choice.

Henri de Jong: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Five losers, but no fit, so no 4th suit. Bidding 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) surely implies Clubs as well (how would you bid KQJ10xx/xx/Axx/Jx? - FR). In a weak hand with Spades I would bid 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and with a strong Spade suit, 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) 

John R Mayne: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). A corollary to Fourth Suit Forcing to game is invitational secondary jumps; I'm OK with being stranded in 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Notrump is going to be brutal unless partner has extras or spades. 

David Kalnins: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). A tough hand - I don't have enough to force to game and my spades aren't fantastic. By bidding 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) I help partner evaluate Kx or Jx of spades.

Phil Hocking: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Game in NT looks enticing but not ready to bid 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes) and end up in 3NT with 23 combined points. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 2NT are too weak. 

Dean Pokorny: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I cannot imagine having a game with partner rejecting the invite. If the scoring were IMPs, I would force game instead of just cautiously inviting.

Emil Battista: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). I have 6 do I not? 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is too wishy-washy and as Ishmael says, "6-4, bid more" The version that I heard is "6-4, bid some more; 6-5, come alive" - FR

David Matthews: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). If partner can muster up doubleton support then 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) is likely to be the best contract. 3NT is going to run into communication problems. 

Andrea Viscovich: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Misfit and probably we will go down trying a manche, but in a good day I will make 3NT or 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

Rex Fox: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Should try for game. This shows about the right strength

Ron Landgraff: 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Ugh! 3NT can be ugly!

The overwhelming consensus from this group is that as much as this is a nice hand, it's not good enough to force to game, and trump quality is less important than showing the sixth spade. The 2NT bidders also invited, but had different priorities:

Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2NT. Then 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) over a red-suit bid to promise 6images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). Partner can infer the double club-stopper then

Tim Trahair: 2NT. Promises Clubs are stopped, shows no interest in the red suits and gives North the opportunity to support Spades with 2- or 3-card support.

Tania Black: 2NT. Right strength; pity about the shape, but you cannot have everything.

Griff Ware: 2NT. Making sure NT is in the picture at MP is good. Possibility of playing 2NT isn't as bad at MP as at IMPs. So, out of a bunch of flawed options, I'll try this one.

Ian McCance: 2NT. A bit wishy-washy but no reason to bid 3NT since may be total misfit. 3S a bit short of texture.

Bastiaan Korner: 2NT. 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) seems an underbid; 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) an overbid, so perhaps 2NT is some sort of compromise.

Ian Patterson: 2NT. Too strong for 2images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), too weak for 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes), right values for 2NT. Will repeat Spades if partner bids again.

These last two seem to view 2NT as being weaker than 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes). We've heard from those who wanted to sign off and those who wanted to invite, but there was a third group: those who wanted to force to game. As we don't know whether 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) or 3NT will be better, we may want to bring partner in on the decision. Of the readers, only Dan Baker pointed out that this is an advantage in its own right: what we may lose by getting overboard sometimes, we hope to get back by always reaching the right strain (for example, if 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) and 3NT both make, but partner would pass 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes)). Nonetheless ... this is a lot of bidding for a misfitting 11-count ...  

Dan Baker: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). A mild overbid, given that we have no known fit, but the two invites both hide key features of the hand. 2NT shows the club stop but not the fifth spade (much less the sixth). 3images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) should show a better suit than this and leaves partner awkwardly placed if he has no stopper in clubs.

Kay O'Connor: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Happy to play in game but which one?

Jim Thatcher: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Hopefully partner will further describe their hand

Wayne Somerville: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). I consider this hand good enough for game. I want to see if partner can support spades though before I go to 3NT.

Derek Pocock: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Should be a play for 3NT or 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes) if partner has doubleton there

Brad Johnston: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). When the spades fail to behave and you go light just apologise to partner for how badly they played it.

Bridge Baron: 3images/clubsm.gif (113 bytes). Yes, fourth-suit forcing to game with 11 high-card points. But they're well-positioned in my long suits.

And finally, one player who's taking Hamman's law to extremes: 

Duncan Roe: 3NT. We've got the clubs stopped so just blast 3NT - after all, this is matchpoints

Not sure I agree. Firstly, shouldn't we bring partner in on the decision? Secondly, game bonuses matter a lot more at IMPs than at matchpoints. So it seems that the pessimists will win the day.

The full deal:

spades K
hearts AK8754
diamonds QJ764
clubs 4
spades J2
hearts Q32
diamonds 109
clubs AJ10863
spades 10953
hearts J106
diamonds AK52
clubs 97
spades AQ8764
hearts 9
diamonds 83
clubs KQ52

Four pairs were one off in 3NT, while everyone else went several down in 4images/spadesm.gif (111 bytes).

And so I sign off for another month. Until June, happy bridging.

Thanks for being a part of our forum. The questions for the June issue are already online, here.  

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


Top scores for April
1Roger Yandle NSW500
2Arthur Porter SA500
3Geof Brod USA480
3David Kalnins NSW 480
4David Matthews WA480
5Andrew MacAlister GBR480
6Fredrik Jarlvik SWE460
7Peter Robinson 460
8Ian McCance Vic440
9Kajsa Fröjd SWE440
10Gary Lane NSW430
11David Woulds GBR420
12Damo Nair USA420
13Jacco Hop NED420
14Griff Ware ACT 420
15Bastiaan Korner NED420
16Michael Seldon NSW410
17Peter Nuoristo SWE410
18Peter Jeffery NSW410
19Peter Stride Qld410
20Dean Pokorny CRO400
21Henri De Jong Vic400
22Tom Estenson USA390
23Brian Lawless GBR390
24Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN380
25Michael Burt ACT380
26Fraser Rew NZL380
27Jack Lai 380
28Nigel Guthrie GBR380
29John Newman NSW380
30Wayne Somerville IRL380
31 Kay O'Connor NSW 370
32Rainer Herrmann GER370
33John Shield NSW370
34Mark Jappe SA370
35Peter Vlas NED370
36Sheela Sahasrabuddhe 370
37Martyn Rew NZL360
38Charles Scholl USA360
39Kees Schaafsma NED360
40Steven Kipperman 350
41Patrice Fincias 350
42Zbych Bednarek POL350
43Tim Trahair NSW350
44Conny Wahlgren SWE350
45Bruce Ballard NZL350
46John R Mayne USA350
47David Johnson CAN340
48Robert Black SA340
49Mark Laforge 340
50Michael Smart ACT340
51Gary Hyett GBR340
52Murray Perrin Qld330
53Christer Enkvist SWE330
54Fi Nadir CAN330
55Andrea Viscovich ITA330
56Nancy Kent USA330
57Emil Battista NSW320
58Bjarne Andersen DEN320
59Tony Treloar Qld320
60Toby Weinstein USA320
61Phil Hocking NSW310
62Pat O'Connor NSW310
63Ig Nieuwenhuis NED310
64Leon Slonim Vic310
65Dominic Connolly NSW310
66Ian Spight NSW310

Leading scores for 2015
1Roger Yandle NSW960
2David Matthews WA950
3Geof Brod USA950
4Ian McCance Vic930
5Arthur Porter SA930
6Bastiaan Korner NED920
7David Kalnins NSW 910
7Kajsa Fröjd SWE910
8Damo Nair USA900
9David Woulds GBR900
10Fredrik Jarlvik SWE900
11Jacco Hop NED900
12Andrew Macalister GBR900
13Griff Ware ACT 890
14Henri De Jong Vic890
15Peter Jeffery NSW890
16Gary Lane NSW880
17Peter Stride Qld870
18Dean Pokorny CRO870
19Peter Nuoristo SWE860
20Peter Robinson 857
21Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN850
22Jack Lai 840
23Brian Lawless GBR840
24Tom Estenson USA830
25Mark Jappe SA830
26Nigel Guthrie GBR830
27Michael Seldon NSW830
28Christer Enkvist SWE830
29Peter Vlas NED830
30Patrice Fincias 820
31Steven Kipperman 820
32Fraser Rew NZL820
33Kay O'Connor NSW820
34Tony Treloar Qld820
35John R Mayne USA820
36Charles Scholl USA820
37John Newman NSW820
38Gary Hyett GBR810
39Rainer Herrmann GER810
40Michael Burt ACT800
41Murray Perrin Qld790
42Wayne Somerville IRL790
43Zbych Bednarek POL790
44David Johnson CAN790
45Kees Schaafsma NED780
46Pravin Nahar NSW770
47Michael Smart ACT770
48Ig Nieuwenhuis NED770
49Robert Black SA760
50Dominic Connolly NSW760
51Peter Havlicek 740
52Leon Slonim Vic740
53Bram Amsel 730
54Alan Jones Qld730
55Tom Moss NSW720
56Brad Johnston 720
57Hans Van Vooren NED720
58Derek Pocock WA720
59Nancy Kent USA720
60Alex Kemeny NSW720
61Martyn Rew NZL720
62Sam Arber Vic710
63Bjarne Andersen DEN710
64Ian Patterson Qld710
65Leigh Blizzard Tas710
66Conny Wahlgren SWE710
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
June issue of Australian Bridge. And don't forget to check out your
April issue to see what the experts said about this month's hands.