Readers' Bidding Forum
with Fraser Rew, April 2014
The following comments were
received from the readers of
Australia's national bridge
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,
Eddie Kantar, and Zia Mahmood, as well as many top
here to submit
answers for June
| Hand One - West deals, EW vul, Matchpoints.
You are South.
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
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 1 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 2 in
spite of the Matchpoints conditions and
those who bid 2, 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
Zbych Bednarek: Pass. Sometimes 2
will be make the same 8 tricks as 2 for
110 vs 90 (big difference at matchpoints)
but no bullets no fight
Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. 2 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. 2 is good,
but maybe I can score +150 in Diamonds
vs +140 is Spades
Sam Arber: Pass. 2 may be better at
Nigel Guthrie: Pass. [Playing Partner
for] x KQxxx AJxx Kxx. Take the money.
2 sometimes scores more but partner
might treat it as more constructive than
Peter Vlas: Pass. A good way to get a
nice plus. I fear that a constructive 2
may lead to disaster
It shouldn't be too constructive -
3 is invitational, after all; and 2 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 2 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
Michael Smart: Pass. Take a positive.
2 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 2. 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 3 over 2
holding an invitational 6-4 hand.
Brian Lawless: Pass. Defenders will
start on Clubs whatever I do. If we have
3 Club losers, 2 will become really
difficult. Take the money in 2. Can't
see opponents competing.
Ron Landgraff: Pass. Duh! I knew that
2 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
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 3 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 2. Are the
2-because-it's-matchpoints bidders any
Roger Yandle: 2. at IMPs I think I'd
pass 2 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: 2. If we pass, we
are almost certainly getting a trump
lead, and now our 4 card support doesn't
look so good. By bidding 2, I expect to
score +140 vs +110 or +110 vs +90.
Henri de Jong: 2. Pairs and I like
John R Mayne: 2. Partner has about
1.3 spades on the auction, and we don't
figure to get tapped out. If 2 was
better, c'est la mort, but I think this
Robert Black: 2. Probably as many
tricks as in 2
Ian Patterson: 2. Then raise
Diamonds if Partner bids again.
Ian McCance: 2.
Should probably pass but good texture.
David Kalnins: 2.
I reckon I will score at least 110 in
spades, and no more than 110 in
Griff Ware: 2.
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: 2. This bid is not
David Matthews: 2. [ ... ] surely we
can scramble the additional 4 outside
tricks required [ ... ]
Jacco Hop: 2. Very likely to, on
average, score us the most points.
Emil Battista: 2. 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
Hans van Vooren: 2. Well, it's
matchpoints. The spades are just solid
enough give it a shot.
Jack Lai: 2. Will choose pass if it
is IMP. But MP, better try 2 as the
suit quality is rather good
Dean Pokorny: 2. Matchpoint bid. If
partner rebids 2NT, I will correct to
There wasn't much confidence there
either. but Dean, as with Dan Baker
earlier, touches on a point raised by
many of the Experts: 2 doesn't end the
auction. Is this a good or a bad thing?
Funny you should ask, because
there was another group of 2 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: 2. 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
2 at imps as well.
Kees Schaafsma: 2. 2 has more
chances than 2, we might even have game
Peter Robinson: 2. 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
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 4 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 5 when
that's best (for example, partner will
3 with -/Jxxxx/AKQxx/AKx). These
additional benefits of 2 make it a
clear winner in my mind. The expert
panel was also split mostly along two
lines, but not the same two lines: 2
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: 3. My hand has
improved, and we have a fit.
Tim Trahair: 3. Not strong enough
for 2. This keeps the bidding open and
gives N the opportunity to show 3 card
support in the unlikely event he has it.
That seems optimistic to me. 2 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 2 may be too high.
With some partners, I play that 2 is
forcing here (Hi, Brad), but I'm pretty
sure that they'd all prefer that I bid
2 on this.
The full deal:
The par score
of 140 in 2
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.
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
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
Kees Schaafsma: Pass. Bidding a red
suit is guesswork if North has 4-3 in
the red suits. Double fails opposite
4-333 and lacks defensive values should
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
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
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
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
Stephen Bartos: Pass. partner will
bid his/her preferred suit again if
strong; nothing very appealing to bid in
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
J. Effective 4 count. Any positive
action could see the axe wielded by
opponents. I could have just about
doubled 1 to show a 4-card suit but too
Ig Nieuwenhuis: Pass. why not 1NT on
the second round? Balancing now with 2
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: 2. A nuisance (to the
opponents) bid. Partner will know it is
marginal because I passed his double
after RHO bid.
Nigel Guthrie: 2. What would double
mean now? -- surely not this hand that,
traditionally, should have doubled 1.
Tania Black: 2. Enough to venture a
bid after 2 passes.
Peter Vlas: 2. Getting in while we
can. I think this should be an
David Matthews: 2. I am balancing
given that 2 or 3 is likely to
David Kalnins: 2.
I can hardly pass them in their 8+ card
club fit with half the points at the 2
Robert Black: 2. I do not expect to
defeat 2, and it should not encourage
partner after my two passes.
Wayne Somerville: 2. I might have
doubled 1 the round before. Now I bid
2 since this could easily be a double
Dan Baker: 2. 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 2 becomes obvious if he denies.
Roger Yandle: 2. Points are likely
divided, my Q may be useless and my 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: 2. Some more 50s
Henri de Jong: 2. 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 2
(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 2 (partner will
bid 2 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
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 1.
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 , 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 1 over 1 on a four-card
suit. As noted above, 2 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
John R Mayne: 2. 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: 2. I would not have
passed the previous round.
Dean Pokorny: 2. The opponents have
9 cards in clubs, meaning - they should
play 3. The only way to prevent their
3 is trying to buy 2 against a bad
break. This might induce a pass from
west with 4126. 2 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 3. Doubling is good, but
only if partner is on the same
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 2
with a 4126 hand and a partner who
prefers Clubs to No Trumps?
All in all, the 2 bidders and
Doublers put up a better case than the
2 bidders and Passers. If the Double
were unambiguously for takeout, it would
have generated a lot more votes from
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:
April issue of the magazine for details
of what happened.
| Hand Three - North deals, EW vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
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 4. 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
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: 4. 6/5 in the majors,
and no help in Clubs
Robert Black: 4. Showing my shape!
If partner has a double stop and no
cards in the majors I may have to
Rex Fox: 4. Should play better in
spades even opposite, e.g. x Ax AKQxxx
Ron Landgraff: Pass. I am chicken! 6
of almost anything could make! But at
match points NT will survive.
Sam Arber: Pass. Might miss 6.
Hans van Vooren: Pass. Rolling the
Bridge Baron: Pass. Simulation:
+453.35 in 3NT, +436.10 in 4. 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: 4. Asking for aces
Brad Johnston: 4. 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 J).
Derek Pocock: 4. Hoping that diamond
force shows some tolerance for my first
suit and expecting slam in Diamonds or
Andrea Viscovich: 4. Maybe 4NT could
be ok too.
Jim Thatcher: 4. 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
Henri de Jong: 4. To get to 6 or 7
I need to cue which implies some
Of the experts, only Peter Fordham
bid 4, but he intended it as Fourth
Suit Forcing, looking for 4M or 5. 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 4 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 4 bidders, I don't
know why 4 should show Diamonds when
we've so far bid only the majors - like
Fordham, I would play it as a general
Tim Trahair: 5. Exclusion Blackwood
asking for K other than in s and
showing slam interest. If N can show 3
key cards, a grand slam may be on.
Zbych Bednarek: 5. Must be void in
clubs (5530 or similar). Our side has at
least 8 trumps and the diamond grand is
close - I need only AKQ and A. (Over
5 from Partner [Three
Key Cards for Diamonds, but not
including A - FR]:
5 from me = still looking for slam, 6
would show Q [6
would show the Diamond Queen and Spade
King, as I play it - FR],
then 7 asks Partner to choose between
7 and 7. Without 6 from Partner, an
easy 7 from me.)
Michael Smart: 5. Voidwood
(implicitly in partner's suit, since he
has shown no support for either of
Klinger was the only expert to bid
5, 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: 6. 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: 6. 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 6
is cold. And will he guess to pass 6 on
xx/Jx/AKQxxx/AQx, when 6 loses a trump
trick and the A?
Dan Baker: 5. We're playing 6, I
just need to know where. Will offer 6
if partner doesn't bid 6 of a major.
Good reasoning, except that 5 is
normally played as slam invitational,
although Tim Bourke nominated it as his
second choice. So on then to the
Roger Yandle: 4. 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: 4. A slam has
potential. Slow arrival may be the way
to find out more about the hands.
David Matthews: 4. 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: 4. 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: 4. 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: 4.
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 5
at MPs, if that's what comes next.
Peter Vlas: 4. I'm afraid 4 might
be too ambiguous and 4 is non-forcing.
As I'm heading for a slam 4 would be my
Peter Robinson: 4. Second choice 5,
but the slower route should get us
there, and maybe to a better spot.
Kay O'Connor: 4. Showing my diamond
fragment and inviting slam.
Jack Lai: 4. Slam is near.
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 4. Slam invitation
in Diamonds. Confirming that 3 was not
a minimum and offering secondary supprt
in Diamonds. Even though partner has
club values, 6 rates to be good
opposite good diamonds.
Wayne Somerville: 4. 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 4
in the hope partner will cuebid hearts.
Dean Pokorny: 4. Without better
agreements, 4 is forward going with 2+
diamonds. If partner rebids 4, 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 7. Zbych was on his own
on that one, and as much as it's a risk
to bid 5 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 7 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 6. However, the crowd - of whom
I was assuredly one - has spoken.
The full deal, from Peter Smith:
North held AJ and AKQ so 7 and 7
were both making.
| Hand Four - North deals, nil vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
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 2 shows four-card
support. So, which lie do we tell? I
play transfers in some of my regular
partnerships, so Double = Hearts, 1 =
Spades 1NT = 11-12 balanced and 1 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 1 or 1, for
which we're only one card
short. However, only one expert (Matthew
Thomson, confidently predicting a top
board for 1). Only one reader found
that bid, though he didn't go into much
Kees Schaafsma: 1. In my opinion the
Let's hear now from the other
Dan Baker: 2. The stopperless 1NT
might be a more accurate description of
shape, but in my experience 1 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
Stephen Bartos: 2. To show some
points and deny a 4 card major.
True, but why *that* three card
suit when you have two others to choose
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
Derek Pocock: Pass. Hoping for
reopening double or show a major from
Wayne Somerville: Pass. I don't know
what I'm going to do if partner reopens
with a double (likely), but 1 overcalls
tend to be reasonably solid so I'm not
afraid of missing game.
Jacco Hop: Pass. I have no bid so I
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, 1 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 1-(1):
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 stop for
NT, wrong shape for Dbl, too short to
support . 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
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 2, even if it's not
absolutely forcing to game.
Dean Pokorny: Dbl. How is possible
not to include 2 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
Bastiaan Korner: Dbl. Not ideal, I
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
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
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
Robert Black: 1NT. No other option
(except 2) and it only needs 7
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 1 = no major,
attempt at transfer to NT. 2
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
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
The full deal:
North - South can make 1NT or 1. In practice, many pairs made 120. Several East - West pairs managed to buy it in 1 and they were all allowed to make.
| Hand Five - North deals, both vul, Matchpoints. You are South.
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 2 won in a landslide on the first
hand, you're making it very difficult
for partner to judge when 2 apparently
has such a wide range. Taking the low
road regardless is ...
Roger Yandle: 2. At IMPs I'd be more
aggressive and bid 3 but it looks like
there's a misfit so I'm downgrading my
Peter Vlas: 2. Constructive, non
forcing. As long as we have no decent
fit I don't want to play any game
Peter Robinson: 2. Enough on a
misfit, but no need to panic yet.
Rainer Herrmann: 2. Interesting that
I choose the same bids for hand one and
Brian Lawless: 2. Not weak as I
would Pass or prefer on a poor hand. 6-0
better than 5-1
Robert Black: 2. Same sequence as in
#1, and I have more; but not enough to
force to game.
Michael Smart: 2. Should deny a weak
hand, otherwise I would pass or give
preference to hearts. The suit quality
doesn't merit an invitational 3.
Alan Jones: 2. Showing the long
spade suit. I am reluctant to force on a
Hans van Vooren: 2. Trying to go
plus. As far as I am concerned, this
hand is nastier at IMPs.
Nigel Guthrie: 2. 3 is tempting but
2 should be constructive (see hand 1).
At MPs, a + score can be a good score.
Zbych Bednarek: 2. You can call me
chicken. I am too weak for a jump to 3
and 2 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 2 can be based on a
five-count, as in Problem 1.
So if we want to bid Spades, maybe
we should try an invitational 3.
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: 3. I am suprised that we
don't play 1 2 either as invitational
or weak (see hand 1). I guess 1-2 is
strong so I will invite with 3 and I
know it is not pretty.
Sam Arber: 3. 2NT Second choice.
Henri de Jong: 3. Five losers, but
no fit, so
no 4th suit. Bidding 3 surely implies
Clubs as well (how
would you bid KQJ10xx/xx/Axx/Jx? - FR).
In a weak hand with Spades I would bid
2 and with a strong Spade suit, 4
John R Mayne: 3. A corollary to
Fourth Suit Forcing to game is
invitational secondary jumps; I'm OK
with being stranded in 3. Notrump is
going to be brutal unless partner has
extras or spades.
David Kalnins: 3.
A tough hand - I don't have enough to
force to game and my spades aren't
fantastic. By bidding 3
I help partner evaluate Kx or Jx of
Phil Hocking: 3. Game in NT looks
enticing but not ready to bid 3 and end
up in 3NT with 23 combined points. 2
and 2NT are too weak.
Dean Pokorny: 3. I cannot imagine
having a game with partner rejecting the
invite. If the scoring were IMPs, I
would force game instead of just
Emil Battista: 3. I have 6 do I not?
2 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: 3. If partner can
muster up doubleton support then 4 is
likely to be the best contract. 3NT is
going to run into communication
Andrea Viscovich: 3. Misfit and
probably we will go down trying a manche,
but in a good day I will make 3NT or 4.
Rex Fox: 3. Should try for game.
This shows about the right strength
Ron Landgraff: 3. Ugh! 3NT can be
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
Ig Nieuwenhuis: 2NT. Then 3 over a
red-suit bid to promise 6. 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
Tania Black: 2NT. Right strength;
pity about the shape, but you cannot
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. 2 seems
an underbid; 3 an overbid, so
perhaps 2NT is some sort of compromise.
Ian Patterson: 2NT. Too strong for
2, too weak for 3, right values for
2NT. Will repeat Spades if partner bids
These last two seem to view 2NT as
being weaker than 3. 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 4 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 3 and 3NT both make, but partner
would pass 3). Nonetheless ... this is
a lot of bidding for a misfitting
Dan Baker: 3. 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).
3 should show a better suit than this
and leaves partner awkwardly placed if
he has no stopper in clubs.
Kay O'Connor: 3. Happy to play in
game but which one?
Jim Thatcher: 3. Hopefully partner
will further describe their hand
Wayne Somerville: 3. 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: 3. Should be a play
for 3NT or 4 if partner has doubleton
Brad Johnston: 3. When the spades
fail to behave and you go light just
apologise to partner for how badly they
Bridge Baron: 3. 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 full deal:
Four pairs were one off in 3NT, while everyone else went several down in 4.
And so I sign off for another
month. Until June, happy bridging.
for being a part of our
forum. The questions for the
June issue are already online,
While you're here, click on the
Home link at the top of this page and check out our new-look
Top scores for
|1||Roger Yandle NSW||500|
|2||Arthur Porter SA||500|
|3||Geof Brod USA||480|
|4||David Matthews WA||480|
|5||Andrew MacAlister GBR||480|
|6||Fredrik Jarlvik SWE||460|
|7||Peter Robinson ||460|
|8||Ian McCance Vic||440|
|9||Kajsa Fröjd SWE||440|
|10||Gary Lane NSW||430|
|11||David Woulds GBR||420|
|12||Damo Nair USA||420|
|13||Jacco Hop NED||420|
|15||Bastiaan Korner NED||420|
|16||Michael Seldon NSW||410|
|17||Peter Nuoristo SWE||410|
|18||Peter Jeffery NSW||410|
|19||Peter Stride Qld||410|
|21||Henri De Jong Vic||400|
|22||Tom Estenson USA||390|
|24||Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN||380|
|25||Michael Burt ACT||380|
|26||Fraser Rew NZL||380|
|27||Jack Lai ||380|
|28||Nigel Guthrie GBR||380|
29||John Newman NSW||380|
30||Wayne Somerville IRL||380|
||Kay O'Connor NSW
32||Rainer Herrmann GER||370|
33||John Shield NSW||370|
35||Peter Vlas NED||370|
36||Sheela Sahasrabuddhe ||370|
37||Martyn Rew NZL||360|
38||Charles Scholl USA||360|
39||Kees Schaafsma NED||360|
40||Steven Kipperman ||350|
41||Patrice Fincias ||350|
42||Zbych Bednarek POL||350|
43||Tim Trahair NSW||350|
44||Conny Wahlgren SWE||350|
45||Bruce Ballard NZL||350|
46||John R Mayne USA||350|
47||David Johnson CAN||340|
48||Robert Black SA||340|
49||Mark Laforge ||340|
50||Michael Smart ACT||340|
51||Gary Hyett GBR||340|
52||Murray Perrin Qld||330|
53||Christer Enkvist SWE||330|
54||Fi Nadir CAN||330|
55||Andrea Viscovich ITA||330|
56||Nancy Kent USA||330|
57||Emil Battista NSW||320|
58||Bjarne Andersen DEN||320|
59||Tony Treloar Qld||320|
60||Toby Weinstein USA||320|
61||Phil Hocking NSW||310|
62||Pat O'Connor NSW||310|
63||Ig Nieuwenhuis NED||310|
64||Leon Slonim Vic||310|
65||Dominic Connolly NSW||310|
66||Ian Spight NSW||310|
Leading scores for 2015
|1||Roger Yandle NSW||960|
|2||David Matthews WA||950|
|3||Geof Brod USA||950|
|4||Ian McCance Vic||930|
|5||Arthur Porter SA||930|
|6||Bastiaan Korner NED||920|
|7||Kajsa Fröjd SWE||910|
|8||Damo Nair USA||900|
|9||David Woulds GBR||900|
|10||Fredrik Jarlvik SWE||900|
|11||Jacco Hop NED||900|
|12||Andrew Macalister GBR||900|
|14||Henri De Jong Vic||890|
|15||Peter Jeffery NSW||890|
|16||Gary Lane NSW||880|
|17||Peter Stride Qld||870|
|19||Peter Nuoristo SWE||860|
|20||Peter Robinson ||857|
|21||Malcolm Ewashkiw CAN||850|
|22||Jack Lai ||840|
|24||Tom Estenson USA||830|
|26||Nigel Guthrie GBR||830|
|27||Michael Seldon NSW||830|
|28||Christer Enkvist SWE||830|
|29||Peter Vlas NED||830|
|30||Patrice Fincias ||820|
|31||Steven Kipperman ||820|
|32||Fraser Rew NZL||820|
|33||Kay O'Connor NSW||820|
|34||Tony Treloar Qld||820|
|35||John R Mayne USA||820|
|36||Charles Scholl USA||820|
|37||John Newman NSW||820|
|38||Gary Hyett GBR||810|
|39||Rainer Herrmann GER||810|
|40||Michael Burt ACT||800|
|41||Murray Perrin Qld||790|
|42||Wayne Somerville IRL||790|
|43||Zbych Bednarek POL||790|
|44||David Johnson CAN||790|
|45||Kees Schaafsma NED||780|
|46||Pravin Nahar NSW||770|
|47||Michael Smart ACT||770|
|48||Ig Nieuwenhuis NED||770|
|49||Robert Black SA||760|
|50||Dominic Connolly NSW||760|
|51||Peter Havlicek ||740|
|52||Leon Slonim Vic||740|
|53||Bram Amsel ||730|
|54||Alan Jones Qld||730|
|55||Tom Moss NSW||720|
|56||Brad Johnston ||720|
|57||Hans Van Vooren NED||720|
|58||Derek Pocock WA||720|
|59||Nancy Kent USA||720|
|60||Alex Kemeny NSW||720|
|61||Martyn Rew NZL||720|
|62||Sam Arber Vic||710|
|63||Bjarne Andersen DEN||710|
|64||Ian Patterson Qld||710|
|65||Leigh Blizzard Tas||710|
|66||Conny Wahlgren SWE||710|
Thank you to all the
readers and visitors
who entered this month's
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
April issue to see what the experts said
about this month's hands.