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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club
Sep/Oct 1998

Moderator: Steve Robinson

Somehow I overlooked an entry to last month's problems. It happened to be from Ben Laden who's score was 500. He will be on a future panel and I will play with him at a future Unit Game.

Congratulations to Burt and Lynn Hall who came in first with a score of 500. They win a free entry to the Unit Game, will be invited to be on a future panel and will play with me in a future Unit Game. Tied for second were Mark Steele, Robert Cohen, Saul Penn and Jerry Lerner with 470. Sixth was Bob Henry with 450. Tied for seventh were Jeff Roman, Lisa Rawley, Mark Umeno, Donna Rogall and Craig Olson with 440. Tied for twelfth were Kevin Avery, Aaron Rosenbaum and Ellen Cherniavsky with 430. The average solver's score was 376. The average score of the experts was 451.

All readers are encouraged to send answers and/or new problems to Steve Robinson, 2891 S. Abingdon St. #A2 Arlington, Va, 22206. In addition to the winner receiving a free play at the WBL Unit Game, Steve will play with anyone who gets a perfect score or who exactly matches all five of his answers. If you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the above address along with your answers, Steve will send you a copy of the problems to ensure that you can meet his next deadline. You can also pick up a copy of the problems at the WBL Unit Game in Maryland or the Bridge Aces bridge club in Virginia. You can also send a request to to get a copy of the problems or send answers. WBL Solvers Club uses Washington Standard as published July 1996.

Washington Standard, the book, is out. If you are a serious bridge player, this book is a must. You can purchase a copy from Steve for $19.95 at the Unit Game or at tournaments or can send him a check for $22.95 which includes $3.00 for priority mail.

  Problem 1    IMPs    Vul: Both 
  South Holds 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     Pass     1NT     Pass  
  2   2    3   Pass  

  * Transfer:  # Natural  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Pass     100     5     13   
  3     70     2     13   
  3     50     1     11   
  4     30     0     8   
  3 NT     20     0     7   
  4     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 

Usually with a five-card suit and nine HCPs you would force to game opposite a one-notrump opener. Is this an exception? We have learned a lot from partner's 3 call. Partner does not have three-card heart support. Since partner has a six-card or very good five-card diamond suit, he should be minimum. If you have AKQxxx of diamonds, how much more do you need to open one notrump? The three Jacks are not worth three HCPs.

Four experts agree with me and pass 3. If this is a partscore hand, 3 will play well.

Schwartz: "Pass---Assuming partner had six diamonds, he shouldn't be max in HCPs, thus game shouldn't be a good contract."

King: "Pass---With the right cards we could make three notrump or 4, but partners seldom have just the right cards. I have nine losers and those jacks are not pulling their weight in the point count."

Right! Partner's seldom have the right cards.

Parker: "Pass---Too many slow tricks. I think we should be happy for a plus score. Partner needs a perfecto to make game something like Qx/Ax/AKQxx(x)/Qx(x)."

If you have the example hand, seventeen HCPs and a five-card suit, you should open one-of-your-minor and jump to two notrump.

Woolsey: "Pass---North isn't supposed to be opening one notrump on a long diamond suit unless he has a minimum. 3 is the limit of the hand."

Two experts try for game. Do we have enough strength to take ten tricks in either diamonds or hearts? I bet they are headed for a minus score.

Adams: "3---At matchpoints I would pass in case 3 is the last plus score. Do not think 3 is forcing or invitational. Would bid three notrump except we miss 4 opposite xx/Ax/AKQxx(x)/Kxx. Plan to pass 4 rebid. Partner does not have three hearts."

Lublin: "3---Shows partial stopper."

3 is an attempt to improve the contract. If you were dealt xxx/QJ10xxx/x/xxx, you would bid 3.

Lindstrom: "3---Good hearts no stopper, two diamonds and only nine HCPs. I want to play 3."

Sounds like an E. F. Hutton saying. When my partner talks I listen.

  Problem 2    Matchpoints    Vul: Both 
  South Holds 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     ---     1     2  
  2     Pass     2NT     Pass  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  3     100     7     33   
  3     50     1     0   
  3 NT     30     0     12   
  4     20     0     3   
  Pass     20     0     5   
  What is your bid? 

spades or notrump and what level? In spades partner's club stopper will be led thru or we might just have four top losers. Notrump might not play well if partner has only one club stopper. This is an easy problem. Describe your hand and let partner decide. There are so many difficult problems at the bridge table so its great when you can relax and let partner have the problem. If partner has a minimum hand with one club stopper, he can pass 3. Partner will devalue his K but like his A. Partner will be very happy with your 3 call if he happened to get stuck bidding two notrump holding xx/AQxx/AJxx/Jxx as a least of all evils bid.

Seven experts describe their hand.

Adams: "3---Not forcing. Partner does not promise double stops in clubs. Have minimum with good suit. Rebid warranted."

Parker: "3---No diamond fit and six good spades says play in a suit. I promised a rebid and this clearly describes my hand."

Lindstrom: "3---Showing sixth spade. I have no help in diamonds or clubs."

Woolsey: "3---It is rarely right to play exactly two notrump when there is a long suit out against you. You either make three or go down. My spade suit is strong, and partner can still rebid three notrump or 4 with the right hand."

Schwartz: "3---Just bid my hand as there is no reason why partner can't have a stiff spade. Partner could always bid three notrump, if he has the right black suit holdings."

King: "3---I think this bid best describes my hand. Partner is still allowed to bid on. At IMPs I might be more aggressive."

One expert forces to game. While 2 is forcing to 3, cuebidding sets up a game force.

Lublin: "3---Look for best game."

Doesn't 3 describe your hand perfectly? It looks for the best game, but it allows you to play in a partscore.

  Problem 3    IMPs    Vul: Both 
  South Holds 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     1     4     Pass  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  4 NT     100     5     9   
  5     70     3     34   
  Pass     50     0     3   
  4     30     0     5   
  4     20     0     1   
  6     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 

If I were the four-diamond bidder and my partner bid four notrump, I would wonder whether four notrump was natural or Roman Key Card for diamonds. I would bet that if asked, most players would say that four notrump was Roman Key Card. If I passed four notrump, I would hate to look at partner's face as West takes the first six spade tricks. But is RKC the best use for four notrump in this case? Since four-of-a-major is game, there is no other possible meaning of a four-notrump advance to a four-of-a-major overcall. However, 4 is not game. Over 4 there are two possible game contracts available, 5 and four notrump. Boyd and I play that when partner enters the auction with four-of-a-minor, four notrump is natural. Take this example. You know partner has eight diamonds to the KQJ. and he is unlikely to have either of the black aces. With all of the missing HCPs very likely in opener's hand four notrump should easily make.

Four experts agree with me and bid four notrump. I hope partner passes four notrump. I assume the others wouldn't be unhappy if four notrump ended the auction.

Woolsey: "4NT---I play this as natural when partner introduces a minor at the four-level. We could easily have ten winners and be off three black suit tricks. Even if partner thinks I am bidding key-card, nothing is lost."

King: "4NT---I think this should be natural. We could be off three top tricks in both diamonds and no trump. Partner can bid on with short spades."

Schwartz: "4NT---Just in case partner is void in spades, stiff is probably the most likely holding."

Adams: "4NT---RKC. If partner passes, we survive. If partner has two key cards we play slam. If partner has two small spades, we go down unless opening leader gets clever. Cue bid does not help since partner does not know which small xx is bad."

Three experts bid 5.

Parker: "5---Hope partner is 1-2 in the black suits. You can't play partner for three quick losers or a side Ace. Bid what is most likely to make."

Lindstrom: "5---May have three quick losers but I'll take a chance."

Lublin: "5---Best contract at IMPs."

At the table 5 would go down, losing two spades and one club. Four notrump would make since West held the AK of spades and the A of clubs. Isn't that what you would expect.

  Problem 4    Matchpoints    Vul: NS 
  South Holds 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     1     Pass      1NT   
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Pass     100     6     40   
  Double     50     2     10   
  3NT     20     0     2   
  2NT     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 

This is a test. How many players holding nineteen HCPs will stay out of the auction? Overcalling is out unless you want to try Kxxx or AKx. What about a takeout double? If you're playing with a very good partner, he will have a six-card major. If you're playing with a normal partner, he'll bid 2 on Jxxx. What's left. Pass of course. Stay fixed.

Six experts pass the test.

Parker: "Pass---No need to step in now. You have no good bid, double will only fetch a major. Defend and go the next hand."

Lindstrom: "Pass---I cannot find a suitable bid. Partner has few points. I want to defend."

Schwartz: "Pass---Even if double is penalties (which it isn't), wouldn't expect to beat it as the opponents have my long suits covered. Partner could always balance with extreme length in majors."

Woolsey: "Pass---If the opponents are light for their actions and are stealing, it is just too bad. There is no sensible way into this auction."

King: "Pass---What else?"

Clear answer which says it all.

Two experts step in the minefield. What are they going to when their partner bids 2?

Lublin: "Double---Show values and bid two notrump over 2."

Adams: "Double---Pass is out. You do not get matchpoints letting them play one notrump not vulnerable. If partner bids 2 I will bid two notrump and hope for the best. I will pass 2 and raise 2 to 3. The opponents may be shading their values, but there is no safe way to investigate our game. Not worried about partner jumping. If he does, he has a weak long suit or values."

Which is worse -120 in one notrump or -200 or 300 in 2?

  Problem 5    Matchpoints    Vul: Both 
  South Holds 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     ---     ---     1   
  Pass     1      Double     Pass  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Pass     100     6     35   
  1     80     2     15   
  1NT     40     0     2   
  2     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 

Partner has made a takeout double asking you to bid a major. What's the problem? The problem is that your best major is Jx. Your choices therefore are; bid a two-card major, pass 1 and hope you beat it or bid one notrump with only four HCPs and with no club stopper.

Six experts pass 1 doubled. There's a good reason why I don't like passing 1 doubled. Most players go out of their way to avoid responding 1. So when they do respond 1, they usually have diamonds. If LHO has five diamonds, he will score them all since my spots are so bad. Since RHO is sitting behind partner, his honors will score also. I would expect to be at least -380 in one diamond doubled.

Let's hear from the experts who pass.

Adams: "Pass---Who says 1 must be a real suit? I do not have the values for one notrump, and bidding a doubleton is beyond me. Partner should give me a little leeway in not doubling them in other strains. 1 doubled is not game. If they send it back, I can back in with one notrump. Best thing that can happen is they play 1 doubled making three for -540, when they are cold for 630 in notrump. If partner is five-five in the majors, overcall or two notrump is better than double or sandwich notrump if you play it."

Parker: "Pass---They may make this but I will not go for 1100 in some awful fit. Second choice is to bid one notrump. Partner may get carried away with a good hand though."

Lindstrom: "Pass---I prefer pass to one notrump. If I can take seven tricks in notrump we should set 1 vulnerable for a good score."

Who says you can take seven tricks in notrump?

Woolsey: "Pass---If I had a three-card major I might bid it, but with this hand, passing is the only sensible action. diamonds is by far the best strain from my point of view. West might run anyway."

Lublin: "Pass---And go plus."

King: "Pass---This is a good situation to have discussed with partner. When they start running, does he expect values from you or just diamonds? If you promise values by passing, then you need to bid one notrump here."

One expert agrees with me and takes out partner's takeout double.

Schwartz: "1---Quickly as don't want it to make it obvious that we are in trouble. Pass makes that obvious as I can't stand the redouble. What should I do then, SOS re-redouble. Probably hearts are 4-3 with three on my left he won't know to double. Hopefully he will make enough of a strength showing bid to ward off partner."

At IMPs, I would pass the double hoping for a small minus score. Even -380 is not a complete disaster. At matchpoints, I hope that the opponents will rescue me and we will get a normal result.

How the Experts Voted:
  Expert / Problem     1   2   3   4   5   Score
  Kit Woolsey    Pass   3   4NT   Pass   Pass   500
  Fred King    Pass   3   4NT   Pass   Pass   500
  Steve Robinson    Pass   3   4NT   Pass   1   480
  Alan Schwartz    Pass   3   4NT   Pass   1   480
  Steve Parker    Pass   3   5   Pass   Pass   470
  Rossi Lindstrom    3   3   5   Pass   Pass   420
  John Adams    3   3   4NT   Dbl   Pass   420
  Glenn Lublin    3   3   5   Dbl   Pass   340

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Steve Robinson
2891 S. Abingdon St #A2,
Arlington Va, 22206

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