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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club
Mar/Apr 2000

Moderator: Steve Robinson

Congratulations to Jim Creech who came in first with a score of 490. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. Second was Samuel Bowlin with a score of 470. Tied for third were Jim Murphy and Ben Stauss with a score of 460. Tied for fifth were Lyle Poe, Rick Bingham and Bill Salavatore with a score of 450. Tied for eighth were Gerald Lerner and Don Berman with a score of 440. Tied for tenth were Helene Bauman, Lloyd Rawley, Hy Chansky and Paul Mcmullin with a score of 430. Tied for fourteenth were Millard Nachtwey, Lynn Connelly and Larry Kahn with a score of 420. The average solver's score was 370. The average score of the experts was 417.

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 new problems to ensure that you can meet his next deadline. You can pick up a copy of the problems at the WBL Unit Game in Maryland and can send answers or requests for problems to robinswr@erols.com. 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 $20.00 at the Unit Game and at tournaments or can send him a check for $23.20 which includes $3.20 for priority mail.


  Problem 1    Imps    Vul: NS 
  South Holds 
  -KJ96543 
  -AJ54 
  -Void
 
  -65 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     ---     1     Pass  
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Panel's 
  Votes 
  4     100     2     22   
  1     90     2     74   
  2     50     1     5   
  4     50     1     4   
  2     50     1     0   
  2NT     50     0     11   
  3     40     0     3   
  3     20     0     1   
  4NT     20     0     1   
  4     20     0     1   
  3NT     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 
This hand has four points which partner needs to know. Long spades, short diamonds, heart support and slam interest. If you did not have to worry about follow-up calls and interference, 1 would be unanimous. However, sometimes partner rebids 2 or the opponents preempt. 1heart - 1spade - 2 in standard is an awkward auction. After that start, in order to set hearts as trumps you have to bid 3, fourth suit forcing, and then support hearts. How would it feel to have to support hearts for the first time at the four-level? If partner rebids 2 or one notrump, you still have to go thru an intermediate step in order to set up a game-forcing heart sequence. You won't be able to show short diamonds or slam interest. A direct approach is set hearts as trumps right away. Either two notrump, a game-forcing heart raise or 4, a game-forcing splinter.

Of all the choices, I like 4. Sets trumps, shows diamond shortness and tells partner that you are interested in slam. Three of the four points. If we miss slam, it will be partner's faulty evaluation. One expert agrees with me and splinters.

Woolsey: "4---Not perfect, but I can't think of any other approach which comes close to describing this hand. Also, slower routes may let the opponents into the auctions which won't be good."

Two experts bid their long suit.

Elster: "1---This is one of the many hands where the location of partner's high cards is paramount, with some minimums producing slam, and some hands with extras failing at 4. So, although normally I would set hearts as trump immediately, I want to find out as much as I can about his hand. If Washington Standard (I've forgotten) includes fit-showing jumps, then would bid 2 and elect partner as captain, at least initially."

Schwartz: "1---In order for partner to make an intelligent decision, I have to get spades into the picture. With our side having the majors and the majority the HCPs. I am not afraid of the opponents."

One expert jump shifts. One would expect a better suit and a better hand.

Parker: "2---Strong jump shift. I can then raise hearts and hopefully start a cue bid sequence. Sometimes we may find spades and it will play much better."

One expert gives up on slam. Give partner Ax/KQxxx/xxxx/Ax and seven is reasonable. I know that's giving partner perfect cards which you're not supposed to do but splinters were made to pinpoint perfect fits.

Granovetter: "4---Trying to buy the hand. Only one more player (lefty) to get by."

The next bid is interesting. At least you can set hearts as trumps at your next turn.

Cappelletti: "2---Game forcing, then support hearts, then cue bid. A diamond splinter (one below hearts) is not effective on this sort of hand."

Set trumps, show diamond shortness and show some slam interest all in one bid. How bad can that be?


  Problem 2    IMPs    Vul: NS 
  South Holds 
  -K109732 
  -7654 
  -AQ
 
  -Q 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East 
  ---     ---     1     Pass  
  1     Pass     2     Pass  
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Panel's 
  Votes 
  3     100     3     58   
  2     80     1     30   
  2     70     1     29   
  2     70     2     4   
  2NT     50     0     2   
  What is your bid? 
Neat problem. Votes for minimum rebid, game invitation, and game force. What is this hand worth? Vulnerable at IMPs, one overbids a little in order to get the game-bonus prize. This hand has the right number of HCPs for an invitational three-spade bid but the honors are in the wrong place. The prototype 3 bid is KQJxxx with an outside ace or AKQxxx and out. Give partner x/QJx/KJxxx/AKJx, three notrump is reasonable, but 4 has no play. Give partner -/AKxx/Kxxxx/Axxx, 4 is cold. 3 could get you to spades where there could be four trump losers. The only way to investigate all options is to overbid with 2, fourth suit game forcing. What you don't want to happen is to go down in 3, cold for three notrump or miss your four-four heart fit. What bad can happen if you bid 2? If partner support spades, raises hearts or jumps to three notrump, you're very happy. If partner rebids two notrump you can pass and you could be better off.

Three experts invite.

Woolsey: "3---I think the danger of missing a vulnerable game by making a more conservative call is greater than the danger of getting too high by bidding 3. The most likely game is four spades."

Cappelletti: "3---Invitational; Vul at IMPs push for game."

Granovetter: "3---After considering 2, fourth-suit forcing, I think it will only lead to trouble."

Three experts make minimum calls, calls you would make if your AQ were two little. If I was going to make a minimum call, I would bid 2.

Elster: "2---Gives partner chance to bid out his pattern, and avoids premature decision to force to game. If partner passes, we are probably in good spot. Hand not good enough for game force 2, and suit not good enough for 3 bid. It's quite possible that 2 is the winning bid."

The following experts bid 2. How many spade tricks are you going to take in 2? You will take diamond tricks in 2.

Parker: "2---And hope partner bids again. Even if partner has a near perfecto, x/xx/KJxxx/AKJxx, we have no game."

Schwartz: "2---My four little hearts are a trouble sign for play in spades. With so much of my strength in partner's suits, it will probably play better there."

Think about what partner expects before making a call. Jump rebids show good suits. Overbid in order to find the correct strain.


  Problem 3    Imps    Vul: NS 
  South Holds 
  -AKJ 
  -
  -AQJ3
 
  -KJ654 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     Pass     Pass     1  
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Panel's 
  Votes 
  1     100     3     20   
  1NT     90     2     8   
  Pass     50     1     21   
  Dbl     40     1     71   
  3     20     0     1   
  3NT     20     0     2   
  What is your bid? 
One expert and seventy-one solvers doubled? Double, when holding a singleton in an unbid major, is not an acceptable answer if there is any reasonable alternative. I repeat. Double, when holding a singleton in an unbid major, is not an acceptable answer. If you can't double then what. Passing could work, but you might not get another chance and even if you did get another chance you won't be able to describe this nineteen point monster. Lets say you pass and it goes 1 by LHO, 2 by RHO. Double would show four spades. Overcalling one notrump could work, but partner will pass with seven HCPs or get you to hearts holding at least five. I like 1. 1 is very unlikely to get passed out and you will be well placed when the bidding comes back to you. You might even get to play in clubs.

Two experts agree with me and overcall 1.

Woolsey: "1---This at least will encourage partner to speak if he has something to say. I can't see how I can sensibly recover if I pass, regardless of what happens."

Cappelletti: "1---See if partner can make a bid."

The following call is unacceptable.

Elster: "Double---Then one notrump over partner's 1-bid, three notrump over his 2-bid."

Two experts overcall one notrump, a bid with two flaws. Extra HCPs and wrong distribution.

Parker: "1NT---A little high on points and little low on heart stoppers. If it goes pass by me, 1 - pass 2, I can double and risk playing a 3-3 spade fit. This way I can preempt someone (I hope them) out of hearts."

Schwartz: "1NT---One notrump could be as much as nineteen. I plan on bidding two notrump over a transfer to hearts which should show this hand after a one-notrump overcall. Don't want to collect 50 a trick against 1 with three notrump on. 1 my second choice."

One expert passes. I don't see how you are going to be able to catch up.

Granovetter: "Pass---The alternatives of double and one notrump are greatly flawed because of the heart singleton. When you pass with five of RHO's suit and a singleton, somebody usually bids your singleton and you are now in good position."

One does not have to make a takeout double just because one has 19 HCPs. Overcalls can be strong. Avoid making takeout doubles with short majors.


  Problem 4    Matchpoints    Vul: None 
  South Holds 
  -A43 
  -AQ 
  -KQ3
 
  -A10976 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     Pass     Pass     1  
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Panel's 
  Votes 
  1NT     100     3     30  
  2     70     2     15  
  Dbl     60     2     76   
  3NT     20     0     2   
  What is your bid? 
Another hand with no clearcut action available. A heavy notrump, an offshape takeout double or an overcall in a weak suit are all possibilities. Doubling with a doubleton in an unbid major, a suit that partner is most likely to bid, is almost as bad as doubling with a singleton. For notrump, this hand has one major flaw, that being a little heavy. We have nineteen HCPs and a five- card suit but the hand feels weaker. It has a minor flaws; no second spade stopper, no spade spots and the five-card suit is weak.

Two experts agree with me and overcall one notrump.

Elster: "1NT---I'll take the underbid, since I need more from partner for game on this hand than previous one."

Schwartz: "1NT---Even though this is a good 19, I don't have a promotable spade spot thus will downgrade the hand some."

Two experts double. Partner responds 2 and now what? Is this hand worth a two-notrump rebid? Notrump is not going to play well holding only one spade stopper with no hope of a second and a weak side suit. If partner has a weak hand with five hearts, you probably belong in 2. You get to 2 only if you overcall one notrump.

Woolsey: "Double---It is worth taking a slow route to try to get partner to bid notrump or even to get to five-of-a-minor. If partner insists on playing in hearts, even that might be right."

I guess you are going to cuebid over partner's expected 2 call. This will work well if partner has most of the missing strength.

Granovetter: "Double---A close call between double and one notrump (underbid and flawed with A43 of spades). The double should contain three hearts but AQ doubleton is equivalent."

Two experts overcall. Very likely to end the auction. Give partner a 3442 six-point hand and he'll pass 2. RHO will probably be long in clubs with a minimum hand and will pass also.

Parker: "2---Unlike hand #3 I have a source of tricks and can bid more if partner makes any noise. Thus I bid my longest suit."

Cappelletti: "2---See if partner can make a bid."

Avoid making takeout doubles with short majors.


  Problem 5    Imps    Vul: NS 
  South Holds 
  -2 
  -AK543 
  -AJ543
 
  -65 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     1      Pass     2   
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Panel's 
  Votes 
  2NT     100     4     21  
  Dbl     80     4     38   
  3     70     1     38  
  Pass     50     0     11   
  3     50     0     15  
  What is your bid? 
All calls are fraught with danger. The danger of two notrump and double is that partner will jump in clubs. The danger of 3 is that partner could have a stiff heart and the danger of 3 is that you are forcing your partnership to the four-level. The danger of passing is missing game. The real solution to this problem is to play that two notrump shows hearts and a minor. hearts and a minor happens twice as often as both minors. However, most players will play two notrump as showing both minors and if given the chance will hang you out to dry. Partner, holding Axxx/xxxx/x/KJxx, might jump to 5 over two notrump.

Four experts spring the 'unusual' unusual notrump on partner.

Woolsey: "2NT---Partner should be aware that this could be red suits rather than minors. My personal preference is to play that doubles shows hearts and clubs or three-suited, while two notrump shows diamonds and another suit. This way we can get all the two-suiters into the auction."

You can't make up conventions in the middle of an auction.

Cappelletti: "2NT---Two-suiter (correct clubs to diamonds)."

Parker: "2NT---I will bid 3 over 3, showing a red two-suiter. No need to force to the four-level."

You forgot 4 over 4 and 5 over 5.

Schwartz: "2NT---When space is not available, should show any two-suiter just like over 4."

One expert agrees with me and doubles. When playing equal level conversions, partner tends to be more conservative when holding clubs.

Elster: "Double---Pulling 3 to 3 if the opponents let us bid below the five level. Although two notrump might give us the same opportunity, double is less likely to induce a misguided club lead against 4, or worse, a misguided bid of 5 over 4. If partner wants to double 4, bless him, I've got my promised defensive tricks."

One expert overcalls. There is much to say for this call because at least partner will know what you have.

Granovetter: "3---Not easy to make this brave bid at the table against strong opposition, but these days it's difficult for them to double you after they bid and raise a suit. If you "putz" around with other calls, such as two notrump or double, you give them a much easier time to get together and double you when you are wrong to enter the auction. For example, by bidding two notrump or doubling, one opponent can double or redouble with general strength and the other opponent can double with length."

Change your system so that two notrump in this auction shows hearts and a minor. Until then don't spring unusual treatments on partner.


How the Experts Voted:
  Expert / Problem     1   2   3   4   5   Score
  Kit Woolsey    4   3   1   Dbl   2NT   460
  Steve Robinson    4   2   1   1NT   Dbl   460
  Alan Schwartz    1   2   1NT   1NT   2NT   450
  Mike Cappelletti    2   3   1   2   2NT   420
  Marvin Elster    1   2   Dbl   1NT   Dbl   380
  Steve Parker    2   2   1NT   2   2NT   380
  Matt Granovetter    4   3   Pass   Dbl   3   330

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