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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club

Sep/Oct 2001


Moderator: Steve Robinson

Congratulations to Sylvain Picard who came in first with a perfect score of 500. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. I will play with him at a future Unit Game. Tied for second were John Ferman, Marvin Elster with a score of 480. Tied for fourth were Stan Schenker and Drazen Martinovic with a score of 470. Sixth was Rusty Krauss with a score of 460. Tied for seventh were Mark Laken, David Milton, Clyde Kruskal, Marc Umeno, Marshall Kuschner, Pete Whipple with a score of 440. Thirteenth was Fred Steinberg with a score of 430. Tied for fourteenth were Enid Asherman, Lloyd Rawley, Arnie Frankel with a score of 420. Tied for seventeenth were Kevin Avery, Ellen Cherniavsky, Pete Hughes with a score of 410. The average score of the 128 solvers was 337. The average score of the experts was 460.

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 $23.95 which includes $3.95 for priority mail.


  Problem 1    Imps    Vul: None    RHO (East) dealt  
  South Holds 
  -8754 
  -Q10 
  -A843 
  -A64 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     ---     ---     1 NT*  
  Pass     2**     Dbl#    2##  
  Pass     Pass     3     Pass  
  ?????  

  * 11-14
  ** Transfer
  # hearts
  ## At least 3 spades
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Solver's 
  Votes 
  3     100     6     26   
  4     80     3     48   
  3     50     1     12   
  3     40     0     3   
  4     20     0     1   
  4     20     0     12   
  Pass     20     0     15   
  3NT     20     0     1   
  5     20     0     10   
 
  What is your bid? 
Partner's double of 2 is a lead directing double. He could have as little as x/KJ9xxx/xx/xxxx or x/KJ9xx/x/xxxxx. Since North passed 2, the opponents have shown limited values. Therefore, partner does not promise the world with his 3 bid. His hand is limited by his failure to bid 2 on the previous round. 2 would show 5-5, hearts and a minor. There are some things we know about East's hand. He has at most one spade. Since he didn't balance with double or two notrump, he probably has at most two diamonds. He has at least ten cards in hearts and clubs. But is he 5-5, 6-4 or possibly 4-6? Since he didn't bid Michaels, there's a good chance that he is 6-4. Are his hearts good enough to play opposite Q10? Probably, but you might want partner to make the final decision. If you cuebid 3, partner will make the final decision. With five good or six hearts he'll bid 4. With five bad hearts and good clubs and a minimum, he'll bid 4. With good clubs and extra values he'll bid 5. He could even bid 4 throwing the ball back into your court. My bet is that partner's hearts are good enough to play the 5-2. After all he did double 2.

Five experts agree with me and cuebid.

Woolsey: "3---I can't believe I didn't do something other than pass last round -- my hand couldn't me much better considering that I am a passed hand. Now I pretty much have to commit the hand to game. I will bid 4 over partner's likely 4 call. This will indicate to him that I am not so sure about playing in hearts, and he can make the final decision."

Usually partner has only five hearts when he doubles 2. Why would you have bid directly over 2 with only two hearts.

Hopkins: "3---I want to play game in partner's longer suit (expecting partner to be 6-4, 5-5, 6-5, etc.). My bid suggests a good hand, denies three hearts, and should get a natural response from partner allowing me to place the contract."

Adams: "3---Seems like partner should be 5-5 for this action. Will bid 4 over the expected 4 bid. Hope this shows doubt about strain. Perhaps partners failure to bid 2 the first chance means good hearts or six of them."

Roman: "3---Choice-of-games cuebid. I'll pass over 4 and raise 4 to five."

King: "3---I want to be in game, but I don't know which one yet. I will let partner tell me more about his hand."

Four experts support hearts directly. 3 seems like an underbid with four working cards. Two aces and two heart honors.

Cappelletti: "3---Return to prime suit (he might have 6-4) but I would have bid 3 directly over 2!"

4 is probably where you belong so the following is OK.

Lacy: "4---I hope that partner's hearts are good enough to handle one pump. I have too much not to bid game at IMPs."

Parker: "4---How could I have a better hand, (more hearts maybe) honor in hearts, and two Aces. My only fear is missing a slam, maybe 4 keycard is better."

Schwartz: "4---Partner rates to be 5-5 (no double of 2). Don't need much for game. My hearts are too good for a choice of games cue-bid. With the long spades not having many entries, hearts should play well. I plan on pitching a diamond from partner's hand on the second round of spades."

One can learn from what partner didn't do as well as what he did. Since partner didn't bid 2, he is not 5-5. My partner passed 3. 3 in the 4-3 went down one. 4 in the 6- 2 was cold.


  Problem 2    Imps    Vul: None    Partner (North) dealt  
  South Holds 
  -AK3 
  -AK954 
  -43 
  -A108 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East 
  ---     ---     1     1  
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Solver's 
  Votes 
  Dbl     100     3     24   
  Pass     90     7     41   
  2     70     0     10   
  3NT     70     0     14   
  2     50     0     23   
  4     20     0     5   
  4NT     20     0     7   
  2NT     20     0     2   
  6NT     20     0     1   
  1     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 
You hold x/xxx/AJxxx/KQJx. You open 1, LHO overcalls 1 and it goes pass pass to you. I bet there are many players who would defend. Where are the spades? Suppose you pass as seven experts did and partner reopens with one spade or two-of-either- minor. Would 2 be a cuebid or a natural bid? I've passed it before. Passing is too dangerous for me. I like the negative double. Partner's response to the negative double will be very revealing as to his strength and distribution. If he bids one spade, you are very unlikely to have a slam. You can then jump to three notrump. If you had four spades and wanted to give partner a choice you would cuebid and then bid three notrump. Even if partner corrects to 4, you be OK with all your extra strength. Actually 6 is a good contract opposite QJ10x/x/AKxx/QJxx. But suppose partner rebids 2 or 2 over your negative double. Now that partner shows some extra distribution slam is possible. Opposite xxx/x/KQJxxx/KQx six notrump just needs a 3-2 diamond split.

Two experts agree with me and get partner to describe his hand.

Woolsey: "Double---I am just too strong to pass and go for the penalty. Partner just might pass it out with some heart length, and the penalty doesn't figure to be too much greater than our game (and certainly less then any potential slam). I start with a double, since this will at least find out if partner has any extra strength -- that is what I need to know to determine if we have a slam. Partner will think I have four spades, but if he insists on playing in spades then 4 should be a comfortable enough contract on sheer power."

Roman: "Double---Hear partner make a natural rebid, cuebid hearts, and then make some kind of slam try. No matter what one might think of the merits of passing and going after them, I seriously doubt that the pass would be in tempo."

Seven experts pass. Good if partner reopens with a double but suppose partner reopens with something else. You could end up playing in 2. What would you bid if partner reopened with 2 and you held xxx/KQJ10xx/xx/xx? I would rebid 2 and hope to play it there.

Cappelletti: "Pass---The very slight risk of partner passing is less than potential problems in forcing a bid."

Parker: "Pass---I still am not sure I will pass if partner doubles. I want him to show his shape. We may easily have a slam if he is long in diamonds or has a two-suiter. Best way to see what he has is to pass and let him reopen with something."

Hopkins: "Pass---My smooth pass will allow me to bid my hand well in the next rounds of bidding. My partner should be short in hearts and therefore reopen the bidding if passed back to him. I can convert a reopening double or judge how high to go if partner rebids his suit or names a new one indicating a distributional hand."

Adams: "Pass---Bad splits and no fit makes slam unlikely. We will get this at least three tricks."

Lacy: "Pass---I await partner's reopening double. I would be very surprised if we get to defend 1 but why not try. Seems like this is the best description of my hand should partner choose to reopen with a double."

King: "Pass---I trust my partners to reopen."

Schwartz: "Pass---Partner should not pass it out at the one- level with a doubleton or shorter heart holding. In addition other choices are not palatable."

By passing you have two chances to have a disaster. Partner might not reopen and you might end up playing in your cuebid. Don't give partner a chance to make a mistake. Negative double followed by a cuebid sets up a game force. Partner will describe his hand and you'll get to the best spot.


  Problem 3    Matchpoints    Vul: None    Partner (North) dealt  
  South Holds 
  -76543 
  -K 
  -43 
  -A7654 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     ---     1     Pass  
  1     Pass     2     Pass  
  ????? 
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Solver's 
  Votes 
  2     100     9     62   
  Pass     40     1     45   
  2     30     0     10   
  2NT     30     0     9   
  3     20     0     2   
  What is your bid? 
This is not a pretty hand. Pass 2 or preference 2. Two small - stiff king. Seems the same. At least in hearts there is a good chance that partner has more trumps than anyone else. Can't say the same about diamonds. Most of the experts take the preference. There's a chance that partner will bid again and we'll get to a better spot. Partner could bid 2 holding six hearts and four diamonds or even six hearts and three diamonds. If both contracts happen to make, +110 will be better than +90. Dreamer. Notice that not one expert rebid 2, bid two notrump or bid 3.

Eight experts agree with me and take the preference.

Woolsey: "2---The happy preference. If partner is 5-4 then hearts figures to play better than diamonds, and will score more if both contracts make. Who knows -- maybe partner's next call will be three clubs!"

Parker: "2---A 5-1 fit should play better than a 4-2. Any bid other than pass will catapult us into the stratosphere. I have an ace and a king so if he bids anything over 2 I will have a good hand for him."

Hopkins: "2---Oh, happy day! I hope partner has good heart spots or can turn some low trumps by ruffing or gives a delayed spade raise, bids two notrump, or even makes an imaginative game try of 3. All these latter things could happen if I give a preference to 2."

Adams: "2---Two good cards, no reason to be afraid of hearts."

Lacy: "2---The stiff King looks like a doubleton to me. I hope partner can scramble eight tricks. Matchpoints!"

Roman: "2---Anyone who passes deserves to find partner with -/AQJ10xx/Axxx/KQx."

What about -/Axxxx/AQxx/KQJx?

King: "2---The least of many evils, I hope."

Schwartz: "2---Gives us a chance to find a better spot if partner bids two notrump or 3. It will lose if partner bids 3, or 3. If he passes 2 the 5-1 might not play badly."

If partner bids 3, I would expect to make it.

One expert passes ending the auction.

Cappelletti: "Pass---Let's stop right here! You might go plus in 4-2 fit."

Stiff King is just as good as two small. When in doubt, take the preference if you would be happy if partner bid again.


  Problem 4    Imps    Vul: Both    LHO (West) Dealt  
  South Holds 
  -76 
  -J93 
  -AJ43 
  -A1043 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  ---     1    1    Pass  
  1NT     Pass     2    Pass  
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Solver's 
  Votes 
  2     100     8     28   
  2NT     70     1     41   
  3     50     1     21   
  3NT     30     0     7   
  Pass     30     0     19   
  4     20     0     4   
  3     20     0     5   
  3     20     0     2   
  3     20     0     1   
  What is your bid? 
This hand shows why one bids Michaels with all 5-5 hands with any strength. The answer to this problem is based upon how many hearts partner has. If partner has five hearts, it would be clear to raise hearts. However, we know that partner does not have five hearts. Therefore, the happy preference to 2 stands out. Partner will know that you have only two spades and can take further action based upon that.

Seven experts agree with me and take the preference.

Woolsey: "2---Partner is not 5-5 in the majors. With that shape he should make a Michaels bid on any strength. Therefore, it is correct to preference back to spades. 2 may be somewhat of an underbid, but anything else is a big overbid. If we have a game, partner may find another call."

Cappelletti: "2---Classic "false preference" in case partner can make the 3 game try."

Parker: "2---Partner did not bid Michaels so I do not think he is 5-5. He should get a bunch of ruffs in his hand. As before, play in the longer suit in the trump hand."

Hopkins: "2---If I knew partner were 6-4 or 5-5, I would upgrade my hand and bid more. Partner did fail to bid Michaels so the latter is not too likely. I will go quietly and hope for +110 or +140."

Adams: "2---There's no eight-card heart fit, but might be in spades. I've a good hand if partner makes a move."

King: "2---And hope partner will bid again if he has extras."

Schwartz: "2---When partner doesn't Michaels, I don't play him for 5-5. Bidding without showing extra values gives us a chance to find a better spot. Game is still possible."

7 Lacy: "3---This hand is worth a game try with two bullets vulnerable at IMPs."

The following is a reasonable call. However, partner does not show extra strength with his two-heart call. He could have as little as KJ10xx/KQxx/xx/xx.

Roman: "Two notrump---No reason to jump to three notrump here...I have a maximum with no primary support for either major and a bid which shows all of that."

Use Michaels and Unusual Notrump with any strength. By doing this you will always get to the correct strain. Its much easier getting to the right contract when the strain has been found early.


  Problem 5    Imps    Vul: Both    LHO (West) dealt  
  South Holds 
  -void 
  -K76 
  -A876 
  -AQ10876 
  The Bidding Thus Far 
  South    West    North    East  
  1      1      Dbl     4   
  ?????  
  The Panel's Votes 
  Action    Score    Expert's 
  Votes 
  Solver's 
  Votes 
  4NT     100     8     43   
  Pass     70     1     21   
  5     50     1     18   
  Dbl     40     0     27   
  5     30     0     11   
  5     30     0     5   
  5     20     0     3   
  What is your bid? 
When one holds a void in the opponents suit, and one has a choice of an overbid and an underbid one should overbid. Its very hard to evaluate correctly the value of a void. The overbid in this case is four notrump - choice of minors. Four notrump will get you to the best possible spot at the five level. Partner will know that you have the minors and that your clubs are longer than your diamonds. If partner happens to have QJ10x/AJ10x/xxx/xx for his negative double, just get a new partner. Four notrump is for takeout when there are minors in play. If partner had bid 2 or had opened 1 showing a five-card or longer major then four notrump would be keycard. If the opponents have ten spades between them, the Law of Total Tricks will be with you. Four notrump could win if you can make five-of-either-minor, the opponents can make 4 or they make a mistake and bid 5 over partner's five-of-a-minor bid.

Seven experts agree with me and take the plunge.

Woolsey: "Four notrump---Takeout, and obviously emphasizing minors since if I had four hearts I could just bid them. Partner will know I have longer clubs than diamonds since I opened one club. This hand is perfect for the four-notrump call. I can't imagine doing anything else."

Cappelletti: "Four notrump---First priority of four notrump in competitive auction is to get to right spot. Here shows good clubs and higher suit prospect."

Parker: "Four notrump---Should show this type of hand, long clubs and a four-card diamond suit. I will pass if he only bids at the five-level. Partner may not have diamonds so I can't hang him by bidding them now."

Partner's negative double shows hearts and a minor. Since that minor could be clubs, you can't bid 5.

Hopkins: "Four notrump---Suggesting play in one of partner's suits or even mine. This tends to deny four hearts."

Roman: "Four notrump---Even if partner knows about my spade void, this hand has enough extra offense to make him pick something at the five-level."

King: "Four notrump---This should ask partner to pick a strain at the five-level unless he has extras."

Schwartz: "Four notrump---Takeout, (what else?)."

The following expert bids but does not allow partner to help. Can't partner have five diamonds and only one club?

Lacy: "5---I hope partner moves if moving is right. What does partner need for slam? xxx/AQxx/KQxx/Jx looks like a good play. But if he has xxx/QTxx/KQxx/Jx, I don't like it."

Passing could be right if partner has spade values. But would partner do anything with xxx/QJxx/KQxx/xx?

Adams: "Pass---Who knows? Maybe partner does."

Bid more with a void.


How the Experts Voted:
  Expert / Problem     1   2   3   4   5   Score
  Kit Woolsey    3   Dbl   2   2   4NT   500
  Steve Robinson    3   Dbl   2   2   4NT   500
  Robbie Hopkins    3   Pass   2   2   4NT   490
  Fred King    3   Pass   2   2   4NT   490
  Steve Parker    4   Pass   2   2   4NT   470
  Jeff Roman    3   Dbl   2   2NT   4NT   470
  Alan Schwartz    4   Pass   2   2   4NT   470
  John Adams     3   Pass   2   2   Pass   460
  Mike Cappelletti     3   Pass   Pass   2   4NT   380
  Jack Lacy     4   Pass   2   3   5   370

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