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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club

May/Jun 2002


Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Gerald Lerner who came in first with a 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 Lucy Pastaner, Chuck Yaple and Andrew Brecher with a score of 490.  Tied for fifth were Marshal Kuschner, Jose Cortina, Natalie Aronsohn, Randy Thompson, Ken Kaufman and Ransome Price with a score of 480.  Tied for eleventh were Ed Lewis, John Kiebler, Bruce Swales, Helene Fornier, Audrey Warren, Paul Krueger, Peter Lo, Bob Klein, Mike Kovacich, Robert Cohen and Al Dunker with a score of 470. Tied for twenty second were Ram Sarangan, Bob Boorman, Mel Yudkin, Paul Benidict, Sylvian Picard, Steve Ivins, Tom Webster, Alan Kravetz, Jonathan Siegel, Hailong Ao, Stan Schenker, Sam Gumbert and John Horst with a score of 460.   The average score of the 177 solvers was 338.  The average score of the experts was 421.

      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 second edition the book, is out.  If you are a serious bridge player, this book is a must.  You can purchase a copy from Steve for $25.00 at the Unit Game and at tournaments or can send him a check for $28.95 which includes $3.95 for priority mail.


  Problem 1    Imps    Vul: Both   LHO (West) dealt  

South Holds


- AQ

- KJ632

- K65

- 864

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

Pass

Pass

2

Pass

Pass

3

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

6

63

3NT

80

6

99

3

40

1

12

3

20

0

  3

  What is your bid? 

Partner is a passed hand and is balancing.  While partner could have xx/xx/QJx/AQJ10xx where three notrump is on a club finesse, he could also have xx/xx/AQJ/QJ10xxx where three notrump is down four.  These are hands with six-card club suits.  There's no reason why partner can't have only five clubs, for instance xx/xx/QJxx/AQ1098.  Since most of the hands where three notrump makes partner might have opened, passing seems like the percentage action.  Bidding vulnerable games is percentage only if the result is either making or down one.  Assume the opponents are playing in 3 making three for +110.  If you go down four hundred, you lose eleven IMPs.  If you make three notrump you gain ten IMPs. That's less then fifty-fifty.

 

Five experts agree with me and pass.  Let's try to go plus.

 

Berman:"Pass---Partner is a passed hand.  You have a minimum opening.  This is your best opportunity for a plus score.  Don't hang partner for balancing."

 

Lublin:"Pass---Pass and go plus.  Can't hang partner since he is a passed hand and didn't open 3."

 

Woolsey:"Pass---I have my bids -- just about what partner is playing me for.  My red kings are far too slow for notrump.  There is no special inference from partner's failure to open 3 second seat vulnerable -- he simply might not have wanted to do so on a hand which would otherwise be a decent 3. Something like xx/xx/Qxx/KQJxxx would be quite consistent with his auction."

 

In Woolsey's example, three notrump is down two if you can run the clubs or down five if someone has Axx of clubs.

 

Parker:"Pass---Good controls but no real club fit to help run the suit.  Give partner a good ten count and he would always balance with a good five-card suit. He may have xx/Ax/Qxx/KQxxxx, and we still can only take eight tricks."

 

Schwartz:"Pass---With no club honor and at most 24 HCPs, not going to punish partner for balancing.  With some spade length, a heart fit is unlikely."

 

Six experts try for the brass ring.

 

Roman:"Three notrump---No guarantees, but 3 isn't forcing and red at IMPs partner doesn't have garbage."

 

3 is forcing in principal.  When an opponent preempts and partner overcalls, new suits are forcing even if new suits are not forcing after overcalls of opening bids.

 

Shaw:"Three Notrump---A guess.  3 could work better if partner has poor clubs."

 

Adams:"Three notrump---This might have a play, so how can I not bid it?"

 

Just because it might have play is not a good reason.  I might win the lottery but I wouldn't bet my life savings on it.  Gaining IMPs in the long run is the main criteria.

 

Abushakra:"Three notrump---I most likely have two spade stoppers and partner rates to have 10-11 points with a solid club suit.  Granted, my spots are of inferior quality but East may well have one of the red aces which would promote one of my red kings. With five to six club tricks, two spade tricks and one to two tricks in the red suits, I am bidding game."

 

Even AKQxxx of clubs might not be enough.

 

King:"Three notrump---With two spade stoppers and length in clubs I should have a play for this vulnerable game.  Bidding 3 may well take us past three notrump."

 

Hopkins:"Three notrump---Very close.  I am hoping for a reasonably good six-card club suit (KQxxxx or even KJ10xxx) and a side Ace.  The reward for a vulnerable game should make this risk worthwhile."

 

One expert bids 3.  Your previous pass tells partner that your heart suit might be suspect.  Without heart support, he should bid 3 allowing you to try three notrump with a spade stopper.

 

Cappelletti:"3---The fact that I neglected to bid the first time might hurt our chances of getting to game.  Partner might have either just-shy-of-an-opening bid such as AQxxx or KQxxx with an ace, or a club preempt with a four-card major (such as xx/Qxxx/x/AQJxxx.  Three notrump would be unlikely, especially if West has three spades.  And then West might just have a lesser hand altogether."

 

Go out of your way to bid vulnerable games only if making and down one are the only possibilities.  You don't want to bid games where down three is more likely than making your contract.

 


  Problem 2    Imps    Vul: Both    Partner(North) dealt  

South Holds


- K2

- Void

- 10987

- AKQJ1098

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

---

1

Pass

2

Pass

2

 Pass

3*

Pass

3

 

?????

 

 

 

*Forcing

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3NT

100

2

47

3

90

8

78

4

80

1

9

5

40

0

15

6

40

0

2

4

20

0

18

5

20

2

1

4NT

20

0

3

4

20

0

1

6

20

0

1

5

20

0

1

5

20

0

1

What is your bid?

Eight experts attempt to play this hand in spades.  Unless partner has good spades, is able to win the lead, draw trumps run the clubs, spades will not play well.  Give partner AQJxx/KQxxx/xx/x and 4 goes down with a club lead or club switch.  Notice that I gave partner the jack of spades.  What if partner's spades are worse?  Doesn't three notrump or 5 figure to make more often than 4.  Why support spades on a doubleton when partner needs very little to make three notrump.  Supporting on a doubleton, unless partner shows six, makes sense only if no other game contract is feasible. Axxxxx/KQxxx/J/x is all partner needs to make three notrump.  Give partner AQJxxx/xxxxx/x/x and 6 is cold.  Since I would expect partner to have more diamonds than clubs, AQxxx/KQxxx/xx/x is a more reasonable guess of partner's hand.  If you bid 3 and you belong in three notrump, partner can't bid it.  If you bid three notrump and you belong in 4, partner might bid it.

 

One expert agrees with me and makes the percentage bid.  The clubs will run so all we need is to avoid losing the first five tricks.

 

Schwartz:"Three notrump---Spades could play poorly even if partner has six.  Opponents are unlikely to have five diamond tricks or opening leader might have the three.  If partner is void in clubs, the spade king is likely to be an entry."

 

4 is my second choice.  If partner bids 4, either as a cuebid or as keycard, I'd be happy.  Solid seven-card suits are made to be trumps.

 

Cappelletti:"4---Slam still quite feasible - leaves room for 4 cuebid."

 

Eight experts head towards a likely poor contract.

 

Roman:"3---Hmmm, bid and rebid clubs--check.  Show honor doubleton for partner's first-bid suit--check.  Ahh...life is good! All other calls get zero."

 

Shaw:"3---I think three notrump is the most likely game.  How does partner know that the stiff Jack of diamonds is all you need?"

 

Then why don't you bid three notrump?

 

Berman:"3---Promises only two spades.  I will pass 4 but look for slam over any other bid.  In some sequences partner may be able to see a grand with the spade information."

 

Lublin:"3---No other choice.  Partner might be 6-5 with no clubs."

 

Woolsey:"3---This is the best spade holding partner could expect for my sequence, so if he bids four spades it is probably a decent contract. Otherwise, we'll just have to see what he does.  Three notrump and five or six clubs are possible final contracts."

 

Adams:"3---Partner knows this is a doubleton.  If he has good spades, we belong in spades."

 

And if he doesn't have good spades?

 

King:"3---Seems clear to show my spade preference. Partner won't expect more than a doubleton."

 

Hopkins:"3---Temporizing.  I am hoping for a 4 cuebid in cases where partner has a good hand."

 

Just because partner showed 5-5, doesn't mean his spades are good.  Wouldn't he bid the same holding Qxxxx/AKQxx/Jx/x?  True, if partner has bad spades, he knows 4 will not play well.  Over 3, the bid that eight experts made, partner would bid 4 attempting to play the possible 5-2 good heart fit rather than the known poor 5-2 spade fit.  Isn't three notrump where you belong? What does poor partner do holding AJxxx/AQxxx/xx/x?  He knows 4 will be bad but what choice does he have?

 

Two experts break the rule on constructive bidding.  You can't try for slam until you have a good trump suit.  If partner has bad spades, 2 might be the limit.

 

Parker:"5---We could easily have a grand.  This should ask for diamond control.  Give him AQJxx/Kxxxx/Ax/x they need to lead a club to beat seven."

 

Abushakra:"5---Quantitative."

 

When holding a solid seven card suit, make that suit trumps or play notrump.

 

  Problem 3    Imps    Vul: None   You (South) dealt  

South Holds


- AJ2

- 654

- 2

- AKQ654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

1

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

7

79

2

80

4

60

2

70

1

0

2

50

0

  19

1

20

1

14

2

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

1NT

20

0

2

What is your bid?

Two and a half clubs is what this hand is worth.  More than a 2 bid but less than a 3 bid.  3 is the most popular call but there are strong voices for 2. If partner has a good hand, KQx/Axxx/Axxx/Jx for instance, bidding 3 could lead to a hopeless slam.  On the other hand, if partner has a reasonable hand, for instance Qxx/Kxxx/Axxx/xx, bidding 2 could lead to missing a good game.  If you bid 3, partner holding five  hearts, has to decide whether or not to try for a 5-3 heart fit.

Partner holding Kxx/KQxxx/Qxx/Jx might just bid three notrump.  So is it 2 or 3?

Maybe the way to show a two and a half club hand is to bid 2.  One doesn't usually reverse into a singleton but there is protection.  Rather than hang you in diamonds, partner will usually try for three notrump.  Also holding three hearts protects you.  If partner has a very good hand, his hearts will be longer than his diamonds.  2 allows partner to rebid his hearts holding five.  The advantage of 2 is that it might stop a killing diamond lead against three notrump.

Seven experts bid 3 which is a tad overbid.

Cappelletti:"3---Clearly a book bid - and you like your three hearts."

The book says 3 shows 16-18.

Shaw:"3---The Adams bid."

2 was the Adams bid which worked very well.

Berman:"3---This is the playing strength I expect my partner to have on this sequence.  I have a strong expectation of contributing seven tricks at a notrump contract.  Partner should not be disappointed with this dummy in three notrump."

I agree with partner not being disappointed with this hand for three notrump but what if he bids a club slam?

Lublin:"3---Seems reasonable to me with this hand.   Can always support hearts later."

Adams:"3---This hand looks like an advertisement for Cole, but not part of Washington Standard, so 3 least of evils.  On a frisky day, might psych a 2 reverse to inhibit lead in notrump and to discover if partner has five hearts."

Schwartz:"3---With opening bids being so light, too much for 2.  Shutting out the heart fit might be OK with three little."

Hopkins:"3---Looking to get to three notrump from my side if partner bids 3."

Four experts bid 2.  One could bid 2 with as little as AJx/x/xxx/KQJ10xx.

Roman:"2---Sometimes you're going to be maximum for your bidding, it just can't be helped.  I would have sympathy for stronger action if partner had responded 1."

Woolsey:"2---Somewhat of an underbid, but anything else is too much of a distortion.  At least I know we will be getting a plus score here.  If partner passes two clubs, it might be where we belong, and if partner takes another call we should have little difficulty reaching a decent contract."

Abushakra:"2---The most descriptive bid.  Minimum opening hand and a six-card club suit.  With a five-card club suit, I would have bid one notrump."

But wouldn't you open 1 without the club queen?

King:"2---I am not adverse to raising with three trumps, but not when the disparity between the suit quality is so great. I don't think the hand is quite worth 3."

The following call will just confuse matters.  If partner has four spades, you'll have no chance to play any contract below the five level.  Don't bid three-card suits unless there is no alternative.

Parker:"1---Things should become clearer on the next round.  If partner raises spades I will raise hearts.  If he rebids hearts I will raise to game.  If he bids one notrump, I will raise to game.  What bad can happen?"

It would be very bad if partner bids 4.

Be aggressive holding seven likely tricks,


Problem 4 

  Imps    Vul: Both   LHO (West) Dealt  

South Holds


- AKJ654

- 6

- J432

- 54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

1

2

Pass

2

Pass

2NT

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

4

11

3

90

5

102

3NT

60

2

19

3

50

1

  4

3

30

0

9

4

30

1

19

Pass

30

0

13

What is your bid?

2 shows a reasonable hand containing a five or six-card spade suit and guess what folks, that's exactly what you have. While 2 is not forcing, it shows some values.  When we bid 2 we were hoping that partner would raise and we would get to 4.  However, partner's two notrump suggests that he doesn't have a spade fit.  He probably has spade shortness which makes our hand worth very little.  Rebidding spades or bidding three notrump figures to get us to a minus position.  If we don't have game, what is the best partscore?  What about the 6-2 club fit.  One assumes partner has a six-card suit for a two-level overcall.  We support and a ruffing value.

Three experts agree with me and support partner.  Also 3 limits our hand.

Roman:"3---I will bid 3 over 3 or 3, raise 3 to four, and put down the dummy over three notrump or pass."

Woolsey:"3---It is almost always wrong to play in two notrumpwith an unbalanced hand when there is an alternative contract available.  Partner will usually have six clubs, so 3 figures to be a decent contract."

Two notrump is usually a horrible contract since you seldom take exactly eight tricks.

Parker:"3---He can correct with two spades.  I do not want to play notrump unless he has running clubs.  This should be high enough.  No sense in bidding spades again and partner should play me for this type of hand and correct with two."

Five experts rebid their spades.  Is the spade suit good enough to play opposite a singleton?

Berman:"3---I have little outside of spades and my suit is pretty good.  Partner can now choose between pass, three notrump, and 4."

Cappelletti:"3---Unless partner can bid again, we are probably high enough."

But are you in your best strain?

Adams:"3---I know someone that bid three notrump on these cards, found partner with the expected singleton spade, and could not use this wonderful 6-4.  This is a suit oriented hand, and partner does not know about the six-card suit, and does not know you have no help for clubs."

You do have two clubs and a ruffing value.

King:"3---I feel this bid best describes my hand."

Hopkins:"3---If partner were as good as Qx/KJx/Kx/AQxxxx, then he should have bid three notrump.  I am going to suggest 3 or possibly 4 as the best contract."

Two experts bid three notrump.  We have two tricks.  Does partner have seven?

Lublin:"Three notrump---Vulnerable I bid three notrump. Partner could have two spades or 3-3 with queen onsides.  Playing for exactly eight tricks is ridiculous and the diamond suit isn't any good."

Abushakra:"Three notrump---My diamond stopper is not optimal but the quality of my spades more than makes up for it.  Partner has hearts and clubs stopped, and his invitation to game should be accepted."

One expert bids 3 which should be choice of games. Allows partner to support spades with two, bid three notrump with two heart stoppers or run out to 4 with only one heart stopper.

Schwartz:"3---Partner is showing a good hand in response to a nonforcing 2 so willing to chance game.  With the lack of heart bidding, have to give notrump a chance."

One expert overbids.  Didn't 2 show our hand?

Shaw:"4---3 choice of games if we are on the same wavelength which I doubt.  Three notrump has two possible sources of tricks but opposite a stiff spade you might not be able to guess which suit to go for.  If partner is void in spades unlucky.  I hope they are playing Flannery so there is less chance of a double."

Try not to play two notrump and don't bid the same values twice.


Problem 5 

  Imps    Vul: Both   You (South) dealt  

South Holds


- 5

- K2

- K10987

- Q10987

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

Pass

1

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

8

112

3

80

2

29

2

70

1

21

4NT

50

0

  2

3

50

2

1

2

40

0

5

Pass

20

0

1

2NT

20

0

5

1NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

How do you show a good passed hand with two possible strains? Cuebid!  Bid 2.  2 shows one of three possible hands and promises a rebid. Four hearts and a minor, four hearts with spade stoppers or both minors.  If you had just a one-suiter, you would jump in that suit.  Over 2, partner bids a four-card heart suit if possible.  Over partner's 3, your 4 will show both minors.  

Eight experts bid 2 and hope to catch up later. Suppose its partner who has a big hand and bids 2.  Now what? Will 4 do justice to this hand?

Roman:"2---This isn't going to end the auction, and jumping to 3, the value bid for my hand, makes it very difficult to get to clubs when we belong there."

Shaw:"2---I'd like to bid 3 on just playing strength but I will get a chance to bid my club suit later with a jump to 4 or 5  over 4. They have too many spades for the bidding to die here. Incidentally I think 4 should be for the minors but you should have a bit more."

Why wouldn't a passed-hand four notrump show both minors?

Lublin:"2---2 never ends the auction.  Will bid clubs next.  Hand is not good enough to jump as passed hand and take up space."

Woolsey:"2---When partner makes a takeout double, next hand passes, and I am unexpectedly short in the opening bidder's suit, this is an indication that partner's takeout double isn't going to be model shape.  It is best to go slowly and give everybody a chance to tell what they have.  If I do something else, the auction may get out of hand and I will not have an opportunity to show both of my suits conveniently."

Hopkins:"2---I expect West to bid more Spades and I hope to compete by showing my Club suit."

Parker:"2---No sense in jumping when you are not sure what suit to play in.  Where are the spades?   It seems likely they will bid again and I can bid clubs.  Partner may have a good hand and he can clarify if I keep the bidding low."

Schwartz:"2---With stiff spade, its so unlikely it won't go all pass, so if partner doesn't have a classic double, want to give him a chance to bid out his hand.  Would bid 2 if partner would understand 3 as minors over 3."

If cuebids show two suits and you don't have hearts, then you must have the minors.

King:"2---I don't have enough to cuebid and I expect to get a chance to show my clubs before the auction is over."

Four experts jump.  Since you are planning on bidding both suits, you should jump in diamonds and bid clubs later.  Bidding clubs first and then bidding diamonds shows longer clubs.

Adams:"3---I hope I get to bid clubs next.  With all the spades out there, I will get the chance unless partner does something first.  Not good enough for 2.  2 tempting, but loses when partner not involved in a high level.  Need to show values, 2 does not do this."

Cappelletti:"3---I have enough shape and spots to invite."

Abushakra:"3---And 4 after partner's 3."

Berman:"3---Just enough values for a jump but not enough for a cuebid.  I choose clubs as partner can bid 3, equal-level conversion, with no club support and a minimum double.  With more, partner can bid something else."

Cuebids after takeout doubles shows a good two-suiter which is what you have.


How the Experts Voted:
  Expert / Problem     1   2   3   4   5   Score
Jeff Roman
3NT

3

2

3

2

470
Kit Woolseyy
Pass

3

2

3

2

470
Robbie Hopkins
3NT

3

3

3

2

460

Glenn Lublin  
Pass

3

3

3NT

2

450

Alan Schwartz
Pass

3NT

3

3

2

450

John Adams
3NT

3

3

3

3

440

Steve Robinson
Pass

3NT

2

3

2

440

Fred King
3NT

3

2

3

2

440

Don Berman
Pass

3

3

3

3

430

Mark Shaw 
3NT

3

3

4

2

400

Mike Cappelletti

3

4

3

3

3

390

Steve Parker 
Pass

5

1

3

2

340

Hadi Abushakr
3NT

5

2

3NT

3

290

Don Berman, Web Master.