Return to: Solvers Rules and Instructions

Return to: District 6 Home Page

Washington Bridge League Solver's Club

Sep/Oct 2002


Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Alex Gipson who came in first with a score of 480.  He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. Second was JJ Wang with a score of 470. Tied for third were Jim Murphy, Joana Silva, Mike Kovacich, Irene Harrison, Jerry Miller and Randy Thompson with a score of 460. Tied for ninth were Arnie Frankel, Paul Krueger, David Chechelashvili, Jeff Parker, Fred Steinberg, Lynn Connelly and Jim Creech with a score of 450.  Tied for sixteenth were Jamie Radcliffe, Dave Smith, C Hunsberger, Lloyd Rawley and Hailong Ao with a score of 440.  Tied for twenty-first were Ben Laden, Franklyn Taylor, Tim Crank, Eric Branfman, Art Hayes, Stu Fleischman and Alan Rich with a score of 430.  The average score of the 189 solvers was 375.  The average score of the experts was 432.

 

      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: NS

RHO (East) dealt  

South Holds


- AK10

- AQ3

- J106

- 10952

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

3

Pass

Pass

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

4

58

4

80

3

89

3NT

70

2

25

4

50

0

  7

5

30

0

2

4

20

0

3

4

20

0

2

4NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

 

        What does the Law of Total Tricks say about this hand?  Assume partner is 4=4=1=4.  For Law purposes, one makes that assumption. The opponents have nine diamonds and we have eight clubs.  Eight plus nine equals seventeen.  There are seventeen total tricks.  If we can take ten tricks in clubs, our eight-card fit, then the opponents can take seven tricks in diamonds.  Passing the double gets +300 which is better then +130 for bidding 4.  If three notrump makes, which means partner probably has a diamond honor, we should get at least 500.  While +500 compared to +600 is not a good score at matchpoints, it is an acceptable score at IMPs.  The best reason to pass is that there is no way to tell what is your best game.  Opposite QJxx/xxxx/x/AKQx, 4 is best.  Opposite QJx/xxxx/Qx/AKQx, three notrump is best.

 

     Three experts agree with me and pass the double.

 

     Cappelletti:"Pass---And lead six of diamonds except against unusually solid opponent."

 

     I'm not sure I would lead a trump.  Dummy doesn't figure to have a ruffing value.

 

     Shaw:"Pass---My lawful bid.  If partner has a five-card suit we might make game.  If partner has a diamond honor we might even get 800.  I think we are about 90% to get at least plus 300 and about 40% to make a vulnerable game if we get to the right one. For example if I bid 4 and partner bids 4 I will pass and 5 might be best."

 

     Or three notrump might be best.  Passing is best since you can't know what is your best game.

 

     Adams:"Pass---Only other option I can think of is three notrump.  But if partner has the diamond card needed to give three notrump a shot, then they are stuck with only five or six diamond winners (my bet is five).  I expect 500-800 whenever three notrump makes, and 300-500 otherwise.  Give partner QJxx/KJxx/A/Qxxx, the ultimate reason for bidding three notrump."

 

     But you could make three notrump if LHO has a singleton honor.

 

     Two experts bid three notrump.  They could lose the first seven tricks.

 

     Parker:"Three notrump---We have enough points to make a vulnerable game, the question is can we beat them 800.  Even with AKxxxxx of diamonds it is unlikely East can run the suit.  I will take my chances that we have a stopper."

 

     Hopkins:"Three notrump---I hope partner has a diamond honor or that opening leader has a blocking singleton honor.  All the hands I constructed where partner has no suits longer than four cards play best in three notrump.  If partner is 6-4, 5-5, or 4-6 (etc.) in the majors, he might have reopened differently or correct now reasoning that I don't have a diamond stack since I didn't pass for penalties."

 

     This is not matchpoints where +500 could be a zero.  +500 loses only three or four IMPs against a vulnerable game.

 

     Three experts try for a major-suit game.  Do you really want to play in a 4-3 fit when there is a possible seven-card suit out there?

 

     Josh Sher:"4---Yuck!  If the 3 call is usually seven cards we likely have only 500 against it and may even have only 300.  Three notrump will make if partner has a diamond honor which is likely, but I rather not gamble on it.  Four-of-a-major in a moysian should lose one diamond and two trumps if things go badly, but will likely still make since the hand with the trumps will run out of diamonds.  If partner has a diamond honor that will keep them from tapping out the long hand.  Sadly I play 4 as starting a scramble (two places to play normally) so that the doubler will bid hearts with five spades, four hearts and three clubs.  Oh well.  The vigorish is that on rare occasion partner will come alive with a slam try of his own over 4 or bid a five-card major."

 

     Sher has a point.  I would cuebid with 2=4=2=5 distribution planning on playing in 4 if partner has four of them, otherwise playing in 5.  Therefore doubler must bid 4 holding four even if he has five spades.

 

     Schwartz:"4---Obviously the choice is between 4 and passing.  I can't see passing without a trump trick and the risk that they have nine trumps.  Even a make is possible. A 4-3 major might play well with no prolonged tap available and partner won't be disappointed if he has more in mind."

 

     King:"4---On a good day partner will have a five-card major.  Even with only a 4-3 fit he might make it.  I think one has to take a chance for a vulnerable game."

 

     Take a sure plus score when you can't be sure you are going to get to the best contract.  I don't see declarer taking more than his trump tricks.


Problem 2

Imps 

Vul: NS 

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- 982

- 543

- AKJ54

- 92

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

1

2

2

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

6

133

Dbl

90

1

21

3

80

1

19

2NT

70

0

  4

3

70

1

13

2

20

0

1

 

     Overcaller has made a two-level overcall which is usually an opening bid with a good suit.  With short spades, overcaller could have a very strong hand, for instance A/x/Qxxx/AKJxxxx.  Notice that 6 is cold opposite the problem hand.  We have a reasonable hand.  Give overcaller as little as Kx/Kx/xxx/AQJxxx and three notrump is on a club finesse and a break.  Some experts assume that overcaller is required to reopen whenever he has shortness in the opponent's suit.  I disagree.  One needs extra values to reopen.  Holding thirteen HCPs, overcaller needs advancer to have more than seven HCPs to have the majority of the HCPs. Since advancer tends to bid with seven HCPs, the odds are that advancer has fewer than seven HCPs.  Do you really want to compete when the opponents have more than half the deck?  I don't think that I as overcaller would compete with the second example hand. If overcaller does reopen, how do you show him that you have the AK of diamonds so you get to slam or at least game opposite example one.

 

     If advancer decides to compete and I think that it is clear to do so, there are three possibilities; 3, responsive double, and 3.  3 seems too aggressive since you can no longer play in 3 so the choice is between double and 3. I like double since it brings diamonds into play. Since responsive doubles are used to describe many different types of hands, one can double and remove a spade bid to clubs to show diamonds and clubs.      

 

One expert raises clubs.

 

     Sher:"3---I can't handle the auction if I start with a responsive double, but am too good to pass.  I hope my partner's 2 overcalls are sound."

 

     Hopkins:"3---I am sailing off on the good ship vulnerability.  At IMPs, partner's two-level vulnerable overcall shows a good hand.  We could be anywhere from cold for six - (Ax/x/Qxxx/AKJxxx, reasonable splits) to -500 (KQJx/xx/x/KQJ10xx, where they get a spade ruff against our 4 contract).  The median is probably close to three or four of a minor just making or down one.  I am bidding 3 because that is most likely where we might have a game and also I want a diamond lead should they buy the contract."

 

     Six experts pass.

 

     Cappelletti:"Pass---If partner can't reopen, it's safer to defend."

 

     Shaw:"Pass---I don't like passing but, unless I can bid two notrump to show this type of hand, I really don't have much of a choice.  If I double what do I bid if partner bids 3?  With most partners I can bid two notrump to show diamonds with club tolerance but some partners play it as a distributional hand for the other two suits.  Partner is still there and can balance as well."

 

     Adams:"Pass---I have no bid, and only a moderate hand. Partner with heart shortness can protect."

 

     Parker:"Pass---Partner can reopen with a double, or rebid clubs since he will be short in hearts.  I see no reason to bid anything at this point since we will have a second chance.  A responsive double should have at least four spades or three clubs."

 

     Schwartz:"Pass---If partner promised to bid 2 so I can convert to 3, I would do that, but he didn't promise."

 

     King:"Pass---Partner can reopen if this bid is passed to him and he has an appropriate hand."

 

     AKJxx opposite a two-level overcall is worth a peep.


Problem 3 

Imps 

Vul: None

LHO (West) dealt  

South Holds


- 543

- 43

- 543

- K9876

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

1

Dbl

1

Pass

1NT

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

6

64

2

50

1

33

2

50

1

23

2

50

1

  68

2NT

20

0

1

 

     This is bad hand somewhat similar to hand number one.  You have no clear bid.  Do we bid a three-card diamond or spade suit or try to play in the opponent's suit  or pass and hope partner has a very good hand?  Since I don't like to bid three-card suits when there is any other alternative, passing the double seems to be the best choice.  Least of all evils and maybe partner can beat them. East's failure to redouble says that we have at least half the deck.

 

     Five experts agree with and pass the double.

 

     Sher:"Pass---If I bid I expect to get doubled and go for 300 or so if I don't happen to hit a five-card suit and partner is unlikely to have one.  If I do hit one, partner will raise then they will double me.  I'd rather take my -180 or -380 and on rare occasion we might actually beat it if partner actually has a good lead."

 

     Shaw:"Pass---I don't know if we can set them but I'm fairly sure we can't make a contract.  Minus 180 or 280 is no disaster and partner shows a very good hand."

 

     Adams:"Pass---It's not game.  Partner knows I do not have a bid over 1.  Maybe this is enough.  Maybe they run.  Would not surprise me to find partner holding 4=3=4=2 18 count with no club stopper."

 

     Parker:"Pass---Minus 180 is not too bad and maybe partner can beat them.  He can be 4=4=4=1, so 2 is a non bid.  No sense in bidding anything and getting too high or be doubled."

 

     Schwartz:"Pass---Partner has 2 and bidding his own suit as takeout bids so he should be prepared for a pass.  My values are all defense oriented (look at those club spots).  I think 2 would be buck passing."

 

     Three experts remove the double.  Does partner promise support for any of these suits?

 

     The following expert is going to play in at best a seven-card fit.  Couldn't partner be 3=4=4=2?

 

     Cappelletti:"2---Least of evils.  Partner more likely to have four spades."

 

     Is 2 a cuebid or is it an offer to play?  If partner is 4=4=4=1, you wouldn't be happy playing in 2.

 

     Hopkins:"2---I hope partner has a balanced 19-20 count and, if he does, this is where I want to play."

 

     The following expert makes a good bid if partner has five diamonds but supposed he's 4=4=3=2?  Actually if partner has five good diamonds, we should beat one notrump.

 

     King:"2---The bid least likely to get partner excited."

 

     Passing one-notrump doubled and having them make it is not the end of the world.  You won't lose a lot of IMPs -180.  It would be silly to play in a 3-3 fit.


Problem 4 

Matchpoints 

Vul: NS 

Partner (North) dealt  

South Holds


-K
-3
-K106543
-AK543

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

Pass

2

2

2

4

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

5

18

4

80

4

72

5

70

0

64

Dbl

30

0

  25

4NT

20

0

7

6

20

0

3

 

    Where do we belong?  4, 4 doubled, five-of-a-minor are all possibilities.  How do we find out where we belong? Partner is there and maybe he knows where we belong.  Bidding 4 would be wrong when partner holds QJxxxx/QJx/Ax/Qx.  Just because partner holds six spades doesn't mean that they are good enough to play opposite your singleton king.  Doubling would be wrong when partner holds AQJxxx/x/Ax/Qxxx.  While the double is not a I got them double, it does say that you think defending is better than declaring.  Holding a singleton in the opponent's suit is not good defense.  Bidding 5 would be wrong when partner holds AQJxxxx/Axx/Qx/x.  Since we have no clue as to where we belong, let partner help.  Since 2 is game forcing, partner has to do something.

 

     Four experts agree with me and pass.  Let partner give his input.  Maybe he has AJxxxx/xx/AQx/xx and bids 5.  Wouldn't it be nice to get the slam bonus.

 

     Sher:"Pass---If partner doubles I will settle for 4."

 

     I'm not sure I would pull partner's double of 4.

 

     Shaw:"Pass---Since I made a two over one we are game forced. Partner has at least six spades and the king is a pretty good holding.  I will pass 4 and pull double to 5 showing a slammish minor-suit hand even though I'm a little light for the bid.  The problem comes when partner tanks and doubles."

 

     If partner tanks and doubles, you are forced to pass.      

 

Schwartz:"Pass---Don't know which game is right.  Admittedly this leaves clubs out of the picture, but can't have everything."

 

     Hopkins:"Pass---Partner may know what to do!  Wouldn't that be remarkable?!?  Partner will discern your points are not in hearts and that your spade holding is at most two small or a singleton honor and act appropriately."

 

     Four experts bid 4 which will probably end the auction.

 

     Cappelletti:"4---Probably your best game anyway.  Majors at matchpoints."

 

     Adams:"4---Sorry if we missed slam.  Just no science to get there.  4 is practical bid.  Maybe I get to double 5."

 

     Parker:"4---He freely rebid spades so he must have at least six good ones.  5 would be a spade cuebid and I don't think I am that good."

 

     5 would be natural showing diamonds and clubs.

 

     King:"4---A singleton honor is often as good as or better than a small doubleton.  This could be an underbid, but at matchpoints I don't want to go minus."

 

     When you don't know what to do in a forcing auction, pass and let partner help you make the decision.


Problem 5 

Imps

Vul: NS

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- 32

- KQ1093

- 1043

- AJ3

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

4

4NT

5

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

4

58

5NT

70

3

89

6

50

2

25

6

40

0

  7

Pass

30

0

2

6

30

0

3

6NT

20

0

2

7

20

0

1

7

20

0

2

 

     The keys to this problem is what is the meaning of partner's four notrump and what would be the meaning of a double by you?  If four notrump shows hearts and a minor, then you could bid 6. If four notrump shows both minors, then you should double.  Since five hearts and five-of-a-minor occurs twice as often as five clubs and five diamonds, isn't it better to play that four notrump shows hearts and a minor?  Even if partner has hearts, we might be off two tricks.  For instance, x/AJxxx/AKQxxx/x if partner has hearts and diamonds or x/AJxxx/x/KQ10xxx if partner has hearts and clubs. Another thought is whether this is a forcing situation. Since partner can bid four notrump with zero defensive tricks, KQJxxx/QJ10xxxx for instance, there is no guarantee that 7 can be beaten.  Therefore double by you shows cards and not a spade stack.  Partner is allowed to pull a double with extra distribution.

 

     Three experts agree with me and make a strength showing double.

 

     Cappelletti:"Double---Hope partner doesn't have hearts and clubs.  The opponents are probably saving."

 

     Schwartz:"Double---Even if partner has hearts, how do we confidently get there.  If he doesn't and has a spade, slam isn't likely.  Double should show values and not a lot in spades.  Too bad pass isn't forcing, maybe it should be."

 

     King:"Double---I don't think partner has to have to have all three suits and I would expect him to usually bid the lowest suit he has.  If he bids 6 I will correct to hearts.  If he bids 6 I have a more difficult decision.  If he bids five notrump to ask me to choose then I will bid 6 gladly."

 

     Five experts bid on.  I hope his partner has hearts.

 

     Shaw:"6---A real nasty problem since partner can have any two suiter or a three-suiter with a spade void.  If partner has the minors he may have three hearts and a spade void.  Only if I'm playing a team I rate to beat and it's a long match would I would double and take the sure plus.  The other way this could win is that they will take out insurance and bid 6."

 

     One expert bids 6.  At least he will play in at least an eight-card fit.  Partner is not supposed to pass 6 holding the red suits.

 

     Adams:"6---I expect I will be doubling 6, whether we are making or not.  Five notrump choice of minors is wrong. First, I have a strong preference for clubs.  Second, partner could have red suits.  If I ask for minors and partner has reds, we will play diamonds instead of hearts.  If I bid 6 and partner corrects to 6, we will be playing hearts.  In hearts I can pitch clubs on diamonds.  In diamonds they can get a heart ruff or tap long hand."

 

     Three experts ask partner to bid his lowest five-card suit.

 

     Parker:"Five notrump---Partner should have a two-suiter, so I can support anything he has.  If he bids 6 then we have a heart fit. I have good cards for offense and for defense but I hate to get stolen from so I will bid them up and maybe they will save at this vulnerability."

 

     Sher:"Five notrump---Partner has at least two suits, and I expect a real good hand in this vulnerability, so let him pick a slam."

 

     Hopkins:"Five notrump---I hope partner has a two-suiter and we locate a 5-3 fit.  If he skips clubs, I will convert to hearts."

 

     Take plus scores in competitive situations.


How the Experts Voted:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
Pass
Pass
Pass

4

6

420
Mike Cappelletti
Pass
Pass

2

4

Dbl

430

Robbie Hopkins
3NT

3

2

Pass

5NT

360
Fred King

4

Pass

2

4

Dbl

410

Steve Parker
3NT
Pass
Pass

4

5NT

420

Steve Robinson
Pass

Dbl

Pass
Pass

Dbl

490

Alan Schwartz

4

Pass
Pass
Pass

Dbl

480

Mark Shaw 
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

6

450

Josh Sher

4

3

Pass
Pass

5NT

430


Don Berman, Web Master.