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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club

Nov/Dec 2002


Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Tom Musso and Nancy Bauer who tied for first with a score of 480.  They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  Third was David Chechelashulli with a score of 470.  Tied for fourth were Roy Tibery, Jerry Miller, Piotr Gajewski, Jay Weinstein and Rusty Krauss with a score of 460.  Tied for ninth were Yi Zhong, Mette Smith, Barry Bragin, Lloyd Rawley and Hailong Ao with a score of 450.  Tied for fourteenth were Marvin Elster, Ravi Arulnandhy, Jane Friend, Pete Hughes and Jim Pestaner with a score of 440.  Tied for nineteenth were Pat Foutz, Bill Bingham, Lyle Poe, Dave Smith, Matt Cambell, Jim Allen, Ed Kinlaw, Rick Eissenstat were with a score of 430.  The average score of the 202 solvers was 369.  The average score of the experts was 418.

      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

You(South) dealt  

South Holds


- 1032

- AJ3

- KQ543

- K3

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

1

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1NT

100

5

40

2

80

5

95

2

50

0

55

Pass

20

0

  3

3

20

0

1

       The question is - which white lie do you tell?  2 showing four, one notrump showing a spade stopper or 2 showing six are the three possibilities.  When you have to make a bid that does not exactly describe your hand, make the one which will least likely get you in trouble.  Make the bid least likely to entice partner to overbid.  Bidding 2 entices partner to raise with ten HCPs and bid game with eleven or twelve.  Hearts don't split, the opponent doubles and you go for a big number. Bidding one notrump entices partner to invite with eleven and bid game with twelve even if he does not have a spade stopper.  Over 2, partner needs a better hand to get excited.  Bidding 2 works when partner has three diamonds.  Bidding one notrump works when partner has one diamond.  Either could work when partner has two diamonds.

     Five experts rebid 2.  How bad can 2 be?  Give partner Qxx/Kxxx/x/QJxxx and 2 could be a very bad contract.

     Gipson:"2---Close to one notrump as absence of redouble and raise over double suggests that between us we have a spade stop and my hand probably wants to play notrump.  We should still have enough space to right side three notrump if that's best."

     Cappelletti:"2---The book bid.  I would only bid one notrump if I wanted to hog the hand."

     Adams:"2---Don't I need a stopper for one notrump? With 4x3 I'd risk it, but 2 seems reasonable."

     Woolsey:"2---I'm not averse to bidding notrump without a sure stopper in the enemy suit, but since I have a decent five-card diamond suit I believe that rebidding it is a more accurate description.  I will not bid hearts -- that should show a four-card suit."

     Bidding a 3-card major is everybody's third choice.

     Parker:"2---No other four-card suits, no spade stopper, I have a minimum, so I rebid my five-card suit.  What is the trick here?"

     Four experts agree with me and rebid one notrump.  Could cause West to lead another suit when his partner has the missing spade honors.  How bad could one notrump be?  LHO could cash six spade tricks.

     Schwartz:"One notrump---Partner can easily have a spade stopper as he has to start with double holding four hearts.  It would be more difficult to avoid 4 if I bid 2. 2 should show six or at least an unbalanced hand."

     Fred King:"One notrump---If there is a game it is in notrump and you have to lie about something with this hand."

     Its not game I'm worried about.  Its what is the best partscore?

     Roman:"One notrump---You'd like to have a spade stopper, but would you rather have partner think we have a balanced minimum, or a diamond one-suiter?  2 is for heroes."

     Hopkins:"One notrump---I'm going to be true to my pattern.  In these modern times of preemptive raises, I expect the spade suit to be no worse than 5-2 or 6-2 in the opponents hand so we probably have a stopper between our two hands.  And, if I play one notrump, I'm not down yet even if they do run the first five tricks."

     Avoid bidding a 3-card major unless there is no other option.


Problem 2

Imps 

Vul: Both 

RHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- AKJ32

- K543

- A2

- A3

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

---

---

2

Dbl

3

3

Pass

4

Pass

4

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4NT

100

2

23

Pass

80

3

81

6

80

2

36

5

70

1

  11

5

60

1

4

5

40

1

33

5

20

0

1

6NT

20

0

1

7

20

0

1

5NT

20

0

1

6

20

0

1

      If partner has as little as xxxxx/x/KQxx/xxx, slam is good. If partner has Qxxxx/x/Qxxxx/KQ, slam is poor.  We know that partner has values since he bid freely over 3.  Partner knows that you know he has values.  Partner would make a free bid with a minimum of five and a maximum of ten HCPs.  With more then ten, partner would jump to 4.  Over your 4 cuebid, assuming the cuebid shows spade support, partner has to decide whether he is minimum or maximum.  Some minimums are good and some maximums are bad as you can see in the above examples.  So how do we get partner to evaluate what is good and what is bad?  Its very difficult to get partner's help on this hand.  He might not even know the meaning of various slam tries?  What does 5 mean?  What does 5 mean?  In fact, what does 4 mean?  What would you bid over 3 holding AQx/xx/AKQx/AKxx?  I would bid 4 asking partner's help in choosing the correct strain.  Since we don't know how to get partner's help, we might as well decide for ourselves whether or not there is a slam.

     Three experts decide there is no slam and pass.  Very reasonable response to this problem.

     Cappelletti:"Pass---This problem must be answered in terms of your partner's inclinations.  With most aggressive partners who would stretch to compete with heart shortness, I pass because there is more chance of going down in five than making six.  And I already have showed a good hand and he does not have a maximum. But with a very solid partner, I would bid four notrump and bid slam if he showed a void."

     Fred King:"Pass---Partner bid only 3 and seems to have a heart void, so slam seems unlikely.  He could not have much more than Qxxxx/-/Kxxx/Qxxx."

     Opposite King's hand, slam is cold and seven has play.  If partner can ruff all of the dummies losing hearts in his hand, he could end up in a position where dummy has Ax of clubs opposite Kxxx.  If West started with five clubs, and also guards diamonds, he will be squeezed.  In the three-card ending, he has to come down to QJ10 of clubs and therefore has to pitch all of his diamonds.

     Roman:"Pass---Because partner can't tell the difference between Q10xxxx/x/Qxxx/Kx where he will bid slam and go down and Qxxxx/x/xxxx/KQx where he will pass 5 and be odds-on for slam.  An important point here is that if I had wanted the message to be - bid slam with a heart control, I would have raised 3 to 5, so 5 here means look again partner."

     The remaining experts make a further move.  Two experts agree with me and take charge.  Four notrump allows us to get to seven when its right.  If partner responds five notrump showing zero or three keycards and a void in hearts, you can bid 6 showing that all keycards are present inviting partner to bid to bid seven. Your hand is limited since you didn't bid four notrump directly over 3 so partner would only bid seven holding a source of tricks.

     Adams:"Four notrump---RKC.  Tempting to bid six directly, but this lets us out if partner has no spade queen and no heart void. With five trumps and a void, I'd expect a raise to six after my queen ask, even without the queen."

     Two experts bid what they think they can make.

     Parker:"6---Once I started constructing possible hands for partner it seems that all he needs is five spades and either both minor kings or KQ in one minor or KJ in a minor and a finesse to make six.  Why torture him any longer?"

     Hopkins:"6---I don't think partner has a heart void, five or more spades, and both minor suit kings, or KQx+ in one of them, from his failure to move over my 4 cuebid.  Hence, our limit is six.  Most of the hands I constructed for partner present a reasonable play for slam.  Even something such as xxxxx/- /Qxxx/Qxxx could come home if they lead a minor or partner guesses the correct Queen to lead towards."

     Three experts torture their partner.

     Woolsey:"5---Would partner have moved over my 4 call with Qxxxx/x/xxx/KQxx?  I don't think so.  Therefore, I must give him another chance.  The danger of going down at the five-level is very slight.  Partner will know that I have both minor suit aces since I didn't cuebid either of them."

     What does 5 ask for?  Good trumps?  Heart control? Outside KQ?  Maybe its a let partner make the final decision bid and then blame him if he's wrong.

     Schwartz:"5---Asks partner to look at his overall hand, not at controls as I must have those for this bid."

     What about his overall hand will get him to bid slam?  Good trumps?  Heart control?  Outside KQ?

     Gipson:"5---Worth one more try (I would have preferred 4 cuebid last time).  Partner only needs Qxxxx/x/KQx/xxxx for slam to be good."

     Double followed by a new suit is natural.  What would you bid with AQx/-/Axx/AKQJxxx?  I think you would double, cuebid and then bid clubs.      When there are preempts, you have fewer options available. Sometimes one has to take the bull by the horns and make the final decision about level.


Problem 3 

Matchpoints 

Vul: Both

LHO (West) dealt  

South Holds


- A10

- KJ

- KQ104

- AK852

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

Pass

Pass

1

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

7

125

3NT

90

3

28

Pass

50

0

7

2

40

0

  18

1NT

40

0

8

2NT

20

0

8

     RHO opens one-of-a-minor.  What do you do when you have a very good hand but have shortness in not one unbid major but both unbid majors?  Takeout double?  I try to avoid making a takeout double when I'm short in unbid majors.  There are three ways of tackling this hand.  Double and bid notrump, just bid notrump or pass. Doubling and bidding notrump works when partner doesn't get in your way.  If partner is 4=3=3=3, you'll play in notrump.  However, when partner has major suit length, you could get too high.  This hand is too strong for a direct one notrump overcall so the only notrump option is to overcall three notrump.  One could pass but what can you do to show this hand on the next round of bidding?  Passing and then doubling shows is a takeout double of LHO's suit.  If LHO bids 1, you can't double a bid by RHO since that would be a takeout double of hearts and would show four spades.

     Two experts join me and bid three notrump.  We hope to find some stray queens and jacks in dummy.

     Adams:"Three notrump---I like for double to show some tolerance for the majors.  I have none.  This rates to be where I want to play the hand, therefore I bid it."

    Woolsey:"Three notrump---If I start with a double, partner may be thinking we should play in his five-card major.  My fast approach may get us too high if he has nothing, but it may also get West off to the wrong lead."

     Seven experts double.

     Gipson:"Double---Partner is a passed hand and so we should be able to cope with whatever action he takes in the majors."

     Cappelletti:"Double---Probably followed notrump."

     Parker:"Double---And then rebid notrump.  I can easily show this hand in terms of high cards, I just hope partner doesn't get carried away by trying to find a major suit fit."

     Schwartz:"Double---Followed by one notrump.  Too good for one- notrump overcall.  Partner should not be surprised to find a doubleton in a major for this bid."

     Fred King:"Double--And then bid lowest level of notrump. There has to be some level of strength that allows doubles without the expected shape.  Second choice would just be blasting to three notrump right away."

     Roman:"Double---And then bid notrump.  What in the world else?"

     Hopkins:"Double---Not my style, but I see no alternative.  I play major-suit responses at the three and four level show six and seven-card suits (weak hands) respectively, to provide for my possible too-strong notrump type hands, so I should have sufficient support if partner goes leaping off and I can't get my notrump bid in."

     Try to avoid making a takeout double with shortness in unbid majors.


Problem 4 

Matchpoints 

Vul: Both 

RHO (East) dealt  

South Holds


-J943

-KJ10

-Q72

-A106

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

Pass

Pass

Pass

1

1

Dbl

Pass

1

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1NT

100

4

23

2NT

70

2

95

3NT

60

1

9

2

50

2

  15

2

50

1

24

Pass

50

0

3

3

40

0

19

4

30

0

3

3

20

0

1

4

20

0

1

2

20

0

1

     We have made a negative double showing four spades and partner has bid only one spade.  If partner has four spades, I would expect partner to have between 11 and 13 HCPs.  Sometimes partner is forced to bid a three-card spade suit and therefore he could be slightly stronger.  So how do you tell partner what you have?  Bid notrump.  Bidding notrump shows a heart stopper along with four spades.  Presumable you have found a spade fit.  There is no reason to take another bid holding six to nine HCPs.  Nine HCPs opposite a 1 bid will not produce a game.  Therefore any bid you make, shows at least ten HCPs and is a game try.  Since you're a passed hand your limit is eleven.  Bidding notrump tells partner exactly what you have.  Four spades, two heart stoppers and ten or eleven HCPs.

     Six experts agree with me and make a game try in notrump.  If you are going to make a game try, why not make the try with the best chance of getting a plus score. Even if partner has a sub minimum, one notrump should make.

     Woolsey:"One notrump---There is no need to jump, since this sequence logically shows a pretty strong hand.  Partner bid only 1, and I have shown four spades, so I'm not bidding notrump as a correction."

     Schwartz:"One notrump---Seems tailor made for this hand. Partner has at most fourteen so this shows about eleven with two heart stoppers."

     Hopkins:"One notrump---Complete the description of my pattern and approximate strength, although I am a tiny bit hefty.  With four hearts, I might venture two notrump at IMPs."

    The following expert hangs partner for opening light.   Do you really want to be in game opposite AKx/xxx/xxx/KJxx?

     Adams:"Three notrump---Positional value of hearts plus my tens's makes this worth a shot at game.  Partner should know I am not worried about hearts for notrump else I could cuebid.  With short diamonds and four spades, partner can correct."

     Two notrump should often make.

     Parker:"Two notrump---I think this should show this hand, eleven points, four spades and good heart stoppers.  Partner should be able to figure this out and do the right thing next."

     Cappelletti:"Two notrump---Why did I pass an opening bid?  Now that I am in this position, I can bid no more than the obvious two notrump."

     Three experts fail to show the best part of their hand.  Two heart stoppers.

     Fred King:"2--I have a lot of soft values in the red suits so a jump to 3 seems excessive, but too much to pass. At matchpoints I want to protect my plus."

     Roman:"2---I will pass 2, bid three notrump otherwise, and if he bids 4 I'll hope it's right.  Second choice is two notrump, but I dislike bidding past 2."

     Gipson:"2---Good raise to 2.  Partner is third in hand but could still have good hand.  Direct 2 should be more distributional and so partner should know what to do if there is more interference."

     Bidding over a limited bid is a game try when you have found a fit.


Problem 5 

Imps

Vul: Both

RHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- AK102

- 3

- AQ43

- AQJ3

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

1

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2NT

100

4

35

Dbl

80

4

83

Pass

70

1

52

2

50

1

  6

2

50

0

5

3NT

50

0

5

1NT

30

0

4

2

20

0

2

4NT

20

0

1

     Another hand where you have a very strong hand but you have shortness in an unbid major.  What misdescriptive bid do you make? Overcall one notrump with 20 HCPs?  Overcall two notrump, which promises ten minor-suit cards, holding 4-4 in the minors?. Overcall three notrump?  Overcall two-of-either-minor?  Pass? I like two notrump followed by three notrump.  If you overcall two notrump, partner will bid at the three level when he has only a three-card fit.  This means that he will have at least four hearts which will help stop the suit.  If partner has a four-card fit, and bids at the four-level that would be good also.  Five-of-a-minor could be a better contract than three notrump.

     Three experts agree with me and bid two notrump.  This hand is well suited for suit play.

     Woolsey:"Two notrump---I'm not making a takeout double of spades with a singleton heart, no matter how strong my hand is. Passing could work, but there is too much danger that we will miss a game.  A direct three notrump might be right, but I think it is better to bring the minors into the picture and then bid three notrump.  My hand is well-oriented for suit play if I catch a minor-suit fit in North's hand."

     Fred King:"Two notrump---And then bid three notrump next, which I think should show this kind of hand."

     Hopkins:"Two notrump---Maybe I'll be able to get in three notrump over partner's expected three-of-a-minor and he will have some idea of what my hand is like.  I know I am telegraphing the heart shortage to the opponents, but partner should be able to use this information to good effect also."

     Four experts double.  If partner has five or six hearts you could wind up in 4.  Do you want to play in 4 opposite x/Qxxxx/x/Kxxxxx?  5 would be a better contract.  If partner has only four hearts, you will likely wind up in three notrump.

     Parker:"Double---And rebid notrump.  Didn't I just have this hand?  Trap passing will not work well if partner has Kxxxx of a minor and out.  Best case for a pass is if it goes one notrump - pass - 2 and then I have to decide if I can afford to put partner at the three-level by doubling.  I have found it is best to get it out of your system early rather than trying to feel out the table."

     Gipson:"Double---Yuk - give me the nine of spades rather than the King of spades and I bid one notrump.  This hand has the disadvantage that partner is unlimited and so who knows what level of hearts is coming next?  However, no real option at this stage."

      Cappelletti:"Double---And hope partner doesn't bid 4! All other heart bids will probably end up in three notrump.  Too much for pass."

     Schwartz:"Double---Hate double with stiff heart, but other alternatives seem worse.  If partner insists on hearts or just jumps to 4, it should be with a six-card suit as he must be prepared for a doubleton after a notrump bid (see problem three) so I might survive with my toppers.  If I bid three notrump, will I be happy if LHO doubles?  I don't think so.  If I bid two notrump followed by three notrump.  Little safer than a direct three notrump, but it directs a heart lead and the four-level, if partner pulls, is still dangerous with no sure fit.  If I bid one notrump. Too strong and doesn't solve the heart problem.  If I pass can't expect partner to balance with a six-count."

     One expert overcall 2.  Good if partner has clubs but what if he has diamonds.

     Adams:"2---I want to pass, and probably would at matchpoints.  2 at least gives us a chance to find game in notrump when partner raises, and is not as risky as jumping to three notrump.  The less said about double, the better."

     One expert passes.  That would very work if East rebids 2 and you get a chance to make a penalty double.  Double after 1-1NT-2 should be penalties.  If it goes 1- 1NT-2, you will be able to double but when partner bids three-of-a-minor you won't know how many he has and how strong he is.

     Roman:"Pass---Sure hope somebody bids something."

     Try not to make a takeout double, when short in unbid majors.


How the Experts Voted:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
2
4NT

3NT

3NT

2

380
Mike Cappelletti
2
Pass

Dbl

2NT

Dbl

410

Robbie Hopkins
1NT

6

Dbl

1NT

2NT

440
Alex Gipson
2

5

Dbl

2

Dbl

350

Fred King
1NT
Pass

Dbl

2

2NT

420

Steve Parker
2
6

Dbl

2NT

Dbl

410

Steve Robinson
1NT
4NT

3NT

1NT

2NT

490

Jeff Roman
1NT
Pass

Dbl

2

Pass

400

Alan Schwartz
1NT
5

Dbl

1NT

Dbl

450

Kit Woolsey
2

5

3NT

1NT

2NT

430


Don Berman, Web Master.