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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club
Moderator: Steve Robinson
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.
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
email@example.com. WBL Solvers
Club uses Washington Standard as published July 1996.
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.
The Bidding Thus Far
The Panel's Votes
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
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."
book bid. I would only bid one notrump if I wanted to hog the hand."
I need a stopper for one notrump? With 4x3 I'd risk it, but 2
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
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
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
Its not game I'm worried about. Its what
is the best partscore?
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."
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.
RHO (East) dealt
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
partner to look at his overall hand, not at controls as I must have those for
What about his overall hand will get him to
bid slam? Good trumps? Heart control? Outside KQ?
one more try (I would have preferred 4
cuebid last time). Partner only needs Qxxxx/x/KQx/xxxx for slam to be
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.
LHO (West) dealt
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.
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."
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.
is a passed hand and so we should be able to cope with whatever action he takes
in the majors."
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
by one notrump. Too good for one- notrump overcall. Partner should
not be surprised to find a doubleton in a major for this bid."
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."
then bid notrump. What in the world else?"
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.
RHO (East) dealt
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.
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."
tailor made for this hand. Partner has at most fourteen so this shows about
eleven with two heart stoppers."
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?
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.
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
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.
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."
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
raise to 2.
Partner is third in hand but could still have good hand. Direct
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
- 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."
hope partner doesn't bid 4!
All other heart bids will probably end up in three notrump. Too much for
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.
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,
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
hope somebody bids something."
Try not to make a takeout double, when short
in unbid majors.
Expert / Problem
Don Berman, Web Master.