ACBL Unit 147
American Contract Bridge League
Washington Bridge League
Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference
Solvers Rules and Instructions
Berman, Web Master
Novice / Newcomers
Washington Bridge League Solver's Club
- Jan/Feb 2003
Moderator: Steve Robinson
Congratulations to Hailong Ao and David Rodney who tied for first with a
perfect score of 500. They win a free
entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. I will play with them at a future Unit
Game. Tied for third were Bruce
Kretchmer and Dave Smith with a score of 470.
Tied for fifth were Brad Theurer, Seymour Baden, Ellen Cherniavsky and
Gerald Lerner, with a score of 460. Tied
for ninth were David Chechelashili, Marvin Elster, Ron Zucker, Pete Whipple and
Mike Richey with a score of 450. Tied
for fourteenth were Bob Klein, JJ Wang and Ransone Price with a score of 440. Tied for seventeenth were Yi Zhong, Al
Duncker, Bulent Demirer, Razvan Spiridonescu, Mel Yudkin, Kevin Barnes, Lee
Bauer, Saul Penn and Ted Guthrie with a score of 430. Tied for twenty-seventh were were Todd
Zimnoch, Doug Waffle, Randy Thompson, Andy Gofreed, Barbara Israel, Audrey
Warren, Hy Chansky, Steve MacArthur and David Abelow with a score of 420. The average score of the 208 solvers was
365. The average score of the experts
The Bidding Thus Far
The Panel's Votes
Do or don't you
and if you do, what? Pass, 4
and double are the three choices. Eight
experts pass. They think it’s too
dangerous to jump in. If partner holds xxxxxxxxxxxxx
you go for 1400 if you bid 4 or –990 if you double. Four experts agree with me and jump in. On bad days partner has nothing. On good days partner has some help for you. For the jumpers who hope this is a good day,
there are two choices - 4 and double. I think that if you decide to do something
other than pass, you should jump in with 4. Give partner Q98xxKxxxxKJx,
you will make 4 if the king of spades is onsides. If you double, however, partner will bid 5,
which has three losers. Another reason
to do something is that partner could have KxxxxxxxAJxxx. They easily make 4
and you easily make 4.
You lose 13 IMPs if you go for 1400, you lose 15 IMPs when both games
agree with me and jump in. They’re
Law. “When they have
hearts we have
spades.” RHO usually has
five hearts for his jump to 4 which makes it more likely that partner
has some spades. Even if bidding 4
is wrong, the opponents might save us by bidding 5.\
Lublin: ”4---Lublin's Law - When
they have hearts, you have spades. Never
over 5 save so I bid 4.”
better than double. Another problem
might be if opener doubles. Do you
redouble or stay in pocket."
By the way, if
the opponents are playing a forcing club system, bidding 4
is very dangerous. RHO could have an
opening hand and only three hearts. He
knows his partner’s hand is limited to 15 HCPs by his failure to open 1.
double. Double has the advantage that if
this is a bad day you might hold your losses to –990. Double breaks even when partner has four
spades but loses when partner has three.
may have just got me, but I have to assume that partner has at most two hearts
and therefore a fit somewhere, plus 10+ points.
I can make a slow double here and not put partner under pressure, but
not a slow pass. Bidding 4
is too unilateral."
at most two hearts is a very good assumption.
However, partner might not have many HCPs.
for spades. I'd like to bid 4
but could go for a telephone number.
Partner will bid 4 with four spades. If partner passes the double; most they will
make is a doubled overtrick plus we could be cold for 4."
The problem with
double is that partner might have only three spades. There are some hands that make 4
opposite honor doubleton. Wouldn’t you
want to be in 4 opposite KxxxJ109AKxxxx.
passed and they have some good arguments.
The best argument for passing is that bidding is a crap shoot. It could be a disaster if partner is short in
spades. Another good argument is that
partner needs very little to beat 4. You have two defensive tricks and if partner
has two, 4 will be defeated. Bidding is bad if both games are going
down. The biggest disaster is when
partner has a stiff spade. 4
will easily be defeated and 4 will go down like the Titanic.
didn't overcall 1, and he didn't make a takeout double. These factors are sufficient to indicate that
we probably don't have a game. We might
or might not defeat 4, and we may be going for a big number if
I bid, so passing seems right."
Right. Partner could have a weak hand but might have
enough in queens and jacks to sink 4.
partner is not long in hearts on this auction so he could have acted directly
if he had reasonable values. My values
are not such as to expect to make a game or set them doubled often enough to
make up for the expected and possibly large minus score.”
over 4 is always tempting especially with the
power of AJ10. However, partner with
likely holding of two or possibly one small heart did not overcall or double 1. Doubling here is a distant third choice,
which risks -790 or -990 as well as -800 or -1100."
If you double, partner, with a weak balanced hand, should pass and hope
that you can take four tricks on defense.
enough offense for 4, not enough defense for double which
partner rates to pass. Queen of hearts
big negative for action."
If RHO has five
hearts, your queen is worth nothing either on defense or offense.
Adams: "Pass---Bidding is
guessing. At matchpoints, where minus
500 could be a big gain, I'd bid 4, but
partner is unlikely to have four spades and an opening bid. Might be that neither 4
makes. Only reason to consider bidding
is that 4 might push them to 5,
but that rationale never scores well in bidding challenges. I would rather double than bid at IMPs. At least then, partner can convert and we
might still get a small plus."
Partner does not
need an opening bid for 4 to make.
Suppose partner has QxxxxxxxAKxxx. 4 makes
when the spade finesse works. Give
makes when the spade finesse works.
may be our last plus score. Advantage in
the bidding game goes to he who guesses least."
to he who guesses right.
is close but I don't think this hand is quite good enough.”
I have found
that this is a bidders game. Those who
are aggressive get good results.
You opened this
hand intending on showing partner 5-5 in the majors but something happened on
the way. You can no longer bid your best
suit. You have four horrible choices. You can bid three notrump but you have no
source of tricks and no help for partner's suit. You can rebid your weak spade suit. You can bid 3 but
bidding a three-card suit can lead to problems.
You could pass which in effect ends the auction. This keeps the auction low but could ruin
your partnership. What would your
partner say if you passed 3 and he held AKxxKxAKxxxxx? The problem with bidding is that you are very
likely to get too high. If you can’t
make anything, partner will let you out in game and you will go down
quietly. You might even get doubled if
East has clubs and spades bottled up. If
partner has enough strength that game makes, you will find yourself heading
Two experts join
me in ending the auction. You can’t do
this if partner can bid 3 with very good spade support. I have the advantage that my partner supports
me when he has support.
take this action at the table as I have to worry about partner's blood
pressure, but here I can take what I feel is the percentage action. Partner shouldn't have a big spade fit as he
should fear heart preemption. Thus
having enough for game is unlikely with the misfit and likely entry problems,
particularly with the overcall."
Bauer: "Pass---I hate it when this happens. Partner had ample tools to establish spades
as trumps and did not. This is as cheap
as we can get out of this misfit and the only person I really want to hear bid
again is LHO."
experts keep the auction open. Two experts bid three notrump. If three notrump is going to make, partner
has to be strong enough to move towards slam.
Woolsey: "Three notrump---Bidding notrump can be a dirty job, but
somebody's has to do it. On this hand
that somebody is me. Partner isn't going
to have a heart stopper. We are forced
to game, and unless partner has three spades, in which case he will surely get
us to 4, three notrump is our most likely
notrump---I'd like to pass and forget the whole thing but will maintain
experts bid a three-card suit.
Great! You have next to nothing
and you are misdescribing your hand. How
many aces are you going to show if partner bids RKC?
like 3 to me.
Only bid I can make."
is definitely an "uh-oh" hand.
Might as well gamble a bit, with disaster when partner has Kxxx of
diamonds, to try to achieve parity. If
partner bids 3 or 3 or 4,
you are probably OK."
can see the grinch stayed around for this hand!
I am leaving partner room to show spade support (please, please,
please!), but the situation does not appear promising. Since this is only matchpoints, I would
probably pass a 4 rebid by partner."
is forcing, passing is instantly out of the question. Choices are 3 and 3. Since spades are so poor, bidding 3
is the selection. Hopefully, partner
will support spades next."
is in the spirit of keeping the bidding low.
Perhaps partner given a chance to take captaincy has an easier hand to
because I like it, but what else?"
should work out fine. Partner's most
likely bid will be 3 to try for three notrump and I will
unhappily bid it. If for some reason he
raises diamonds I will pass and watch him turn red. If he bids 4 I will
Are you going to
pass four notrump.
think this is the best waiting bid.
Let's hear what partner says.”
At the table, where I passed, we achieved a plus score. Partner made six clubs for +170. I have a feeling that if I had kept on
bidding we would have gotten too high and gone minus.
RHO (East) dealt
ReDbl = One Suiter
Dbl would be takeout
hand is a good lesson hand on how to play continuations after a penalty double
of a weak notrump. North's double of one
notrump shows at least 14 HCPs. When
West bids 2 which is presumably natural, it’s better
to play a double as takeout. The trouble
with double being penalty is that there is a wide range of hand types that
partner might double with. You can't
tell the difference between the four-card 18 HCP I got you double and the
three-card 15 HCP optional double. How
can North double 2 for penalties when you could have xxxxxxxxxxxxx? It’s best if the double always shows
shortness. If North doubles 2
showing fewer than three clubs with at least 14 HCPs, South will be in a good
position. He can pass the double with
four clubs and some strength. Bid something
at the two level with a weak hand or jump or cuebid with a strong hand. With xxxxxxxxxxxxx,
South bids 2 over North’s takeout double. When North passes 2,
South knows that North has a balanced hand with at least three clubs. With an unbalanced hand, North would have
either doubled for takeout or bid a long suit.
North should have fewer than 20 HCPs.
With 20 or more HCPs, North can't take the chance that 2
will be passed out. North will double or
bid two notrump. So where do you want to
play the hand if North has a strong notrump with at least three clubs? Give partner AKxAQxxQxxxxx. If you double, partner will bid 2,
which has five and ½ losers. 2,
on the other hand will be either +90 or –50.
There’s also the problem that this is matchpoints. Partner, thinking that you have something for
your double might not want to settle for +300 when he could be +600 in three
notrump. Double not only shows short clubs,
it shows values.
Two experts join me and pass 2. I would have doubled if my queen of clubs
were somewhere else.
auction shows a good treatment. The
one-notrump bidder rescues himself with a redouble instead of bidding a
suit. His partner may have a good hand. Since he pulled presumably we have at least
half the deck. Partner may have a
penalty pass of 2 or may just have a balanced hand. Partner usually has a minimum of a good 14
but may be lighter in balancing position.
We already have got them out of one notrump and if partner has a penalty
pass we should do ok anyway. I also
don't like the vulnerability. I would
double at IMPs without a thought but here; I'll break discipline and pass since
my hand is also pretty weak."
shape to double for takeout, but the ace of diamonds is the only working
honor. Queen of clubs is better for
defense. -90 or even -110 may be useful
scores as bidding again will likely result in -200 or worse."
double for takeout. I think you need at
least eight bad or six very good HCPs to double.
if partner's double would be takeout then mine would be also, else we can never
penalize them when he is long in their suit.
Given that, this hand would seem quite suitable for a takeout
double by partner is takeout then must double to protect our side and solves
partner's double of 2 would have been takeout, then mine should
be here. Partner can convert or make a
call at the two-level which I will pass.
Partner has 3 available for forcing actions."
can't double for penalties so this is the only way to get them. If partner bids, the two-level should be a
good sacrifice or a possible make."
Adams: "Double---Your description of
my methods implies partner has a penalty pass of 2
and is expecting me to bid. I have a few
values, so I can cooperate if partner converts to penalty as I expect he
will. I only have minor nervousness over
playing 2 vulnerable. I doubt that letting them play 2
undoubled will be a good score, so inaction is wrong."
I pass a penalty double of 2?
of the field will go P-P-P-1NT for +90 or +120.
Catching a white 2 one trick undoubled won't cut it."
must be for takeout and I can't let them steal this hand for 2. If we have to play a 4-3 fit let partner play
it. I have a 75% chance partner will
pick one of my four-card suits so why not double rather than guess what suit to
to protect partner. The short hand must
One expert bids
a suit. I would expect 2
to show five.
lower balance and leave room for partner's 2.”
Don’t bid with
LHO (West) dealt
You hold AxxxxxKQxxKxx
and the auction goes 3 - double - 4. Wouldn't it be nice to make a
strength-showing double? You want to
defend 4 doubled unless partner has a
distributional hand. If partner holds KQxx-J10xAQJxxx,
he bids 5.
If partner holds KQxxxJ10xxAQxx
he defends 4 doubled.
Which hand comes up more often, the hand with the trump stack or the
balanced good hand? The balanced good
hand probably comes up five times as often as the trump stack hand. I can't remember the last time I had a trump
stack in this position. Double in this
position should be a responsive/cooperative double. A coosponsive double!
experts agree with me and pass.
Cappelletti: "Pass---Can't double (responsive), so I'll take sure
plus since 4 will often go down. And partner might reopen with double!!!"
Shaw: "Pass---I play double here shows cards and convertible
values. With a non-expert partner I
might double since we would only play penalty doubles. I can't double because expert partner might
pull. Make that will pull with his
probable void. Hopefully partner will
double again and we will cart them out."
partner doubles again, I will pass and hope to beat it."
Schwartz: "Pass---Double should show convertible values. When partner is fairly likely to be able to
double again with his likely void. If
not, since I don't expect to make anything, I'll just take my small plus
is the issue? If we have anything,
partner will double again and I can pass.
If we do not have anything, this will be a good score. Why should I tempt fate by doubling with
this? Although double is not responsive,
it is not 100% penalty either."
Roman: "Pass---C'mon partner...one more double...just one..."
Parker: "Pass---Since I assume that double is for takeout here, I
must pass and hope partner reopens with a double. With no one vulnerable I can afford to beat
them 200 undoubled if for some reason partner passes out this hand, and not
lose a bunch of IMPs."
Woolsey: "Double---Partner has made his takeout double implying
heart shortness and probably four spades.
If I want to play in spades I bid them.
If I want him to pick a minor, I bid four notrump. If I want to defend 4
undoubled, I pass. Guess what I do when
I want to defend 4 doubled?"
you bid 5.
Bauer: "Double---No point in hanging partner for bidding his
shape. Take your sure plus and maybe
even your best plus. If 4
makes we're probably beating 4 three tricks."
Law assumes that partner is 4=1=4=4.
There are 16 total tricks (8+8). If we can make ten tricks in spades, they
should only make six tricks in hearts.
take the plus score. Hand is useless for
Musso: "Double---Penalty oriented as responsive doubles do not
extend to this level. If they do extend
thru 4, I would pass."
partner a hand like AKxx-AxxxKJxxx
should make. Double is responsive, not
penalty and pass is not forcing.”
doubles should be coosponsive. Shows that
we have the majority of the highs.
Partner will usually pass but can bid with unusual distribution.
LHO (West) dealt
Double would show 3 spades
know that partner has at least six hearts but does he have a good 2-bid
where 4 is likely to make or does he have a
minimum 2-bid AxA109654xxKJx
where bad breaks will sink 3.
Unless partner has a singleton diamond, your three-card diamond holding
becomes an anchor, dragging you down to the depths. Even with this bad diamond holding, if you
knew what would be the best trump suit you might invite in that suit but you
don’t know how good partner’s heart spots are and how many spades he has. Vulnerable at IMPs, it could be right to
force this hand to game by cuebidding.
Cuebidding makes sure that you get to the correct strain. At matchpoints its probably right to go plus.
experts invite. Some of them even
mention the anchor diamond holding.
about right on value, and hearts is likely to be as good or better a trump suit
than spades even if partner has a doubleton spade."
bid three sparts. I have the values for a 3+ bid
although I may be a heart light. Partner
should have a decent suit since he could have passed. With Kx I'd bid 4
Hopkins: "3---Invitational. My diamond holding isn't good and I would
like another trump, so I rate this hand as an invite."
hand should play better in the major suit in which partner holds an Ace and
that suit rates to be hearts. The three
level on my values is about right."
diamond holding is bad, but my hand is too good to pass.”
experts signoff in spades. If partner
has a normal 2 hand, xAQJxxxxxxKQJ,
you will still lose three spade tricks after they take three diamond tricks.
IMPs I would make book 3 bid, but at matchpoints I like plus
scores. Partner will have two and rarely
three spades less than half of the time.
Math is not difficult - if you want it."
have doubled 2 with three spades so at least half the
time he’ll have only one.
holding suggests conservatism. Passing
could be best opposite six-card suit.
Raising 2 to 3 also
reasonable. I prefer rebidding six-card
spade suit hoping for eight or nine-card fit.
Rebidding 2 in this auction should imply some values
since I would pass 2 with weak misfit. Very tough problem."
agree with me and pass. 2
should go plus. Even partner takes ten
tricks, you will still beat the pairs who end up in spades.
if I invite, I'll have to get both strain and level right. It’s likely some of
the field is in the wrong strain even when there are values for game. If I bid 3, I can't
count on partner jumping to the right game."
Adams: "Pass---Do we or don't we
have a game? I can invite to find out,
winning when we do, losing when I get us too high or to the wrong strain. Or, I can take a deep position and pass. Would have to bid at IMPs, but at
matchpoints, there is a large reward for going plus. Even if we have game values, communication
problems and bad splits could make us go down."
drive the hand to game. One expert
cuebids. If you’re interested in getting
to game in the right major cuebidding is the way to go. Over 3, partner
should show you two spades or rebid a good heart suit. However, what do you do if partner bids three
tough problem, but my heart king and prime values convince me to go big. I will raise three-of-either-major and pass
three notrump. May be too high, but this
is best chance to be in the right strain, while everything else is just
experts bid 3.
Since 3 is available as a forcing bid I would
think that 3 would better be used as a natural
non-forcing bid. 5=6 in the blacks for
should allow partner to bid out his hand and show any pattern. He can bid three notrump with a diamond
stopper, bid 3 to see if I have one, and I can then raise
hearts, bid 3 with a doubleton or rebid hearts with a
suit oriented hand and I can raise to 4."
correct to 4 to 4 or raise 3 to 4."
At matchpoints, when you aren’t sure what’s the best strain take a plus
Expert / Problem
Don Berman, Web Master.