ACBL Unit 147

American Contract Bridge League

Washington Bridge League

Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference

Dick Wegman, President

Solvers Rules and Instructions

Don Berman, Web Master

Previous Contest                        Next Contest 

Events & Trophys

Master Solvers Club

Home

Novice / Newcomers

Unit Game

Tournaments


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 was 428.


Problem 1 

Imps

Vul: Both

LHO (West) dealt  

South Holds


- AJ1065

- Q

- A75

- Q654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

1

Pass

4

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

8

102

4

70

3

63

Dbl

50

2

43

    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 make.

    Two experts agree with me and jump in.  They’re following Lublin’s 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 bid 5 over 5 save so I bid 4.”

Cappelletti: "4---Certainly 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.

    Two experts 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.

Parker: "Double---They 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."

    Partner, having at most two hearts is a very good assumption.  However, partner might not have many HCPs.

Shaw: "Double---Takeout 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.

    Eight experts 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.

Woolsey: "Pass---Partner 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.

Hopkins: "Pass---Normally 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.”

Musso: "Pass---4 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. 

Schwartz: "Pass---Not 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 nor 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 partner QxxxxxxAKxxxx and 6 makes when the spade finesse works.

Roman: "Pass---Only slightly tempted.  I'll try to win the match on some other board."

Bauer: "Pass---4 may be our last plus score.  Advantage in the bidding game goes to he who guesses least."

    Advantage goes to he who guesses right.

King: ”Pass---It 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.


Problem 2

Matchpoints 

Vul: Both 

You South)dealt

South Holds


- Q8765

- A9765

- A75

- Void

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

1

2

3

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

8

91

Pass

70

3

33

3NT

60

2

52

3

20

0

12

3

20

0

17

4

20

0

1

    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 towards slam.

    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. 

Schwartz: "Pass---Wouldn't 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."

    Ten 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 game."

Shaw: "Three notrump---I'd like to pass and forget the whole thing but will maintain discipline."

     Eight 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? 

Lublin: "3---Looks like 3 to me.  Only bid I can make."

Cappelletti: "3---This 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."

Hopkins: "3---I 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."

Musso: "3---Since 3 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."

Adams: "3---This is in the spirit of keeping the bidding low.  Perhaps partner given a chance to take captaincy has an easier hand to bid."

Roman: "3---Not because I like it, but what else?"

Parker: "3---This 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 also pass."

    Are you going to pass four notrump.

King: ”3---I 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. 


Problem 3 

Matchpoints 

Vul: NS

RHO (East) dealt  

South Holds


- 10932

- 1032

- A753

- Q2

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

1NT*

Pass

Pass

Dbl

ReDbl**

Pass

2

Pass***

Pass

?????

 

 

 


*1NT = 10-12

** ReDbl = One Suiter

*** Dbl would be takeout

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

9

94

Pass

70

3

57

2

50

0

31

2

50

1

25

2NT

20

0

1

    This 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.

Shaw: "Pass---This 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."

Musso: "Pass---Nice 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."

    Nine experts double for takeout.  I think you need at least eight bad or six very good HCPs to double.

Woolsey: "Double---Presumably 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."

Lublin: "Double---If double by partner is takeout then must double to protect our side and solves all problems."

Hopkins: "Double---If 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."

Schwartz: "Double---Partner 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."

Roman: "Double---Would I pass a penalty double of 2?  You bet'cha."

Bauer: "Double---Majority of the field will go P-P-P-1NT for +90 or +120.  Catching a white 2 one trick undoubled won't cut it."

Parker: "Double---This 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 bid?"

King: ”Double---Need to protect partner.  The short hand must be aggressive.”

    One expert bids a suit.  I would expect 2 to show five.

Cappelletti: "2---Make lower balance and leave room for partner's 2.”

    Don’t bid with bad hands.


Problem 4 

Imps 

Vul: None

LHO (West) dealt  

South Holds


-Q1073

-KQJ10

-972
-63

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

3

Dbl

4

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

8

53

Dbl

60

4

131

4

40

1

22

5

20

0

1

4NT

20

0

1

    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!

     Eight 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."

Hopkins: "Pass---If 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 score."

Adams: "Pass---Where 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."

     Four experts double.

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?"

     So with KxxxxxAKxxxxx, 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." 

     The 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.

Lublin: "Double---And take the plus score.  Hand is useless for spades."

Musso: "Double---Penalty oriented as responsive doubles do not extend to this level.  If they do extend thru 4, I would pass."

King: ”4---Give partner a hand like AKxx-AxxxKJxxx and 4 should make.  Double is responsive, not penalty and pass is not forcing.”

     High-level doubles should be coosponsive.  Shows that we have the majority of the highs.  Partner will usually pass but can bid with unusual distribution.


Problem 5 

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- KJ9763

- K

- 1063

- A75

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

Pass

1

Pass

1

2

2*

Pass

?????

 

 

 


* Double would show 3 spades

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

5

27

Pass

90

3

35

2

70

2

56

3

50

2

10

3

50

1

28

4

40

0

3

3

40

0

47

2NT

20

0

2

     You know that partner has at least six hearts but does he have a good 2-bid AxAQJ10xxxxQxx 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.

     Five experts invite.  Some of them even mention the anchor diamond holding.

Woolsey: "3---Seems 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."

Shaw: "3---Can't 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 at IMPs."

Hopkins: "3---Invitational.  My diamond holding isn't good and I would like another trump, so I rate this hand as an invite."

Bauer: "3---This 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."

King: ”3---My diamond holding is bad, but my hand is too good to pass.”

     Two 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.

Cappelletti: "2---At 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."

    Partner would have doubled 2 with three spades so at least half the time he’ll have only one.

Musso: "2---Diamond 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."

    Two experts 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.

Schwartz: "Pass---Since 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."

    Three experts 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 notrump?

Roman: "3---Very 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 guessing."

     Two 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 instance.

Parker: "3---This 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."

Lublin: "3---And 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 score.


How the Experts Voted - Jan/Feb 2003:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
Pass
3

Dbl

Pass
Pass
490

Nancy Bauer

Pass
Pass

Dbl

Dbl

3

430

Mike Cappelletti
4
3
2
Pass

2

390

Robbie Hopkins
Pass
3

Dbl

Pass

3

500
Fred King
Pass
3

Dbl

4

3

440

Glenn Lublin

4
3

Dbl

Dbl

3

380

Tom Musso

Pass
3
Pass

Dbl

2

430

Steve Parker

Dbl

3

Dbl

Pass

3

400

Steve Robinson
4
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass

400

Jeff Roman
Pass
3

Dbl

Pass
3

450

Alan Schwartz
Pass
Pass

Dbl

Pass
Pass

460

Mark Shaw

Dbl

3NT

Pass
Pass

3

380

Kit Woolsey
Pass

3NT

Dbl

Dbl

3

420


Don Berman, Web Master.