ACBL Unit 147

American Contract Bridge League

Washington Bridge League

Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference

Dick Wegman, President

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Don Berman, Web Master

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Mar/Apr 2003

Moderator: Steve Robinson   


      Congratulations to Bob Hartmann, Mark Chen and Rick Bingham with a score of 460.  They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  Tied for fourth were Richard Ferrin, John Lawrence and Steve Carton with a score of 450.  Tied for seventh were Al Duncker, Mike Kovacich, Michael Mayer and Rustry Krauss with a score of 440.  Tied for eleventh were Ted Guthrie, Barry Bragin, Brad Theurer, Kieran Dyke and Dave Smith with a score of 430.  Tied for sixteenth were Ken Kaufman, John Ferman, Lloyd Rawley, Marc Umeno, Gerald Lerner, Ellen Cherniavsky, Helene Fournier and Joe Wallen with a score of 420.  Tied for twenty-fourth were Juanita Beeson, John Glynn, Irish Grandfield, Mike Deverin, Peter Slafte, Arnie Frankel, Mel Yudkin, Bob Wissman and Lee Bauer with a score of 410.  The average score of the 223 solvers was 346.  The average score of the experts was 409.


Problem 1 

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- K1086

- K2

- J10943

- 54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

2

Dbl

5

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl (F)

100

3

86

Dbl (NF)

80

2

0

Pass

70

6

87

5

50

0

48

5NT

20

0

2

     East’s 5-bid is either preemptive or invitational to slam.    Since most of the time, East’s bid is preemptive, pay off if East has eleven tricks and is doing it to you.  If East’s bid is preemptive, this is our hand and therefore we are in a forcing situation.  The opponents can’t play in 5 undoubled.  We must either bid on or double them.  In forcing pass situations, there are four levels of strength we can show.  The strongest is to pass and pull partner’s double.  The next strongest is to bid directly.  Then there’s pass and let partner make the decision.  With the weakest hand type, double.  So where does this hand fall in the four levels of strength?  With only one working card, I think this hand falls into the weakest category, which means double.  You don’t want partner to bid 5 holding AQJxxxQxxAKQJ.  I am happy that not one expert bid five over five.

      Two experts agree with me and double to stop partner from bidding. 

 Rodney:”Double---It makes sense to play this as a forcing pass sequence, giving ourselves more ability to show hand strength.  Just assume that RHO is sacrificing.  So, I double to tell partner I don't have much.  The heart king may score a trick on defense, but it will have less value on offense, since it's unlikely to remove a loser.”

 Shaw:”Double---Don't want partner thinking pass is forcing with my working four-count.”

 Two experts double 5 to show strength.  I would double 5 holding xxxxxxxxxxxxx.  Pass shows values.         

 Parker:”Double---I must show some values and let partner decide if he is so offensive oriented he will bid again. I cannot have a heart stack based on this bidding.  Pass would just get another double from partner.  At least this way I can show some values.  Bidding a suit now is just a guess as to suit and level.”

 King:”Double---I don't have enough to bid, but I think my values are enough to double.”

 Six experts pass.  Do they really want partner to bid on.

 Adams:”Pass---The 5 bidder thinks we can make 4, therefore I think we can make 4.  5 doubled will be a poor score.     However, I can’t bid without getting to a level that is a worse score.  So I pass, waiting for partner to take action, because to be making 4, partner must have a good hand.  Key is to not bid partner’s cards when he will get a chance to.  Next month, ask me what I do when partner reopens with a double.”

 Just because the 5-bidder thinks you can make 4 means that you can make 4.  Sometimes the 2-bidder has defense. 

 Cappelletti:”Pass---But you might double very frisky opponents.  Anything can happen in very freaky hands, but since partner probably is short in hearts, your Kx hearts suggests defense.  Note that if RHO has AQxxxx(x) - then even if partner has AQxxxAKQxxKJx they might make 5.”

 I would not expect the opponents to make 5.

 Ao:Pass---East's 5 is likely an advance sacrifice.  But maybe it’s a trap to get +500/+650 instead of +450.  It's not a sure thing to me.  Partner knows better.”

 Roman:”Pass---I won't be goaded into bidding at the five-level with no distributional surprises and values well within the range of what partner will play me to have.”

 Couldn’t you have two or three working cards?

 Hopkins:”Pass---I have a working four-count and some distribution for partner.  This is not sufficient to bid at the five-level while partner has a further chance to speak.  Also, a double is premature as my Spade and Diamond length might negate some of partner's high cards.  Maybe partner will know what to do?”

Schwartz:”Pass---No reason to think they can't make it if partner can't bid again.”

 When an opponent jumps to five-of-a-major or a passed hand jumps to five-of-a-minor assume it’s your hand.  They can’t play at the five-level undoubled.  With weak hands, you have to double.


Problem 2

Matchpoints 

Vul: Both 

RHO (East)dealt

South Holds


- J963

- 763

- K1043

- A10

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

---

---

Pass

Pass

4

4

Pass

Pass

4

5

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

6

100

4

32

6

90

1

66

5

80

5

57

5NT

70

0

2

Pass

50

1

44

6

40

0

20

7

40

0

1

5

20

0

1

Partner has shown the red suits and has enough strength to bid at the five-level.  However, West has shown the black suits which means that any missing red cards will be with East.  The question is how much of our strength is partner playing us for.  If partner has xAKQxxAQJxxxx, 6would be a great contract assuming hearts are not 5=0.  If you are going to bid 6and since partner could have more then ten red cards, and you are a passed hand, why not show your ace of clubs.  Partner knows that any red cards will be offsides and won’t go wild.

 Four experts agree with me and bid a slam.  Three of them even cuebid looking for seven.       

 Adams:”6---Pass is out of the question, so which is it, 6 or 6?  Since I have the club ace and excellent diamonds, I might as well bid 6 just in case partner has a spade control and needs the club control for a Grand.  Maybe partner is -AKQ9xxAQxxxxx.  I like my chances in 7and we should be able to set 7.”

 Parker:”6hand is a great fit for partner.  He can bid 6, 6 or seven if he is so inclined.  I would give him something like AAKQxx(x)AQxxxx(x) and we are cold for seven with a 3-1 diamond break.”

 Schwartz:”6---Worth bidding slam with this much and gets us to the right trump fit.”

 One expert makes the bid that is most likely to make.

 Hopkins:”6hope my Ace is opposite partner's singleton or they lead clubs anyway and give partner tempo.  I am taking a stab at the safest slam as I worry about how the red suits are breaking.  Opener is usually 5-7 or such for this type of auction.”

      Five experts go back to the major.  With West showing a possible 7=5 hand, do you really want to play in a suit where on bad a day, East has three trump tricks, -AQ10xxxfor instance.  Also, with hearts as trumps, you might have to lose a club. 

 Cappelletti:”5---At matchpoints try to go plus in major.  Plus first, slam later.”

      At matchpoints try to go plus.  With all the black-suit bidding, any makeable game will be worth matchpoints.  Holding three little hearts, I can’t believe that 5 will play make more often than 5.  

 Shaw:”5---Tough problem. I don't want to hang partner for balancing.  I bid 5 to protect our matchpoint position. If partner is a conservative solid citizen I would bid five notrump choice of slams.  I think 6 shows the club Ace and invites a grand.  If I had the same hand with the King or Queen of hearts I would bid 6.”

 Rodney:”5---We may make six.  However, I was going to happily pass 4, so I won't be pushed into over-bidding.”

 You passed 4 because partner could have been gambling.

 Ao:”5is possible, but choosing a better game should be a better action.  Leaving 5is a clear victory to 4 bidder.”

 King:”5---I have two cards that should be very good for partner.  Is this enough to bid a slam?  Clearly suits are not breaking well and partner is under pressure, so I will bid only 5.”

      I think passing 5 is better than bidding 5.  5figures to make more often than 5

 Roman:”Pass---I like to play that this 5 bid shows five or more diamonds while bidding four notrump would show four.  As for raising, partner has bid twice under pressure.  It looks like I have a hand which will reward his enterprise, but a) if he had a moose he might've started with double and b) our suits are not breaking well here.”

 When suits don’t figure to break, play in your best suit even if that suit is a minor and even if you’re playing matchpoints. 


Problem 3

Imps 

Vul: Both

You (South) dealt

South Holds


- AKQ987

- 765

- 3

- Q65

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

2*

Pass

2

Pass

3

Pass

3

Pass

4

Pass

?????

 

 

 


* Game Force

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4NT

100

1

0

4

90

0

7

4

80

7

110

4

50

3

33

5

20

0

64

Pass

20

0

4

6

20

0

2

5

20

0

2

5

20

0

1

What is the meaning of 4?  6=5 in the minors?  Could be.  But what do you bid over 3 holding 32A2AKQ543A2?  Are you aggressive, bid four notrump and find opener with KQ5432JxxxKQJ?  6 is a poor contract which needs spades to be 3=2 with the ace on sides with no defensive ruffs.  I would not want to be in 5 opposite KQ5432.  Or, are you conservative, signoff in 4 and find partner with AKQ987?  How do you make a strength showing 4-bid?  4 is best played as an advanced cuebid.  Shows a good hand with two-card spade support.  If you had real clubs, you should have bid them earlier.  If 4 is an advanced cuebid and you have the AKQ of trumps, you must make a forward-going noise.  In slam bidding, the player with good trumps is obligated to advance towards slam.  Therefore, South must bid something other then 4.  If partner is making a slam try missing the top three trump honors, he must have good controls in the other suits.  Four notrump is the only correct bid.  If partner shows three keycards, a bid of five notrump will tell partner that you have the AKQ of trumps. 

 Three experts bid 4 as a preference.  They’re assuming that 4 shows clubs which is the wrong assumption. 

 Parker:”4---I have shown my spades and denied support for diamonds twice so far.  I have nothing extra to show.  I will let partner tell me what 4 was all about.  If it is an advanced cue bid for spades I will pass 4 next since my hearts are xxx.  If he wants to play in diamonds let him.  He must not have a hand suitable for three notrump or he would have bid it over 3.”

 Shaw:”4---I think 4 is right.  I think partner is 7=5.  With 6=5 he would bid diamonds and then clubs.  Here he bids diamonds, diamonds and then clubs.  Whether the 7=1 plays better than the 5=3 is a matter of suit interior quality.  If partner now offers me a choice of 5 I would probably pass.”

 Schwartz:”4---I’m not bidding my six-card suit a fourth time, so I will take a "false" preference.  Maybe partner will decide to pass.”

 Seven experts sign off in 4.

 Adams:”4---Unless partner has no minor suit losers, 4 will play as well as five-of-a-minor, and might make if I find JTx.  If partner has no minor suit losers, partner can correct.  I did not jump to 3 over 2.  If partner is making an advance cuebid, then 4 slows auction.”

 If partner is making an advanced cuebid and you have the AKQ of trumps, you’d better sit up and smile.  

 Cappelletti:”4---What else?  Can partner have xxxAKJxxxAKJx?”

 But partner could have xxxAKJxxxAKJx.

 Rodney:”4---I really don't have anything else to say.  I think my last two spade bids have conveyed nothing more than my hand is spades, and nothing else -- I have not shown seven spades, just the inability to bid anything else.  I'm not sure what the 4-bid means.  Partner may be void in spades - all the more reason to play in spades.  My hand may be worthless in another suit.”

 Ao:”4---Spades are my only treasure.”

 Roman:”4---4 should be xx or stiff honor.”

 Hopkins:”4---I can play this suit opposite a void.  I really hope partner is 1=2=6=4 and not 0=3=6=4 or the like.  I have no real help for partner's suits.  And, of course, partner can still overrule me and continue onwards.  I rate to have this type of hand rather than something like KQJ10xxxKQxxJx where I would rebid 4 at my second turn.”

 King:”4---Having opened this hand, I think I should continue to show a minimum hand by bidding 4.”

 When partner bids a new suit at the four-level, a suit which could have been bid earlier, that bid should be an artificial slam try.  When partner makes a slam try and you have the AKQ of trumps, bid a slam.      


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: Both

Partner (North) dealt  

South Holds


- AK8765

- 3

- 1083
- J72

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

1

1

3

4*

4

?????

 

 

 


* Double would show 3 spades

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

3

11

Dbl

90

2

34

5

80

4

78

4

50

2

87

5

20

0

7

6

20

0

3

4NT

20

0

2

5

20

0

1

     Two options - defend or bid on and I like defending.  Partner has shown strength in both minors, I have two spade tricks and I know what to lead.  What does partner have for his 4-bid?  He should be at least 5=5 in the minors.  If he is 2=1=5=5, you might want to try 4.  If partner is only 5=5 in the minors, I would expect his two-card suit to be spades.  With one spade and two hearts, partner tends to be conservative.  He could be more extreme in the minors.  6=5 for instance.                 

          Five experts opt to defend and three of them pass.  With two tricks opposite an opening bid, why would you want to let the opponents play undoubled?

 Roman:”Double---Because I don't know what to bid, but I know what to lead (SA).”

 Three experts pass.  This is not a forcing situation since you could have bid 1 holding as little as KJ10xx and out. 

 Adams:”Pass---Bad splits might scuttle our high level contract, but I am too short in hearts to double.  Maybe partner will have a clearer picture of the correct contract.  Pass is not forcing, but if partner has a good hand, he will bid.  If partner passes, then we have no game, and no large penalty coming.”

 Ao:”Pass---There are many unsure things: we may or may not make game in one of our three suits, we may or may not defeat 4.  Things I know are that we don't have a nine-card spade fit, either my K or singleton heart is duplicate value in declaring five-of-a-minor and I have some defense values.  Pass leaves the following options to partner: pass with weak offense values, bid 4 with two spades, bid four notrump or 5 with 6=5 or 5=6 in minors and double with good defense values.”

 Hopkins:”Pass---Again, I have only one point in my partner's suits so I don't think going on is going to get me a plus score.  I am likely to have a trick or two on defense, but can't be sure how my minor suit lengths will affect partner's defensive trick-taking capability.  I will leave this up to partner and be happy if he passes, doubles, or bids on.”

 Four experts bid 5.  Wouldn’t you bid 4 holding as little as xxxAxxxxAKQxx or xxxAxxxxAQ10xx?  With a little luck, you could make 4 but you can never make 5.  If partner has enough strength to make 5, 4 doubled should get at least 300.

 Parker:”5---Partner has at most two spades and I have three-card support for at least a five-card and probably a six-card diamond card suit.  He should have something like xxxAKxxxAKQxx or better.  We may have a slam if he is 6=5 and diamonds break and he has the club 10, but it is too much of a guess, xxAKxxxxAK10xx.” 

 Cappelletti:”5---Should have play.”

 Rodney:”5---I expect to make five and may make six, but there are a lot of minor losers to take care of and it will be very easy to lose two tricks.”

 King:”5---This may be too conservative a bid, but I don't know how to show all of my major controls.” 

 Does partner’s 4-bid show a hand with only two minor-suit losers?

 If I were going to bid a game, I would bid 4.  Holding a minimum hand, partner might overbid with 2=1=5=5 but never with 1=2=5=5.

 Shaw:”4---Partner might have two spades or they might break 3=3.  If partner is known to have his bids I might venture 5 but modern experts will probably be bidding on a moderate 5=5.  We probably need at least one lucky break to make this hand so I hope it's in spades.”

 Schwartz:”4---Sounds like they have ten or eleven trumps so the law protects me.  I might run if doubled based on table feel.”

 Take plus scores at IMPs.


Problem 5

Imps

Vul: Both

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


- Q2

- Q7654

- J943

- A10

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

2

?????*

 

 

 


* 2NT=Limit Raise; 3=Forcing Raise

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2NT

100

6

83

4

60

3

100

3

40

1

29

4

20

0

1

3

20

0

9

3NT

20

0

1

This is the one auction where two notrump is best played as showing a limit raise in hearts.  3 shows less than a limit raise, 3 shows more than a limit raise and 4 shows a preemptive raise.  How else can you show a limit raise in hearts and still be able to play in 3?  If you have heart support, you need to show it to partner in case West bids more spades.  If you happen to have a natural two notrump, either make a negative double or jump to three notrump.  One can get by without a natural two-notrump bid.  One cannot get by without a bid which shows a limit raise.    

 Is this hand a limit raise, forcing raise, simple raise or preemptive raise?  There are two aspects to this problem.  Getting to the correct heart level and helping partner do the right thing if the opponents bid more spades.  Six experts say limit raise.  You want to play in 3 if partner has a roach such as JxxAKxxxxxKJx.  A limit raise shows some defense and you have one sure trick with plenty of chances for a second defensive trick.   

 Five experts agree with me and show a limit raise.  As a limit raise, this hand is at the bottom strength wise.  But 5=4 hands are worth more than 5=3=3=2 hands and hands with at least ten trumps play better then hands with only nine trumps. 

 Parker:”Two Notrump---5=4=2=2 plays well with five trumps.  I will let my fifth heart equal a point or two.  3 is a close second with the wasted Q.  Since we are vulnerable I will push a little bit.”

 Cappelletti:”Two Notrump---Limit raise - might make game (or beat 4 doubled).”

 Hopkins:”Two Notrump---Partner needs extras to cover my losers in the Spade and Diamond suits, so I show a limit raise.  One of the nice features of this bid is that partner might even be in a position to make a game try when he isn't sure, either.”

 Rodney:”Two Notrump---Tell partner I have some values. Partner can then make an intelligent decision if LHO bids 4.  I will bid on to 4 even if partner does not.”

 King:”Two Notrump---I have eight losers, the expected total for a limit raise.”

 Ao:”Two Notrump---Tough pick between two notrump and 4.  If partner can't bid 4 over my two notrump, then we are not likely to make the game.  In this case, 3 or whatever level of spades our opponents compete will be the final contract.  Both calls have some danger: we will double 4 that might be cold by bidding two notrump, we will not double 4 to collect only 200 or go down big number by bidding 4.  Two notrump seems to be a little less risky.”

 One expert shows a simple raise.  Wouldn’t you worry if you bid 3 and it went all pass?  Would partner bid game holding xxxAKxxxK10Kxx?  All 4 needs is to guess diamonds correctly.                       

 Shaw:”3---This seems about right on values.  Your Queen of spades is worth nothing.  While you have five hearts this could be the limit of the hand.  You don't rate to make four unless partner bids it himself.”

 Three experts show a preemptive raise.  Preemptive raises deny defense and partner might go wrong if the opponents bid 4.

 Roman:”4---Too many of partner's seven-loser hands will provide decent play for game to bid two notrump and 3 is not this hand.”

 Adams:”4---Nice to know I have limit and forcing raises available, means this bid will not be misunderstood; but this hand qualifies for neither.  I will have an easy double of 4, expecting partner to do the right thing.  If I make a misdescriptive limit or forcing raise, how will I know to respect partner's double?  If I make a single raise, I might slow down the auction and buy the contract.  Tempting, but this is losing strategy in the long run as good opponents will do the right thing given room.”

 Schwartz:”4---I'll use the law without showing a particularly good hand.  Slam is unlikely.”

 Use two notrump as a limit raise after 1 - 2. 


How the Experts Voted - Mar/Apr 2003:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
Pass
6

4

Pass

4

410
Hailong Ao
Pass
5

4

Pass
2NT

430

Mike Cappelletti
Pass
5

4

5

2NT

410

Robbie Hopkins
Pass
6

4

Pass
2NT
440
Fred King

Dbl

5

4

5

2NT

420

Steve Parker

Dbl

6

4

5

2NT

410

Steve Robinson

Dbl

6
4NT

Dbl

2NT

500

Jeff Roman
Pass
Pass

4

Dbl

4

360

David Rodney

Dbl

5

4

5

2NT

460

Alan Schwartz
Pass
6

4

4

4

280

Mark Shaw

Dbl

5

4

4

3

340


Don Berman, Web Master.