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  -  May/Jun 2003

Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Joe Wallen and Marvin Elster who tied for first with a perfect 500.  They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  I will play with each of them at a future Unit Game.  Third was Stu Fleischmann with a score of 470.  Tied for fourth were Natalie Aronsohn, Drazen Martinovic, Leo Lasota and Steve Bunning with a score of 460.  Tied for eighth were Fred Allenspach, Kieran Dyke, Bob Hartmann, Ajmal Abbasi, David Rodney, Mike Kovacich, Fred Steinberg, Kieran Dyke and Millard Nachtwey with a score of 450.  Tied for seventeenth were Bernie Lambert, Marshall Kuschner, Lyle Poe, Gareth Birdsall, Barbara Summers and Mike Lawrence with a score of 440.  Tied for twenty-third were Jennifer Lin and Hailong Ao with a score of 430.  Tied for twenty-fifth were John Ferman, Kathy Kruskal, David Chechelashvilli, Don Berman, Mark Shimshak, Joa Faria, Michelle Cantave, Brad Theurer, Leon Letwin and Bob Levey with a score of 420.  The average score of the 246 solvers was 320.  The average score of the experts was 423.


Problem 1 

Matchpoints

Vul: EW

RHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- AQ73

- 4

- KQJ72

- 1075

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

1

Dbl

2

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

5

133

3

90

4

40

Pass

60

3

53

2

40

0

12

3

20

0

1

2NT

20

0

2

3

20

0

2

3

20

0

2

Why didn’t partner bid?  If he has at least six HCPs and a four-card suit or fewer with a five-card suit, he would have bid over 2.  He knows that the opponents are in an eight-card heart fit.  He bids with any excuse.  If partner has strength therefore, his four-card suit must be hearts and he is probably exactly 3=4=3=3.  If partner has a four-card black suit, he must be broke.  If partner has a five-card suit he must be brain dead.  With a five-card suit, one bids with any excuse.  However, the opponents are at the two-level in an eight-card fit and it is a Law violation to allow them to play it there.  So is there a way that we can push the opponents around without getting partner excited?  Since partner has three diamonds, why not bid 3.  If we’re in trouble, a direct 3 would be the most difficult contract to double.  An opponent would have to have diamond length plus extra strength.  

Standard bidding says that double followed by a suit shows extra values.  There are at least three situations where bidding a suit after doubling shouldn’t promise extras values.  After 1 -- Double -- Pass –- 2 -– Pass and 1 -- Double -- Pass –- one notrump –- Pass, 2 should not show extras.  You doubled with a five-card diamond suit and 2 figures to play better than either 2 or one notrump.  The third situation is the above auction.  Bidding 3 shows five diamonds.  If you happen to have significant extra values, you have to find some other way to bid the hand. 

Three experts agree with me and bid 3.

King: ”3---It doesn't seem right to pass out 2 and the hand should be stronger to double again.”

Cappelletti: ”3---This does not necessarily show a big hand since I might have an "equal level conversion" hand, four spades and six diamonds.  I wouldn't double again which shows better hand, as partner might convert and he is very unlikely to have four spades since he passed first time.”

Parker: ”3---At matchpoints you can't afford to let them play at the two-level and expect to score well.  Partner has some points and does not have four spades or five clubs (he would have bid freely) so he should have at least three diamonds.  He may have a heart stack and if he is good enough we can make three notrump.  Double is a close second but I don't like my defense.”

Five experts reopen with a double.  Partner expects you to have extra values when you double the second time.  If he has four hearts, he might pass and he will be disappointed with your lack of defensive values. 

Lublin: ”Double---Never get anything for -110 at matchpoints”

Woolsey: ”Double---I didn't sit down to play in order to defend 2 undoubled with a singleton heart.  We probably have a spot at 3, but we can nose around and try other contracts first.  If North passes the double, that might not be so bad for us.”

Hopkins: ”Double---Something isn't right.  Partner is nominally marked with some cards yet has failed to act in a favorable competitive situation.  With my luck, partner has a 3=4=3=3 or 3=3=3=4 seven or eight count.  Even if expecting to catch something like this though, I believe it is still correct to act and hope the vulnerability protects us.  -100 should be significantly better than -110 to make the risk worthwhile.”

Bingham: ”Double---The favorable vulnerability and my stiff heart say to bid.  If we wind up in 3 doubled, I will pull to 3.  Can't let opponents play at the two-level in matchpoints.” 

Chen: ”Double---Partner must not have bid because he is either 3=4=3=3 and/or may only have about five HCPs.  At IMPs, I would definitely pass, since any other bid would be rebidding or overstating my values.  This is a tough problem at matchpoints. Pass could be correct also, as the opponents may not have diagnosed their double fit in hearts and clubs and could be cold for 4.  However, at matchpoints our best position may be our 4=3 2 contract, our 5=3 3-contract, or getting +200 vs. 2.  Since double caters to three scenarios, and pass only caters to one scenario, double, hopefully in tempo, it is.”

At IMPs there is more to gain by bidding.  Allowing the opponents to play in 2 when you can make 3 costs six IMPs.  Going for 300 when the opponents can make 2 costs only five IMPs.  Pushing the opponents to 3 where they are down one gains five IMPs. 

Three experts pass.  Sometimes you are outmanned and have to put up the white flag.  If I were 4=1=4=4, I would pass.  I would not expect partner to have a four-card suit other than hearts.

Roman: ”Pass---NON-vulnerable is NOT the same as Invulnerable.”

Schwartz: ”Pass---I have only 12 HCPs and partner couldn't make a responsive double, so he likely could have all heart strength.  If I bid 3, that should show extra values.”

Adams: ”Pass---Bidding again shows more values.”

It is a Law violation to allow the opponents to play at the two-level in an eight-card fit.  With this in mind, balancing bids should not show extra values and you should make every effort to bid.


Problem 2

Imps 

Vul: None

LHO (West)dealt

South Holds


- Void

- AQ73

- K9875

- QJ102

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

2

Pass

Pass

Dbl

ReDbl

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

11

101

2NT

30

1

41

3

30

0

72

3

20

0

19

3

20

0

7

4NT

20

0

2

3

20

0

4

You are North holding KQ1098AxxKxxxx.  West says skip bid and you expect 3.  You are taken back when he opens 2.  You pass and hope that partner reopens with a double.  It does go pass to partner who thinks for five seconds and makes your day.  Partner doubles.  You will pass in tempo and lead your stiff club.  But wait, RHO redoubles.  You pass, the same bid you would have made had RHO passed.  Your pass is a penalty pass.  If you hold xxxxxxxxxxxxx instead, you have try two notrump and hope for the best.  There is only one correct answer to this problem.  Trust partner and pass. 

Ten experts agree with me and pass.  We could be getting four figures.   

Woolsey: ”Pass---When I reopened with a double, I had made the decision, right or wrong, that my hand would be adequate for defense if partner passed the double.  Nothing has changed.  His pass is clearly defined as a penalty pass, and West's redouble doesn't mean anything except maybe he is trying to generate a misunderstanding.  We are simply playing for slightly higher stakes.” 

In this case, West had the feeling that it was go all pass and that he was in bad shape.  He redoubled to cause confusion.  Over half the solvers allowed him to avoid disaster.  

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Unless you have specific agreement to the contrary, he made a penalty pass.”

Roman: ”Pass---Partner's pass says he was going to pass for penalties, so we have arrived!”

Schwartz: ”Pass---It is worrying that RHO passed LHO's SOS redouble since it can't be to play, but partner's pass is for penalty and I will respect that.”

Parker: ”Pass---Partner can always bid something so his pass should be for penalty.  I must assume he would have passed my double so he must pass here to show a penalty.”

King: ”Pass---Partner wants to play 2 doubled and this should be even better.”

Hopkins: ”Pass--I have been told, but never have seen written, that, above one notrump, the pass of the redouble is for penalty.  My hand and the failure of East to raise makes that a very likely possibility so I'm going to see how well we can defend.

Any level partner’s pass is for penalties.

Bingham: ”Pass---Partner's pass over the redouble should be for penalty.  I have my bid and close to the 1=4=4=4 shape expected, so I will trust partner and pass.”

Chen: ”Pass---I wonder if I was the one sitting West here?  My agreement and the Washington Standard agreement (see p. 194) is that Advancer's Pass is penalty.  The redouble by opener doesn't change anything.  If partner can't pass for penalty and then he has to bid another suit, even if it is a three-card minor.  Despite my spade void, I have no reason to overrule partner, so I shall pass and expect a big number for us.”

Adams: ”Pass---Partner's pass is penalties.  This will be ugly for them.”

One expert runs.  If he didn’t want to defend, why did he double 2?

Lublin: ”Two Notrump---Even though partner’s pass is for penalty, I’m bidding two notrump for takeout because I don’t like my chances on defense.”

When an opponent redoubles and you are sitting behind him your pass is for penalty at any level.  Your RHO opens 1 and it goes pass to partner who doubles. RHO redoubles.  Since you are sitting behind RHO, your pass is a penalty pass.  If you are sitting in front of the redoubler and the suit has not been supported, then your pass should be for penalty starting at the two-level.  RHO opens 2, you double and LHO redoubles.  Partner’s pass should be for penalty.  He wants to play 2 redoubled.  If the suit has been raised, then the penalty pass starts at the three-level.  RHO opens 1, you double and LHO bids 2.  You double again and LHO redoubles.  You can remove partner’s pass.  However if LHO bids 3, you double and LHO redoubles, your partner’s pass is for penalty.


Problem 3

Matchpoints 

Vul: None

You (South) dealt

South Holds


- K10

- 4

- AK7654

- AJ98

 

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

1

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

7

71

2

60

3

62

3

50

1

25

2

50

0

77

Pass

30

1

3

3NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

6

2

20

0

1

When should you balance in passout seat?  You should balance if you have either shortness in the opponent’s suit or extra strength.  Here you have both.  The question is not whether you should balance but how you should balance.  Double is one possibility.  If partner passes your double, you should get rich.  While you don’t have to worry about partner burying you in spades, you do have to worry about the opponents finding their spade fit.  The only hand where partner might have four spades is a weak hand containing only four spades and heart length.  If I had four spades my hand would look like QxxxKxxxxxxxx.  Be conservative with length in the opponent’s suit and aggressive with shortness.

Six experts agree with me and double.  With the extra strength you should be able to handle anything partner does.

Roman: ”Double---Would I have passed a penalty double of 1?  Of course!  Therefore, this round is easy.”

Cappelletti: ”Double---And rebid 2 over 1, showing decent hand.  You also have safety tolerance for big-time spade bid.”\

Partner can’t have long spades.  Bidding 1 does not promise a lot of strength. 

Schwartz: ”Double---Want to allow for a penalty pass.  Partner isn't likely to bury you in spades when he couldn't bid over 1. Also, not clear which level and which minor to bid.”

Bingham: ”Double---Let partner decide what next.  If he bids spades, I will correct to diamonds.  On a good day, he will pass with 4=5=1=3 shape and we will beat 1 doubled and not have enough to make three notrump.  On a bad day, opponents find their spade fit.”

Hopkins: ”Double---I play this is obligatory on all hands where we are short in their suit except when we are vulnerable and they are not.  This means I might reopen with a lot of off-shape hands hoping for the penalty pass from partner.  With this hand I will be quite happy if partner passes the reopening double and reasonably comfortable if he does something else.”

Adams: ”Double---I can bid clubs over spades if partner does not sit.”

Three experts reopen with 2.  They give up the opportunity to get a penalty.  Another benefit from reopening with a double that you don’t get with reopening with 2 is that partner might have clubs and bid them over a double.   

Woolsey: ”2---Reopening with a double and going after a penalty is silly -- partner probably doesn't have a penalty pass in the first place, and if he does the opponents surely have a playable spade contract.  With 6=4 it makes more sense to rebid the diamonds now and the clubs later if necessary, giving partner maximum choice.  If I bid 2, I won't be able to show the six-card diamond suit and still be able to get out in 3.”

Why can’t partner have a penalty pass?

Lublin: ”2---I’m bidding 2 because the spade suit is out there and I can bid 3 next.  Don’t double with two little spades.”

Chen: ”2---Partner either has a weak hand or a penalty pass of 1.  Since the former is more likely, I want to plan to compete to three-of-a-minor over the opponent's undoubled 2 contract.  By bidding 2 now and rebidding 3 later, I will accurately describe the shape of this hand and allow partner to make the final decision.  If partner has a penalty pass of 1, he will hopefully bid two notrump over 2, which I can comfortably raise to three notrump.”

One expert jumps to 3.  Preempt just in case the opponents have spades.

Parker: ”3---If I double and partner bids spades I will have to retreat to diamonds and will not show this good a hand.  If the opponents bid more I may get shut out, so I opt to show a good hand and long diamonds now.  Partner can bid three notrump with stoppers in hearts and we should make it.  Three notrump at matchpoints is where we should aim for.”

One expert passes.  With 15 HCPs and short hearts, I think this is losing bridge.

King: ”Pass---If partner has a heart stack, then they must be better off in spades.”

When short in the opponent’s suit, make every effort to reopen.


Problem 4

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

You (South) dealt

South Holds


-Void

-K843

-KQ109753
-A4

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

1

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

8

75

3

70

3

62

2

40

1

90

3NT

40

0

3

4

40

0

6

Dbl

40

0

4

5

30

0

3

2

20

0

1

1

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

This time you have a weak hand, length in the opponent’s suit, and a void in the unbid major.  This points to allowing the opponents to play in 1.  However, you do have a seven-card suit that is good for offense.  So do you pass or bid?  If it’s the opponent’s hand, the other players who are sitting East-West will find their spade fit and get to the correct contract.  Suppose partner has xxxAQJ10xAxKxx.  We’re cold for 6, seven if they can’t ruff a heart on the opening lead.  The passers will be +350 collecting 50 a trick.  The object of matchpoints is to avoid disasters and if it’s your hand, passing will produce a disaster.  If it’s the opponent’s hand, bidding will produce an average.  This hand is so strange that its impossible to know whose hand it is.

Eight experts pass.  How can you pass holding a seven-card suit?

Lublin: ”Pass---Impossible auction as opponents must have nine spades so I’m going to pass and hope they have missed game also heart king is useless.”

Woolsey: ”Pass---You have to be kidding me.  Somebody has goofed.  Partner will bid 1 on a five-bagger on any excuse, and he will make a negative double on four spades with any excuse.  Thus, either partner is broke or the opponents have a ten-card spade fit (or both).  Either way, it has to be better to defend 1 than to stir up the animals.”

Roman: ”Pass---The opponents sure have a lot of spades.”

King: ”Pass---Surely here I don't want to let them find spades.”

Hopkins: ”Pass---I have this feeling my LHO has picked off our 4=4 fit.  I don't expect partner to have more than three Spades unless close to busted so I worry greatly about letting the opposition back in.  I would have some sympathy for the players who take a stab at 5, but that is really fishing for the perfect hand xxxQxJxxxKxxx.”

Bingham: ”Pass---Where are the spades?  If partner can't scrape together a negative double over 1, then the opponents are not in their best fit, and I'm not going to be able to outbid them in diamonds.  Pass before they find their spade fit.”

Chen: ”Pass---Partner didn't even do a negative double, so it is very likely the opponents have missed their spade fit.  I don't want to balance at 2 to give the opponents a second chance to find their spade fit and I don't want to balance at 3 and go for a number.”

Adams: ”Pass---Tempting to get them a second chance at finding spades, because bad splits may scuttle.  Problem is, bad splits might not be enough to set 4.”

Four experts agree with me and stir up the animals.  If it’s the opponent’s hand in spades, 3 could blow them out of the water. 

Cappelletti: ”3---Certainly correct at matchpoints even when vulnerable.”

Parker: ”3---This time it is preemptive, but partner will not know it.  He is very unlikely to be bidding three notrump here since I have hearts.  Where are the spades?  It sounds like they are 5=4 with the opponents or better.  I don't want them to find their fit, so either I pass or jump. I opt for the jump in diamonds since I have a good offensive hand.  At IMPs I would let them play it in 1.”

At IMPs, it’s more important to balance.  You don’t want to get 50 a trick when you’re cold for a slam.

The following expert has a good point.  Holding a void in spades, it is possible that West either meant to overcall in spades or psyched his heart overcall.

Schwartz: ”2---I strongly suspect a psych as where are the spades?  Hopefully partner will take my later heart bid as natural probably at the slam level over partner’s three notrump.  I bid only 2 to give a partner a chance to jump to three notrump.  That will confirm a psych.  If partner bids three notrump over 3, I can't be sure.”

Letting the opponents play at the one-level when holding a seven-card suit is not good strategy.


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


- KQ6

- A54

- 7532

- Q102

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

1

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

7

49

Pass

50

2

45

1NT

50

1

70

2

40

1

6

2

30

1

40

2NT

30

0

21

2

20

0

1

3

20

0

11

1

20

0

1

3NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

There is no call, which perfectly describes this hand.  What call comes closest and is least likely to cause a problem?  Double, pass, one notrump, two notrump and 2 are suggested calls and each has its flaw.  If you double you are likely to end up in a 4=3 or possibly a 3=3 fit.  Partner has AxxKQxxxxKxxx and responds 1 to your negative double.  Notrump could get notrump played from the wrong side.  Partner has AxxQxKxAKJxxx and bids three notrump.  Pass and you could lose a partscore swing.  Partner has AxKxxxQxxKxxx and allows them to play 1.  If you raise clubs you could find partner with AxxxKxxxxxAJx and play in a 3=3 club fit.  So what’s your poison?

Six experts agree with me and double.  Double of 1 shows both majors, at least 4=4.  You have both majors but are 3=3.  At least you’ll be at the one-level.

Lublin: ”Double---I would make the negative double to show some values but wouldn’t raise any jumps by partner except in clubs.  Might have three notrump but not from my side.”

Best would be if partner rebid either notrump or clubs.

Cappelletti: ”Double---Encourage partner to compete and push opponents since we own the majority of points.”

Parker: ”Double---Partner is short in diamonds and therefore probably long in clubs.  I will bid clubs over his expected major. Too good to pass and silly to bid notrump with four little diamonds and the lead coming thru partner.”

Bidding over partner’s one-of-a-major could be wrong if partner is 4=4=2=3.  With no eight-card fit, low is good. 

Hopkins: ”Double---Oh Happy Day!  I have support for both unbid suits and honor-third in my partner's opener.  What could be better?  I'm not sure I will ever be able to untangle the auction enough to get to our most playable spot, but I can't find a more reasonable call.”

Schwartz: ”Double---The book bid is to pass, then cue bid, but I think the more practical bid is double and play a low level major contract unless partner shows something extra.”

Chen: ”Double---All non-penalty doubles have the basic premise of "I have values but I don't know what to do," which is my situation here.  I wish I had a four-card major, but then this wouldn't be a Master Solver's Club problem.  If partner bids one-of-a-major, I will pass, since he probably has 12-14 balanced and we can't make three notrump even if he has a diamond stopper.  All other rebids after doubling should be easy.”

If you don’t double then what?  One expert bids one notrump.  If partner has a weak notrump, you should survive.  You will take a few tricks after they run the diamond suit.  Also, if LHO has a singleton diamond, he might not lead it.  If partner has a better hand and bids three notrump, this will not be a good result.

Roman: ”One notrump---The real answer is pass, but I doubt I'd be able to do it in tempo.”

Two experts raise clubs.  If you are going to play in a 4=3 fit, why not play in a major?  On good days partner has five clubs.

King: ”2---I have too few clubs, but make up for it with extra points.”

One expert will get to at least three clubs.  I’d rather play in one-of-a-major.

Bingham: ”2---Limit raise in clubs.  Yes, I'm one or two clubs short, but this bid shows my values, and lying about my club length seems a lesser evil than bidding notrump without a diamond stopper or a negative double with only three cards in each major.”

Two experts pass.  The problem with passing is that you will have no clue where you belong if partner reopens with a double. Partner doubles holding AJxxxxxxxAKxx and you cuebid.  Partner bids 2.  So instead of playing in 1 as the negative doublers are going to do, you are going to play in at least 2. 

Woolsey: ”Pass---It is very unlike to go all pass, and if it does that might be as good as anything.  If partner reopens with a double, I will cue-bid 2, which shows a hand something like this -- no suit to bid, no diamond stopper, but a fair amount of strength.  I can probably handle most other auctions decently.  Any action I take now other than passing is a distortion from which I may not be able to recover.”

Adams: ”Pass---I've no bid, and no guarantee of game.  When partner doubles, I can cue 2 and hope partner gets the message.”

While one tries to have a four-card major when making a negative doubles, sometimes there is no other way to show strength.


How the Experts Voted - May/Jun 2003:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
Pass
Pass

Dbl

Pass
Pass
410

Rick Bingham

Dbl

Pass

Dbl

Pass

2

430

Mike Cappelletti

3

Pass

Dbl

3

Dbl

460

Mark Chen

Dbl

Pass

2

Pass

Dbl

460

Robbie Hopkins

Dbl

Pass

Dbl

Pass

Dbl

500

Fred King

3

Pass

Pass

Pass
2

430

Glenn Lublin

Dbl

2NT

2

Pass

Dbl

390

Steve Parker

3

Pass

3

3

Dbl

410
Steve Robinson

3

Pass

Dbl

3

Dbl

460

Jeff Roman
Pass
Pass

Dbl

Pass
1NT

410

Alan Schwartz
Pass
Pass

Dbl

2

Dbl

400

Kit Woolsey

Dbl

Pass

2

Pass
Pass

410


Don Berman, Web Master.