ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Jul/Aug 2003

Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Darwin Afdahl who came in first with a score of 490.  He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  Tied for second were Gareth Birdsall, Yi Zhong and Kathy Paramore with a score of 480.  Tied for fifth were Jeff Watson, Elliot Grant and Dario Filjar with a score of 450.  Tied for eighth were Fletcher Smoak, Fred Wagner, Millard Nachtwey, Rick Bingham, John P Glynn, Fred Steinberg and Mark Rosen with a score of 440.  Tied for fifteenth were Matthew Haag, Craig Olson, Elliot Itkin, Natalie Aronsohn, Joe Lentz, Rob Graves, Ted Wilkinson and Mel Welles with a score of 430.  Tied for twenty-second were Rich Ferrin, Lee Bauer, Rick Eissenstat, Georgianna Whipple, Jim Allen, George Lewis, Ravi Arulnandhy, Don Berman, Kieran Dyke, Nikola Tcholakov and Ajmal Abbass with a score of 420.  The average score of the 254 solvers was 347.  The average score of the experts was 415.

      All readers are encouraged to send answers and/or new problems to Steve Robinson, 2891 S. Abingdon St. #A2 Arlington, Va, 22206.  In addition to the winner receiving a free play at the WBL Unit Game, Steve will play with anyone who gets a perfect score or who exactly matches all five of his answers.  If you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the above address along with your answers, Steve will send you a copy of the new problems to ensure that you can meet his next deadline.  You can pick up a copy of the problems at the WBL Unit Game in Maryland, and can send answers or requests for problems to robinswr@erols.com.  WBL Solvers Club uses Washington Standard as published July 1996.


Problem 1 

Matchpoints

Vul: None

RHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- 4

- 10642

- KJ3

- AQ753

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

3

Pass

Pass

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

6

63

3NT

90

6

105

4

80

0

2

4

70

0

52

3

50

0

23

4

40

0

5

5

40

0

2

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     Partner has made a takeout double and the experts have voted for two choices.  Pass the takeout double and play for penalties or bid game.  If you pass, lead a spade and hope you beat them.   If you can make game, hope to beat them more then the value of your game.  Playing for game is more difficult.  If partner has KQJxAxxxxKJxx, 3NT is the only game that makes.  If partner has xxxxAKJxxxKJx, you belong in 4 and if partner has xxxxAQJxKJxxx, 5 is the only game that makes.  If there were only one game in the picture, the choice would be easy but with three possible games, passing for penalties becomes clear.  If you beat them at least one trick, you beat all the pairs who get to the wrong game and go minus.

 Five experts agree with me and play for penalties.

 Roman:”Pass---My guess is that pass will work best unless we have a slam (300 vs. nothing, 500 vs. game).  I'm leading my stiff spade, of course.”

 Lublin:”Pass---And get plus score.  No guarantee we make game.”

 Adams:”Pass---Assuming they have nine diamonds and we have eight hearts, that is 17 total tricks, and it looks right to bid.   However, I have three Law modifiers; bad Hearts, KJx of Diamonds, and probable spade wastage.  Only if we are making 6 do I think we have a better spot.  Will take likely plus.”

 Elster:”Pass---All other bids have good chance of going minus, so I'll take my only chance for a 'sure' plus.” 

 Cappelletti:”Pass---And lead spade.”

 If you decide to pull partner’s takeout double, use the Wolff rule -- When 3NT is a possibility, bid 3NT.

 Woolsey:”3NT---I believe the fifth club argues for declaring rather than defending, although passing is tempting.  I don't like the idea of introducing the heart suit.  A 4-3 fit would play awfully, and a 4-4 fit could easily be wrong.”

 Wallen:"3NT---I have diamonds double stopped with a source of tricks.  Hearts will likely break badly.”

 Hopkins:”3NT.  I hope to use the Club suit as my main source of tricks along with my Diamond stoppers and a few major suit tricks from partner’s hand.  4 could suffer if there is a 4-1 split.”

 Parker:”3NT---I have a good five-card suit, two stoppers in the opponent’s suit and a very weak four-card major.  It all sounds like notrump is the best bet for plus.”

 King:”3NT---Partner is in balancing seat, so this could be a big overbid, but with a double stop in diamonds it seems right to be aggressive.”

 Schwartz:”3NT---With diamonds and hopefully spades onsides, I hope to make it even if we are light on HCP.  Too short in diamonds for penalty pass with danger of them have a double fit.  No way to safely investigating Hearts without getting too high.”

 When there is a choice between taking a small plus score and maybe getting to the wrong game, take the small plus.    


Problem 2

Matchpoints 

Vul: EW

LHO (West)dealt

South Holds


- Q2

- A

- A76

- AKQ10753

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

Pass

Pass

2

?????

 

 

 


3 and 4 are NOT valid answers and will be given 0 points.

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3NT

100

7

47

3

80

2

19

5

50

1

33

Dbl

40

2

139

2NT

30

0

2

4NT

20

0

8

Pass

20

0

1

5NT

20

0

1

3

00

0

4

What is your bid?

3, asking partner to bid 3NT with a spade stopper, is a perfect answer to this problem.  But you’re playing 3 as Michaels.  A Michaels hand occurs more often than the solid suit hand.  Wouldn’t you like to play in 3NT if partner holds QJ10xxxKQJxQx opposite a typical Michaels hand such as xKQ1032xxAKJxx?  You can’t play 3NT if you have to bid 4.  A jump to 4 showing a better hand than 3 would also be a good answer.  But, you’re playing 4 as ‘Leaping Michaels’.  A jump to four-of-a-minor over a weak-two shows that minor and the unbid major but with extreme distribution.  4 shows -KQJxxxxAKxxxx where 3NT is not a likely contract. 

 Seven experts say that if you can’t ask partner to bid 3NT with a spade stopper, assume partner has some spade help and bid 3NT.  So what if partner is short in spades and they run the first six spade tricks.  3NT would make more sense if you were in balancing seat.  In balancing seat, you would know that West does not have four-card spade support.  You could also escape even if you are off the first six spade tricks if East doesn’t lead one.  East might be afraid to lead from KJxxxxx.  I would be much happier bidding 3NT if East were non vulnerable.  There’s too much chance that the weak-two opener has the AK of spades and that West will lead a spade.  West knows that his partner has made a vulnerable weak-two.  

 Elster:”3NT---Partner always has Jxx on this hand.  Or LHO believes me and leads from his KQJxx of hearts.”

 On good days, partner has Jxx of spades.  On bad days he has three little.

 Lublin:”3NT---I make it if board has Jxx of spades.  If board has 10xx, they have to work it out and it’s a matchpoint bid.”

 Adams:”3NT---Too many good things can happen here.  Might be cold.  They might bid 4, they might not lead spades, they might duck to preserve communication when dummy has just a doubleton spade, noting the value of my spade deuce in concealing opening leader's three-card spade holding.  Best of all, this might be a good save against spades.”

 Cappelletti:”3NT---The only question is will I sit for double.”   

 Hopkins:”---3NT.  Bid what I think I can make.  I only lose when our combined hands don't produce a Spade stopper and they let me play in 3NT.  I have been rescued before when LHO has four Spades and bids 4.”

 Suppose LHO bids 4.  Are you going to be in a better position?

 Woolsey:”3NT---If I'm not allowed to ask for a stopper, I'll simply bid one.”

 Roman:”3NT---Maybe they can't run the spade suit...maybe they won't lead one.”

 Two experts violate the “Don’t double with shortness in the unbid major rule”.  If you double, you might as well jump to directly to 5.

 Wallen:"Double---I have sympathy for a direct 3NT call.  Partner may have a partial stopper, or 3NT may be a good save when partner is broke.  I'll double hoping to extract more information.”

 King:”Double---If partner bids the expected 2NT, I can bid 3NT and make it harder for east to lead a spade, I hope.”

 If partner has a weak heart hand, he probably won’t pass  when you double and then bid 3NT.

 If you don’t want to gamble on 3NT and you can’t violate the takeout double rule, then some number of clubs is your only other option.   

 One expert jumps to 5.

 Parker:”5---3NT seems right if you feel the vibes from East that he may not have his bid. On the other hand it would be silly to lose the first six tricks when you can just claim 5 if partner has any diamond or heart cards and an entry.  Sometimes you just go plus and move on.”

 One expert agrees with me and bids the minimum number of clubs.  If someone bids over 3, you should be OK.  If 3 ends the auction, it could be right.

 Schwartz:”3---Due to the poor methods, I am fixed. I can’t bid 5 off two likely spade losers.  With them vulnerable, I can’t  play for their spades not to run. Maybe someone will find another bid.”

 There’s a big difference between direct and passout seat.  In passout seat, you can assume that your partner has a stopper and balance with 3NT. 

 Play cuebids as Michaels.  It comes up more often.      


Problem 3

Matchpoints 

Vul: NS

RHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- J10864

- K104

- Void

- K8653

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

Pass

Pass

2

Pass

3

?????

 

 

 

 

=

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

4

81

Pass

90

6

138

3

70

2

28

3NT

20

0

3

4

20

0

2

4

20

0

2

4

20

0

1

What is your bid?

You are in balancing position since the opponents are going to stop in 3.  This is different from 1 - 2 where opener is unlimited.  Do you act over 3?  When in doubt, compete when short in the opponent’s suit and pass when long.  Short is two or fewer.  With Qx, you could treat as long.  You are definitely short so it’s right to act.  Partner won’t count on you for much since you’re a passed hand.  Six experts take action.  Three of them agreeing with me hoping partner has good diamonds.  If partner doesn’t have diamonds, he could have KQxxQJxxxxxQx and with good breaks you can make four spades or xAxxxxxxAQxxx and with good breaks you can make 5.   

 Lublin:”Double---Because partner can’t hang me and might have hearts but not spades.”

 Wallen:"Double---Having already passed, partner will know I'm doubling on distribution.  Partner is marked with values and didn't bid 2.  Assuming partner has at most eight red cards, we are guaranteed a fit.  I'd pass at IMPs.”

 Roman:”Double---Have you seen the 3rd-seat, white-on-red preempts these days?  Partner may really have them. I'll bid 3 over 3, of course.”

 Two experts reopen with 3 giving up possible penalties.  If the opponents end up in 4, partner could lead a disastrous spade.  3 works when partner is 3-3-4-3 but holds bad diamonds.

 Adams:”3---Can't hope for partner to bid.  Glad I’m a passed hand.  Partner has a lot of inferences available and should land us in the right spot.”

 Parker:”3---Partner will not be able to balance since he will be long in diamonds.  My distribution asks me to play, not defend.  Double is silly since I have no defense and partner is a passed hand.  If they double loudly I will run to clubs.”

 Six experts pass.

 Elster:”Pass---Lousy suits, mediocre defense.”

 Woolsey:”Pass---If partner has a penalty double, he can make one without my help (yes, double of 3 by him would be penalties).  Otherwise it's a guess, but flying in blind at the three-level without any particular reason to expect a fit is pretty scary.”

 If you double and partner removes it, you are guaranteed at least one eight-card fit.  If partner has a balanced 11-count, don’t you want to compete holding two five-card suits?

 Cappelletti:”Pass---Partner will have a chance to act over 3.”

 Hopkins:”Pass---Partner can look at his Diamond holding and decide what to do.  Hint, having three or four small is the call to action.  Whenever I try to prebalance with a double in this position, my partner has something like a 3-3-4-3 pattern, passes for penalties, and they scrape it home.”

 If partner holds KQxQJxxxxxQxx, he knows that you are short in diamonds but didn’t take any action.  That points to you having extreme weakness.  Letting the opponents play in 3 is not going to be a good score.

 King:”Pass---Call me chicken, but I don't want to double with such disparity in length between my majors, I don't think the spade suit is good enough to bid and I don't want to risk a -200.”

 Schwartz:”Pass---Certainly sounds like partner is trapping so will give him a chance to double.  Can't see doubleing myself with imperfect distribution and only seven HCPs.  It has happened before that they opened 2 with close to an opening bid and its their hand.”

 If partner bids 3, you can bid 3 and show spades and clubs. 

 Pass when long in the opponent’s suit, compete when short. 


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: None

Parter (North) dealt

South Holds


-Void

-KQ10932

-Q43

-K1054

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

Dbl

ReDbl

Pass

2

Pass

Pass

3

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

6

144

Pass

60

3

31

3

40

1

23

3

30

2

39

3NT

20

0

6

4

20

0

11

What is your bid?

2 shows a weak diamond-spade distributional hand.  Fewer than 13 HCPs.  If you have a good diamond-spade hand, pass the redouble and bid diamonds at your next opportunity.  Since partner has a weak hand with at least 5-5 in spades and diamonds, there leaves little room for hearts.  This is a semi misfit hand.  Passing 2 is the best way to get a plus score.  West balanced with 3 and we have four of them.  Remember, West did not bid clubs directly over the double so he shouldn’t have more then four.  Partner can’t be void in clubs, since he would surely bid again.  The opponents are at best in an eight-card club fit and could be in a seven-card club fit.  I know that they could make 3 doubled, but the odds are they will go down.  You have hearts behind the takeout doubler and a void in partner’s first-bid suit. 

Five experts agree with me.  Make them pay. 

Lublin:”Double---Why did I pass partner’s 2 bid?  I would certainly double now.”

Elster:”Double---I'd have bid 2 after partner's 2 bid and now could double 3 to show my hand and let partner judge whether to pass or bid on.  I guess I double, but feel a bad result coming my way.”

Wallen:"Double---Having failed to bid hearts on the previous round, I'm not going to introduce them now.  Where are their tricks?  This auction may even induce a trump lead from partner!”

Cappelletti:”Double---But why did I not bid 2 over 2?”

Parker:”Double---Partner can bid 3 with great distribution and long diamonds.  This is a misfit for everyone, so I will double and start hearts.  BTW I would never redouble with a six-card suit.  How can I ever show it unless I start with 2?”

Three experts are wimps. 

Woolsey:”Pass---We don't have a game (at least so I decided when I passed out 2).  We can probably defeat 3, but the odds on doubling are very wrong.  The fate of 3 is uncertain.  Thus, pass is the percentage action.”

Roman:”Pass---Did I really bid this way to this point?  I would've bid 2, but partner has a bad hand, so I'm not willing to wheel out the heart suit at the three-level.”

Schwartz:”Pass---Looks like both sides have eight trumps, so no need to compete.”

Three experts let West off the hook.

Hopkins:”3---Partner shows a minimum distributional two-suiter (such as KQxxxxxAJxxxx).  I could conceivably get +300 against 3 doubled, but most likely is +100 or -470.  I expect to have a good play for 3 and I am going to give them one more chance to compete.”

King:”3---I owe partner a bid and I can't pass up a suit this good.”

Adams:”3---Who knows?  I have a good suit, and a fit for Diamonds.  That should protect me.  LHO is probably long in Spades and short in Diamonds.  3 might have trouble finding tricks on a trump lead, but on a non-trump lead we will be hard pressed to defeat it.   Not even sure partner has a club to lead.”

After passing 2, partner is going to think you are crazy.  Is partner supposed to pass 3 with a singleton?

If the opponents don’t make a doubled contract once in a while, you’re not doubling enough.  Holding four trumps is a good reason to double them. 

Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: None

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


- AJ1043

- 2

- K43

- AQ32

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

Pass

1

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

1

0

3

90

6

25

4

60

1

9

3

50

3

186

4NT

40

1

8

5

30

0

4

4

30

0

3

3

30

0

7

6

30

0

2

5

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

4

20

0

1

2

20

0

3

3NT

20

0

4

What is your bid?

This is an easy problem.  First you want to find out if partner has three spades.  If partner does not have three spades, you want to show diamond support.  If partner has heart strength you want to play in 3NT, otherwise you want to play in diamonds.  So what is the best way to elicit the most information from partner?  2!  2 in this situation is forcing and asks partner to describe his hand.  Usually the cheapest bid is the most efficient way to ask partner to describe his hand.  You would bid 2 as fourth suit forcing if the auction went 1-1-2.  Why not bid 2 here?  Over 2, opener can bid 2 to show three spades, bid 2NT to show stoppers in clubs and hearts, bid 3 to show a 6-4 diamond-club hand, bid 3 to show extra diamonds or raise hearts with four.  Over 2, you can try for a spade slam by splintering and you start at a lower level.  Over 2NT and 3, you can bid 3 setting up a diamond slam auction and you start at a lower level.  Using 3 as the artificial force is very awkward.  You won’t be able to show your diamond support below 3NT.  Partner will bid 3NT over 3 with a smattering of strength in clubs and hearts assuming he does not have three-card spade support.  Suppose you hold a game-forcing semi-solid six-card spade suit such as KJ10xxxxxKxxAK.  Since jumping to 3 over 2 is invitational, you have to create a force first.  If you bid 2 as the artificial force, you will be able to show your six spades and get possible two-card support below 3NT.     

Three experts bid 3.  But does partner have xQxxAQxxxxKJx where 6 is cold and 3NT might go down?  Does he have xAKQQJxxxxJxx where 3NT is where you belong?  Partner will bid 3NT over 3 holding both hands.  

Lublin:”3---And over 3NT bid 4 and drive it into slam.  More than likely into diamond slam although we could have grand.”

Wallen:"3---I'll bid 4 over a 3NT call from partner.  Partner should get a good picture of my hand.”  

When I show partner diamond support at the three-level and he bids 3NT, maybe you don’t belong higher.

All partner will know is that you have a good hand with diamond support.

Roman:”3---An excellent example of why I like to play 3 here as forcing.”

Six experts bid 3.  If it were clear what 3 meant, 3 would be a good bid.  Even the experts are not 100% sure on whether it’s a splinter or natural.  It’s not very good to make a bid that partner might not understand in a constructive auction.  3 should be a splinter.  Jumps when the lower bid is forcing are splinters, showing shortness, trump support and interest in slam.  But doesn’t 3 leads to 3NT when partner has KxxKQ10Axxxxxx?    

Cappelletti:”3---Splinter.”

Parker:”3---Splinter.  If 3 shows 5-5 in the majors I just forgot another convention.  I assume 4 is RKC for Diamonds.  I need to show my fit and a good hand.  If 3 is 5-5 I would bid 3 and hate it.”  

Elster:”3---Which I believe is a splinter.  If not I bid 3.  This hand will produce slam opposite lots of minimums - so let's explore.”

Suppose partner is on the wrong wavelength and thinks that 3 is natural and raises to 4.  You must assume that 4 is some sort of diamond cuebid or diamond RKC and bid accordingly.        

Woolsey:”3---Looks like a model splinter to me.  Of course 2 should be forcing, so 3 is a splinter.”

King:”3---A splinter.  We could easily have a slam in Diamonds and I need to show my shape to partner to get that message across.”

Schwartz:”3---When partner shows six trumps, my splinter should guarantee only three, but anyway it’s the best way to investigate slam or the right game.”

Hopkins:”4NT---I am going slamming unless partner has no Key Cards.  Ace six times in Diamonds and either black King gives me a play for slam.”

4NT as RKC Blackwood?  If you want to be a serious bridge player, you should learn to play Kickback where one-over-the-trump-suit at the four-level asks for keycards.  If spades are trumps, 4NT works perfectly.  If diamonds are trumps, 4 gives you the same room as 4NT does over 4 when spades are trumps and you don’t get to slam off two keycards because partner’s answer was too high.   In this situation, if partner has one keycard, he’ll respond 5 to 4NT and you won’t be able to ask partner if he has the queen.  

I like the following bid.  You’ll get to 6 if partner has at least two of the three missing keys and you’ll play in 5 if you’re off a keycard and the queen.

Adams:”4---RKC for Diamonds.  Second choice is 2, forcing, but most partners do not really get this bid so I avoid it without a little something in Hearts.  Wishing I had a way to splinter, but I do not, so just take the practical approach.   2 also risks getting raised to 3, leaving me an ugly followup, including losing kickback.  3 I really hate, because 3NT will be next and I will have no clue what to do.  4 is reasonable, but assumes Partner would make a better captain.  6 rates to have a play.”

The point I want to make here is that 2 should be the artificial force here.  Over 2, responder can get a more natural response from opener while staying lower.  If you can bid 2 as fourth suit forcing to game holding AQJxxxAxxAxxx after 1-1-2 to find three-card spade support, then you can bid 2 as an artificial ask in this auction. 


How the Experts Voted - Jul/Aug 2003:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
Pass
3NT

3

3
4
360
Mike Cappelletti
Pass
3NT
Pass

Dbl

3

480

Marvin Elster
Pass
3NT
Pass

Dbl

3

480

Robbie Hopkins
3NT
3NT
Pass
3

4NT

370

Fred King
3NT

Dbl

Pass
3
3

360

Glenn Lublin

Pass
3NT

Pass

Dbl

3

440

Steve Parker
3NT
5

3

Dbl

3

390

Steve Robinson
Pass
3

Dbl

Dbl

2
470
Jeff Roman
Pass
3NT

Dbl

Pass
3

400

Alan Schwartz
3NT
3
Pass
Pass
3

420

Tim Wallen
3NT

Dbl

Dbl

Dbl

3

370

Kit Woolsey

3NT
3NT
Pass
Pass
3

440


Don Berman, Web Master.