ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Sep/Oct 2003

Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Greg Humphreys  who came in first with a score of 500. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  Since he got a perfect score I will play with Greg at a future Unit Game.

      Tied for second were Chris Marks, George Lewis, Dan Koch, Marshall Kuschner, Jeff Watson, and Robert Jenkins with a score of 470.  Eighth was Walter Beckerman with a score of 460.  Tied for ninth were Robert Stone, Mike Jimks, Kieran Dyke, Mark Laken, Bob Flynn with a score of 450.  Tied for fourteenth were Barry Bragin, Richard Ferrin, Mike Zane, Butch Lieble, Fred Wagner, William Adams, Gregory Belmonte, Joe Wallen, Neak McKinney, Randy Becham, Ted Wilkinson, Hailong Ao, Jim Adams, Sam Keiter, Lloyd Rawley, Rob Graves, Barbara Summers, Alan Kravetz, Jack Goldhaber, Pete Whipple, Jay Weinstein, Audrey Warren, Rick Eissenstat, Steve Bunning, Robert Henry, Jonathan Siegel, Mike Mayer with a score of 440. The average score of the 303 solvers was 313.  The average score of the experts was 410.

        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.

       The book Washington Standard second edition is out.  If you are a serious bridge player, this book is a must.  You can purchase a copy from Steve for $25.00 at the Unit Game and at tournaments or can send him a check for $28.95 that includes $3.95 for priority mail.


Problem 1

Matchpoints

Vul: None

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


- AQ82

- J5432

- 54

- J9

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1NT

Pass

2

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

7

208

2NT

50

3

59

3

40

0

13

3

40

0

12

3NT

30

0

4

2

20

0

6

Pass

20

0

1

What is your bid?

Is this hand worth a force to game, an invitation to game or a choice of partscores? If opener had shown a major, you probably would have bid game but when opener denies a four-card major, game is problematic. With your weak hearts, even if opener has three hearts, this hand could play poorly in hearts at the game level. So by bidding 2, Garbage Stayman, you ask opener to pass with three hearts or correct to 2 with two hearts and three spades. With 2-2, opener passes 2and takes his chances.2 should play well enough to get a plus score.

Three experts invite with 2NT. By inviting with 2NT, they are burying the heart suit.

Lublin: ”2NT---Would probably not force to game with meager heart suit and would not Smolen.  Just bid 2NT.”

Smolen is a convention designed to make sure that the notrump opener plays the hand. Over 2, which denies a four-card major, responder jumps in his four-card major. If responder has another ace, he jumps to 3 showing four spades and five hearts. This allows opener to bid 4holding three. He can’t bid 4 since he doesn’t have four.

Adams: ”2NT---Looks like a four-card Heart suit to me. 2NT is the only way to invite given Washington Standard methods.Notrump might even play better than Hearts when partner has three.”

Cappelletti:”2NT---Enough to invite game; bidding 2 would be taking an unjustified pessimistic position.”

Seven experts give up on game.

King: ”2---This just asks partner to pass or correct to 2 if he has 3-2 in the majors.When I responded 2 I could not show this distribution and an invitational hand--but this is okay because this hand is not good enough to invite at matchpoints.”

Hopkins: ”2---Go plus at matchpoints.”

Roman: ”2---The only other possibility is 2NT (a Smolen 3 bid would be silly) but the reason I didn't transfer to hearts and bid 2 is that I judged this hand wasn't worth a game invitation unless I bought a four-card major from partner (NOT "I want to invite game, but I'm going to treat this heart suit as four cards", an approach I don't recommend). I agree with that judgment. Game tries at matchpoints should be full-value (as opposed to IMPs, where game tries are made aggressively) and my weak heart spots argue for conservatism.”

Schwartz:”2---With at most 25 HCPs, the poor suit turns me off. Only if partner has a five-card club suit is 3NT likely when the hearts aren't running.”

Parker:”2---An in between hand, not good enough to force to game but would like to invite. 2 can be mildly constructive.”

Afdahl:”2---Partner is supposed to correct to 2 with two hearts and three spades. It is matchpoints and we should be looking for a plus score. Jacks are really not worth one point, especially jack and one.”

At matchpoints, one does not have to try for close games.

Problem 2

Imps

Vul: None

You (South)dealt

South Holds


- AKQ872

- A3

- QJ103

- 9

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

1

Pass

1NT

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

5

59

3

70

3

91

3

50

0

94

2

40

2

30

3NT

30

0

6

3

20

0

2

4

20

0

1

2

20

0

13

4NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

4

20

0

2

Pass

20

0

1

2NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

All you need to have a good play for 4 is for partner to have one red king and a couple of spades. If that is the case, how can you afford to stay out of 4? It’s true that partner could have AKxxx and you could probably make 6 but give partner xJxxxxxxxxxAJ and your best chance to make game is to play in 4. Four experts agree with me and bid the obvious game.

Cappelletti: ”4---Should have less problems than 3NT with heart lead.”

Schwartz:”4---Should have a reasonable shot opposite most hands and gives the opponents little info.”

Parker:”4---Too many slow diamond tricks for notrump.  No sense jumping to 3 when all I need is the DK to make game.”

Afdahl:”4---IMPS and I have only four losers.  I only need the king of diamonds, ace of clubs, or king of hearts (a good partner will have the nine of diamonds if he doesn't have the king of diamonds) to make game as long as I don't have a spade loser.  If partner has the ace and king of diamonds and another control, he will likely bid again.”

Five experts bid diamonds.  A good reason NOT to bid diamonds is that if partner has voidKxK9876542xxx, which gives you twice as many diamonds as spades, you can usually make 420 in spades and only 400 in diamonds.  Another good reason is that bidding diamonds could make it easier for the opponents to defend.

Lublin: ”3---Would jump shift into diamonds as don’t probably have have nine spades and could have diamond slam.  Can always play 4 or 3NT but 3 tells partner I’m short someplace.”

Adams: ”3---Losing trick count is four, so I must force to game.  Slam is likely opposite AKxxx of diamonds and out.  At matchpoints, tempting to bid 4, to improve chances of a favorable lead.”

Hopkins: ”3---My real problem will be deciding what to do if partner bids 3NT--sit or pull to 4?”

Two experts bid only 2.  Aren’t you going to be sick if partner passes 2?  I would pass 2 holding xKxxxAxxxxxxx.  Notice that 4 is practically a lock.

King: ”2---I would like to show this as a strong 6-4 hand which is done by bidding the four-card suit second and then rebidding the six-card suit.”

Roman: ”2---If I get to bid again I'll be well placed, since rebidding spades will show a strong 6-4. (If there weren't ANY hands where it was good to be playing a forcing club system, nobody would play them.)"

When you have a major that will play well opposite a void, don’t confuse matters by introducing a minor.


Problem 3

Matchpoints 

Vul: None

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- K4

- AKQ10985

- A3

- K9

 

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

Pass

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

7

191

1

70

1

29

3NT

60

2

23

4

50

0

42

2

20

0

3

4NT

20

0

8

4

20

0

1

2NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

5

20

0

2

2

20

0

1

What is your bid?

You need practically nothing to make game and all you need to make slam is for partner to have AQJ10 of a black suit.  If you’re playing controls over 2, you can find out right away if partner has an ace.  If partner denies an ace, you can jump to 4 ending the auction.  If you’re not playing controls and partner makes a positive response you are in the slam zone.

Six experts agree with me and open 2.

Lublin: ”2---Would open 2 asking for controls and if no slam would rebid 3NT from my side.”

Adams: ”2---How can this be wrong?   Controls are what I need to know, and 2 solicits them.”

Hopkins: ”2---Let's see: I have a 9+ trick hand, a self-sufficient suit, five primes, etc.  What opening bid is used for that type of hand?”

Cappelletti: ”2---I hope we are playing control responses.”

Roman: ”2---What?  I'm supposed to open 4 so my two passed opponents don't find their spade fit?  We could easily have a slam.”

Afdahl: ”2---This looks like nine tricks to me.  I would be afraid that if I opened one heart, partner with only one ace would pass and we would miss our game.  The opponents don't always balance.”

One expert opens 1.  How are you going to find out what partner has when his most likely responses are 1 and 1NT?

King: ”1---There are too many hands that even a passed partner could hold that will make six for me to bash 4.  I could start with 2, but playing Kokish I can't really show my suit until the three-level and this leaves little room for exploration.  Even playing control responses, I need partner to hold at least one Ace, but I also need to know about his Q's.  I think starting low is best.”

Two experts try 3NT.  If partner has QxxxxxxxQxxxx, you can easily make 4 but will go down in 3NT.  Since this is matchpoints, you need to be in a position to score your black kings.  IMPs are a different story where 3NT is very likely to be made on a black suit lead.

Parker: ”3NT---This protects both kings and in fourth seat can show this type of hand.”

Schwartz: ”3NT---Rates to play the same as hearts opposite many North hands, preempts the opponents from finding a sacrifice and might tempt West to make the "book" lead of an ace.” 

Against a gambling 3NT its important to get your five tricks early since declarer will have a lot of tricks once he gets in.  Therefore, a good lead against a gambling 3NT is an ace.  That way you can see dummy and decide whether or not to switch.

Open 2when a few fitting cards will get you to slam.

Problem 4

Imps

Vul: Both

You (South) dealt

South Holds


-8

-9

-AQ1032

-AK8765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1

100

7

175

Pass

90

1

1

1

70

2

121

2

50

0

3

1

20

0

2

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

How do you show a good hand with six clubs and five diamonds? One way is to open 1 and then bid diamonds twice. You have to bid diamonds twice because the first diamond bid shows only four. Another way is to pass first, bid the unusual notrump and if necessary, bid clubs. Since a passed hand notrump bids are usually for the minors, you can bid notrump at the lowest level possible. This shape is good for the unusual notrump since partner will prefer clubs with equal length. Seven experts open 1. Most of them plan on reversing.

Adams: ”1---Planning to reverse.”

Hopkins: ”1---I feel I have enough to bid Diamonds later.  The danger in this approach is running into a two-suited misfit where you are forced to the four-level because you reversed.”

Roman: ”1---If they're in four-of-a-major when it gets back to me I'll bid 4NT, otherwise I'll bid diamonds 'til partner gets the idea."

How many diamonds does 4NT show?

Schwartz: ”1---Playing strength is enough for a reverse.  Can always bid notrump later if the opponents interfere to get the diamonds in.”

Afdahl: ”1---I know, only 13 HCPs, but I am 5-6, and I have quality controls in both of my suits.  We could easily have a game or slam, or a profitable save against the opponents major suit game.”

Two experts open 1 and plan to bury the diamond suit.

Cappelletti: ”1---I like to keep reversing as an option in competition.  With no competition, I rebid 2 then 3.  Opening 1 often gets you to wrong fit opposite 2-2.”

King: ”1---I don't want the auction to go 1-1M; 2-2.  If partner is giving a false preference I could be in a seven-card diamond fit instead of a nine-card club fit!  I will bid 1 and then 2 and only if partner forces will I bid 3.”

Two experts open 1.  The problem is that partner is going to take you back to diamonds with equal length in the minors.  If partner is 4522 he’ll correct clubs to diamonds.

Lublin: ”1---No giant hand for minor reverse so would open 1 and bid clubs twice.”

Parker: ”1---Partner or someone will bid a major and I don't want to reverse.  I will bid diamonds twice and hope to get to the right contract.  It would be easy if only the opponents bid.  I could open Clubs and then bid notrump.”

Some hands are better described by passing first.

Problem 5

Imps

Vul: Both

You (South) dealt

South Holds


- AKQ54

- Q2

- AK54

- 54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

2*

Pass

2

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 


* Game Force

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2NT

100

3

28

3

70

3

97

3

50

2

58

4NT

50

1

34

5

50

1

3

3

40

0

21

3NT

40

0

4

4

20

0

43

4

20

0

4

4

20

0

6

4

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

Pass

20

0

1

6

20

0

1

What is your bid?

How does opener continue after getting three-card spade support?  With a very very very bad hand, opener jumps to 4.  Q10xxxQxQJ10xxA for instance.  With a sound minimum, opener bids 3.  It’s important to be able to limit the strength of your hand.  If responder has a minimum hand also, he bids 4 and the opponents will not learn any more about opener’s hand.  Bidding 3 allows responder to investigate slam at the four-level if he has at least an ace more than a minimum game force.  Bidding 3 also allows responder to bid 3NT offering opener a choice of games.  If opener has a very good hand, he shows his distribution.  With 55, opener rebids his five-card suit.  With 5431 or 6421, opener bids the third suit showing shortness in the fourth suit.  With 5422, opener bids notrump.  This allows responder to evaluate whether or not he has wasted values.  There will be plenty of room for cuebidding.

Two experts agree with me and show their balanced hand.  This also allows responder to limit his hand by bidding 3 or show extras by cuebidding.

Schwartz: ”2NT---Shows flat nature of the hand allowing bidding room for partner.  Will bid 4 over 3NT?”

Hopkins: ”2NT---This is a waiting bid to allow partner room for further clarification.  Based on partner's next call, I will make slam tries or force to slam or respect partner's sign-off.”

Three experts rebid the diamonds.  Doesn’t that sound like 5-5?

Adams: ”3---At the table I might try 2NT, as the cheapest bid, but this will not match too many experts.  Bidding 3 is just normal.”

King: ”3---I have to make some kind of move towards slam and while this would often show 5-5, it is the bid that comes closest to describing my hand.  3 would be my second choice.”

Parker: ”3---Should show a control and not shape once we have found a fit.”

Two experts show a minimum.  With all those extras how are you going to get responder’s help?

Afdahl: ”3---I needed to have partner start cue-bidding.  If he bids 4, I will bid 4.  If he returns to 4, I will pass, as this should deny first or second-round control of hearts.  With as little as:JxxAxxxAKQxx we should have a play for our vulnerable slam at IMPs.  With less, he may have just jumped to 4 over 2.  Partner should not have four spades or shortness.  With more, we may get to a grand slam.”

Jumping to 4 over 2 shows real garbage JxxQJQJxxKQJx for instance.  You don’t want to take up extra room unless you have no help for partner.

Roman: ”3---I have extras (for once)...let's hear what our boy has to say for himself.”

One expert keeps it simple.  Bid keycard and hope for the best. 

Cappelletti: ”4NT---If I bid only 2NT, and partner raises to 3NT I still like slam in spades with a potential Diamond ruff); so Blackwood should be simplest and best approach.”

You probably have a slam but don’t you want make sure you have a control in the unbid suit, the suit which is most likely to be led.

One expert jumps to 5.  Won’t cuebidding at the four-level  solve the possible heart problem and keep you at the four-level if you’re off two heart tricks?

Lublin: ”5---Would jump to 5 to hear if partner has heart control assuming he knows that what I’m missing.  He should have clubs covered.”

Show distribution at three-level. Cuebid at four-level.
How the Experts Voted - Sep/Oct 2003:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
2NT
3

2

1

3
390
Darwin Afdahl
2

4

2

1

3
450
Mike Cappelletti
2NT

4

2

1

4NT

400

Robbie Hopkins
2
3

2

1

2NT

470

Fred King
2
2
1

1

3

360

Glenn Lublin

2NT
3

2

1
5

310

Steve Parker
2

4

3NT
1
3

400

Steve Robinson
2

4

2

Pass
2NT
490
Jeff Roman
2
2

2

1

3

470

Alan Schwartz
2

4

3NT

1

2NT

460