ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Nov/Dec 2003

Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Dave Smith who came in first with a score of 480. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  Second was Lyle Poe with a score of 470. Third was Bernie McCurdy with a score of 450. Tied for fourth were Joyce Neville and Kent Goulding with a score of 440. Sixth was Kevin Avery with a score of 430. Tied for seventh were Richard Ferrin, Barbara Israel, Rick Eissenstat and John Ferman with a score of 420. Tied for eleventh were Nikola Tcholakov, Betsy Wilson, Don Berman, Randy Thompson and Bob Klein with a score of 410. Tied for sixteenth were Ken Kaufman, Hy Chansky, Tracy Brines, Jim Adams, Mike Lawrence, Leon Letwin and Millard Nachtwey with a score of 400. The average score of the 243 solvers was 326.  The average score of the experts was 421.

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

LHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- 3

- AK1054

- AK

- AK943

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

3

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4NT

100

1

22

3NT

80

1

26

4

80

3

19

Dbl

60

3

109

4

60

2

36

3

50

0

21

5

20

0

2

6

20

0

1

5

20

0

2

4

20

0

1

Pass

20

0

2

3

20

0

1

6

20

0

1

What is your bid?

How do you show a very good hand with hearts and clubs?  Some experts tried 4 but 4 shows both majors.  What are they going to do when partner bids 4?  Bid 5. Couldn’t that be a spade slam try? AKxxxAKQxxxAx for instance. Some experts doubled but when partner bids spades, their club or heart bid will not show five of the other suit. Since double shows tolerance for spades, partner is going to rebid his five-card suit. How is double going to get you to the correct club or heart strain?  I like 4NT showing the two lowest unbid suits.  How bad can that be?    

Two experts bid Michaels which shows both majors. Its very difficult to convince partner who heard your 4 bid, which conventionally shows five or more spades and five or more hearts, that you have only one spade.   

Cappelletti: ”4---No choice - if I double I can not expect to show a strong two-suiter.  I expect the auction to proceed 3-4-P-4-P-6 by me showing two suits; hope partner has either some length or a useful card.”

But why not bid 4NT showing clubs and hearts?

Hopkins: ”4---The old way to bid this hand was to cuebid and if partner bid the wrong suit, to cuebid again. I hope my partner remembers.  I can't think of anything else to do.”

Three experts double.  They violate the rule -- Don’t make a takeout double without support for unbid majors.

Humphreys: ”Double---This hand is way too good to overcall 3.  I considered 3NT, but this takes hearts out of the picture.  I will rebid 3NT over partner's spade bid.  This should show a big hand with no spade tolerance, since I would just bid 3NT with a balanced hand of this strength. Sure, I could just take my six tricks, but that would be pretty unlucky.”

Double followed by 3NT shows tolerance for all suits.  If you want to play 3NT, you bid it directly. 

Woolsey: ”Double---If partner tries to insist on spades, I am strong enough to bid both of my suits and hopefully get to the right contract. I don't see any other way to start.”

Parker: ”Double---I can't think of another bid that will give us a chance for finding the best contract. 3NT is out, too strong, overcalling either suit might lose the other one and understates the strength. Cuebidding will almost surely get 4 and then everything else sounds like a cuebid. So I will double and pull 3 to 4 which should get both suits into the picture.”

Only four experts make a bid which does not imply having spades. At least if their partner bids spades, their partner will have spades. Three of those experts bid 4. 

Adams: ”4---Double and 4 are out, because they show different kinds of hands. Yes, I know we can be cold for slam in clubs, but how to find it I have no idea. Even if hearts is the wrong spot, will still probably make.”

King: ”4---I can't double with a singleton spade and I have to make a strong bid. Of course, 4 could be going down and we could be cold for 6, but I think this is the best starting bid.”

Schwartz: ”4---Ugh. Might try 4NT if my AK wasn't in diamonds. Don't like 3NT as they are just too likely to lead a spade.”

Roman: ”3NT---A tough problem, but partner is just too likely to insist on spades if we start with double.”

Over 3, 4 shows both majors, 4NT shows clubs and hearts. There is no bid to show clubs and spades. 


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: You

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- J1065

- 85

- 973

- AKQ8

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

---

1

1

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1NT

100

8

52

1

50

1

85

2

40

1

36

Pass

40

0

48

2

20

0

14

2

20

0

5

3NT

20

0

1

2

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

How do you advance in a situation where there is no clear-cut advancing bid available? 1 and 2 both show five-card suits, a raise to 2 shows three and 1NT shows a diamond stopper. Which white lie do you tell?  Since partner could have 16 HCPs, you can’t pass so what’s your poison?

Two experts bid their four-card black suits.  Works if partner has four-card support or a strong heart suit that he rebids but you would be anxious if your bid ended the auction.  

Cappelletti: ”1---Keep it low and hopefully simple”

Parker: ”2---If it is not our hand I want a club lead. If it is our hand, partner’s next bid will allow me to do something intelligent, I hope!” 

Seven experts agree with me and bid notrump. Who needs a stopper? 

Adams: ”1NT---With my wife I can bid 1 and only show four, but the world is different. Pass too wimpy. I show a stopper, but this is a situation where partner knows to tread carefully before bidding 3NT.”

King: ”1NT---My hand is too good to pass. My spades are too weak to bid. I could bid 2 although I should have another club, or I can bid 1NT which lacks a stopper, but seems the best way to show this hand.” 

Woolsey: ”1NT---In my book a 1 overcall virtually denies four spades, since with five hearts and four spades he could double and then bid hearts -- equal level conversion.  The balanced hand looks perfect for notrump.  About the diamond stopper -- well, maybe partner will have one.”

Roman: ”1NT---Yes, a diamond stopper would be nice, but I accurately and cheaply describe the range and nature of my hand to partner and listen to what he has to say for himself.”

But maybe partner has four spades but not enough to double. QxxxAKxxxxxxx for example.

Hopkins: ”1NT---This shows 8-10 balanced.  Guess what I have.  And, of course, if I get a vicious double, I can rethink my position.”

Humphreys: ”1NT---New suit by advancer should show no tolerance for the overcall suit and typically five cards.  A good partner will have a diamond stopper.”

Schwartz: ”1NT---Too much to pass and what would I do if LHO rebids 2? Will be well placed if partner takes another bid.”

When you have the correct strength for 1NT, the lack of a stopper should not deter you from bidding it.      


Problem 3

Matchpoints

Vul: You

You (South) dealt

South Holds


- K2

- KQ4

- 973

- K8765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

Pass

Pass

1

Pass

1NT

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

4

24

2NT

80

3

63

3

70

2

74

3

50

1

26

3

20

0

34

3NT

20

0

4

4

20

0

1

Pass

20

0

6

4

20

0

9

3

20

0

2

What is your bid?

You have a very good passed hand but there is no obvious eight-card fit. Do you go low by bidding 2, or do you get aggressive by raising hearts or bidding 2NT.  

Three experts agree with me and take the low road.  If partner has extra values he’s allowed to bid again. Partner’s in third seat and could have a bad hand. One should not base his bidding solely on the possibility of a light third hand opener but even if partner has a normal opener, 2 could be the limit. Give partner A10xxxAJxxJxQx and 2 will probably make eight tricks.   

Cappelletti: ”2---Vulnerable at IMPs I bid 3 or 3; but at matchpoints, I go plus and welcome bad splits.”

King: ”2---My hand is too strong to pass 2, but I don't want to bid 2NT and risk a minus score. 2 gives partner a chance to bid again with extras and should help protect our plus score if partner has a weak third seat opener.”

Schwartz: ”2---Underbidding by only a point and again will be will placed if partner takes another bid. Don't want to punish partner for opening light in third position.”

Two experts raise hearts.  They violate the rule –- Don’t raise a second suit, when it could be a four-card suit, holding only three.

Adams: ”3---2NT just looks wrong. 2 too weak. Nothing left. I owe a heart, but the eight points in majors should be most welcomed. This hand rates to be played better from partners side... around to his diamond guard if he has one.  And if not, notrump is really bad.”

Woolsey: ”3---I don't like raising partner's second suit with three, but it looks best here. The hand is wrong for 2NT with three small diamonds. If partner is 6-4 he will remember to bid 3 over 3 and we will get to the right contract.”

Since partner knows you have four hearts when you raise, he might not make the safety bid of 3 with 6-4.

Three experts bid 2NT.  Who needs a diamond stopper?

Humphreys: ”2NT---2NT expresses the values here. 3 would show a much worse hand, 2 is a simple preference, 3 is silly, and 3 with a balanced hand and only three-card support seems uncalled for.  If partner rebids 3 I will raise to 4.”

Hopkins: ”2NT---After 2NT, I play three-of-either-major is non-forward-going and three-of-a-minor is a "pattern-out" bid showing extras and helping me choose our best spot. This should help us avoid an ignominious 3NT when partner has, say, a singleton diamond.”

Roman: ”2NT---See answer to problem two.”

One expert shows a three-card limit raise in spades.  One spade short but the strength is right. If opener has AQJxxAJxxxxQx, 4 makes unless suits split very badly. 

Parker: ”3---I wish I could bid 3 sparts. I have too good a hand to take a simple preference and hope that with a 5-5 partner will rebid 4 to give me a choice. Of course we may be too high by then but I do have great working cards.”

When you don’t have an eight-card fit, stay low.  Don’t go out of your way to protect partner when he opens in third seat.    


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: None

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


-KJ10942

-AQ98

-10

-102

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

Pass

1

Pass

3

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

5

66

3NT

90

3

57

3

70

2

111

4

20

0

7

3

20

0

2

What is your bid?

Partner has shown strength and length in the minors and we have strength and length in the majors.  That tells me that we have a likely misfit and should play this hand in notrump.  The problem is that the only way to get to 3NT is to bid 3NT now.  If we bid three-of-either-major, partner could continue on his path of showing minors.  Two experts agree with me and make the practical bid.  For the two out of ten times you find partner with spade support, there will be eight out of ten times when he doesn’t.  On those eight out ten hands, you want to avoid playing five-of-a-minor at all cost and the best way is to bid 3NT.   

Cappelletti: ”3NT---If partner persists with 4 or 4, then I bid 4.”

Woolsey: ”3NT---This is our most likely game, and if I don't bid it now we may not get there. If partner has spade support, I can only hope that he will risk 4.  This bid would be a lot more comfortable playing Cole, where partner can use the 2 rebid to show a good hand with spade support.”

Cole is a convention where you give up the natural 2 rebid in order to be able to show many different hand types including three-card spade raises of various strengths.

Five experts bid 3. If partner does not have anything in hearts, he will bid four-of-some-minor which bypasses 3NT, the most likely game. 3 almost guarantees having to rebid 4, playing opposite anything including a void.       

Adams: ”3---This suit plays opposite a stiff, or maybe a void. Hard to see 4 going set. 3NT could have trick problems, and does not really leave room for more descriptive bidding. 3 is wrong. It does not show hearts.   I will have no idea what is going on when partner bids again.”

King: ”3---I think I should rebid this suit as the most important feature of my hand.”

Hopkins: ”3---I am looking towards slam or game in spades unless overruled by partner.”

Roman: ”3---A breather after three very tough problems.  Natural, forcing, and a hand too strong to merely bid 3NT.”

Schwartz: ”3---Slam is in the ballpark only if partner can raise. If partner rebids a minor, we should have enough stuff to make 4NT. 3 doesn’t really show hearts so no point to it. On some hands would consider a preference in a stiff, but if partner is all minors, will work out badly here.”

If partner rebids 4 over 3, do you really expect him to pass 4NT? 

Two experts bid 3. 3 should show hearts because with a non-descriptive hand, one should bid 3 allowing opener to complete his description. At least partner can bid 3NT over 3 knowing that you have something in hearts.   

Parker: ”3---I am afraid if I bid 3NT, partner with three spades, will pass and we may miss a slam. I can bid 3 but partner will be hard pressed to bid 3NT if he has no heart stopper. Over 3 he can bid 3NT or show spade support. Give him AxxxAKxxxAKxx and we should make 6. If he has long running minors then we will get to 3NT.”

Humphreys: ”3---We're in a forcing auction, so I'll show my second suit.  Clearly my sequence shows at least five spades, so partner should take a preference to 3 with two-card support. That way, partner can bid 3NT with some 1354 or 0264 19 count. If partner bids 3NT I will pass, but if he bids 3 I want to try for slam. Unfortunately, there isn't a good way to do that and still stop in 4, so I guess I'll have to ask for keycards. This is a tough hand.”

Sometimes is right to make a practical bid. 3NT is a practical bid.     


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: None

LHO (West) dealt

South Holds


- 102

- 109

- AQJ72

- QJ54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

Pass

1

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

5

27

2

90

1

23

3

70

3

92

Pass

50

1

94

4

30

0

1

3

20

0

2

2NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     Again partner has overcalled, but this time at the two-level, and you have to decide how to advance with no clear-cut bid. Passing is also an option. Since partner could have a very good hand, passing could cause you to miss a cold game. Partner’s 2-overcall shows an opening bid and a good heart suit. Opposite a minimum overcall such as xxAQJxxxxKxxx, 4 has play and partner could have a 16-count.  The two popular expert choices are raising hearts or bidding 3. Raising hearts has the advantage that if there is a game it figures to be in hearts. Bidding diamonds has the advantage that you will get a diamond lead if you become defenders.   

Five experts agree with me and raise hearts. One of them even makes a limit raise.  That 109 of hearts is very strong.

Cappelletti: ”3---If I bid 2 partner might play me for a better hand.”

King: ”3---I have extra high card points, but I am short a heart, so I hope these cancel out and this bid works.”

Roman: ”3---Too much to pass, and with the expected spade lead, this hand could play very nicely for partner.”

Schwartz: ”3---2 is possible, but partner will expect another bid from me if he bids a minor. The 109 of hearts are big cards, particularly at matchpoints.

109 doubleton is a strong two-card holding.

One expert shows a limit raise.  Light a heart but 109 is worth three.

Adams: ”2---Shows a limit raise, but could be a doubleton. Perfect.”

Three experts bid their five-card suit. Partner should expect some heart tolerance since you’re a passed hand.  If the opponents compete, you’ll get partner off to the best lead. If I had two little hearts, I would bid 3 but the 109 doubleton looks so powerful. By bidding 3, you might endplay partner into bidding 3NT with only one spade stopper on a hand where 4 is where you belong. AxxAQJxxxxAxx for instance.

Humphreys: ”3---Can't pass, can't raise, can't bid notrump. 3 stands out. I think that since I'm a passed hand, partner should work out that I have heart tolerance. What kind of hand would correct a 2 overcall to 3 but couldn't open in first seat non-vul? Impossible. So I think this sequence shows two hearts, a good diamond suit, a maximum hand, and no spade stopper. Partner will know what to do. He always does.”

Woolsey: ”3---This should probably be fit-showing by a passed hand, but whether it is or not the call looks about right.”

Hopkins: ”3---Bidding what I have?  I feel free to pass 3.”

One expert passes. His partner must not have much when they overcall.  

Parker: ”Pass---Unlike problem two, we are getting too high if I bid diamonds and partner has no fit. I have enough good stuff to sit for a possible double and the opponents rate to bid 2. Over that I can bid 2NT or double depending on our agreements.”

109 doubleton is worth more than three little.