ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Jan/Feb 2004

Moderator: Steve Robinson


     Congratulations to Peter Gray 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 Victor Cohen, Jennifer Lin, Todd Zimnoch, Bill Wade, David Wakefield, Mike Henderson, Richard Wimberley, Kenn Pendleton, Ruth Cohen, Irving Weinstein, Marc Umeno and Bill Martin with a score of 470. Tied for fourteenth were Stuart Sessions, Mike Kovacich and Robert Spencer with a score of 460. Tied for seventeenth were Mike Richey and Kieran Dyke with a score of 450. Tied for nineteenth were, Lloyd Rawley, Hailong Ao, Mike Zane, Ron Daringer, Natalie Aronsohn, Tony Graziano, Richard Allison, and Rick Bingham with a score of 440. Tied for twenty-seventh were Fred Steinberg, Jake Hudson, Ken Berg, Rick Eissenstat, Ravi Arulandhy and Forrest Swope with a score of 430. Tied for thirty-third were Michael Lutz, Gail Adams, Betsy Wilson, Mary Mudd, Chris Marks, Lynn Connelly, Eric Branfman, Patti Wingfield, Dennis Faber, Tom Fukawa, Terry Jones, Brian Childers and John Ferman with a score of 420. The average score of the 263 solvers was 345.  The average score of the experts was 426.

     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: NS

You (South) dealt

South Holds


- AQ9654

- A43

- A103

- K

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

1NT

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

3

23

3

90

4

143

2NT

70

1

19

2

40

1

1

2

40

0

49

4

30

0

18

3

30

0

2

3NT

30

0

6

3

20

0

1

2

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     A jump to 3 shows 16 to 18 HCPs with at least six spades. But is this hand worth 3? Five experts say no. Change the King of clubs to the Jack of spades and I would bid 3.  Make the King of clubs the King of spades and I would bid 4. In this hand, the King of clubs might be worthless. This hand will not play well in spades if partner has fewer than two spades.

     Four experts agree with me and think this hand is not a 3-bid. If you’re not going to bid 3, what is the alternative? Two experts agree with me and bid 2. There are at least two advantages of bidding 2. Usually when partner holds two spades, he will take a preference to 2. The only time partner passes 2 is when he holds fewer than two spades. When partner holds fewer than two spades, 2 might play better than 3. Playing in spades could be a disaster if partner is void. Another advantage of bidding 2 is that 2 makes it easier for partner to bid hearts when he holds five or more. xKQJxxJxxQxxx for instance.       

     Let’s hear from the four experts agreeing with me that 3 is the wrong bid for this hand.

Roman: ”2---Going slow with a flexible hand, we could easily belong in hearts or diamonds. Those spades are too frail a basket to put all of our eggs in.”

Schwartz: ”2---Most flexible as it leaves room for investigating hearts. If I rebid 3 and partner passes, I rate to go minus opposite a stiff.”

     Another way of avoiding a bad spade fit is to bid 2NT. 2NT is my second choice on this hand. 

Parker: ”2NT---Shows the top of a strong notrump with five spades. Partner can bid a suit if he is weak or take a spade preference. Not good enough for 3NT and too much on the outside to bid 3.”

A strange way of avoiding a bad spade fit is to bid 2. Not going to be happy if partner passes 2.

Adams: ”2---Spades not good enough for direct 3, buy time with Bart 2. Technically 2 shows two or more, but what the heck. Hearts could easily be right.”

Four experts jump in spades.

Woolsey: ”3---This is about right on strength. I'd like a better suit, but it's an imperfect world. Partner is allowed to do the right thing knowing that I have six spades. Any other call is more of a distortion.”

Cappelletti: ”3---Book bid - and spades might play better than notrump.”

And spades might play worse.

Hopkins: ”3---About right on values. Partner can pay particular attention to his values (or lack thereof) in the Spade suit.”

     As a partner, I’d be more likely to look at my outside strength. I expect partner to have a good spade suit. 

Fred King: ”3---The suit quality is not great, but I think the hand is more suited for suit play than notrump and bidding 2NT with a singleton could be a real problem. 2 could work out well and might be the bid most likely to protect the plus score--key at matchpoints, but seems a large underbid.”

Bidding 2 is only a disaster when partner passes it, would have bid game over 3, and game is cold.

     When you open 1 or 1 and partner responds 1NT, consider how well your major will play opposite a singleton before jumping to three-of-your-major. If you have a weak major, consider bidding two-of-a-minor instead. Bidding two-of-a-minor will help you avoid playing bad 6-1 or 6-0 fits. 


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: Both

You (South) dealt

South Holds


- AJ5

- AJ9

- AKJ1093

- 10

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

1

Pass

1

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

1

87

3

90

3

11

3

50

1

15

3NT

50

1

5

1

40

0

37

2

40

2

62

2NT

40

2

9

4

30

0

12

5

20

0

1

4NT

20

0

3

2

20

0

2

2

20

0

2

4

20

0

13

3

20

0

1

4

20

0

2

2

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     A jump to 3 shows 16-18 HCPs with at least six diamonds. However, 3 is non-forcing. What do you bid when you have a hand that is too strong to jump to 3?  Invent a forcing bid such as a jump shift or a reverse. If one is going to jump shift in a suit with fewer than four cards in it (called invent), one should jump shift in a suit that is lower than your real suit. 3 is safe because you can correct any club bid to diamonds and stay at the same level even at the seven-level. Reversing into suits with fewer than four cards has the same problem. If partner had responded 1, you could reverse into a three-card heart suit, when you hold three spades, since if partner has four hearts, he must have five spades. 3, is flexible enough to allow you to get to 4 when partner has five, get to a slam when partner has strength, or get to 3NT when partner has a average balanced hand. If partner has four clubs, he thinks about playing in clubs but his first thought is to play in 3NT. Bidding 3 could stop a damaging club lead against 3NT. If partner raises clubs, you can always go back to diamonds showing that your club bid might not be real.  

     Four experts jump in a red suit with one expert jumping in hearts. Jumping in hearts means that you will play in hearts no matter how bad or how good partner’s hearts are. Similar to bidding a three-card spade suit and finding partner with four spades. Aren’t you going to be sick if partner keycards over 3?   

Woolsey: ”3---Rebidding a three-card suit is not part of my vocabulary. The choice is between 3 and 3. Both have obvious flaws. 3 may miss a 5-3 heart fit, while 3 may get us to a 4-3 heart fit. At least a 4-3 heart fit might survive, while missing a 5-3 heart fit almost certainly won't survive.  This hand illustrates how important a convention such as Cole can be.”

But is jump raising in a three-card suit part of your vocabulary? I can see jump raising a five-card major with only three. 

Three experts jump in diamonds, a slight underbid. Jumping in diamonds will tend to bury the heart suit. Give partner Q10xKQxxxxxQxx and he’ll bid 3NT over 3. Give partner QxxKxxxxxxxxx and he’ll pass 3.

Hopkins: ”3---You hope for partner to bid three-of-a-major and pray for a Club stopper if he bids 3NT.”

Roman: ”3---See partner? I'm not ALWAYS minimum for my bidding. This hand is the poster-child for playing that 2NT here shows a big 3-rebid, possibly with three-card support for partner's major.”

     If 2NT shows a diamond rebid, what do you do with 18-19 balanced?

Adams: ”3---Unlucky that Washington Standard does not include Cole, or I could bid a singleton twice in a row.”

Cole is a convention where you can rebid 2, a forcing bid with a lot of options, and over partner’s 2 relay, you can bid 2 showing three hearts with at least 15 HCPs.

Four experts bid spades. Bidding spades will lead to a spade contract if partner has four spades. If partner holds JxxxKQxxxQJxx he will raise spades and continue supporting spades no matter what you bid next. There is no way that partner is going to allow you to play 3NT or 4 when he holds four spades. However, if partner doesn’t have four spades, you’ll probably get to the right strain assuming he bids again.    

Two experts guarantee that partner will bid again.

Schwartz: ”2---Opposite partner’s heart response this hand is worth a game force. Although I hate jump shifting into the higher ranking major, jump shifting into clubs is even worse. How can partner bid correctly after I show my hearts later? I can stomach an underbid of 3 if my hearts weren't so strong as 3 could cause us to miss a 5-3 fit. Rebidding 1 won't solve my problems as I will have to jump the next round to show my strength and still won't be able to show both my red suits adequately.”

Parker: ”2---I don't want to bid 3 and miss our possible heart fit. I don't want to raise hearts on three with this good a hand. If I bid 1 partner can pass and I can never show this good a hand over a 1NT bid by him. Over 2 I can handle any bid even a spade raise.”

     What are you going to do if partner jumps to 4?

Two experts make a non-forcing bid. But, what if he passes 1? Give partner KxxKxxxxxxxxx and you’ll play in 1.

Cappelletti: ”1---Let's hear more from partner. If he raises spades, I'll go back to hearts.”

And he’ll go back to spades since your heart bid will be a cue bid in support of spades.

Fred King: ”1---If I survive this bid I should be all right. There is no right answer to this old chestnut except 2--Cole or to be playing a forcing club system. 3 risks missing a Heart game, but 3 risks ending in a 4-3 Heart fit when Diamonds or notrump is better.”

     When bidding suits you don’t have, you have to be careful to choose the suit least likely to get you in trouble. In this case clubs is that suit. If someone asks you why you jumped in a singleton club, you say that you thought your spades were clubs.

Problem 3

Imps

Vul: None

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


- K107432

- K

- J84

- A62

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

6

84

3

70

2

101

2

50

1

48

3

30

0

10

2NT

30

0

10

Pass

30

0

1

3NT

20

0

5

3

20

0

2

3

20

0

2

What is your bid?

     A jump to 3 shows six good spades and around 11 HCPs. You have a hand that is a tad too weak to jump to 3 and a tad too strong to bid 2. That’s assuming you even want to rebid your spades. If partner is 1534, you could belong in spades or notrump but if partner is 2542 you belong in spades. If partner is void in spades you probably belong somewhere else. If you bid 2 and partner has a minimum, he will pass no matter how many or how few spades he has.

Five experts agree with me and take the low route. On possible misfitting hands take the low route.

Parker: ”2---At IMPs non vulnerable there is no reason to be optimistic. If partner bids again I will be well placed to bid on. A six-card spade suit is worth bidding again. It would be tougher problem if I had two hearts.”

This would be a tougher problem if you were vulnerable at IMPs.

Adams: ”2---Too strong to pass. Nothing else looks appealing.”

Schwartz: ”2---Can’t see rebidding 3 with such a poor suit. 2NT with no full diamond stopper doesn't seem right either with possible entry problems.”

Woolsey: ”2---If partner passes, this might be the best contract and even if not best it could come out okay. If partner is strong enough to act again he knows I have six spades, which is a good place to start. Other actions appear to be a lot worse.”

Roman: ”2---I'm hoping partner bids again, but in the meantime, I'm in something I can probably make.”

     Two experts jump in spades

Cappelletti: ”3---Don't force to game on likely misfit.”

Fred King: ”3---The hand seems a little too strong for 2 and while the suit is very weak to bid 3, all other bids also have flaws. 2 is game forcing and the hand is not that strong. 2NT lacks a diamond stopper and would seem to deny a sixth spade. 2 is possible as a mark time bid, and the stiff King is probably as good as two small.” 

One expert makes a game-forcing bid. But will that help you get to the correct strain? In some systems 2 is forcing for only one round and in that system 2 could be the correct bid.   

Hopkins: ”2---I am a little light for this forcing call, but I like my cards in partner's suits and want to explore for strain and level. I do play you can get out at four-of-a-minor in this situation (for when partner has a minimum two-suiter), but don't know how common that is.”

When considering whether to underbid or overbid, look at your spots.

Problem 4

Matchpoints

Vul: EW

RHO (East) dealt

South Holds


- KQ10743

- J8

- A96

- K2

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

---

1

1

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

5

65

2

80

2

78

3

60

1

69

3

50

1

29

2NT

30

0

10

4

20

0

1

Pass

20

0

6

3NT

20

0

3

2

20

0

2

What is your bid?

   You overcalled 1 with a reasonable hand and partner has advanced with 2, non-forcing in Washington Standard. He could have xxxxKQJxxxxxx or as much as AxAxxxKQJxxxx. Opposite the former, you want to play in a 2. Opposite the latter you want to be in 4. He could also have fewer than two spades. This is matchpoints where majors score more than minors. You want to play in spades if partner has two. Even if partner has only one spade, leading a spade to the 10 will result in five spade tricks when the Jack is third onsides. Since partner will not support you with two spades, the only way to get to spades is to rebid them.   

   Two experts agree with me and rebid spades. The question is whether this hand is worth a jump? Since 2 is non-forcing, you don’t have to bid again with a very bad hand so bidding 2 shows something extra.   

Cappelletti: ”2---Better to rebid spades before showing three-card diamond fit. If you bid 3, it might go 3NT and you might miss 4 when it is a better game.”

This hand is close to a 3 jump but I would need the KQJ10xx of spades.   

Fred King: ”3---Partner’s bid has made my hand better and at matchpoints it is hard to give up on the major, so I will jump and hope that he has enough to bid game.”

     Five experts raise diamonds. Are you going to be happy no matter what partner does next assuming he doesn’t support spades. If he passes or bids 3NT, won’t you be worried that you belong in spades? I don’t think he will take you back to spades when he holds a small doubleton.

Parker: ”3---Three-card support for partner. What more could I show here? He could have a good hand or just long diamonds. Of course where are the hearts?  Sounds like he has a good hand with a spades misfit. We can get to 3NT if he bids 3.”

Schwartz: ”3---Obviously would like to rebid spades, but at least 3 will go plus and encourages partner.”

Woolsey: ”3---I do have diamond support, and the opponents' silence suggests that partner has either four hearts or a good hand. If he has a good hand the raise can't hurt matters since I can then bid spades to show the sixth spade.  If he has four hearts he is likely to have at most one spade, and we will belong in diamonds, not spades.  Transfer responses to overcalls, anyone?”

Hopkins: ”3---Support partner. What a novel concept!”

Roman: ”3---I'll bid 3 over 3.”

One expert cue bids. What does a cue bid mean and what will a cue bid lead to?

Adams: ”3---When in doubt, cue bid.”

     When in doubt, play in a major at matchpoints.


Problem 5

Imps

Vul: Both

Partner (North) dealt

South Holds


- 10932

- AJ8

- Q10

- K765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

---

---

1

Pass

1

Pass

4*

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 *4-card spade support, club shortness, game hand

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

6

167

4

80

2

3

4

60

1

83

5

20

0

3

4NT

20

0

6

6

20

0

1

What is your bid?

    Partner showed four-card spade support, club shortness with game-forcing values. He could have KxxxKQxAKJxxx where on bad days you could go down in 4. He could also have AKQxQxxAKJxxx where 6 needs a 3-2 spade break, plus one of two finesses or a club lead or a heart lead. He could have AKQxKxxAKJxxx where 6 needs only a 3-2 spade break. Your 109 of spades will even allow you to make slam some of the times when trumps split 4-1. Is your hand worth a move? A move is not bidding a slam. A move is not even bidding above game. A move is making a bid below game other than signing off. Your two keycards, the Ace of hearts and the Queen of diamonds, make your hand worth a move. You also have three pushers, the Jack of hearts, the King of clubs and the ten of diamonds, which could be the difference between making and going down in slam.

Two experts agree with me and make a forward-going move. If you are going to move, what is your best forward-going bid? If you bid 4, partner has two choices, signoff or bid above game. If you bid 4 however, partner has a third option. He can bid 4, the Last Train, putting the ball back in your court. Over 4, you have an easy 4. The Ace of hearts and the Queen of diamonds are good but your spades are bad.

I like 4. At the four-level, bids can show Aces, Kings or even Queens. One can support partner’s first-bid suit with honors or length. After showing either strength or length at the three and four level, bid keycard to make sure you’re not off two keycards.         

Adams: ”4---Leaves room for Last Train, after which I can sign off. Two very big cards warrants keeping slam open.”

One expert bids 4. Gives partner only two options.

Woolsey: ”4---Close your eyes and pretend that the king of clubs is a small club. Now you say:  Not such a bad minimum – an Ace, seven points where they are all working, and the 109 of spades. Surely worth more than a signoff -- you might have held: xxxxxxxxxKQxx.  The king of clubs is just gravy.  Maybe 4 is better, giving partner Last Train room, but it probably doesn't make much difference -- the important thing is that this hand is worth a below game cue-bid. Yes I know the hand, but that was my feeling at the time and I haven't changed my mind.”

Six experts signoff.

Parker: ”4---I can't envision a hand where we don't have at least a spade loser and a club loser. I really want to play three notrump but can't get there anymore. At best we are on a finesse. Give partner AKxxKxxAKxxxx and we have no play. If he has AQJx then we are on a finesse and some good breaks in all suits.”

You are giving partner only 17 HCPs. He could have 19 or even 20. Your hand could be 8765xxxxxxKQJ, a zero-count opposite a club splinter.   

Schwartz: ”4---Will not make a slam try with no honor in spades.  Partner probably has a good enough trump holding to force past game if I make a peep and I don't have five-level safety.”

Cappelletti: ”4---Because splinter devalues my club king and because I have no trump honors in a 4-4 fit (a great slam defect), I bypass heart Ace if making five could be a problem (partner has AxxxKQxAKJxxx type hand). If I bid 4, partner will play me for "slam interest" and often bid 4NT.”

But if you bid 4, he can bid 4 with the above hand and you can stay at the four-level.

Hopkins: ”4---Not quite worth a try. Even if partner has very good fitting cards such as AKQxQxxxAKJxx, you would probably need the Heart finesse and a 3-2 trump break (unless the Club Ace is onside and the Spade Jack is doubleton so you can ruff two Clubs in dummy). Partner should not have AKQxxxAKJxxxx which is a 4 call.”

But he could have AKQxQxxAKJxxx. If you get a club or heart lead slam is on a 3-2 spade split. Otherwise slam is on finding either the ace of clubs or the king of hearts onsides. 

Fred King: ”4---Partner's splinter has degraded the value of my King of clubs and while my red suit cards are good, my trumps are so bad that I don't want to encourage partner at this point.” 

Roman: ”4---Because AKQxKxxxAKJxx isn't enough to make slam laydown.”

But if you get a heart or club lead, slam is on a 3-2 trump split.

After partner’s splinter, you have seven working points, which makes this hand worth a move. You could have as little as zero working points and as many as 14. Moving is safe when opener can use the Last Train convention to show three levels of strength.


How the Experts Voted - Jan/Feb 2004:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
2
3

2

3

4
370
Mike Cappelletti
3

1

3

2

4
380
Robbie Hopkins
3

3

2

3

4

410

Fred King
3
1

3

3

4

440

Steve Parker
2NT
2
2

3

4

410

Steve Robinson
2
3
2
2
4

450

Jeff Roman
2

3

2

3

4

500

Alan Schwartz
2

2

2

3

4
440
Kit Woolsey
3
3
2

3

4

450