ACBL Unit 147
American Contract Bridge League
Washington Bridge League
Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference
Solvers Rules and Instructions
Berman, Web Master
Novice / Newcomers
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
You (South) dealt
The Bidding Thus Far
The Panel's Votes
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
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.”
”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.
”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.”
”3---Book bid - and spades
might play better than notrump.”
And spades might play worse.
”3---About right on values.
Partner can pay particular attention to his values (or lack thereof) in the
As a partner, I’d be
more likely to look at my outside strength. I expect partner to have a good
”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
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 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.
”3---You hope for partner to
bid three-of-a-major and pray for a Club stopper if he bids 3NT.”
”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?
”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
”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
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.
”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.
”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.”
Partner (North) dealt
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
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.
”2---Too strong to pass.
Nothing else looks appealing.”
”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
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.”
”2---I'm hoping partner bids
again, but in the meantime, I'm in something I can probably make.”
Two experts jump in
”3---Don't force to game on
”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
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.
”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.”
RHO (East) dealt
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.
”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.
”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.”
”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
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?
”3---When in doubt, cue bid.”
When in doubt, play in a
major at matchpoints.
*4-card spade support, club shortness, game hand
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
One expert bids 4. Gives partner only two
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
”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.”
”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.
”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.
”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
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