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
- Mar/Apr 2004
Moderator: Steve Robinson
Congratulations to Robert Stone and Gerald Lerner who tied for first
with a score of 490. They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited
to be on a future panel. Tied for third were Mohamed Abdallah, Barry Bragin,
Nikula Tcholakov, Robert Jenkins, Dan Moraru, John Livingston and Alan Shaw
with a score of 480. Tied for tenth were Mitchell Karlick, Goldie Brody, Bob
Hartmann, Bill Wade, Ivan Brendler, Hal Hindman, Charity Sack and Jimmy
Ritzenberg with a score of 470. Tied for eighteenth were Chris Marks, Kevin
Avery, Peter Haglich, David Wakefield, Mathew Mallory, Bill Fountain, Todd
Zimnoch, Kevin Barnes, Michelle Cantave, Matthew Campbell, Jean Franke, Jihfu
Lai, Murray Jacobson, Kent Goulding, Dave Abelow, Irene Perkins, Burt and Lynn
Hall and Monique Smith with a score of 460. Tied for thirty-sixth were Irving
Weinstein, Mike Zane, Greg Belmonte, Ruth Cohen, Bill Gress, Walter Taschek,
Susan Bowles, Ron Daringer, Drazen Kretchmer, Saul Penn, Walter Taschek, Ted
Ying, and Rick Uhrig with a score of 450. Tied for forty-ninth were Walter
Kerns, Lloyd Rawley, Leon Letwin, Rick Bingham, Andrew Brecher, Johnny
Petersson, Jim Creech, Walter Beckerman, Chris Miller and Mark Laken with a
score of 440. Tied for fifty-ninth were Robert Gunnell, Harriet Glazer, Tom
Musso, Rosi Lindstrom, Atul Jain, Tracy Brines, Chuck Yaple, Mike Kovacich, Hy
Chansky, Prahalad Rajkumar, Joan O’Neill, Scott Merrritt, Tim Crank, Millard
Nachtwey, Stu Fleishmann, David Walker and Mathew Haag with a score of 430. The
average score of the 285 solvers was 376.
The average score of the experts was 444.
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 mail.
The Bidding Thus Far
The Panel's Votes
What is your bid?
Double for penalties is
the answer to this problem. However, double is for takeout promising support
for the unbid suits especially the majors. A singleton king is not what I call
heart support. The experts consider two calls, pass and the takeout double
which promises support for the unbid suits. Pass has the advantage of being
able to see what the opponents have before entering the fray. Of course, LHO
who is obviously short in clubs, could respond on next to nothing so his bid
has to be taken with a grain of salt. However, you will hear RHO’s rebid.
Four experts agree with me and await
further developments. What might be bad for you is that it might go all pass.
If West passes, partner might not be strong enough to reopen or even if he’s
strong enough to balance, he might not have the right distribution. If partner
is 2443 he might not reopen for fear of allowing the opponents to get to a
better spot. 3NT might make if partner has one winner such as a pointed king.
The good news is that players rarely pass 1 when they are short.
Parker: ”Pass---From someone who never
passes, I can't see what bad things can happen after a pass. I will be able to
bid 3 or
double depending on how the sequence comes back to me. This way I can show
clubs and not totally confuse partner.”
Roman: ”Pass---Maybe I'll get to show this
hand by doubling and then bidding spades or some such and maybe I won't, but
for now I'm going plus. Hands that start like this sometimes end with the
opponents going for big numbers.”
Your next problem could be an opening lead
”Pass---3NT might be a more practical bid, but
I will just pass for now and see what happens.”
”Pass---3 is weak so no point to
that. The only other possibility is 3NT. Will I be happy if LHO doubles? Now I
have to consider running to their suit.
Four experts double. Partner, being a
passed hand means that he is less likely to have a long red suit.
”Double---Plan to bid notrump
over red-suits. Over 4, bid 4NT
and pass 5; or bid
6NT over 5.”
Great! Partner has -AxxxxxQxxxxxx and you end up in 6NT.
”Double---Since partner didn't
open a weak two-bid, it is unlikely that he has enough hearts to bury me. I
think the danger of missing a spade fit and belonging in 4 rather than 3NT outweighs
the danger of partner driving to 4. Another point is that if I double and then
bid 3NT, West is less likely to find what might be a killing heart lead than if
I bid 3NT directly particularly if partner responds 1.”
double to see if partner has spades and then bid 3NT if partner bids a red
Gray: ”Double---Is there any other option?”
Two experts bid notrump. They expect a
club lead. Right!
an underbid, but I do not expect the auction to die here. 3NT is big
overbid. 1 and double are really
If partner transfers to hearts, you can
jump to 3NT knowing that you won’t get a heart lead.
can pull if he has a strong Major, otherwise I will have to tough it out here.
The problem with this bid is that I might miss a Spade fit and I expect to get
a Heart lead a fair amount of the time.”
When you are long in the
opponent’s suit and there is no clear-cut action, it’s usually right to pass.
Take action when you are short.
What is your bid?
Partner has overcalled
at the two level and you have nine HCPs. This hand is somewhere between a weak
limit raise and a strong simple raise. You need approximately ten points to
make a passed hand limit raise. Since partner could have KxAJxxAKxxxxx for his 2-overcall, passing could
cause you to miss a makeable slam which is on a heart and spade finesse which
are odds on with the opening bid. So the problem is how much is this hand
worth? Five experts say simple raise and five experts say limit raise. I say
limit raise. If this were a major suit, I would say simple raise. However, if
partner has six club tricks, all partner needs is a spade stopper and either
the ace of hearts or king of diamonds to make 3NT. Kx10xxKxAJ10xxx is enough with the
club finesse working and he could have a lot more.
Five experts make a
simple club raise.
Parker: ”3---What is the trick? I have
support, no other long suits, no spade stopper and nine points. If this doesn't
equal a simple raise I need to take up another game. Partner can always bid again
Roman: ”3---This isn't a limit raise,
and surely no one will pass. Should be the first unanimous (experts and
solvers) problem in the history of this forum.”
King: ”3---I don't think this hand
is good enough to cue bid 2 and I
don't see what other bids are available.”
to be better than a major suit raise so I am comfortable with that even with my
good in and out evaluation (better hand than 10xxKxxQxxxAxx).”
Four experts agree with me and make a
limit raise. Being a passed hand limits your hand so partner can’t expect much
more than you have.
Woolsey: ”2---I can't have much more
for a passed hand, with my excellent club support and nice primes. A 3 call could be a lot weaker.
If partner drives to game, this dummy won't be a disappointment.”
”2---Too good for just 3. Will bid 2 first. Possible notrump
”2---Three big cards, might as
well encourage a little.”
”2---I have just enough to
suggest getting into 3NT.”
One expert passes. You can’t pass when
partner needs so little to make game.
Gray: ”Pass---Game is unlikely, 3 may be too high if partner
has less than opener. Keep it simple.”
Nobody mentioned the winning call at the
table, 2NT! Not only does 3NT make when partner has a spade stopper, it also
makes sometimes when West assumes that you have a stopper and fails to lead a
spade, which is what actually happened when this hand was played. A great
Italian player bid 2NT, got raised to 3NT and it made and their spade stopper
was Jx opposite 10xx.
When partner overcalls two-of-a-minor, think about how little partner
might need to make 3NT.
2 would be
4th suit GF
What is your bid?
I made a mistake when I set up this
problem. I meant to make South an unpassed hand. I have to live with South
being a passed hand but I did say that 2 would be game forcing. Ten
of the experts found alternative actions to the clear cut 2 bid. I think its right to
play fourth suit by passed hand as natural and non forcing. This hand type
comes up more often than the 5332 hands that have no stopper in the fourth
suit. Since 2 promises
another bid, what do you do with this hand?
Two experts pass. Could be right if partner
has five clubs but could be a disaster if partner has four bad clubs.
”Pass---More likely to have
disaster than success by bidding 2NT.”
Gray: ”Pass---How can 2 be a game force when you
are a passed hand? If 2 is game
forcing, I can't bid that. I guess I pass - looks like total misfit, clubs may
be best (ruff diamonds in dummy). Hideous hand.”
Four experts jump in
hearts. While 3 should
show this hand, confusion could set in. In some systems 3 is a splinter in support of
Woolsey: ”3---A jump in a new suit is a
splinter only if either the suit is clearly unplayable or if a non-jump in the
suit would be NATURAL and forcing. Since 2 isn't natural, 3 must be, and since 2 is GF, the jump in the
fourth suit must be a natural 5-5 invite.
This may get us too high, but at least we will get to the right game if
we have one.”
Parker: ”3---Same bid as I would do if
not a passed hand. Invitational and 5-5 in the majors. Question, how can 2 be a game force by a passed
hand? What do you bid with KxxxxAxxxxxxx?”
Roman: ”3---The problem with bidding
light of our silly agreement that a passed hand can force to game when opener
hasn't shown extras) is that unless partner's third bid is 2NT, when we next
bid 3, it'll
be a try for 3NT and he'll never understand that we have five hearts. Pass
could be the winner, but I wouldn't do it.”
”3---I believe this is 5-5
invitational. One good thing about this descriptive bid is partner can drop me
quickly if we aren't fitting well.”
Three experts agree with me and rebid
their spades. If you can’t bid your hearts, spades could be your best fit.
am too strong to pass 2, and too weak to invite with 3 opposite misfit. Very
well placed if partner bids again. Likely to be able to scramble eight tricks
if passed out.”
King: ”2---What a silly system. I
play that fourth suit is just natural and non forcing by a passed hand and I
have a perfect 2 bid
”2---Bid 2 and hope for the best.”
One expert bids fourth suit forcing.
”2---Partner might think it’s
game forcing. He doesn't know I am passing his next bid except 3. This will at least get us
to a seven-card fit or to notrump.”
Change your system to play fourth suit non
forcing by a passed hand and this would be a non-problem.
What is your bid?
Three experts agree with me and bid 2. The key to this hand is
partner’s diamond support or possible non-support. If partner raises diamonds
showing three, we have found a trump fit and the only problem would be level.
If partner is short in diamonds and has long clubs that would be OK also. The
problem would be if partner has two little diamonds. It would be very hard for
him to find out that we are missing the AK unless diamonds are
trumps but the good news is that the opponents are unlikely to lead a diamond
and partner’s diamond losers could go on the spades.
”2---Try to get partner to
show diamond support (might bid Grand Slam Force).”
Gray: ”2---Partner obviously has no
four-card major, so no need to look for spade fit. 6 looks promising if partner
has a diamond honor. Bid 2 and see
how he reacts.”
Partner’s 2 does not deny a four-card
major. With KxxxxxAKQxxxx I would respond 2, but holding the AK of
clubs makes that hand impossible.
Woolsey: ”2---When there are several
things to show, it is almost always right to make the cheapest reasonable
call. This gives you room to describe
the other features of your hand, as well as giving partner room to do something
Three experts splinter.
Since 2 is
natural and forcing, a jump to 3 is a splinter showing a
singleton or void in hearts and club support. 3 sets clubs as trumps but we
have only three clubs. Splintering promises four-card support unless having
four-card support is impossible. Partner’s 2 does not guarantee five
clubs and even if partner has five clubs, diamonds might be a better trump
Parker: ”3---Splinter in support of
clubs. I believe in showing a fit as soon as possible, especially with AK of
partner’s suit. If you bid spades and then support clubs you will be hard
pressed to show this good a hand.”
If partner promised five clubs, then you
could splinter with only three clubs, but partner might have only four clubs.
Adams: ”3---Splinter, and keep
bidding over 3NT. Might not even need a
diamond honor for slam if partner is short.”
”3---Splinter and bid 4 over 3NT.”
Three experts bid 2. 2 should show an unbalanced
hand and therefore at least five diamonds, with at least 13 HCPs. An exception
would be if you were dealt AKxxxxxAKxxxx. You could bid 2 but most of the time 2 shows at least five
diamonds and four spades. With a 3343 hand bid 2NT or raise clubs.
Roman: ”2---It's when we have
marginal values that bridge hands sometimes become a square peg in search of a
convenient round hole to be bashed into. Here, we're going to paint an
excellent picture of this hand for partner by next bidding clubs. 3 here is a splinter, but
requires four trumps.”
King: ”2---I think I should bid such
a good suit next. We could have a 4-4 spade fit yet.”
Failure to bid 2 does not mean that we can’t
find a eight-card spade fit if we have one. If we bid 2 and partner bids 2, we can raise showing
splinter shows four clubs. Obviously I am bidding clubs next.”
”2---I am going to go quietly
now and see how the auction develops. I would really like to know if partner
has diamond support (or shortness) and if he has wasted heart values (which
will be strongly suggested if he bids NT). We might even find a Spade fit
through this innovative technique of bidding what I have!”
* Game Force spade raise
3,3 show shortness in bid suit
shows 5-5 or better in &
shows 13-16 balanced
What is your bid?
The correct bid is three climonds with
shows shortness in both minors. Since you can’t bid climonds, the choices are 3 showing shortness in clubs,
shortness in diamonds or 4 showing
five hearts. Jumping to 4 shows
five hearts but should you do it with a queen high suit? I say not. If partner
has two little hearts, slam has no play. Give partner AQJxxxKQJxAxx and he will get you to
slam since he has no way to check on heart honors. The best way to bid this
hand is to start a cuebidding auction. Bidding three-of-either-minor allows
partner to cuebid hearts if he has a heart honor. If you bid 3 and partner jumps to 4, he can’t have a round suit
ace. If you bid 3 and
partner bids 3, you can
now bid cuebid 4. If
partner doesn’t bid 4, he
can’t have a heart honor. The point to this hand is to make sure partner has a
heart honor before bidding RKC.
Four experts agree with me and show a
singleton rather than the five-card heart suit. What’s best about
three-of-a-minor is that partner will get a chance to show whether or not he
has a heart honor below game. The question is which singleton to show. Two
experts agree with me and show the diamond singleton. While an ace in a long
suit is worth more than a singleton ace, there is no other way to show a
singleton diamond other than by bidding 3. Singleton aces or kings
should not stop you from showing singletons. At least partner will know that
his king of diamonds is worthless and his lack of diamond honors is good.
”3---The 100% bid!! It not
only shuts off king of diamonds over your next Blackwood bid (if partner has
three aces, then you can find heart king for grand). BUT ALSO, if partner has
only two aces, you prefer to get diamond lead in six!”
”3---Can't bid 4 as that shows a better suit
and leaves partner no room. 3 is
better than 3 since
there are more cards in diamonds that partner will know are useless
(King,Queen,Jack of diamonds) VS (Queen,Jack of clubs).”
Two experts show club shortness. 3 leaves maximum room for
King: ”3---I don't like any possible
bids here. I am too good to just bid 4 as I have only five losers
and probably a ten-card spade fit. I will show my stiff club and leave the most
amount of room for further exploration.”
”3---I have had very poor
results when I jump in suits without at least one of the top two Honors. I will
let my partner know about my Club shortage and see how the auction proceeds.”
Think how easy the auction will go if
partner bid 3 over
Five experts show the five-card heart
Parker: ”4---Show what I have, spades
and hearts. Partner needs points in these suits to make a slam, so let him make
the next decision based on fit.”
Partner is going to look at his minor-suit
aces and major-suit honors but won’t let xx in hearts bother him.
Woolsey: ”4---I believe that a good
partnership agreement is that you should never show the 5-5 hand with a
worthless doubleton in one of the other suits. This way partner doesn't have to
worry about controls in a specific suit -- he can go ahead and bid RKC with the
right hand. Without this agreement it is probably better to bid 3, so partner will devalue
his king of diamonds and upgrade his king of hearts.”
”4---Bid 4 to show distribution and 5 over 4 which probably means I have
second round club control.”
Roman: ”4---This will focus partner's
attention on what we need...major honors and minor aces.”
Partner will know that his minor suit
queens and jacks are worthless but won’t know which major suit honors are
Gray: ”4---Use the tools.”
I agree about using the tools but 4 is not the correct tool.
I don’t think 4NT is the right answer to
this problem. You bash when the opening lead might affect the result or when
you can’t have a constructive auction. Here, there’s a simple way to find the
small chance partner could have two small hearts, but against that my blasting
gives me a second shot at slam when partner has the major suit aces, diamond
king, and no club Ace. Because partner’s 4 will be last train, it is
very likely that I can never know if he has heart control anyway. A jump to 4 is out. It promises two of
top three and alerts opponents to cash out.”
After Jacoby 2NT, jumping to the four-level not only
shows a five-card suit, it shows a good suit, not QJ10xx.
How the Experts Voted
- Mar/Apr 2004:
Expert / Problem