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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 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 

Imps

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- A765

- K

- A7

- AKJ1087

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

Pass

Pass

1

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

5

51

Dbl

80

4

142

1NT

60

1

10

3NT

60

1

43

5

40

0

3

3

40

0

5

1

40

0

9

2

20

0

9

2NT

20

0

2

2

20

0

1

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 problem.

King: ”Pass---3NT might be a more practical bid, but I will just pass for now and see what happens.”

Schwartz: ”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.

Cappelletti: ”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.

Woolsey: ”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.”

Lublin: ”Double---I double to see if partner has spades and then bid 3NT if partner bids a red suit.”

Gray: ”Double---Is there any other option?”

    Two experts bid notrump. They expect a club lead. Right!

Adams: ”1NT---Yes, an underbid, but I do not expect the auction to die here. 3NT is big overbid.  1 and double are really misdirected.”

    If partner transfers to hearts, you can jump to 3NT knowing that you won’t get a heart lead.

Hopkins: ”3NT---Partner 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.


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: None

South dealt

South Holds


- 1054

- K54

- A543

- Q32

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

Pass

1

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

5

30

3

90

5

178

2NT

70

0

6

Pass

40

1

65

2

20

0

3

2

20

0

3

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 with extras.”

Cappelletti: ”3---Must bid.”

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.”

Schwartz: ”3---Tends 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.”

Lublin: ”2---Too good for just 3. Will bid 2 first. Possible notrump game.”

Adams: ”2---Three big cards, might as well encourage a little.”

Hopkins: ”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.


Problem 3

Imps

Vul: None

South dealt

South Holds


- AQ654

- QJ543

- 3

- 32

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

Pass

Pass

1

Pass

1

Pass

2

Pass

?????**

 

 

 

 ** 2 would be 4th suit GF

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

4

69

3

90

4

61

Pass

50

2

42

2

40

1

50

2NT

30

0

45

3NT

20

0

1

2

20

0

15

4

20

0

1

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.

Cappelletti: ”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 clubs.

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 2 (in 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.”

Hopkins: ”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.

Adams: ”2---I 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 available then.”

Lublin: ”2---Bid 2 and hope for the best.”

    One expert bids fourth suit forcing.

Schwartz: ”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.


Problem 4

Matchpoints

Vul: None

South dealt

South Holds


- AKJ4

- ----

- QJ8765

- AK9

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

2*

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 * Game Force

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

4

47

2

90

4

188

3

70

3

9

3

50

0

13

3

40

0

7

5

20

0

2

3

20

0

11

4

20

0

6

4NT

20

0

1

2

20

0

1

What is your bid?

    There are three possible answers to this problem. Raise partner’s clubs, rebid diamonds or bid 2. There are three possible trump suits and we want to explore each. As in most constructive auctions, the cheapest natural bid is usually the best.

    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.    

Cappelletti: ”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 helpful.”

    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 suit.

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.”

Lublin: ”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 four.

Schwartz: ”2---3 splinter shows four clubs. Obviously I am bidding clubs next.”

Hopkins: ”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!”

In a constructive auction, the cheapest natural call is usually the best.

Problem 5

Imps

Vul: EW

South dealt

South Holds


- K98632

- QJ1048

- A

- K

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

2NT*

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 * Game Force spade raise

   3,3 show shortness in bid suit

   4 shows 5-5 or better in &

   3NT shows 13-16 balanced

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

5

188

3

90

3

13

3

80

2

47

3

40

0

7

4NT

20

1

7

4

20

0

5

4

20

0

9

5

20

0

1

3

20

0

3

4

20

0

3

3NT

20

0

1

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, 3 showing 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.

Cappelletti: ”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!”

Schwartz: ”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 exploration.

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.”

Hopkins: ”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 three-of-a-minor.

    Five experts show the five-card heart suit.

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.”

Lublin: ”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 missing.

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 correct information.

Adams: ”4NT---Sure, 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  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
1NT
2

2

3

4NT
380
Mike Cappelletti
Dbl

3

Pass

2

3
410
Peter Gray
Dbl
Pass
Pass

2

4
370
Robbie Hopkins
3NT

2

3

2

3

430

Fred King
Pass
3

2

2

3

470

Glen Lublin
Dbl
2

2

3

4

480

Steve Parker
Pass
3
3

3

4

480

Steve Robinson
Pass
2
2
2
3

490

Jeff Roman
Pass

3

3

2

4

480

Alan Schwartz
Pass

3

2

2

3
420
Kit Woolsey
Dbl
2
3

2

4

470