ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Jul/Aug 2004

Moderator: Steve Robinson


      Congratulations to Don Berman who came in first with a perfect score of 500. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. I will play with him at a future Unit Game.  Tied for second were Leo Lasota and Hailong Ao with a score of 460. Tied for fourth were Robert Cohen, Burt Hall and Ed Chow with a score of 440. Tied for seventh were Dave Smith, Bob Zorn, Steve Bunning and Margaret Williams with a score of 430. Tied for eleventh were Ken Harkness,Clyde Kruskal, Barbara Shaw, Mike Richey, Ed Molnar and Vatnak Vat-No with a score of 420. Tied for seventeenth were Lynda Flanger, Robert Stone, Randy Thompson, Peter Lo, Mark Laken, Jim Murphy, Kieran Dyke, Bruce Kretchmer and Nancy Thompson with a score of 410. Tied for twenty-sixth were Al Graham, and Michael Pearlman with a score of 400. Tied for twenty-eighty were Jeff Price, Richard Wimberley, Joan Benesch, Nikola Tcholakov, Marlys Moholt, Al Duncker, Jon Farber, Jay Weinstein, Dario Filjar, Mark Shimshak, Brad Theurer, Enid Asherman and Jackie Sincoff with a score of 390. The average score of the 278 solvers was 321. The average score of the experts was 430.

      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 inMaryland, 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

South dealt

South Holds


- K102

- AKQ94

- KQ6

- 84

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

5

29

2NT

80

3

79

2

50

2

88

3

40

0

37

1NT

30

0

8

2

30

0

17

3

30

0

14

2

20

0

3

What is your bid?

     Three calls got votes from the experts; the conservative 2, the four-card-showing-jump to 3 and the balanced jump showing 18-19 HCP with stoppers in the unbid suits. Each call has its flaws. 2 could end the auction when partner has enough to make game. What would partner bid holding QJxxxx10xxAxxx over 2? I would pass and play the 3-3 when 4 has play.

If you jump to 3, partner would raise to 4 holding xxxxxJxxAKQJx where 4 could go down in the trump suit and 3NT is cold. If he has a very strong hand, he might overbid expecting you to have four spades. Holding AxxxxxxAxAKQx he would get to 7 needing spades 2-2 or a lucky 3-1. He would expect you to have four spades and would not ask for the queen. For those players who respond 1 holding QxxxxAJxxAKQx, they would get to 6 needing spades 3-3 with the jack onsides. Since 1 - pass - 1 leads to some awkward auctions, I avoid responding 1 with four spades. My rule is that I need three more spades than hearts to respond 1. I would respond 1 holding QJxxxQxxxQxxx but bid 1NT holding QJxxxxQxxQxxx. I never respond 1 with a game force holding only four spades, I respond two-of-a-minor.

If you jump to 2NT, partner would raise to 3NT holding QJxxxAxxxxxxx and the opponents could take the first five club tricks but they would have to lead a club. Sometimes the opening leader is 3433 and has to guess which minor to lead. A jump to 2NT shows a balanced hand that is stronger than a 1NT opener. Since you would have opened 1NT if the king of spades were the queen, this hand falls into the balanced-hand-which-is-stronger-than-a-1NT opener. So what if we have two little clubs? Partner knows we have five hearts. If partner has five spades, he can check back. Since other calls have major flaws and 2NT comes close to describing this hand, 2NT is the least of evils choice.

     Two experts agree with me and show the strong balanced hand.

Adams:”2NT---We are playing Flannery, so partner has five spades, or tolerance to be raised on three. However, it is still useful for partner to know when you have four spades, not three, when making jump raise. It’s much easier to evaluate slam. Since 3 is Wolff, we will still find our 5-3 fit, even if partner is weak. We will avoid a 4-3 fit when partner passes 2NT with a weak 41xx hand.”

Roman:”2NT---Part of the process in choosing what to open is deciding what to rebid over partner's various normal actions so you can bid in tempo. I obviously decided this hand weighed more than 15-17 balanced, therefore 2NT now.”

Two experts bid a three-card suit. I try never to bid a three-card suit if there is any alternative.

Creech:”2---This is the auction that makes me regret not opening 1NT. Eliminating the options of 3 (only three spades) and 3 (only five hearts), that leaves 2NT and 2 as the most reasonable rebids. Although the hand may be worth an upgrade to 2NT, I like 2 a little better because it is a bit more flexible - if partner shows a preference to one of my suits or rebids spades, I can now raise spades to show three-card support. If partner bids 2NT, I can raise that as well.”

Hopkins:”2---I hope to get a further chance to play catch-up and describe my hand.”

Five experts jump in spades. Just like I don’t like bidding three-card suits, I don’t like jumping with only three cards when partner could have four. Constructive bidding works when you have what you promise. 

Woolsey:”3---I'm assuming we are playing Flannery, so partner's 1-call is likely to be a five-bagger. If that is the case, spades will be a decent strain and 3 is on target as far as strength goes. If we aren’t playing Flannery, I have no idea what I would do -- probably would have opened 1NT in order to avoid this rebid problem. I definitely do not like rebidding 2.”

The one thing you can’t do is huddle and then bid 3. You don’t want partner to know from your tempo that you  have only three spades. 

For game purposes, having three-card support might be OK, but for slam purposes, the lack of a fourth trump could make a big difference. The trouble is that partner assumes four and might not bid 3NT with weak spades. 

Schwartz:”3---Expect partner does not respond 1 with four without a good reason, so this seems most descriptive without wrong siding the hand.”

Parker:”3---Why didn't I open 1NT? Since I play Flannery partner has five spades so I have an easy bid. Even not playing Flannery partner should not bid a weak four-card spade suit. Those who bid 2 or 2 deserve to lay there.” 

Cappelletti:”3---Given that you didn't open a 1NT because of suited valued, then 3 describes your strength reasonably well.”

King:”3---I would like to have a fourth Spade, but even with a 4-3 fit, spades could play a trick better than notrump. 2 could be right if partner doesn't pass.” 

     Avoid making four-card showing bids when you only have three.


Problem 2

Imps

Vul: None

North dealt

South Holds


- Q54

- K8765

- 103

- KQ2

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

8

55

2NT

50

1

110

3

50

1

37

2

40

0

29

Pass

40

0

25

3NT

20

0

2

2

20

0

16

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     We have an in between hand. This hand is not strong enough to bid 2NT which shows 11 to 12 HCPs. On the expected spade lead, you might not even have a stopper. Even if partner comes down with spade help, the opponents could easily be able to take three or four heart tricks. However, it’s too strong to pass since partner could have 17 HCPs. 3 is out since you shouldn’t raise a second suit with only three. The best option is to give a false preference. Support 2 on a doubleton. A false preference is given when you have no clear call available and is used to allow partner to continue describing his hand. This keeps the auction open and allows partner to continue with extras. If partner has 17 HCPs and takes another bid, you can force to game. If, on the other hand, you are too weak to want partner to continue, you can slow the auction down by passing. Suppose you have the same hand without the king of hearts. Without the king of hearts, game is out of the question and even the three-level might be too high. Partner can’t make a game try if you pass. You can’t even tell which minor will play better. If partner has good diamonds such as KxxxAKQxxxxxx, diamonds will probably play better than clubs. However, if partner has KxxxAxxxxAJxx, clubs will probably play better. If partner is 5-5, clubs will definitely play better.

     Seven experts agree with me and take a false preference.

Adams:”2---Too strong to pass, and too weak for 2NT. 2 is what’s left. This is the hand that has long convinced me it is wrong to open 1 with xx45, and wrong to rebid 2 with xx44. This auction promises five diamonds, so 2 will go plus even if club fit better. What do I give up for such rigidness? I can rebid 1NT with a stiff in partner's suit or raise partner with three if side stiff. At matchpoints this would be a harder problem, because 2 could score better than 2.”

Creech:”2---Every reasonable action looks wrong. Spades look to be wide open, so 2NT doesn't seem to be the right bid. Neither rebidding a king-empty suit, nor raising partner (first suit with 10x and second suit with KQx) seems to be particularly good choices. And fourth suit with only invitational values is clearly wrong. When everything looks wrong, I try to take the most flexible route. 2 allows partner to raise hearts with three, bid spades looking for a partial stopper, bid notrump with a better spade stopper (e.g., KJ9), or possibly rebid clubs with five.”

Woolsey:”2---I would like to pass, but I'm simply too strong -- we could have a laydown game if partner has extras. On the other hand, I'm not good enough to venture 2NT. The 2-call gives partner another chance to show his extra strength, and even if 2 is a silly contract it will probably come home on sheer power.”

Schwartz:”2---Aceless, poor stopper and no source of tricks. Can’t make a more positive move, but want to keep the auction open in case partner has extras.”

Hopkins:”2NT---I believe this shows 10-12 and is invitational. I will be overboard on those hands where Partner is really minimum and semi-balanced.”

Parker:”2---My partners never have a good hand so we are high enough. 2NT with no fillers is silly so take a preference and hope partner bids again.”

King:”2---And hope that partner has extras and can take another bid.”

Roman:”2---Try not to hold this hand when you're playing with me, because this could well be a 4-2 fit, but I want to keep the bidding alive to give partner another chance, and not strong enough for 2NT.”

This hand shows why one might not open 1 holding four diamonds and five clubs.

The following expert raises a second suit on three.

Cappelletti:”3--This non-vulnerable invite is more likely to go plus than 2NT.”

When partner takes a preference to your first suit, don’t assume he has strong support.

Problem 3

Matchpoints

Vul: None

North dealt

South Holds


- AK

- 5432

- A5432

- 32

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

Pass

Pass

1

Pass

1

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1NT

100

4

90

Pass

90

5

116

2

30

1

62

2

20

0

7

What is your bid?

     We opened the bidding in third seat with a hand that we would have opened in first seat. Third seat openers or fourth seat openers don’t promise a rebid. Passing partner’s response is always an option when he’s a passed hand. Taking a second bid after a third or fourth seat opener shows a real opener. You shouldn’t open light if you can’t pass all of partner’s expected responses. When we pass partner’s response, we should have at least three-card support. Partner is allowed to respond with a weak four-card suit and four-two fits don’t play well. Promising at least three-card support is important if the opponents compete. If partner has five and a reasonable hand, he can compete to the two-level or even the three-level knowing that there is at least an eight-card fit. With that said, what should we do now? Bidding 1NT is normal when one has a doubleton in the response suit and a balanced hand. That is what you would rebid if you opened 1 in first seat. If you bid 1NT, you’ll win the race to 1NT. If one side can make seven tricks or even eight tricks, you want to be the side playing the hand. If they make seven tricks, you are –50 playing the hand and if they played the hand you’d be -90. If you make seven tricks you are +90 when playing the hand and +50 when defending. If they can make eight tricks, -100 is better than –120.

     Three experts agree with me and rebid 1NT.

     Adams:”1NT---I’m not passing 1 with a doubleton and I’m not rebiding a five-card diamond suit. 1NT is well placed to let partner bid hearts, and both pass and 2 miss that opportunity. Partner can go back to diamonds with support or rebid a chunky five-card spade suit, risking the singleton I could have occasionally.”

Hopkins:”1NT---I guess I am semi-balanced. I really hope partner bids hearts, rebids spades, or supports diamonds! I don't have many tricks (and possible blockages) in notrump.”

Roman:”1NT---Because pass and 2 are silly, and "Surrender" isn't a legal call.”

Five experts break the rule and pass holding two-card support. As Jeff said, passing is silly. It doesn’t seem right to reward a rule-breaking bid with a score of hundred even if it does get more votes. If LHO overcalled 2 and partner bid 2, which shows five and he was a passed hand, then pass would be a legal bid.  

Creech:”Pass---I went for the brass ring by opening; if partner had bid hearts, I might be making a game try. But since partner bid spades, I'll just hope to go plus.  Partner might wish for more trumps from me, but not better quality. I won't rebid 1NT or 2 with such lousy spot cards.”

     Suppose partner has xxxxxAKxxKxxx. Hearts will usually make one more trick than spades and on good days, you might make 4. Or suppose partner has xxxxxxxKQJxAx. Diamonds scores 130. Notrump scores 120 and 1 might go minus.

Woolsey:”Pass---I do have three-card spade support, don't I? Bidding 1NT on this barren collection is ridiculous. Even if we are in a 4-2 fit, it wouldn't surprise me at all if this were our best spot.”

Schwartz:”Pass---Don't want to encourage partner by keeping the auction open and can't suggest to partner that a different contract will be better.”

Parker:”Pass---I opened to get my lead director in and succeeded. The opponents will surely balance and maybe play in a 4-3 heart fit. High enough.”

If the opponents balance and partner has five spades, he will compete to the two-level and maybe the three-level. If partner has only four spades, the opponents are unlikely to balance.

King:”Pass---We may be in a six card fit, but bidding notrump with those spots is silly and this could be our last plus score.”

One expert makes another silly bid. This time the rebid promises six and 2 would not play well opposite a 5413 eight-count.

Cappelletti:”2---Play suit contract with quick tricks and no residual soft values (even non-vulnerable 1NT can sometimes be wrong spot).”

You can’t open light in third or fourth seat if you can’t pass all of partner’s possible responses. Passing a bid, which could be a four-card suit, promises at least three-card support.

Problem 4

Imps

Vul: Both

East dealt

South Holds


- K976

- KQJ1054

- K2

- 2

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

----

1

1

2

Dbl*

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 * Responsive

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

3

40

4

80

2

44

2

70

2

25

3

40

1

65

2

40

1

75

4

40

1

18

3

40

0

7

4NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     Partner has shown spades and clubs with his responsive double. To make a responsive double, you would like to have at least 4-4 in the black suits but sometimes you must double to show points and are slightly off shape. The doubler might not have four spades. But, if you give the doubler only QJxx of spades and an ace, game should have play. But which game? KQJ10xx is trumps. A 4-1 heart split might not hurt hearts but a 4-1 spade split could easily cause you to have a spade loser. If partner’s spades are Axxx, you have one sure spade loser playing in spades even if they split 3-2 and two losers if they split 4-1 but if you play in hearts, you might be able to pitch your losing spades on clubs. Give partner AxxxxxxxKQJxx. Spades has four sure losers but playing in hearts you can pitch your spade losers on the clubs.

     Five experts agree with me and say that this hand must play in hearts. KQJ10xx are trumps. KQJ10xx can weather a 4-1 break. In order to get tapped in hearts, the opponents must make you ruff three times and your Kx of diamonds will protect against that. As to level, if all you need to make game are two major aces, how can you not at least invite?

Parker:”3---Not spades with the possibility of getting tapped out and losing the heart suit. Partner needs two aces to make game so if he has them he can bid on.”

Creech:”3---The chance for a vulnerable game at IMPs is too good to give up. The choices are to jump the bidding in either spades or hearts. If partner accepts the invite, I believe I can make game more often in hearts than spades, primarily due to the quality of the heart suit. I expect partner's values to be in the black suits. If those values are split or concentrated in the spade suit, it probably won't matter which major I'm in, but if the values are concentrated in clubs, I may be able to reduce my spade losers sufficiently, by pitching on the clubs, to make the heart game. In hearts, the trump quality can withstand either opponent holding up to four trumps as long as there is not also an unlikely trump promotion.”

Two experts bid the hand like they would if they had only one outside king. If partner has AJ10x of spades and out, you want to be in game.

Woolsey:”2---A basic card combination: What is KQJ10xx or AKQJxx called? It is called trumps. A 6-1 heart fit figures to play better than a 4-4 spade fit.”

Cappelletti:”2---And then compete to 3 based on probable spade fit.”

Two experts take a slight overbid. Partner needs at least one ace to make game so if you invite and partner declines are you really going to make game?

King:”4---If partner has as little as AQ of Spades we have a good chance to make this. I bid it in Hearts because the suit is so strong and is better situated to take club forces than the spades are.”

Roman:”4---That 10 of hearts is a huge card, and I'll try to protect the King of diamonds.”

     Three experts play this hand in spades. While the responsive double shows four spades, you might decide to double holding AxxAxxxxKxxxx.

Adams:”3---Partner should be able to evaluate prospects for game opposite this. Aces are good, spade Queen is good, side KQJs are bad. Prefer spade invite to heart invite, as it will help partner evaluate holdings, and sometimes the 4-4 will produce extra trick due to pitches. Very rarely partner could have tremendous clubs with the spade Ace, and 4 is better, but pay off to that.”

Hopkins:”2---This seems sufficient for now. Spades are not strong and I have no Aces.”

Give partner AxxxxxxxxKQJx and 4 has at least four losers while 4 will make with normal splits.

Schwartz:”4---Since 2 can easily be bid with three, I have to take aggressive auction. It will be difficult for partner to evaluate his hand, so I might as well put it to them vulnerable at IMPS. I don’t have the methods to investigate hearts VS spades as hearts could easily play better.”

     KQJ10xx and AKQJxx of a major are trumps. They can play opposite a void.


Problem 5

Imps

Vul: NS

West dealt

South Holds


- AQJ7

- 95

- J72

- AQJ9

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

Pass

Pass

1

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1

100

9

144

1NT

60

0

54

Pass

50

1

34

2

20

0

11

Dbl

20

0

31

2

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     When you have 15 HCPs, you must get in right away. If you pass you might never be able to get in and it might be your hand. Give partner Kxxxxxxxxxxxx and you are on a club finesse for 4. If you pass, it might go 1 by LHO, 4 by RHO. In order to get in the auction you might have to overcall in a four-card suit. When does one overcall a four-card suit? When you have a strong hand and no other action is warranted. You’re short in an unbid major so you can’t double or you’re either too weak or don’t have a stopper in the opening bid suit so you can’t overcall 1NT. In this case you could overcall 1NT, since Jxx can easily be a stopper over a minor-opener. My two choices are 1 and 1NT. Since the spades are so good they might play reasonable even if partner does not have the hoped-for four-card support.

     The experts are almost unanimous in overcalling a four-card suit.

Adams:”1---I rarely overcall four-card suits. This is the hand for it. Too good to pass and too few diamonds to trap pass. Notrump overcall wrong sided if partner has Ace-ten of diamonds for instance and is a bit weaker than I like. My strength will make up for lack of fifth spade usually.”  

Creech:”1---How do I misrepresent this hand? Do I bid notrump with an inadequate diamond stopper? Do I make an offshape double and compound the problem with my rebid after partner bids hearts? Or do I stick in a little lead director and wait for further developments? I opt for door number three and pick spades to keep things at the one-level.”

Woolsey:”1---Overcalling 1NT is possible, but with two weak suits playing in a suit contract is likely to be better. The 1-overcall will get us to our most likely game if we have one when partner has a good spade fit, and it is also a lot safer in case this isn't our hand.”

If you make the hand KxxxAxJxxAQJx, I think the experts would be unanimous in overcalling 1NT. 

Hopkins:”1---The hand has no great source of tricks so I am going quietly for now.”

Schwartz:”1---Only other bid I can imagine is 1NT, but short a stopper, a point and a Heart problem.”

Parker:”1---Seems easy, good suit, good hand, no diamond stopper for notrump and no heart support for a double.”

Cappelletti:”1---Notrump game unlikely, let's try to go plus.”

King:”1---Can't double with only two hearts and would rather overcall a good four-card suit than bid 1NT without a stopper.”

     One lone wolf. While overcalling four-card suits should be avoided, there are exceptions. Obviously the majority of the experts think this hand is an exception.  

Roman:”Pass---I don't overcall four-card suits when vulnerable.”

When you have 15 points or better, its best to get in early. If you pass, you might not get another chance and it could cost you a game. Your partner will never play you for such a strong hand.


How the Experts Voted - Jul/Aug 2004:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams
2NT
2
1NT
3
1
420
Mike Cappelletti
3

3

2

2
1
350
Jim Creech
2
2
Pass

3

1

440

Robbie Hopkins
2

2NT

1NT
2
1
340
Fred King
3
2
Pass
4
1

470

Steve Parker
3
2
Pass
3
1

490

Steve Robinson
2NT
2
1NT
3
1

480

Jeff Roman
2NT
2
1NT
4
Pass

420

Alan Schwartz
3
2
Pass
4
1
430
Kit Woolsey
3
2
Pass
2
1
460