ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Nov/Dec 2004

Moderator: Steve Robinson    


Congratulations to Mark Chen and Elliot Itkin who tied for first with a score of 470. They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. Tied for third were David Rodney, Todd Zimnoch and Marvin Elster with a score of 460. Sixth was Lloyd Rawley and with a score of 450. Tied for seventh were Nikola Tcholakov, Joana Silva, Jay Latham, Fred Steinberg, Rick McDaniel, Sheryl McEwan, Larry Kahn and Larry Harding with a score of 440. Tied for fifteenth were Mike Deverin, Pat Klaus, Sonney Taragin, Tom Musso and Millard Nachtwey with a score of 430. Tied for twentieth were Tom Regan, Richard Wimberley, Yi Zhong, Kevin Barnes, Suzane Abrams, Irish Grandfield, Ken Kaufman, Jason Rosenfeld, Bill Bingham, Kent Goulding, Kathy Paramore, Rossi Lindstrom, Kenn Pendleton and Edith Black with a score of 420. The average score of the 173 solvers was 370. The average score of the experts was 421.

All readers are encouraged to send answers and/or new problems to Steve Robinson, 2891 S. Abingdon St. #A2 Arlington 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: Both

West dealt

South Holds


- 106

- K965

- A3

- 109854

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

2

2

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

3

12

4

80

4

49

3

80

2

64

Dbl

70

1

14

Pass

30

0

10

5

30

0

17

3NT

30

0

1

2NT

30

0

1

3

20

0

3

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     What is this hand worth? Opposite xxxxxKxAKQxxx, you could go for 800 in 5doubled. So jumping to 5is an overbid. I don’t think you should jump to 4, which shows a preemptive hand when you hold two high honors outside your suit. You could easily have a game if partner has a hand with four hearts such as xxAQxxxxAKJxx. You would like to be able to make a mixed raise. A mixed raise is a jump in opener’s suit, but jumping to 4 is forcing to 5. You could overbid with 3,underbid with 3 or misbid with 4. I like 3, which shows a limit raise or better in clubs. Over 3, you can live with partner’s decision. If partner bids 5, he will have at least ten tricks. xxAxKQxxAKJxx is enough to make 5 and he’ll probably bid it if you bid 3. If West bids 4 and partner doubles, your Ace and King will take tricks. If West bids 4 and partner passes, you can pass, and hope to beat them. You know that 5 can’t be that good. At IMPs, with both vulnerable, you have to be able to take ten tricks for 5 to be a good save. If you save, both vulnerable expecting to go for 500, sometimes the 500 turns into 1100, or still worse, turns into 800 and you could beat their game. If you think you can take ten tricks, sometimes ten turns into eleven.

       Two experts agree with me and bid 3. If partner opened 1 and your black suits were reversed, it wouldn’t be that much of an overbid to make a limit raise.

Parker: ”3---I have defense and don't want to arbitrarily save over 5or want partner to. If I bid 4, that does not show any defense. If partner has a good hand we can make 5 so I can bid 3 and let him decide the correct action. 3 is too weak a bid since I will not know what to do over 3to me.”

Schwartz:”3---Can't see bidding 3 with five-card support, and 4 with an ace and a king. Partner should be aware that I could have distribution for my bid.”

     Two experts make a simple raise. I like 3 much better than 4. You could then bid 4 if one of the opponents competed to 3. 3 shows some defense.

King:”3---My spade holding is a big minus. I will bid on to 4, but I expect both 5 and 4 to be down one.” 

            Cappelletti:”3---Since I have no singletons, I am not in a hurry to bid 5 and probably go minus. I'll listen and decide what to do later. I do have some defense.”

     Four experts preempt.

Chansky:”4---Bid what you think you can make. If I had a singleton I'd bid 5.”

Adams:”4---I would double, except I would then have to decide what to do over 4. This way I can give partner a voice. Should not play me for a terrible hand vulnerable.”

But he might play you for some more distribution.

Roman:”4---Then double if they bid 4. The problem with responsive double is that while it gets hearts into the game, a) partner will get the wrong idea about the nature of my hand and I commit myself to bidding 5 over 4 and b) if we do have a double club/heart fit, we'll never outbid them.”

So if partner holds xxxxxQxAKQJxx, you either go for –790, -990, –800 or -1100.

Woolsey:”4---We have at least ten clubs and they have at least eight spades, so this is the right level to compete according to the law of total tricks. If they bid 4, partner can take over the decision making.”

 

But is partner going to know that you have an outside Ace and a King?

 

The next bid makes sense to me. Brings hearts in the picture just in case partner has four of them and ten tricks are easier to take than eleven tricks. If they bid 4 and partner wants to bid, he should bid 4NT rather then five-of-a-red suit.

Hopkins:”Double---I am going to make a Responsive Double in an attempt to play in Hearts. If we don't find a Heart fit, I hope to raise Clubs at my next turn in the auction.”

Don’t preempt with non-preemptive hands.

Problem 2

Imps

Vul: Both

North dealt

South Holds


- 32

- AK7654

- AK3

- 54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

----

1

Pass

2

3

4

5

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

4

10

Dbl

90

1

88

6

70

3

22

6

70

2

30

5

60

0

19

7

20

0

1

6NT

20

0

1

5NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     Partner has shown a good heart raise and a diamond control. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that partner’s diamond control is shortness, probably a void. So what is AKx opposite shortness? Wasted values and defense. Parker suggests that partner could have AKxxxxQxxxxAx. With that hand he would have bid Keycard over 3. If partner has AKxxxxQxxx-KQx, he could bid 5 Exclusion Roman Keycard Blackwood (ERKB). ERKB, is a jump above RKC and it asks partner how many keycards he has outside of that suit. ERKB is a dangerous bid but works well when used correctly. If partner has AKxxxxQxxx-Axx, he could bid 5NT, the Grand Slam force asking you to bid seven if you have the AK of hearts or he could bid ERKB. Partner, therefore, has a hand that needs help in the black suits. He has a hand where Keycard, ERKC or the Grand Slam Force won’t help such as AQxxxQxxx-QJxx or AQxxxQxxx-KJxx. He has holes in the black suits. With the wasted AK of diamonds, you want to slow the auction down and doubling is the best way to accomplish that.

     Four experts make a forcing pass. This is supposed to let partner make the next decision. But partner doesn’t know that you don’t have any black Aces or black Kings. He also doesn’t know that the opponents cannot make 5. Would he double 5 holding QJ10xxQxxx-KQJx?

Hopkins: ”Pass---I am uncertain as to whether we should play or defend, so I remain neutral and let my partner contribute. We have a fair play for a grand opposite as little as AKxxxxxxx-Axxx and would be better off defending if partner has something like AKQJxQJxx-QJ9x.”

Adams: ”Pass---Forcing due to partners 4 bid. My AK of diamonds are good for club pitches in slam if partner does not double. Opponents might well have double fit. Since I do not know if doubling or bidding is right, I pass. If my diamonds were secondary (KQJ) I would double.”

    Actually 2created a force.

Roman: ”Pass---Forcing since I showed game forcing values. I'm driving this hand to 6, and partner may be able to bid a grand with AK of spades, four hearts and the Ace of clubs.”

Schwartz: ”Pass---Should have a black card for 6.”

     Three experts try for the grand. Slight overbid when you might not be able to make 5. If you can make 7, partner would have asked for keycards over 3.

Parker:”6---This should show solid hearts and first round Diamond control. All he needs isAKxxxxQxxxxAx to make a grand. He should bid it with that hand. If he does not have hearts then he must have solid spades, but my partners have hearts for that bid.”

King:”6---Where are the points in this hand? At least one of my diamond honors is probably wasted and maybe partner has something like KQJxxQJxx-KQJx, so I should pass and pull to show slam interest, but that seems too extreme a position to take. I will show my Diamond control and let partner bid seven if he has the black suits under control.”

Woolsey:”6---It's pretty hard to imagine a hand partner can hold where we don't have a decent play for a small slam, so I'm willing to commit to that. Partner will know that I am trying for a grand yet I am presumably off both black aces since I bypassed them both, so I must have something like this. If he has both black aces and a sufficient source of tricks, he should be able to bid the grand.”

     If he had both black aces and a sufficient source of tricks, he would have bid keycard.

     Two experts jump to slam. Sometimes when you jump to slam, the opponents believe you and save.

Cappelletti:”6---Doubling 5 is even less appealing with partner on lead. And there is no way to check for a grand.”

Chansky:”6---Partner has void in diamonds and must have some hearts. No way to tell if he has the right cards, but 6 should have a good chance.”

You have bid your hand when you bid 2, which is game forcing. Don’t bid the same values again. AKx opposite shortness are wasted values, which is where I came in.


Problem 3

Imps

Vul: None

North dealt

South Holds


- QJ2

- KQ93

- AJ762

- 2

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

2NT*

?????**

 

 

 

* Minors

** 3 = 10+HCPs with 3+ spades

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

4

27

3

80

3

89

4

70

3

18

4

40

0

24

4NT

30

0

4

4

30

0

2

3

30

0

2

3

30

0

4

5

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     Holding strong diamonds behind East, this hand has defense. Double of 2NT shows defense against at least one of the opponent’s suits. If you double 2NT and West bids 3 and partner, with four or more clubs doubles it, they should be in hot water. If somehow, they land in diamonds, there could be a four-figure number on our side. If partner has AxxxxxxxxAKxx, we could be getting 500 against 3 and might not be able to make 4, losing two hearts and two spades. If LHO bids 3 and partner passes, you can cuebid to show a good 4 bid.

     Three experts agree with me and go for the throat.

King:”Double---Showing I have good defense against at least one of their suits and letting partner double clubs if he has that suit. There is too good a chance for a big pick up to let them off the hook with a 3 bid now.”

Adams: ”Double---Suits are breaking badly. If partner has Clubs, opponents are in trouble, and 4 not 100%. If partner does not double clubs, I can cuebid.”

 

Roman:”Double---First order of business is to see if partner can double the club bid that's coming. If not, I will bid 4 (or double 5).”

Three experts splinter. The lack of a fourth trump can be disastrous especially when trumps don’t figure to split well. 4 IS a slam try and you have a hand where you might not even make game. The Splinter sets spades as trumps and does not allow for getting to hearts when partner has four or five of them. 

Parker:”4---I lack a fourth spade but have a great hand and I can show my hand in one bid, so why not? Odds are that partner has some hearts but it is too hard to find them.”

Cappelletti:”4---This hand best described by splinter.”

Woolsey:”4---As usual, a splinter figures to be the best bid to help partner evaluate. He needs as little as AK10xxAJxxxxxx for slam to have decent play. Since he has room to cuebid if he is only worth a try, the splinter is fairly safe -- obviously I'm done after this. The lack of a fourth spade shouldn't make much difference.”

Three experts set trumps by bidding 3. This is the Unusual over Unusual convention where bidding the higher of the opponent’s suits (&)shows a limit raise or better in the higher of our possible two suits (&). In this case, since we have bid spades, 3 shows at least limit raise values with at least three-card support. 3 would show hearts, limit or better and since hearts haven’t been bid, would show at least five. 3 shows spade support with less than limit raise values. 3 shows a weak-two in hearts. Since 3 could be a three-card limit raise, partner is less likely to go overboard.

Chansky:”3---More important to show partner what you have than to hope for a big plus by doubling.”

Hopkins:”3---I think the advice is to bid to the limit of your hands before thinking of doubling the opponents. We could have a play for slam if partner has a hand such as:AKxxxAJxxxxxx.”

Schwartz:”3---OK, Ill bite. 4 would show four-card support and can’t see hiding the spade support.”

When you have a stack in one of the opponent’s suits, and only minimal support for partner give partner a chance to double the other suit.

Problem 4

Imps

Vul: Both

West dealt

South Holds


- ----

- Q103

- J95

- AJ97654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

4

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

7

128

5

80

3

34

Dbl

30

0

9

4NT

30

0

1

What is your bid?

I have found that this is a bidders game. More often than not, bidding works out better than passing. Remember, good bridge is making the next to the last mistake. Even if bidding 5 is wrong, East could make the last mistake by bidding 5. He could have KxxxxxxAxxxxx and bid 5just to find out that West opened 4 holding AJ98xxxxxKQxx-. If you bid 5, on bad days when partner has the worst possible hand such as KJ9xxxxxxxxxx, you go for 1700 and they can’t even make 4. However, give partner xxxAKxxxAxQ10x and you could make 7. If you give West nine points in spades, there are twenty-three HCPs to be divided between North and East. It would be very unlucky to find North with no help in the three non-spade suits. If East had all of the missing HCPs, he might have made a slam try.   >There is one more reason to bid 5. You bid one more with a void. I think most players would bid 4 if it went 3 - pass – pass so this is like bidding one more.

Two experts agree with me and take a dive. If this is a good day, 5 will make. Hopefully partner won’t hang you if he has a good hand.

King: ”5---Anything could be right. Pass could lead to a double game swing. I think partner would expect more defense from a double and it could also get us to the wrong strain. 5 seems like a middle of the road choice, but could easily be wrong. If the opponents were not allowed to bid above the two-level our lives would be a lot easier.”

Woolsey: ”5---I play that if partner had doubled 4 that would be penalties. He didn't do, so therefore we probably aren't beating them. How many tricks we can make in clubs is anybody's guess, but it wouldn't be inconceivable for this hand to be a double game swing if the hands fit well, so bidding appears to be the percentage action.”

   Six experts pass like a chicken. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and in this case nothing lost.

Parker: ”Pass---Pass like a chicken. Why go down when they might? Partner's double of 4 does not show penalties like it used to, just a good hand. With a spade stack he must pass. Change me to white and I bid 5

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Partner is much more likely to have cards which beat 4 than cards which will make 5

Chansky: ”Pass---Too risky to do anything else. Partner may have some spades.”

Hopkins: ”Pass---Partner might have the perfect cards, but there is no guarantee and any finesses I might need in the red suits are likely to lose.”

Adams: ”Pass---Only good thing that could come from bidding is getting opponents one higher, but that is not worth the risk. Hard to imagine 5 making, and easy to imagine beating 4.”

Roman: ”Pass---Sorry partner, left my cape and tights in the trunk.”

Schwartz:”Pass---Close, but 5 loses in two ways, partner can bid six or we can go to a number. This assumes partner only doubles 4with convertible values.”

This is a bidders game. Even if 5is wrong, there are still two opponents out there to save you.


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: None

South dealt

South Holds


- K54

- AK54

- 5

- KQJ54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

1

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1

100

2

15

2

90

1

5

2

70

3

34

3

70

2

19

Pass

60

1

19

2NT

50

1

41

2

40

0

7

1NT

40

0

21

3NT

30

0

6

4

20

0

1

4

20

0

1

4

20

0

2

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

There is no call, which precisely fits this hand. Sixteen points falls between a 1NT rebid, which shows 11-14 and a 2NT rebid, which shows 18-19. Jumping in clubs shows a six-card suit, bidding spades promises four and a cuebid is forcing to game. So which white lie do you tell? My thought is to bid 1. Playing in spades at a low level should get you a plus score. Might not be the best possible plus score but plus scores gets you matchpoints. Opposite JxxxxxKQxxxxx where do you want to be? In 1 or 2. Opposite AQJxxxAxxxxAx you can make 7 but only six notrump. Playing in spades can be right if partner is weak or if he is strong.

Two experts agree with me and stay low. Underbid.

Cappelletti: ”1---Stay flexible, if possible, with hands that have no clear bid. If partner bids again, I might make a game try in notrump. Like he might have as little as AxxxxxAxxxxxx.”

Woolsey:”2---A slight underbid, but if partner passes we probably don't have a game and 2 may well be the best contract. The hand doesn't figure to play well in a 4-3 spade fit with the hearts being ruff wrong, and for notrump to score partner will probably need some extras.”

One expert passes for penalties. Wrong if partner is 4144 with weak diamonds. Right if partner is 4342 with strong diamonds. Good partners have the latter.

Hopkins:”Pass---I hope partner doesn't have Club length. I am hoping for +300 if we don't have a game and +500 if we do.”

The remaining experts show strong hands. Overbid. Two experts jump in a five-card suit. How would you like to play in 3 if partner holds QJxxxxQJxxxxx?

Parker:”3---Tough hand. I don't want to pass, bid spades or 1NT. Not strong enough for 2NT, but too strong for 2, so 3 it is. Something to be said at matchpoints to bid 1 since we might scramble a lot of tricks if they do not lead trump.”

Chansky:”3---A white lie, but most flexible. Partner can bid 3 if he's looking for 3NT.”

Three experts cuebid. Cuebids are forcing to game. But can’t partner have a bad hand, JxxxxxKQxxxxx for example. Opposite that junk don’t you want to play in 1?

King: ”2---It is tempting to pass for penalties, but if West has QJ10xxx of Hearts and a black Ace we will only get 300 when game is virtually a certainty and a club slam might be cold.”

Why is game a certainty? We don’t have an eight-card spade fit and we might not have a diamond stopper. Opposite QJxxxxxJxxAxx 3NT and 5 have no play. 4 is the only game contract which has play. 

Adams:”2---Seems crazy, but what else can I do? At least this shows my values without overstating clubs or spades.”

 

2 does not overstate your clubs or spades but does overstate your values. I would expect at least 18 HCPs.

 

Roman:”2---When I next bid spades, I play it will show three (with four, I would bid some number of spades now).”

 

Over my weak example hand, partner bids 3 and you bid 3 and then what?

 

One expert overbids a tad. Will be in 3NT opposite a balanced eight-count such as AQxxxxQxxxxxx.

 

Schwartz:”2NT---Nothing else comes close as this hand certainly is worth 18 balanced.”

Plus scores is the name of the game.


How the Experts Voted - Nov/Dec 2004:

Expert / Problem  

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

4

Pass

Dbl

Pass

2

450
Mike Cappelletti

3

6

4

Pass

1

430
Hy Chansky

4

6

3

Pass

3

390

Robbie Hopkins

Dbl

Pass

3

Pass

Pass

400
Fred King

3

6

Dbl

5

2

390

Steve Parker

3

6

4

Pass

3

420

Steve Robinson

3

Dbl

Dbl

5

1

460

Jeff Roman

4

Pass Dbl

Pass

2

450

Alan Schwartz

3

Pass 3

Pass

2NT

430
Kit Woolsey

4

6

4

5

2

390