ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Jan/Feb 2005

Moderator: Steve Robinson     


      Congratulations to Ted Wilkinson 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 Yi Zhong, Paul Stygar and Joe Lentz with a score of 490. Fifth was Robert Stone with a score of 480. Tied for sixth were Susan Bowles, Bernie McCurdy, Jim Saxon, Linda Gaylor, Kathrine Loh, Murray Jacobson and Peter Haglich with a score of 470. Tied for thirteenth were Bala Chandran, Priscilla Smith, Ken Kaufman, Pete Whipple and Murray Jacobson with a score of 460. Tied for eighteenth were Mike Zane, John Lawrence, Michelle Cantave, JJ Wang and Suzanne Abrams with a score of 450. Tied for twenty-third were Reese House, Tim Francis Wright, Jay Weinstein, Bob Levey, Jim Allen, Julie Brexler, Wrus Kristiansen, Chuck Yaple and Elliot Grant with a score of 440. Tied for thirty-second were Randy Thompson, Al Graham, Mike Richey, Zbych Bednarek, Saul Penn, Hadi Abushakra, Kieran Dyke, Richard Wimberly, Sam Bowlin and Bill Meeks with a score of 430. The average score of the 297 solvers was 374. The average score of the experts was 409.

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 

Imps

Vul: Both

South dealt

South Holds


- J654

- AK106543

- ----

- A5

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

1

2NT

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

4

51

4

90

5

79

3

60

1

44

Dbl

50

0

5

4

40

0

12

4

30

1

34

4NT

30

0

8

3

30

0

30

5

30

0

8

5

20

1

11

3

20

0

11

6

20

0

1

Pass

20

0

2

3NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

You have four-card support for partner but you also have a strong seven-card heart suit. So which way do you go? Support partner or rebid your suit? The answer depends somewhat upon how often your partner responds 1 when holding four bad spades. If partner has only four spades and spades split badly, he might lose control. If I have four spades and two hearts, I won’t respond 1. I will respond 1NT with fewer than 12 HCPs and will respond 2 with more than 12 HCPs. I need three more spades than hearts to respond 1. Therefore, if I have four spades, I would have fewer than two hearts. If I have two hearts, I will have at least five spades when I bid 1. 1 - Pass – 1 leads to difficult auctions in Standard. There’s another factor in your answer. East has shown at least 5-5 in the minors. This means that spades and or hearts might not split well.

There are two ways to show strong spade support below game. One is to splinter. A jump to 4 shows four-card spade support, diamond shortness and game-forcing values.   Another way to show support is to make use of use of East’s 2NT-bid. Three-of-either minor can be the Unusual over Unusual (U/U) convention. 3 shows a good 3-bid and 3 shows a minimum 3-bid. 3 shows a good 3-bid and 3 shows a minimum 3-bid.

So which way do you go? Splinter or U/U? Three experts agree with me and bid U/U. The reason why I don’t splinter is that there are many messages to be sent and 4 fails to say it all. 4 does not show a void in diamonds, strong hearts, weak spades and first round club support. 4 sets spades as trumps which means that you can’t play in 4.

I like 3. 3 is lower and therefore you could get a chance to tell partner more about your hand. You might also learn how strong partner is. Suppose West passes and partner bids 3. 3 is a signoff, meaning that if there was no competition and you had jumped to 3, which is the minimum that 3 shows, 3 could have ended the auction. You might also get to play in 4.

Three experts agree with me and bid 3.

Schwartz: ”3---It makes sense to play unusual over unusual here. I don't want to give away my minor suit distribution with a splinter, and it still could be right to play in hearts. If 1 showed at least five, I would chance 5 as that gets right to the issue and any spade honors rates to be onsides.”

Chen: ”3---I would like to have more information about partner's hand strength and spade holding. I will bid 3, which is a nice, economical bid that tells partner I have a good hand with spade support. Hopefully, partner will get a chance to respond at the three or four level. If you changed the four of spades to the queen of spades, I would bid 5, Exclusion Keycard Blackwood right away.”

Parker: ”3---I once had this hand with Qxxx of spades rather than Jxxx and had an easy 5NT bid. Since I expect 3 to show Spade support and expect opponents to bid at a high level soon, I can bid Hearts next to show a good suit and a spade preference. If I bid 4 now, then what do I do over five-of-a-minor back to me?”

Five experts splinter.

Adams: ”4---Comforting to know that in Washington Standard, partner will have five spades or four with short hearts. Makes my strain guess less important so I can make a descriptive bid. Partner will know that good trumps are enough. Interestingly, a 4 splinter on this hand could be a matchpoint winner, where stopping the club lead can be worth a trick, but this is IMPs, and a bidding challenge, so I resist the urge.” 

 

Another reason not to splinter. You’ll probably get a club lead.

Woolsey: ”4---When in doubt, splinter. You never know what kind of magic you might find partner with. If he drives to a slam, this hand will not be a disappointment.”

Itkin: ”4---Splinter finds out if responder has wasted diamond honors. If responder has KQxxxxxxxxxQx, 6 is a good contract. But if responder has QxxxxxxKQxxxx, 4 may be in trouble.”  

Hopkins: ”4---I am going to show Spade support, Diamond shortage, and hint at slam aspirations. With very strong Spades, partner might work out I am control rich.”

Roman: ”4---An Exclusion Key Card bid of 5 is too much given my weak spades and the likelihood of bad breaks, so I show a game-forcing hand with hearts, spades and short diamonds and leave it partner.”

One expert agrees that this hand might not belong in spades.

King: ”3---I need to find out more from partner. We could belong in either spades or hearts and so I need to create a force and see what more he can say. I don't think this sets spades as trumps, at least I hope not.”

One expert jumps to the five-level. Assuming 5 asks about trumps, AQxx or AKxx might not be good enough to make slam. It’s silly to go down in 5 when partner has a minimum.  

Cappelletti: ”5---Maybe partner or the opponents will do something favorable.”

In a constructive auction, the cheapest bid is usually best.


Problem 2

Imps

Vul: EW

West dealt

South Holds


- 765

- A7654

- KJ9

- 65

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

1

3

3

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

3

87

6

80

2

38

5

80

2

120

7

50

1

9

Pass

50

1

35

3NT

50

1

2

5

50

1

0

Dbl

20

0

2

4

20

0

2

4NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     If you assume that partner has a normal 3-bid, KQJxxx or KQJxxxx of hearts and out, the opponents are in the slam range. What strategy do you use to make life difficult for the opponents? Silence is one strategy. By not bidding, each of the opponents will think his partner has heart length. Raising hearts is another strategy. Take away bidding room and make them guess. For instance, if you bid 6, the only slam invitation is pass by West. Another strategy is to try to fool them by bidding 3NT, 4NT, 4, 5 or cuebidding. Of course, knowledge of your opponent’s bidding style might help you make the right bid at the table.         

     If you are going to raise hearts, how high do you go? One thing is sure. Decide how high to bid and bid it directly. Don’t bid 4 then 5 and then 6. If you are going to bid 6, bid it directly.

     Two experts agree with me and make the minimum heart bid. Why tell the opponents that you think they can make a slam.

Woolsey: ”4---This takes away West's cuebid. I don't have any particular reason to think they can or cannot make a slam, and for all I know 5 is going for more than the value of their game. So let's see what they think they can make when they are a bit cramped. If it sounds like they are cold for 6 from the bidding, then maybe I'll save. If I bid an immediate 5, that is like waving a red flag in their faces, inviting them to bid slam.”

Schwartz: ”4---Want to take away a cuebid without pushing them to a slam while leaving them an easy 4 bid although a diamond trick is likely on defense.”

Two experts jump to 6. The problem is that the opponents might believe you and bid one more. I don’t think you want to push the opponents into slam holding KJx of diamonds.  

Adams: ”6---I do not know if they can make six of something, so I expect they do not know either.”

Roman: ”6---Hopefully making the next-to-last mistake on this hand...maybe they can make 6 and maybe they can't. My concern is that they can make 7, and this may prevent the suit from ever being bid.”

One expert gives up a large number when the opponents might not even be able to make game. Partner has xKQJ109x10xQJ10x and you take one heart, two diamonds and a club against 4.

Itkin: ”7---7 is no worse than -1400. With diamond honors onside, 6 likely makes, so 7 is a good sacrifice. 7 may also make. If we bid 6 or less, opener can show spade support giving responder a chance to bid 7. Make opponents guess at seven-level. Any bid less than 7 allows opener to cooperate with responder.” 

Two experts middle the heart bids. 5 shows weakness, inviting the opponents to bid higher.

Chen: ”5---I want the opponents to stop in 5 or double us in 5, so I will bid 5 right away.”

Hopkins: ”5---They could be cold for seven or down in six depending upon the location of the Diamond honors. I hope to make them guess about slam and by offering the sure 500 or 800, expect to minimize our worry about a large loss.”

One expert takes up no room from the opponents. Passing allows West to cuebid, pass or rebid diamonds at the four-level. Bidding 4 shows a fit but not necessarily a large fit.   

King: ”Pass---I think they are cold for 6, but I don't want to force them to bid by a preempt on my part. If they don't know about our fit, maybe they won't know how good their fit is.”

Two experts try to fool the opponents.

Parker: ”3NT---I want to get in the auction but not just push them into a cold slam. Any jump by me in Hearts will tell them they have no losers there and give them momentum. I have seen it go 4all pass after this type of auction. I will decide how high to save later.”

Cappelletti: ”5---Might deter opponents from bidding slam.”

     This hand is more of a psychology problem than most, so experience helps. 


Problem 3

Matchpoints

Vul: EW

South dealt

South Holds


- QJ83

- 3

- AQJ8765

- A

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

2

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

1

7

3

90

1

80

Dbl

80

4

68

2

70

3

61

2

70

2

65

Pass

50

0

9

3

20

0

2

3

20

0

4

2

20

0

1

What is your bid?

There are two reasons to pass. The opponents could have a giant heart fit or could have the rest of the strength. They could also be cold for 3NT. However, it seems wrong to let the opponents play in 2 when you are 4-7. Even if the opponents are cold for 4, 5 is probably a cheap save which means passing is out of the question. However, bidding 2 or doubling makes it easy for the opponents to find their possible heart fit. You want to describe your hand while making it difficult for the opponents if it’s their hand.      

 

One expert agrees with me and jumps in diamonds. Not as high as my jump however.

Parker: ”3---Partner must have a stack and a good hand. They surely have Hearts. Maybe we have a slam in Diamonds or 3NT, but I do not want to let them find their fit. I have a great playing hand.”

Three experts bid 2. I hope they are playing five-card majors where an opening 1 denies holding five spades. You don’t want partner to think that you are 5-6 and let you play in spades with only three-card support. I think the chances are slim that partner has four spades.

Adams: ”2---Shows a hand similar to this, exactly four spades and long Diamonds. Can't double without any Heart tolerance. Besides, we might not beat 2 even if partner has four or five of them. Only other bid to consider is Pass. Pass could work when the opponents miss the Heart fit, but that seems too strange a position to take on a very good hand.”

Chen: ”2---The only way we might find our possible spade fit is to bid spades now. Double is out because of my singleton heart and extra diamond length. If the opponents compete to 3, I will bid 3 to complete the picture of my hand.”

Cappelletti: ”2---Let's tell partner I have spades.”

Two experts reopen with 2.

 

Woolsey: ”2---I'm not trying to penalize them on this hand, and selling out is too big a position. I'll simply bid out my shape and partner can take over.”

 

Schwartz: ”2---Worth 2 but can't afford to play a 4-3 spade fit. With only 14 HCPs, 2 is unlikely to be passed out. Plan on bidding spades next even at the three-level.”

 

Four experts reopen with a double. Would you be happy, holding only two tricks, if it went all pass?  

Itkin: ”Double---Just in case responder has a penalty pass.” 

Hopkins: ”Double---I believe this is what I am supposed to do in case partner has a penalty pass. I will probably not be unhappy with a Diamond lead. And, if partner chirps Hearts, I can move along with Spades or Diamonds.”

Roman: ”Double---Job one is to see if we can penalize them (although that Ace of clubs means that is probably not partner's hand type). After that, I'll correct hearts to spades, or compete to 3 if the enemy bids 2. I guess if the bidding is at 4 by them when it gets back to me I'll wish I hadn't balanced, but passing is out of the question.”

King: ”Double---Not the ideal shape for this, to say the least, but need to look for a big score at these colors in matchpoints.”

Don’t reopen with a double when you would not be happy if partner passed.


Problem 4

Matchpoints

Vul: EW

South dealt

South Holds


- 10986

- 9

- AQ97

- AKQ9

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

1

Pass

1

Pass

1NT

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

8

111

Pass

60

3

135

2NT

40

0

29

3NT

30

0

16

3

20

0

6

What is your bid?

     You have three four-card suits. You have bid two of them and have a perfect opportunity to bid the third. If partner knows your hand type, he will be in a perfect position to place the contract. The only problem is that you would bid the same with a 12-count. 2 allows you to play in a suit contract if partner is weak and allows you to get to game if partner has a maximum.  

     Seven experts agree with me and bid out the pattern.     

Woolsey: ”2---We could easily belong in a minor. Over a 2 preference I will bid 2NT, and partner can choose the best contract. If he passes 2, that could easily be right.”

Schwartz: ”2---If 2 gets passed, it rates to make more than notrump. Plan on bidding 2NT over any preference and partner will have a much better idea whether to continue, as he might be afraid of clubs. With the aces, spots and married honors this hand is worth more than 15 HCPs which I would show by converting two-of-a-pointed suit to 2NT.

Partner will also know if his hearts are good enough to play notrump opposite shortness.

Chen: ”2---Pattern out and let partner decide what to do next. We could be cold for 5 if partner has as little as AxxxxxKxJ10xxx. Even if we don't have a good minor suit fit, we might be able to scramble for eight or nine tricks, which would tie or beat the possible +90 by passing 1NT.”

Parker: ”2---Partner has a minimum and is not interested in looking for a heart fit. If he is 2434 or some such pattern, clubs will play great. Sometimes he has five clubs. How can I not bid clubs here?”

Hopkins: ”2---With my hand, I would prefer to play in a suit. There are even some hands where game is possible AxQxxxKx10xxxx.”

Roman: ”2---3 shows a stronger hand, 2NT shows a stronger and different hand, and anybody who passes 1NT deserves to find partner with xQxxxKxJxxxxx, down in 1NT, cold for 5.”

King:  ”2---We don't have a fit yet, but clubs could play two or three tricks better than notrump.”

Three experts pass 1NT. You could be missing a cold game if partner has club length. On the other hand, 1NT could be right if partner has club shortness and heart strength.

Adams: ”Pass---Plus scores are good, and notrump gets a bigger plus than two-of-a-minor usually.”

Itkin: ”Pass---1NT making two is worth more than two-of-a-minor making three and we might not even have an eight-card minor fit.”

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Hope he makes it - if I was going to bid, I'd try 2NT.”

By bidding out your pattern, partner will probably make the right decision. 


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

East dealt

South Holds


- AKJ8

- QJ954

- KQ2

- 5

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

----

1

Dbl

Pass

1NT

Pass

?????

 

 

 

* 2 shows 11-14HCP and, therefore is not a valid bid.

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

4

89

2NT

90

4

86

3

50

3

43

3NT

40

0

26

Pass

30

0

29

2

20

0

10

2

20

0

5

4

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

2

00

0

4

What is your bid?

     With a bad hand, partner could have bid 1 or bid a three-card major, so partner’s 1NT-response is constructive. With QxxQxxxxxxxxx, partner should respond 1. Partner should have eight to a bad eleven, which means we are in the game zone. But which game? If partner has only one club stopper we probably belong in hearts unless partner has fewer than two. How do we investigate? The answer is to cuebid. Over 2, partner should bid 2 holding xxxKxxAJxQxxx. Holding one weak club stopper, partner should not bid notrump again and is free to bid a three-card major. Partner denies a four-card major when he bids 1NT. If partner has good clubs and rebids two or three notrump we will happily abide by his decision and play in 3NT.

     Why can’t we bid 2? 2 is an Equal Level Conversion bid showing a minimum hand with five hearts and four spades, AKxxQJ9xxJxxx for instance. If you overcall 1 with that hand, you could miss your 4-4 spade fit. To show a good hand with five hearts, you have to jump or cuebid. However, if you double and then bid 2, you are showing strength. Doubling and bidding the highest unbid suit is always strong.     

Three experts agree with me and explore.

Adams: ”2---Partner shows values for 1NT. I want to get to game and this will help me get to the right one.”

Woolsey: ”2---If I'm not allowed to bid 2 immediately, I'll see if I can get it in over partner's likely 2 call. If not, I can always bid hearts at the three-level.”

But if partner rebids notrump showing good clubs, there is no reason to introduce the heart suit. However, it does make sense to bid hearts over any other call.  

Schwartz: ”2---What’s left? Partner shouldn't rebid notrump without a second stopper.”

Four experts ignore the heart suit. Opposite 10xxKxxAxxQxxx you might make 5 on good days but 3NT can always be held to four. 3NT will go down if East has five clubs and could be held to three if clubs are 4-4.    

King: ”2NT---I have enough to invite game over a freely bid 1NT, but not enough to force.”

Itkin: ”2NT---Not strong enough for a game-forcing 2 and hearts not good enough for an invitational 3.”

I think this hand is worth a game-force opposite a 1NT response. The five-card suit, well placed honors, and knowledge of the location of the strength is worth extra values.

Parker: ”2NT---I have a strong notrump so why not show it. I overcall either 1 or Michaels with this type of hand so I do not have this problem.”

Overcalling 1 would be my second choice but Michaels would be my last choice.

Hopkins: ”2NT---About right in playing strength and HCPs.” 

Three experts jump in hearts but shouldn’t 3 show six?

Chen: ”3---I want partner to choose between 3NT and 4, so I don't see any reason not to ask him right now. I wish my hearts were a little stronger, but I figure partner will not raise me to 4 without three-card support or an honor doubleton.”

Roman: ”3---Choice of games. 2 followed by a heart bid shows a double-and-bid-hearts hand.”

Cappelletti: ”3---2 followed by 3 would be forcing.”

When you are not sure which game you belong in, a cuebid can sometimes help with the decision.  


 

How the Experts Voted - Jan/Feb 2005:

Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

4

6

2

Pass

2

400

Mike Cappelletti

5

5

2

Pass

3

250

Mark Chen

3

5

2

2

3

400

Robbie Hopkins

4

5

Dbl

2

2NT

440

Ellilt Itkin

4

7

Dbl Pass 2NT

370

Fred King

3

Pass Dbl

2

2NT

380

Steve Parker

3

3NT

3

2

2NT

430

Steve Robinson

3

4

4

2

2

500

Jeff Roman

4

6

Dbl

2

3

400

Alan Schwartz

3

4

2

2

2

470

Kit Woolsey

4

4

2

2

2

460