ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Mar/Apr 2005

Moderator: Steve Robinson


Congratulations to Chip King and Patti Wingfield who tied for first with a score of 480. They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. Tied for third were Charles Sadowski, Zbych Bednarek, Barry Bragin, Kieran Dyke, Joe Trunk, Ron Geagley, Dan Kach, Rick Bingham, Stephen MacArthur, Seymour Baden and Linda Gaylor with a score of 470. Tied for fourteenth were Mitch Edelman, Razvan Spiridonescu, Dave Smith, Leo Lasota, Robert Boorman, Ken Harkness, Walter Taschek, Stephen Weiner, David Funk, Walter Taschek, JJ Wang, Mathew Haag and Mark Chen with a score of 460. Tied for twenty-seventh were Walter Kerns, Kent Massie, Randy Thompson, Bob Levey, Manuel Paulo, Jackie Sincoff, Rick McDaniel, Sonney Taragin, Tim Crank, Tom Musso, Sam Phillips, Fred Wagner, Reese House, Barbara Summers, Walter Beckerman, Jay Weinstein, Denis Faber, Bill Wilson, Randy Beckham, Hy Chansky, Joe Lentz, Michael Mayer, Nancy Bauer and Gerry Higgins with a score of 450. The average score of the 302 solvers was 406. 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 

Matchpoints

Vul: Both

East dealt

South Holds


- ----

- A9754

- AKQ87653

- ----

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

----

1

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

1

100

3

71

5

90

1

24

6

80

1

30

2NT

70

4

67

2

50

0

4

4

40

0

10

3

40

0

2

Pass

40

0

3

1

20

0

15

2

20

0

6

Dbl

20

0

68

4NT

20

0

2

What is your bid?

Do you try to have a constructive auction where you attempt to find out what partner has in hearts or do you leap in diamonds? It’s true that if you find partner with the KQ of hearts, you can make 7 but I don’t know of any methods that would set diamonds as trumps and ask about hearts. One problem with trying to have a constructive auction is that the opponents could have a large black-suit fit.   Four experts agree with me and bid some number of diamonds. The question is the level. One of the choices is overcalling 1. Overcalling 1 guarantees that if the opponents have a fit, they will find it. You could ‘walk the dog’. ‘Walking the dog’ is bidding the cheapest number of diamonds every time it’s your turn hoping to get doubled. But, you can’t look or act agonized every time you bid.    

Woolsey: ”1---I know we play five-card major openings, but does that mean we play five-card major overcalls and have to overcall 1 on this hand? I hope not. I think it is best to go quietly and find out as much about the hand as I can before making the final decision.”  

While I would open this hand 1, I do not play five-card overcalls. I could have a five-card major if I overcall or respond in a minor.    

Hopkins: ”1---If I get clever and bid Hearts now, I might find partner taking an unwanted preference later on probably at a high level. My intention is to show Hearts later and follow with a high Diamond bid.”  

The last thing you want is a heart preference.

Schwartz: ”1---Walking the dog, will bid hearts later showing four but I don't care. Do I really have to be afraid they will outbid me in spades with two aces?”

If you can make 5, you don’t want the opponents to bid 5 or 6. At the high end, 6 figures to buy the pot.  

Roman: ”6---I'm going to have to guess what to do with this hand, so I might as well have the opponents do some guessing too. If I start with 2NT, I'll certainly next bid diamonds and the knowledge of my hand type is more likely to help the opponents than my partner.”  

I’m a 5-bidder. Make the opponent’s guess if it’s their hand.   Then there’s 2NT. Overcalling 2NT, showing the red-suits, is more preemptive than overcalling 1 but with the use of the Unusual over Unusual convention, the opponents can usually find a black-suit fit if it exists. The problem with 2NT is that partner will bid hearts with longer or equal hearts. So partner has KQxxxxxxxx-Jxx. If the opponents bid 5, might partner correct your 5 bid to 5 after your 2NT-jump? Another problem is that if West has heart strength, he might find a trump lead. I think 2NT is a silly bid. Let’s hear from the four experts who made the silly 2NT bid.

Adams: ”2NT---I can show five Hearts, so I do. Diamonds can come later. Imagine our good fortune if partner bids a lot of hearts. Can't tell level if I bid Diamonds.”   It would be OK if partner freely bid hearts but suppose he corrects diamonds to hearts.  

Parker: ”2NT---Show my minor and major, then if partner somehow bids hearts I can bid 5NT, if he bids Spades I can bid 5 and he can look at his Hearts and decide if they help or not. My concern is that the opponents are surely going to bid, so I need to get my suits in quickly. I might even talk them out of spades.”  

So if partner has two little hearts and is forced to bid hearts, you will play this hand in hearts? 

King: ”2NT---And then bid Diamonds.”

I don’t think bidding diamonds shows eight.

Wilkinson: ”2NT---There is very likely a slam here, but opponents may also have one in the black suits. Partner needs to be mobilized. 2NT is forcing and gives him more info than any other bid (i.e., everything but how powerful the hand is). If opponents interfere with unusual over unusual and partner passes, you can bring him back into action with a double.”     

When you have a freak hand like this you don’t want the opponents outbidding you. Don’t give the opponents room to find a fit.


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: Both

North dealt

South Holds


- KQ73

- 76

- AK932

- 85

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

----

1

Pass

1

Dbl

ReDbl*

2

?????

 

 

 

* 3-card Spade support

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

3

2

3

90

3

191

3

80

3

47

2

50

0

27

4

20

0

12

5

20

0

10

Pass

20

0

7

What is your bid?

I put this hand in for a reason. What is the trump suit? Suppose you had a slam try with five or more spades. How do you set spades as trumps? On the other hand, how do you tell partner that you only have four spades? I suggest that 2 set spades as trumps. 2 has to show five spades since if you had four hearts, you would also have five spades. 3, the other cuebid would deny holding five spades and would look for other strains. Since nobody bid 2, this was not a problem. Holding AKQ7376AK9385, the correct bid over 2 is 2.    

Back to this hand. You have an opening bid opposite an opening bid. A problem is that you have only a seven-card spade fit. Of course the 4-3 spade fit could play well. Give partner AJxKJxxQJxxxx and 4 will usually make. If you want to play game in diamonds, you need more strength than you would need for a four-of-a-major-suit game. To make 5, you need partner to have a perfect minimum such as AxxAQxxQJxxxx or extra values. Give partner AJxKQJxQJ10xxx and 5 goes down.  

Three experts jump in diamonds. They fail to see that 4, in the 4-3, will have play.  

Adams: ”3---Not quite a game force in a minor, especially opposite Washington Standards openers. A slight underbid, but I've a strong preference for diamonds, and the alternative 3 bid does not get that message across.”  

Roman: ”3---Natural and invitational, therefore perfect.”

Wilkinson: ”3---Partner needs to be invited to 3NT. Partner can now see four or five diamond tricks, and two or three spade tricks. Since he's sitting over the doubler, honors in clubs and hearts may hold up as stoppers.”  

Three experts cuebid. There’s only one way to set diamonds trumps and force to game. You must cuebid and then support diamonds. Therefore 3 is game-forcing. You can’t play a diamond partial once you cuebid. 4 is only non-forcing if diamonds had already been set as trumps. If 4 is the bid that sets diamonds as trumps, then 4 is forcing. You have to be able to set trumps in order to explore for slam. Make the hand a little stronger such as AKQ37AK932852. 7 is cold opposite xxxAxxxQJxxxA.  

Parker: ”3---I am not sure if 3 is forcing here and not sure what 4 would show, so I will force and bid 4 over 3. If he bids 4 we will play there. If he bids 3NT that will be fine too.”  

If partner bids 3NT, will it make opposite one club stopper? J10xAJ10xQJxxKx for example.  

King: ”3---Let's establish a force and see where we belong. In spades, I might be forced to ruff in the hand with long trumps, but making ten tricks in spades beats taking eleven in diamonds”.  

Schwartz: ”3---To start a force. We could belong in 3NT, 4, or a diamond partial. I'm not forcing to 5.”  

Two experts agree with me and make a bid which figures to work. The opponents will not know that you’re in a 4-3 fit and might not defend perfectly. 

Woolsey: ”4---East's 2 call virtually marks partner with four hearts, so his distribution figures to be 3-4-4-2. That means that clubs will be a soft spot for notrump, and also that I don't have to worry about being tapped in clubs. 3NT could be right, but if I bid 3 partner will bid 3NT on any club stopper and I still won't know, so I'll bid what I think is the percentage contract.”  

Hopkins: ”4---I feel trapped and don't see I have much choice. Launching into a series of forcing cuebids will only obfuscate the issue and confuse partner. Who knows, but that 4 might be our best game? I clearly expect to make it if partner’s spades are Axx, good chances opposite Jxx, and some play opposite xxx.”

Sometimes you have to make a practical bid.


Problem 3

Imps

Vul: Both

West dealt

South Holds


- K

- K

- A5

- AJ9865432

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

Pass

1

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

5

100

5

170

Pass

90

1

5

2

80

1

42

4

70

2

54

3NT

50

0

4

3

30

0

17

6

30

0

4

4NT

20

0

2

Dbl

20

0

4

What is your bid?

     You have 15 HCPs and if partner has anything, the opponents will not have enough high-card strength to get to game. I know that both opponents figure to be short in clubs and that would increase the hand value, but the singleton is very likely to be an honor and that would decrease the hand value. If we pass, the opponent’s will probably end up in a partscore. If you pass, I would expect the auction to go 1 -- 1 -- 2 -- 2, 1 -- 1 -- 2 -- pass, 1 -- 1 -- 2 or 1 -- 1 -- 2-red -- 2. Why not wait and see what the opponents have? After East’s rebid, you can then decide what to do based upon the auction. After the non-fit auctions where East preferences hearts, you can jump to 3NT and expect to have good play. If West rebids 1NT, then you know that you probably have a club loser and can go conservative.   

I’m the lone passer. Let the opponent’s auction tell me what to do.   

The other eight experts bid some number of clubs ranging from two to five. One expert bids 2. Bidding 2 gives the opponent’s room to describe their hands. 2 is safe since there is no way it can possibly go all pass.         

Roman: ”2---What in the world else?”  

There are lots of else’s. Five experts jump to 5. Wouldn’t it be a shame if dummy is QJ10QJ10xJ10xxxx where 3NT is cold, the opponent’s can’t make anything, yet 5 goes down. If my two stiff kings were small, then I would jump to 5 also. 

Adams: ”5---I would bid 3NT, but doubt I would get to play it there. Why leave the opponents the four-level to describe hands?”  

Parker:  ”5---This is what the field would bid so why do something anti-field? I once had almost this hand with two singleton Kings and opened 1NT, it worked great, but I don't think it will be the right contract here.”

Woolsey:  ”5---Either 5 by us or four-of-a-major by them could easily be making, and I know I would never be happy selling out to four-of-a-major. So I'll bid to the limit immediately and hope the bad guys get it wrong whatever wrong is.”   

How bad can it be to bid 5 later assuming the opponents get to game? Unless they’re both void in clubs, they can’t have enough strength to bid five-of-a-major.

King: ”5---Maybe I will go for 500 and they don't have a game, but I want them to make the last guess.”   

After you bid 5, it probably will go all pass, unless West has two aces and the guarded king of clubs.    

Wilkinson: ”5---South has a maximum of four losers, a good sacrifice against a likely E-W vulnerable game in majors. With a club honor north can raise to six, making life very complicated for E-W.”    

Two experts preempt when it could be their hand. 4 will probably end the auction.  

Hopkins: ”4---I want a raise if partner has Clubs, otherwise I'll defend. I think this is about right for my playing strength. I could make game if partner has the Diamond King and three Clubs.”  

Schwartz: ”4---Its true we rate to have a good sack but making 5 is unlikely unless partner bids it and they might not make game if partner has junk in the majors. I am much more likely to score my kings this way in defense.”  

Would partner raise to 5 holding QxxxQxxxxQJxx?   You don’t have to preempt when it might not be the opponent’s hand.


Problem 4

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

North dealt

South Holds


- KJ1053

- 9

- AK765

- 95

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

1

1

4

4

5

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

2

44

5

90

5

164

Pass

80

2

25

5

50

0

7

5

50

0

54

6

20

0

7

6

20

0

1

What is your bid?

The key to the hand is the 5-call. If East is void in clubs, then 5 will go down, losing two club ruffs and a heart. If East has the AQ or AK of clubs then we could lose two clubs and a heart. Either way, bidding 5 will lead to a minus score?   

One expert agrees with me and doubles 5. This creates a forcing pass situation. The opponents can’t play any contract undoubled. When East corrects to 5, partner will double with soft values and you can at least get a plus score. If East had bid 5, you would have had to make the decision by yourself.  

King: ”Double---It sounds like East has a club void and 5 is likely to be beaten with two club ruffs and a Heart. I think we can beat 5 with a couple of Diamonds and a Spade.”  

Two experts pass. This is not a forcing situation and you won’t learn anything from partner’s pass of 5. He will assume that it’s their hand and pass 5 holding something like AQxxxxxxKJ10xx.  

Woolsey: ”Pass---North's 4 call doesn't create a force in my book, but the opponents aren't going to play in 5 so this is safe for now. If partner doubles 5 I'll sit, otherwise I guess I'll bid 5.”  

You must be dreaming to think that partner is going to double 5.  

Hopkins: ”Pass---I'll give my partner a shot first. If 5 comes around to me undoubled, I'll have to decide whether they have the distribution (Club ruff, Heart to the Ace, and Club ruff) or Club tenace (AQ?) behind partner to defeat 5. I will be on lead with the AK of Diamonds.”  

Five experts bid five over five. If you never bid five over five for the rest of your bridge life you’ll be far ahead. You need a good excuse to bid five over five. A void in the opponent’s suit would be a reasonable excuse and I don’t see a heart void.    

Adams: ”5---Partner can have a real hand for 4. It’s worth one try on the way to 5. Defending 5 is likely to be sub-par Matchpoints.”  

Parker: ”5---If they can bid at the five-level so can we. All partner needs is AQxxxxxxAKxxx and we are cold for a slam. Who knows what 5 is supposed to show? Opponents are not there to make life easy.”  

Roman: ”5---This isn't the time to be thinking that I shouldn't bid five over five, since I was going to bid 5 if RHO had passed, so I bid it now. If I was sure pass was forcing I'd do that, but in my regular partnerships it wouldn't be.”  

Pass is not forcing but double does create a force.  

Wilkinson: ”5---Partner does not yet know South's strength. 5 would be telling partner what he probably already knows. 5 conveys both first round control and sufficient values for slam, which may be available even if East has a club trick. 5 is still available even if opponents bid 5 and partner passes.”  

Schwartz: ”5---The 5 bid is worrisome but we still can have a slam as partner can have a wide range of hands. They should have a good sack so even if 5 goes down I am probably headed for a bad score anyway.”

This is a partnership game. If you give partner a chance, maybe he will know if it’s right to bid over 5.


Problem 5

Imps

Vul: EW

West dealt

South Holds


- ----

- AKJ10876

- A5

- J654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

2

Pass

4

5

5

Pass

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

6

100

3

26

Pass

90

5

195

Dbl

50

1

75

6

20

0

1

5

20

0

2

5NT

20

0

2

6

20

0

1

What is your bid?

     A key to this hand is partner’s pass of 5. He does not have a spade stack and does not expect to beat 5. Another key is that West bid 5. He obviously has an unusual hand to bid 5 and some of his unusualness should be a void in hearts. We have one defensive trick outside of hearts and if partner had two sure tricks he would have doubled. If you were in direct seat you would have an automatic pass but in passout seat, you’ve learned something from partner’s silence.  

Two experts agree with me and keep bidding hearts. How bad can 6 be? Since West figures to be void in hearts, you should be able to pick up the heart Queen if it can be picked up.   

Woolsey: ”6---The only real information I have is that partner didn't double 5, so he doesn't have much stuff there. I have no idea whether or not 5 will make, nor do I have any idea how many tricks I will score in 6. If I double, partner is almost certain to pass whatever his hand is. Usually it is right to defend and hope we beat them rather than take a sure minus score. Here, however, it is just possible that 6 could make. Why couldn't partner have xxxxxxKxxxKQx?  That possibility, even if unlikely, tips the scales in favor of bidding.”  

Actually, if partner has xxxxxxxxAQ10xx, xxxxxxxxKQ10xx or even xxxxxxQJxK109x both 5 and 6 could make.  

Parker: ”6---No double from partner, so he does not have a spade trick. I know the five-level is for the opponents, but I just played four hands where someone had at least an eight-card suit, so I should protect against that. I can't imagine that I will go down more than their game, if they make one.”

Five experts pass. Usually getting the opponents to the five-level is a job well done.

Adams: ”Pass---Does not seem like a problem.”   Roman: ”Pass---Bridge is often about making the next-to-last guess, and that is what I've done.”  

King:”Pass---I made them guess at the five-level, I don't think I should bid on or double.”  

Hopkins: ”Pass---Hope for a one trick set. I have shown my values and have a partner.”  

Schwartz: ”Pass---Not a hand for a sack six over five (don't even remember the last time I did that) as I don't play this as a forcing pass situation. West has made an impossible bid and don't want him pushing me around.”  

One expert doubles.

Wilkinson: ”Double---Partner's pass implies no heart support and some defensive strength. Chances are good for three defensive tricks.”

Bid one more when there could be a possible two-way swing.


How the Experts Voted - Jan/Feb 2005:

Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

2NT

3

5

5

Pass

440

Robbie Hopkins

1

4

4

Pass Pass

440

Fred King

2NT

3

5

Dbl

Pass

440

Steve Parker

2NT

3

5

5

6

440

Steve Robinson

5

4

Pass

Dbl

6

480

Jeff Roman

6

3

2

5

Pass

450

Alan Schwartz

1

3

4

5

Pass

430

Ted Wilkinson

2NT

3

5

5

Dbl

400

Kit Woolsey

1

4

5

Pass

6

480