ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  May/Jun 2005

Moderator: Steve Robinson


Congratulations to Steve Bunning who came in first with a score of 490.  He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel.  Tied for second were Nikola Tcholakov, Gail Zamboni, Rex Settle, John Montgomery and Kieran Dyke who tied for second with a score of 480.  Tied for seventh were Josh Sher, Gerald Lerner, Ravi Arulnandhy and Ivan Feit with a score of 460.  Tied for eleventh were John Ferman and Rick Bingham with a score of 450.  Tied for thirteenth were Robert Bencker, Arnold Kling, Peter Lo, Walter Beckerman, Bogdan Mitran, Arnie Frankel and John Lawrence with a score of 440.  Tied for twentieth were Chuck Yaple, Jason Rosenfeld, Robert Boorman, Victor Cohen, Donia Steele, Lee Bauer, Catalin Doras and Randy Thompson with a score of 430.  Tied for twenty-eighth were Ben Stauss, Barbara Pohl, Nourggie Bauer and Peter Whipple with a score of 420.  Tied for thirty-second were Barry Bragin, Hal Hindman, Ram Sarangen, Rick Uhrig, Leon Letwin, Jose Cortina and David Chechelashvili with a score of 410.  The average score of the 262 solvers was 294. The average score of the experts was 409.

I personally score all the problems. If a majority of the solvers vote for an answer, and the answer is reasonable I will give that answer 100 points. I will not give 100 points to an answer that I consider bad no matter how many experts vote for it. There are times when I want to make a point. I will give that answer 100 points and will therefore give the majority answer 90 points. For the other answers I consider how good the answer is and how many experts vote for it for its score. If you submitted an answer that got 20 points, that bid would get a bad score at the table. A good exercise would be to figure out why I gave your answer 20 points. You might have misread the problem.

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, at tournaments or can send him a check for $28.85 that includes $3.85 for priority mail


Problem 1 

Imps

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- KQ108765

- A107

- ---

- 765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

1

2

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

3

41

3

90

2

25

2

80

3

104

4

60

1

7

4

60

1

33

3

50

0

25

3

50

1

18

Double

40

0

9

Pass

20

0

4

What is your bid?

This could have been a two-part problem. What do you do now and what do you do when the opponents bid 5? East’s 2-bid showed a limit raise or better with diamond support. The opponents might not have many HCPs, but they probably have distributional points which means they are not going to let you play in four-of-a-major. You want to make a bid now, which will make your five-level decision easier. Even though you have three-card heart support, this hand will not play well in hearts unless partner has at least six hearts. The key to the hand is the spade suit but if you play in hearts you may not be able to get to dummy and all the spades will go down the drain. You want to strongly suggest that spades be trump. With spades as trump, most of your spades will score. You want to tell partner that spades should be trump unless he has extra hearts? 2 won’t do the trick. 2 can be bid with a weak five-card suit. You should bid at least 3. 3 or even 4 suggests at least six spades and if you then support hearts, partner will know that you have long spades and minimum heart support.

I like 3. 3 shows at least six spades, probably seven. 3 does not promise a heart fit but most hands would have one. 3 is better than 4 because it allows West to describe his hand at the four-level and more important, it allows partner to possibly show or deny spade support and show or deny good hearts at the four-level.  

    One expert agrees with me and bids 3.

Chip King: ”3---Partner has nine points at most. Only a perfect placement of cards would enable 4 to make. I want to close out the bidding space before opponents find both minors. Partner always has the opportunity to bid 4 if his hand has that potential, and he will push for game if at all possible.”

    Three experts jump to 4. Over 4 the next bid will probably be 5. They plan on bidding five over five, which is usually a losing action. At least partner knows that you have lots of spades.

Cappelletti: ”4---Planning to bid 5 over five-of-a-minor.  If partner has only five hearts, he may take no spade tricks in my hand with hearts as trumps.”

Parker: ”4---Not that I expect it to go all pass, but this way I can bid 5 over 5 or pass if partner doubles. These types of hands play terrible in hearts if partner has two spades, but will play great in Spades.”

Schwartz: ”4---In most hands, spades will play at least as well as hearts and I won't have the room to explore anyway.”

Three experts bid 2.

Woolsey: ”2---I think it is best to take this hand slowly. If I do something like bid 4 and one of the opponents bids 5, I won't have the slightest idea what to do. With my approach I find out what the opponents think they can make, and maybe I'll get some more input from partner like a raise or a heart rebid. This information will help me with my future decision.”

Woolsey has a good point. You’ll need help later in the auction, but you want to make it easier for partner to support spades. 3 is more likely to get partner’s help.

Hopkins: 2---I am going to bid what I have followed by a Heart raise later.”

Roman: 2---In my favorite methods 3 would be fit-showing and I would bid that, but if memory serves our moderator would call 3 a preempt.”

Actually I play that 3 is natural and shows a very good but non-forcing hand.

Three experts ignore their seven-card spade suit. One expert splinters. Splinters show four-card support and this hand will usually play badly in hearts.

Adams: ”4---If I thought 3 were fit showing, I would bid that. With some partners it is, but in Washington Standard it is natural and highly invitational but weak if we are opening side. Expect opponents to bid 5, and need to have shown support.”

Wingfield: ”4---Since you have a heart fit, you probably have game if partner has at least ten HCPs. You are not vulnerable, get to game quickly.”

Landen: 3---I don't expect this hand to play very well thus I will take the low road. Suits are breaking badly and partner may not be able to use the spades effectively.”

When you have a seven-card suit, make a strong attempt to make that suit trump.


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- A2

- 7654

- KJ

- J10765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

Pass

1

Pass

1

Pass

1

Pass

1NT

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

1

2

4

100

1

1

5

90

3

33

4

80

3

55

2

60

1

0

6

50

1

0

3

40

1

100

Pass

30

0

35

4NT

30

0

1

2

20

0

6

2NT

20

0

5

3NT

20

0

4

2

20

0

4

What is your bid?

Your hand increased in value ten-fold. If partner holds KQxx-AQxxxAxxx, 6 will make more often than not. How do you tell partner that he has struck gold? I like the bid invented by Lou Bluhm called the Bluhmer. A Bluhmer is a jump in a suit that you have bid once and later made a bid that denies length in that suit. In this case, bidding 1NT denies a good heart suit. The Bluhmer, a jump to 3, shows that you have nothing wasted hearts. You have four or five little hearts. Since partner’s bidding shows shortness in hearts, a jump in hearts can’t possibly be natural and therefore must show club support, along with four or five little hearts. A Bluhmer doesn’t have to be made opposite shortness.      

One expert agrees with me and makes a super Bluhmer. 3 is enough. Over 3, you can still force to 5. 3 allows partner to bid 4 to show a minimum, bid 4 to show a heart void, bid 3, the Last Train, or ask for keycards by either bidding 4, Kickback, or 4NT RKC.

Landen:”4---A Bluhmer. As I can't want to play 4 after rebidding 1NT, this bid says I have nothing in hearts opposite partner's shortness and a huge hand in support of clubs. Envision Qxxx-AQxxxAKxx and slam is virtually cold. If playing with someone that might not understand a 4 bid I would settle for at least 4.”

One expert invents a bid. I wouldn’t figure out what 2 meant. Couldn’t 2 show Axxx?

Schwartz: ”2---A negative cue bid. An expert partner should be able to work this out, but I wouldn't chance it in a casual partnership.”

The rest of the experts make natural club raises, ranging from three to six.

Three experts jump to 4. 4, while showing strength, is non-forcing. 

Cappelletti: ”4---Partner should have better than minimum hand to bid over 1NT and my hand has great working values.”

Adams: ”4---Corollary to last months 4x1. Hand definitely gets better. Still prefer passing 1NT with 4144. 3 is just a courtesy raise, 4 shows a super maximum and lets partner take next step to game or slam.”

Roman: ”4---The correct bid is actually 3, but I wouldn't bid it unless I was playing with an expert. Impossible bids like this say "my hand just turned to gold", and this hand certainly just did. Meanwhile, 4 must show five since partner might have three, and I've bid beyond 3NT so partner might intuit that my strength likely isn't in hearts.”

Roman mentions the Bluhmer.

One expert tries slam. Can’t opener have KQJx-AQxxxQxxx? Try making slam off AK of trumps.

Parker: ”6---I could not have better working cards, so why torture partner by bidding some lower number of clubs. I first wanted to bid 4 then 5, but partner must be 4054. All he needs is Kxxx-AxxxxKQxx and we have a great play for a slam. Give him the diamond Queen and we are laydown.”

Three experts bid game. I expect to make 5 or at least have good play.

Woolsey: ”5---My hand just got huge. I think we are more likely to have a slam than go down in game, but I'm nervous about any slow approach with all suits having been bid naturally. Partner will know I have to have something like this to bid only 1NT and then jump to 5, so with the right hand he might be able to bid slam himself.”

Hopkins: ”5---Well, for once my Heart suit is perfect for the auction. Partner knows my HCP range and should guess I have two critical cards for him. There might even be slam if partner has a good 4144 or 4054 instead of a minimum. I wonder if 4 should be Kickback in a situation such as this?”

Chip King: ”5---Partner invites game after I showed limited values. Since I'm at the top of my bid, and partner can have no more than one heart, I accept his game try.”

One expert makes a wimpy bid.

Wingfield: ”3---Partner probably has the 4441 hand, and clubs is your only fit. Partner can pass or bid on with extra values.”

Add the Bluhmer to your bidding tools.


Problem 3

Imps

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- Q876

- 76

- ----

- A1097654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

Dbl

2*

?????

 

 

 

* Fit showing jump, 5 & 4 10+HCP

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

6

80

3

70

2

10

4

60

2

19

2

40

0

40

5

40

1

37

4

30

0

27

3

30

0

11

3

30

0

2

6

30

0

2

4

20

0

4

Dbl

20

0

19

Pass

20

0

5

2NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

You want to play in spades only if partner has four spades. If partner does not have four spades, you want to play in clubs. How do you accomplish this? There are two ways. One is to cuebid. Cuebids generally mean that you’re not sure which strain you belong in. Over 3, if partner has four spades he will bid them. If he doesn’t bid spades, you can bid clubs. However, cuebids show strength. If West bids, partner might not bid spades with a bad hand. The second is to bid 3 and then follow with 4. Since you bid clubs, a minor, first, your clubs must be much longer than your spades. What you can’t do is bid spades first. If you bid spades first and the opponents compete, you won’t have any idea how many spades partner has. This is one time when you can violate the rule about bidding majors before minors when partner makes a takeout double. When 3 is forcing, you’ll get a chance to bid spades later. I don’t mean that 3 is a forcing bid, I can’t see any layout of the cards where 3 would end the auction.

Five experts agree with me and bid 3.

Cappelletti: ”3---Then back in with spades over three or four of red suit.”  

Landen: 3---I must bid with this and maybe should bid 4, but if, after bidding 3 partner supports me I can now decide whether to introduce spades over their red suit bids.”

Woolsey: ”3---There will be more bidding, and I will have a chance to bid spades on my next turn.”

Hopkins: ”3---I want to get my long suit in and later I will try Spades probably at the four-level.” 

Adams: ”3---I expect I will get to bid spades next at the four or five-level. In the rare chance the opponents pass, they get me. 4 I might actually play. 5 will get me to 5, and I'd rather buy this for 4 if possible. Partner has to be really strong for slam to make, and he will get the chance to show strength if I keep bidding low.”

Two experts bid 3. 3 shows strength. You don’t want partner to double the opponents based upon your non-existent defensive strength. If you bid 3 and partner doubles the opponents, he’s doubling on his defensive strength. 

Parker: ”3---This allows partner to bid a four-card spade suit if he has one. If not we will play in clubs. No sense in bidding spades now since I can put partner back in the picture with a cuebid.”

Schwartz: ”3---Partner should figure I can't have HCPs and it seems imperative to get partner to play the hand if he has spades. With partner having some club length he should be able to handle the dummy being tapped.”

There’s no reason why you couldn’t have the best hand at the table. Ten for opener, ten for partner, eight for RHO leaving twelve for you.

Chip King: ”4---Partner has 11 or 12 points and most likely four spades. If the opponent bids 4, I am prepared to try 4.”

Roman: ”4---If I get the chance I will certainly bid 4, but if the opponents are about to bid 5, I'd better show the nature of my hand now.”

I don’t see the need to jump in clubs other than to preempt. While partner often has clubs, he’s allowed to make an offshape takeout double holding both majors.

Wingfield: ”5---Jump quickly to 5 where you have an 11-card fit. Yes, you have eight spades between you but if you bid 4, they might bid 5 or 5 and you miss your 5-bid. Bidding 5 first, however gives you more favorable options.”

     Long suits give the opponents distributional points. Therefore, you can bid a long suit at a low level knowing that you’ll get another chance. 


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: NS

East dealt

South Holds


- AKQ8765

- A6

- ----

- A876

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

----

3

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

4

116

5

90

1

1

6

80

1

3

Double

70

4

94

3NT

40

0

12

3

20

1

12

4

20

0

17

4NT

20

0

2

What is your bid?

     What do various spade bids mean? 3 says that you would like to have bid 2 but that ### opponent opened 3. That’s why preempts work. 4 says that you think you can make 4 opposite a hand that would pass a 3-overcall. 5 says that you can probably make 4 but will have play for six if partner has his share of the missing strength. There are 16 missing minor suit HCPs and if partner club values, slam will make. 5 does not ask partner to bid a slam with second round heart control. 5 shows a ten or eleven trick hand and asks partner to bid six of he has something. 5 is quantitative. If partner has KJxx of clubs and a few spades, you should easily make 6. If he has a fifth club, you could make seven. However, if his KQJ of a minor is in diamonds, you might not make 4 but could make 6 if LHO leads his ace of diamonds. 

I think bidding 6 is much better then bidding a wimpy 4.

Parker: ”6---Once again why torture partner when there is no practical way to find out what he has. When there is no easy way to describe a hand, just bid what you think you can make.”

Four experts jump to 4. Wouldn’t you jump to 4 if your hearts were two little? A direct 4 shows good spades and guarantees that you will play in spades.

Adams: ”4---Too strong for this bid, but eliminates strain issues. Doubling then bidding 4 ought to show tolerance for partner to correct. I'd try 5, but partner can't really know which cards are good. 6 is tempting, but random.”

Chip King: ”4---Odds strongly favor making, if partner has any values at all, and it closes out the bidding space.”

Hopkins: ”4---I'm heavy for this action, but I really would rather play in my seven-card suit as opposed to something like a 4-4 Club fit. It is very hard to correctly navigate towards slam in the face of an opposing preempt, so I'm not going to try and risk misunderstandings.”

Schwartz: ”4---An underbid with all those controls, but no other bid appeals. 5 should ask for something in particular as partner doesn't know what cards would be fitting. I might bid 4 with an understanding partner.”

Wingfield: ”3---Overcall 3, you have 17 HCP, nice distribution. Invite partner to bid four with some values.”

Four experts double. The problem with doubling and bidding spades, assuming it doesn’t go all pass, is that partner will not play you for seven almost solid spades. I expect that sequence to show five spades or six bad spades. Change your hand to AKQxxAxAxxKxx and you want partner to run from 4 if he has short spades and a long minor.

Cappelletti: ”Double---Then bid spades – this hand is too good for mere jump to 4.”

Jumping to 5 shows a hand that is too good for a mere jump to 4.

Landen: ”Double---And later bid 4 unless partner shows strength. This hand is too strong to simply jump to 4.”

Woolsey: ”Double---This probably won't help, but maybe I'll find out something of value. It can't be worse than guessing how many spades to bid outright. Who knows -- on a good day, partner will respond 5.”

On a bad day partner has xxxQ10xxxxxKxx and passes your takeout double.

Roman: ”Double---Jumping to 4 shows a good hand, but it's not enough with this moose.”

Jumping to 5 shows this moose.

When you hold a long solid major, make a quantitative bid.


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- 108743

- 43

- AK64

- 84

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

2

Dbl

Pass

?????*

 

 

 

* not playing Lebensohl

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

5

81

Pass

80

4

143

2NT

50

2

27

3NT

20

0

1

4

20

0

3

4

20

0

2

What is your bid?

Three choices. A natural 2NT, a natural 3 or pass for penalties. If the opponents were vulnerable, it would make more sense to pass for penalties but if they take seven tricks then +100 could be a bad score. If LHO has six spades, he could easily take all of six spades plus whatever tricks dummy has. Dummy’s club and heart honors will be onsides for declarer. I like 3, which is where I live. They might even compete to 3.

Four experts agree with me and bid their suit.

Parker: ”3---My spades are not strong enough to pass and I have a good four-card suit so why not bid it? Same bid I would make playing Lebensohl. Maybe they’ll bid on and then I can double.”

Landen: 3---My guess but pass may well be the winner. It would help to know LHO's weak-two style.”

Hopkins: ”3---I think this is more than enough. The Spade position is not friendly for suit play, I don't have five+ trumps, and I have no singletons so I am being conservative for now. If partner shows a good hand, I will cooperate.”           

Schwartz: ”3---Tempting to pass but if partner doesn't have a Spade honor they should have six spade tricks (an easy coup) so +300 might be hard to attain particularly if partner doesn’t have a clear lead.”

Two experts bid 2NT. You have a tenuous spade stopper, and other than two diamond tricks you have no source of tricks and no help for partner’s clubs and or hearts. A natural 2NT should show around ten points.      

Cappelletti: ”2NT---Shows some values and partner might have stiff spade honor. Passing 2 doubled could result in a one-trick set or even a make.” 

Chip King: ”2NT---West isn't solid in spades, or he would be too strong for a 2 opener. I want to compete, and 2NT suggests a spade stopper and opens the possibility of a 3NT contract.”

Four experts pass for penalties. If I held xKJxxQJxxKJxx, I would double 2 and they might take ten tricks in 2 doubled. Partner’s club and heart honors are onsides for declarer. There are other problems with passing even assuming partner does not have five diamonds. Partner has to lead and unless he leads a diamond, he could blow a trick. If you pass with this hand, partner might be hesitant about making light takeout doubles.     

Adams: ”Pass---Assume partner is 1444. They have seven spades and we have eight diamonds. 15 total trumps are not enough to bid. IMPs and I'd not risk this, but at matchpoints there is a decent chance that this is our only plus score. If partner is void in spades and has five diamonds, then this will be unlucky. More likely, partner has two spades and three diamonds, and I've as many spades as declarer.”

Woolsey: ”Pass---If I had any reason to think that 3 would lead to the right contract I would bid that, but that might turn out badly. If partner has a stiff spade honor he is likely to score it when declarer takes a losing finesse, and we could take a lot of tricks here.”

Roman: ”Pass---I'm not sure what pass means when not playing Lebensohl, but I'm going to try it here.”

Wingfield: ”Pass---Convert partner's double to penalties.”  

If it’s close between doubling the opponents and bidding a suit, think about the opening lead problem.      


John Adams         4  4   3   4   Pass   420        

Mike Cappelletti   4   4   3   Dbl  2NT    400             

Robbie Hopkins     2   4   3   4   3     460    

Chip King          3   5   4   4   2NT    390   

Steve Landen       3   4   3   Dbl  3     430        

Steve Parker       4   6 3   6   3    400   

Steve Robinson     3   3   3   5   3     480

Jeff Roman         2   4   4   Dbl  Pass   380    

Alan Schwartz      4   2   3   4   3     430    

Patti Wingfield    4   5   5   3   Pass   290       

Kit Woolsey        2   5   3   Dbl  Pass   420