ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Jul/Aug 2005

Moderator: Steve Robinson    


Congratulations to Matthew Mallory who came in first with a score of 480. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. Tied for second were Mark Rosen and Barry Bragin with a score of 460. Tied for fourth were Jackie Sincoff, Arnie Frankel, Ben Stauss and Richard Ferrin with a score of 440. Tied for eighth were Brad Theurer and Raghavendra Rajkumar with a score of 430. Tied for tenth were Bill Otey, Tom Musso, Steve Carton, Walt Flory and Charles Sadowski with a score of 420. Tied for fifteenth were Jason Rosenfeld, Don Berman, Larry Kahn, John Montgomery, Barbara Summers, Manuel Paulo, Mike Kovacich, Fred Allenspach and Robert Stone with a score of 410. Tied for twenty-fourth were Arnold Kling, Gerald Lerner, Dave Smith, Bruce Kretchmer, Jim Murphy, Terry Jones, Kenn Pendleton, and Donna Rogall with a score of 400. The average score of the 234 solvers was 313. The average score of the experts was 402.

All readers are encouraged to send answers and/or new problems to Steve Robinson, 2891 S. Abingdon St. #A2Arlington, VA, 22206-1329. 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, I 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. You can also see and answer the problems at the WBL web site. WBL Solvers Club uses Washington Standard as published July 1996.

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

North dealt

South Holds


- A1073

- J103

- A8

- J876

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

Pass

1

Pass

2

Pass

3

Pass

3

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

5

100

5

18

4

90

2

12

4

70

2

67

4

70

2

8

4

60

1

28

Pass

50

0

84

3NT

20

0

13

4NT

20

0

2

What is your bid?

     When opener opens 1 and rebids 2, he could have a minimum hand such as xxxxKQxxxAQxx. He could also have a very good hand such as KJxxKQJxxAKxx or QxxxKQJxxAKQx, a hand that is not quite good enough to force to game. Since opener can have as much as 17 HCPs, it’s right to raise clubs. Even if 3 goes down, the opponents might be able to make two-of-a-major. Opener bid 3, which shows at least 14 HCPs with three-card spade support. But if you play in spades, dummies three spades have to do double duty. They’re needed to draw trumps and ruff the losing hearts. If spades split 4-2, I’m not sure you can handle the hand. This hand must be played in clubs.

Another clue is opener’s previous bid. If he had three good spades and four poor clubs, he might have raised 1 to 2. I would raise spades holding KQxxKQJxxKxxx, but bid 2 holding JxxxKQJxxAKxx.

     Two experts invite partner to make the decision. How does partner know which contract is best? Why couldn’t 4 be a cuebid? You could have an extra club.

Woolsey: ”4---I can't be making a slam try since I am a limited hand, so this has to be choice of games. Either 4 or 5 could be right. Partner can look at his black suits and hopefully make the right decision.”

Hopkins: ”4---I want partner to pick the contract. I'm hoping he can read the message. For example, with KQxxKQJxxA109x, I would like to play 4. With Qxx-KQJxxxAQxx, I want to play 5. With KxxxKJxxxAKQx, I want to try 5. Hopefully partner will choose based on where his strength is.”

Four experts agree with me and make the decision to play in clubs.

Adams: ”5---3 was a courtesy raise. I've a pretty good hand considering. With little wastage in Hearts, game seems likely. Need another club to cue-bid. My Spades are not good enough to try the Moysian.”

Lublin: ”5---Hope to throw spade losers away on diamonds.”

I agree with Lublin.

Cappelletti: ”5---Partner has either 3-1 or 3-0 in the majors AND a reason for not raising 1 to 2 directly (perhaps three small). Thus he probably has most or all of the missing 15 points in the minor suits. Should make 5 cold or at least good play.”

Steve Bunning: ”5---Partner is likely 3154 with enough extra strength to consider game opposite invitational values. With two aces and little wasted in hearts, bid the game. A club contract should prove easier than the Moysian spade fit.”

Two experts make the decision to play in spades. Since you could have five spades, partner is never going back to clubs.

Parker: ”4---We know that partner is 3154 with about seventeen points. With fewer he would have passed 3. We should have a good play for game and ten tricks should be easier than eleven. Give him something like, KxxxKQJxxAKxx and 4 plays better than 5.”

King: ”4---Partner is showing extra values and 3154 shape. Ten tricks in spades should be easier than eleven in clubs.”

In the example hands, 5 plays very easily. Play AK of clubs and run the diamonds. In 4, you have to worry about hearts and a 4-2 spade break.

One expert goes conservative.

Landen: ”4---I have nothing really special for my previous bidding. I don't feel the need, not vulnerable, to stretch to bid an eleven trick game (5) or try for ten tricks in a seven-card fit (4). If vulnerable, I would probably bid 5.”

Two experts try for slam. If partner were 3055 with a good hand, he would have jump-shifted.

Schwartz: ”4---Slam is still possible particularly if partner is 3055. Might as well show something on the way to 5. Don’t think 4 should be an offer to play in diamonds.”

Roman: ”4---Critical to show the diamond card here. We could belong anywhere from 4 to 7 - Kxx-KQxxxxAKQx.”

     Partner’s hand is limited by his failure to jump shift so he can’t really have your example hand.

     It’s up to you to make the final decision when you know more about the hand.

Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: None

South dealt

South Holds


- AKQ65

- AK54

- K2

- AK

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

2

Pass

2*

Pass

2

Pass

3

Pass

3

Pass

5

Pass

?????

 

 

 

   * Artificial, shows one ace

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

7NT

100

2

36

6

80

5

14

6

70

2

3

7

50

1

3

5NT

50

2

11

7

50

0

116

6

40

0

28

6NT

30

0

21

5

30

0

2

What is your bid?

     What can partner have for his 5-call? If he held xQxxxAxxxxxxx, he would raise 3 to 4. He could even have as much as xQxxxAxxxxQxx to raise to 4. 4 doesn’t stop partner from investigating further. Jumping to 5 shows a better hand such as xQxxxAQxxxQxx or xQJxxAQJxxQxx. He should have all of the missing queens as well as the Ace of diamonds to jump to 5. 5 shows a hand that should be in slam unless you’re missing two keycards or the top two clubs. Notice that 7NT is either cold or has good play opposite three queens and the ace. Opposite xQxxxAQxxxQxx 7 needs hearts 3-2 while 7NT will make whenever hearts are 3-2, diamonds are 3-3 or when there is a squeeze. Either red Jack would make 7NT cold.

     The experts are trying to tell partner what they have. The problem with all of the expert’s bids is that there is no consensus about the meanings of any of these bids. How can you make a bid when only your clone knows what it means?

     6 shows the ace of clubs but what else does it show?

Adams:”6---We are playing a grand as partner can't lack the HQ for the 5 call. Over 6 or 6NT, I will bid 7. Partner should work out that I have both minor suit Kings and am looking for tricks for 7NT. Second choice is 6 directly, focusing on our source of tricks, but partners can get confused and think that denies the club king.”

I’m confused about your follow-up.

Landen:”6---I assume 5 asks me to bid six with good hearts. Well, I have pretty good hearts and I'm interested in bidding seven. If partner signs off in 6 I'll probably pass. 6 by partner will get us to seven of something. I'll continue with 7 showing the diamond king and let partner decide between 7 and 7NT.”

There’s not even a consensus about what 5 means.

Woolsey:”6---Partner has shown his controls, so his eyes are going to be glued upon his heart holding after I make a grand slam try. He won't get it wrong.”

This assumes that you’re playing with someone with the same understandings that you have. Unless you’re cloned, there is no such person.

King:”6---I think 5 is asking for a club control. I will show a first round control. With only a second round control I would bid 6.” 

So what is partner going to do over 6?

What does 7 mean? To play with 5404, or choice of red suits?

Parker:”7---This shows top controls in all suits. 5 ask for total controls across all suits. If he wanted to find out just about hearts he could bid 5NT. If he has good diamonds and poor hearts we want to play 7NT, if poor diamonds and good hearts we want to play in hearts. He can bid 7 with good diamonds and I will be 7NT otherwise he bids 7.”

I think one reason partner bid 5 is because he’s worried about clubs. Wouldn’t you bid the same holding AKQJxxAKJxxJx?

What does 5NT mean? The two usually meanings of 5NT is choice of slam or grand slam force. Which meaning applies here?

Hopkins:”5NT---Should be Grand Slam Force. I'm willing to be in a 68%+ grand slam.”

AKxx opposite Qxxx is 32% to have a loser. You don’t want to be in 7 down with 13 top tricks.

Cappelletti:”5NT---Better check for Q in case partner has something like xJxxxAQJxxQxx.”

If partner has that hand you have 13 tricks in notrump.

Is 6 a choice of slams or is a cuebid?

Roman:”6---When I next bid 7, partner will know to correct to 7NT with something like xxQxxxAQJ10xxx.”

How can partner have less than AQ of diamonds and a Queen for his 5-call?

Schwartz:”6---5 should be a general slam try. If partner can bid 7 opposite the DK and the outside controls, I can try 7NT.”

Lublin:”6---Assuring partner no losers. Also says bid seven with one of top three heart honors.”

     A Lublin-ism. He makes a bid, assigns a meaning based on his hand and assumes partner will know what it means. I think all of the experts have done that in this problem.

     One expert agrees with me and ends the auction.

Steve Bunning:”7NT---Partner is inviting slam, but we know he has only one ace and no kings. He likely has extra heart length, spade shortness and a queen or two. With a 26-point monster and every AK, bid the grand. Hearts might make seven and notrump only six, but the reverse is also possible. Go for the matchpoint gold and bid 7NT.”

There is only one correct answer to this problem. 7NT! And I’m sure everyone knows what 7NT means. When you can count 13 tricks in aces, kings and queens bid 7NT.

Problem 3

Imps

Vul: NS

North dealt

South Holds


- K109765

- 654

- A32

- 3

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

Dbl

?????

 

 

 

2NT=lr+

3NT=good 4-bid

4=Splinter

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

6

59

2NT

80

3

13

3NT

80

1

21

4

50

2

124

ReDbl

40

0

4

Pass

30

0

1

2

20

0

3

3

20

0

4

6

20

0

1

4

20

0

2

5

20

0

2

What is your bid?

This is a good hand to tell partner what you have. You have a game-forcing spade hand with short clubs. All other bids are a distortion. If the opponents compete, you want partner to have a chance to get the follow-up correct. If partner has AxxxxxKxAxxxx, 4 will make him very happy. He’ll also know what to do if the opponents compete holding AxxxxKQxxxKQJ.

Two experts jump to game. What will they do if the opponents bid at the five-level? Bid 5 and find partner with AQJxxxxxxxKJx (-800) or pass and find that you are cold for 6.

Adams:”4---Yes, I have a good one, but the opponents have a good save. If partner doubles them, I will know not to bid on. If I show a strong hand first, I will wonder if I’m to overrule partner.”

Parker:”4---No sense in allowing them in at a low level or allow them to double 4 or 4. The big question is what do I do over five-of-a-minor.”

Three experts show part of their hand. 2NT shows a four-card limit raise or better, usually balanced.

Cappelletti:”2NT---Tactical limit raise (or better) - opponents less likely to save.”

Schwartz:”2NT---Since we have the master suit, its more likely to be "our hand", so I can show some values instead of just bidding 4. I am not good enough for 4.”

Steve Bunning:”2NT---A splinter bid risks pinpointing a sacrifice for the opponents while a slam for our side is unlikely given the eight-loser dummy. With two extra trump, an ace and a singleton, the vulnerable game is odds on.”

One expert shows a good 4 preempt.

Roman:”3NT---We didn't get a footnote about what 3NT means, but whether it's a good raise to four or the weak end of a two-tiered splinter (it must be one or the other), it's what I have.”

     Five experts agree with me and describe their hand.

Woolsey:”4---It always pays to make the more descriptive call, even if it is a slight overbid. Partner has room to cuebid if he only has interest, and I can then sign off. If partner drives to slam, my hand will not be a disappointment. In addition, the descriptive splinter will help if the opponents bid to the five-level.”

Landen:”4---Reluctantly. At the table, I might bid 4. I don't like letting LHO bid 4 or 4. On the other hand I have an awfully good hand to bid a "preemptive" 4. Many partnerships now play 3NT in this type sequence shows a good 4 bid with about one defensive trick. I'm a tad strong even for that.”

Hopkins:”4---Is this a push for the modern style of using 3NT in this situation to show one prime/defensive trick in an otherwise preemptive hand?”

King:”4---Not the usual number of high-cards for this bid, but I want partner to know how to evaluate his clubs as offense or defense.”

Lublin:”4---To get the bidding up and tell partner not much defense.”

Another Lublin-ism. Game forcing splinters deny defense. He couldn’t have xxxxAQJxAQJxx and splinter.

When you can make a descriptive bid in a competitive auction, partner is more likely to be able to make a knowledgeable decision.


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: Both

North dealt

South Holds


- A32

- 6

- 765

- J98654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

1

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

6

101

4

80

2

40

5

50

1

23

2

50

1

7

2

50

1

57

Pass

50

0

4

3

50

1

0

1

20

0

2

What is your bid?

     The typical jump to 3 shows a weak hand with five clubs. This hand has a sixth club and an outside ace. The sixth club and the ace change the hand from a weak hand to a mixed raise type of hand. There are many minimum hands where game is cold. Opposite KxxAxxxxxAKxx, 3NT is practically cold. Opposite KQxxxxxxxAKxx 5 is cold. The big problem is that hearts are going to be raised. You want to make a bid, which will help partner make a decision when hearts are raised. If 2 shows four-card support, 3 shows five-card support, then 4 shows six-card support. Bidding 4 shows how many clubs you have and puts West into a position where he has to make a decision at the four-level. He has to deal with the wide range 1 overcall. The overcall could be eight HCPs or it could be sixteen.

Six experts bid 3. Could be right if partner has a 2NT-jump rebid.

Adams:”3---Seems obvious.”

Landen:”3---Preemptive raise. There's no law that says you can't have a little extra every once in a while.”

Roman:”3---I'm unsure as to system here, but it's my intention to show a club preempt. So if we're “flip-flopping", put me down for 2NT. Bidding 4 is too much with this dog.”

Woolsey:”3---If this isn't a preemptive raise, what is? Yes we might make 3NT on some hands where partner can't move, but on balance the 3-call figures to work out fine.”

Steve Bunning:”3---With a weak hand, long clubs, and limited information about partner's hand, describe your hand and let partner decide if it's appropriate to bid more. Immediately bidding more than 3 is too unilateral.”

Hopkins:”3---Preemptive.”

One expert jumps to game.

Parker:”5---Why be fancy, someone has a game and it may be us. Partner can have a minimum such as KQxxxxxxxAKxx and we go down one and they make 4. If he has a better hand with a singleton Diamond we make 5. Why let them exchange information and have to guess later.”

One expert agrees with me and makes a Law bid. Allows partner to make the final decision knowing that you have six clubs. If LHO bids 4 and partner doubles, you can live with it.

Schwartz:”4---Can live with 3, but want to increase the odds of us not losing a double game swing. With no top club honor, 3NT very unlikely.”

One expert allows the opponents to describe their hand. West can show a simple heart raise, a limit heart raise and a forcing heart raise. West could even show club shortness by jumping to 4. You don’t do well when the opponents know what they have.

King:”2---I don't want to drive the opponents to a game they might not reach otherwise. If they don't know about how big our club fit is, they may underestimate their Heart fit.”

Two experts overbid. They won’t know what to do if their partner doubles the opponents.

Cappelletti:”2---Even more tactical limit raise or better, but does have one defensive trick.”

Lublin:”3--Splinter preempt but still vulnerable and will accept game tries in clubs.”

Lublin’s splinters are preemptive.

If you tell partner about your six clubs, he will be in a better position to get you to your best spot.  


Problem 5

Imps

Vul: NS

South dealt

South Holds


- AQ543

- KQ2

- J65

- AQ

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

2

Dbl

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

1

9

3

90

7

149

3

50

3

12

2

40

1

11

2

40

0

18

2NT

30

0

13

4

30

0

6

3

30

0

4

3NT

30

0

7

3

20

0

3

4NT

20

0

1

4

20

0

1

What is your bid?

We probably have enough strength to make game but we might not have an eight-card major suit fit and we might not have a diamond stopper. Give partner a typical negative double such as xxAxxxxxxKJxx and what contract do you want to play? I’d want to play 2 doubled. There is no game and you could easily get 500. Make West pay for overcalling 2 holding JxxJxAKQxxJxx. Partner will not blow a trick with his opening lead. He’ll probably lead a spade and you can then decide how the defense should go. When thinking about passing a negative or takeout double, think about partner’s opening lead. If your spade holding was Jxxxx, partner could blow the suit by leading the King from Kx. A second reason to pass the double is that East didn’t raise diamonds. Partner should have a few diamonds. A third reason to pass is that you know that partner does not have primary spade support. I don’t often pass negative doubles but this seems clear-cut. So clear-cut that I don’t think that there is any other reasonable bid.   

     Seven experts cuebid. Nice if partner has five hearts or a diamond stopper but the typical negative double shows four hearts and does not have a diamond stopper. If partner has five hearts, he has fewer than ten HCPs. Bidding 3 does not guarantee getting to a makable spot. What is partner supposed to bid over 3 holding JxAxxxxxxKJxx? 3 and play the 4-3? 3 and play the 5-2?

Adams:”3---Who knows? Sometimes partner has five Hearts, so passing 2 seems a big risk (+300 vs Vulnerable Game).”

What game?

Landen:”3---What else. I'm forcing to game, come hell or high water. We might go down, but at least we should find the right strain.”

The right strain could end up in a 4-3 heart fit or a 5-2 spade fit.

Roman:”3---Good hand, uncertain direction. I will pass 3NT (and wish I had passed 2 doubled, raise 3 to 4, and bid 4 (pick a game) over 3 or 4. It's tempting to pass (dummy is likely not to be a thing of beauty) and that might well be the winner, but with no trump tricks and red-on-white it's just too big a position to take.”

Woolsey:”3---I'm strong enough to force to game, but I have no idea about the strain. If I bid any suit or notrump, that is a distortion. The cuebid tells partner what my problem is.”

Partner might know the problem but might not have a solution.

King:”3---Show partner I have a good hand without clear direction.”

Steve Bunning:”3---Opening 1 could have worked well, but I'm wishing I had opened the hand 1NT. Now, I'm stuck looking for the "least bad" bid. Notrump is a shot in the dark. A heart or spade bid risks ending in the wrong strain. Pass could be right, but that's a pure gamble. A cuebid is forward going and hopefully conveys some doubt as to where the hand should be played.”

Hopkins:”3---Help! This one is vicious. I can just see partner getting forced if we end up in a 4-3 Heart fit.  Maybe I'll be lucky and partner will bid 3NT.”

One expert rebids his spades. Could end up playing in a 5-1 fit and the best would be a 5-2 fit.

Parker:”2---I do not bid three-card suits if I do not have too. I should be able to scramble lots of tricks based on my high card points. If partner can bid again we will find a better spot. Give him xxAxxxxxxKxxx, and we are high enough. If I bid 2NT and he has some extras but not in Diamonds we get to 3NT and go down off the top.”

Three experts guarantee that hearts will be trumps. You’d wouldn’t be happy to play in hearts opposite KxJxxxxxKJxxx or even KxJxxxxxxKJxx.

Cappelletti:”3---Since you are Vulnerable at IMPs - might make game.”

Lublin:”3---Going to game and give partner cuebid room.”

Schwartz:”3---Just too good a hand opposite a vulnerable negative double at the two-level to just rebid 2. 3 is forcing to game, so I am short of that.”

The key elements to passing  partner’s takeout double are strength and misfit.


How the Experts Voted - Jul/Aug 2005:

Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

5

6

4

3

3

420

Steve Bunning

5

7NT

2NT

3

3

470

Mike Cappelletti

5

5NT

2NT

2

3

330

Robbie Hopkins

4

5NT

4

3

3

410

Steve Landen

4

6

4

3

3

430

Glenn Lublin

5

6

4

3

3

380

Fred King

4

6

4

2

3

390

Steve Parker

4

7

4

5

2

260

Steve Robinson

5

7NT

4

4

Pass

480

Jeff Roman

4

6

3NT

3

3

430

Alan Schwartz

4

6

2NT

4

3

370

Kit Woolsey

4

6

4

3

3

440