ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Sep/Oct 2005

Moderator: Steve Robinson


Congratulations to Mark Steele and John Miller who tied for first with a score of 490. They win a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. Tied for third were Richard Ferrin, Steve Bunning, Elliot Grant, Tom Musso, Noble Shore, Larry Kahn, Robert Stone, Brad Theurer, Ashok Dhareshwar and Ken Kaufman with a score of 480. Tied for thirteenth were Wes Goldberg and Don Berman with a score of 470. Fifteenth was John Lawrence and with a score of 460. Tied for sixteenth were Natalie Aronsohn, Lloyd Rawley, Ben Stauss and Jean Franke with a score of 450. Tied for twentieth were Elliot Itkin, Bruce Kretchmer, Pete Hughes, Clyde Kruskal, David Chechelashvali, Marshall Kuschner and Fred Steinberg with a score of 440. Tied for twenty-seventh were Zbych Bednarek, Steve Carton, Fred Wagner, Walter Kerns, Ellen Cherniavski, Mike Berard and Jim Murphy with a score of 430. The average score of the 184 solvers was 368. The average score of the experts was 424.

Addenda--Zbych Bednarek 430 on my last contest.

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

South dealt

South Holds


- 3

- KQ104

- AKQJ4

- 1032

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

3

3

Pass

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

8

83

3NT

60

2

23

4

60

2

47

4

20

0

11

Pass

20

0

5

4

20

0

9

5

20

0

2

What is your bid?

   LHO preempted and you have to find a bid over partner’s forcing 3-bid. Two obvious choices are to rebid your solid five-card diamond suit or bid your good four-card heart suit. Then there’s the old standby. There is a saying that 3NT is the bid which works most often when an opponent preempts. Do we bid what we have or do we bid 3NT?  

     One expert agrees with me and bids 3NT. I admit that 10xx is not a club stopper but sometimes the 3NT bid becomes the stopper. West is on lead holding AQJ10xx of clubs. He knows that the king of clubs is on his right so he leads another suit hoping partner has an entry in order to lead thru your king.

Parker:3NT---I have five tricks, partner can help with the other four. He can also bid 4 with long spades. No other bid makes any sense. Anything can happen with the club suit, partner has a stopper, they block or don't get led.”

     Ten experts bypass 3NT. Hope they will find a resting place.

     Eight experts bid 4. What will partner do over4 holding KQxxxxAJxxxKx?    

Landen:”4---What else? Partner may think I have five, but he won't pass with fewer than three and this hand should play well in a Moysian fit. I rate to have five diamonds as I would raise spades with a decent doubleton and bid notrump with a club stopper.”

Adams:”4---Seems like a decent description of myhand. At the table I might try 3NT, because defenders frequently go wrong over 3NT (bidding or leading). Opponents always get these right in solvers panels though.”

Hopkins:”4---I believe this should be natural and partner can pass perhaps with something like AQxxxxAJxxxQx, if partner has only threehearts. Spade raises should either be a direct 4 call, a 4 cuebid, or Blackwood. Bidding 4 implicitly shows a Diamond suit, so partner can choose between 4, 4, or 5 with minimum hands.”

Schwartz:”4---My good suits make up for slight lack of HCPs for showingreverse strength. 4 in a 4-3 fit might be our best spot once 3NT is bypassed if partner is light in HCPs.”

At this level, there are no reverses. Partner’s 3-call promises another bid over a non-gamebid. This means that 4 is forcing in theory.

Lublin:”4---Natural and can play the 4-3.”

King:”4---We are in a game forcing auction, so why not show my hand?”

Woolsey:”4---If my handweren't this strong I might just bid 3NT and gamble on the club situation. But my hand is strong enough that even if we get to the wrong strain we might make on sheer power, and we could have a slam. So I'll just bid out my shape as best as possible and hope partner gets it right.”

Mallory:”4---Pass is tempting, but impossible - partners bid forcing. 3NT, 4 and 4 seem  mis-descriptive or mad. Lets tell him what I have.”

Two experts bid 4. You won’t have any chance of getting to 4 if partner is 6313.

Cappelletti: ”4---Clearly the safest bid (inview of spade misfit) and might get us to best game or slam.  Partner should “follow through” with 6-4 distribution  (else he would have made negative double).”

Roman:”4---While 4 would be a choice-of-games choice of games cuebid here, it should show a doubleton spade. Partner will bid hearts if he has them, so emphasize the diamond suit and wait to see what happens.”

Major-suit game bids are non-forcing unless they’re conventional. 4 is natural and non-forcing in this auction and even non-forcing after 1 - 3 (overcall) - 3 (spade raise) - Pass - 4 (maybe hearts will play better than spades).


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: None

East dealt

South Holds


- A54

- A6543

- A4

- K87

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

----

----

1

1

Pass

2

3

?????

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

11

61

3

50

1

29

4

40

0

11

3

30

0

48

Pass

20

0

32

4NT

20

0

1

3NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

We have overcalled with 15 HCPs in a position where we could have only eight. Further action is warranted and the obvious choices are to jump to game, make a game try or just compete. Since there is only one bid between 3 and 3 that bid, 3, must be anartificial game try. 3 says that I don’t card how good your 2-bid was, I justwant to play in 3. AxxKQxxxxxxxx for example. Holding six hearts, there are only about 5% of hands where it wouldn’t be right to bid 3. Over 3 there are two ways to make a game try, double and 3. Over the double, which shows some club values, partner passes with minor suit cards or pulls with major suit cards. He pulls if he has a singleton or void in clubs. If he pulls, he bids 3 with a minimum or 4 with a maximum.

Nine experts agree with me and double. As long as partner knows that this is a pull if right double then doubling should work out. One of the reasons why doubling might not work is you don’t have a clear opening lead.       

Parker:”Double---Shows a good hand with no good bid and a game try. Partner can pass or correct. I put it at 90% that west bids 3 and then we have a new problem. Partner will pass 3 with a bad hand and do something with a good hand.”

Landen:”Double---Close decision, it would be nice to know the characters involved. I'll try for 300 here. I don't think this hand will make 4 and it might even go down in three. If partner pulls to 3 I will pass. With a very offensive hand partner should bid 3. Over that, I'd bid 4.”

Cappelletti: ”Double---Turn the cube and see what partner does.”

Adams:”Double---They are probably going down, maybe two or three. Leading Diamonds. Looks like a 1NT overcall to me.”

Roman:”Double---Second choice is pass, but when partner asks me about our -470 on this board, I'll use a phrase like "trying to protect our equity of 110 or 140 in the hand" which will impress him sufficiently that he will forget that I doubled with Kxx of trumps. Game try 3 is out, 3 is out.”

Hopkins:”Double---If the Club Ace is on my right, I hope to find partner with one entry to get a Diamond ruff and collect +300. And, there are many hands where we have six+ tricks just off the top, so I think it is reasonable to go for a good matchpoint score.”

Schwartz:”Double---The LAW and my poor Heart spots strongly argue for defending.”

King: ”Double---I don't know that we have nine trumps and I do hope partner can contribute at least one trick.”

Woolsey:”Double---I have plenty of extras, and the distribution says to defend. The problem is that if East isn't kidding we might take only my four winners against 3. By doubling Isend the message to partner that I think this is our hand, and give him maximum encouragement to double 3. If he doesn't do so -- well, I admit I haven't made up my mindabout that yet.”

Mallory:”Double---3 is against The LAW, and my hearts are horrible. I should have four tricks, and all I need for 300 is a K in partner's hand. If he has one, I should be able to find it.”

One lone wolf. Doesn’t double say the same thing? Do something intelligent.

Lublin:”3---Game try. Tells partner to do theintelligent thing.”

A low-level double after a fit has been found is cooperative.

Problem 3

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

East dealt

South Holds


- A

- A6

- AQ107654

- A87

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

----

3

?????

 

 

 

4 is NOT a legal bid and will be given

zero (0) points.

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

5

100

2

24

3NT

90

4

60

Dbl

80

4

63

3

40

2

20

6

40

0

4

Pass

20

0

2

4

20

0

10

4NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

A jump to 4 would be the perfect bid for this problem. Why is 4 not a legal bid in this contest? A lot of players, including myself, play that jumping to 4 shows five or more diamonds plus a five-card or longer major. Leaping Michaels. Over 4, advancer bids 4 if he wants to play in the major. Leaping Michaels comes more often then a good hand with just diamonds. You give up playing in 2 over partner’s 1NT-opener and you give up the natural 4-jump over 3. Since 4 shows diamonds and a major, you have to find another way of describing this hand.

Three experts join me in bidding diamonds. The four take-out doublers are bidding diamonds also. Seems reasonable to bid diamonds when you have diamonds. One expert agrees with me and jumps to 5. Jumps to game over opening bids are preempts. On the otherhand, jumps to game over preempts are strong.

Partner won’t be confused about what suit the 5-bidder has.

Parker: ”5---Why torture partner with any other bid. I hate partners that double with this type of hand and then expect you to figure out they do not have a major. Once again no other bid makes sense.”

Two experts bid 3. You have so much strength thatit could go all pass. This is different from overcalling at the one-level. At the one-level, the opening bidder will probably reopen. Here, the 3-bidder will pass automatically. 

Hopkins:”3---Seems automatic. I can try 3NT if partner bids a major and partner will suspect I need a little something since I didn't just up and bid 3NT originally.”

Mallory:”3---With intentof bidding 4 on next round (if I get a chance). Don't think auction is going to die -- a lot of major cards in the unbid hands. 5 is unilateral and may be silly. If I double, partner will not understand when I put down three major suit cards in five or six of a major.”

Four experts double. Doubling 3 with 1-2 in the majors is against my religion. 

Landen:”Double---Intending to rebid 4 showing a hand stronger than a direct jump to 4.”

Cappelletti: ”Double---Plan to bid 3NT over three-of-a-major.”

     Double followed by 3NT says that you’re not sure that you belong in 3NT. It says - partner you can rebid your five-card major. 

Adams:”Double---Sorry for not having majors, but when I rebid Diamonds twice, partner should get the idea. Slam seems too likely for 3NT or 5 to make sense. We can have a slam opposite a hand that would pass a 3 overcall.”

So when you double and bid 4 and then bid 5, is that any difference from an immediate 5?

Roman:”Double---The normal response to a preempt is to bid 3NT, but it really feels like we belong in diamonds, so I'll double and bid diamonds until partner gets the idea. 5 is reasonable, and shows a powerful hand, but is partner really going to play us to have THIS much?”

Four experts bid the old standby 3NT. Not only is 3NT an underbid it could go down a lot if partner doesn’t have the king of diamonds. Give partner KJxxxxxxxxxxx. 5 makes at least six, 3NT goes down bunches. Or give partner xxxxKxxxKxxxx.7 makes.

Schwartz:”3NT---With the likely-hood of a six-card preempt the odds don’t favor a stiff club in partner’s hand.”

Lublin:”3NT---May be the only game that makes. Partner cannot pull it.”

True. If partner has xxxxxxxKxxxxx, 3NT is the only game that makes.

King: ”3NT---I think this is our most likely game, so I will bid it now.”

Woolsey:”3NT---A reasonable guess. Anything else would be a ridiculous guess.”

A jump to game after preempts shows a good hand.

Problem 4

Imps

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- J83

- 1082

- AJ65

- A52

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

Pass

1

2

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

6

88

3

50

3

20

2NT

50

1

15

Dbl

40

2

34

3

30

0

14

5

20

0

2

3

20

0

11

What is your bid?

     We have a good hand but don’t have a clear bid available. We have only three hearts so negative double is flawed. We have only three clubs so raising clubs is flawed. We have only four diamonds with ten HCPs so 3 is flawed. Passing is flawed since partner would pass 2 on hands where 3NT is good. KxxKxKxQJ10xxx just needs a club finesse and partner would probably pass out 2. So which direction does our expert go?

     Three experts raise clubs. While it is very unlikely that opener has only three clubs, there is a possibility that he has four clubs.

Parker:3 ---I do not double with three heartsand a balanced hand. I have had this type of hand 100s of times and partner always has at least five clubs when they are long in a side suit. He knows I am under pressure and will bid again with a good hand, hopefully 3NT.”

Landen:”3---This best expresses the strength of the hand. Even though Ihave only three clubs, partner rates to have at least four. I'm not going down the slippery negative double path. That will only turn out ok if partner bids notrump or rebids his clubs.”

King: ”3---I had a couple of spades in with my clubs.”

Five experts agree with me and pass. I hope it goes all pass. If partner reopens with a double we will have a problem but we won’t have to deal with that here.

Cappelletti: ”Pass---It would be wrong to double or bid 3 which tend to show distribution.”

Adams:”Pass---I do not have a bid, and my hand is not so good that I care. Ten-loser hand.”

Roman:”Pass---If partner passes with a weak notrump, I'll be happy I didn't get involved. I'll bid 3 next if I can.”

Hopkins:”Double---Oh, please, please let partner bid Notrump (or Clubs or Diamonds)! I would rather show some values now rather than have to guess what to do if partner reopens with a double. All the IMPs will go to a Pass here that catches partner with three Spades and you get to defend.”

Schwartz:”Pass---If partner can't reopen game is unlikely and we rate to beat them. Bidding is more likely to result in a minus, and there is no clear bid anyway. Now what is the best bid if partner reopens with a double?"

Woolsey:”Pass---If partner can't reopen he has a minimal balanced hand with at least two and probably three spades, so I will have certainly done the right thing. If he does reopen I will have to guess -- probably guess with 3S -- but I don't think I will be any worse off than if I had found some distortion now like 3 or a negative double.”

If I were forced to bid, I would bid 2NT. Shows a balanced hand with a spade honor.

Mallory:”2NT---Don't like it much. But seems right on values. Partner won't take me for this if I pass and then bid 2NT over partner's reopener. Of course, it would be nice if I had a spade stopper. Other option is to pass and decide what to do over partner’s reopener - but 2 doubled does not look promising if declarer is very short in clubs, and 2NT then will show much less than I have.”

Only one expert makes a negative double. A negative double shows four hearts and the last time I looked at my hand, I only saw three hearts. Maybe my eyesight is going.

Lublin:”Double---Negative but I have values for the bid.”

     When you are long in the opponent’s suit be conservative.

Problem 5

Imps

Vul: Both

South dealt

South Holds


- K96

- AKJ762

- K65

- J

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Dbl

1

2

Dbl**

3

Pass

Pass

3

Pass

3

Pass

?????

 

 

 

**Dbl = 3-card Spade support

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

1

5

Pass

90

10

148

4

60

1

31

What is your bid?

     WE’RE VULNERABLE AT IMPS. We have a good hand and partner has made a free bid. Not only has he made a free bid, he bid the suit promised by the takeout doubler. He might raise hearts on a frivolous hand but to bid 1 vulnerable he needs sound values. Game could make opposite as little as AJ10xxxxxxxxxx and be practically coldopposite AJ10xxxxQ10xxxx. With either hand hewould not bid game and with the first hand he might not have bid 1. Game is practically coldopposite AQ10xx10xJxxxxx.

Actually the 3-balance is not a game try.If you had the same hand without the king of diamonds, would you really sell out to 3? Itwould not be winning bridge to allow the opponents to play in their nine-card fit at the three-level when you probably have two eight-card fits. Bidding only 3 is a gross error. This hand belongs in game. South should have jumped to 4 showing a good hand with six hearts and three spades.   

I thought the problem would be which game to bid not whether or not to bid game. This hand was played in a team match and both sides were in game. 4 made while 4 went down. Playing in hearts protects your diamond king from initial attack. Playing in hearts also wins when responder has A10xxxxxQJ10xxx and spades are 4-1. Is itreally that bad being in game needing the heart finesse to work?

Let’s hear what our ten wimpy experts have to say.

Parker:”Pass---He has no more than one heart and a weak hand, otherwise he would have bid last time over 3 . We are high enough and in theproper strain.”

If he has three clubs, he’s supposed to pass 3 even if he has values. AJxxxxxAxxxxx is a pass of 3.   

Landen:”Pass---I implied extra values when I bid 3. I have nothing further to say.”

You implied extra distribution, not extra values.

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Try for plus score on hand where: a) spades might be 4-1 or even “stacked” b) hearts misfit – probably not splitting c) Ace of diamonds is over the king.”

Adams:”Pass---Spades are breaking badly, partner is short in hearts and does not have extra values, and I have no late entry for my Hearts unless partner has A. Not going to hang partner for responding 1. If partner hadcompeted directly to 3, I'd have raised.”

Roman:”Pass---This isn't close. 3 isn’t forcing, and partner just corrected to 3. Bidding herewould be a blunder.”

You’re right. I don’t think its close. It’s a blunder not to bid game.

Hopkins:”Pass---Well, partner should expect me to be 3-6 in the Majors. I am going to presume this is a correction with a poor hand with five Spades and Heart shortness. I have already shown some extras by bidding again and I don't have to repeat.”

Schwartz:”Pass---With likely 4-1 spades and partner having diamond length, game is unlikely and might get doubled.”

How could you get doubled? Only if West made a takeout double with Q10xx of hearts and a stiff spade and East has QJxx of spades. Impossible! The opponents have all their strength in clubs. West has the spades and East has the hearts.

King:”Pass---Let's see. I showed three spades, six hearts and some extra values. I think I have told my story fully.”

Let’s see. Partner showed five spades with approximately seven or eight HCPs with little wasted strength in clubs. Maybe we can make a game.

Woolsey:”Pass---I've described my hand perfectly, and partner has placed the contract. If he has five spades and a decent hand he probably wouldn't have passed 3. 3 is surely the limit of the hand -- probably more than the limit in fact. Bidding anything now is asking to go for a number.”

Nine tricks the limit? If hearts are 3-2 with the queen onsides, you could easily take 11 tricks opposite AJ10xx of spades and out.

Mallory:”Pass---I've told partner I have three spades, six hearts and a good hand. He bid 3. What else can I say? Certainly don't want to play 4-3 spades with a trump lead.”

One expert agrees with me and makes an IMP bid. If you play in spades, they can make dummy ruff clubs, and you will probably lose the heart suit. This hand will probably take more tricks in hearts then spades.

Lublin:”4---May make or they may take the dive. Eitherway I’m in a good position at IMPs not to miss a vulnerable game. Partner is not bidding 3 on a four-card suit.”

When you’re vulnerable at IMPs you look for excuses to bid game, you don’t look for excuses to stay out of game. While you’re not supposed to put perfect cards in partner’s hand, placing partner with good spades is not unreasonable. I must admit that I’m disappointed in the responses to this problem.

How the Experts Voted - Sep/Oct 2005:

Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

4

Dbl

Dbl

Pass Pass

470

Mike Cappelletti

4

Dbl

Dbl

Pass

Pass

430

Robbie Hopkins

4

Dbl

3

Dbl

Pass

370

Steve Landen

4

Dbl

Dbl

3

Pass

420

Glenn Lublin

4

3

3NT

Dbl

4

340

Fred King

4

Dbl

3NT

3

Pass

430

Matthew Mallory

4

Dbl

3

2NT

Pass

380

Steve Parker

3NT

Dbl

5

3

Pass

400

Steve Robinson

3NT

Dbl

5

Pass

4

460

Jeff Roman

4

Dbl

Dbl

Pass Pass

430

Alan Schwartz

4

Dbl

3NT

Pass Pass

480

Kit Woolsey

4

Dbl

3NT

Pass Pass

480