ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  May/Jun 2006

Moderator: Steve Robinson


Congratulations to who David Rodney and Dean Pokorny 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 Jerry Pruzan, Chuck Yaple and Michael Frosch with a score of 450.  Sixth was Richard Riseberg with a score of 430. Tied for seventh were Rossi Lindstrom, William Zane, Sam Gumbert, Prahalad Rajkumar, Manuel Paulo, Tom Musso, Lyle Poe and Wes Goldberg with a score of 420. Fifteenth was Pete Whipple with a score of 410. The average score of the 125 solvers was 348. The average score of the experts was 420

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 $29.05 that includes $4.05 for priority mail.


Problem 1 

Imps

Vul: Both

South dealt

South Holds


- A1096

- 5

- AJ1054

- A65

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

2*

Pass

?????

 

 

 

                                           * Game Force

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

5

79

3

70

2

2

3

70

2

19

2

50

1

23

Pass

20

0

1

3

20

0

1

What is your bid?

How do you describe a hand with four spades, five diamonds and three clubs? Easy! You open 1, bid spades and then support clubs. I don’t see any other choice. If you raise clubs directly, partner will not know that you have a singleton heart and might assume you have four clubs. If you bid 3 and partner bids 3NT, do you pass 3NT and find partner with Qxx of hearts or worse, or do you pull and find partner with AKQ of hearts. You can’t jump to 3 showing short hearts because that promises four-card support.    

Four experts agree with me and bid 2. Bidding 2 suggests five diamonds. After 2, partner’s most likely bid will be 2NT. Now you can bid 3 and partner will know that you have short hearts and only three clubs. If opener has a balanced hand, opener should rebid either 2 or 2NT depending upon stoppers in the majors. I think 2 should be opener’s default. Opener should rebid 2 whenever 2NT, two-of-a-major or 3 are not good descriptions of the hand Holding xxxxxxAKQxAxx, opener should rebid 2 which will allow responder to play notrump.

Landen: ”2---I will follow up by supporting clubs. I'm not sure what partner's original 2NT would have been in Washington Standard. If GF, then it's almost a certainty that partner has five+ clubs. I'd be more likely to splinter then, but I'd still like to have a fourth trump.”

Hopkins: ”2---I plan to support next and suggest the pattern of my hand.”

Rogall: "2---Whether 2 shows at least five clubs when all of responder's notrump ranges are covered by other bids or at least four clubs otherwise, I don't want to splinter or raise directly because that would show four-card support. With my slam going values, I'm happy to pattern out with club support at my next opportunity. There's also no reason to temporize with a waiting 2-rebid, when I've got a very descriptive and natural call to make at a low level."

Woolsey: ”2---My understandings are that this promises at least 5-4 in the pointed suits, but does not show extra strength. Over partner's expected 2NT call I can bid 3, completing a perfect description of my hand. If he bids something else we won't belong in notrump, and I can afford to support clubs at the four-level.”

Four experts raise clubs immediately. There’s a big difference between three-card support and four-card support. Suppose partner held KQJxxxKQxKQxx. He would respond 2 and would be sadly disappointed to play in 6 opposite three-card support. Two experts splinter. Splinter show four-card support.

Cappelletti: ”3---Splinter - you would like to coax partner into bidding Blackwood.”

Parker: ”3---Splinter. Always set trumps as soon as possible. I have great controls and a singleton so we are going slamming. Give partner KxxAxxKxKQxxx and we have a lay down grand.”

If you held A1095AJ1054A65x, 7 would be a decent contract. Opposite only three clubs, 7 is poor contract, one that needs a diamond finesse and a 3-2 club break.   

Two experts bid 3. I should have made them tell me what they would do if partner bids 3NT.

Adams: ”3---2 rates to be a heavy favorite among solvers, but is not the right bid playing Robinson style Washington Standard. Robinson style, 1 - 2 bid rarely has a four-card major, if ever, and the club bid shows at least five clubs. Since I already know where our fit lies, it's best to tell partner. No splinter, as that shows at least four trumps.”

Roman: ”3---Supporting partner is the best bid in bridge. 3 is a splinter, but shows four trumps.”

One expert will take a long time to describe his hand. I would think that bidding 2 would not only show four spades, it would also show five diamonds.

King: ”2---Leave partner as much room as possible to describe his hand while showing the fifth diamond of mine.”

In constructive auctions, it’s important that partner knows how many trumps you have when you support.


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- A3

- Q65

- 54

- 1087654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

1NT

Pass

Pass

?????*

 

 

 

* Your bid and the system you are playing

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Pass

100

6

76

3

90

3

2

2

60

0

4

2NT

50

0

2

Dbl

40

1

30

2

40

0

11

What is your bid?

Partner has to have a balanced hand when you have six HCPs and 1NT gets passed to you. If partner has an unbalanced hand, he would have bid something. Partner has to have at least two clubs and clubs rates to be a playable spot. In your dreams, you would bid 2 and buy the contract but the opponents are out there and probably will be able to bid a higher suit at the two-level. The right call on this hand is 3.This makes it difficult for the opponents to will very likely will buy the contract. Over 2, responder can easily bid a four-card suit.

Two experts agree with me and bid their long suit. Assuming the opponents have at least one eight-card fit, 3 in your eight-card fit has to be a Law follower.

Rogall: "3--- The system I'm playing is Robinson. (Aren't we all?) That means I've got two ways to show clubs. I can double to show either a four-card major and a longer minor, or just a long minor, or some huge hand. I can also jump to 3. I'm not passing because you always want to take them out of a non-vulnerable 1NT at matchpoints when you've got a six-card suit or nine cards in two suits. Additionally, there's some extra safety in this case. We're also non-vulnerable and partner didn't bid, so this guarantees that partner is balanced with at least two-card club support. Double is tempting because there's some chance we could get to play at the two-level. There's not much chance partner will ask for my major, since with 5-4 or better and many 4-4's, he would have already bid, but in that case, I might even pretend to have four hearts. However, it's much easier for the opponents to find their fit in these cases, so I'd rather take my chances with an immediate preempt."

Woolsey: ”3---I'm assuming a strong notrump opening. Against this I play that double shows a four-card major (usually) and a longer minor, 2 shows both majors, 2 shows one major, two-of-of-a-major shows five of that major and a minor. Partner clearly has some values, yet he didn't double or bid 2. The conclusion is that he must have at least a doubleton club, since if he has a singleton club he would definitely have had the shape to find some call. I could double and hope that partner bids 2 pass or correct, but that gives the opponents room to find an eight-card major suit fit. 3 puts it to them, and is probably safe enough.”

Next we’ll hear from the six wimps.

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Partner has fewer than 15 points - and will probably lead a major.”

True. Partner will probably lead a major but how many tricks are you going to set up in partner’s four-card major?

Adams: ”Pass---Washington Standard is to play "Robinson."  Playing Robinson, I could double hoping partner bids 2, or I could bid 3. I do not think partner will expect a weak hand for 3 in pass out position. Double is just wrong. If we do have a fit, and stop at 2, then the opponents have a fit, and we are letting them find it. If we do not have a fit, we end up in 3 and we can be in trouble. Strange, fit can stop at 2; no fit must get to 3.... I pass, and hope to win matchpoints by having the opponents play a lower scoring part score.”

Parker: ”Pass---Sometimes they get to play a contract. I play Robinson.”

Landen: ”Pass---I usually play Cappelletti, so I'd pass; I'm unwilling to bid to the three-level. If I could double (where showing a single suited club hand is one of the options) or bid 2 natural, I would.”

Hopkins: ”Pass---I expect partner to lead his longer/better major and I am well prepared for this. My system is 2 natural; 2 Multi; two-of-a-major is single-suiter and good; double is majors, minors or diamonds and 2NT is a big two-suiter. I could bid 2 to play but 1) this might help them get to a previously unreachable 4-4 major suit fit and 2) RHO is reasonable likely to have a minor-orientated hand and we might be out gunned to boot.”

Roman: ”Pass---Whatever convention I was playing. This is a really tough problem, because ordinarily I am willing to take serious risk to not allow my opponents to play 1NT when they are non-vulnerable. Here however, my suit is weak, it is likely that I'll end up playing it at the three-level, I have a honor in whichever major partner leads, and the opponents may back into a major suit fit that responder wasn't strong enough to look for the first time. When I add all this up, I decide to go quietly.”

One expert follows the slow road. Bidding at the two-level allows the opponents to easily get into the auction.

King: ”Double---Playing Woolsey where double shows a four-card major and a longer minor or just a long minor. Seldom right to let them play in 1NT when you have a distributional hand.”

When faced with the choice between bidding and passing, bidding is usually right. It best to show a long minor over 1NT by jumping to the three-level.


Problem 3

Imps

Vul: NS

North dealt

South Holds


- 765

- 5

- AKQJ1054

- A5

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

2*

?????

 

 

 

                                        * Michaels

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

6

29

3

60

1

25

4NT

50

3

26

4

40

0

7

6

40

0

2

4

30

0

7

4

30

0

5

5

30

0

4

5

30

0

3

Dbl

30

0

10

6

30

0

1

Pass

30

0

4

3

20

0

1

3NT

20

0

1

What is your bid?

Partner has opened 1, and you have three-card spade support. However, you might not belong is spades. You won’t have any trump losers if diamonds are trumps. If you bid 3, forcing, and partner rebids spades, then you might belong in spades. Picture partner with AxxxxAKJ10-Kxxx. You can make 7 but you make at best 5. Diamonds should be trumps unless partner rebids his spade suit. You don’t want to play in spades opposite a bad five-card spade suit. Matchpoints would be different. There is another small problem. The opponents could have many hearts and you might find your next bid at the five-level. That problem is secondary, however, to getting to the correct trump suit.   

Five experts join me in bidding their solid seven-card suit. Making the same bid as if you had two small spades.

Adams: ”3---From my perspective, Spades will not have safety against the expected bad break. Diamonds will. Since this hand is in the slam range, I need to get diamonds into the picture before spades.”

Rogall: "3--- Tough choice between 3 and 3. Using 2NT Jacoby I could find out if partner has a singleton and take control of the hand. However, I won't know if partner has more than five spades and partner will think I have four-card support so we could easily get to the wrong strain. Splintering is out since it really doesn't do anything useful and again misdescribes my spade length. Since 2NT is Jacoby, 3 shows any limit raise or three-card support, game forcing. If partner bids game and I've got the room, I could bid RKC next. With all the key cards, I could bid 7 to offer partner a choice. He can evaluate his spade holding accurately knowing my exact trump length and that there's a bad trump split likely. However, I can't offer a strain choice at the six-level after RKC because 6 asks for third-round diamond control. I could start with 3, since my diamonds are solid, and it's IMPs. However, we could be in trouble in diamonds if there's a spade void. Also, bidding diamonds makes it easier for them to find a club fit. Nevertheless, diamonds are higher than clubs, and I could still mention my secondary spade support if they show a heart fit. The critical bonus of starting with 3 is that partner is highly likely to rebid spades with six or more and then I'll know that spades has a good shot."

Hopkins:”3---Natural and forcing. I may even learn something from my partner’s response and even the opponent’s bidding that may help me aim towards our best contract.”

True! If partner rebids spades, then you could then consider spades as the trump suit.

King: ”3---Natural and forcing. Let's hear what partner has to say.”

Roman: ”3---In contrast to Problem one, here, I don't want partner thinking I have a hand I love with spade support, I want him to find out I have a hand I love with diamonds and if I get the chance later, I'll whisper "spades" to him.”

One expert sets spades as trumps by bidding the one suit shown by the opponent.

Landen: ”3---I'd rather bid 3 forcing, but I think that should be competitive. 3 is usually played as limit or better in spades. The real problem comes if partner signs off in 3. I guess I'd have to make one more try with 4. If partner jumps to 4 I'll try RKC.  If he bids 4 after LHO bids 4, I'll also try RKC. We might get to five down one, but anytime partner can play spades for no losers we make at least six. RHO rates to have at least six or seven HCP in hearts and clubs. That doesn't leave partner much besides good spades.”

Three experts jump to 4NT. Sometimes it’s best to jump directly to 4NT when there’s competition. If you bid make a bid at the three-level or four-level and an opponent bids at the five-level, then you’ve lost your ability to check for aces. I would like to have a spade honor to bid a direct Keycard.

Parker: ”4NT---RKC - This must be Blackwood for spades. If partner has the right cards I can find out now, not after some convoluted auction. I will bid 6 or 7s.”

Woolsey: ”4NT---RKC. I plan to pass if partner bids 5, and to bid 6 if partner bids 5 or 5. If partner bids 5 (0 or 3), my continuation will depend upon my agreement about how we handle a potential zero or three conflict. I think this covers all bases and figures to get us to the right contract.”

Cappelletti: ”4NT---Since 3 would set spades as trumps, 4NT is regular Blackwood. If partner shows two aces, try 5NT. This hand will play in diamonds or in notrump.”

Whether or not 4NT is regular Blackwood or Keycard is partnership understanding. Most partnerships would play it as Keycard however.

Three small is the worst possible trump support. Solid seven-card suits usually make very good trump suits.


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: NS

North dealt

South Holds


- AKQJ

- Q54

- A32

- K32

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

Pass

?????*

 

 

 

* 2minor=GF, 2NT=GF w /4-card raise

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

6

17

1

70

2

70

2NT

50

0

11

4NT

50

1

11

2

50

0

2

2

40

0

12

6

20

0

2

What is your bid?

At first glance, you might bid 1. But there are some of partner’s rebids which could make the auction difficult. Suppose partner rebids 2 over your 1. Now you must bid 3 since no other non-game bid is forcing. Over your 3 partner bids 3NT and there you are, never having supported hearts. Suppose partner raises to 2 holding xxxAxxxxKQJxQ. Blackwood in spades will get you to a no-play slam. In order to get to a good slam you need partner to have good hearts. The only way to check on hearts is to make them trumps.  Suppose opener rebids 2. On this hand you can bid RKC and easily count tricks. But suppose your spades were a little weaker, AKJx for instance. Again, the only way to set hearts as trumps is to go thru new minor and that could lead to some difficult sequences.  

Five experts agree with me and start with a two-over one. Bidding 2 will not stop you from finding your eight-card spade fit. Over 2, opener will bid 2 holding four spades.

Cappelletti: ”2---Give partner a chance to show six hearts. Then support hearts, then bid Blackwood. Bid a grand if partner has AKxxxx and an ace.”

Adams: ”2---Honestly, I do not see the problem here. 2 is game forcing, and if I later support Hearts, it shows three. Bidding 1 is silly, as I can't conveniently support hearts and be forcing. Jacoby 2NT I reserve for four-card support, unless I plan to be captain, which I do not. That also gives up on the 4-4 spade fit which we could find after 1- 2 -2 if partner has some sort of Flannery (defined by opening style).”

Rogall: "2---Robinson's guideline of only bidding spades over hearts when you have three more spades than hearts works well. Otherwise, you have trouble showing your strength and your heart length. Here, I can bid 2, creating a game force and then bid hearts at my next opportunity to show exactly three-card support (unless partner rebids spades). After that's done, I can start looking for slam, having learned more information about partner's hand. I don't think this is the type of hand to take over with 2NT Jacoby, which would make partner do all the describing and me do all of the deciding. I might do that if we were playing a modified response system and I could learn a lot more about partner's hand than with standard Jacoby rebids. In this case, there needs to be more give and take so I can later offer partner a choice of strains."

Hopkins: ”2---I don’t like to misrepresent my hand but I want to set the force and keep the level low so partner can describe his hand easily.”

King: ”2---These auctions always go better if you start with a game force.”

Roman: ”2---Auctions that begin 1 - 1 can be awkward for showing slam tries (partner bids 2, we now have to bid 3, he bids 3NT, and we...?) and should be avoided whenever possible. Here, partner didn't open Flannery, 2 is forcing to game, I can bid hearts next, and eventually I will get to show a slam try with three hearts.”

Woolsey: ”1---It is vital to introduce the spades here, even if partner will automatically raise on three which he will playing Flannery, since the 1-call is assumed to be a five-bagger. I want that. Playing in spades figures to take one more trick than playing in hearts. For example, imagine partner with xxxAKJxxQxxQx. 6 has no play unless they give you a trick on the lead or you can successfully Morton fork them in the club suit and the king of diamonds is on. But 6 is cold with normal splits unless West leads a diamond and East has the king.”

Landen: ”1---What else? Is this an advertisement for 2? That bid would help eliminate the problem of sorting out suit lengths that might develop if partner raises spades, but what if partner were 4513 and raised to 3? You'd bid 3 and spades, the probable best trump suit, would be lost in the wash. As 3 would be forcing after 1-1-2 I don't see why I wouldn't bid my solid suit even if it’s only four long. How would you get to 7 facing xxxAKJxxxAxxx if no one bids the suit?”

Parker: ”4NT---RKC - Once again why set up an auction where you need three bids to raise hearts and then you will bid RKC anyway.”

Not true about bidding RKC. Suppose the auction starts out 1 - 2 - 2 - 2. We are at the two-level in a game-force and hearts have been set as trumps. Supposed partner bids 3 showing a minimum. With extras he should show his shape by bidding his three-card fragment, rebidding a five-card suit or by bidding 2NT with 2542. Over 3 showing a minimum, you now bid 3 which is a slam try opposite a minimum. If partner has two of your missing three keycards (Ace-King of hearts and Ace of clubs) he will cuebid. If partner bids 4 over 3, there is no reason to bid RKC because the most keycards partner can have is one. Is it nice to be able to play in 4 when partner has xxKxxxxKQJxQJ?  

1 - pass -1 can lead to bad auctions in standard and you should try to avoid them with game-forcing hands.


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- KQ9875

- Q5

- 32

- AJ9

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

2*

2

3

3

Pass

3NT

Pass

?????

 

 

 

* Weak

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

5

7

4

80

4

28

4

70

0

24

Pass

50

1

62

4NT

20

0

1

4

20

0

3

What is your bid?

You bid 3, which is forcing. Unless you’re a passed hand, new suits are forcing in response to an overcall of preempts. The question now is which game do we play? 3NT, when diamonds have been bid and raised seems like the least likely to be the game that will take the most tricks. Partner could have only one diamond stopper. So which major do we play in? Your spade suit could be a lot worse. Make the five of spades the five of clubs and you would make the same 3-bid. You want to give partner a choice of majors with the emphasis on spades. 4 is the way to do that. You want partner, if he holds two spades and five hearts to bid 4. If you had only five spades, you would bid 4 giving partner the choice of 5-2 fits. Whatever 4 means, partner is going to do the right thing. He won’t rebid hearts unless they are good. He won’t support spades without two.  

Four experts agree with me and bid 4. If partner bids 4 and you correct to 4, then this sequence shows a spade slam try.  

Adams: ”4---This is clearly choice of games. I'd like to play spades, but hearts could be better if partner has one spade. Partner might even have six hearts.”

Landen: ”4---Good problem. Four-of-either-major might be best and it's possible we have a slam. I believe most experts would treat the 4 cuebid as initially asking partner to pick between the majors ("choice of games"). I will pass four-of-either-major. Unless partner has a double diamond stopper or we're running both majors we rate to make more tricks with a trump suit than in notrump.”

King: ”4---I want partner to pick a major. While we are likely to have nine tricks, at matchpoints, I think we need to play in a major.” 

Roman: ”4---Choice-of-games cuebid. Six spades, two hearts, "pick a major suit game partner"...perfect.”

Four experts bid 4. Bidding 4 won’t get partner to correct to 4 holding Jx of spades and AK109x of hearts.

Parker: ”4---Partner should only have two diamonds, thus only one stopper. He should assume I have six spades and two hearts for this auction. 3NT will not produce many tricks if he does not have the Spade Ace.”

Woolsey: ”4---Partner may have been forced to bid 3NT with a single diamond stopper, and that could be very bad. 4 lets him choose his major. If 4 is choice of games that is okay also, but there might be some ambiguity. But pass is very wrong (as it was in real life if I remember correctly).”

Cappelletti: ”4---Partner might have only one diamond stopper.”

Rogall: "4---We're in some netherworld here, guessing what the four-level bids mean. I want to offer partner a choice between the majors, (he's smart enough to be able to tell if he needs to play the hand to protect his diamond stopper) but what's the best way to do that? I'm arguing that bidding 4 does this. Would I really pull partner out of 3NT with only one place to play? What possible hand can I hold? Not three-card heart support and mediocre spades I never would have mentioned the spades. Not two-card heart support and mediocre spades I'd leave him in 3NT. 4 is natural and forcing. If I bid 4, partner can raise clubs, bid 4 RKC, bid a major, or return to notrump. I don't want three of those things to happen, so 4 is out. Normally, a cue bid below game when we haven't found a fit would be a choice of games. However, since we've already got 4 and 4 to offer choices of games, 4 is freed up to be a slam-try in spades -- the only suit not covered for slam-going bids. With a heart slam-try, I would have cue bid initially. Note: I'd only make this ideal 4-bid in an ideal world such as this bidding contest. At the table, I'd guess that 4 would be read as choice of majors."

Only one expert passes. This is matchpoints and if one of the majors does not run you will get a poor score.

Hopkins: ”Pass---I hope we can run six heart tricks or six spade tricks plus partner’s diamond stopper and a couple of clubs. If I were slightly more distributional I suppose I could offer partner a choice of games by bidding 4.”

Flexible bids are used to help you get to the best spot.   


Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

3

Pass

3

2

4

470

Mike Cappelletti

3

Pass 4NT

2

4

400

Robbie Hopkins

2

Pass

3

2

Pass

450

Steve Landen

2

Pass

3

1

4

430

Fred King

2

Dbl

3

2

4

390

Steve Parker

3

Pass 4NT 4NT

4

350

Steve Robinson

2

3

3

2

4

490

Donna Rogall

2

3

3

2

4

470

Jeff Roman

3

Pass

3

2

4

470

Kit Woolsey

2

3

4NT

1

4

390