ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Jul/Aug 2006

Moderator: Steve Robinson

Congratulations to who Rusty Krauss who came in first with a score of 500. He wins a free entry to the Unit Game and will be invited to be on a future panel. I will also play with him at a future Unit Game. Second was Marshall Kuschner with a score of 470. Tied for third were Ron Zucker, Ram Sarangen, Brad Theurer with a score of 450.  Sixth was Fred Steinberg with a score of 440. Seventh was Robert Stone with a score of 430. Eighth was Linda Marshall with a score of 420. Tied for ninth were Ted Wilkinson, Lyle Poe, Prahalad Rajkumar with a score of 410. The average score of the 151 solvers was 308. The average score of the experts was 409

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 

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

West dealt

South Holds


- Q109

- H65

- A1032

- 654

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

2

2

?????*

 

 

 

* What is the lowest heart you would need to bid 3

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Queen

100

7

42

King

80

1

48

Jack

60

1

7

7

40

2

21

Ace

40

0

17

Pass

40

0

12

10

40

0

4

What is your bid?

You have Q109765A1032654. LHO opens 1, partner overcalls 2 and RHO bids 2. You have six HCPs of which four points are very good but two could be worthless. Do you bid 3? Unless you’re playing that double of 2 shows an invitational-to-game raise, which very few partnerships do, you need 3 as an invitational raise. If East had passed, you would have 2 as an invitational raise and then 3 would be a token raise. Over 2 bidding 3 could encourage partner to bid 4. Even 3 could be too high. Partner could have xxAKQJxKxxxxx, a normal overcall, and if the jack of spades is wrong or they lead the diamond nine, seven tricks is the limit. Give partner a better overcall such as xxAKxxxxxAQJx and partner will bid 4 when you invite. 4 has four sure top losers opposite 7xx and if hearts are 4-1 it could be expensive. Passing 2 does not end the auction. Partner knows the opponents are in an eight-card fit and will take action with any excuse. However, if you had Q109A54A1032654, a ten-count of which eight points are good and two are questionable, you would certainly invite. So how much more than Q109765A1032654.do you need to invite?

Six experts agree with me and need at least Qxx of hearts to invite.

Adams: ”Queen---If white, I would bid with the two. Partner bids Hearts over Spades with five-card suits often enough to go for 200 with less. Six working points seems a reasonable compromise to safety and competitiveness. My spade cards make it so that 3 might not have law protection, else bidding would be more automatic. 4333 does not automatically stop me from bidding, but is certainly not an asset.”

White minus scores are bad also. Inviting with the six HCPs, of which two are questionable non-vulnerable, could be bad if partner thinks you have something and bids again.

Rodney: ”Queen---Suppose partner has xxAKxxxxxxAxx or xx/AKxxxxxKQxx. We are likely to be one down in 3, even holding Qxx.  Anything less and we're heading for the dreaded -200, and that's assuming nobody doubles.”

This is matchpoints so the opponents can be a frisky doubling you and if you are doubled, you can kiss this board good bye.

Hopkins: ”Queen---I would expect this to give us a 50% play for our contract which is particularly important if we are doubled.”

Woolsey: ”Queen---If I have less the opponents may hold the queen, which along with my queen of spades would argue for a lower trick total than normal.  In addition partner may bid game if I raise, so I would like some values.”

The Queen of spades could be worth a trick on defense but is unlikely to be a useful trick on offense. Same if the opponents hold the queen of hearts. If we have eight hearts and they have eight spades, there are usually 16 total tricks. If they can take eight tricks in spades, we should be able to take eight tricks in hearts. (8+8=16). Holding the enemy queen lowers the trick total so there might be only 15 total tricks.

Roman: ”Queen---With such sterile distribution, I want two cover cards to raise.”

4333 hands do not make good dummies in trump contracts.

Landen: ”Queen---So much depends on partner's tendencies. With a rock I'd raise with the deuce, but the Queen seems mainstrain though I don't feel strongly about this problem.” 

One expert needs the King of hearts to bid 3.

Schwartz: ”King---Don't want to bid too much with my defensive spade holding. On offense my spade holding is likely to be equivalent to xxx unless partner has an honor.  Also can now guarantee that holding the King, a Heart lead won't cost a trick.”

Three experts invite with trash.

Cappelletti: ”Jack---I would consider the queen as "full values" for a raise. But I would definitely raise with Jxx as a "stretch" to try to get opponents higher than 2.”

I’m not sure I would bid 3 holding Jxx, if partner was barred.

Pokorny: ”Seven---At this vulnerability partner has a serious overcall so, most probably, 3 will be made or down one. I shouldn't be afraid to be doubled and it is very important to push them one level higher because 2 is probably a make. So, a quick raise with xxx is obligatory. “

Parker: ”Seven---I would raise an opening bid of 1 to 2 with any three-card support and six or so points, so here I will do the same thing. If I pass it will put too much pressure on partner to have to guess what to do in pass out seat.”

If partner opens 1 and you’re playing forcing or semi-forcing notrump, you should bid 1NT first and then support hearts. A direct raise to 2 shows a hand that would accept at least one game-try. The reason why you don’t raise partner’s 1-opener or partner’s 2-overcall with trash is that you don’t want partner to bid 4 unless he has an extremely good hand. The club or diamond queen might not be valuable but the spade queen is very likely to be worthless.

Another reason not to raise with 7xx is that partner might lead a heart from KJxxx with disastrous results.

Honors in the opponent’s suit should be discounted.  Invitational raises have to be stronger than competitive raises. After 1 - 2 - 2, play double as a limit raise and play 2NT as minors. This allows you to bid 3 with non-invitational hands.


Problem 2

Imps

Vul: Both

West dealt

South Holds


- KJ

- 5

- AQ765

- A10965

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

2

Pass

3

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4NT

100

5

30

Pass

70

4

48

4

50

1

26

4

50

1

4

Dbl

20

0

22

4

20

0

5

3NT

20

0

15

What is your bid?

This is a bidders game and East has told you that he doesn’t think he has enough aces and kings to have a play for a vulnerable 4. RHO would probably invite vulnerable holding AxxxxxKJxxKQJ so he has a weaker hand This means that your partner has some of the missing aces and kings. Give partner as little asxxxxxxxxKJxxx or xxxxxxKxxxQJx and you want to be in five-of-a-minor. This would be a more difficult problem if East had jumped to 4 or you were in direct seat and RHO opened 3. Then LHO could have all of the missing strength. Any finesses you might need figure to be onsides. There is a perfect bid for this situation. 4NT in this situation shows both minors and guess what? You have both minors.

Four experts are wimps. I really don’t understand their thinking. I think I would bid 4NT over any heart preempt and response.

Adams: ”Pass---Maybe they got me, maybe not. I need a lot from partner to make game, and a little from partner to go for a big number. 3 is a good bid.”

You don’t need a lot from partner to make game. Kxxxx of clubs could be enough.

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Rather than guess minors at the four-level, I will stay "fixed" and defend. Not that likely to be missing a game.”

Pokorny: ”Pass---Too much defensive values and too weak suits for bidding 4NT. Double with only two spades would be absolutely horrible.”

Landen: ”Pass---Brutal problem. Can't double with only two spades and 4NT is the only way to show the minors; that seems a bit much.  I know they're robbing me but I'm passing and hoping to go plus.”

Four experts agree with me and bid their hand.

Rodney: ”4NT---For the minors! -- Partner doesn't need much for us to make game.  E.g., xxxxxxxxxKQxx gives some play for 5 and partner can be better than this!” 

Schwartz: ”4NT---Worth overbidding slightly to get to the right stain. With Heart shortness, I can't pass as partner can have as much as 14 and unable to bid with a three-card heart holding.”

Hopkins: ”4NT---I always get it wrong if I double in these situations and partner bids my doubleton, so I am going to insist in playing in one of my suits and hope we have a fit in one of them.”

Roman: ”4NT---Pick a minor partner, and good luck to you.”

Two experts put their eggs in a minor-suit basket. However, what if partner has the other minor?

Woolsey: ”4---I don't like selling out with a singleton in their suit.  I don't have a way to show both minors (4NT is Blackwood), and even if I did the five-level may be too high.  So I'll shoot out a minor and hope to strike a fit. I choose clubs even though they are weaker so I'll have a four-level runout if doubled. East won't expect that I have a runout, so he may double on a trump stack and let me off the hook.”

There are some auctions where 4NT is Blackwood but I don’t think this is one of them. Over 2, 4 can show the minors, leaving 4NT as Blackwood. Over 3 you’re more likely to have both minors then a solid hand needing only aces.

Parker: ”4---Not double because I want to have some partnership confidence that when I double in these auctions I have four spades or an easy second bid. 3NT is a silly. If I bid diamonds first I can bid clubs over 4, I will pass 4 if partner bids it.”

Doubling would not be wise. If you double and partner bids spades, which is very likely, then what?

This is a bidders game. When in doubt take action.


Problem 3

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

South dealt

South Holds


- A

- Q954

- A1096532

- A

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Pass

1

1NT*

?????

 

 

 

                                        * Black Suits

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

3

12

4

80

2

48

3

80

2

7

4

80

0

9

3

80

2

22

2

70

1

4

Dbl

50

1

1

3

40

0

7

2

40

0

8

2

30

0

1

5

30

0

1

4NT

30

0

7

2

20

0

16

4

20

0

3

5

20

0

1

2NT

20

0

1

3

20

0

2

6

20

0

1

What is your bid?

There are a lot of ways to show this hand. You could jump to 4 and show a game-forcing heart raise. You could jump to 3 and show a game-forcing heart bid with spade shortness. You could jump to 4 to show a game-forcing heart bid with club shortness. Both 3 and 4 are splinters. You could jump to 4 to show a game-forcing heart bid with at least six diamonds. 4 usually shows stronger diamonds a hand such as KxAJxxAKxxxxx, Having no black suit losers could compensate for the missing king of diamonds. Since 1NT shows 5-5 in the black suits, you could also bid 2 to show a good 2-bid or bid 2 to show a good heart-bid. The Unusual over Unusual convention. There is a problem of having only two black cards vulnerable with the opponents non-vulnerable.

Three experts show a game-forcing hand with six diamonds and four hearts. Partner is not going to know that you have no black suit losers

Adams: ”4---Four-card heart support, long Diamonds. Seems clear descriptive choice. Too good for 4 preemptive.”

Rodney: ”4---Shows a heart fit and long good diamonds. I know my diamonds are not good enough, but I have both black aces. I'm expecting to hear 4 on my left, and this bid will give partner a good chance of making the right decision, as opposed to me bidding a direct 4. Then partner is likely to think I'm balanced, because I didn't splinter.”

Landen: ”4---Same bid I would have made if RHO passed. Shows a strong 4-6 in the reds. A typical hand would be xAKxxAQ10xxxKx, perhaps a pip stronger.” 

Two experts show spade shortness.

Pokorny: ”3---Partner should then know if slam has to be reached or, at least, what is the right thing to do if the opponents bid 4.”

Schwartz: ”3---Need to show four-card heart length and 3 leaves more room for cooperation from partner. 4 sends the wrong message as a stiff diamond in partner’s hand is not a liability and 4 also takes up too much space.”

Two experts show a balanced game force.

Parker: ”4---Surely they are going to compete in the black suites so I better show good support now. I will bid 5 over four-of-a-black-suit. I must be distributional since I did not double or cue bid. Partner can look at his diamonds and hearts and decide how high to go. 4 in this auction would show solid diamonds, which I do not have.”

Cappelletti: ”4---Should have good play opposite A or K of hearts.” 

Two experts invite game

Hopkins: ”3---Well, I do have three Aces and my hand could be worth a lot if partner has good trumps or we have a crossruff situation, so I am going to bid aggressively.”

Woolsey: ”3---This looks about right on value. Partner will bid game if he has anything decent. I don't want to bid 4, since West will know what to do with a trump stack. If West bids 3 and that is passed around to me, I can try 4.”

One expert makes a support double .

Roman: ”Double---Tough problem. I'll start by showing a good hand, listen to what happens and try to make some good guesses later.”

As you can see from the many responses, there is no way to describe this hand. Rather than describing your hand, why not let the opponents and partner describe their hands?  Since you are holding only two black cards, 2 showing four hearts can’t possibly be the end of the auction.


Problem 4

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

West dealt

South Holds


- AJ1054

- K654

- Void

- AK54

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

5

100

4

7

6

90

3

9

4NT

80

2

6

3

50

1

45

4

50

1

38

4

30

0

23

2

20

0

8

3

20

0

2

2NT

20

0

5

5

20

0

2

4

20

0

1

3

20

0

3

What is your bid?

Exclusion Roman Keycard Blackwood (ERKB) is a very useful convention but very dangerous. A jump higher than the ace-asking bid asks partner to either pass if he doesn’t read it as ERKC or tell you how many keycards he has outside that suit. You use it when you are void in a suit such as the problem hand. So assuming partner reads 5 as ERKC he bids 5 holding xxQJ10xxxAxxxx and bids 5 holding xxAQJxxxxxxxx. I have played in ERKC and it was not a happy contract. One problem with 5 is that West can double 5 to show long diamonds which might allow the opponents to find a cheap save.

Adams: ”5---Exclusion keycard. One Ace and we play slam in hearts. Can't systemically find out if we have a spade loser, until I ask for Kings, so I will assume we have a spade loser if lacking Heart Ace and stop in five.”

If partner bids 5 showing the ace of hearts, how can you possibly ask about second round spade control? All 5 will do will allow West to double 5 which could make it easier for the opponents to find a cheap save.

Pokorny: ”5---Exclusion RKCB. If partner responds 5, zero or three keycards, I'll pass. If partner responds 5, one or four keycards, 6 has to be played. Second alternative: 3 as fit-showing, followed by 5 (hoping to make a 5NT grand-slam try after the 5 response).”

Rodney: ”5---Exclusion Blackwood -- At this vulnerability, partner has a good pre-empt and we have a shot at making seven. E.g., Partner holds xAQxxxxxxxxxx makes 7 an excellent contract.”

There is no way to find out if partner has the seventh heart.

Cappelletti: ”4NT---If no aces will stop in five.”

Woolsey: ”4NT---The odds are that either we have a black-suit loser or that if the opponents have the ace of hearts they can take a couple of rounds of trumps and partner won't be able to ruff enough diamonds in my hand. So I bid RKC, planning on stopping at 5 if he doesn't have a keycard but bidding 6 if he does. Normally one shouldn't do this, but when partner is limited this sort of position is legitimate.”

Just because partner doesn’t have the ace of hearts doesn’t mean he can’t make six. If partner has as little as xQJ10xxxxxxQxx, 6 has play.

Schwartz: ”5---Exclusion followed by a King ask assuming partner has the Heart ace. An immediate 6 won't shut the opponents as West holding a fistful of diamond will sack anyway so I might as well see if a grand is possible.”

Two experts join me and bid what they think they can make.

Parker: ”6---How can we not have a slam? I fear missing seven but it will be too hard to reach. Give partner xxAxxxxxxxxQx and we have a grand. Sometimes you just bid what you think you can make without making it complicated. Partner’s clubs should be the key. Second choice Exclusion Blackwood 5 then ask for the king of spades If he has the king of spades you bid seven but that may not be the key card.”

If partner bids 5 showing the ace of hearts, there is no way to ask for the king of spades.

Hopkins: ”6---I see no way to find out if partner has Spade shortness and the Heart Ace.  I could make this opposite as little as xQJxxxxxxxxxx, but not make the grand if partner has xxAQJ10xxxxxxx, so I will settle for the most likely contract.”

Two experts try to be scientific.

Roman: ”3---I'm not bidding less than 6, and while I can't think of a way to bid a grand if partner has a singleton spade, I can at least get there if he has the ace of hearts and the king of spades (no, my partners never have that either). Second choice, 6.”

Landen: ”4---This problem is unfair. What are your methods?  What is your partner's style? With Chuck Burger I'd look for seven. With Kit Woolsey, I might settle for game.  6 is what my gut tells me to bid. I guess I would splinter with 4; maybe partner's got the perfect hand for seven. KxAQxxxx,xxxxx.  With that monster, he should bid 4, then I’ll give him 5NT, the grand slam force.  I'm driving to 6 at least. “

What Landen is saying is that Chuck Berger can’t have less than AQJxxx and Kit Woolsey could have xxQJ10xxxxxxxx.

Sometimes you have to take charge and make the practicable bid.


Problem 5

Matchpoints

Vul: NS

South dealt

South Holds


- AKQ93

- AJ

- A6

- 8765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

1

Dbl

Pass

1NT

?????

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

Dbl

100

5

39

Pass

80

3

77

2

70

3

16

2

30

0

18

What is your bid?

West has made a takeout double and East has made a constructive response. Just how many HCPs do you expect partner to have? This is matchpoints where –200 is a very bad score and –100 is a poor score. Isn’t it better to defend against 1NT, when you can probably hold them to seven tricks, without any help from partner, for -90, by taking four spades and two aces? –90 will be better than all the pairs who go –100 with your cards.

Two experts join me and go quietly for now.

Pokorny: ”Pass---The worst thing I can do is double, allowing them to reach some better spot (2 or 3, for example). 1NT should be a good contact for us because probably will end down one or exactly making. I don't like to bid 2 because the suit is too bad (and probably should be five-carder in this situation).”

Landen: ”Pass---I have no safety bidding and will often score more defending than declaring.”

Five experts double.

Adams: ”Double---Shows my strength. If partner is weak, he can pull to long suit. Sometimes they do not even have a stopper. I expect to do fine in 2 if partner bids a red suit.”

If partner bids a red suit, is it a four-card suit where you want to correct to 2 or is it five or six-card suit where you want to pass?  

Rodney: ”Double---Pass is very wimpy, especially at matchpoints, and 2 is inviting a bad score (e.g. partner passes holding xQxxxxJxxxxxx). Partner knows I have a doubleton somewhere, and should not bid a four-card suit. Partner will pass with a balanced hand, or correct to 2. If partner passes, I'm hoping partner can contribute one trick.”

Is partner supposed to bid 2 holding xQxxxxJxxxxxx? If he passes the double you could be –280.

Schwartz: ”Double---Defending 1NT, not vulnerable, probably will not score well anyway if it makes. Maybe partner can bid 2 or two-of-a red suit. If I had chosen to bid a blacksuit I’d prefer 2 to 2.”

Hopkins: ”Double---I'm not sure I can set this, but I want to suggest my strength to partner (in case he wants to bid a six-card suit). If partner has a few scattered values, then we should be successful on defense.”

Roman: ”Double---Utterly routine.”

Three experts bid their other suit. Usually bidding a second suit shows five so partner, with xxxxxxxxxxxxx, will pass and you will play your xxxx opposite xxx vulnerable.  

Parker: ”2---I am willing to play 2 if partner does not have four clubs, but am not willing to sell out at the 1NT level. They will make 90 or 120 so I hope to go down only 100 and they make more than that.”

The only way they will make more than 90 in notrump is if RHO has five spades which will not make playing 2 a bonus.

Woolsey: ”2---I don't have 1NT beat in my own hand, and we could easily be making 2 or 2.  The opponents don't play 1NT if I can help it.”

Cappelletti:”2---Unless I had reason to think the 1NT was a psychic, game is very unlikely. Thus it must be better to bid 2 with this shape, than double (as I would with 5332) - which might lead to a six-card trump suit. If partner bids over 2, we will probably be in the right spot. Note that partner might be 1-4-4-4 and bid a red suit over my double.”

While vulnerability is for children, at matchpoints one should be conservative when vulnerable.


Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

Q

Pass

4

5

Dbl

470

Mike Cappelletti

J

Pass

4

4NT

2

360

Robbie Hopkins

Q

4NT

3

6

Dbl

470

Steve Landen

Q

Pass

4

4

Pass

410

Steve Parker

7

4

4

6

2

330

Dean Pokorny

7

Pass

3

5

Pass

370

Steve Robinson

Q

4NT

2

6

Pass

440

David Rodney

Q

4NT

4

5

Dbl

500

Jeff Roman

Q

4NT

Dbl

3

Dbl

400

Alan Schwartz

K

4NT

3

5

Dbl

460

Kit Woolsey

Q

4

3

4NT

2

380