ACBL Unit 147

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Washington Bridge League Solver's Club  -  Sep/Oct 2006

Moderator: Steve Robinson  

Congratulations to Hy Chansky 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. Tied for second were Robert Stone, Linda Marshall and Noble Shore with a score of 480. Tied for fifth were Dick Robinson, Manual Paulo, Nikola Tcholakov, Mitch Edelman, Al Duncker and Sam Keiter with a score of 470. Tied for eleventh were Brad Theurer, Enid Asherman, Barry Bragin, Hadi Abushakra, Arnold Kling, Jim Stormes and David Funk with a score of 460. Tied for eighteenth were Robert Boorman and Ann Lindley with a score of 450.  Tied for twentieth were Craig Olson, Mark Johnson, Pete Whipple with a score of 440. Tied  for twenty-fourth  were Jay Weinstein, Steve Carton, Prahalad Rajkumar, Zbych Bednarek, John Lawrence, Rick McDaniel, Bob Henry and Jason Rosenfeld with a score of 430. The average score of the 143 solvers was 373. The average score of the experts was 428

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: None

West dealt

South Holds


- J2

- 76

- AKJ1076

- K103

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

1

2

Pass

?????*

 

 

 

* New suits non-forcing

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

1

37

3

90

0

5

4

90

0

3

3

80

10

86

4

40

0

4

3NT

30

0

1

Pass

20

0

3

3

20

0

7

What is your bid?

Partner has made a two-level overcall. One usually needs either an opening bid or a good suit to overcall at the two-level. The better the suit, the fewer high-card points you need. The more high-card points you have, the weaker the suit can be. The minimum hands partner can have are xxAKQJxxxxxxx, xxAQJxxxxxQxx or xxxAQxxxxQxAx. He could easily have more. Opposite an opening bid, where do you want to play this hand? I would think that game would make more often than not. No matter what partner has, how could you not make at least three hearts opposite this 12-point hand?  With an opening bid, you have to do more than make a non-forcing 3-bid. When you are playing new suits non-forcing, the only way to make a forcing bid in a new suit is to cue bid first. This means that cue bids do not guarantee support. You could even be void in partner’s suit. You have to bid 2 over 2 holding xxvoidAQJ8xxAKxx. However, since you’re more likely to hold a weak hand such as xxxKQJ10xxQxxx, playing new suits non-forcing is the percentage method.  To see what I think about the 3-call, look at my scores for 3 and 4.  

Ten experts not only don’t try for game, they want to play in the lower-scoring partscore. While playing in any makable partscore is OK at IMPs, at matchpoints you want to play in the highest scoring partscore. However, minors that make, score higher than majors that go down.

Adams: ”3---Non-forcing is good news. I can show a decent hand without forcing us on a possible misfit. If partner has full values and a sixth heart, partner can bid 3, which I will raise to game. With five hearts and no spade stopper, we are high enough.”

Decent hand? This hand is an opening bid. You would bid 3with Jxx7KQJ1076Q103 or JxxvoidQJ10xxxxAxx.

Parker: ”3---Good suit, moderate hand, no heart support, lead director, what else could you bid? This may be non-forcing but it shows something since with a bust or total misfit I would pass. Sounds like partner has three or four spades so he can bid 3NT if he has a good hand.”

Cappelletti: ”3---Not forcing but constructive at three-level and 2 would be very dangerous with only two small hearts.”

After a two-level overcall, two small hearts is fair support.

Landen: ”3---Forcing or not I'm not going to cuebid and then face a worse problem over partner's expected 3-rebid. At IMPs I guess I'd force to game but I like to give partner lots of room at matchpoints.”

I don’t see the problem if partner bids 3 over your 2 cuebid. How bad can it be to play in 3?

King: ”3---This may not be forcing, but it must show a good hand to come in at the three-level.”

Schwartz: ”3---At IMPs I might want to make a stronger bid to get us to game, but at matchpoints just bidding my suit seems best.”

Krauss: ”3---I’d Bid 2 at IMPs but the odds seem wrong at matchpoints.”

Woolsey: ”3---Even though this is non-forcing, partner knows that I'm not barging to the three-level on nothing. If we have a game, he will take another call. Nothing else makes any sense at all.”

So partner is supposed to bid 4 over 3 holding xxAQ10xxxxxAxx since to make 4, you just need the King of hearts on sides with normal splits.

Hopkins: ”3---I am not going to hang partner for possibly having made a light, lead-directional overcall at matchpoints (QxxxAKJ10xxxxx). And if partner has more values and continues, I am very well placed to cooperate, having bid my real suit, without risk of misunderstandings.  This problem points out that it is logically inconsistent to play cuebids strictly as raises and new suits as non-forcing.”

Jeff Roman: ”3---We have to get in there when we have hearts, so I'm giving partner some leeway here.”

Since partner has a six-card suit for his two-level overcall at least half the time, two-card support is adequate.


Problem 2

Matchpoints

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- J42

- A76

- KQ93

- Q65

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East 

----

Pass

1

1

2*

Dbl

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

* Limit raise or better in diamonds

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3

100

4

25

3

80

3

31

2NT

80

4

56

3

40

1

3

3NT

30

0

23

4

20

0

1

3

20

0

4

Pass

20

0

4

What is your bid?

In a constructive auction, one of the keys to a good constructive auction is to limit one’s hand when possible. You have just a tad more than a minimum limit-raise Being 4333 makes it a limit raise. Give partner KQxxxxAJxxxKx and 4 is the limit of the hand with 3NT having no play. If this was a major-suit auction, a ten-trick contract would be a reasonable try, but you need a lot more strength to make an eleven-trick contract. To make 3NT, you probably need another heart stopper. To make 5, you need partner to have extra values. While partner could have a real strong hand, there is no reason why partner can’t bid 2 holding AKQxxxAJxxxxx or KQxxxxAJxxxKx. He has diamonds and spades.  If partner has AKxxJxxAJxxxA, you want to slow down the auction so partner won’t bid a slam. You’ll have a hard enough time trying to make 5.   

Three experts agree with me and tell partner that opposite a minimum opening bid you don’t have a game. If partner has extras, he can and will bid again.

Hopkins: ”3--- How much better than I promised, am I?  If partner is making a game try in Spades, he knows I don't have four since I didn't negative double which I could have done with both spades and diamonds, I have the wrong spade holding for play in diamonds and only one heart stopper, albeit the best possible one, for play in NT.  If partner moves again, I will cooperate.”

King: ”3---This flat 12-count is not any better than a limit raise. I will show what I have and partner can still make another move.”

Krauss: ”3---Three and 1/2 cover cards, bad in/out valuation and 3343. Looks like a limit raise to me.”

Three experts cue bid. In this situation, I like Eastern cue bids. 3 tells partner that you have a stopper and that he must bid 3NT unless he has a very distributional hand. This way partner will play 3NT, which will be better if he has Qx of hearts. If you pull 3NT, 3 becomes a slam-try cue bid. If you want partner to bid 3NT with a heart stopper make a forcing bid such as 3 or 3. If you hold xxxxAKQxxxAKx, bid 3 and opener will bid 3NT with a heart stopper. Cross Western cue bids off your card.

Woolsey: ”3---Partner wasn't required to act over the double, so his 2-call shows something more than a weak notrump. Either he has extra strength or extra shape, and either one should be good enough to make a game. I'll like it if he can bid 3NT, admittedly unlikely. If not, we head to 5 or higher.”

Shouldn’t partner bid 2 on all 4252 hands?

Adams: ”3---Since 3 would be forcing, 3 shows a heart stopper. Unless partner has controls, 3NT will have no play without heart help, so showing my stopper let's partner evaluate notrump intelligently. With Qx of Hearts, 3NT from his side will play better. With nothing in Hearts, he can avoid 3NT unless lots of side tricks. Western cue bids are bad and do not let you handle hands like this.”

Landen: ”3---Hopefully partner can contribute a little something in hearts. If not, I'm not willing to bet we can take nine fast winners in 3NT. Even in matchpoints 5 making scores better than 3NT going down.”

I don’t like the following call. I would bid 2NT with JxxAQxKQ93Qxx. To make 3NT a good contract, you need partner to have heart help such as Qx and have him play it. 2NT should show two heart stoppers in this auction. Since partner showed a distributional hand, 2NT must be forcing to at least 3.

Cappelletti: ”2NT---Partner’s 2-bid might be based on shape hands like AKxxxAxxxxKxx. Would have little play in 3NT and partner might have only four diamonds.”

Jeff Roman: ”2NT---Heart stopper but not enough to bid 3NT. The double makes it unlikely that side-of-table considerations are in play here, and partner shouldn't pass 2NT. If he's not going to bid 3NT, he should bid 3, which I will pass.”

Schwartz: ”2NT---Now seems a good time to show a balanced limited nature hand. I didn't bid NT the previous round so partner should not play me for multiple Heart stoppers. Also this might allow me to cue bid 3 with my next bid to complete the picture of my hand.”

One expert bids 3. If you held a hand with better spades such as KQxxxKQxxAxx, the only possible game you could make opposite A10xxxxAJxxxQx is 4. I would support spades if partner rebid his four-card suit. Partner could have more than 15 HCPs for his 2-bid, so you want to slow down the auction.  

Parker: ”3---I have support for all his suits. I did not double so I can only have three spades. He bid in front of me so he must be distributional, probably 4-1-5-3. AKxxxAxxxxAxx. At 4, win the heart lead, draw two rounds of trump and run diamonds. Let them take two trumps and a club.”

When making a cue bid showing a limit raise or better, and you have a limit raise, your next call should usually be a sign-off.  


Problem 3

Matchpoints

Vul: None

West dealt

South Holds


- J943

- AK

- 5

- AQ8765

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

Pass

Pass

3

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

3NT

100

4

34

4

80

3

42

Dbl

80

3

37

Pass

40

1

26

3

40

0

2

4

20

0

5

What is your bid?

Partner needs very little to make a game opposite this hand. To make 4, all he needs is four or more good spades. To make 3NT, all he needs is the King of clubs and one other trick. To make 5, all he needs is club support and spade shortness. If partner has AQ10xxxxQJxJxx, all of the above games will probably make. So passing is not a percentage action. On good days you make the decision which matches what partner has.   

Two experts agree with me and make a takeout double. Double has two ways to win. You get to 4 or you get to 5. On this day partner has at least four spades. If you double you need partner to bid spades rather than diamonds holding xxxxxxAKQxxxx.

Two experts agree with me and double.

Cappelletti: ”Double---To show four spades and pull diamonds at any level to clubs and hope.”

King: ”Double---Partner's don't always bid diamonds do they?  I think I have too much to pass and while 3NT is possible, it by-passes the spade suit.”

If partner jumps to 5, you have another decision to make.  Does partner have AQxxxAKJxxxJx, where 6 makes or does he have AQxxxKQJ10xxxx where you belong in 5?

Three experts bid 4. 4 ends the auction opposite AQxxxxxxxxJxx. You get to 5, which can go down on a spade ruff when you can usually make 4 when partner has Q10xxxxAKJxKxx.

Krauss: ”4---So many ways to go wrong. At least I have started a fair representation of my hand and who knows, I might still get to bid spades. A swashbuckling 3NT could work but double seems to be a one trick pony.”

Parker: ”4---Show your longest suit and hope for the best. Double is insane since you have no bid over 4 by partner. Sometimes you miss a 4-4 major for the sake of partnership. At least I have a six-card suit. More of a problem with five clubs and two diamonds.”

Hopkins: ”4---Well, I am reasonably well-placed if the auction continues since I can bid 4 over partner's expected 4 and any other continuation is really welcome. And if I play it here, at least I am in my long suit.”

Four experts bid 3NT. Partner has AKQxxxxxxxKxx cold for 6 down in 3NT.

Landen: ”3NT---With no room to explore I'll take my shot at the most likely to make and highest scoring game contract.” 

Schwartz: ”3NT---With two Heart stoppers can't see bypassing NT. If I bid 4 and partner raise to 5, don't I wish I had bid 3NT?

Woolsey: ”3NT---If partner has his bids he will produce the king of clubs and an ace and 3NT will roll. If not, maybe 3NT is a good save against 3.

Jeff Roman: ”3NT---Just another adventure.”

One expert passes. I can’t believe how often bidding works and passes loses in situations like this.

Adams: ”Pass---Double could work, 3NT could work, it is a question of percentages. Seems very likely that partner will bid 4 if I double, and then I’m set for a minus score. I expect to beat 3, therefore, pass beats 3NT if 3NT goes down. I expect the field will guess between double and 3NT, and that half of them or all of them will be wrong. If half are wrong, I get average, if all are wrong I get good score. 3NT also loses if partner was about to balance with a double or with 3. Though pass is anti-field, it rates to win matchpoints when the field guesses wrong. At IMPs, I'd probably risk 3NT on theory that +50 VS -50 or 100 is small IMPs, but game is big IMPs.”

While any call could work on this hand, make the bid that has the most chances to work.


Problem 4

Imps

Vul: Both

North dealt

South Holds


- 63

- KQJ92

- K1052

- 73

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

1

Pass

?????*

 

 

 

* 3=limit raise; 2NT=forcing raise;

2=GF

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

4

100

6

51

3

90

5

48

2NT

50

0

24

3NT

40

0

5

2

40

0

16

3

20

0

1

2

20

0

2

What is your bid?

A case could be made for making a limit raise (3), a preemptive raise (4) or a game-forcing raise (2NT). 4 has no play opposite QJAxxxxAQJxQJ, is cold opposite xxxAxxxxAxAxx and 50-50 opposite xxxAxxxxAxKxx. While you can deduct for the QJ of hearts, you should add points for the two doubletons. Since you can make game opposite some minimum openers, and since this could be the opponent’s hand, bidding 4 is the percentage bid. The possible negatives with 4 is that you would miss a cold slam opposite AxAxxxxAQxxxx    

Five experts agree with me and make the Law bid. The Law bid is to bid to the ten-trick level when holding a ten-card fit.

Adams: ”4---Five-card support bids four unless 5332. A 3-bid puts undue pressure on partner, and lets the opponents in too easily. 2 is a gross misdescription. My second choice is 3, showing 9-11 and an unknown singleton. 3 gets the general nature of my hand across in one bid, forces to game, and only requires that I put the six of spades into my clubs. I’m more likely to try bidding 3 at the table than in Robinson's column.”

Parker: ”4---What I would bid at the table. Why torture partner and show the opponents what to lead by trying to be scientific. Sometimes they show their suits when you bid at low levels and take good saves or find good leads. Unlikely we will miss a slam.”

King: ”4---If I had available a way to show a "good" 4 bid, I would do that. I want to be in game, but 2 and 2NT overstate my high cards and might get us too high.”

Schwartz: ”4---Law bid. 3 gives the opponents more room to bid. Vulnerable, partner can expect this much playing strength.”

Jeff Roman: ”4---3 and 2 are out, and I'm pretty sure we're playing two-tiered splinters, meaning that 3NT is a spade splinter, not a good raise to 4, so this is what's left.”

Five experts make a limit raise. You’re vulnerable at IMPs and don’t have to worry about an opponent having a trump stack, doubling you and getting a big number. If 4 is on a finesse, you want to be in 4.  

Cappelletti: ”3---Limit raise. Try to go plus opposite minimum hands that would go down in four.”

Landen: ”3---I can't remember the last time anyone passed a limit raise vulnerable at IMPs. If partner passes 3 we're likely not to make four.”

Woolsey: ”3---Partner won't pass unless he has a 5332 minimum. Do we want to be in game opposite that? KxxA10xxxAxQxx. That is a perfect fitter, and game is still only on a finesse. Change his hand in almost any way, such as giving him a third diamond, and game stinks.  This hand just isn't so strong -- aceless hands have to be devalued.”

Are you talking matchpoints or IMPs? Game is cold opposite KQxA10xxxAxxxx which is also a 5332 13-count and is on a finesse opposite KxxA10xxxAxxxx a 5332 11-count.

Krauss: ”3---Its right on valuation and a little preemptive. 4 is a close second choice. That might keep them out of a making 4, but it could also mislead partner, leading to a bad save or a missed slam.”

Hopkins: ”3---I can construct hands where even 3 is in Jeopardy KxxAxxxxAxxQx, so I don't think a forcing raise is in order. I would like to get the level up, so I judge 3 to be about right. And an opponent with two Hearts in his hand may misjudge the loser situation and not bid in some situations where it would be profitable to do so.”

But if partner has KxxAxxxxAxxQx and we can’t make 3, the opponents can make 3 so bidding 4 is not a great loss.

VULNERABLE AT IMPS YOU FIND REASONS TO BID GAME, NOT REASONS TO NOT BID GAME.


Problem 5

Imps

Vul: Both

East dealt

South Holds


- Q

- Q2

- K7654

- J10983

The Bidding Thus Far

South

West

North

East

----

----

----

Pass

Pass

Pass

1

Pass

1NT

Pass

2

Pass

?????

 

 

 

 

The Panel's Votes

Action

Score

Expert's

Votes

Panel's

Votes

2

100

7

51

Pass

60

3

72

2NT

40

1

20

3NT

20

0

2

3

20

0

2

What is your bid?

What’s your poison? Pass 2 and play your 4-2 fit or bid 2 and play your 5-1 fit. You could also bid three-of-a-minor and play a 5-0 fit. Passing 2 ends the auction. Passing 2 does not give partner a chance for partner to show a 5440 hand. On good days partner has JxxxxAKxxAQxx- and bids 3 over 2. Partner could also have six spades and four hearts. With 6-4 in spades and hearts its right to rebid 2 in order to find the possible four-four heart fit. If I had a choice, I’d rather be in a 5-1 fit than a 4-2 fit. On the other hand, partner could be 5-5 or even 5-6 and hearts will play better.  

Six experts agree with me and keep the auction alive.

Adams: ”2---A 5-1 is as good as or better than a 4-2. A 6-1 is far better. If partner is 5-5, or 5-4-3-1, there is a chance for another bid. Only if partner is 5-5 weak should I be passing 2. 2NT or three-of-a-minor is just wrong.”

Landen: ”2---With any less I might pass 2 and hope partner has five. This hand might still produce a reasonable play for game. Partner might have AKJ10xAKJxxxxx or a 5422 with 17 or 18 HCP where 3NT would be good. Therefore, I keep the ball rolling by a preference to 2. This might also be our best trump fit.”

Opposite J10987AKxxAxxx, 2 is cold and you could make three. Opposite J109876AKxxAxx, you can make 4 without a trump lead.

King: ”2---I hope partner can take another bid. With a weaker hand I would pass 2 and with a little stronger hand I would bid 2NT.”

Krauss: ”2---I’ll take my medicine here. 2NT won’t be fun to play, and if we actually belong in 3NT partner might find another bid.”

Woolsey: ”2---Since I have some extra strength and it is anybody's guess what strain will be best (or least worst), I might as well give partner another chance to bid without showing him any strength.”

Jeff Roman: ”2---The passers deserve to find partner with AKJxxxAKJxxxx down in 2, cold for 4. 2NT is out.”

Three experts end the auction. One of the problems of passing 2 is the opening lead that you’re going to get. This auction calls for a trump lead.  Dummy usually has one spade and three hearts when dummy passes 2.

Parker: ”Pass---High enough and partner has to play it. If I take a preference and he passes good, but he may continue to show distribution or make a game try. Sometimes the opponents step in and that would be fine too. “

Cappelletti: ”Pass---Stay low on misfits.”

Schwartz: ”Pass---Any bid risks getting to a silly spot. At least pass doesn't let partner raise the bidding any further.”

One expert overbids. Since 2NT shows 11, partner with a 14-count or a good 13-count is going to bid again.

Hopkins: ”2NT---Surprisingly enough, I am trying to minimize the damage on this hand.  I have two opponents, versus only one partner, who will misread my strength on this hand. I avoid the possible disaster of a reopening double and penalty pass with a stack of two of either Major and don't have to make the wrong Major-suit guess. If partner is minimum, I would expect to get a trick or two here and there to get up to around seven tricks and not an unreasonable loss on the board. Of course, if partner is just short of a jump rebid, I might even have a play for the likely 3NT contract!”

With reasonable hands keep the bidding open in possible misfit situations.


Expert / Problem

1

2

3

4

5

Score

John Adams

3

3

Pass

4

2

400

Mike Cappelletti

3

2NT

Dbl

3

Pass

390

Robbie Hopkins

3

3

4

3

2NT

390

Fred King

3

3

Dbl

4

2

460

Rusty Krauss

3

3

4

3

2

450

Steve Landen

3

3

3NT

3

2

450

Steve Parker

3

3

4

4

Pass

360

Steve Robinson

2

3

Dbl

4

2

480

Jeff Roman

3

2NT

3NT

4

2

460

Alan Schwartz

3

2NT

3NT

4

Pass

420

Kit Woolsey

3

3

3NT

3

2

450