Washington Bridge League Solver's Club - Jan/Feb 2007
Moderator: Steve RobinsonNov/Dec 2006Mar/Apr 2007
Congratulations to Mel Welles, Amy Bloom, Dave Smith, Mark Laken and Carol Elfant who Tied for first with a score of 480.
Problem: 1Game: MatchpointsVul: BothDealer: South
You Hold
The Bidding Thus Far
The Panel's Votes
ActionScoreExpert's VotesPanel's Votes
What is your Bid?

One of those hands, where there is no perfect answer. 2 show clubs but you would like to have six. You would like to have four to bid a red suit. There is the default response. 1NT describes your lack of six clubs or lack of four of a red suit. The problem is the lack of a spade stopper? To be in a more knowledgeable position, we should discuss partner’s negative double. The negative double promises four hearts and at least six HCP but says nothing about the rest of the hand. By making a negative double any time you have four hearts, you don’t have to worry about later bidding hearts in response to opener’s takeout double and find opener with only three hearts.KJxxAxxxxxxxx and QJxxAQxxxxxxx are sound negative doubles. Opposite these hands you want to play in 1NT unless opener has four hearts.

Two experts join me and bid 1NT. One of the few times when it makes sense to bid 1NT even without a stopper in the opponent’s suit.

Adams: ”1NT---I like for 2 to show six clubs, and for 2 to show four hearts. 1NT is the catch all response and can't guarantee a stopper. Note that this style let's responder make a negative double with KJ9xAxxxxxxxx. If opener refuses to bid 1NT on balanced hands, then responder is left to guess if a negative double is appropriate on hands with four hearts and the spade suit stopped. I've bid 2 on these hands before, and thus far it has not worked out. All 1NT requires is a careful partner that will check back for a stopper before bidding 3NT, and not leave me in 1NT with hands like problem five.”

Hopkins: ”1NT---I have decided to make the same bid I would have had there been no interference. Who knows, partner may have a stopper. And I am well placed if I decide to act over a 2-bid by the overcaller. The only real downside I see is when partner gallops into 3NT and we can't stop the spade suit.”

Maybe the 1NT-bid will deter West from leading a spade.

Eight experts bid 2. Works when doubler has at least two clubs. Doesn’t work when doubler is 4-4-4-1.

Parker:”2---Why bid a three-card suit when you have a good five-card club suit. Why bid 1NT when you don't have a spade stopper. One does not have to be creative on every deal when there is an easy bid. Let partner further describe his hand without misinformation from you.”

Woolsey: ”2---If partner has a game force it won't matter whether I bid 1NT or 2, except bidding 2 will avoid a silly 3NT contract if we happen to be off the whole spade suit -- not likely since East passed over the negative double, but West is allowed to hold a solid suit. If partner is weak, 2 is likely to work out as well or better than 1NT for competitive purposes. If I knew it would go all pass whichever I bid, then 1NT would get the nod, but that usually doesn't happen.”

Hughes: ”2---I may still get to show my three-card heart suit.”

Schwartz: ”2---I try not to bid 1NT without a stopper. A doubleton spade with five clubs is a good enough reason to bid 2. Bidding a red suit seems more misrepresentative.”

Landen: ”2---I'm not adverse to bidding 1NT without a stopper in the opponents suit, but I have a decent club suit and partner will often have support. Bidding a three-card suit is out of the question.” 

King: ”2---1NT would be my second choice. I don't like to bid three-card suits.”

Cappelletti: ”2---Tell partner that you have a real club suit. He might want to compete over a two-of-major balance.”

Roman: ”2---This isn't the same as "rebidding" clubs. Partner made a negative double and we are bidding our best suit. 2 is for heroes.”

One expert tries to be a hero.

Pokorny: ”2---Torn between 2 and 2, I'm bidding 2 only because the scoring is matchpoints. I hope partner holds five hearts, but even if I play a Moysian (4-3 fit), two small hearts will provide some useful spade ruffs. Playing IMPs my bid would probably have been 2. If LHO is going to bid 2, partner with competitive values and four hearts should double again allowing me to bid 3 showing this kind of hand. “

This is one of the few situations where you can bid notrump without a stopper in the enemy’s suit.


Congratulations to Mel Welles, Amy Bloom, Dave Smith, Mark Laken and Carol Elfant 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. Sixth was Nancy Terry with a score of 470. Tied for seventh were William Adams, Goldie Brody, Jerry Miller and Lynda Flanger with a score of 460. Tied for eleventh were Seymour Baden, Rossi Lindstrom, Barbara Israel, Ken Harkness, Ed Molner and Davyd with a score of 450. Tied for seventeenth were John Sommer, Pal, Jerry Haney and Yi Zhong with a score of 440. Tied for twenty-first were Jose Cortina, Jim Allen, Neil Selvin, Paul Hwang, William Nason, Perry Khaklar, Ed Kinlaw, Larry Kahn, Suzanne Abrams, Stu Fkeischmann, Ted Wilkinson and Audrey Warren with a score of 430. The average score of the 251 solvers was 389. The average score of the experts was 431.

On the previous problems Enid Asherman Hughes had a perfect score but somehow I missed her entry. Also, Craig Olson had a 460, Stu Fleischmann had a 450 and Roman Kaluzniacki had a 430.

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.