Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge
Scores by Richard Pavlicek
These six bidding problems were published on the Internet in March of 2004, and all bridge players were invited to submit their answers. The problems are from actual deals played in a past tournament. In the poll I did not reveal the year and location, and participants were invited to guess from the clues on the page.
|Problem 1||2||3||4||5||6||Final Notes|
The wrong guesses included Rome, Italy; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Amsterdam (close!) and Maastricht (very close!), Netherlands; Crete (based on beliefs it was the lost Atlantis); Bangkok, Thailand (location of another Atlanta Hotel); Hammamet, Tunisia (see my March 2003 poll); Albuquerque, New Mexico; San Antonio, Texas (mistaking the ruins as the Alamo); New Orleans, Louisiana; and Mexico City. Curiously, nobody guessed Atlanta, Georgia OK, so youre on to my silly tricks.
The tournament was held in Valkenburg, Netherlands. Pictured at top is a montage that I composed of the Geul river, which flows through the city, and one of the carvings in a subterranean labyrinth called Fluweelengrot, which translates to Velvet Cave.
The cave is located beneath the ruins of the Valkenburg Castle, also pictured. And yes, Valkenburg really has an Atlanta Hotel, a curiosity I was delighted to discover for its misdirection.
The Beast in my title had at least three possible meanings: (1) the sculpture pictured at top, (2) the nickname of Ira Rubin, one of the participants, and (3) the deal of Problem 5, perhaps the most volatile ever in world-championship history. Indeed, some who correctly guessed the venue cited Problem 5 as the giveaway; and Rosalind Hengeveld (Netherlands) was in the Vugraph room when it happened.
The background song Puff, the Magic Dragon was significant only for its beast and cave references, though I must admit to being a Peter, Paul and Mary fan since attending one of their concerts in the 60s. My clue to the year was the odd detail: Temperature inside the cave is 44-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Why would I bother to write that? Because if you multiply 44 and 45, you get 1980. Bingo!
Congratulations to Richard Morse, John R. Mayne and Tim Francis-Wright, who were the first of about 20 persons to guess the exact venue. About 10 more correctly guessed Valkenburg but not the year.
This poll had 1337 participants from 122 locations, and the average score was 45.28. Congratulations to Ciaran Coyne (Ireland), who was the first of three with perfect scores. Hmm. Predictable in March; he had help from a bevy of leprechauns on St. Patricks Day. Also scoring 60 were Johan Nilsson (Sweden) and Kelly Tripp (US). Only a point behind at 59 were Robin Zigmond (UK); Jack Shinehoft (Canada); Jack Duranceau (US); Hugh Brown (US); Michael Tilles (Israel); and Rajagopal Gopalakrishnan (India).
The scores were lower this month, as the voting was well dispersed; Ill take the credit, hehe, for choosing some good problems. The average of 45.28 was the fourth lowest ever (lowest was 44.62 in May 2003). Having only three perfect scores is also surprising, considering the new high turnout of 1337.
The overall leaderboard has a new leader in Jean-Christophe Clement (France) with an average of 56.50, who narrowly edged out previous leader Anthony Golding (UK) with 56.25. Close behind and tied with 56.00 are Chris Maclauchlan (US) and Jack Rhatigan (US); and next with 55.75 are George Klemic (US) and Julian Pottage (UK).
For the poll, it is assumed you play a Standard American system, including 15-17 notrumps, five-card majors and weak two-bids. The objective is to determine the best calls based on judgment, so no specialized conventions are allowed. For a summary of the default methods, see my outline of Standard American Bridge.
Each problem is scored on a 1-to-10 scale. The call receiving the top award of 10 is determined by the voting consensus. Other awards are determined partly by this but mostly by my judgment. What actually happened is included for interest sake but does not affect the scoring.
The sixth quadrennial World Team Olympiad was held in Valkenburg, Netherlands, September 27 to October 11, 1980 at the Holland Casino. Vying for the Open title were teams from 58 countries, divided into two groups, each playing a complete round-robin of 20-board matches scored by Victory Points. Only the top four teams in each group would advance. Leading Group A: Denmark 419, Brazil 409, Taiwan 404, and Netherlands 392. Group B: France 428, Indonesia 414, United States 409, and Norway 405.
Group A was actually not a complete round-robin due to ugly politics. Two teams (Egypt and Surinam) were ordered by their governments not to play against South Africa why, Im not sure, as Im oblivious to politics. The concept of live and let live was as out of reach then as it is today. Sigh. At least you cant blame the bridge players; they wanted to play.
The next stage was unusual. The first- and fourth-place teams of Group A joined the second- and third-place teams of Group B, and vice versa, in two four-team round-robins of 32-board matches. United States ran away with its group, and France barely survived. This format left a lot to be desired, as Taiwan defeated France in their match; yet they were eliminated. (This format would be abandoned for straight knockouts in future Olympiads.) Victory Point* totals in Semifinal 1: United States 346, Netherlands 122, Denmark 120, and Indonesia 114. Semifinal 2: France 242, Norway 235, Taiwan 233, and Brazil 10.
*Besides 20 VPs at stake in each match, the winner received an additional 100 VPs. This premium was to prevent a team from winning its bracket with two losses and one huge win.
Representing France (pictured L-R, top row first) were Michel Lebel, Henri Svarc, Philip Soulet, Michel Perron, Christian Mari and Paul Chemla.
Representing United States were Fred Hamilton, Mike Passell, Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Paul Soloway and the Beast er, I mean, Ira Rubin.
The final, won by France 131-111, was one of the best-played matches in world championship history. Five of the six problems are from that contest, and one (Problem 4) was chosen from the round-robin match between Canada and Belgium. So pull up a chair and match your bidding skills against the worlds best players of 1980.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
|IMPs||N-S Vul||You, South, hold:|
| A 8|
Q 9 6 2
A K Q 4
A 8 2
Without Easts 2 overcall, this would be a routine 2 NT bid; but now there are dire concerns about notrump, especially if played from your side. Therefore, it seems right to hold off the notrump suggestion and get in another suit bid. The obvious choices are a reverse bid of 2 (one-round force) and a cue-bid of 3 (game force). Driving to game might be slightly aggressive, but its probably justified.
The consensus was to bid 2 , and I agree. While this suggests at least 4-5 shape, the top strength in diamonds should compensate; and it leaves various avenues open. If partner rebids 2 , I would try 3 hoping to coax a 3 NT bid if partner has Q-x, and otherwise probably ending in 4 . If he bids 3 , I will have to bid 3 NT and hope for the best.
The immediate cue-bid is also reasonable, though it may propel the auction too fast. For example, if partner holds Q-x, he is unlikely to bid 3 NT over 3 (expecting a full stopper is needed) and the right-sided game will be lost forever.
Those who bid 2 NT could certainly be right, especially on hands where no game exists. For example, if partner has K-x-x-x K-x-x x-x-x x-x-x, he will be delighted to pass, and even 2 NT may go down.
Jumping to 3 NT got more votes than 2 NT, but it seems way off base not so much because its an overbid but because its too committal to notrump. Further, this is typically based on a long, strong suit ( x A-x-x A-K-Q-x-x-x-x K-x would be classic) so partner will pass 3 NT with many hands that belong in other contracts.
Last and surely worst is to double. Many people play this as a support double (inapplicable here) to show three cards in partners suit. Some play it as competitive or card-showing, which would make it a fine choice. Unfortunately, it was clarified as penalty. Therefore, I want no part of it. Doubling a low-level contract without intermediate trump strength is a road to ruin the more you do it, the sooner youll end up like Valkenburg Castle.
Heres what happened in 1980:
2 NT S +1
| Q 10 4 2|
K 7 3
10 9 5 4
| J 9 6 5 3|
A 8 5
J 10 5 3
| K 7|
J 10 4
8 7 6
K Q J 7 3
3 NT N =
| A 8|
Q 9 6 2
A K Q 4
A 8 2
At the first table, Soloway took the traditional route, describing his point count and leaving Rubin an out below game, which The Beast gladly took, going back in his cave. This was right as the cards lie; but alas, the defense was too friendly. After a club lead to the jack, ducked, Mari shifted to the J, which for Soloway was like dangling raw meat over a crocodile moat nine easy tricks.
At the second table, Perron chose the cue-bid and Lebel tried 3 NT, more so because he was endplayed in the bidding than for any real desire. Lebel won the K with the ace and led ace and another spade to the 10 and king. Hamilton cashed a club then shifted to oops, the J (a diamond seals declarers fate). Lebel didnt expect a gift from J-10-x, so he covered with the queen. Passell now only had to play cards, but he inexplicably ducked. When the smoke cleared, Lebel also had nine tricks plus the game bonus for a 10-IMP gain.
Ciaran Coyne: Notrump seems better from partners hand; hearts are still possible. Maybe Ill get to double clubs at a higher level.
Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: Clubs are too bad for double or notrump. Two hearts is more descriptive than 3 , which tends to suggest a spade fit. If partner bids 2 , I will continue with 3 .
Michiel Geelen: Erk; I personally play a double as competitive in this situation, showing four or more hearts, but thats not an option. My second choice is 2 , and it doesnt bother me that I promise at least five diamonds. Im afraid that by bidding 2 NT or 3 NT well never be able to reach 4 in a 5-2 fit, and I want to keep that option open.
Neelotpal Sahai: Without the 2 overcall, I would probably have chosen 2 NT; however, right-siding the contract has now become important. Partner may have four hearts; he may have a partial stopper in clubs and bid 2 NT; or his spades may be very good (say K-Q-J-x-x) and rebid 2
Daniel Cecchelli: Ill show my shape and strength first in case there is an eight-card heart fit, then bid 3 NT over partners expected 2 or 3 .
Lajos Linczmayer: If North is short in clubs, we must play a suit contract. If he has Q-x or J-x-x, I want North to play notrump.
Ronald Michaels: Two notrump is both anti-positional and not strong enough. While I have the values for 3 NT, I dont really have a source of tricks; and we may lose the heart suit. Although this normally shows at least 4-5 in the reds, it will get us to the best suit contract if appropriate, or perhaps notrump from partners side Double would be too big a position at IMPs.
Greg Udvari: Although a flat hand, a reverse bid is justified even with partner unlikely to have four hearts. If partner has a club guard, he will bid 2 NT; then my A-x-x will be enough to bid 3 NT.
Tim Francis-Wright: I doubt that well get rich by doubling We may well wind up in 3 NT, but Id like to know more about partners hand We could belong anywhere from 3 NT to slam in any non-club suit.
Winston Munn: If I have to lie, and it looks like I must, it is better to lie about the diamond length. Partner could have a weak 5-4 hand with hearts, but more likely the contract belongs in notrump from his side. How to get there? I will follow up with 3 over partners expected 2 call; if he bids 3 instead, Ill have to try 3 NT myself.
Chris Maclauchlan: Slam will be in the picture if partner is 5-5 or 5-4 in the majors with good hearts. I want to mention the suit now, as it could get shut out by an enterprising West at these colors.
Rainer Herrmann: To double for penalties when nothing else fits is a losing policy in my experience. Two hearts is not ideal with balanced distribution; but it keeps the bidding low when the best contract (played from the right side) is in doubt.
David Caprera: Notrump wrong-sides the contract. While I wish my hearts were better, this is the most flexible bid.
David Kempe: Im missing a diamond, but this keeps options open. I wont wrong-side the notrump just yet, if partner has Q-x.
Kaustuv Das: This gives partner more room than 2 NT. If partner bids 2 , I can bid 2 NT; otherwise, I am going to bid 3 NT.
Dale Freeman: The vulnerability is wrong for a penalty double, and I do not want to wrong-side the notrump. If I bid 3 , partner cannot show four hearts and a club stopper at same time.
David Dumont: Partner, of course, will think I have 4-5 [shape], which is not so bad with my diamond holding. I will be happy to bid 3 over partners 2 bid.
Nick Wong: My hearts are not robust, but partner may have five spades and four hearts If partner has a club stopper, this is the best way to maneuver for him to declare 3 NT.
Keith Balcombe: Two notrump makes it hard to get to a 5-2 spade fit. Partner will likely rebid 2 , then I can raise to 3 .
J.J. Gass: Vulnerable at IMPs, theres no way Im bidding anything nonforcing below game; and no way Im risking defending 2 doubled for what will likely be an inadequate penalty. We may have nine fast tricks, and my ability to hold up twice in clubs is a plus for 3 NT; but Id rather keep suit contracts a possibility with only a single stopper.
Ed Shapiro: Not exactly a classic pattern, but 2 is natural, forcing, and leaves partner maximum room a high priority given the overcall I have easy follow-ups, including a doubt-implying 3 NT
Roger Gibbons: Suggesting 5 is less of a distortion than doubling with no surprise in the trump suit. Two notrump may be passed; 3 NT preempts exploration of other contracts and overstates the club stopper; and either may wrong-side the contract.
Bob Zorn: The auction doesnt have to go badly does it? If partner saves me after this call, Im OK; if not, Im going to lose the postmortem. I intend to raise partners 2 to three
Greg Lawler: I have too much offensive potential to double right now. A 3 bid would tend to show either a spade raise or a very strong diamond suit (hoping to hear 3 NT).
Facundo Chamut: Every time I bid 2 NT here, I find partner with Q-x or Q-x-x. Over 2 , a number of good things could happen: Partner might surprise me with 2 NT; or he might bid 2 , letting me try 3 .
Anthony Golding: As this is not a disturbed bid (except, possibly, in a psychological sense) it should carry the same meaning, i.e., a reverse (so I owe partner a diamond).
Nigel Guthrie: This shows longer diamonds (a fair description). Three clubs is a close second choice; double is premature at the vulnerability. Other choices are insane.
Paul Flashenberg: Least of evils, leaving all options open. Notrump is flawed with the A as the only stopper; I have the wrong club holding for a double; and a cue-bid should show a fit, or [a long diamond suit].
John England: Although partner will expect five diamonds, I do not want to risk missing 4-4 heart fit. Surely, partner cannot pass this bid, which is my only fear (apart from the dark caves).
Jyri Tamminen: I try to avoid nondescript, undiscussed, transfer-the-blame cue-bids. I am not going to wrong-side 3 NT, so I hope (dream) partner will bid 2 ; then 3 will get 3 NT
Dean Pokorny: Looking for alternative spots. Maybe our best contract is 4 when partner has 5=3=3=2 shape.
Bill Erwin: Forcing, descriptive, and may help get notrump from partners side with Q-x-(x).
Kendra Bridges: Yes, my heart suit is bad and this overstates my distribution somewhat; but its right on values, and I would like to get partner to bid notrump with Q-x-x. Besides, no law says we cant have a heart fit.
Sapan Desai: This is best because partner might have five spades and four hearts. Three notrump wont run away.
Rahul Chandra: I see no reason not to mention my heart suit; Im comfortable with partners rebid, and notrump will be fine if we have no fit.
Leonard Helfgott: Without competition, 2 NT would be correct but now 2 NT could be bid on [slightly] less with good club stoppers. This maintains flexibility. Also, my stronger diamonds are effectively longer than my hearts
Robin Zigmond: Giving partner a chance to show four hearts if he has them; theres no rush to bid 3 NT. I also prefer to make a strength-showing bid (an immediate 3 NT could be based on a running diamond suit). The penalty double does not appeal at this vulnerability.
Jess Cohen: My original plan was to bid 2 NT or raise a heart bid by partner to game, but the 2 bid changes that. If I bid notrump, the lead [may] come through partners Q-x. I am tempted to double, but I dont think I will get enough to offset a vulnerable game. Three clubs seems the best way to get partners input. I have noticed that most of the hands fit into a bridge cliche; here it seems to be, When in doubt, cue-bid.
Sebastien Louveaux: I dont want to wrong-side notrump. Two hearts would distort my shape, as partner would expect five diamonds.
Jacques Brethes: Better for North to bid 3 NT if he has the Q. If he returns to spades, I will bid 3 NT to offer a choice.
Mark Raphaelson: Perfect! We have game values and cant beat 2 enough to justify doubling for penalty at these colors. Whatever partner rebids looks right.
Roger Morton: Double is tempting, but the vulnerability is all wrong. Ill ask for more information since I probably need another club stopper for 3 NT to work.
John Lusky: This is the most flexible call for getting to the right game, whether it be 3 NT (perhaps from partners side), 4 , 4 or 5 . If I bid 3 NT on the next round (rather than right away), partner will have leeway to pull if it looks right.
Stephen Fischer: Two notrump is right on values, but Id prefer partner to declare the hand.
Rosalind Hengeveld: At first sight, 2 looks attractive as a flexible bid leaving lots of bidding space; but Im not eager to hear a likely 3 . This seems more effective to induce partner to bid 3 NT on something like Q-x-x.
Bill Michell: With unfavorable vulnerability, double for penalty probably wont be profitable. I want to hear what else partner has to say, so the cue-bid is ideal. Three notrump would be premature, as I have no source of extra tricks and only one club stopper.
Scott Stearns: Ill establish a game force and let partner describe his hand further. It seems like all continuations are easier by putting the big gun on the table.
Larry Gifford: I dont want the opening lead coming through partners Q-x-(x). Over 3 , I will try once more with 3 .
Gabriel Ip: Double is out with only one club stopper and opponents nonvulnerable; 3 NT is pushing the boat; 2 NT is okay but looks to be wrong-sided. Ill temporize with 3 . North should bid hearts with four; 3 NT with Q-x [or better]; or [3 ] with 6+ spades.
Dan Luka: Looking for a heart bid from partner, then 4 ; otherwise, Ill bid 3 NT.
Gonzalo Goded: Double is poor when a vulnerable game is likely to be on. I will next bid 3 NT to show a strong hand without a very good club stopper.
John Haslegrave: Im fairly confident of game being on, and 2 doubled being cheap. This seems to leave all games open, as well as right-siding 3 NT if partner has Q-x or so.
Stu Goodgold: A reverse shows the wrong shape; notrump bids make the wrong hand declarer.
Julian Pottage: Three notrump may play better from partners side, or we may belong in hearts.
Laurentiu Dimcica: Double is inconceivable if penalty; 2 (forcing) shows four hearts and five diamonds; 2 NT (invitational) [should have] a double club stopper; 3 NT is a shot in the dark. Three clubs keeps all [game and slam options] open, and Id rather have partner play 3 NT with Q-x or J-10-x.
Willem Mevius: It looks like this hand should be played by partner, and 3 is the best way to achieve it. Over 3 or 3 , Ill bid four; over 3 , Ill bid 3 .
Don Hinchey: Without interference I would have bid 2 NT, allowing an orderly exploration of the majors before retreating to 3 NT. Three clubs should accomplish the same goal, with the extra benefit of right-siding 3 NT.
Gary Brown: Id hate to wrong-side notrump in case partner has the Q. Two hearts is not my style, as I am balanced and have only four diamonds. Hence, an all-purpose cue-bid.
William Campbell: Id rather have partner declare hearts or notrump, protecting his assets and making the overcaller lead.
Harold Simon: Its likely dreaming to find partner with Q-x or better; but if he rebids 3 , my 3 NT bid will express doubt.
Steve Boughey: What a shame double cant be the more logical negative style. Sigh; that means Ill have to pull the ubiquitous cue-bid out of the bag. Fortunately, Im ready for anything partner emerges with, and it also right-sides 3 NT if he holds Q-x.
Paulino Correa: I want to reach game; 2 would be interpreted as 5+ diamonds, and 2 NT as an invitation only. This is forcing If I hear 3 , then 4 ; otherwise, it will be 3 NT (unless partner bids 4 ).
Geoff Bridges: Trying to right-side 3 NT or find a heart fit. This is more flexible than the 2 reverse.
Kevin Podsiadlik: Close decision between this and 2 , but the latter implies a fifth diamond. Theres room for partner to bid 3 ; and if he doesnt, maybe we dont want to play in hearts after all.
Jack Brawner: This is an optimistic (futile?) attempt to right-side 3 NT and keeps hearts, spades and diamonds in play. I will bid 3 NT over [3 or 3 ] by partner, and this should express some doubt about clubs, i.e., a single stopper. My fear about notrump is that East has K-Q-J-x-x-x and the A.
John Reardon: An overbid, but most likely to get to the correct contract played the right way around.
Julian Wightwick: This should get us to the right game if there is one, and perhaps right-side 3 NT. The vulnerability and form of scoring is wrong for a penalty double, but I admire it anyway.
Micha Keijzers: Two notrump risks wrong-siding the contract, so I will try to get some additional information The rest (double, 2 and 3 NT) are misdescriptive.
Thijs Veugen: Too balanced for 2 , and a notrump contract should be played by North.
Brian Julius: At this point, I dont know whether the best contract is 3 NT, 4 , 4 , 5 or even slam. This keeps all options open as I gather more information.
Eamon Galligan: If we are meant to be in game, partner will bring us there. This also leaves room to explore major suits.
Jonathan Steinberg: The same bid I would have made without interference, showing a balanced 18-19 HCP.
David Lindop: Anti-positional, but it was what I was going to rebid without the interference; and the hand doesnt look right for a penalty double.
Jim Olson: Same as I would have bid if East had passed. Partner may need the three level to bid out his major-suit distribution.
Chris Willenken: This could get the hand played from the wrong side, but everything else is a distortion.
David Secondino: Showing 18-19 HCP; 3 NT would show long diamonds.
Norm Gordon: Same rebid Id make with no interference. Id like to bid 3 to protect partners Q-x or J-x-x, but I dont think we have that agreement.
Imre Csiszar: I am supposed to stay with the group.
Guy van Middelem: If double is penalty, 2 NT should show something like this hand only one club stopper.
Carlos Dabezies: Describes my hand accurately; partner will not pass unless 1 was a stretch. The vulnerability does not make doubling attractive, and my heart suit is poor (if partner has 5-4 in the majors, he will bid hearts anyway).
Dale Rudrum: If partner has Q-x, the contract is wrong-sided; but would he bid 3 NT [on his own] with Q-x? I think not, so I will show 18-19 HCP and hope partner can use the information to lead us to the right contract.
Venkatesh Ramaratnam: A low-level penalty double is not a great idea with only three trumps. Holding the A, there is a case to hedge with 2 to give more impetus for an alternate strain; but 2 NT is the value bid and it seems best not to distort the hand.
Sylvain Brethes: I dont like double or 3 , and the hand is too balanced for 2 . I would bid 3 NT with a hand based on long diamonds and a club stopper; so that leaves 2 NT.
Martijn Schoonderwoerd: This was my intended rebid when I opened 1 , and I see no reason to change. A penalty double is unlikely to yield 800 or more, so I think we should go for our own game (3 NT, 4 and 4 are still in the picture).
Sven Pride: The same call I would have made without the interference. Double is wrong (I have no reason to think I can beat 2 ); 2 shows more diamonds than hearts; 3 NT is too unilateral.
Ron Sperber: A penalty double cant be right; opposite Q-J-x-x-x K-x-x x-x-x x-x, 2 might go down only one or even make. Three notrump is too unilateral; 2 on this shape seems misleading Ill just bid what I was planning to bid anyway.
Marko Obradovic: I doubt 3 NT (or any game) is playable opposite a minimal North hand, so I undervalue my points Two notrump seems safe, and I dont think I can benefit much by doubling.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
|IMPs||None Vul||You, South, hold:|
K J 10 8 3
K 6 5
J 8 4 3
Its time to put up or shut up, or perhaps wish that you had bid 2 * last time. It seems timid to sell out to 3 with opponents showing a good spade fit, but your meager club fit and no assurance of a heart fit make any action doubtful. On the bright side, however, youre not vulnerable; and even if you step into a hopeless contract, it is unlikely to be doubled when the opponents probably have 9+ spades.
*Surely reasonable, and perhaps wiser. Most players even those who play 2-over-1 game forcing relax requirements in competition. For me, this hand falls right on the cusp between 2 and double, and I wouldnt criticize either.
The consensus was to raise partners suit, and I agree. If partner happens to have only three clubs, his shape will almost always be 3=4=3=3; then he will correct to 4 . The only downside seems to be if partner has exactly three hearts and 4 makes; but more likely, nothing will make, and 4 is harder to double. Give them their 50 points. It is also possible that partner has a long club suit with no semblance of a heart fit ( Q-x-x x-x A-x A-Q-x-x-x-x) where 4 makes and 4 is a travesty.
What about a card-showing* double? This hand seems a bit weak Id expect at least 10 HCP and the obvious danger is that partner may pass with a flat hand and three spades. For example, facing Q-x-x A-x-x Q-x-x K-Q-x-x, you may soon be writing down minus 530. Nonetheless, the double could work well, and I ranked it ahead of pass because 74 percent preferred to compete in some way.
*Essentially, this just indicates a stronger hand than your first double implied. By nature, its still a negative double (for takeout) although partner should not bid at the four level without four hearts or at least five clubs. The logic is that if he passes, your high-card superiority should be enough to beat 3 .
Wow. Five votes for 3 NT. Are the keyboard apes still at play? Or has Hammans Rule gone awry?
Heres what happened in Valkenburg:
4 N =
| A K 2|
Q 9 4 2
J 9 3
K 9 5
| 10 7 6 3|
Q 8 2
A 10 7 2
| Q 9 8 5 4|
A 10 7 4
4 N -1
K J 10 8 3
K 6 5
J 8 4 3
The problem scenario arose at the second table, and Soulet chose the aggressive double, reaching an egregious game (4 would also be reached if he bid 4 ). Even after the J held the first trick, the contract was hopeless with accurate defense. Passell made no mistake, hopping with the A on the first diamond lead, and later unblocking the Q when declarer led to the K. Down one.
Playing four-card majors, egregious contracts can be reached more quickly, as Wolff and Hamman demonstrated at the first table. After the same start (dummys J won the first trick), Mari slipped by underleading his A when he won the A. Wolff took dummys king and pitched the other diamonds on the A-K; then all he needed was a club trick. Making 4 , and 10 IMPs to United States.
Evidently, the conservative pass was right on the actual deal, as 3 is probably down one.* Even so, it would be depressing to pass and discover that 4 was made at the other table. I guess this just shows once again that, when all is said and done, its a bidders game. Aggressive bidding often leads to small losses, but the occasional big gain more than compensates.
*Note that East could make 3 after a club lead by unblocking the Q under the king and finessing the 10 to pitch a heart; then guess spades.
Ciaran Coyne: Close between pass and 4 . We wont get fat defending 3 (presumably partners double would have been penalty). Partner might even bid 4 .
Robin Zigmond: What precisely is a card-showing double? A genuine takeout double would be useful, but I would rather bid a contract which must have chances than risk 3 doubled making.
Neelotpal Sahai: From the bidding, North rates to have four or more clubs. Most likely, there is no wastage in spades; so all our values are working, which makes competing to 4 a better alternative than pass. Other options are too aggressive.
Ole Normolle: Competitive. I would have preferred to bid 2 instead of double.
Jess Cohen: I think I have a pretty good hand for my negative double 9 points and a singleton, even though a lot of jacks. Partner should deduce that my failure to make a card-showing double implies an unbalanced hand, and maybe he can figure out that I have good hearts I know the best way to show good hearts is to bid them, but I have doubts When in doubt, support partner.
Ronald Michaels: By bidding, I may be trading a plus for a minus in a partial-limited hand (costing 3-4 IMPs), but our hands [may] fit well. With a maximum of three spades , partner may still have four hearts and/or five clubs and a nonvulnerable game still gets a bonus. A danger is that if we truly do have a two-suited fit, opponents may sacrifice in 4 and make it.
Bill Powell: If this goes wrong, Ill tell partner I wouldnt have made the bid if the J and J were reversed.
Sebastien Louveaux: A second double would show more cards and suggest only four hearts. A nonforcing 4 is perfect; if partner decides to carry on, he might bid 4 with three-card support.
Luis Miguel Alvares-Ribeiro: I have already shown cards and hearts, so I better show my support for clubs.
Mark Raphaelson: Defensively, I have no more than I promised less if my club length devalues partners A-K-x-x-x. Partner can correct to hearts. Pass may be right, but it feels wimpy.
Roger Morton: To pass is rather feeble, and to double risks minus 530 with my club fit.
Stephen Fischer: My club support is likely to be the most interesting thing to partner. He didnt bid 3 NT, so that wont be the right place; and he may show three-card heart support.
Rainer Herrmann: Assuming East-West have 9+ spades, we should have a nine-card fit in a rounded suit unless North is specifically 3=3=3=4. This is enough justification to bid 4 ; however, I would have upgraded the hand and bid 2 instead of the popular negative double. The current predicament was likely and easy to foresee. If I am going to overbid, it is much better to do it early than on the final round of bidding. Exchange my black suits, and a negative double would be clear-cut.
Rosalind Hengeveld: My lack of quick tricks on defense, plus a possible double fit, mitigate against a card-showing I recounted and still have 13 of them, partner double, as well as against selling out.
Scott Stearns: No way am I doubling when partner might leave it in. Partner knows I have hearts, so I dont need to bid those.
Dale Freeman: The singleton spade is my incentive to bid again. Double is too dangerous at IMPs with the four-card club fit; and 4 is too unilateral. Maybe I should have bid 2 instead of double
Jordi Sabate: Double should show a more balanced hand with more defensive tricks; 4 is optimistic, since partner may only have one (or a void). This describes both my distribution and strength.
Bala Iyer: This gives more space and is not restrictive, like 4 . If partner has three-card heart support with an honor, he may still bid 4 [expecting] a 4-3 fit.
Lynn Yarbrough: Hoping partner will convert to hearts; but 5 may be a good destination.
Iwan Wijayanto: Invitational to 5 .
Jerry Merrell: It is safe to assume we have a fit in one of the round suits, and that opponents have a nine-card spade fit. This provides the chance to discover our fit, and possibly even find a game.
Chris Willenken: We could still easily have a game; give partner, e.g., x-x Q-x-x A-x A-K-x-x-x-x.
David Dumont: I want to compete with this hand. Partner [probably] knows I have only one spade, and he can correct to 4 with a four-card fit
John Haslegrave: The main difference between double and 4 seems to be when partner has a 3=3=3=4 12-14 count, in which case Id rather be in 4 than defending 3 doubled.
J.J. Gass: I cannot let opponents play in 3 , where they probably have at least nine cards. Although partner isnt likely to sit for a card-showing double without excellent defense, Im too nervous about minus 530 to double. Four hearts with no guarantee of heart support is too risky (partner may have a minor two-suiter).
Roger Gibbons: The hearts are not good enough for 4 , and the hand is too good to pass.
Fredrik Jangvik: Not easy; but if partner has three hearts, I hope he will bid 4 .
Bob Zorn: This call has more ways to work than any other. If I had the courage of my convictions, Id bid 4 . They dealt me the 10 and 8 for some reason, didnt they?
Imre Csiszar: I believe this also complies with the warning, Stay with the group. Four hearts may work; but if it doesnt, Ill have to explain to my teammates how a hand too weak for 2 became strong enough for 4 .
Tibor Roberts: If I double, partner should bid 3 NT with a stopper. Give partner K-x-x A-x-x Q-x-x A-10-9-x, and opponents can make 3 , while were off a bunch in 3 NT; however, partner can (likely) make four of a round suit.
Andrew de Sosa: I dont have enough cards to double, and passing is too timid for me.
Steve Boughey: Frustrating. A 2 call would have got this hand off my chest immediately; now the temperatures hotter and a decision is required at a higher level. I have to trust that partner would have bid 3 NT if that was our place to be; and that hell understand the inferences of my delayed support and essay 4 with three to an honor or better.
Paul Flashenberg: A slight overbid, but the most accurate description of my distribution. Pass is too conservative; not enough cards for a double; not enough hearts for 4 .
Paulino Correa: Pass looks pusillanimous; opponents will get away too cheaply. If partner has hearts, he will declare 4 otherwise, he must have at least four clubs (4=2=3=4 being the worst case) and my red honors should be well placed.
Jyri Tamminen: Four hearts is too dangerous with only a nonvulnerable game bonus in sight (e.g., partner may have 3=1=4=5). No card-showing double for me with primary support (partner is unlikely to have 4=4=2=3 or 4=3=3=3). If opponents are silly enough to be speeding with only eight spades, I hope they [also] forget to double us in our beautiful 4-3 club fit.
Manuel Paulo: Partner may have the strength and shape of a weak notrump opening; then, the total tricks in the deal (17) advises against bidding. Nevertheless, with as little as x-x-x A-x-x A-x-x A-x-x-x we [may] make 4 if declarer finds the Q.
Matt Campbell: I have typical high-card values, but my fifth heart makes me want to compete. Since our fit seems to be clubs, I let partner in on it.
Gyorgy Zalai: The first double by South was bad 2 would be better. The 3 bid [should show 4+ cards] so our club fit will be 4-4 or better.
Julian Wightwick: A little sporting, but the vulnerability is good for action. Partner must have four cards in clubs or hearts (assuming opponents have a nine-card fit), and he will convert to 4 [if appropriate].
Micha Keijzers: If clubs and diamonds were interchanged, Id double.
Jean-Christophe Clement: There is surely a fit between North and South; but in which suit? Double is probably the best way to find it.
Greg Udvari: Three notrump, no, because partner will think that I have spades covered; 4 , no, because partner might only have three clubs; 4 , no, because partner did not promise any. Are you suggesting I might pass and let them get away with 3 ? Also, if partner has a spade stack, 3 doubled is not bad.
Tim Francis-Wright: I would feel much better about this call at matchpoints.
Bill Michell: I want partner to bid, and Im quite happy if he can do no more than rebid clubs.
Damo Nair: I have a fair hand, and partner must know that I have at least three clubs.
Gabriel Ip: My first double showed hearts, but partner is not keen. Why? Does he have defensive values in spades? Or a 12-14 flat hand? Well, since we have the majority of the points, Ill give him a sporting double and see.
Marsha Rayton: I dont want to guess at partners hand and bid 4 , and I wont bid 3 NT without a spade stopper. Partner can always pass or bid 3 NT with spade honors; or bid 4 with A-x-x, or rebid clubs.
Stu Goodgold: Four hearts is too unilateral, and pass is too wimpy.
Noer Imanzal Kartamadjana: I am not sure partner has hearts, so the double gives him a choice.
Gorkem Kuterdem: Anything but 3 NT could be right. I do have some cards (13 to be exact) so Ill double to show a noncommittal hand. I certainly will not sell out to 3 undoubled; I just hope partner does something intelligent. If he bids 4 , I will bid 4 ; and if I get doubled there, run to 5 .
Denis Mortell: Either this or 4 (both complete the picture of my hand). Partner can convert to penalty or bid accordingly.
Mark Reeve: Well, I have tolerance for the other three suits, including four-card support for partner. Pass seems tame; 3 NT is dreadful, as is 4 without a known heart fit; and 4 seems a bit unilateral.
Jianhua Ai: A difficult decision, but pass seems wrong. Partner can pass the double, or bid 4 or 4
Stefan Basinski: I cannot unilaterally bid 4 just because I have five of them. Four clubs bypasses 3 NT and gets opponents off the hook. So I double to show strength and let partner decide
Guy van Middelem: Slightly too much to compete with 4 . I will pass if partner bids 3 NT, 4 or 4 .
Sylvain Brethes: I hope partner didnt hesitate over 3 . I will not give up on this auction, and double is more flexible than 4 flexible also to making 3 doubled, of course. :)
Al Goldspiel: I think a 4 bid should show four hearts and five clubs.
Andy Latto: I cant pass with the unrevealed club fit, as partner cannot be short in clubs [unless he has four hearts]. Double is more flexible than 4 since it gets us to 3 NT when partner has a spade stopper.
Martijn Schoonderwoerd: I would have bid 2 earlier, even if it shows 10+ HCP; now the bidding has exploded in my face, and I have no idea what to do. All I can do is double and pray that partner knows where to go probably to the bathroom to throw up.
Thijs Veugen: Four hearts could be right, but I prefer to involve partner in this decision.
Jim Tully: Ive shown my hand, and well probably beat 3
Lajos Linczmayer: I suppose there are 17-18 total tricks on this board. My only alternative is to double, which could result in a small gain or a big loss (if North passes and they make it).
John Lusky: As often happens, opponents preemptive action forces a guess. My hand is not good enough to double again; 4 could get us to a pretty good 4 game if partner has x-x-x A-x-x-x A-x K-Q-x-x, but it is more likely to turn a plus into a minus when he has K-10-x Q-x-x A-x-x A-x-x-x. Partners opening-bid style would be relevant in choosing between 4 and pass; and so would the meaning of a double of 3 from his side. Nonvulnerable, I pass because partner is more likely to have a sketchy opener, and the reward for game is less. (Vulnerable, I would bid 4 .)
Winston Munn: If partner has five or more clubs, I should be bidding My J may help make a trick on defense (e.g., opposite Q-9-x) but its worthless on offense. My two kings are also well placed on defense, and we are unlikely to have a nine-card heart fit. Looks like its best to pass and take a likely small plus.
Michael Clark: I dont think I can justify another double on 9 points; and at teams, theres no great need to risk a big minus by bidding on.
Jim Olson: No need to be a hero. Partners most likely holding is a weak notrump opener, in which case making 4 or 4 is unlikely
Gonzalo Goded: No real need to continue showing what I already showed (except a bit extra shape), especially with all those puny jacks around.
Julian Pottage: If I thought this hand was worth bidding again at this level, I should have bid 2 the first time.
Laurentiu Dimcica: There may be a heart game opposite x-x-x A-x-x A-x K-Q-x-x-x; but theres no place to run opposite K-x-x Q-x-x Q-x-x A-Q-x-x if I double. Since West figures to have a singleton club or heart (maybe with long diamonds), Ill take the conservative path.
Ed Shapiro: This feels like an appeals-committee hand after a slow pass by partner. Since partner can still have a weak notrump, pass is where youll find us chickens; but bidding 4 isnt all that far behind.
Willem Mevius: If partner cant do anything over 3 , theres no game for us. Nonvulnerable at teams, I dont need to take risks. I lead a spade.
Brian Zietman: Partners second-round pass is ominous. Lots of dangers lurking, so Id better get out quick.
Greg Lawler: If partner has spades, this may be going down; and if he doesnt, they may make 4 . Also, if we can make exactly 4 , there is a good chance that partner will raise to an unmaking 5 . Interestingly, if partner has a dull hand like Q-x-x Q-x-x A-x-x K-Q-x-x, we make a fair amount if hearts and clubs split nicely; but they can make 4 if hearts and clubs split badly. In the long run, I think it is best to pass. (At matchpoints, the problem is harder.)
Don Hinchey: Tough hand! We should have the majority of the HCP; but with no assurance of a spade stopper or a fit, any call is fraught with danger. Pass is also risky but has potential upsides: (1) avoiding a disaster, and (2) not pushing opponents into 4 , which may be on.
William Campbell: A double should show at least 10 points, as should 3 NT. Four hearts should be a six-card suit; and 4 is awfully high and might be the wrong strain. We might miss a nonvulnerable game if partner holds x-x A-x-x Q-x-x A-K-x-x-x; but how can we ever bid it?
Anthony Golding: I am tempted to bid, recognizing that you dont win bidding contests by passing; but its nonvulnerable at IMPs, and Ive not much more (one heart pip) than Ive shown If double were takeout, thats what Id do; but card-showing seems to indicate some interest in defending, which I dont really have.
Giovanni Bobbio: Why would I ever force the four level when I didnt deem this hand good enough for 2 earlier? Of course, I would have bid 2 , so now Im only being consistent.
Geoff Bridges: If partner couldnt act over 3 , we probably have no game. Im going to stay on the right side of the Law.
Kevin Podsiadlik: A card-showing double (translation: Now you figure out which cards, partner) is tempting; but really, my hand just isnt very good. I have no reason not to place partner with a balanced 12-14; and if theres any wastage in spades, were in trouble at the four level.
Jack Brawner: Bah, humbug. We may win the match on some other hand, so lets not lose it on this one.
Jonathan Goldberg: Tough to fight the spade suit. Double to show cards? What cards do I have that I didnt already show? If we can take 10 tricks in clubs, surely we wont lose much for plus 100 as opposed to losing a lot for minus 300, or even 500.
Michael Palitsch: I dont think we can be missing a game, and I want to avoid a big loss.
Nick Krnjevic: Anything could be right, but at these colors Ill go quietly because the reward isnt worth the risk.
Venkatesh Ramaratnam: The hand is unsuitable for a card-showing double because defensive prospects are not very good. A five-card club fit or more distribution is [desirable] to bid 4 . On balance, pass and take my medicine seems best.
Leonard Helfgott: Except for the club support, Ive pretty much shown these values. At matchpoints, it might pay to bid 4 but at IMPs this could only be right if both 3 and 4 make. Also, I might push the opponents into a making 4 .
Bill Jacobs: Win the match on some other hand. I once read that people who preempt dont want to be left to play in that contract; I will try that here.
Dean Swallow: Why bid on? East probably has a fair hand, and partner may have some spades and good defense.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
|IMPs||E-W Vul||You, South, hold:|
| A 10|
K Q J 6 3
K J 6 2
An annoying predicament, as there seems to be no intelligent way to find out if 3 NT is the right spot. The problem would be even tougher at matchpoints then perhaps a blind stab at 3 NT is best but at IMPs I agree with the consensus just to bid your hand. Slam chances are doubtful, but the main goal is to avoid a hopeless 3 NT when partner also lacks a heart stopper and even one stopper might not be enough, e.g., facing K-J-x-x-x A-x 10-x-x-x A-x. If 3 NT makes, you might achieve the same score in 5 , or lose an IMP to the notrump overtrick. Onward and upward; 4 it is.
Many respondents chose to pass the buck with 3 , but this is counterproductive. If partner bids 3 NT, he will have a club stopper great, you might have four club stoppers and still be wide open in hearts. Maybe this has some tactical benefit to stop a heart lead, but I wouldnt hold my breath. Good defenders tend to lead what theyre looking at.
The second most popular choice was the faux raise to 3 , which I was obliged to demote in the scoring, as it is nonforcing per system guidelines.* If forcing, this would be an acceptable alternative. A 5-2 spade fit could be the only makable game, e.g., opposite K-Q-J-x-x Q-x A-x-x-x Q-x.
*The raise to 3 does not indicate extra values. Responder is required to bid again (below game) after a 2-over-1 response, so 3 merely shows a 2 spade raise, and opener may pass with a minimum. Whether you like it or not, its the default system for these polls.
Heres what happened in Valkenburg:
6 S =
| K J 6 5 4 3|
K Q 7
A 9 8 2
| 9 8 7 2|
A 10 8 6
A 9 7
5 4 3 2
Q 10 8 5 4 3
6 S =
| A 10|
K Q J 6 3
K J 6 2
The problem scenario arose at both tables, though the decision was not critical opposite the actual North hand. At the first table, Rubin chose to gamble 3 NT (a beastly bid?) then took the short route to slam after Soloway bid out his pattern.
Chemla and Mari had a more delicate auction at the second table (3 was forcing), but its doubtful whether the extra round of bidding really helped. From Maris point of view, a grand slam could be on (couldnt 5 show the ace?) so 6 seems like the same intelligent guess made by Rubin.
An easier slam would be hard to find. Lebel and Hamman both led the A, stopping the overtrick for a push board.
Ciaran Coyne: A tougher problem at matchpoints.
Robin Zigmond: A clear 3 NT at pairs; but at IMPs its worth going past 3 NT just in case slam is there, knowing that 5 must be a good contract.
Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: Six diamonds is excellent opposite something like K-Q-x-x-x A-x A-x-x-x Q-x.
Jean-Christophe Clement: Three contracts are probable: 3 NT, 5 or 6 . I cant see a bid to ask for a stopper in hearts, so 3 NT is dangerous
Neelotpal Sahai: Game is on, and slam is a distinct possibility. This seems to be the best way to show a game-plus hand.
Sandy McIlwain: Why not go natural? This highlights the problem in hearts.
Ole Normolle: This gives partner a chance to bid 4 with five good spades
Jim Tully: Bidding out my pattern. Partner is unlikely to have both a heart stopper and a club filler.
Jack Rhatigan: Ill give up on 3 NT and plan for 5 , or possibly slam
Lajos Linczmayer: Even if partner has a minimal raise, 5 generally will be better than 3 NT. If he has K-Q-x-x-x A-10 10-x-x-x A-x, even 6 is better than 3 NT. If he has K-10-x-x-x K-Q A-10-x-x Q-x, 5 makes and 3 NT goes down.
Kevin Costello: I intend to continue to 5 , but theres no harm in checking one last time for a six-card spade suit with partner.
Jess Cohen: Three spades has some virtues, [mainly] staying below 3 NT; but it hides the club values, and partner might pass a nonjump rebid after 2-over-1 shows 11-12 and is nonforcing. Other bids have problems also: 3 NT lacks a heart stopper; 4 goes past 3 NT and hides the spade support; and 4 doesnt seem right if partners spades are average. I will bid 4 ; I do have diamonds and clubs, so it is descriptive. If partner bids 4 or 4 , I can bid 4 as delayed support (or a cue-bid over 4 ); if partner bids 4 , I can pass.
Ronald Michaels: This denies a heart control but says nothing about spades, except that I have a maximum of two. Although 3 NT may be our par spot, slam is possible enough to give it a try
Bill Powell: Showing slam interest in diamonds.
Sebastien Louveaux: The risk of going down in 5 when 3 NT makes is minimal, while slam chances are good. I need a heart control and two aces, as partner should have a source of tricks in spades.
Luis Miguel Alvares-Ribeiro: Have you got heart control, partner?
Roger Morton: Partner will take this as a cue-bid, but I do have the A instead. (In the UK, 3 is nonforcing.) If it is forcing in Standard American, change my bid to 3 .
Nope, you Brits are as old-fashioned as we are. Regardless, I never change calls based on comments.
John Lusky: Hoping to hear 4 from partner. I will bid 4 next.
Tim Francis-Wright: I have a very nice hand for the bidding so far If I cant go past 3 NT with these cards, then partner should have bid something other than 3 .
Winston Munn: I hate to bypass 3 NT, but its likely partner is unbalanced and so is his hand. :) This keeps a lot of options open. Ill take 4 next as a good suit and suggestion to play, and pass. If partner bids 4 , Ill bid 4 (to play) over 4 , Ill continue with 4 and pass if he bids 5 .
Jonathan Steinberg: I am strong enough to go beyond 3 NT and bid my shape. If partner bids 4 , Ill bid 4 which may be the final contract.
David Lindop: I assume 3 isnt forcing; so Ill make a further descriptive bid, planning to bid 4 (passable) next.
Chris Maclauchlan: Ugh, truly demonic. Three spades is unfortunately nonforcing, else its a standout. Five diamonds, 4 and 3 NT damage my slam chances, and any game contract could be wrong. Three hearts is a dangerous misdescription; even if I plan to bid over 3 NT, partner will think I have a heart control. At least 4 is a definite slam try that brings partner into the decision; itll be nice to share the blame. :)
Rainer Herrmann: A nice hand, which reveals serious flaws in standard bidding. Even worse, what to bid in a pairs contest?
Ian Totman: Seems the least of evils. Partner will expect first-round control, but Ill survive. :)
Bill Michell: Nasty. We ought to have game, maybe more. Four clubs is a cue-bid, asking if partner wants to play along OK, so the ace would be nice, but this will have to do.
Larry Gifford: This confirms diamonds as trumps and pinpoints the heart weakness for slam
Jordi Sabate: Natural and forcing. The only problem is that I bid past 3 NT; but with a stopper in hearts and a balanced hand, I think partner would have bid 2 NT or 3 NT instead of 3 .
Jim Olson: Six diamonds is likely. If we are off two heart tricks or two aces, stopping in 5 (or perhaps 4 ) is OK at IMPs.
George Klemic: The same auction has come up in past polls, and 3 is nonforcing, though I think thats unplayable (my call would be a forcing 3 ). Three notrump is tempting; but with the extra playing strength, 4 will be a reasonable spot if we dont play in diamonds.
Gabriel Ip: Who knows? If North has 5=1=3=4 and a useful 13-15 count, a slam may be on.
Chris Willenken: This type of situation is why I dont believe in raising to 3 without four trumps. Opposite K-Q-x-x-x A-x-x A-x-x x-x, were at risk in 5 .
David Dumont: Showing values in clubs. If partner bids 4 or 4 , I will next bid 4
Ognian Smilianov: Slam is visible if North has a little more than a minimum, and this outlines the problem: weakness in hearts.
Nick Wong: If partner has the magic 5=1=3=4 or 5=1=4=3 distribution and no wasted value in his singleton heart, 6 or 6 will be almost laydown, or a very good play, with a normal 13-14 HCP hand.
Norm Gordon: We already have a play for 5 ; and there are minimums partner can have that make six of a minor laydown, e.g., K-x-x-x-x x A-x-x A-Q-x-x.
J.J. Gass: We may have a diamond slam; we may belong in 3 NT; or even 4 . If I just bid 3 NT, Im practically begging for a heart lead; and theres no way to show my club stopper or ask for a heart stopper below 3 NT in standard methods. Since I have considerably extra strength, and since 5 making at IMPs isnt bad when 3 NT makes an overtrick, Ill bite the bullet and show slam interest. If I cant get some assurance of heart control from partner, Ill probably end up in 5 or 4 .
Laurentiu Dimcica: This shows my shape and (1) denies heart control, (2) may recover a club fit opposite 5=1=3=4 shape, (3) may lead to the appropriate spade or diamond contract, and (4) the only loss is a possible 3 NT opposite K-Q-x-x-x Q-x-x A-x-x Q-x, or K-x-x-x-x A-Q-x A-x-x 10-x, but then a spade or diamond game has [chances].
Jim Wiitala: I hope to hear 4 ; then bid 4 , etc.
Ed Shapiro: I bid what I have, and it doesnt stop me from bidding 4 to play. If we should have stopped in 4 , oh well.
Willem Mevius: Annoyingly, 3 NT could be the best contract; but theres no way to bid it safely. This should be natural Over partners 4 , Ill bid 5 . Partner needs the perfect hand for slam
Gorkem Kuterdem: The bidding guide says the 3 raise is 13-18 with 3+ card support; even then, slam might be on. This looks best for now to show my shape; and if partner takes it as a control-bid, thats all right, too.
Matt Stone: Slam is a definite possibility, and 3 NT may not make.
Geoff Bridges: Bidding out my shape. Is 4 NT natural if partner bids it? Who knows; but the only bids that might let us stop in 3 NT (3 , 3 and 3 NT) are all horribly misdescriptive. Its less important at IMPs to get to 3 NT instead of 5 , so 4 should be the winning call most of the time.
Jack Brawner: I hate giving up on 3 NT; but 5 isnt so bad at IMPs, right? And theres a decent possibility of 6
Daniel Miller: Exposes the heart losers and promises game ambitions.
Nick Krnjevic: My six-loser hand is worth a slam-try.
Carlos Dabezies: I intend to bid 4 if partner bids 4 , and to pass 4 or 5 .
Dale Rudrum: Bypassing 3 NT is no disaster at IMPs, and there may be a slam.
Sapan Desai: If partner makes a return cue-bid in hearts, Ill bid Blackwood otherwise, the 5 option is always there.
Rahul Chandra: I need to say something else; three clubs might be best, but I probably cant get away with that. :) If partner bids 4 , Ill bid 4 NT; over 5 , Ill bid 5 .
Jojo Sarkar: This is perfect; then I can bid 4 over the expected 4 , exposing the lack of heart control. If partner passes 4 , that should be fine.
Martijn Schoonderwoerd: Three notrump is not an option at IMPs (it might be at pairs) when the safer contract of 5 looks just as good; and maybe, just maybe, we have enough for slam. This seems the best way to let partner think with me.
Ron Sperber: I hate to bypass 3 NT; but unless we have an agreement that 3 doesnt show hearts, it would only fool partner.
Brian Julius: I dont see a sensible way to investigate 3 NT, since 3 would ask partner to bid 3 NT with a club stopper. Four clubs gives us a chance to determine whether 4 or 5 is a better contract.
Marko Obradovic: As 3 NT seems out of reach without a good heart stopper , 5 is probably the best contract; but there is a slight possibility that partner will bid 4 with a good spade holding
Pat Rich: So I dont have a heart stopper; shoot me.
Mark Raphaelson: Tough problem. If 3 NT doesnt make, its unlikely that 5 makes either. At least Im only looking for nine tricks, and the auction isnt over.
Tyson Patterson: This should make, and I dont think slam is likely.
Kaustuv Das: How do you solve such a problem in real life? I must have faced them before, and I am sure I was always wrong! For now, I am proceeding by the process of elimination: 3 and 4 are invitational; 4 takes us beyond 3 NT and tells opponents what to lead; 5 may still go down or may make overtricks; 3 will not help partner reach 3 NT with a heart stopper and none in clubs; 4 is out of the question.
Lawrence Cheetham: If partner pulls to 4 , I can go for a small slam; else, hope for 4-4 hearts or blockage.
Marsha Rayton: Pray for a heart stopper or a club lead.
Charles Blair: Im risking a ridiculous result; but why cant partner have K-Q-J-x-x Q-x-x A-x-x-x x?
Brian Zietman: I dont fancy 5 ; we may have three losers on top. Surely, partner has some points in hearts.
Greg Lawler: This could be ridiculous, but bidding anything else will avoid getting to the normal game if partner has something like K-Q-x-x-x Q-x-x A-x-x x-x. Three hearts would show hearts rather than clubs, and clubs is more likely to be partners weak spot (although, of course, partner should not have four hearts).
Anthony Golding: This should promise a club stopper and deny a heart stopper, as Id bid 3 with a heart stopper (and partner can grope with 3 without a club stopper). Five diamonds seems a long way off. If partner bids 4 now, Ill bid 4 in case his spades are robust enough to play there.
Ed Barnes: The most likely game. Partner needs very precise cards for slam to be good.
Sartaj Hans: I bid the most likely game. Lauria and Versace play here that 3 shows honor-doubleton in spades.
Bruce Scott: From the bidding guide and a previous poll, it appears that 3 would be nonforcing and suggest three-card support; thus, not an option. Id like to bid 3 , but for some reason it isnt listed. Perhaps I should pick 4 , hoping for partner to bid 3 NT over that. Three hearts is forcing, but doesnt cater to our situation. If I want to get to 3 NT, I have to bid it now.
Eugene Marchenko: Three hearts would show heart strength; 3 is nonforcing; so I have to bid 3 NT myself.
Charles Leong: In the words of Kantar, either showing something or asking something. Id like to hear 3 (no club stopper) from partner, in which case Ill bid 3 NT to ask him if hes got a heart stopper. If I had both suits stopped, Id bid 3 NT over 3 .
Rosalind Hengeveld: If I remember well, 3 is nonforcing in Standard American, so thats out. This hand needs a mild slam try, while leaving the possibility to end up in 3 NT. Note that partner will rarely have a four-card heart suit on this auction.
Scott Stearns: So many lies; so little time to tell them. Ill start with 3 , because I can always claim it was a Zia cue-bid if it backfires.
Carolyn Pinto: I do not know what this means, but I want to force and do not want to go beyond 3 NT immediately.
Gonzalo Goded: There is no way to find out if 3 NT or 5 is better, but I can find if slam prospects are good. One objection to slam is partner having a club singleton or two low cards, so if 3 NT is answered, I have a good clue he has help in clubs.
Carsten Kofoed: Which contract is right: 3 NT, 4 , 4 , 5 or even 6 ? Partners answer to this probe at least might give the information that we have just passed our last makable contract. :)
Fredrik Jangvik: Psych the opponents to prevent a heart lead in an eventually 3 NT contract.
Imre Csiszar: I am not sure this lead-inhibiting bid stays with the group, but 5 probably will be laydown with a non-heart lead and so may 6 if North bids it over my next bid of 5 (as he should with two aces and the K).
Tibor Roberts: I like a new suit here to show a stopper, not ask for one, but I have no other way to invite partner to bid 3 NT. This also may discourage a killing heart lead. If I bid 3 NT directly, Im [likely] to see a heart lead through partners presumed stopper. With such a quacky hand, I think 5 is remote (let alone six).
Albert Ohana: In this situation, 3 asks for a stopper, rather than affirming it. In France, we call this the diamonds problem.
Very interesting. In the United States we call it le probleme de carreau.
Paul Flashenberg: Leaves 3 NT as a possible contract if partner can bid it. I rarely worry about having the unbid minor stopped, so partner should infer that Im either looking for 3 NT or cue-bidding for slam, which would be the case if I bid over 3 NT.
Andrei Varlan: Last train to 3 NT. I would not bid a heart suit when partner has denied four hearts
Stefan Basinski: A classic problem. I would like to bid 4 but resist because 3 NT may be the best contract. Partner should bid 2 over 2 if he has four hearts, so 3 by me should not show four hearts (Im sure people will disagree). If partner reads it that way, he can place the contract.
Sven Pride: The most flexible call. Ill pass 3 NT and raise 3 to 4 , which is probably where we belong.
Dean Swallow: Stalling; 3 NT may be the best spot. Partner should take this as asking for, rather than showing, a heart stopper.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
|IMPs||None Vul||You, South, hold:|
| K 7 6|
Q 8 6 4
A 10 7
K 7 6
A number of respondents didnt like the conditions typically because they would have opened the bidding, and sometimes because they would have bid 2 or 2 NT instead of the 2 cue-bid. To the latter objection, I have no strong feelings; but I definitely agree with the original pass. Experience has shown that little good comes from 4-3-3-3 shapes, so it pays to be conservative. I would teach to pass, and I would follow my own advice.
This was the most decisive problem of the month, as the consensus clearly preferred the natural 2 NT bid, inviting game. I agree. It hardly seems worth a game bid (particularly nonvulnerable) and partner apparently lacks four hearts in bypassing that suit.* A case could be made to pursue a 4-3 heart fit, e.g., opposite A-x-x-x K-J-9 x A-J-x-x-x, 4 is the best game; but thats placing specific cards. More often notrump will be superior, especially considering the lack of competition, which reduces the chance of North having a singleton diamond.
*In the rare event partner is 5-4 in the majors, he will surely bid 3 over 2 NT; then the heart game will be reached.
The repeat cue-bid of 3 might have more merit if partner knew what it meant. Hmm. Just what does it mean? Im not sure myself, other than a general force, so its only service may be to let partner choose the coffin instead of you. Further, if 3 shows the A, it might wrong-side 3 NT if partner has J-x. Surely, a natural notrump bid with 4-3-3-3 shape is more helpful than a mysterious cue-bid.
I threw in the overbids of 4 and 4 mostly for novelty sake and was quite surprised that 4 got 114 votes. Wow. These respondents partners must make better takeout doubles than mine. A Moysian spade fit also rates to play poorly after continued diamond leads, forcing the longer trump hand; and if partner has a diamond honor to ward off the tap, notrump will usually be better. Thus, if you want to overbid, 3 NT makes more sense.
This problem was extracted from the round-robin encounter between Canada and Belgium. Heres what happened in Valkenburg:
4 N =
| A 5 4 3|
A J 3
A 9 5 4 3
| 10 9|
K Q J 6 3 2
Q 10 2
| Q J 8 2|
10 9 7 5
9 8 5
3 NT S -2
| K 7 6|
Q 8 6 4
A 10 7
K 7 6
The problem scenario arose at the first table, and Murray chose the second cue-bid. Perhaps it had a specific meaning in their system, but I suspect Murray was groping just like anyone else. After the undesired 4 response, Murray retreated to 4 , and Kehela was left to struggle in the inferior Moysian fit (4 is slightly better). No sweat! Thanks to the lucky heart lie and East having but three diamonds, Kehela scored up his game.
At the second table, the Canadians muddled the auction when Nagy bid spades with the lovely East hand. (When you live in the Great White North, you can make bids like this because youre protected by howling wolves.) This killed any chance of Belgium reaching 4 , as Rubin (Sam, not Ira) chose to cue-bid and follow with 3 NT, which had no chance* after the K lead, and Rubin was down two after holding up the A and trying to lose the third club to East; 11 IMPs to Canada.
*Declarer might have succeeded in practice by winning the third diamond, finessing the J and leading a low club. Nagy could hardly put up the jack (South might have K-10-x); then the K is won, followed by a low club, on which Kokish must play the queen to prevent the avoidance duck a tough play, but Kokish may have found it.
Ciaran Coyne: My diamond holding is good for a suit contract; but which one? Partner should bid again with any shape or extras.
Robin Zigmond: Textbook stuff. Partner has denied four hearts, and this 4-3-3-3 distribution will often play better in notrump, even with five spades opposite.
Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: Game is not sure opposite a minimum, shapely takeout double.
Jean-Christophe Clement: Describing my hand 12 HCP and flat shape.
Neelotpal Sahai: Spade bids show 4+ card support; heart bids distort the auction; 3 and 3 NT look too aggressive, as partners double can be borderline. This seems best to show the key features of my hand: 11-12 HCP, less than four spades, and a diamond stopper. The 4-3-3-3 shape is another reason to tilt the decision in favor of 2 NT.
Kevin Costello: Describes the flatness of my hand, while keeping the bidding low. Im not anxious to play in hearts with such an ugly suit unless partner suggests it.
Pat Rich: I presume partner will bid hearts if he has them. Oh, wait! Thats the 10-7 in diamonds? Sorry.
I have no idea what he or she is talking about. Is this Pat from Saturday Night Live?
Greg Udvari: A modest bid, allowing partner to choose between 3 NT and 4 . In theory, partner may have a bare 12-count so we may want to stop here.
Roger Morton: This is far enough with only one diamond stopper and only three spades.
John Lusky: This should imply four hearts, and it gives partner the chance to introduce clubs or hearts. Despite my 12 HCP, it is uncertain that we belong in game; if partner passes 2 NT, this will probably be high enough.
Alan Kravetz: This hand is too flat to take directly to game.
Rain Lan: Invitational, showing a diamond stopper.
Jonathan Steinberg: Showing a balanced maximum for a passed hand.
David Lindop: This sequence should show doubt about notrump; otherwise I would have bid 2 NT immediately.
Stephen Fischer: I dont want to hang partner for doubling light.
Chris Maclauchlan: Dead-center on values and puts opener on lead. Partner should know that I still have some interest in playing in a suit; else I would not have cue-bid.
Rainer Herrmann: I concur that the South hand should not be opened as dealer; but I would rather open than bid or virtually force to game now. A hand simply does not get any stronger because you passed first.
Charles Leong: Just in case partner has a piece of cheese, I will limit my hand (and imply four hearts).
Mark LaForge: I do not punish partners for making light doubles; and while some people would open this hand, it is not a good 12 points. Two notrump implies somewhere else to play; so if partner bids again, it will be OK.
Gerald Cohen: Almost perfect nonforcing, as game is uncertain, and leaving room to find the right contract.
David Caprera: I probably would not have passed this hand; but having done so, I am very well placed by cue-bidding then bidding notrump.
Dale Freeman: Nowadays, I would open this hand. There must be a reason I did not bid 2 NT directly, so partner should look for another game with a singleton diamond.
Jim Olson: Partner should be given some leeway for a light action. This sequence should imply four hearts, since [otherwise] I would bid 2 NT directly.
Gonzalo Goded: I judged my hand not good enough to open, so I have to be consistent also, partner may double a bit weaker (with shape) after I pass. Maybe this shows a better diamond stopper, but the only [likely] major game (opposite a typical 4=3=2=4 or 4=3=1=5) would be 4
Carsten Kofoed: The 10 makes this bid perfect with the strength and distribution.
Kevin Lane: With better spot cards, 3 NT would be reasonable; but I wont hang partner for making a [light] takeout double. This shows four hearts, too, since I bid 2 on the way to 2 NT.
Stu Goodgold: This hand wasnt worth an opener on the first round, and it still isnt worth a game force in any strain.
J.J. Gass: Flat distribution and the lack of a source of tricks make this hand worth only an invitation This suggests a balanced pattern and a diamond stopper, and my 2 cue-bid said I was uncertain about strain I will raise 3 or 3 to four, or bid 3 over 3 or 3
Julian Pottage: My cue-bid showed a maximum pass, so there is no need to jump. If North is 4=3=2=4 (quite likely), I want to play in 2 NT or 3 NT; if not, this leaves him room to [explore].
Steve Tuggle: This shows my [strength], shape and diamond stopper, and partner [will bid further] if he has values over what he has shown.
Laurentiu Dimcica: Partners bid shows any of 4=3=3=3, 4=3=2=4, 5=4=1=3 or 5=3=1=4 shape. Id like to play notrump, except opposite a singleton diamond.
Roger Gibbons: This keeps options open if partner is 5=3=1=4 or 5=4=1=3. If partner passes, 2 NT is probably the right spot.
Imre Csiszar: I would have opened but believe 2 NT is enough after the cue-bid. This leaves room for slam investigation if partner is strong; and if partner passes (unlikely), perhaps we have no game as when he holds A-Q-x-x K-x-x x-x A-x-x-x.
Tysen Streib: Ive got to have this kind of hand since I didnt bid 2 NT directly, nor a suit now. This flat hand with spread values is worth less than its HCP suggest.
Tibor Roberts: This shows a balanced, near-opener with a solid diamond stopper. Because partner should double holding Q-x-x-x-x K-x-x-x x A-J-x, I dont want to hang myself in game Ill leave it up to partner to do that. :)
Greg Lawler: This denies four spades, and shows a balanced hand with a diamond stopper. It strongly implies four hearts and/or an imperfect diamond stopper since I did not bid notrump immediately.
Don Hinchey: This should show hearts, the strength and the stopper. Three notrump seems reasonable at IMPs, but the distribution and sparse spot cards suggest conservatism.
Gary Brown: With such scattered values, I will feel good about whatever partner does. For a passed hand, the cue-bid then 2 NT conveys the value and nature of my hand.
Andrew de Sosa: This should show game-invitational values with four hearts and a diamond stopper. Ill allow for partner to have doubled lightly, or with less than perfect shape.
Anthony Golding: I would never have passed this hand in first seat, so Im the author of my own misfortunes This must imply four hearts; else why have I bid this way? Mind you, Why did you bid that way? is something Im used to hearing!
Michael Dimich: I want to encourage partner to bid again with a shapely hand.
Mark Reeve: This could well be enough with 4-3-3-3 distribution if partner had a minimum double
Jyri Tamminen: Seduced by the Big Casino. Im not worth a game force; and even though 2 NT may be the only unmakable partial (e.g., opposite a 4=3=1=5 11-count), I cant see a sensible alternative.
Dean Pokorny: If partner has anything in diamonds, notrump should play better than a 4-3 spade fit.
Bill Erwin: Perhaps a bit heavy on values, but I dont like flat hands.
Geoff Bridges: If partner has a minimum, shapely double, 2 NT will be high enough.
Kevin Podsiadlik: Having expressed uncertainty with 2 , this is the natural continuation.
Jack Brawner: Good hand; diamond stopper; not excited about spades. Can it be any clearer to partner?
Guy van Middelem: Not enough to push to 3 NT because of my single diamond stopper and 4-3-3-3 distribution.
Sartaj Hans: This problem arises only because I forgot to open. Having passed, I cannot [punish] partner by jumping to game or playing in a precarious spade fit.
Carlos Dabezies: Describes my hand accurately, and having the lead come up [to my A-10-7] may be an advantage. Partner may have a minimum double with only four spades.
Bruce Scott: I agree with the initial pass; this is closer to an 11-count than a 12 count. Poor shape and scattered honors are minuses. My 2 NT bid now should imply hearts; otherwise I would have bid it last round. Anyone who bids 3 NT is still upset that you made him pass in the first place. :)
Istvan Fay: Partner [probably] does not have four hearts; if he has any additional strength, he can bid game.
Leonard Helfgott: Describes my hand perfectly I didnt bid 2 NT before because I had four hearts. If partner bid spades with 4=4=1=4 shape and [a light double], he would now bid 3 , which I should pass. With a better hand, he can bid some game.
Andy Latto: We have no obvious source of tricks, so I dont think I can make 3 NT opposite a minimum takeout double.
Jojo Sarkar: I showed strength with the cue-bid; now 2 NT leaves the door open for game in [3 NT or] either major.
Graham Grist: Hopefully, this suggests a maximum pass but only one diamond stopper.
Margalit Ben-Ami: After my cue-bid, partner will not pass 2 NT if his double was based on at least 12 HCP.
Thijs Veugen: If this hand is not worth opening, its not worth bidding 3 NT now.
Bill Jacobs: The delayed notrump bid shows doubt about a second stopper a perfect auction.
Ole Normolle: It was a mistake not to open, so I must bid game. With 12-14 points and five spades, partner would have bid 1 instead of double.
Ronald Michaels: Since I didnt bid 3 NT immediately over partners double, he knows I have four hearts and am not very heavy in diamonds; so he can correct. I want to be in game, so I wont invite with 2 NT.
Sebastien Louveaux: Showing willingness to play, but my 2 cue-bid implied that alternative strains are possible here, obviously hearts.
Jacques Brethes: Where I want to play. If partner has a singleton diamond, I may be down; but Im not sure that any other contract would be successful.
Tim Francis-Wright: I would guess that the perpetrators of this auction would know whether 2 guaranteed at least one four-card major. But even if partner doesnt know what I have, 3 NT still makes sense. I have a maximum for my bid and can handle anything partner does.
Rosalind Hengeveld: The opponents further silence suggests that partner will likely have more than one or two small diamonds. That makes A-10-7 a good holding, and notrump had better be played from my side. As for how high to bid, Id like to know partners style: How shaded can his double be opposite a passed hand?
Nilesh Mitra: Nine tricks are easier than 10, and this is better than 3 because it protects my hand.
Erik Stoffer: Depends on what 2 means: If it asks for diamond values, I bid 3 NT; if its a general force, I bid 3 NT. I am very often in that contract. :)
Ognian Smilianov: Game in notrump sounds realistic and profitable. Unfortunately, Lloyds will not be eager to insure this one.
Willem Mevius: By bidding 2 first, I have probably shown four hearts, allowing partner to convert to 4 with 5=4=1=3. Despite only 12 points and flat distribution, 3 NT should have a chance with West holding all the missing points.
Bob Zorn: I believe in sound openings with balanced hands, so partner cannot make light takeout doubles without creating problems like this. Assuming were on the same page, game must be a good gamble.
Gorkem Kuterdem: I am torn between 3 NT (as it buries my spade support) and bidding a suit along the way I hope partner will remove 3 NT with a two-suiter.
Denis Mortell: Having passed on a 12-count, its time to play catch-up.
Giovanni Bobbio: Since partner doesnt have four hearts, he also doesnt have a subminimum, shapely double Three clubs might be the best contract if partner is 4=3=1=5, but at IMPs this possibility is not worth losing the shot at game.
Paulino Correa: Partner will read this bid as 11-12 HCP with three spades, four hearts and a diamond stopper.
Jonathan Goldberg: Will partner correct with hearts? I wish I knew, but I think bidding hearts at this point would show a much better suit.
Janet Dugle: This is a bit pushy but probably the best game contract.
Al Goldspiel: I should only suppress 12 HCP once per hand.
Martijn Schoonderwoerd: Partner is probably 4=3=2=4. The lack of bidding from East-West makes it likely that neither opponent holds a long, runnable suit; so 3 NT looks like our best spot, and I see no reason not to bid it directly.
Larry Gifford: Ill give partner one more chance to grab it.
Damo Nair: Let partner try something else; 2 NT cannot be forcing here.
David Dumont: Partner now can bid 3 with four hearts, or 3 NT with a diamond stopper. If he bid 3 , I will bid 4 .
Steve Boughey: One must be blessed with lots of good hands to afford to pass this as dealer; I wouldnt have. Every Acol player in the room is opening 1 NT So theres no time to pussyfoot around; 2 NT and 3 are criminal because theyre passable.
Reminds me of Edgar Kaplans wry advice, Richard just once Id like to see plus 140 on your card.
Paul Flashenberg: Hopefully, partner will take the repeat cue-bid as a balanced hand with no clear action. (Most people would have opened this hand and avoided the problem.)
Venkatesh Ramaratnam: Partner cannot expect more from a passed hand, since I have no wastage in diamonds. Partners rebid of 3 should be a minimum.
Sylvain Brethes: I will not bid a major at any level right now. Im not sure that 3 will solve the problem, but Ill see if partner has other news.
Micha Keijzers: Another try in the direction of 3 NT. My first plan was to bid 3 NT, but that could be wrong if partner is something like 4=3=1=5; Id like something extra in diamonds.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
|IMPs||Both Vul||You, South, hold:|
K J 7 5
A Q J 10 6 5 4 3
Buckle your seat belt! Despite your sides apparent high-card superiority, the opponents have the ranking suit and can always outbid you; so the primary goal must be to buy the contract. You can probably make 6 or 6 , but realistically you cant expect to play there. If an opponent bids 6 , youll have another decision. While 6 is unlikely to make, you wont get rich defending; so the IMP odds favor pushing to 7 or 7 , which may make on a favorable lead, or cause the opponents to take insurance in 7 . Who knows; but there is more to gain by bidding on.
The consensus was to conceal the diamond fit and bid 6 , following the general principle that eight-card suits should not be in dummy. While undeniable sound, bidding directly what you expect to make has little tactical merit a 6 save is imminent and doesnt offer the option to play in diamonds. On this auction partner rates to have a long diamond suit, and facing, say, A-x J-x-x-x A-Q-10-x-x-x x, a grand slam has no play in clubs (assuming Easts cue-bid is a club void) but 7 is odds-on. It is also possible that Easts cue-bid is tactical based on a diamond void, which may doom a club contract.
I like the strategic cue-bid of 5 , anticipating the opponents will bid 6 and paving the way for 7 or 7 , with the increased chance of inhibiting a spade lead. The bluff is also aesthetically pleasing: East cue-bid your suit, so why not cue-bid his? Or as Janet Jackson would label it, Tit for tat. If nothing else, it will surely cause an opponent to think twice about making a routine spade lead.
Five diamonds also has appeal for a different tactical reason, suggesting that you dont expect to make a slam. When you later bid 6 over 5 , opponents will be less likely to bid 6 . On a good day, this sneak-up approach might even lure a double.
Of the remaining choices, none are really bad, and its difficult to justify one as better than another. For instance, how bad can it be to double a contract you can beat 10 tricks? Seriously, of course, youd have to gag the opponents to play there, so it accomplishes nothing. I think 5 NT (obviously meaning pick a slam) is the best of the lot, and the rest are ranked by the voting.
As you might have guessed, this was the deal of the tournament:
6 × E -1
K Q 9
A 10 9 8 3 2
K 9 8
| Q 9 5 3 2|
J 8 5 4
Q 6 4
| A K J 8 7 6|
A 10 7 6 3 2
7 × N =
K J 7 5
A Q J 10 6 5 4 3
Soloway faced the problem scenario at the first table and chose the straightforward 6 . When Lebel continued to 6 , Soloway doubled down one. This achieved the par result, and is indisputably correct at matchpoints, but it staked a lot of IMPs on being right. For example, if North had the Q instead of the Q, 6 would make.
The real drama occurred at the second table. Instead of a 1 overcall, Hamman quite reasonably used Michaels; then bang, theyre off and running. Give Chemla due credit for his gutsy bidding and final push to 7 , which Hamman doubled and led and led Oh no! Close your eyes. The ace of hearts minus 2330, 19 IMPs to France.
Hammans choice of leads swung 28 IMPs (a spade would have been 9 IMPs to USA) which essentially was the match, as France won by only 20. After this board, Hamman always a good-natured guy and a gentleman called for a waiter and said, Id like a cup of coffee, please, and a razor blade.
Robin Zigmond: How often do opponents look for slam after an opening and 2-over-1 by the other side? Theres clearly some serious distribution around, and its not clear what makes in which case it is usual right to bid This also has the advantage of letting partner judge whether to [bid] 7 should opponents go on to 6 .
Jean-Christophe Clement: Easts 5 probably shows a void in clubs. It could be wrong to play a diamond contract, as East may get a club ruff. Six clubs is a good bet, as a flat North hand like x-x-x x-x-x-x A-Q-x-x K-x is enough.
Sandy McIlwain: What do you call an eight-card suit? Fortunately, you didnt give 5 as an option. :)
Ole Normolle: Four losers and partner has opened! East has no clubs, so clubs should be better then diamonds.
Barry Rigal: Im planning to bid 7 over 6 Ive conceded too many slams in this situation to sell out below seven of course, we havent beaten 7 yet, but Ill lead a diamond.
Jack Rhatigan: If East has a club void, we had better play in clubs perhaps at too high a level.
Lajos Linczmayer: East must have a great hand and a void in clubs Opponents have a double fit in the majors, as do we in the minors. In an extreme case, they have K-J-x-x-x-x x-x-x-x-x x-x facing A-Q-10-9-x-x A-Q-J-10 x-x-x , and both sides have a grand slam. I will conceal the diamond fit; and if East bids 6 , I will probably bid 7 .
Kevin Costello: With a [diamond] fit, Im happy to raise the bidding to the six level. I pick clubs over diamonds since my clubs could prove useless after heart leads against a diamond contract.
Jess Cohen: This seems to be a set of problems with a cliche for every problem: Never put down an eight-card suit in dummy, so I rule out bidding diamonds. Also, if one of the problems should be without a cliche, this one has two: Bid what you think you can make.
Pat Rich: Give opponents the first hard guess, and hope stress accumulates so we kill them on the late boards.
Luis Miguel Alvares-Ribeiro: Who has the hearts? I only need 9 HCP in partners hand to have 6 almost foolproof.
Roger Morton: Who knows. A low spade lead and a club return may beat 6 , and the club finesse will be wrong if we are missing the king; but I have to do something. Let the opponents have the final guess.
David Lindop: Five diamonds is probably more scientific; but 6 looks reasonable, and Im not stopping any lower than slam.
Chris Maclauchlan: Trying to figure out what East is doing makes my head hurt Almost every time 6 will make, so will 6 ; and this will hide the diamond fit from the opponents. Five notrump is tempting, but I dont think we will ever be able to get to the grand with confidence unless North has first-round control in both majors.
Ian Totman: Sounds like a club void in East. I can still make 6 without the A, but 6 [may lose a spade and a club ruff].
Gerald Cohen: A spade underlead [against 6 ] followed by a club ruff seems the greatest danger.
Rosalind Hengeveld: Is this South hand the Beast in the title, or is it North?
Too smart. Spank.
Bill Michell: East is obviously void in clubs, so their slam is [probably] good, based on a double-fit in the majors Even doubled, this should be a good sacrifice if it doesnt make, and it uses up more bidding space than 5 .
David Caprera: The question is: What level do I want to sell out to? If the answer is that I wont let them play 6 , I have some admiration for 5 maybe partner has Q-x K-x-x A-Q-x-x-x K-x-x, and they try to cash a heart against 7 . (Opposite that hand, we may not beat 6 .) What did the holder of an eight-card suit say to his LHO? Your lead!
Dale Freeman: I think clubs will play better than diamonds, and I do not want to defend
Jordi Sabate: A dangerous hand; maybe a slam is cold for both sides. Its better not to let opponents exchange information; so I dont pass or double (they may cue-bid diamonds or redouble 5 ). I dont want to bid diamonds either, because it tells opponents [about our fit].
Jim Olson: There is a simple rule for freak deals: Be declarer.
Gabriel Ip: First arrival? Opponents are trying for slam? Who knows who can make what at this level! If North has A-Q and either the A or K, 6 must have a play. Make them guess.
Ognian Smilianov: For three reasons: (1) We have enough resources to play at the six level; (2) when in doubt, outbid your opponents; and (3) as the saying goes, If you dont play in your eight-card suit, it will never be dealt to you again.
Nick Wong: With shortness in the majors, I may need a lot of trumps to maintain control; so this hand will play better in clubs than diamonds If partner has any three of the four cards: A A-Q K, 6 is odds-on.
Gonzalo Goded: East seems to have problems with a red suit; if it is diamonds, I will make 6 when partner has the K. Six diamonds may be better when the K is missing , but it could go down [a lot] when they cant even make 5 . Bidding 5 NT would tend to show 4-6 shape, not 4-8.
Mans Nedlich: Hard call, but 6 seems likely to go down. Everything depends on partners top cards; with A and K, 6 is virtually laydown
Denis Mortell: The danger is that, against 6 , East will lead a spade to West and get a club ruff for one down. Six clubs may find North with nothing in clubs; but it looks like the best shot. I would like to have had 5 as a possible bid
Yes, I tried 5 once, and they wouldnt let me bid 8 when partner took a heart preference over 7 .
Hans Uijting: Best chance to play the hand. If West doesnt double, 7 may be on.
Anthony Golding: Suppress the diamond fit, as opponents may be nervous of losers there. I think this suit qualifies as rebiddable.
Ed Barnes: I dont like the idea of being tapped in a diamond contract. East looks to be operating with 6-5 shape, or similar. Therefore, its West who will likely benefit if I show the [diamond] fit.
Nigel Guthrie: I must not tell opponents about our diamond fit, as it will only encourage them. Anyway, diamonds are most unlikely to play better than clubs, especially in view of Easts cue-bid.
Bas Lodder: I dont want a club ruff that sets 6 , after East reaches West with a spade.
Jyri Tamminen: Five notrump suggests a two-card disparity in minor-suit lengths, not four; so it could lead to catastrophe Six clubs is a huge favorite to be the right contract.
Matt Stone: Apply maximum pressure. Partner figures to have some club help with Easts likely void, and 6 may make.
Manuel Paulo: Despite my good diamond fit, I follow the Bols tip by Marijke van der Pas, and play the hand myself. Six diamonds may be set with a spade lead and a club ruff.
Jonathan Goldberg: Gambling on the K. If we play in diamonds, the defense is set up. Besides, opponents are going to sacrifice anyway.
Michael Palitsch: Making it easy for partner to pass, and hopefully difficult for the opponents to bid.
Dale Rudrum: I need to play in clubs because (1) there is no danger of a trump shortage, (2) diamond losers might go on a strong heart holding from partner, (3) opponents cannot ruff the trump suit, and (4) they wont know about my diamond fit.
Bruce Scott: What would my various other club calls have meant on the first round? It isnt difficult to anticipate a barrage in spades. I would like to have had a fit-jump available, but a game-forcing jump-shift might have been reasonable, too. It is easy to see how 6 could make ( x-x-x-x x-x-x-x A-Q-x-x K would do it ) and partner must have more for his opener.
Leonard Helfgott: There are very few hands that will play better in a 4-4 or 5-4 diamond fit than in clubs, so the best strategy is to put maximum pressure on opponents. I hope I can make 6 ; or its a save against their making game; or it induces them to take a phantom, which goes down. Now the odds are better than 2:1 that the last wrong guess will be made by an opponent, not partner.
Thomas Wassel: If partner has A and K, 6 may be laydown; if missing one, it may depend on a finesse or endplay. Worth a gamble.
Mark Raphaelson: Partner could have only three diamonds, so Id feel silly playing in 5 or 6 with a 4-3 fit when we have a 10 or 11-card club fit. Too many ways to make six not to force it; let partner pick the suit.
John Lusky: A famous hand. I know that Soloway bid 6 at the table, and that RHOs 5 cue-bid was made on a 6=6=0=1 pattern. So why not retaliate by cue-bidding my own singleton when I have a void? Perhaps I will buy the contract and they will lead the wrong suit as happened at the other table!
Kaustuv Das: Club king, where art thou? Will 5 transmit that question to partner?
Bala Iyer: Two clubs by South was a big mistake. Now the only way to correct the passive bidding earlier is to bid 5 , which shows a big hand and support for diamonds. North now can sign off in 6 or 6 .
Damo Nair: I have no idea what this says, but it will [surely] get us to six in one of the minors.
Erik Stoffer: If West doubles this, North can redouble with first-round spade control, in which case we are still on for seven.
Chris Willenken: We are very likely to have 13 tricks in diamonds on a heart lead. RHO must have a huge major two-suiter, probably something like A-Q-x-x-x-x A-K-Q-x-x x-x . Thus, the psychic cue-bid, which doesnt seem to cost anything since Im planning to bid over their 6 anyway.
Steve Moese: Five diamonds is too weak for this great hand.
Dean Pokorny: Tactical. Hoping for a heart lead against 6 or 7 . Partner may have something like x-x-x Q-x-x-x A-Q-x-x K-x, where 7 is laydown on a wrong lead.
Stefan Basinski: This looks like a hand where either side might make a slam. Tell partner I have the goods.
Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: Wild hand. Ill show my diamond support and bid 6 over 5 .
Neelotpal Sahai: When will I show diamond support? Surely, the bidding will not die here, as opponents were committed to 5 in the absence of my bid. I will bid again at the six level to show this hand.
Ronald Michaels: If were off the K and partner has a doubleton club, six of anything will fail (unless he has an unlikely A). However, I must show my fit and offensive values now the bidding is definitely not over!
Sebastien Louveaux: I intend to bid again, but I show my diamond tolerance before bidding 6 over the forthcoming 5 .
Jacques Brethes: A gratuity! I would have to bid 6 over 5 , then partner would be unable to choose.
Tim Francis-Wright: I want to show my diamond support on the way to 6 , so partner can do the right thing. I hope that West cant win a spade lead!
Rain Lan: In case East is proclaiming a club void and we end up having two quick losers, I prefer to let partner know I have diamond support now.
Winston Munn: Lots of bidding to come yet, and I want opponents to think Ive been pushed; so I slow up with 5 . Maybe they wont save over 6 . If they do, Ill bid 7 because I have Bob Hamman on lead, and hell lead the A.
Jonathan Steinberg: How high will this auction get? If I bid 6 right away, what do I do over 6 ? Ill bid 5 now, intending to bid 6 over 5 .
Stephen Fischer: The final decision looks likely to be made at the seven level, but Ill see if opponents get tired of bidding early.
Rainer Herrmann: A calculated underbid. The bidding is not over yet, but I would not mind playing this hand at any level. Priority must be given to win the bidding, as any sacrifice by East-West is bound to be cheaper than game for North-South and could easily be a make.
Scott Stearns: Not wasting my time with a double. East is obviously planning a defense , so Im going to let partner in on the news that I have a [diamond] fit; then hell know what to do over 6 .
Lynn Yarbrough: I would bid 6 but for Easts cue-bid, apparently showing a void. I hate losing the first two tricks in a slam.
George Klemic: Both sides look like they are slamming; I intend to bid 6 next, but this should give partner a better idea of my shape.
Jerry Merrell: Easts club void bothers me because I can see a diamond slam going down with a spade lead, followed by a club ruff. Also, the K will be offside if missing.
David Sired: Theres a lot to say for playing possum, trying to buy the hand; over 5 , Ill try 6 .
Carsten Kofoed: It looks like slam may be on for both sides. This way, I can see Norths reaction to 5 or 5 from West.
Stu Goodgold: If the opponents have the K, it is certainly with West. Ill show partner my minor two-suiter now, as it looks like East-West are going to 5 anyway; then I will bid 6 .
Norm Gordon: I must show diamond support and get partner involved. No way is this auction dying at the five level.
Dave Seagull: I plan to follow with 6 if they bid 5 . I will have a tough decision if they bid 6 a problem I [might] have solved by bidding 6 on the first round.
Ed Shapiro: Im almost guaranteed to have another decision to make a captaincy nightmare.
Willem Mevius: This allows me to show my hand nicely. Ill bid 6 over 5 , and 7 over 6 . I cant take the risk of letting them play this at teams.
Roger Gibbons: It sounds like East is void in clubs, and he very likely has good hearts to be making a slam try, which suggests that partner has good diamonds This may be an underbid but is unlikely to end the auction; Ill bid 6 over 5 as a two-way shot.
Imre Csiszar: East appears to have a strong major two-suiter, probably 6-4 for not using Michaels, and a club void. West may have 5-5 in the majors, and they will bid 7 if West has a diamond void. [Otherwise] they may let us play 7 doubled, making on the likely A lead if I can convince them we are sacrificing, [hence] the underbid
Tibor Roberts: East has a club void and is looking for one of the red-suit aces from West to bid six. Since the bidding is certain to come around again, I want to offer partner his choice of minor-suit slams.
Brian Zietman: Wild distribution! We may have seven in diamonds or clubs. Do they have six or seven spades?
Gary Brown: This gives us more options. I will bid 6 over 5 if that opportunity presents itself.
Harold Simon: Hoping partner can make a good decision over 6 .
Andrew de Sosa: Last chance to show diamond support below the six level. I intend to bid 6 over the expected 5 to offer partner a choice of slams.
Steve Boughey: I cannot get the message through about the heart void at this high level. There could be a club or diamond loser, as well as a spade, so pushing to slam based on the scanty information I have is a wild punt.
Facundo Chamut: Pretty problem. I will surely get a chance to bid again; then I will try 6
David Hooey: Beware extreme distribution! The problem on this hand is what to do over 6 . Five diamonds now will let partner cooperate in the decision.
Paul Flashenberg: I show support now, expecting the auction to continue. It seems like East must have a major two-suiter with a club void. I would have made a fit-showing jump shift on the previous round, which would have allowed me to cue-bid 5 now.
Augustin Tsirimokos: This is my last chance to show diamond support. Sure, partner may have opened on a three-card suit, but then it has to be strong (A-x-x). Chances are the opponents will go on to sacrifice in 6 anyway.
Steven Shulman: Conservative, because the bidding is going higher. Ill bid 6 or 7 next turn.
Carlos Dabezies: The delayed diamond support at the five level should show at least four, and therefore very long clubs. If I double, West may just bid 5 , and neither partner nor I will be any wiser.
Venkatesh Ramaratnam: Easts 5 bid is forcing to 5 , and it is best to slow down the auction to maximize our chances to buy the hand. This is better than pass because a diamond contract could prevent a ruff on the opening lead. I intend to bid 6 as a choice of slams over 5 , and pass it around to my partner if East bids 6 . A psychic cue-bid of 5 would be a good idea if I intended to bid the grand slam [myself].
Martijn Schoonderwoerd: Difficult problem. Although 2 is acceptable, I would have bid 3 or 4 (whichever is fit-showing), followed by more club bids. But thats not the problem right now. As it is, I have no idea how high we should bid.
Apisai Makmitree: Showing support and preparing to bid 6 next turn.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
|IMPs||E-W Vul||You, South, hold:|
| J 4 2|
A K 9 8
9 6 4
10 9 8
|Call or Calls||Award||Votes||Percent|
|B. 2 then 2 NT or raise to 3||10||545||41|
|F. 2 NT||9||378||28|
|G. 3 NT||5||48||4|
|D. 2 then 3 NT or raise to 3||3||24||2|
|C. 2 then 2 NT or raise to 4||2||22||2|
|E. 2 then 3 NT or raise to 4||1||18||1|
It should be no mystery why I chose this problem: To get a modern look at the longtime debate whether to use Stayman with 4-3-3-3 shape. I expected a close race between choices B and F, and thought the latter might prevail. Wrong! The Staymanites win easily. Both schools have a large following, and the concentrated nature of this hand (almost all HCP in hearts) seems to have heavily influenced Stayman. No doubt an all-expert panel would lean the same way, but Im sure the vote would be much closer.
My own choice is to bid 2 NT. I am well aware that hearts could play better; but over 75 percent of the time you will not find a heart fit and just give away information to the opponents. And even when you do find the fit, it is not clear that hearts will be better. Therefore, I think the odds favor nondisclosure. This is especially true when any game you reach rates to be borderline; you need every edge you can get.
I was surprised by the number of votes for pass. While I would pass 1 NT with some 8-point hands (e.g., Q-x-x A-x-x-x J-x-x J-x-x), this is certainly not one of them. The excellent spot cards could be worth 2 points or more. For example, if partner has A-J-x-x, your 10-9-8 is more likely to produce three club tricks than Q-x-x. Similarly, the 9-8 could be useful. Id rather bid 3 NT than pass, but the middle ground seems perfect.
I threw in the various options after Stayman mostly for novelty, as it hardly seems appropriate to do anything but invite game. Even so, the voting was interesting, in that about the same number thought the hand was better for notrump than hearts as vice versa; and some liked the hand for game in either strain. Heck, I probably could have gotten votes for 4 NT or 5 , but I didnt want to press my luck.
Heres what happened in Valkenburg:
2 NT N =
| K 7 5 3|
Q 10 6 5
A K 3
| A 9 8|
J 7 4
J 8 7 2
J 7 3
| Q 10 6|
Q 10 5
K Q 5 4 2
4 N =
| J 4 2|
A K 9 8
9 6 4
10 9 8
At the first table, our beastly hero Rubin eschewed Stayman and invited with 2 NT. Soloway wisely declined, as eight tricks was the limit. Even without an original club lead, it would take a small miracle to produce a ninth trick.
Alas, the French got lucky at the second table. Lebel opted to use Stayman, and Perrons 2 NT showed both four-card majors and not a maximum. Lebels 4 was apparently a transfer to 4 , which seems wrong after revealing Norths shape (better for the unknown hand to be declarer), but who can argue with success. When youre hot, youre hot! Passell could not divine the killing diamond lead; and after the K, the friendly layout let Perron establish his fourth spade making 4 ; 7 IMPs to France.
It is interesting to note that North should accept a game invitation in hearts (after 1 NT 2 ; 2 3 ) with his midrange strength and good controls. This only fuels my belief that South should just invite in notrump. If you cant reach a good heart game when opener has prime values and a working doubleton, it hardly seems wise to use Stayman.
Ciaran Coyne: Getting mixed signals here the vulnerability says pass, but the 10, nines and eights say bid.
Robin Zigmond: Two notrump or 3 could be a dodgy contract opposite minimum values, but its a sin not to invite; and raising [anything] to game seems ludicrous.
Daniel de Lind van Wijngaarden: Close to passing, but nice intermediates push me to invite.
Jean-Christophe Clement: I like Choices B and F. It is unusual to use Stayman with 4-3-3-3 shape; but with honors concentrated in hearts, it may be better to seek the 4-4 fit.
Neelotpal Sahai: The hand is not good enough for a raise to game, which eliminates Choices C, D, E and G. My first intuition was to pass, but looking at good spots made me change my decision. I prefer Choice B because practically all my values (and good spots) are in hearts; and if partner has hearts, too, we should play in that strain.
Sandy McIlwain: My 10 and nines can go only so far. Openers shape is the key to where we belong, so why shut him out?
Sebastien Louveaux: I believe I should use Stayman despite my shape, because my strength is so concentrated (partner will be unhappy to play in notrump with any small doubleton). It feels right to consider the hand as an invitation.
Jacques Brethes: Normally I would bid 2 NT; but with almost all my honors in one color, I choose 2 [then invite].
Mark Raphaelson: My personal history tells me that if I bid 2 NT or 3 NT, partner will have four hearts and a weak doubleton. Id even consider passing partners 2 with this shape.
Eamon Galligan: Three nines, two eights and a 10 help drag this hand up.
John Lusky: This looks like an invitational hand, and I see no reason to bury the hearts despite my 3=4=3=3 pattern. Give partner something like K-Q-10-x Q-J-x-x x-x A-K-x, and 4 is where we need to be.
Tim Francis-Wright: Its tempting to pass with flat 8-counts, but the intermediate cards are so useful that partner will be safe in 2 NT or 3 on [most] hands. Whats not safe is 3 NT or 4 opposite a minimum from partner.
David Lindop: Its IMPs, and there are lots of hands partner could hold on which game will have an excellent play. If partner has a doubleton, hearts may be best.
Charles Leong: Lacking methods to find partners exact shape, I look for a heart fit and hope (pray) that partner has a working doubleton.
Mark LaForge: I usually pass 8-counts (and would here at matchpoints); but ace-king combinations are undervalued, and I have good intermediates.
Rosalind Hengeveld: A 4-4-3-2 distribution not only occurs about twice as often as a 4-3-3-3, but is also twice as likely to produce a four-card heart suit. Hence, should partner reply 2 to Stayman, chances are about 80 percent that he is 4-4-3-2, not 4-3-3-3. Facing 4-4-3-2, hearts rate to play better than notrump. Besides, with 4-3-3-3, partner can bid 3 NT over 3 . Therefore, if I bid at all on this hand, it is an error to forgo Stayman just because I am 4-3-3-3.
Good points. At first I thought Rosalinds 80 percent was too high, but a quick simulation showed its pretty close. Maybe these factors do outweigh the loss in revealing information when a heart fit is not found. It certainly piques my curiosity to do an extensive study sometime. -RP
David Caprera: Not enough to force to game. We can still get to 3 NT with a 4-4 heart fit (2 2 ; 3 3 NT) so there is no need to bury the heart suit by immediately raising notrump.
Dale Freeman: I like the A-K-9-8 and 10-9-8. I think this hand is worth an invitation, especially at IMPs.
Lawrence Cheetham: Partner may be 4-4-3-2 and need the trump control.
David Dumont: I wont pass with 8 HCP and that heart holding. Even with a heart fit, partner needs more than a minimum to make game. Without a heart fit, we can reach nine tricks with a five-card minor.
Ognian Smilianov: This hand can produce game only if I find partner with 17 quality points, or a heart fit with more distribution (e.g., 2=4=2=5 shape) or a weak doubleton and luck in playing.
Gonzalo Goded: I use Stayman because a 4-4 fit nearly always produces at least one ruffing trick (unless partner has 4-3-3-3 as well) plus it stops the enemy [from developing] a long suit. These 8 points look good enough [to try for game].
John Haslegrave: I think I have an invitational hand; and given my lack of strength outside hearts, most of the time a 4-4 fit will play better than notrump.
Dave Seagull: At matchpoints, I would seriously consider passing. I dont like the shape, but those spots are too tempting.
Roger Gibbons: The poor distribution suggests that partner will need to be maximum to make game.
Bob Zorn: Encouraged by my spot cards, but passing at these colors would not be bad.
Don Hinchey: With minimum hands, suit play offers extra chances. A raise to 3 doesnt preclude a retreat to 3 NT by opener, which I will pass.
Harold Simon: I usually pass all flat 8-counts, but there is enough body to make a try with this hand.
Andrew de Sosa: Partner isnt necessarily balanced, so if we have a heart fit it may be right to play in it. On the other hand, if hes also balanced, even with a heart fit we may be better off in notrump. If partner accepts the game try, he can always bid 3 NT over 3 to offer a choice.
Steve Boughey: When I have to construct a dream hand opposite to make game, Im not normally one to disturb 1 NT; but explaining my stony silence when partner makes nine or 10 tricks is no fun either. Ill show a sign of life and see what eventuates.
Mark Reeve: Decent intermediates make this hand just about worth an invitation, but certainly no more than that.
Stefan Basinski: Even though I am 4-3-3-3, partner is allowed to have a doubleton. I have all sorts of nice spots, but I would not upgrade this hand to bid game.
John Reardon: Unlikely to lead to a good game unless there is a heart fit.
Janet Dugle: Intermediate cards are good, but it is still low on points for a game bid.
Julian Wightwick: I normally devalue 4-3-3-3 shapes, but here the intermediates compensate. If partner is also 3=4=3=3 with a maximum, he can try 3 NT over 3 . If he has some 4-4-3-2, hearts is likely to play better than notrump, with one of my weak suits facing his shortage.
Micha Keijzers: Raising to game is too much; but passing is too little action.
David Harari: Over 3 , opener still can bid 3 NT if he is 4-3-3-3.
Daniel Cecchelli: With this flat hand, it is best played for the nine-trick game
Jim Tully: A 4-4 fit doesnt usually help much if both hands are flat. Ive got a lot of texture, so Ill give partner the option [to bid game] if he has a good hand.
Lajos Linczmayer: Stayman with this hand generally only helps the opponents.
Kevin Costello: This hand is worth a little more than 8 points due to the excellent heart suit and useful spot cards in clubs. Nevertheless, if Im going to be in game, it might as well be in notrump given my pancake distribution.
Luis Miguel Alvares-Ribeiro: With a balanced hand and good intermediate cards, I prefer to try for nine tricks in notrump.
Greg Udvari: My club suit is the decider to try for game. As the hand is so flat, Stayman is unlikely to benefit, especially as the A-K might be needed later in the play as entries for finesses. If partner has four hearts, we are not exactly up the creek in a barbed-wire canoe.
Alan Kravetz: Intermediate cards are too good to pass, and the flat shape argues for a notrump contract.
Winston Munn: The 10 and nines add so much body to this hand, along with the extra value of the A-K combination, that it surely must be right to try for game at IMPs.
Jonathan Steinberg: Just enough to invite game. Im not interested in a 4-4 heart fit with this shape.
Nilesh Mitra: Kelsey and Reese both said not to go daisy picking with Stayman just because you have a four-card major. Theres no [sure] advantage in hearts versus notrump, and the lead may be favorable if I withhold information. Raising to 3 NT is too ambitious.
Jordi Sabate: Playing IMPs, I think I have to try for game with the 10, nines and eights; and A-K in the four-card suit provides two entries and a possible [length] trick.
Jim Olson: Sometimes East will lead hearts on this auction.
George Klemic: I have enough filler cards to make a game try at IMPs. (I would pass at matchpoints and be ready to double any foolish balancers.) Nonvulnerable, there is no need to force game unless partner is willing. Also, shooting for 4 is small target and leaves too many variables (double of Stayman, etc.). If I had to bid 2 before I could show a balanced invitation, Id be more inclined to pass.
Nick Wong: My flat shape and very good intermediates (only four small cards) [suggest] notrump is the best contract.
Norm Gordon: My spot cards help in notrump; but at a suit contract, I am not so sure. If I used Stayman and partner bid 2 , is my 3=4=3=3 8-count really worth an invitation to 4 ?
Steve Day: TV points = 8 - 0.25 + 1.25 - 0.5 = 8.5 (see Ken Cohens article in March 2004 ACBL Bulletin, p. 18-19) so I invite. Suit play is not worth exploring.
Julian Pottage: I dont use Stayman on 4-3-3-3 shape. With these intermediates, passing would be overly cautious.
Laurentiu Dimcica: Why would I bid Stayman with 3=4=3=3 shape? Furthermore, I dont want to give West an opportunity to double, or bid 2 or 2 as a lead director.
Willem Mevius: Lousy distribution but nice texture is enough to invite. Three notrump should almost always have more chances than 4 , even if partner has four hearts.
Brian Zietman: The good intermediates make up for the lousy shape. I will not bid Stayman with 4-3-3-3 shape.
Tibor Roberts: I dont think this will score well, but the spots are very good, so it is worth an invitation. Not only is it too balanced for Stayman to buy us much, but 2 would also give away information to the defenders.
Gorkem Kuterdem: I am not a big fan of Stayman with 4-3-3-3 hands. If the frequency of a five-card major in the North hand is low, 2 NT or 3 NT should be a fine contract. If not, we should be playing puppet Stayman.
Gary Brown: It is the eights and nines that persuade me to opt for 2 NT.
William Campbell: Good spots, decent values, but 4-3-3-3 shape; so invite without Stayman.
Paul Flashenberg: All the body cards dictate that I invite game; and with 4-3-3-3 distribution, I invite the nine-trick game.
Manuel Paulo: With this pattern (no ruffing ability) I dont use Stayman, and I am not strong enough to bid 3 NT.
Venkatesh Ramaratnam: With 4-3-3-3 shape and an invitational hand, it is best to take the direct route. Invariably, it is worth an extra trick if opponents dont have enough information.
Al Goldspiel: This hand will [usually] play poorly in 4 , even when partner has four hearts and 17 HCP. With nice texture, 3 NT opposite 17 looks reasonable.
Dean Swallow: No need to force game when nonvulnerable; an invitation is OK with 8 points plus good intermediates. This hand looks better for notrump than hearts, so I wont give the defenders any extra clues.
Roger Morton: Even if partner has 17, that only gives us a balanced 25-count no certainty for nine tricks, and we are nonvulnerable. Take a certain partial.
Rainer Herrmann: I doubt that this will be popular; however, even if North is maximum, it remains doubtful whether game will be better than an even chance on average. Should North be minimum and decline the invitation, there is always a substantial risk to go down. Balanced hands of 15 HCP are nearly twice as frequent as 17 HCP, and 15-16 HCP together occur more than three times as often as 17 HCP. Overall, this flat hand does not warrant an invitation nonvulnerable at IMPs.
Bill Michell: Lack of interesting shape means we will be struggling for tricks if partner is minimum; or if he is maximum with 4-3-3-3 shape. Much safer to pass.
Chris Willenken: Game could make, but a 4-3-3-3 8-count is pushing things a bit when nonvulnerable.
J.J. Gass: Quo vadimus? Yeah, the spots are good, but 4-3-3-3 shape is a drawback. Im not Rodwell or Meckstroth, and my partner probably isnt either. I dont fancy a 24-HCP 3 NT with this dummy; and if partner is minimum, even 2 NT may fail.
Ed Shapiro: It feels wrong to focus on hearts, so its a choice between pass and 2 NT. If vulnerable, Id bid 2 NT.
Anthony Golding: Opposite 15-17, an 8-count with no great shape doesnt qualify as an invitational hand for me, especially nonvulnerable at IMPs.
Nigel Guthrie: Good intermediates and good quality points; but only 8 HCP and pudding shape. Granny says never push for nonvulnerable games.
Giovanni Bobbio: White vs. red, Ill give opponents a chance to misstep. My own odds for game are not that good anyway.
David Hooey: Challenging hand; lots of useful intermediate spot cards. This would be much easier if the 10 became the 10 or 10; then I just bid 3 NT.
Wow. What would it take for you to invite? What if the 6 became the 6 during a full moon?
Jyri Tamminen: Good intermediates and concentrated values in hearts suggest bidding. Worst possible shape, stray J, possibility of playing the wrong game (if there is one), and vulnerability suggest passing. Thats 4-to-2 for pass.
Geoff Bridges: I wouldnt dream of taking a call with this piece of cheese, even with the nice assortment of spot cards. I dont need to push for an unlikely nonvulnerable game at IMPs.
Jonathan Goldberg: I hate 4-3-3-3 hands. Even if partner holds a maximum and a heart fit, game may fail; on any other holding we rate to be odds-against. Nonvulnerable, Ill take the plus. Besides, opponents might feel they need to compete.
Nick Krnjevic: My promising spot cards are more than offset by the 10 losers and being nonvulnerable.
Dale Rudrum: At pairs, an easy pass. At IMPs, it depends on who is better and who is winning. Normally I pass; but if I need a swing, 3 NT.
Bruce Scott: I dont consider this decision to be close. There is no need to stretch to thin nonvulnerable games at IMPs. This hand really isnt worth more than a bare 8-count. The heart suit is nice, and clubs have potential; but these are washed out by the negative factors of flat shape and an unsupported J.
Leonard Helfgott: Choices B and F are aggressive but [reasonable]. As I tell to anyone who will listen: One notrump making two is better than 4 making three.
Jojo Sarkar: Stayman is out of the question with this shape. The excellent intermediates are canceled out by the 3=4=3=3 shape. Also, nonvulnerable games require a higher chance of making.
Thijs Veugen: Awful distribution and nonvulnerable. Second choice would be 2 NT because of the intermediates.
Jim Grant: Too flat; too many losers.
Bill Jacobs: Not even close: Nonvulnerable; flat; maximum of 25 points. Yes, the 10-9-8 is nice, but that is not enough for an upgrade. There is a saying that you should invite heavy and accept light, and this is a perfect example.
Comments are selected from those above average (top 675), and on each problem only for the top three calls. Over 60 percent of the eligible comments were included. If you supplied comments that were not used, I thank you for the input.
Use of a comment does not necessarily mean I agree with it, but just that it expressed something relevant, unique or amusing. Comments are quoted exactly except for corrections in spelling and grammar. Where I have included only part of a comment, an ellipsis ( ) indicates where text was cut. Text in [brackets] was supplied by me to summarize a cut portion or fix an omission. Comments for each call are listed in order of respondents rank, which is my only basis for sequencing.
I hope you enjoyed this flashback to Valkenburg, 24 years ago. Thanks to all who participated, and especially those who offered kind remarks about my web site. Uh-oh [answers door knock]. Ira Rubins attorney has served me with a subpoena; I am being sued for bestial libel, whatever that is.
Well, they gotta find me first, so Ill slip back into my cave. The beastly crew can finish up:
Gabriel Ip: The Hippo by the river looks Italian! Its feet are slanting to the right.
Allan Becker: This poll doesnt make me feel any better and neither did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!
Gerald Cohen: I wonder how many cities have an Atlanta hotel?
Guy van Middelem: The 1980 Olympiad in Valkenburg was one of the most memorable championships ever played. The crowd was remarkable, thousands of spectators (at the table and on vugraph) indeed, Netherlands Bridge Federation now has around 120,000 members The quality of play in the final (in a period when bridge was played without difficult conventions or highly unusual methods) was outstanding. This coincided with my youth years in bridge, and I still remember it.
Nelson Brentlinger: Thank you for publishing these fine quizzes. I am currently in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I especially enjoy being able to keep up with some sort of bridge while I am here.
|Analyses 7Y80 Main Challenge||Scores Top The Beast of Velvet Cave|
© 2004 Richard Pavlicek