Do You or Don't You? (Answers)
Pairs, both vul, you hold
J10xx xxx xxx xxx
RHO|| You|| LHO|| CHO|
Steve Altus, and
This hand has a story. What really happened is that this was a much
better hand (although I don't know the hand, I'm sure it's not nearly
this weak). It bid 4. LHO bid 5(!) and partner doubled. RHO bid
5, this hand passed slowly. Partner bid 6 and the opponents called
the cops. Alan was the director, offered this as a ruling question,
and bedlam ensued. OK, not quite, but during the discussion, I
claimed that partner could have a hand as weak as the given one, so
6 is a truly ridiculous bid. Alan and another person said, "what
kind of twit would bid 4 with [this hand]?" I would. Let's see
who else would.
I do (bid 4). I don't think partner is forced to bid again if I pass
and I won't take a chance on letting them play 4 when we have nine
spades and partner has a good two-suiter.
I know where this is from!
I pass. As in many situations, bidding freely without value almost
guarantees a minus. Whatever we can make, partner will bid one more.
I don't, and now you are going to tell me that it works out because
partner is 5161 or something like that and the opponents KQJ of
diamonds are worth one trick when they are 22 and you are either
down only one or making against their cold game.
So he has AKxxx - KQxxxx xx and spades and diamonds are both 2-2.
Yes, Jeff, I MIGHT very well. But I would then double 5 after partner
doubled 5. That created the forcing pass. in this auction my partner is
going to be bigger than the actual hand he held. I would totally agree with
your premise if my RHO were not a passed hand. I think all the given
conditions require that for trust purposes, I treat this as a forcing pass
because of the double of 5. Unlike yourself, I have discussed this
situation with my serious partners and we have agreed to these conditions. I
find it more acceptable for constructive auctions to eat the RARE 850 here.
This whole hand has the stench of 800 at the four level, so I want to pass.
But let's look closer.
4 was forcing. Does the opponent's 4 take the force off? I don't know.
I'm guessing that if I pass, partner will not go quiet, doubling. Now I
must bid 4. If partner thought my pass was forcing, might he interpret
this sequence as forward going? Not in my partnership with JoAnna, where
we play pass and pull as the weaker action (as recommended by Kit Woolsey;
he was very convincing).
So back to the issue at hand. I believe that in a standard leaping
Michaels expert partnership, 4 has set up a force through 4 or a double
of the opponents. It follows that in a standard expert partnership, the
sequence of pass and pull would be forward going while a direct 4 would
not be. So your choices are pass/pass and hope for four tricks or bid 4
and hope for 8 tricks or no double or a 5 call.
It seems like 4 is the "safe" action. Strange, but that is what I'm doing.
As a law abiding citizen I do.
To me, this is a trick question.
This is another convention that everybody plays and nobody discusses.
IMO, this 4 bid is a "power bid" and we have to play or double, with
a bit of judgment allowed. So I make the weakest possible bid, 4.
No. Partner is marked with a big hand, and was prepared to hear 4 if my lHO
passed, but there's just too big a chance that bidding turns a plus into a
minus, or that we end up in 6 -2 when partner can't take a joke.
On the other hand, if I took too long to make this decision, I would end up
bidding. A slow bid here shouldn't cause ethical problems, but a slow pass
puts partner in a no-win situation.
In spite of my reputation for answering this type of bidding problem with
"pass," I'll bid 4.
I bid 4. 4 trumps etc etc.
Proddy and I bid 4 and then have to double with this hand to stop
partner doing something stupid. ... and yes we concede the occasional
850 and consider it the price one pays.
I'll bid 4 at the table, what's right when it's a problem?
I'd bid. I don't think it's real close. I don't think we are in
a force, but partner bid to the 4-level, hoping he'd catch a fit.
He did, and I for one wouldn't consider not letting him in on the
We twits rule the day!
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
Mike, Robb, and John claim that 4 is forcing and sets up a force at all
levels. That's simple enough, but I don't think it's best. I like
to play that 4 is forcing on any hand with a likely cover card or
a fit. It does not set up a force in later auctions. I think it's
illogical to play that it sets up a force as the whole point of the
4 bid is to show that we have distributional rather than high card
values. When we have shape and they have shape, forcing is unwise
unless we know we have a substantial majority of the high cards, really
of the aces. I could get my arm twisted to agree that we are in a force
because they opened a preempt in 3rd seat, but I've learned by now that this
does not promise a bad hand. Anyway, I think that we are not in a force
and could pass 4 if we wanted to. I just don't want to.
As far as the real hand goes, there was lots of debate as to whether
the double of 5 sets up a force; few suggested that we were in a
force because of 4. That's a reasonable way to play, but again,
since I think that partner's 4 bid could be based on negative
defence, I don't like it. I think it should show clubs. In fact,
the hand held KQx and a void heart. The whole hand was approximately
KQ98x --- AK10xx KQx. Against the hand above, of course 6 gets doubled
and butchered. In practice, I assume it made; I don't know the real hand.
I can imagine that doubling 5 lets us beat 5 by getting a quick
club shift from partner. Or beats it another. I could be convinced
that the double of 5 should be artificial (they aren't planning to
play clubs, right? right? Hmmm...) and set up a force. Then again,
I'd feel REALLY dumb if they repounded 5 and could make it when
5 was going down on a bad break. Anyway, I'm not sure the double
rule's best here, but in other similar situations it probably is.
A couple panelists mentioned reversing pass-and-pull to show the
weak hand rather than the slam try. This has mild theoretical
merit, but it has, in my opinion, pragmatic disadvantages. If
partner doubles slowly when we have a slam try, it's obvious to
any committee (I hope!) that we were planning to bid again to
make a slam try, so we won't be forced to pass the double. On
the other hand, if we have the weak hand, many committees are
going to make us defend. In theory, if partner always doubled in
tempo, we'd be fine, but these auctions are hard, and he's going
to have to think fairly often. Thus, in the long run, strong
pass-and-pull seems safer. Maybe when committees are much better
than they are now weak pass-and-pull will be right.
June 12, 1999