Problems from the Escondido Sectional Swiss

All at IMPs, short matches

Today's Panelists: Michael Schreiber, David Weiss, Ed Davis, Adam Wildavsky, Brian Oxley, John Jones, Barry Rigal, Marshall Miles, Mike Shuster, Robb Gordon, Floyd McWilliams, Joel Wooldridge, David Caprera, Bobby Bodenheimer, Mark Bartusek

  1. unfavorable

     S:x H:x D:AJ98xxxx C:Axx

    You are dealer.


    Obviously, there are two general approaches: preempt or start slow. The preemptors go for pressure on the opponents, despite the flaws. As a group, the preemptors agreed on four as the right level.

    ED
    4D:. At unfavorable vulnerability, this should show about eight tricks without a running suit. 4D: is flawed (too many suits controlled, multiple potential losers in my suit) but I think the likelihood of the opponents taking the wrong action over 4D: makes it worthwhile.
    DAVIDW
    I bid 3NT, showing an un-solid minor. CHO will have a reasonably accurate picture of my hand, although he won't know about the two aces. At least I won't have to make any further guesses after my choice. I will sit if CHO doubles them in anything.
    JJ
    3NT, 4C:, or 4D: whatever my 4 level D: preempt is. I have enough offense and enough defense to open 1D:, but with a minimum and 2 major suit singletons, a preempt seems better tactically. 5D: might be a decent call at other vulnerabilities, but is too much at Red v White. Thus, Iíll try whatever my 4 level D: preempt is: 3NT if playing Namyats (has the added benefit of allowing CHO to pass occasionally, 4C: if playing transfers (Lazard has been recommending these), and 4D: otherwise. If I have no 4 level D: preempt available, Iíll settle for 3D:.
    MARK
    4D: (3NT if playing Namyats)... I certainly don't want to give the opponents a free run with 1-1 in the majors. Sure I have a little too much defense (would anyone really object to 4D: if the Club Ace were the King?), but I foresee bidding difficulties after the bidding takes off whether I open 1D: or Pass initially. Finally, opening 5D: seems suicidal at unfavorable vulnerability.
    JOEL
    4D:.
    ROBB
    3D:. I don't like having 2 aces, but this seems right on balance.
    MICHAEL
    5D:. When given the choice, I pick the action call.

    The 1D: openers are not willing to try the flawed preempt.

    BARRY
    1D:. 3NT may too easily be our game; two aces makes it wrong to preempt and I WON'T pass. How can I describe a good suit and a good hand that way? [Agreed. I will never have two aces to preempt opposite an unpassed partner. But 5D: might be an exception at unfavorable. That's a lot to bid. --Jeff]
    MIKE
    1D:. 2 quick tricks and an easy rebid. It's the wrong texture for 5D: - the offense-to-defense ratio is a little too balanced for a 5-level unfavorable preempt. This won't be unanimous, but it should be.
    BINKLEY
    1D:. If I switched my reds, 4H: would be much more tempting. With several of my partners, 4D: isn't even natural but shows spades and a decent hand.
    BOBBY
    1D:. With 9 points, 2 quick tricks and an 8 card suit, it seems reasonable to start the bidding at a low enough level that we can investigate the hand. I have defense enough to withstand partner's double of the opponents.
    ADAM
    1D:
    MARSHALL
    1D: (same as you)
    FLOYD
    I would consider 5D: if not vul. I open 1D:.
    DAVIDC
    1D:. Obviously there are choices to be made. However, pass is not among them. I plan to rebid my suit.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    1D:. Good offense, good defense. But no pressure.
    WINNING ACTION
    Probably a 5D: opening. The whole hand was roughly
    S: xxx
    H: Jxxx
    D: Q10
    C: KJxx
    S: KJxxx
    H: AQxxx
    D: K
    C: xx
    S: AQxx
    H: Kxx
    D: xx
    C: Q109x
    S: x
    H: x
    D: AJ98xxxx
    C: Axx
    Any lower number of diamonds will likely get them to 4S: PDQ. I don't know if LHO should bid over a 5D: opening. I don't know if I would.

    I was considering not including this problem, but the diversity of opinion on it justified its inclusion after the fact.

    VOTES
    ActionVotes
    1D:9
    3D:1
    3NT/4D:5
    5D:1
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I don't know. I don't like two aces for a preempt. 5D:, however, red on white, ... the real issue with that call is that it can easily go for 800 against a game. They aren't making more than game unless someone has a diamond void, so I need to make 10 or more tricks to make 5D: a good shot. Could happen. Might not. The problem with 1D: is that I'm 1-1 in the majors. There's just no good answer, thus the roughly 50/50 split.

  2. both vul

     S:Qxx H:AK10x D:QJ C:Q108x

    You LHO CHO RHO
    1C: 2C:* Dbl*2S:
    ?

    2C: was the majors.
    Dbl was reverse "I have a secret." It promises a balanced hand roughly 10+ HCP without their suits nutted.


    I guess this description of the methods was inadequate. Playing standard "I've Got a Secret" (more on that later), pass of 2C: followed by double of 2S: shows a balanced hand, 10+ HCP, no clear direction. In "Reverse I Have a Secret", the direct double shows the balanced hand, and pass followed by a double of 2S: is nearly unremovable.

    There are two main camps. Camp 1: I have a weak NT. Passing shows a weak NT, so I have nothing to say, particularly with this soft crap.

    JJ
    Pass. Double seems wrong, and no # of NT appeals to me with an iffy stopper, no trick source and not many quick tricks. If CHO bids 3C: or 3NT I will pass. If CHO bids 3D:, 3H: or 3S: then I will bid 3NT. That leaves what to do over double and 2NT. Double should be a dub spade and sort of action [Wrong. R-O-N-G. Wrong! Partner has shown defense and they are often in serious deep doo-doo. --Jeff] Iíll pass but with the knowledge that at IMPs it could go wrong. Whatís 2NT? Natural? Lebensohl? Some artificial bid (such as TO w/o 2 spades)? TO probably makes the most sense since the natural 2NT hands would likely double. Thus, Iíll try 3C: over 2NT. This could very well be a problem hand from both sides of the table, but thatís not because of our "reverse secret methods" (which I think are fine), but because some competitive hands donít have easy answers.
    ED
    Pass. If partner has a balanced minimum, I can't make 3NT and I might or might not beat 2S:. If partner also passes 2S:, I'll lead a trump and hope to beat it.
    MICHAEL
    Pass. Lead trump.
    BINKLEY
    Pass. I want to hear what partner has to say. 3NT is the right place, but I want to see of partner can suggest a useful spade holding.
    MIKE
    Pass. I have a secret, too. A secret belief that we belong in 2S: undoubled.

    About half the passers say they don't understand the convention. I don't see why not, upon reflection. Partner has 10+ HCP balanced. You are not in a force (balanced 10-counts can't require minimum openers to reach the 3-level without a fit). Partner doesn't have a long suit, and doesn't have a stack in one of their suits. This is exactly the same hand he would have playing normal methods if the auction had gone
    YouLHOCHORHO
    1C: 2C: Pass 2S:
    PassPassDbl
    He might have a doubleton spade, but it'll be a high honor doubleton so that you can hit it with honor third. He might have four spades, but they won't be AK10x, more like A632. Much of the time, he is 3-3 in the majors. Again, it's the same hand as in the standard auction:
    YouLHOCHORHO
    1C: Dbl Pass 1S:
    PassPassDbl

    DAVIDW
    I think I have a maximum pass. I'm not familiar with this method, but I would suppose that if partner has extras he can double again. Then I will guess to bid 3NT.
    ROBB
    Pass. I don't understand the convention, but see no reason to act in front of partner. Lead trump.
    FLOYD
    I'm not familiar with the method. Does this mean that partner has three of each major? Then I double. Could he have a doubleton? Then I'm not sure what to do; if partner is allowed to pass on a min with 2 spades then I want to pass. If he has to do something, I probably still want to pass as I assume that he would bid with 2 spades and double with 3.

    So put me down for X if partner must have 3 spades, pass if he can have 2. [I'll guess that's a pass. Partner could have, say,  S:Ax H:Kxx D:Kxxx C:Qxxx—that'd be a pretty obvious double to me. --Jeff]

    DAVIDC
    Pass. To be honest, not a method I am familiar with. Is my pass forcing? What does partner's second double mean? I am passing because a balanced minimum (this hand is not much better than that) is what I think partner will expect. I assume double by me would show a better spade holding (or does it show shortness — I would like it to show exactly a doubleton). If partner passes, we didn't miss game. If partner's second double shows something like honor third, then of course I sit. If partner's double shows shortness (can he have 0-1 spades?), then I am not sitting and will bid 2NT. My understanding would be that 2NT is scrambling but on this hand, if partner sits, I'll hope the S:Q stands up.
    BOBBY
    Pass and see what partner has to say. I must admit I don't understand this convention very well.

    A third of the group realizes that after a trump lead, they are not going to have a lot of tricks.

    ADAM
    Double and lead trump. [Upon hearing the result] Only 800? This one wasn't hard — why did you include it?
    JEFF
    Double and lead trump. Let's see: they probably have only seven trumps. I have their second suit nutted. Partner normally has a trump honor, so when I lead trumps, it'll cost them a trump trick to get a ruff in the short hand, if they can manage that at all. We have 24+ HCP. They have no tricks. They are getting massacred. I think this is so far from a close decision, I couldn't believe it when partner passed.
    MARSHALL
    double (I admit I was a coward) [Yes, Marshall was CHO on these hands, but the methods here made that obvious anyway. --Jeff]
    JOEL
    Does "without their suits nutted" mean all minor suit cards? [No, it means he doesn't have HHxx in one of the majors. --Jeff] I'm assuming partner could've raised clubs or bid diamonds on the first round more descriptively with either 4 clubs or 5 diamonds, so with at least 6 cards in the majors that my partner hopefully has, I'm going to take a chance and double them. Hell, if I can draw trumps, they're done. [Well-done, charred, burnt to a crisp, in fact! --Jeff] I hope partner isn't all minors and leaves this in with a stiff spade.

    Barry and Mark hate their soft stuff for defense, so:

    BARRY
    3NT. All these soft cards. I don't know why but I don't like my chances on defence. It's only IMPs, right? [Not unreasonable. The one serious problem I have with the double is that this hand has no tricks, just soft schmoints. 3NT might make when 2S:x is going down only one or two. But there are so many schmoints and so many trumps that after a couple of tricks, I expect to force them to be playing 2NT doubled. If we can make 9 tricks in 3NT, we ought to be able to make at least 8 in 2S:x. --Jeff]
    MARK
    2NT...My initial reaction was to pass and let partner double with Hxx in spades (despite my horrible minor suit honors for defense). Sure, we can probably get +500 or +800 in the unlikely event event that partner has Hxx of spades and dummy has 2-1 in the majors; but, +600 in 3NT will be cold in that case (unfortunately +200 or even -670 on a trump lead if dummy has 2-1-5-5 with a random Ace and a King in the minors). The problem comes when partner has Ax in spades and has only a wrong-sided 2NT bid or a 3C: preference available if I pass it around to him. I won't like raising 2NT to 3NT, and I won't know to bid 3NT over his 3C: preference. Thus, it seems to me that 2NT catering to a 3NT raise by partner with something like  S:Ax H:xxx D:K10xxx C:Axx is the percentage call. [I'd bid diamonds somehow with that hand. If I were playing normal methods, I wouldn't be willing to pass and double 2S: later with it, so I can't double now. Not that we won't be butchering them in 2S:x, though. Let's see... they'll take four spades (maybe) and the D:A, maybe a club trick or maybe the fifth heart. That's an average of about 5.5 tricks, or +500 to +800. Maybe doubling isn't so wrong! --Jeff]
    WINNING ACTION
    Double and lead trump. I thought this was totally obvious. Obviously, I was mistaken. At the table, I saw partner's hand (after we played 2S: undoubled) and my jaw dropped. Since I thought it so obvious to double at the time, I included my vote for a double. But it looks as if I'm outvoted.
    VOTES
    ActionVotes
    Double4
    Pass5 (understanding the methods)
    Pass5 (not understanding the methods)
    2NT1
    3NT1
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I got the actual hand wrong, even after asking partner, etc. He really had  S:Qxx H:AK10x D:Q10 C:K108x. That's a little more attractive as a double; I really had  S:Kxx H:Qxx D:K9xx C:Qxx.

    I'm willing to concede that just describing the methods as I did is insufficient. It's not obvious whether or not a pass here should be forcing. I think it's obvious; how else can you play 2S: undoubled? But not everyone did. So some number of the passers were expecting partner to act. Most of those expected partner to double with as much as honor-third in spades. Which brings up the question, "what does partner's second double mean?" I think it means he has an extra king; some think he must have just the same hand with reasonable spades, so that he can start with a double when he has something like  S:xx H:Axx D:K10xxx C:Kxx. I'd show diamonds with that hand, but perhaps one gains more by putting all the balanced hands into the double and sorting things out later. That means you can't play 2S: unhit, but that's not the end of the world. What followups are and what alternatives opener has are not obvious, either. Is his immediate 2NT good/bad? Is an immediate suit bid forcing? (I think it has to be, but it wouldn't surprise me if partner passed thinking differently.) How does a delayed 2NT differ from an immediate 2NT? There's more theory to this than meets the eye. Marshall, please answer those questions!

    As far as the actual choice, however, I still think the panel got this one wrong. Double and lead trump is such an obvious win on this board that I don't see why anyone wouldn't do it. You just know they are getting massacred. If RHO were supersound and was more likely to have 6-5 than 5-5, perhaps passing is safer. I see a lot more 5-4s than 6-5s perpetrating Michaels, though, so I'm a hawk. Several panelists said, "if I knew more about the methods, I'd change my call" in later communication. (Mark Bartusek also suggested that in the given auction, dummy almost certainly can't be 6-5 or 5-6 as declarer would have bid differently. That'd make it even safer to double.)

    About that "I Have a Secret." Ed Manfield published an article in the Bridge World called "I've Got a Secret" in which he describes what have become "standard" methods in auctions like this (though he focussed on 1x-(Dbl)-?). Double shows interest in crushing them and pass followed by a double shows a good balanced hand with no clear direction. I called the article "I Have a Secret" for two reasons. One is that the original name is simply a grammatical error. The other is that I have a new name for the reversed methods: "I Have a Secret...From Partner!"

    Lynn Johannesen (once Mrs. Ed Manfield) adds: "'I've Got a Secret' wasn't exactly a grammatical error: it was an allusion to a once popular television show of the same name. No doubt Jeff (and most of the panelists on this list) are too young to remember the show. It revolved around a contestant who announced, 'My name is XXX XXXXX, and I've got a secret!' The contestants had to guess the secret to earn large money prizes. Eddie intended to imply that people who learned his secret would reap substantial rewards." [She's right, in a sense. I had never heard of the show. But I don't watch TV even today. --Jeff]


  3. none vul

     S:AQ H:x D:K10xxxx C:AKxx

    CHO RHO You LHO
    1C: 2H: ?

    What's your plan? If you bid 3H:, partner bids 3NT. If you bid 3D:, partner bids 3NT. What then? What do you bid over his likely continuations?


    The first two bids were obvious, I guess. Everyone bid 3D: then 4C:. Except me at the table. I bid 3H: then 4D:. That was bad; it cost me a useful step. I was thinking that if LHO bid 4H: or 5H:, I'd be poorly placed, but that seems like undue caution. Everyone else heard partner fail to cue 4D:, which helps a bit. No one chose a fitted 4D:.

    The real problem was to pass 5C: or bid 6C: when the auction went
    PartnerYou
    1C: (2H:) 3D:
    3NT 4C:
    5C: ?
    The panel is split, but most choose to pass. Most think it's close, even extremely close.

    JOEL
    I bid 3D:, and over 3NT bid 4C:. I'm going to try and engage in a cue-bidding auction. If he bids 4NT over 4C:, I'm giving up. If he bids 4D:, I'll bid 4S:, and then I need to know methods. If 4NT by him over that bid is stronger than bidding 5 of a minor, then I'll sign off when he bids 5D:, but bid on over 5C:. Certainly if he shows extras with 5NT, I'll bid on (with 5NT, pick a slam). Without advanced methods, I'll drive to slam over 4D:. If he bids 4H:, I'll bid 4S: and then drive to slam. If he raises 4C: to 5, I'll not be happy...think for a long time, and pass with a long sigh. Then when partner shows up with the diamond ace, blame him for not bidding 4D:.
    ADAM
    3D:, then 4C:. Over 5C:, too close to call. Partner could have signed off in 4NT with a terrible hand for suit play, so he should have a red ace. He didn't cue, though, so he must not like his hand. That's OK, I like mine. State of the match considerations would affect my decision. I suspect slam has play but that it will go down if diamonds don't break, 50-50 with the preempt. I'll pass. I can construct a hand where we're off two aces:  S:KJxx H:KQx D:x C:QJxxx.
    BINKLEY
    3D:, then 4C: over his rebid (including his 3NT). This is a good slam hand, and even bailing out in a sad 5D: or 5C: contract can't be too bad. If I make an immediate support bid in clubs with 3H:, 4D: over 3NT isn't showing an alternative trump suit. Over 5C:, I'll pass with uncertain feelings. He is all but obligated to cuebid on the way to 5C: with anything but dreck as my sequence is so strong, so we ought to be missing two aces. If he turns up with one, we have something to discuss over the Chinese food afterwards.
    JJ
    3D:. 3H: seems wrong to me, my clubs arenít good enough. If I really thought my clubs were that good I would bid 4H: (splinter).

    Thus, 3D: will be my first bid. I will follow up with 4C: (forcing obviously) over pardsí 3NT. The real decisions come after that.

    If pard rebids 4NT, I will pass, catering to  S:KJx H:KJxx D:Qxx C:QJx. If pard bids 5C:, I will pass catering to  S:KJx H:Kxx D:Qx C:QJxxx. If pard rebids 4H: I will bid 5NT (pick a slam) catering to  S:KJxx H:Axx D:Qx C:QJxx (pard picks 6C:) or  S:KJxx H:Axx D:QJ C:Qxxx (pard picks 6D:). If pard bids 4D: I will cue 4S:, hoping that pard has  S:Kxx H:Axx D:Ax C:QJxxx and hope that we get to a making grand.

    ED
    3D:. 4C: over 3NT. Over 5C:, I pass. If MP, ugh... 6C:. Partner would probably bid 5C: with  S:KJxx H:Kxx D:Q C:QJxxx and with  S:Jx H:AKxx D:Qx C:Qxxxx, so this is pretty much of a guess. However, some pairs may get to play 3NT making more than nine tricks so I'm not going to pass 5C: at MP.
    BARRY
    3D:. I plan to bid 4C: over 3NT and give up in 4NT if he bids that. If he bids 4D: I'll bid 5NT and let him pick. If he bids 5C: I'll pass.
    MARSHALL
    3D:. If partner bids 3NT, bid 4C:. Pass if he bids 5C: or 4NT. I'm not sure I would have had the discipline to do that, but I think that is right. [Odd. I have the discipline, but I don't know if it's right! --Jeff]
    FLOYD
    I bid 3D: then pull 3NT to 4C:. Followups: Over 4D: or 4H: I ask aces. I pass 4NT or 5C:.
    DAVIDC
    3D: and over 3NT, I bid 4C:. If partner bids 4NT/4C: I will quit but otherwise will push to slam.
    MICHAEL
    3D:. Over 3NT, 4C:. Pass 5C:.
    BOBBY
    I prefer 3D: showing my suit as soon as possible rather than a relatively uninformative cue bid. After 3D:-3NT; 4C:-?:
    4D:4S: diamonds is agreed
    4H:4S: clubs is agreed
    4NT <- RKCB for clubs
    5C: — P
    5D: — P

    A few bid 6C: over 5C:, including me at the table.

    DAVIDW
    I bid 3D:, hoping the opponents will shut up. Since partner seems to have hearts, I understand their silence. Over 3NT, I bid 4C:. If he then bids 4D:, I will try KCB (for clubs, the first agreed suit when the ranks are equal). If instead he bids 4H:, I will try KCB (for clubs, the only agreed suit). If he bids 5 of either minor, I'll raise one level. The only bid he can make that will divert me over 4C: is 4NT. I'll pass that.
    MIKE
    3D: then 4C:. If he persists with 4NT, I let him go. If he bids 4D:, then 4S:, then if he can't Blackwood I'll give up on seven. [Over 5C:,] 6C:. He has a good hand for clubs, otherwise I'd hear 4NT.
    ROBB
    I bid 3D:, then 4C:, then ask for aces over 4D: or 4H:, and investigate for a grand if appropriate. I bid 5C: over 4S:, and 6C: over 5C:.
    MARK
    3D: followed by 4C:...Seems clear to bid your hand normally. If partner rebids 4NT I will Pass. 4D: or 4H: by partner will cause me to cuebid 4S: trying for a grand. 5C: will get 6C: from me based upon partner's presumed distribution and likely Ace of diamonds. I will also bid 6C: over partner's 4S:. One lesson to the hand is that a 4NT rebid by me will often be taken as natural and non-forcing by partner since 3NT to play was voluntarily bid earlier in the auction.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    3H:, then 4D:, then over 5C:, I raised.
    WINNING ACTION
    after you show your suits, pass 5C:.
    VOTES
    Just about everyone bid 3D:, then 4C:. I shouldn't've included that as part of the problem, but I actually reversed the two, so there'd've been lots of complaints.

    ActionVotes
    Pass11
    6C:5

    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I agree with the panel. 3D: first, then 4C:, then pass 5C:. I'm surprised no one considered a fit bid of 4D: the first time.

  4. favorable

     S:9xx H:9xx D:AQJ10987 C:

    RHO You LHO CHO
    Pass3D: 3S: 4H:
    4S: ?


    Most bid 5C: as a two-way shot, mostly as a lead-director against 5S:x and partly as a slam try. They are worried it might go all pass...possibly justifiably so given the actual hand.

    BARRY
    5C:; lead directing; I'd bid 4NT to offer a choice of five-level contracts without the void. Am I going to 6-level — not sure! [Nope. You are getting doubled here. --Jeff]
    MARK
    5C:...I don't know if it is our hand or the opponents'. This hand is certainly worth a cuebid in case partner is interested in slam; while attracting a club lead from partner is mandatory if the opponents buy the hand.
    MICHAEL
    5C:. Then double 5S:.
    DAVIDW
    I would not have opened 3D: in second seat at this vulnerability, as the hand is both too strong and too suitable for play in a major. It's not the worst opening in the world, but it's far removed from what I think is a playable approach to preempting.

    So I'll have to pretend that I was called in to replace the guy who was deservedly struck by lightning after he put his stop card back in the box. The auction seems to have come up much better than we deserve. Even if partner is screwing around, always a possibility at favorable, I have a great hand. I will try 5C:, which should get me a club lead if the opponents press on to 6S:. I will not defend five spades unless CHO pounds it.

    DAVIDC
    5C:. First, I am bidding. Partner's bid allows me to compete. Second, I want a club lead against 5S:. If it goes 5C:-P-P-P, I probably won't make. Else I bid 5H: and pass (no, I don't think I need to double) 5S:.
    ED
    5C:. I hope it doesn't go all pass in 5C:. I'll hit 5S:.
    ADAM
    5C:
    FLOYD
    5C:. My hand could be better in support of hearts, but not by much.

    The 5H: bidders, however, realized that they didn't need to bid 5C: as a lead-director. Once we bid diamonds and hearts and double spades, it should be pretty obvious that we don't have any clubs. Joel and Robb realized that they could do a little better and bid 4NT, choice of red suits, which makes it even more clear that we have no clubs as we can't have any other real source of defense if we have good offense in two suits.

    JOEL
    This is very interesting. If I could be sure that 5C: was lead directional and not natural, I'd bid that 100%. However, I also believe it could be mininterpreted, and that if I bid 5H:, and they compete to 5S:, when I double that is clearly Lightner. So, for that reason I'm bidding 5H:, and then doubling 5S: for the club lead.

    4NT is better still. This should be 2 places to play, and since if partner bids clubs, I'm bidding diamonds, it'll be clear that I have very good diamonds with weakish hearts. I don't want to get to hearts if partner has long weak clubs and a diamond fit (or so I think).

    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    5H:. Then I sawed off 5S:. Sticks and wheels.
    ROBB
    4NT. I am too nervous to bid 5C:, even though I think it should be a cuebid. 4NT, correcting clubs to diamonds should at least describe my suit holdings.
    BOBBY
    5H:. I have support and partner shouldn't be disappointed.
    BINKLEY
    5H:. Please 4H: be natural. [Brian must've played with Marshall before! --Jeff]
    MIKE
    4NT. I've changed my mind. If I double, partner will mistakenly think I have a heart void and fail to continue with an appropriate holding.

    5H: vs 5D: is a toughie... 5C: would be natural but surely 4NT isn't.

    JJ
    6C:. If CHO isnít fooling around, we have a monster hand for her/him. If CHO sort of has a 4H: bid then it may be the opps hand and I need to get CHO to give me my club ruff on stroke. 6C: make it clear that I have a heart fit and I am not prempting on a 2 suiter and then bidding again w/o a fit for pardís suit (itís not my style to preempt on 2 suiters and bid again anyway). I should definitely want a club lead against spades — I could have bid 5NT otherwise. 5C: is my 2nd choice of bids, even if it were my style to preempt 2 suiters and bid again (I can always redouble or run when doubled).
    WINNING ACTION
    Double. Or bid 5H:. Or bid 4NT. Don't bid 5C:, alerting everyone to what will happen to 5S:. Partner was out there with  S:x H:KJxxxx D:x C:KJ109x. Then again, 4H: is cold, +420, which is par on the hand, so he's done the right thing. Both club honors were in dummy, so you start at 800 vs. 4S:. If you can get a club lead. I don't think you will. Still, you'll get it 200 or 500 after a diamond lead. If declarer is really clever (or maybe double-dummy), after you ask for a club shift when giving partner his diamond ruff, he can duck it, let you ruff the second club, and then squeeze partner in clubs and hearts, getting out for -200. In real life, you'll get 500. The whole hand was
    S: Jx
    H: Q10x
    D: xxx
    C: AQxxx
    S: x
    H: KJxxxx
    D: x
    C: KJ109x
    S: 9xx
    H: 9xx
    D: AQJ10987
    C:
    S: AKQxxx
    H: A
    D: Kx
    C: xxxx
    VOTES
    ActionVotes
    5C:8
    4NT3
    5H:3
    6C:1
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I don't like 5C:. With everyone bidding here, a slam seems really unlikely. Yes, partner could have  S:x H:AKQxxxx D:Kx C:xxx. Yes, they might save. But who cares? My goal is to play 5S:x with a club lead. They are vulnerable. Next time, I think I'd prefer 4NT if I want to be technical. Tactically, I think 5H: is more likely to garner a 5S: bid, which is what I really want to hear. I think the double of 5S: after bidding 5H: is less clearly demanding a club lead than it is after 4NT. Since my goal is to get them into 5S:x with a club lead, it's a toss-up. If they don't bid 5S:, 4NT will get us to a better contract some of the time, so maybe it's better than 5H:. 5C: is much more likely to prevent them from bidding 5S:, so I reject it on tactical grounds.

  5. unfavorable

     S:Axx H:109x D:KQJ107 C:xx

    You LHO CHO RHO
    PassPassPass1C:
    ?


    Two obvious camps: 1D: (what's the problem?) and 2D:.

    DAVIDW
    How can it be wrong to bid 1D:? True, I am not a favorite to buy the hand after a fourth-seat opener; but I'd really like a diamond lead against anything. Partner can't bury me, and I'm willing to risk 1D:x as a final contract.
    ED
    1D:. It is hard to believe that something other than 1D: will lead to the best results for our side.
    DAVIDC
    1D:. If this wasn't a bidding "contest" (hey Jeff, I am still waiting for the prize money from the last go around), [You didn't get it right! No one did. --Jeff] I would expect this to be the unanimous choice. [Chuckle. --Jeff] It has to be in here either because (i) it went for 500 or 800, (ii) it talked the opponents out of the normal 3N and into a making Moysian, (iii) take-out double worked better when partner had the majors but no way to show them, or (iv) someone holding this hand bid something other than 1D:, it worked out disastrously and you are looking to see whether anyone else found the "clever call".
    MARK
    1D:...With any other vulnerability at IMPs I would toss out the 2D: card (Jeff's probable action!) quickly to disrupt the opponents bidding. 2D: at unfavorable is a little scary, especially when partner might have a 5-card major he deemed inappropriate to bid in 3rd seat at these colors. I totally reject a double because I clearly want a diamond lead from partner against any contract LHO ends up playing. A 1D: bid also leaves me the opportunity to re-open with a double showing major suit support if the auction requires it. Additionally, a diamond bid instead of a double gives less information to the opponents when they are likely to buy the hand.
    ADAM, MARSHALL, MICHAEL, FLOYD
    1D:.
    ROBB
    1D:. The only reason I am bidding is for a lead, so double is out of the question.
    BARRY
    1D:. My 2D: bids look like this with a sixth diamond — closer to intermediate than weak. Yes I'd like to preempt but no I won't do it — I have a partner I have to respect. [Partner is a passed hand. How much respect does he need? And he just bid 4H: on the last hand!!! --Jeff]
    BOBBY
    1D:. Seems straightforward to bid the suit I want led.
    BINKLEY
    1D:. I want partner to have room to bid a major if we should be competing there instead. Does 2D: work out better?

    The 2D: bidders see a free chance to put pressure on the opponents...not real free this time, though.

    JJ
    2D:. From a tactical viewpoint, I love this hand!!! There are 2 things to consider: 1) I need to get CHO off to a D: lead, 2) I need to give LHO as difficult a time as possible. Taking away the 1 level seems clearly right. Could I go for too much? Yes, but for me to go for -800 they 1) have to catch me and that isnít always easy w/o secondary trumps, and 2) even if they do they might make +920. Going for -500 against a game is a more likely loss, but at IMPs thatís no big deal (max of 3 IMPs lost).

    I have a grudging respect for anyone with enough daring to try 3D:, but at these colors Iíll hold back, knowing that 2D: does some damage anyway. In my partnerships where 2D: isnít natural at these colors (Roman or intermediate), Iíd choose between 1D: and 3D:.

    MIKE
    2D:. We don't have game, I have double-proof-spots and this bid puts tremendous pressure on the negative double by responder. I wouldn't be surprised to buy it in 2D:, since they might be 3-3... if so, we are probably +90 with their having +110 or +140 available in the correct strain. Of course, our teammates will be in 4M -2 and I'll lose 3 IMPs, but them's the breaks. [We'll never buy it in 2D:. RHO didn't open 1C: in 4th chair to sell to 2D:. He'll just sit there for two minutes and double 2D: for takeout offshape. --Jeff]
    JOEL
    2D:—Automatic for me If they double me, oh well.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    2D:. I luckily got out for only 500 when they didn't realize I had only five trumps.
    WINNING ACTION
    Pass, I suppose. There really isn't one. 1D: led to -500. 2D: led to -500 when the defense wasn't perfect (go teammates!) though they did have a harder time not knowing how many trumps I had. Pass would lead to -400 in 3NT making. RHO had 2056 and would pass a negative double at any level.
    VOTES
    ActionVotes
    1D:12
    2D:4
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I'm unrepentant. Gene Simpson says it's right to bid 2D: in their auctions whenever you reasonably can; their negative doubles and support doubles prevent your going for large numbers and make it very hard for them to find major suit fits sometimes. (1C:)-(1S:)-2D: can easily blow away the heart suit. I've seen him bid 2D: there on nothing but whim. It worked out, too. Here, if they only have one major suit fit, it might be very tough for them to find it. 1D: doesn't do anything but direct a lead. We aren't buying this hand (RHO is likely to have 18 balanced) so let's try to do some damage. Our chances of playing 2D: whacked seemed tiny. Wrong!


Jeff Goldsmith, jeff@gg.caltech.edu, Jan 30, 2003