Some Problems from the Hawaii Nationals: Answers, 11/18

Problems from the Hawaii Nationals Today's Panelists: Mike Shuster, David Caprera, Kenneth Rexford, Mark Bartusek, David Weiss, Chris Willenken, Len Vishnevsky, David Grainger, Barry Rigal, Ed Davis, Robb Gordon, Fred Curtis, John Jones, and Bobby Bodenheimer
  1. BAM, none vul, you hold

     S:Q109 H:10xx D:xxx C:Kxxx

    CHO RHO You LHO
    1S: 4H: PassPass
    Dbl Pass?


    MIKE
    4S:. Perhaps B-A-M should give me pause, but I can't suppress two covers and support opposite a takeout double.
    DAVIDC
    4S:. Passing 4H: is a deep position.
    KENNETH
    4S:
    MARK
    4S:. Seems right since we have an 8- or 9-card spade fit with no heart wastage (while the opponents have a 9- or 10-card heart fit). Admittedly passing could be right at these COC. Obviously bidding is more clear at IMPs than BAM.
    DAVIDW
    4S:. A typical "who knows?" problem. With spade values that are good on offense, probably wasted on defense, I bid game. I will double 5H: if they bid that.
    CHRIS
    4S:. Not remotely close.
    LEN
    S:Q
    DAVIDG
    4S:. enough of a WTP for it to obviously be wrong.
    BARRY
    4S:. Ugh...blind guess and no justification for this except one of the contracts might make and the auction isnít over yet.
    ED
    Pass. They certainly could make 4H: as partner will often double with short hearts without enough to defeat the contract. At IMPs I would bid 4S: but at BAM frequency is what counts and I expect to beat 4H: more often than I expect to make 4S:.
    ROBB
    4S:. I take out takeout doubles generally. Wrong if partner has a big balanced hand but he shouldnít double with that. [At IMPs, I agree, but at BAM, he should probably risk that you are going to pass. --Jeff]
    FRED
    4S:. Fit, no trumps and takeout doubles should be taken out. Scenarios exist where on this bidding both contracts are making (or going off of course....)
    JJ
    I recognize the hand, and am using it in a future column. [It was from the two-day BAM. --Jeff] This was my partner's hand. I would bid 4S:. He passed and led the S:9. I compounded the problem of missing the makeable game by rising with the S:A at Trick 1 and returning a spade. 4H:x now made. [I don't believe 4H: can be beaten. --Jeff]
    BOBBY
    I guess it's better to bid. 4S:.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    4S:.
    WINNING ACTION
    4S:. 4S: is down one, and if 4H: can be beaten, I didn't see how.
    CONSENSUS
    ActionVotes
    Pass2
    4S:13
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I think this is very close, despite the vote. I wonder if some didn't notice the BAM scoring. At IMPs, bidding 4S: is a no-brainer.

  2. MPs, none vul, you hold

     S:AQx H:Ax D:KQ7xx C:A109

    You CHO
    2NT 4NT
    ?

    (2NT = 20-21 ish)


    MIKE
    6D:. 7 controls and no jacks... a five card suit. That has to be an accept. Should I put it through the K&R evaluator to confirm that? Ok, I just did and K&R says no. But K&R is wrong. This is an accept.
    DAVIDC
    Pass. I already took my ďone bite of the apple.Ē
    KENNETH
    5D:. I will pass 6C:.
    MARK
    Pass. Very close. I already upgraded to open 2NT (K&R = 19.85), but, I donít feel obliged to upgrade again despite the good controls. Note that partner is probably 3=3=3=4 since with 4-4 in the minors he should have bid 4S: as a slam invite. Partner could have gone through Stayman if he held either a 4-card major or a 5-card minor. Admittedly a diamond slam could be there for the taking (and Iíd be more likely to reach it if we didnít have the 4S: treatment).
    DAVIDW
    Pass. Despite my wonderful controls and good suit, this is not a maximum.
    CHRIS
    In a strong field, 5D:. Partner is probably either a 4333 12-count which makes 6NT a favorite on average, or he might have 8 cards in the minors, making 6 of some minor good. Iíd expect slam to be 60% on average.

    In a weak field, pass and hope to take my better than 60% playing the hand. It is important to know the following simple formula: for a non-field slam to be profitable at matchpoints, the slamís likelihood of success must be greater than our expected percentage score declaring in the normal spot.

    [This was the first day of the Blues. Normally, I wouldn't know which answer applies, but this year, the weak field didn't go to Hawaii, so it was definitely a strong field. --Jeff]

    LEN
    6D:
    DAVIDG
    6D:. if partner is 3325 or 4 trip, unlucky, but you still might make. Pass if scoring the D:7 is a bigger concern than the result.
    BARRY
    6D:, great playing strength but is it enough? Let's find out.
    ED
    6NT. Close decision. I expect that much of the field will not be in slam but I see too many positives about this hand to pass (no wasted cards, aces instead of quacks, good spot cards in the suit in which partner is most likely to have length and, most importantly, a reasonable 5-card diamond suit where partner is likely to have more than 2-card support). Partner probably does not have a 4-card major and with 4-4 in the minors and an invitational or better hand partner may have been able to bid 4S: over 2NT. So I expect partner be very balanced (or maybe having 5 clubs) and the only advantage I see to offering diamonds as a contract (i.e., bidding 6D:) is that if they lead a heart I might be able to pull trumps and discard a heart loser on the fourth round of clubs before taking a potential losing spade finesse (e.g., when partner has  S:Jxx H:Jxx D:Axx C:KQJx). However, they are more likely to make a passive lead (which is what I prefer) if I just bid 6NT. Although there are arguments for pass and 6D: I am ultimately swayed by the fact that I think I am a favorite to make 6NT.
    ROBB
    Interesting problem. You are (sub)minimum but you have a good five card suit and lots of controls. You know you donít have two quick losers. Not a good system for this hand. I take a shot with 6D:.
    FRED
    5D: to give CHO a chance to risk 5NT, 6D: or even 6NT. This is only a suggestion and hence most flexible option but no guarantees.
    JJ
    6D:. I have a good 5-card suit and aces, I expect to make.
    BOBBY
    Pass. I never win stretching with these hands.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    Pass. I think I erred.
    WINNING ACTION
    Drive to slam. Partner held  S:Jxx H:xx D:A10x C:KQ7xx. 6C:, 6D:, and 6NT all made. The minor suit 7s provide a tiny extra chance that wasn't needed; the minors were each 3-2.
    CONSENSUS
    ActionVotes
    Pass5
    5D:3
    6D:6
    6NT1
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I think it's clear to bid. I ought to have at the table.

  3. MPs, none vul, you hold

     S:Jxxxx H:Axxxxx D:x C:Q

    Partner opens a 12-14 NT. What's your plan?
    (On this and #4, you have pretty standard methods available, Stayman, Jacoby, and Texas.)


    Panelists will find out that if they bid Stayman, partner will bid 2D: and RHO will bid 3C:.
    MIKE
    I think I'll transfer and raise 2H: to 3H:. MPs is kind of a craven event.
    DAVIDC
    It would be useful to know my methods. Annie and I play that 1NT-2D:-2H:-3S: is 5=6. (We transfer back to 3H: if we want to splinter.) But assuming that is unavailable, I am bidding stayman and Smolen and 4H: if need be.
    KENNETH
    if no invitational call, force game. Whatever.
    MARK
    Garbage Stayman. I'll bid 2H: after partner denies a major. Obviously the C:Q is worthless. If partner happens to show a major I can invite game.

    Why didnít RHO bid 3C: immediately, after which I could have transferred to hearts and passed. Now Iím screwed and itís a crap shoot, because I canít stop in 3M with all my follow-up bids being GF (including Smolen). Thus, my guess is to pass, since I have two tricks on defense.

    DAVIDW
    I hope to buy it in 2 of a major. If RHO passes, I will bid 2D:. I hope partner's minors are strong enough to keep them out. Garbage Stayman, my other option, would seem more likely to draw them in.
    CHRIS
    Garbage stayman looks good. Bid game if we hit a fit of course. After RHO bids 3C: over 2D:, Iím not passing. Depends on methods.
    LEN
    2C:, then delayed Texas 4D: non-slam try.
    DAVIDG
    Stayman then Texas into hearts seems better than the alternatives of garbage stayman or burying the spades and inviting in hearts, unless I can show invite with 6H and 4+S, then I do that, but I assume from the fact that this problem is here that I cannot. (2D:-2H:-2S: can certainly be used to include this hand type.) [I use that sequence for a bunch of other hand types, not 5-6 or 4-6 in the majors invitational. None of the others are common either, though. --Jeff]
    BARRY
    Stayman then 2H: over 2D: or raise a major to 3. After their 3C:, I bid Smolen Ė in for a penny!!
    ED
    Stayman then raise a 4-card major response to 4. If partner bids 2D:, I would like to invite in hearts so I will do that if possible. If I have to choose between forcing to game and possibly settling for a partscore I am willing to accept playing in a partscore by just bidding 2H: (even if it is garbage Stayman). Of course the opponents may have something to say about this.

    Obviously Iím not passing 3C: and I have no way to go low, so Iíd bid 3S: expecting it to be treated as Smolen and would bid 4D: if partner bid 3NT expecting it to be a transfer. (I play 4R is a transfer after a Smolen sequence where opener rebids 3NT, so I would have no problem with its applying here.)

    ROBB
    2C: then 2H: over 2D:. If partner shows a major I could have game but I am going to try for a plus. After 3C:, punish me for not transferring to hearts and then bidding 2S: (assuming that is invitational). OK, I'm screwed. Pass.
    FRED
    Anything could be right as Stayman risks their finding the minors, transfers risk the same turning it into a crapshoot. Lot to be said for natural 2H: and try to win the play. In a vacuum, Stayman appeals with 2H: over 2D:. If he converts to 2S: Iíll live.
    JJ
    Stayman. Over 2D:, I will bid 2H:. Over 2M, I will raise. After RHO's 3C:: 3H:. This is competitive, not Smolen. [It's Smolen all right. If you had just a compeitive hand with hearts, you'd've started with 2D:, not 2C:. --Jeff]
    BOBBY
    I'm going to invite game with Jacoby transfers, starting with hearts. (1) Some slight pre-emptive advantage in starting with 2D: here over 2C:; (2) Partnership has good methods if 2D: is interfered with; (3) Not afraid of natural 2S: overcall.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    2C:, planning to bid game if partner shows a major, but bid 2H: if not. He didn't, RHO bid 3C:, and I (foolishly, I think) passed.
    WINNING ACTION
    Get to game. Partner had a 2344 12-count, but both majors broke (3-3 and 2-2) and game rolled.
    CONSENSUS
    PlanVotes
    2D: then 3H:2
    2D: then pass1
    2C: then 2H:8
    2C: then 3S:2
    2C: then 4D:2

    Of the Garbage Stayman bidders, after 3C::
    PlanVotes
    Pass3
    Force Game4

    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    At IMPs, drive to game. At MPs, how the heck do I know? The panel strongly chose Garbage Stayman. I don't like passing 3C: at all. Upon further reflection, one of the points of playing weak notrumps is to stick it to the opponents. Maybe I ought just Texas.

  4. MPs, none vul, you hold

     S:A10xxxxx H:Qx D:J9x C:x

    Partner opens a 12-14 NT. What's your plan?


    DAVIDC
    4H: transfer.
    KENNETH
    Texas
    MARK
    Jacoby transfer followed by a raise to the 3-level. I have too many losers with wasted lower honors to blast game.
    DAVIDW
    Same strategic notions as Problem 3. I bid 2H:. Sure, a miracle game is possible. My ambitions are more modest.
    CHRIS
    Invite in spades.
    LEN
    2C:, followed by 2S: mild invite.
    DAVIDG
    2C:-2D:-2S: if it's an invite, otherwise xfer and pass.
    BARRY
    Transfer and raise the major to invite.
    ED
    Invite in spades.
    ROBB
    Transfer and invite if thatís my method. Else whatever shows invite.
    FRED
    Again anything may work but take the conservative position of transfer to 2S: (and accept the push to 3 if that occurs).
    JJ
    2H: (transfer), then 3S: (invite).
    BOBBY
    Texas. This hand has great offensive potential and we may make a 19-point game. There's some possibility it's the opponents' hand if they can find their fit. This makes it as hard as possible.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    Transfer and pass. Wrong.
    WINNING ACTION
    bid game. Partner had  S:Qxx H:Ax D:Axx C:Axxxx. The opening lead was a heart, and the H:Q held. The S:K was singleton. Inviting game is good enough; partner has an obvious acceptance.
    CONSENSUS
    PlanVotes
    2C: then 2S:2
    2H: then pass3
    2H: then 3S:6
    4H:3
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    Yet another problem that's trivial at IMPs, bid 4H: immediately. You might make or they might make something. At matchpoints, most of the panel invited, either mildly or normally. That's probably right. But upon reflection, I like Texas. We play weak NTs to put the wood to them. So do it.

  5. MPs, unfavorable, you hold

     S:AQx H:D:Q987 C:AKJ9xx

    RHO opens 1NT (15-17). You play Woolsey.
    What's your plan?


    MIKE
    Pass. If it ends the auction, such is life. I'm not going to double-and-figure-it-out-later.
    DAVIDC
    I donít think it matters who I am playing against. What is double? If a good hand, that is what I do. If not, I show clubs.
    KENNETH
    Double. Spades and clubs.
    MARK
    Double. Showing a major and a longer minor is somewhat eccentric with this hand but it has several upsides and is unlikely to be punished when wrong.
    1. One dislikes defending 1NT (especially at MPs when itís our hand and the opponents are non-vul).
    2. We really donít want partner balancing with hearts.
    3. We might discover a great spade fit.
    4. It stops our side from being shut out when the opponents bid hearts (and they get to the 3-level quickly).
    5. It allows me more descriptive bids on the next round.
    DAVIDW
    Dunno this Woolsey convention. Do I have a way to show a one-suiter? That's what I would do. If I don't have a way, then I bid 3C:.
    CHRIS
    Pass. Double hearts for takeout and convert 2S: to 3C:.
    LEN
    Isn't this your Woolsey abuse example? Double then pull to 3C: if necessary?
    DAVIDG
    3C:. partner always has  S:Txxx H:QJ98x D:xxxx C: here. [You got the clubs right. --Jeff]
    BARRY
    3C:, planning to balance with a double if they find hearts.
    ED
    3C:.
    ROBB
    3C: - Iím trapped by system. [Not many systems let you get to 2C:. --Jeff]
    FRED
    I donít play Woolsey but it looks like 3C: (and takeout double if they find hearts).
    JJ
    Pass, but if they get to 2H:, bid 3C:. If they get to 3H: thereafter, double.
    BOBBY
    I guess I show both minors here with 2NT.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    3C:
    WINNING ACTION
    Woolsey double. Maybe pass. Partner has  S:KJ109x H:10xxxx D:10xx C:. Chris thinks partner would be an idiot not to balance, but I'm not sure about it. Red at matchpoints, he might be (a) afraid to go for 200, and (b) afraid that I might pass 2C:.
    CONSENSUS
    ActionVotes
    Pass3
    Double3
    2NT1
    3C:8
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I like double. I don't know why I chickened out at the table. Every time I've doubled with a hand like this, it's worked out. Most of my abuses have happened in the balancing chair, but this hand is good enough to abuse directly, I think.

  6. IMPs, none vul, you hold

     S:QJxxx H:Ax D:Ax C:J10xx

    You LHO CHO RHO
    1S: 2H: 4H: 5H:
    ?


    MIKE
    Pass. My hand is flexible enough to go along with whatever partner wants to do.
    DAVIDC
    [Double.] Assuming that we are in a force and I am playing that 4C: and 4D: are fitting (which I do), then I double. The problem is when partner has C:KQxxxx or such. My partner canít have that hand. If I am playing that they are splinters (boo) I pass and respect partnerís decision.
    KENNETH
    Double.
    MARK
    Double. I have a minimum opening bid and too many losers to pass and invite partner to bid on. Note that possessing the H:A is less attractive for offense than holding an off-suit ace.
    DAVIDW
    Pass. I have a minimum, my offense is not necessarily better than my defense. Let CHO decide, and I can blame him if his decision works out badly.
    CHRIS
    A trivial penalty double. Must stop partner with his likely heart void from bidding on.
    LEN
    This is close, but I pass.
    DAVIDG
    Double.
    BARRY
    Pass. Some suitability in context of a minimum. Not a lot but H:A much better than H:KQ,
    ED
    5S:. A minimum with a little extra playing strength and reasonable cards for 5S:. I expect 5H: is a good save against 4S: and Iím willing to take my chances that 5S: makes rather than passing the decision back to partner.
    ROBB
    Double.
    FRED
    Do I assume 4H: is a Splinter? [Yes. --Jeff]

    Assuming that is the case, we must be in a force and default position is that Pass is forcing while double is expressive. Note that presumably partner had fit-showing bids available, so the assumption is no good 5+ side suit? My 7-loser minimum has the one advantage of no wastage, but it does not look like a great hand to force to the five-level. However, if partner has the archetypal 4-1-4-4, e.g.  S:Kxxx H:x D:Kxxx C:Kxxx, he will double now presumably, whereas he will bid 5S: with a bit more distribution? The main worry about passing is that it will encourage him to bid slam with only a little extra Ė and my hand will prove disappointing; it is for that last reason that I prefer the double which does not express wasted values necessarily as much as the preference not to advance the bidding when so constrained by space.

    JJ
    Pass (forcing the way I play).
    BOBBY
    Pass.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    Double.
    WINNING ACTION
    5S:. Partner had  S:K109x H:x D:xxxx C:AKQx. 5S: makes, and we only get 100 from 5H:. If you pass or double, partner's going to double or pass; he has no real reason to bid on.

    This hand cost me a whole day. After being eliminated from the Blues (for poor play and poorer luck), we entered a compact KO. In the first round, we were in a 3-way against the two eventual finalists. One of the six-board matches was pretty flat; we won it by a little. The other one contained this board. But it was only a three-board match, since our opponents played the first three boards against the wrong team. We had good results on two of those boards, but they were thrown out. Of the three boards we got to play, two were flat. This is the other one. The auction started the same at both tables, and in the problem position, I doubled, and my opponent bid 5S:. He was right, so we were done for the day.

    CONSENSUS
    ActionVotes
    Pass6
    Double8
    5S:1
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I still think doubling is automatic. But I thought then (and still do) that partner should have trotted out a (mildly twisted) fit jump instead of splintering. The actual auction ought not have been much of a surprise, and he really wants me to bid if I have club length and double with shortness. 4C: would have caused that to happen.

  7. IMPs, both vul, you hold

     S:x H:xx D:AKxxx C:A10xxx

    CHO You
    1H: 2D:
    3C: 4S:
    4NT 5H:
    5NT ?


    MIKE
    7C:. Perhaps there should be a difference between this auction and 5S: - 5NT; 6C: (assuming 5S: puppets 5NT.) I suppose 6D: is possible, but I don't want partner to get any ideas about 7NT.
    DAVIDC
    5NT is last train? It would be with us. I bid 6C:. The key is whether partner has the H:K.
    KENNETH
    This is all bizarre, as notrump as keycard for clubs is weird unless partner is planning to bid to at least 6C:, and then 5NT forces at least 6NT. So, I show the D:K. [At least we don't have Kickback accidents. Yeah, of course you don't. But I see world-class pairs having Kickback accidents all the time, so I don't believe. --Jeff]
    MARK
    6C:. Whether one plays specific kings or number of kings when a minor suit is trumps doesnít seem to be relevant here. Youíve already shown a game-forcing hand so partner knows the general strength of your hand. 5NT is merely a grand slam suggestion and I donít believe I have the necessary extras/tricks to get to seven.
    DAVIDW
    6D:. I was minimal for 2D:, but the auction has taken a pleasant turn. Now partner is asking me if I have anything more to show, and I do. The fifth club is golden. The doubleton heart is better than a singleton or three small if we play in 7C:. If he has solid hearts, the diamond king might be just what he needs to play 6NT or 7NT. I am not sure where he is headed, but it's not my job to guess.
    CHRIS
    I guess 6C:. But I would have showed the trump queen. Partner will often have five on this sequence, and if he has KQxx I want him to know that I have five clubs.
    LEN
    I assume 2D: shows 5+ diamonds, 4S: was a splinter, 5H: was 2 without the C:Q, and 5NT is a grand slam try guaranteeing all key cards. I suppose 6D: is right, but I'm OK with 7C:.
    DAVIDG
    6C:. No room.
    BARRY
    Not sure what 5S: over 5H: would have been. If 5NT asks me to bid a grand slam I do bid 7C:.
    ED
    6C:. I think partner, having chosen to ask for keycards, is obligated to show an unlimited partner (me) that we have all the keycards. So I take the 5NT bid to show that we have all the keycards rather than asking me to bid a grand slam if I have a king. I would expect partner to bid a grand slam if all he needed in addition to my two aces is the D:K, especially as I am a favorite to have that card on the auction.
    ROBB
    7C:. I donít love my 4S: bid but it worked well here.
    FRED
    I assume 5S: would have asked for specific kings, so 5NT is a grand slam try not interested in specific kings. Having denied the C:Q, I accept with the extra length, D:K and ability to set up the diamond suit. So 7C: without conviction.
    JJ
    6D:, showing the D:K, assuming that is your method. If I'm expected to have a hand good enough to make a grand if I bid above 6C:, I will still bid 6D:.
    BOBBY
    Depends on agreements about 5NT. If it's a general invite guaranteeing all keys, I accept (7C:). If it's a specific king ask, I bid 6D:. If I think partner doesn't know what he's doing, I'll bid 6C:.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    6C:. I thought partner wanted me to bid 7C: with the H:K and not without, and I didn't see any other way for him to make that happen.
    WINNING ACTION
    6C:. Partner had  S:Ax H:AJxxx D:Qx C:KQJx. Apparently, he wanted me to bid the grand if I should have bid key card on the last round.
    CONSENSUS
    ActionVotes
    6C:6
    6D:5
    7C:4
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I think partner was overbidding. I now have been convinced that 6D: is right. If partner just wanted to show all the keys, he could trot out 5S:-5NT-6C:. I think a direct 5NT is a demand for me to show a king. He ought to have something like  S:Ax H:AKQxx D:xx C:KQJx.

    I'm not sure why folks bid 7C: instead of 6D:. Maybe partner has enough to bid 7NT if I show the D:K. Probably not—it'd take a 2C: opener to do so, but who knows? It's not as if it will give us a tempo problem; we are now deciding between 7C: and 7NT. I suppose partner might bid a slow 6NT, but if he does, I don't want to bid 7C: anyway.


  8. IMPs, unfavorable, you hold

     S:AJ98x H:10xx D:xx C:A10x

    LHO CHO RHO You
    1C: Pass 1H: 1S:
    2H: 4S: 5C: Pass
    5H: all pass

    What do you lead?


    If someone led an ace, he got to see the dummy:  S:Kxx H:Kxxx D:Q10x C:KQx. If he led a club, he got the 3 from partner; if he led a spade, he got the 10 (from Q10xx).
    MIKE
    C:A. I suspect the best chance for a set is a club ruff. Dummy will make it clear whether or not to play the S:A next or not.
    DAVIDC
    S:A to find out what I should have led instead. Second choice is a trump. Shift to a diamond. He should have bid 4D:. 100% his fault. [Fit bids or not fit bids are a bit of a theme of this set. --Jeff]
    KENNETH
    S:A. Then top diamond.
    MARK
    S:A. We probably need the S:A to cash to have any hope of defeating the contract. I can evaluate the chances of giving partner a club ruff after seeing dummy. Leading the C:A might blow up the setting trick if the opponents have only an 8-card club fit (Iíd sooner try a diamond lead).

    If a diamond shift was best here partner would have signaled with the S:Q. Thus, itís now either another spade or two rounds of clubs. Iíll guess two rounds of clubs, since declarer has sufficient entries to set up the suit herself.

    DAVIDW
    C:A, hoping for a ruff. Partner is usually short in something. I think he has a doubleton heart, so hoping for a singleton club. I may rethink if dummy has only three clubs, but it's probably too late to recover.

    I rethink, but then I play another club. If declarer is 1=4=3=5, a diamond switch makes no difference at this point. If partner has the ace, he still gets it later, and if he has KJ, it's too late after my club lead. So I might as well hope for declarer to be 1=4=2=6. I am OK if declarer has a spade void as well.

    CHRIS
    Hard to answer without more info, but a diamond on the limited info I have.
    LEN
    C:A. Low is encouraging, so I try to give him a club ruff.
    DAVIDG
    S:A. can decide whether to give partner a club ruff or not at T2. If S:A doesn't live and partner has a trick + stiff club, unlucky,

    S:10 should be something like D:KJ with stiff club or D:K without. Declarer could easily be 1426 with the D:A, so club club looks right, but I would play a diamond on the S:Q.

    BARRY
    C:A. Hope to work out what to do next. Next, I play another club. Two ways to win.
    ED
    S:A. If this does not cash we donít have very good chances of beating 5H:. The immediate lead of the C:A will likely cost a trick when partner has Jx or Jxx since I have the C:10. After seeing dummy I will have a better chance to judge how to continue and particularly whether to try to give partner a club ruff.

    Partnerís play at T1 should be suit preference. Partner does not know that I have the C:A but I think that a high spade should discourage a club shift. Partner knows I will continue with the D:A if I have it. If partner has both the D:A and a stiff club, he should play a middle spade (although maybe this is a middle spade from QTxx) and he should consider doubling 5H: for a club lead with a stiff club (succeeds when you have the C:A or the H:A, and he has 2+ hearts or whenever they fail to make 5H: Ė good enough odds).

    ROBB
    S:A. At Trick 2, Diamond?
    FRED
    LHO sounds like a balanced minimum raise without club length, which makes the C:A lead unattractive (also partner cannot hold more than 2H: Ė and maybe fewer, and accordingly is unlikely to hold a singleton club to put it mildly on this bidding). I lead either a diamond or S:A, and am more inclined to lead the diamond as the C:A protects against a spade trick's running away; partner may have a secondary club honour, and I think it quite likely LHO has both spade length and putative honour(s). Hence diamond lead (to partnerís likely length).
    JJ
    C:A. Maybe I can give partner a ruff. After seeing dummy, C:10. A pointed ace can only go away if declarer has six clubs or D:AK tight.
    BOBBY
    S:A. It's probably getting ruffed, but (failure of imagination), I don't see how I'm gaining a tempo by cashing the C:A immediately and a heart or diamond is not appealing. There's an off-chance that spades split 1-1 or something, and I'll know what to lead next.

    [At Trick 2,] Diamond. My lead could matter when declarer has long clubs and will pitch dummy's diamonds.

    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    S:A then diamond shift.
    WINNING ACTION
    C:A, club ruff, S:A, club ruff. +200. Declarer was 1-4-2-6 with everything but the D:KJ9. A diamond lead gets it one, and the S:A followed by C:A and a club is good enough to beat it, also. S:A then diamond, sadly, was not.
    CONSENSUS
    ActionVotes
    C:A then club5
    S:A then C:A and a club2
    S:A then diamond6
    D:x2
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    The S:A lead seems normal, but partner's S:10 suggests he can handle clubs; if he only had diamonds, he should play the S:Q. So I should have given him a club ruff.

    I have no idea why partner didn't bid 4D: with  S:Q10xx H:xx D:KJ9xxx C:x. We wouldn't be discussing this problem if he did.


  9. IMPs, none vul, you hold

     S:A9 H:Jxxxx D:Jxx C:109x

    RHO LHO
    1S: 1NT (nf)
    6C: Pass

    What do you lead?


    After the S:A lead, chosen by several, they saw the dummy as  S:xxx H:Qxx D:Qxx C:Qxxx. Trick 1 went S:A-S:x-S:7-S:J. The outstanding spades are KQ1086.
    MIKE
    C:10. I think declarer has something like  S:KQxxxx H:D:A C:AKQJxx. It is inconceivable that we have a red trick on rational bidding (although the way some people bid...) so the best chance it to make sure we get our two spade tricks by removing dummy's trumps.
    DAVIDC
    Did partner tank before passing? If he did, I lead a diamond. Else I lead a heart. [The tank refers to the Blue Ribbon appeals hand. --Jeff]
    KENNETH
    S:A, then another spade.
    MARK
    C:9. Seems clear in case dummy comes down with a stiff spade and two trumps. Additionally the standard trump lead false card might deceive declarer is certain rare situations. Note that declarer is unlikely to have a first round red suit loser being off the S:A.
    DAVIDW
    S:A. I think declarer is 6-6, and we might have a red ace to cash. I hope I will know which when I see dummy. If I lead the wrong red card on the go, declarer might discard his loser.

    Maybe declarer is not 6-6. If declarer is 6-6, partner is either  S:xx H:Kxxx D:AKxxxxx C: or  S:xx H:AKxxx D:Kxxxxx C:? Wouldn't he bid with either of those? Sure he would. Would declarer bid 6C: with only five missing the queen (KQJ10xxx AKxxx and a red ace)? Maybe. So I think I have to give partner a ruff, playing a spade. Good lead, David.

    CHRIS
    S:A. I expect KQJxxx AKQxxx. Trump lead requires a parlay: S:10xxx with partner, plus only two clubs in dummy. More likely is a dummy like  S:x H:Axxx D:Kxxxx C:Jxx, where my only chance is to cash partnerís diamond ace before it is discarded on the hearts.

    After the S:A, declarer canít have six spades with that dummy, because partner would have bid. So we are left with a crazy KQJxx (AK x) AKJxx. The stiff should be in hearts, because partner probably has a bid if itís in diamonds. Even though itís 2-to-1 from the spade spots that partner is signaling for diamonds, Iíll play a heart. If declarer has stiff Q or K of diamonds and forgot to open 2C: (along with partner's declining to bid NV with D:AKT9xx or D:AQT9xx), Iíll pay off.

    LEN
    H:x.
    DAVIDG
    C:10. declarer not likely to be able to reach dummy early unless we guess wrong red lead, but rather this than S:A.
    BARRY
    S:A and hope to work out which red ace to cash. I guess to play another spade assuming declarer is 7-5. Sorry partner.
    ED
    Small diamond. Declarer is likely to have a void on this auction (6-6 in the black suits would not be a surprise) and I want to choose the red suit where he is more likely to have to follow suit at T1 and hope partner has the ace of that suit.
    ROBB
    trump.
    FRED
    C:x as I do not believe they are missing two cashing bullets, but might be able to ruff a spade to make if given the opportunity.
    JJ
    S:A. Possibly I can cash partner's red ace next. After seeing dummy, S:9. If partner had D:AKTxxx he probably would have bid. And he likely would have bid with  S:xx H:AK10xx D:A10xxxx C:. I think my best hope is to play declarer for  S:KQJ10xxx H:D:A C:AKJxx and try to give partner a ruff.
    BOBBY
    My understanding of this auction is that RHO has said "I have one loser in spades and clubs, raise if you have a winner there". Looking at my hand, I see the winner. I think the hope here has to be that RHO is wrong and has a slow spade loser that he can't ruff out. So I lead a trump. When I get back in the with S:A, I'll lead another.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    D:x. Same reasoning as Ed. I was afraid the S:A could blow the setting trick if we don't have a cashing ace. That S:9 was worrisome.
    WINNING ACTION
    Lead a heart or lead the S:A and shift to a heart. Declarer was insane:  S:KQJ108 H:x D:AK C:AKJxx.
    CONSENSUS
    LeadVotes
    Club6
    Diamond2
    Heart2
    S:A then diamond0
    S:A then heart1
    S:A then spade4
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    Chris' reasoning about the shift after the S:A lead is sound. We ought to get it right then, but I think I'm still too chicken to lead the S:A. That 9 scares me.


  10. Dummy
    S: xxx
    H: QJxx
    D: Axx
    C: Axx

    Declarer
    S: x
    H: AK109xx
    D: Kxxx
    C: Qx

    DeclarerOpp DummyOpp
    1H: Pass 2NT! 3S:
    4H: 4S: Pass Pass
    5H: all pass

    2NT was a 4-card raise, limit or better. 5H: has nearly no play, and 4S: was down two. Assign the blame.


    (Sorry, I don't remember the vulnerability/scoring and didn't write it down.)

    MIKE
    Dummy 80, Declarer 20. There isn't a lot of blame. In rotation:
    1H:/2NT normal
    4H:: Declarer might have bid 4D: to establish a force (since he doesn't want to defend 4S: unless partner wants to) But that could be more slammish and it is right up against 4H:, so 4H: is not necessarily wrong. [I don't think 4D: is slammish or establishes a force; it just shows a two-suiter. To set a force, "cue-bid" 3NT. --Jeff]
    Pass: This was non-forcing by my read, so I think this is slightly off. With two aces and no ruffing value, double is better.
    5H:: Make the H:J either minor jack and 5H: has lots of play. Given the no-double, this seems OK.

    I don't think anyone did anything terrible. The contract was one misplaced honor away from being acceptable. Overall, I think Dummy's pass over 4S: was worst.

    DAVIDC
    First, bidding 4H: did NOT create a force. I think dummy should hit 4S:. He is 4333 with defense. Perhaps East might have bid 4D: to put his partner in the picture. But I make it 80-20.
    KENNETH
    Dummy. Why is this in dispute?
    MARK
    Dummy is primarily to blame because his hand is very defensively-oriented with 2 aces, and the hand contains no extras. Dummy should have doubled to warn partner about bidding on. Declarer should realize that the double doesnít necessarily promise trump tricks since it is under the bidder. Note that no COC were mentioned which makes the analysis a little more difficult.

    Best guess is Dummy 75% Declarer 25%.

    DAVIDW
    Dummy guessed wrongly at his second turn. Declarer opened, which looks normal, and bid 4H: to show his sixth heart while he could. That seems OK. I can see why declarer didn't want to double 4S:, with very little defense and extra offense. The vulnerability might have mattered, but I don't really believe that; and you would have told us if it did. I can't ascribe blame, except to whoever agreed to the convention without discussing the followups.
    CHRIS
    Not much blame, especially at IMPs where 4S: could easily be cold. But opener should do something below 4H: to involve partner.
    LEN
    E 60% (Dummy)
    W 0% (Declarer)
    N 40%
    DAVIDG
    Dummy should double.
    BARRY
    Nobody to blame. No wasted values in spades and extra shape all round. Had East been able to show short spades, he might have doubled the next time?
    ED
    Dummy 85%. Dummy has nothing wasted in spades but has only a LR with no ruffing value and has reasonable defense. The wide-range of 2NT gets 15% of the blame. No blame to declarer (unless he fails to take his best line in 5H: — after two rounds of spades, declarer should play the top two diamonds and two rounds of hearts such that masks the impending end play in diamonds before ruffing dummyís 3rd spade (to avoid alerting the hand with the C:K to unblock with the D:Qxx or D:QJx). [I was declarer. I would have tried that line, but LHO shifted to clubs at Trick 2. I had no chance. At Ellen's table, however, they continued spades, declarer found Ed's line, Ellen or partner failed to unblock, and they went -450. --Jeff]
    ROBB
    I have sympathy for declarer. I donít understand passing 4S: with two side bullets. OTOH, I wouldnít be shocked if 4S: was cold with this layout.
    FRED
    Depends on agreements, but I assume that once partner committed the 2NT gadget we were in a forcing auction over 3S:? [I don't see why we ought to be. --Jeff] The problem with the initial 4H: bid is that it should mean that we know what we want to do over their 4S:, and we donít without his input. If the pass of 3S: was encouraging to 4H:, that would have been a superior option. [I think it logically has to reject a limit raise. --Jeff] At least we limited our hand by 4H:, but partner encouraged a bid on with his pass of 4S:, which sensibly must be forcing opposite a hand which is known to possess no higher ambition than 4H:. I blame both methods — and on the basis of last clearcut error loses, his pass of 4S: when he should double with no extras opposite a known minimum.
    JJ
    50/50 It's hard to see what I would have done differently than this pair.
    BOBBY
    It seems to me that Dummy has bid his hand perfectly up to 4H: and has nothing extra. Since we're in forcing auction and Dummy has defensive values, he needs to double to show the defensive values and no wish to play at the five level.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    This was our auction. I was declarer.
    CONSENSUS
    I made some estimates when the panelists didn't provide numerical blame estimates.
    PanelistDummyDeclarerOther
    Mike80200
    DavidC80200
    Kenneth10000
    Mark75250
    DavidW00100
    Chris02080
    Len60040
    DavidG10000
    Barry00100
    Ed85015
    Robb10000
    Fred50050
    JJ50500
    Bobby10000
    Average631027
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I think dummy should double 4S:. His hand is pure and there is no wastage in spades, but it's defensively oriented, and it's a dead minimum. I think it's obvious for declarer to bid 5H:. Some suggest that declarer might bid 4D: along the way to help his partner, but I think that'll get partner to do the wrong thing too often. Make the C:Q the D:Q, and then I'm OK with 4D:. In fact, the C:Q turned out to be a defensive trick.


  11. LHO CHO RHO You
    1D: PassPass 1S:
    Pass3S:

    Your methods:
    2D: = hearts
    2H: = good spade raise
    2S: = junky spade raise

    What does 3S: mean?


    MIKE
    It means partner forgot. [Winner, winner, chicken dinner! --Jeff]
    DAVIDC
    A good mixed raise, certainly 4+ trump and some distribution. Again, a jump shift should be fitting so he doesnít have that.
    KENNETH
    What does it mean, or what SHOULD it mean? Obviously, without discussion, I cannot KNOW what it means. If I were to guess at the table, and if I could assume a partner who thinks like I do, then I would imagine spade support, extras, and good diamonds (maybe AQJx?). Hard values to show; discouraging partner from thinking a stiff diamond is the bomb.
    MARK
    Mixed raise with 5-card trump support. Since LHO didnít bid again and RHO passed at his first opportunity there doesnít seem to be much sense in playing it as preemptive. Additionally, the lack of an initial 1S: overcall eliminates any good hands with 5-card support (and I canít see partner getting to the 3-level this way with only 4-card support). [I think Mark refutes his own idea—a 5-card mixed raise is also a 1S: overcall. --Jeff]
    DAVIDW
    Some smart-ass guy wrote a Bridge World article about the danger of throwing an undiscussed bid in partner's face. CHO must think it's obvious what this 3S: call ought to mean. Since there is no need to preempt, my guess is that he wants me to bid game if I have a decent 1S: call. I think the difference between his 3S: call and a slower route (2H: followed by 3S:) is that he has extra spades, so that I need not worry if my suit is ratty. If I am wrong, it's his fault.
    CHRIS
    Iíd guess a mixed hand type with some diamonds.  S:Jxxx H:xxx D:AQJxx C:x?
    LEN
    Mixed raise.
    DAVIDG
    abstain, we went over this.
    BARRY
    Mixed raise; what else?
    ED
    4+ spades, invitational, no interest in 3NT, i.e., a ruffing value somewhere. The opponents are out of the auction, so there is no reason for 3S: to be anything other than constructive. Why is this a problem?

    There is something to be said for playing whatever the agreed methods are but most partnerships may not have a way to show  S:AQxx H:Jxx D:xxxx C:AJ where the 4th trump may be just what partner needs to bid game ( S:Jxxxx H:xx D:A C:Kxxxx). Playing 3S: as a mixed raise here is not necessary or useful and makes me think of raising of an opening 2S: bid to 3S: with something like  S:Qx H:AQxx D:xxx C:Axxx or raising to 3S: on  S:Axxxxx H:KQx D:Qx C:Jx after opening 1S: when partner raises to 2S:. In other words, risking a minus score with nothing to gain when you might have been able to play and make 2S:.

    ROBB
    Good spade raise with four trump and some shape?
    FRED
    Presume a mixed raise with additional trump but some card outside (as opposed to a traditional constructive raise)
    JJ
    About 6 - 9 with 4+ spades.
    BOBBY
    "I forgot my methods." Seriously, it has to mean something that pard has decided is between a "good" spade raise and a junky spade raise.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    I thought it was a mixed raise. I passed it with a crummy 5332 10-count. Partner thought it was better than 2H:, so we missed a cold game.
    WINNING ACTION
    Partner thought it was stronger than 2H:, so the winning action is to bid a game.
    CONSENSUS
    MeaningVotes
    Mixed Raise9
    Mixed Raise with diamond values2
    Very strong raise2
    Partner forgot3
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I think I should have realized that partner forgot methods and bid game. This application of transfer advances never comes up, though we've talked about it many many times.

  12. RHO You LHO CHO
    1NT Dbl Pass2D:
    Pass2H: Pass3C:

    Double was Woolsey (usually a 4-card major and longer minor). 2D: asked for the major.

    What does 3C: mean?


    MIKE
    Natural and INV with four spades and longer clubs. He was looking for 4S: and didn't find the fit. What would he do with both minors and four spades? Bid 2NT. [Pass 1NTx? --Jeff]
    DAVIDC
    Assuming that 2NT by advancer is values and F1, I would guess that 3C: is pass or correct for partnerís minor.

    Partner could have bid 3D: as a good heart raise. It is the same as (1S:)-2S:-(P)-3D: Ė a good heart raise. 3C: is pass or correct. And if partner has minor suit values he bids 2NT, which is F1.

    KENNETH
    Why is this not discussed? Without discussion, I would assume natural, because natural is possible. The natural hand might be one where a spade raise would have happened such that 2C:...3C: would suck if partner with 6C+4S passed.
    MARK
    3C: is to play. Iíve discussed with partners (and in my notes) that if CHO wanted to play my minor a follow-up bid of 2NT would ask for the minor. This seems to make all the following sequences intuitively consistent:
    (1NT) - X - 2C: - 2D: - 3C: is clubs to play
    (1NT) - X - 2C: - 2D: - 3D: is diamonds, INV
    (1NT) - X - 2D: - 2M - 3D: is diamonds to play
    (You canít risk partner's passing 2C: when you want to play diamonds.)
    (1NT) - X - 2D: - 2M - 3C: is clubs to play with the 4-6/7 hand
    (e.g.  S:Kxxx H:xx D:x C:KJ10xxx)
    (1NT) - X - 3C:/3D: is strong
    Of course this begs the question as to what is the difference between the following 2 sequences
    (1NT) - 2C: - 2D: - 2S:
    (1NT) - 2D: - 2H: - 2S:
    DAVIDW
    I still dunno this Woolsey troublemaker. I presume 3C: is to play, with CHO having 3+ spades and lots of clubs. It seems logical that if he wanted to play my minor, he could have bid 2NT.
    CHRIS
    Sounds invitational with short hearts to me. Maybe  S:Kxxx H:xx D:AJxx C:KQx?
    LEN
    The Trident Mist convention (you tried and missed, 3C: is to play).
    DAVIDG
    Clubs with spade length. 2NT to show stuff with minor ask here. 2C: directly with crap.
    BARRY
    Looks like the hand from above, very strong with clubs. [Nope. It'd be the other hand anyway. --Jeff]
    ED
    Pass or correct (or bid on). Partner shows a good hand with four spades and at least tolerance for each minor (e.g.,  S:AQxx H:x D:Axx C:Kxxxx). He was going to invite or bid game in spades if you had spades. [He can't have that hand; he'd pass 1NTx like a shot. --Jeff]

    Your point about partner passing with a good hand is well taken.  S:Jxxxx H:A D:xxx C:Axxx is a better example—the opponents might make 1NTx and we might have a good shot at a spade game.

    If you and partner are designing a system, I like 3D: over 2H: as a stronger invitational raise in hearts where the direct raise to 3H: is not as good. And there is analogous use of a 3D: bid when partner bids 2S: (Michaels) over 1S: and you want to invite game in hearts. But undiscussed where partner might go wrong 25% of the time, it is not worth it. {Think of S. J. Simonís The Unlucky Expert.) It is much better to make the bid that will be understood 100% of the time rather than the bid that is 10% better but that will only be understood 75% of the time. [Yes, this problem is about system design, not what to do at the table. Trotting out undiscussed conventions is not just losing percentage bridge, it drives partners crazy. --Jeff]

    Regarding advancerís bid over the double, if advancer has clubs, he can bid 2C: and then 3C: with no interest in game and he can jump to 3C: over the double with a good club suit and interest in game. Since those sequences are available to show clubs to play or clubs with game interest (and they would be likely to be correctly interpreted even with no discussion), I think that the actual sequence allowing investigation of game in spades is the best way to play.

    ROBB
    Not an expert in this method. I would think a direct 3C: would have been to play. I guess this is ďI have chunky clubs - would have signed off there directly but I happen to also have four spades?"
    FRED
    I donít play Woolsey or understand the nuances but your clarification was that 2D: asked for the major Ė so I assume he is showing spades and tolerance for a minor at the 3-level, i.e. a constructive hand.
    JJ
    3C: is corrective, showing long clubs and 3 or 4 spades.
    BOBBY
    Natural, good clubs. Not forcing.
    JEFF AT THE TABLE
    This was total hypothetical. My idea was that it would be very useful to have two heart raises below game; intervenor is very wide-ranged. I didn't think 3C: had any real use, so my proposal was to use that as the good raise. Caprera and Ed suggest 3D: should be that, and I agree that it'd be easier to remember, because it's similar to responding to Michaels and other two-suiters. I don't agree that it's right to assume those methods here, but agreeing on them is reasonable.
    CONSENSUS
    MeaningVotes
    To play11
    Pass or correct3
    Other1
    JEFF UPON REFLECTION
    I'm going with the Caprera idea. Respond to this as if it were Micheals. 2NT asks, 3C: is pass or correct, and 3D: is a sound game try in the major. If you have your own suit and are bidding with a potential misfit, too bad. Don't do that.

    The panel mostly thinks it's natural, though; 2NT is bid your minor, 3C: and 3D: are natural and to play.



Jeff Goldsmith, Dec 10, 2018