An Interesting Question
Today's panelists: JoAnna Stansby, David Weiss, Jeff Blond,
Mike Shuster, Ed Davis, David Caprera, Kent Hartman,
David Milton, and Barry Rigal
Both red, IMPs. The bidding has gone
What do you need to bid here?
The answers are all over the map, from "it's not possible"...
...through "with a surprise fit, enough to make slam
even if partner was saving in 5"...
- With slam interest, partner would bid 4NT (takeout) followed by 5.
[I agree, although I might do the same with clubs and hearts. --Jeff]
On the given auction, I can't think of a hand consistent with
my pass of 2 that will bid over 5.
- Realistically, there is no hand. If you want CHO to continue
to be bold, just accept his guess. Oh, I suppose xxx xxx AKxx Axx
would tempt me, but it is not hard to envision how giving in to that
temptation could work out badly.
- Personally, I pass, because without seeing any of my
cards, I think it's best to play it safe.
...through "with a good enough hand that the odds
are in your favor," which roughly works out to two or three
keys and a fit...
- A surprise... You could have xxxx xxxxx AKJx, for example.
...to a prime fitting opening hand:
- A lot... something like AAK and three trumps would be my
suggestion. At least that is what would make sense if partner's
minimum 5 bid could be along the lines of x KQxxxx AQJx xx or
x AQJxxxx KJxx x and maximum 5 bid something like x AKQJxx AQJx Qx
or x AKQxxxx KQx xx. With better hands than those maximums,
e.g., x AKQxxx AQJx Ax, partner could bid 4NT and correct partner's
bid to 5. Some might say this shows clubs and hearts when partner's
response is 5. I don't disagree with that so I suppose I am
suggesting using 4N-P-5-P, 5 to be either + or big .
There is so little room that I don't want to exclude either
one since the problem won't arise unless partner responds 5
(this probably means partner should respond 5 when possible).
[Could partner be saving? --Jeff]
Yes, partner could be saving. That is why we need a fit and
three useful primary cards to raise. Holding a fit and AAK,
we may not be able to make a slam if partner has a minimum
and we might make a grand if partner has a maximum. I'd like
to take the position of erring on the conservative side. I'd
be willing to accept a 50% chance of underbidding by passing
in order to incur no more than a 20% chance of overbidding by
bidding a slam. If that means we need more than a fit and AAK,
then so be it. We could add that we should have something
slightly more than AAK and a trump fit... maybe a useful queen
or a likely ruffing value, e.g., xx KT9 Ax Axxxxx. But we should
not need much more as I think we are best off with partner's
passing 4 with holdings like x KJxxxxx Kxxx x or
x AQJxxx Jxxx Kx.
- You are obviously guessing, but I would say on the order
of an opening hand with spades controlled (or an inference from
spade length that partner has them controlled, xxxx would be a
good holding), good trump Hx or 4+, but a hand not suitable
for bidding over 2. What would you do with xxxx KQxx AKxx x.
That one looks so good, I might try 5 but from the "stay
fixed" school, something like this. Your question implies
"what are the minimum requirements?"; that seems too hard to articulate.
- Aces, kings, and non-heart voids.
Some of this has to do with style, and whether bidding five
over four red on red opposite a passed partner is inviting
any action. I'll raise to six with a pair of aces, an ace
and two kings, or an ace, a king, and a spade void. I'll
play that partner is expecting me to hold about a scattered eight count.
- I would say you need Aces and a fit, or less likely
trump honors and an Ace, or lacking those, a need for a swing.
- When I had this problem in the BAM I passed with what I
recall to be a ten-count including four trump and a spade control
and partner made it on the nose. I'd bid on with an opening bid
and a spade control. Or slightly less with a source of tricks and
an 'appropriate' spade holding.
The object is to go plusso you have to be fairly sure slam is making not
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
- wasn't there. One of my teammates held
this hand in the BAM finals and raised with something like
x KQx Axxxx xxxx. It cost a full board, as Marshall (my
partner) found the 5 save and was -500 vs. -650. Said
teammate asked, "do you think I should bid?" I answered,
"no, I don't think so. Might not partner be saving in 5?"
Upon reflection, I decided the question was more complicated
than my off-the-cuff answer.
Yes, there's a difference between IMPs and BAM. The
issue seems more interesting at IMPs.
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
- I'm somewhere between Mike and Ed.
I'd raise with Mike's hand. Ed's argument that you have
to go down in slam sometimes in order to avoid missing
far more slams seems reasonable. I tend to be conservative
about these decisions, though, so any negative factor would
make me pass.
Dec. 12, 2002