District 8 Solvers Forum

   August 2017

      by Kimmel Jones, Euless TX
 


Itís certainly been too long since our last Forum encounter. I did see a handful of you at the recent Effingham Regional.  Letís get right to these very hot August problems.

1. IMPs, none vulnerable 

 Action  

 Score   

 Votes   

  % Solvers  

2S

100

6

37

3D

80

4

13

2H

60

2

20

4H

50

1

6

DBL 40 0 18
3H

30

0

6

  West   

  North  

   East   

 South  

  1H 2D ???

What is your call as South holding:  ♠K95432   A87  Void  ♣10932 ?

There are two issues here. One is should we we introduce the spade suit? And if not, how strongly should we raise hearts? Everyone should know that whenever you have support for partnerís 5-card major, you are supposed to raise, even with a decent holding in the other major.

If this hand were  ♠K9543  A87  2  ♣10932,  it becomes automatic to bid 2H. But as it is, with the void, a 6-card side suit and only 3-card support, it becomes harder to evaluate how strongly we should raise!

SPEAR: 3D. Too much for 2H. Not enough for anything else.

BRIDGE BARON:  3D. Because my hand is shapely, I'm strong enough to cuebid, showing a limit raise of hearts.

HINCKLEY:  3D. I'd want better spade quality to risk 2S and have them preempt before showing the heart fit. Walking the dog with 2H is tempting.

For the dog walkers:

BARNES:  2H. The real value of this hand depends on the spade fit, in particular if the opponents lead trump.

WALKER:  2H. Tempting to bid more, but this is only 10 support points - and I think that over-values the void, which isn't all that powerful with only three trumps.  Stronger bids are gambles that partner has a spade fit.

And a vast majority of the panel are rolling the dice. The spade bidders are indeed thinking about the same issues Barnes and Walker raised:

FELDHEIM:  2S. I have two reasons for this overbid. First, it is a 7-loser hand and second, if partner fits spades, this could easily be a two-way game swing.

KESSLER: 2S. 2H is a big underbid. Any spade fit will likely create a game. No spade fit will lead to 3H, likely not a disaster.

Several Solvers made a negative double. Thatís not good here because double only promises four spades and virtually always denies three hearts. Worse yet, partner might pass your double for penalties and become very displeased with your distribution. For those who leapt to 3H and higher, be advised those calls should always show four or more trumps.

2. IMPs, NS vulnerable    

 Action  

 Score   

 Votes  

 % Solvers  

Pass

100

9

58

4S

80

3

20

DBL

50

1

18

  West   

  North  

   East   

  South  

      Pass
4H Pass Pass ???

What is your call as South holding:  ♠AJ1092   2  KJ853  ♣102 ?

We donít often discuss where all the Solvers Forum problems come from, and I do not know the source of any of this month's hands. But I do have a theory on this one.

KESSLER: 4S. If you stop passing these opening bids, you will not have this problem. Cannot afford to miss a red game.

WALKER: Pass. The only reason to bid is if you can make game, which requires partner to have a fit and cover four of your seven losers. Seems very unlikely. Some might say they would have opened this hand, but it's too anemic to meet even the Rule of 20 guideline.

Mark and Karen play together occasionally, but that's not my theory.

WARD: 4S. I can't have much more, and I don't want to double when I am 5-5, as partner is not going to be able to judge when to bid very well.

You canít have any more as a passed hand, which only makes it easier for East to double. Nate and Karen are regular partners. Thatís no theory. Was this one of their deals?

HINCKLEY: Pass. Do I want to trade minus 420 or 450 for minus 800 -- or likely worse -- when RHO holds KQxx x AQxx AQJx ? Seems like this should be unanimous. Did you intend for opponents to be the vulnerable pair?

My fellow Texan chips in:

BAKER: Pass. Bidding picks up a lot of IMPs when we make, but there's no margin for error for a successful sacrifice, and the high frequency of phantoms (often doubled -- East is marked with some values) means the gains probably don't outweigh the losses.

Yes. It seems that the vulnerability prevents this from being a tougher problem. My theory is that when this hand was played, North might have hesitated a little bit over 4S, and the South hand took action -- probably with 4S, but maybe double or even 4NT. That led to a good result for North-South, the director was summoned, and a fight ensued. So now I'm rethinking that theory about Nate and Karen being North and South.

[ Editor's note: This problem came from Jack Spear, who originally posted it on bridgewinners.com. The respondents in that poll voted 43% for Pass, 29% for 4S and 14% for double. The remaining 13% abstained because they claimed they would have opened the bidding with this hand. ]

As a reminder to everyone, you are allowed to try to read the demeanor of your opponents. For example, if your right-hand opponent takes a long time to pass after his partner's 4H opener, you might guess he has values. Or if he passes quickly, you might assume he is weak. You might be right or wrong. But you cannot let anything your partner does at the table (except make bids and plays) influence your actions.

3. Matchpoints, none vulnerable              

 Action  

  Score   

 Votes  

  % Solvers  

5D

100

6

50

4H

70

2

8

5C

60

3

8

Pass

50

2

28

4S 30 0 4

  West   

  North  

   East   

  South  

1S 2H 2S DBL *
3S 4D Pass ???

* Responsive (minors)

What is your call as South holding:  ♠43   97  KJ972   ♣AKQ4

It sure is rare to see some people settling for partscores while others are making slam tries! Particularly on a somewhat balanced hand. I feel like Goldilocks as I come across these bids.

BRIDGE BARON: Pass. Bridge Baron considers partner's 4D bid to be a sign-off.

SPEAR: Pass. Only at matchpoints. +150 will not be a zero, but -50 may be.

These bids are much too cold. And the next ones are much too hot!

HINCKLEY: 5C. Probably I should bid 5D and not be greedy, but partner could hold something like  Kx AQxxx Axxx xx. Unfortunately, partner may think I only need a spade control and we might end in 6D off two aces!

Across from this hand, you have guesses in at least two suits to make 12 tricks. You donít need to reach 26-high-card-point slams with no singletons in either hand.

FELDHEIM: 5C. Hopefully, partner recognizes this as a cuebid. His overcall may look something like x AKxxx Qxx xxx in which case 6D is cold.

Thatís true if they donít take their two aces off the top. Iíve won events doing that!

And then Goldilocks came upon the bids that were just right:

WARD: 5D. Can't wait for a stiff spade. While we know partner isn't likely to have five diamonds, I think it is taking matchpoints too far to pass here.

KESSLER:  5D. Nobody forced partner to bid 4D. Gotta give game a shot.

BARNES: 5D. Nine-card fit, 6-loser hand, and partner likes his hand, but calling 5C could lead to confusion.

While it wrinkles the analogy, thereís another bid that tastes a little different:

BAKER: 4H. Since partner took a free bid, we ought to be in game. But we could have three top losers (or two and a finesse) , so I should offer the 10-trick game along the way.

4H works better if you have a doubleton honor in hearts and only four diamonds. Consider this hand:  xx  AKxxx  Axxx  Jx . 4H is best oppoisite  xx  Qx  Kxxx  AKQxx, while 5D is much better across from the hand we actually do have. The nine-card fit rates to be much better than the likely mediocre 7-card fit.

4. IMPs,  both vulnerable 

 Action  

 Score   

 Votes  

 % Solvers   

3S

100

6

28

3D

90

4

26

Pass

60

3

22

4D

30

0

2

DBL 30 0 6
4S 10 0 6
4C

10

0

8

  West 

  North  

   East   

 South  

    Pass Pass
1C DBL 1H Pass
2C DBL 3C  ???

What is your call as South holding:  ♠J972   J974  97632   Void

The first decision here is whether to compete. The panel voted overwhelmingly to do that.

BAKER: 3D. This is by no means a good hand, but with partner begging me to bid and me holding a void in the opponents' suit, it could be a lot worse. Partner should already know not to play me for much in the way of values since I didn't bid over 1H.

SPEAR: 3S. I passed over 1H already, so this doesn't show much, but my club void is huge here.

FELDHEIM: 3S. Not a great hand, but I love my club void. Passing would be bad partnership.

HINCKLEY: 3S. Partner likely holds a 4=3=4=2 hand with 17-20 high-card points. Will I bid 4D if they push to 4C? Good follow up question.

KESSLER: 3S. This lets me bid 4D over 4C. We will have at least one big fit.

So some of the 3S bidders chose 3S rather than 3D to leave open competing later to 4D. I personally choose 3D instead because I have more diamonds, and thus believe that suit is safer, plus it probably wonít excite partner as much as a 3S bid would. The few panelists who support me (at least indirectly) were two of the passers!

WARD: Pass. I still have only two jacks and only four spades.

WALKER: Pass. Partner has a big hand and I'm willing to stretch to help him out, but two jacks is just not enough. There's no guarantee that partner has four spades -- nor that he won't bid way too high if I make a freebid now.

Partner may not have four spades, but heís bound to have three diamonds, and likely more.

This is another Goldilocks hand in that a couple panelists and Solvers choose to pass and a large number of Solvers took stronger action than simply competing. Folks, itís still a 2-high-card-point hand. Cuebidding, doubling or leaping about is simply way way too aggressive. Your partner will take off for the moon on you.

5. IMPs, none vulnerable                      

 Action  

 Score   

 Votes   

  % Solvers  

3S

100

8

32

3D

90

3

24

2NT

60

1

14

3H

50

1

12

Pass

20

0

12

  West   

  North  

   East   

  South  

      1H
2C 2S Pass ???

What is your call as South holding:  ♠A5   KQ1042  K75   ♣854 ?

Previously, Iíve waited to the end to comment on Solvers' bids that didnít match any panelists' choices, but letís address that right here. Iíve seen players pass absolutely forcing bids before and it is not pretty. Occasionally, it works out and your opponents hate you forever, but usually your partner had plenty for game and you find yourself looking for a new partner. You canít pass 2S.

But what do you do? There are obvious flaws with all bids here. Pick one that doesnít lie too much and rates to be the least disastrous. How about this one?

SPEAR: 2NT. I'm not sure this is the smallest lie, but the other lies appeal even less.

The panel majority thought that club stopper was too thin for a notrump rebid. They went with:

BARNES: 3S. My weakest action and least lie.

KESSLER: 3S. It makes the most sense of several poor choices.

BRIDGE BARON: 3S. The smallest lie. I won't rebid hearts at the three-level with KQ1042. I won't bid 2NT without a club stopper. I won't introduce a 3-card minor at the three-level.

But a couple panelists did introduce that 3-card minor:

BAKER: 3D. I want slightly better hearts than this to rebid a 5-card suit at the 3-level and a third spade to raise them immediately. 3C is a gross overstatement of values, and 2NT is silly with no stopper. That leaves 3D as the best of a bad lot.

FELDHEIM: 3D. Nothing else appeals. 3H would show a sixth heart and 3S is unilateral.

These are good arguments, as long as partner doesnít raise diamonds. 3D scores 90 points this week.

6. Matchpoints,  both vulnerable 

 Action  

 Score   

 Votes   

  % Solvers  

4NT

100

5

9

4D

70

3

9

3D

70

2

20

3H

60

1

14

4H

50

1

2

DBL 40 1 34
4C 40 0 11

  West   

  North  

   East   

 South  

3C Pass Pass ???

What is your call as South holding:  ♠A   AQJ65   A1098754   Void ?

Could we finish with another calm balanced hand? Oh no.

Still, I thought this was straightforward. Simply call 4NT. It shows both suits, and implies the diamonds are likely longer since you didnít overcall in hearts. It avoids a likely disaster that doubling will cause when partner either passes or outbids you in spades. Surprising, a huge number of Solvers doubled, but only one  panelist:

BAKER: DBL. Partner's probably begging for a double to convert. While I don't like it with a void in trump and 7-5 shape, I do have aces. I'll bid diamonds at virtually any level if anyone comes in with spades.

Other people tried to start bidding their suits, but itís really awkward with 5-7 in touching suits. And any overcall below game level could easily miss a game and any heart or diamond call likely will lose your other suit.:

SPEAR 3H. Can't leave this major suit unbid. My plan is to bid diamonds next.

BRIDGE BARON: 4H. My hand is too strong to just bid 3H. My hearts aren't long, but AQJ65 are five quality trumps.

RABIDEAU: 4D. This bid makes it nearly impossible to get to hearts, but I'm not passing up this chunky 7-bagger . . . even at matchpoints. Having only three losers makes it worth a jump.

Had to quote Larry one time this article. Itís in his contract.

BARNES: 3D. Would 4NT show the two lowest unbid?

Yes. Yes. By George, I think heís got it! Show both suits.

EISENBERGER:  4NT. Best chance to get us to the right suit.

HINCKLEY: 4NT. Show the red suits immediately. I'll bid 6D over partner's 5D or 5H. 5NT is also an option, but I can bid 4NT now, then bid 6D over 5H to show longer diamonds.
 


           ♠ August scores               ♠ New problems for October  

Thanks to all who sent in answers and comments for this interesting set. Leading all Solvers with 570 were Joe Chin of Highland IN and Adam Miller of Chicago IL, followed closely by new Life Master William Strauss of Urbana IL (congratulations, Bill!). They're all invited to join the October panel.

If you'd like to receive an email notice when new problems are posted, please send your request to kwbridge@comcast.net .

I hope you'll give the October problems a try (see below). Please submit your solutions by September 30 on the web form.

    October moderator:  Nate Ward  nate.ward@dsvolition.com

Solvers Forum -- October 2017 Problems


1. Matchpoints, NS vulnerable 

  West   

  North  

   East   

 South  

  1C Pass 1H
Pass 2C Pass 2NT
Pass 3D Pass ???

What is your call as South holding:
J643   AJ104   AJ   954 ?

2. Matchpoints, EW vulnerable    

  West   

  North  

   East   

  South  

  1C Pass ???

What is your call as South holding:
QJ   9763   Q5  ♣98754 ?

3. Matchpoints, none vulnerable      

  West   

  North  

   East   

  South  

      1C
2C * 2D ** 2S ???

   *  Michaels (both majors)
  ** Natural, not forcing

What is your call as South holding:
♠9   AK10   A84   ♣AK10875 ?

4. IMPs,  both vulnerable 

  West   

  North  

   East   

 South  

      1S
Pass 1NT * Pass ???

* Forcing NT

What is your call as South holding:
♠AQ9872    95   KQ   ♣AQJ ?

5. Matchpoints,  both vulnerable 

  West   

  North  

   East   

 South  

  1C 1D ???

What is your call as South holding:
♠KQJ    J92   864   Q874 ?

6. IMPs, EW vulnerable      

  West   

  North  

   East   

 South  

    Pass 1D
5C 5D Pass ???

What is your call as South holding:
♠AQ54   AK   K109642   ♣J  ?

Thanks to John Seng for problem #2.