Some problems from the Long Beach Sectional 11/2000
Sorry for not mentioning the conditions. They were IMPs, short matches.
I didn't think they mattered, but I simply forgot to mention them.
Andy asked if there was a theme. I said, "no," before,
but I guess there is. The hands were so boring from my point
of view all day that the only "decisions" were "do I get creative?"
In practice, it would have worked well once if partner had read it.
Mostly, it didn't matter. Oh, well. I hate it when I'm dealt out
of the whole day.
- none vul, you deal yourself
9 AKQ10xxxx Jxxx
What action do you take?
3N gambling, if we are playing it. I know it's sick with such extreme
shape, but I don't really expect to have an intelligent auction with this
hand in any case. (I open 1, partner bids 1 of a major, and I ???)
If not playing gambling 3N, choices seem to be 1, 5, or pass hoping to
find a clue of what to do later. I could be convinced either way between
1 and 5, depending partly on form of scoring, which you neglected to give
(how's that for a cop out?).
5. no bid really describes the hand and a gambling 3NT should not be
such extreme distribution. so I'll preempt CHO as the price of catching
two other opponents.
5. This is the bid I make at IMP's or at MP's against good competition.
Maximum pressure, 2 opponents to mess with and only one partner, the
usual yada-yada. A much more interesting problem if it's random Regional
MP's or something; I think I like opening 1 to see if I have a big fit
there (if not, I'll hope to pass some forcing bid to expose my psyche, then
guess the right level at which to bid diamonds, or not
I think 5 is the long-term winner. It loses when a slower approach
allows us to reach a biddable and makeable slam but makes the opponents
guess what to do at the five-level where the consequences of a
wrong guess can be very costly.
3NT. I play this shows a solid minor with no outside ace or king,
so this is basically textbook.
Who knows? I can't bid 3NT in my own methods, so I think I'd take
a shot at 5. 1 could work beautifully, if the auction works out just
right for you, but I've never had much luck with that kind of
approach. Being at the table would help here.
After careful consideration, I vote for 5. I'm probably going
to have to bid 5 anyway, but by bidding it now, I will show partner
a bunch of diamond tricks - if he has a strong hand, it may become
much easier for us to get to slam. Obviously if he has
xxx AKxx xx AKxx we make 6 and he should probably bid it and if he
has AKxx AKxx xx xxx we make 4 and we will still be in 6, but them's
5. I don't think I am going to wait for the magic 3NT where
they can't save. [Good point. If we make 3NT, they probably
can bid at the 4-level anyway. --Jeff]
Nobody knows anything. So I take my guess and bid 5.
IMPS 5, MP 3NT
I wonder what the form of scoring is. In any event, I make
the traditional bid of 5. It has the advantage that it's
descriptive for partner, and makes it really hard for the
opponents to find their major suit game or slam. Partner
probably has AKQxxxxx Jx xxx and opps take the first
three club tricks. Oh well.
I'll open the dull, traditional 5. I can understand some arguing for
4 on the theory that the majors break badly for the opponents or that
partner has a stack of them. Some people may screw around, but I've
seen far too few of these sort of hands to try that myself.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
wasn't there. 3NT looked obvious until
partner pointed out that he had 8410, at which point I
shut up, but wondered why 5 didn't occur to him, as that
also seemed obvious. He chose to bid 1, arguing that he
had too much shape for 3NT. Therefore, he should bid more,
not less, right? I didn't know how to say that nicely, so
shutting up seemed prudent.
- WINNING ACTION
5. The pressure bid works. LHO has a very good
2515 and RHO has a moderate 6421. Their last making spot is 5.
It's real tough to get there after the opponents opened 5, and
at one table, in fact, they reached 5, going down.
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
OK, this was obvious. I thought there'd
be a fairly strong vote for 3NT and maybe someone for 1,
but I guess not. It was not time to get creative.
- none vul, you hold
9xxx 10xx AQ AKxx
You|| LHO|| CHI|| RHO|
1|| 1|| Pass||2|
Pass||3|| 3NT|| Pass|
a) What is that idiot doing?
Partner thought he had a trap pass of 1, but has now discovered that he
had the KJTx in with his A. Alternatively, he has a weak but shapely
hand with both minors, either very weak or with only 3 clubs, given the
failure to bid 2 at his previous turn.
It has to be minors.
xx x Kxxxxx xxxx.
Partner has a weak hand with diamonds and clubs with probably two
more diamonds than clubs. Some hands that would qualify are
x x JTxxxxxx Qxxx, x Jxxxxxx Jxxxx or
x x Kxxxxx xxxxx. Partner
could also have 6-4 distribution although he would then have had
sufficient high card strength to raise to 2 (if not playing inverted
raises in competition [Are those playable??? --Jeff]), e.g.,
xx x Kxxxxx QJxx.
Assuming partner called correctly with 'pass' the first time, this
must show a weak hand with 4 clubs and 6+diamonds.
The idiot ought to hold something like x x Kxxxxx Qxxxx or
perhaps 7-4 in the minors. It isn't my style to pass over 1 with
that kind of hand, but if he had a zero count the opponents
would probably have bid a game.
3NT is certainly an unusual bid to say the least. Partner does not have
spades (no negative double) does not have hearts (no penalty double) does
not have a good hand with a heart stopper (no previous NT bid)... so when
you remove the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be
the truth. I expect partner has a weak hand with the minors, at least 5-4,
Guess he has a zillion minor suit cards with no hand. Not sure
why he didn't preempt in the first place unless he is 7-4 or something
odd like that.
Sounds totally reasonable to me. Pard is weak and holds 6+-4+ in and .
Maybe CHI is 2164 (especially if 3 initially would not
be a weak jump shift) My guess is Kx x KJxxxx Qxxx
Clearly, partner mis-sorted his hand and only discovered his
mistake on the second round of bidding. I guess the next best
explanation is that partner made a penalty pass first round
but lost his nerve after discovering the opponents had a fit.
Could he be 6-5 in minors, say x x Kxxxxx Jxxxx
and unwilling to speak first round?
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
It's obviously minors, but how many in each?
The hand has to have enough playing strength to push to the
four-level, yet didn't raise clubs immediately. With a preemptive
club raise available and with a natural 2 raise available, partner
can't have four clubs now, I think. That ought to mean he's 7-3
in the minors, as he'd bid (perhaps via a negative double) spades
with 4 the first time. Moreover, I think he shouldn't have three
very good spades, because he didn't bid 3 now. It seems to me
that he's a good bet for 2173 shape. He might be 2164 with crummy
clubs and OK diamonds, say xx x KJ10xxx xxxx. If our diamonds were
not so good, I'd think he has 6-4 more often, but we have the AQ.
Anyway, he's something like that.
Is anyone here going to figure out what that idiot was doing if
he had bid 3? I might now, but wouldn't've a couple of weeks ago.
Probably still wouldn't.
b) What now?
Something like x x Kxxxxxxx Qxx is enough to make game, but
opposite xx x Kxxxxx xxxx even 4 is too much (though better than
defending the cold 3 of course). At IMPs, partner rates to have
some values, and the upside of bidding game is big, so I will try 5.
At MPs, partner is more likely to be competing psychotically
for the partscore, so I'll bid only 4.
I bid 4. Yes I can't visualize the shape but
maybe 1-3-5-4 in abstract (tough with my holding 3 but who knows?)
4. 3 was a game try. My partner's not an idiot!
It looks like the opponents have a game and we probably can make ten or
eleven tricks with ten tricks more likely. It will usually be right to
play in partner's long diamond suit so I would bid 4 and be willing
for the auction to die there. If the opponents bid 4, I will bid 5
in case partner is 6-5.
do we play weak jump shifts is comp? [No. --Jeff] if so, I would
expect partner to make one with K 7th of D and 4 clubs, so I expect
he has 3 major suit losers (with Kx and K
he would have raised clubs the first time in some fashion.)
If we are not playing WJS in comp, then I would still expect partner
to raise clubs in some way the first time if he has only 2 cards in the
majors. Assuming partner is 6-4 then which suit will play better?
The defense will start by cashing their major suit winners, then tapping
partner. That makes it look pretty clear to play in diamonds so
I bid 4.
My first response was pass, but decided that he doesn't have heart
length for a trap pass and if he is looking at an opener with AQ,
he would have found a call on the previous round. I assume
this shows at least 6-4 in the minors, maybe 7-4, since with 5+ clubs
and a string of diamonds, I would have expected a club raise on the
first round. I'll bid 4, as I may have trouble getting to his hand
in clubs after heart-heart.
Since he could have two spades (or even two hearts), I'll bid 5.
If we can't make it, the odds are that it's a good save. 4NT might be
better, but I'd rather reserve that for hands that are 3-4 or 3-3 in
the minors. With 4-2, I'll take my own preference. (If I could arrange
to play clubs from partner's side, 4NT would have greater appeal)
I have a nervous feeling that he might have spades, but I don't
think I can afford to allow for that. Anyway, I think it is such
losing tactics to pass over 1 holding great spade length that
I'm willing to punish partner for doing it. At worst, he'll have to
play 5 (he knows I can't have very long clubs, and therefore
should not pass 5 if he doesn't hold the suit himself).
I seem to notice a lack of defense against 4. I just bid 4.
5 is possible, but almost surely down 1. I am prepared to bid
4NT if either opponent bids 4 (take THAT, partner!)
I will bid 4NT and let him pick his poison.
Here it's better to make the long trumps declarer. So I bid
4 and hope for the best.
4N. Show partner you can share the joke
I like to play that in the absence of agreement
strange bids are natural. So I assume pard thinks he can make
3NT. I have my bids, so I leave him there.
5, hoping I have a clue.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
wasn't there, but I think 4 is right.
- WINNING ACTION
4 or 4NT. Partner was underbidding a little the
first time with AQx J765432 QJx. Most would bid 2 immediately,
but I decided to hang in the bushes and try to show more of my hand
later. I chickened out and didn't bid 3, figuring that was recipe
for disaster, but if partner held KJ10x xxxx x AK10x, wouldn't
that sequence get us to a great 4? Most of the time, it'd get
me to some stupid contract (like 4 this time, as they railed 5-1),
so I only bid 3NT. Partner passed. -150. 5 is making. If partner
had chosen 4, I would have raised gently. (Sorry, no cueit's
another chance at disaster.)
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
This one was "partner got creative. Do you hang him?"
Most of the panel got it right. As a group, however, they didn't seem
very sure, so I think the 3 "master bid" would have been sure to blow
up in my face. In reality, 3NT blew up in my face. Next time, I'll
start with 2.
Which is an interesting point. I like the delayed bid. The more
they bid, the shorter partner is in hearts. If he doesn't hammer
them (they have to bid 4 for his double to be business, right?),
then it seems very safe for me to bid as high as the five-level.
Starting with 2 will never let me show clubs or spades, so I like
the slow route. And maybe I'll learn something that will tell me
to shut up. (E.g. LHO bids 1NT, partner passes, and RHO bids 2.)
In general, I'm not a big fan of the Al Roth "if I get through this
round" plan, but it seemed like it had a lot going for it this time.
No one agrees with me.
- both vul, you hold
AKJ10 A9x Axx K8x
Three passes to you.
1. The obvious choices are 1, 1 and 2N.
I'm a big fan of opening 1 on
good 4-baggers in 3rd and 4th chair, but only when I want to play in the
suit. Here, the structure of the high cards in the side suits might suggest
a suit contract, but that is more than made up for by the 4x3 shape.
With a moysian fit (or even some 4-4 fits) we will usually be better
off in NT. Also a 1 opening will often wrongside our NT contract.
That leaves it between 1 and 2N.
K&R likes the aces, and calls this
19.9, so many will judge it to be worth 2N. I don't think it's that
spectacular, so I'll settle for the pedestrian 1 bid, planning to bid
2N at my next turn.
1. No reason to get brilliant1 or 2NT might work but this hand
might play better from partner's side!
1, of course. You're trying to get me to open 2NT with a 19-count
again, aren't you? [I can't put anything by Dan! --Jeff]
I don't play Drury, so 1 works well; I can raise
partner's natural responses, and when she responds 1NT it actually
means something. If I'm saddled (albatrossed?) with Drury (or worse,
Double Drury) then I guess 2NT might even be right, but I sure hate
it with 4=3=3=3 shape and overwhelmingly suited texture.
1. This is a tradeoff between opening 1 and 2NT. 1 gives us the room
to bid more accurately as well as possibly stay lower but it allows the
opponents to get a bid in and also hear our bidding which should help
them on the opening lead. 2NT is slightly short on values but it could
be the tactical winner. Since this hand would probably be a good dummy
for any kind of distributional hand partner might have, I prefer to
start with 1.
2NT. Playing 20-21 I don't even consider this a
stretch because of the spade ten with 3 higher honors
and controls in all the suits. Granted the 4333 is a negative
but doesn't override the plusses. Besides, it might be
very important to get our heart game played from the
right side here.
I'll open 2NT and accept any suit slam invitation.
My 2NT range in this position is roughly 21-22, so I'm not inclined
to do that. Anyway, none of the best reasons to shade a 2NT
opening (to reach a good slam based on controls and fit, to preempt
the opponents, to ensure getting to game on a hand with good
trick-taking potential) applies here. If partner weren't a passed hand,
I might open 2NT because of my good controls. Here I'd open 1,
partly to be able to play spades from partner's side in some cases. I
could be persuaded that 1 is a better bid, hoping for the
continuation 1NT-3NT. I really don't think there is much to choose
among the three reasonable actions.
This hand could play VERY well in a 4-3 spade fit. At the risk of
wrong-siding 3NT, I open 1 and over partners 1NT, bid 2NT.
[I think 2NT goes up to about an average-minus
19-count, and I think this is at least a "pretty good" 19, so I think
I'd try 3NT (or 3 if 3NT shows long spades). But others
have different ranges. --Jeff]
2nd choice is
opening 2NT, 3rd 1.
1. Am I supposed to do something clever?
I don't have enough tricks for 3NT, so I simply bid 1.
1. You are 4333.
Possible bids are 2NT, 1, and I suppose 1. I don't see
any reason to bid 1 though. I'm very close to opening this
2NTI like my values but not my shape. So I'll open 1.
1, normal opening. Why not? If I should have done
something else, that's just bad luck.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
1. Partner raised to 2, I bid 3NT,
and he passed. 3NT wasn't hopeless, but failed a trick
when most of the cards were offside.
- WINNING ACTION
none. Partner has xxxx KJ Qxx Jxxx. The best
game is 3NT from partner's side, but I don't see a way to get
there. 4 is hopeless; spades are Q98x offside. Stopping
short of a vul game at IMPs with 26 HCP isn't an option.
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
This is another "do you get creative?" I did,
and I shall again. I think 1 has so much going for it that it's
a clear choice. Notrump should be played from partner's side.
If partner has Qxx and any doubleton, we probably want to be in
spades. The only likely loss as I see it is that 1 could get us
to spades from my side, which is also inferior. But it'll help
get us to the right strain a lot and get to the right side when
we are playing notrump nearly always.
I think Dan is mistaken about Drury in this case. Playing
Drury means that partner will bid 1NT more often than he
would otherwise. That's goodmy goal was to get him to
bid 1NT so that I could raise. My style is to raise to 3NT
as I have more than a poor 19, but some could raise to 2NT
showing a great 18 or any 19. Doesn't matter this time.
November 23rd, 2000