Two Problems from a Money Game
All problems at straight IMPs for money.
- both vul, you hold
AQx AKQxx 10xx xx
Partner opens 1NT (15-17).
What's your plan?
- ADAM, ED, JOEL, KENT, MIKE, ROBB, WALTER
2 followed by 4NT.
Mike mentions wanting a natural 3.
2-2-5NT pick a slam. Will settle
for but not clubs. This hand
equates closer to a slam drive than a Q4NT sequence to me.
Bid 2, then 4 (Gerber).
Subside in 4 or 4N if we don't have enough,
otherwise bid 6 or 6N.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
Transfer to hearts, then bid 3NT.
When partner bid 4, I cue bid 4.
- WINNING ACTION
Any agressive move, even my wimpy one;
partner had KJx xxxx AJx AKx and drove to slam.
The opening leader had KQx and led one, but he'd've
been endplayed anyway. Good 10!
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
Looks like I undervalued my hand.
calls it 16.45, which is just about where the
panel seems to evaluate it. I thought it was a
little less, a slam invitation if and only if
partner fits hearts. AKQxx causes there to be
enormous value in the 3rd heart or in Jx...the
problem with my approach is that I was never getting
to slam vs. Jx. Partner could have KJxx Jx AKxx Axx,
and slam is frigid. On a non-club lead, we even have
a small play for the grand.
On the other hand, with the actual cards, slam isn't great.
We have pretty much no wasted values (the J only), partner
should like his hand for slam (aces, 16 HCP, and four trumps)
and slam is still marginal. Without the 10, it'd be awful.
With the 9, it'd be pretty good.
- favorable, you hold
xxx Axxx K10xxx x
CHO|| RHO|| You|| LHO|
Pass||3NT|| All Pass|
OK, so you are a wimp for not doing
something in 3rd chair. Now what?
Looks like two camps. There are the A leaders who go "by the book,"
and the small diamond leaders who don't believe this time. First the
A. I expect LHO to hold AKQxxxx.
If RHO has a stiff club it doesn't rate
to matter what I lead but if the clubs run I want to try to beat it off the
top. A heart lead is wrong when declarer holds the K, the A, a spade
stopper, and no Q. Tough!
If I need to switch at trick 2 I don't rate to have a guess - spades will
only be right when partner holds AKQxx or so.
I am sure this position might equate to a gambling 3NT auction -- lead
A and shift to if necessary. If partner could see my hand this would
be good. But with Qxxx and AJx he might be forgiven for encouraging --
unless I lead the A really really slowly. I guess that is best.
nothing clear here, but I lead my ace and look around.
A 100, x 70.
A Maybe I'll know what to do at trick 2.
The diamond leaders either hope partner has a club trick or that
3NT was very unsound to start with.
Small diamond. I'm afraid A
(my second choice) will set up two tricks for declarer.
I'm leading diamonds. I think it's too much to lead hearts, or
the A from this hand. I'm definitely not leading spades or clubs. My
stiff club gives me hope that partner has something over the club suit,
and if we establish diamonds, my HA will seal the deal.
Presumably LHO has an outside card and RHO has a club filler and a max pass.
It is unclear whether we will need to beat this off the top at this point.
I can see both a diamond and a heart (the ace, too) blowing the ninth. Anything
could be right, but I can't see leading a black suit. The heart ace seems wrong and
a low one worse.
I'm going to start with a diamond, because if I chose a heart, I wouldn't
know whether to start with the ace or a low one.
I lead a small red card. With Bettie and John, it's a heart. With my other
partners, it's a diamond. [I wasn't playing with a Bettie or a John,
so I'm calling this a diamond vote. --Jeff]
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
Ed considers bidding. And goes for it!
If I bid it rates to be -300 or -500 in our best fit or -800 on a really
bad day or in our non-best fit (e.g., partner bids 4 over my 4 bid
with 4=3=4=2). Of course, some of the time we might be lucky and get a
plus score against 4NT or 5. If we assume that twe go for an average of
-400 80% of the time and get +100 20% of the time when we bid, then we
get the following:
Decision to Bid = +100 * .20 + -400 * .80 = -300
Decision to Pass = -600 * P3nt + 100 * (1 - P3nt)
where P3nt = probability of making 3NT
If they make 50% of the time, our expected value is -250.
If they make 60% of the time, our expected value is -320.
The breakeven percentage on our bidding occurs when they are 57% to make.
I don't have a strong feeling either way. It is probably right to play
double as a passed hand in front of the long suit means just what you
want it to mean with this hand, i.e., short clubs, tolerance for
defending or playing (ok, I suppose I could have more). The better the
team I'm playing against, the more I like double. I've got to do
something to keep partner from thinking I'm a wimp, don't I?
[Hmmm... I bet partner would bid 4 with his actual hand. I
don't remember the details, but I think we'd lose 1+1+3 or so.
...No, we'd not play 4. We'd defend 5. That's cold.
Ick...bidding works out very poorly. --Jeff]
5 for A, 5 for a diamond.
- WINNING ACTION
Heart. Partner has KQxxx and declarer
has 11 tricks off the top otherwise. This is the "book" lead,
of course, as just about every panelist knew. Half the panel
rejected it anyway.
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
I think either lead could work, but I'd
judge that there is no chance if we hit it wrong---I don't
buy the argument that if we give up two tricks it'll be
a big loss. I think that if we lead a diamond and declarer
has the A, he'll make upwards of 90% of the time. RHO isn't
an idiot; he knows that he needs aces to take side tricks. I'm
a convert. I like the A lead. I think my shortness in clubs
doesn't suggest a bad break for them; it suggests that clubs
are completely solid. In fact, they were; dummy had 8 totally
solid. My main reason for not leading a heart was that it's
often simply not going to be good enough; even if partner has
the KQ, we haven't beaten it unless he has five of them,
by no means sure. On the other hand, if he has AJ or AQ tight,
I'll really wish I had kept my entry if their diamonds are 3-3.
OK, I'm waffling, too. No one knows what to do!
March 11, 1999