Today's Panelists: David Weiss, Barry Rigal, Mike Shuster, David Caprera, John Jones, Ed Davis, Jeff Blond, Mark Bartusek, Dan Molochko
Dbl showed a 4-card major and a longer minor
We have to ask why East directed a heart return. He knew that [Because he's an idiot? Because he knows his partner should know enough that his card is irrelevant? --Jeff] this was a dangerous play. It seems likely that if he held the club marriage, he would have requested a club. True, East can infer that declarer has at most one club, but still the heart is dangerous. Without the club K and Q, East needs the diamond queen to have his opening. So finesse and claim.
On my construction, the hand can always be made. If West returns a club, South can win, pitching a heart, hook the diamond (drawing West's last trump) and pitch dummy's small heart on a spade. Then a heart ruff is the tenth trick. I might have followed this line even on a club return, because I couldn't be certain East had both honors.
[Bingo! We have a winner. This is why you should finesse
Assuming West either has a 2-5-1-5 shape or a 2-5-2-4 shape
And why did East signal with the
I am going to play to finesse; I'll trust East more than West and assume he
is missing a club honor thus has the
Some thought about the bidding and the lead, but figured the defense was just stupid. There are conflicting clues.
RHO's spade suit preference signal indicates that he doesn't own
RHO's bidding indicates that he's not 4=3=3=3. That makes him
LHO led a spade when (one would think) a heart or a trump would be
preferable. Leading a spade is consistent with no
Out of this morass, I pick the bidding inference as the most weighty. Righty's 4=3=2=4.
By the way, next time please wake me up when it's my turn so I can
The mathematical approach appears to be a flip a coin 50-50.
We know spades to be 4-2 and assume hearts to be 3-5. But we also
know all the small diamonds (assuming that the opponents can
tell the 10 is a small card). That appears to be 9-9
and an equal shot at the
Regardless, this is one of the few types of play problems in which a vote is reasonable. Lots of conflicting clues make a guess interesting. Only if the opponents are good players does the above idea demand attention, and, of course, Zia was elsewhere.
a) what do you bid at IMPs?
b) what if it were matchpoints?
The middle road:
Finally, the high road:
Some of each:
b) The same considerations apply as above. The one difference is that I would
be more likely to bid
All in all, bidding
I was clearly too hard on partner, though. Some very good
players chose to bid
Opening lead is the
A club return is more awkward. I win that and play the heart king. Assuming they cover, I ruff and play a diamond to the board. I have to hope the third club, as well as the heart winner, survive before I take the spade finesse to make the contract.
This line wins if West has the heart jack, or if East has the heart ace and spade king and the distribution is friendly. If West worked out to duck the heart ace when the spade hook was on, I'll have to congratulate him.
Heart to King winning
Decide whether to throw West in with Heart Ace, drop spade King offside, or take spade hook.
This is a fun hand. Draw trumps or don't? Heart to the King or ten? I
know that the heart Ace is likely offside, but most of the time the
This is another play problem amenable to polling. Several
general approaches are reasonable. Which to take depends
on mostly psychological factors. Will an early heart up
cause LHO to divulge the location of the
System is 2/1 game forcing unless responder
rebids his suit, so 2NT is artificial and game
forcing. E/W play Flannery, which can be 4-6
with a minimum; they tend not to respond
What are West's likely (possible?) shapes? Give an example hand.
From what I glean about the methods, West had to explore the
possibility that East had 4 spades even though he bid 2NT. But West could
If West has
In any case, how about
Partner should be 4-6-2-1 with good diamonds and top honors in the majors.
There is also a small chance he is 4-6-3-0 with 3 small diamonds (with
reasonable diamonds he would bid
The auction is not symmetric with regard to spades and clubs; West's
I have only one strong feeling about the hand and
the possibilities offered: I think it cannot have
three diamonds. With a good hand and diamond support,
raise (somehow) immediately. With a crappy hand and diamond
support, either bid
(Goren: 5+ card suit, not necessarily to two of the top three honors, but not awful. Values worth an ace and a king.)
My auctions given the Goren responses (which don't seem to be defined very precisely given the examples East's spade queen and club jack on the second hand are hardly equivalent to an ace). [Ace-seventh makes up for it. That's more than just an ace. --Jeff]
West 95%, East 5%
[Blame: ] West 75% that little since I think 25% of the time you'd miss the slam even on sensible bidding so onlyh 75% is up for grabs.
[Opener 100% each time.]
[That'll work most of the time. The
one bad case is when partner has
Playing Goren, these hands should be easy. Every system has to win sometimes.
These two hands were not grouped together randomly.
The issue in each of them is "how does opener count
13 tricks?" Even in standard methods, opener doesn't
have a way to find out about extra trump length in
responder's hand. Normally, the
There's another issue, of course, that I'm assuming.
"How much extra does responder have given that he's
made a positive response." These are Marshall's
idiosyncratic methods, described to me as "a reasonable
5-card suit, not necessarily with two of the top three
honors, and the equivalent values of an ace and a king."
Of course, when you play someone else's system, he gets
to decide what terms like "equivalent values" mean.
Hah. Fortunately, that was almost exactly Goren's
definition of a positive response to a strong two, so
I defined the methods as "Goren" in this problem.
As far as I'm concerned, that means KJ10xx and a side
ace is plenty; still, responder doesn't have extras on
the first hand until he catches support, at which point,
his sixth club is a full trick and he needs to show it.
I don't have trouble with key card here; it's not unlikely
that responder will be able to count 13 tricks afterward.
Maybe that's best; one doesn't have to trust partner's judgment,
which, as we can see from the first hand, might not work out.
After a couple of weeks of reflection, despite the fact that
I prefer good natural auctions, I think I'm with Ed on this
one; key card by responder will solve the problem so often
with minimal chance of disaster that it has to be better than
to hope partner works out we have extra diamonds when we bid