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February 2021 - Solutions
What Would You Bid
 
February Solutions
 
 
 
We are now at the half-way point in our What Would You Bid competition and it is tightening in the race for the coveted title of “Best Bidder North and South of Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme Bridge Centre” as well as the first prize of one year’s membership.
 
This month, Mel Pelham was the only competitor who managed to get the perfect 40.  He had Dhun Daji on (37) and Adam Wiseberg (35) breathing down his neck.
 
At the half-way point, Peter Foster is still in pole position with 182, followed by Victor Ridding on 174 and Adam Wiseberg on 161. This is lining up to be a close race and if Mel keeps up his good efforts he might be the dark horse coming up from behind.
 
Of the Panelists, Michael Byrne and Raymond Semp managed to get the perfect 40. Once again, one of our panelists got the TD to the table.
 
As usual, I will give my more or less intelligent comments on the panelists’ explanations in italics.
 
Enjoy the experts’ answers and get ready for next month’s problems. If you have a hand that you think merits the experts’ judgment and thoughts, please drop me a line on Espen

 


Problem 1
 
Dealer: North
Vul: N/S
Pairs
 
West
North   
East    
South
1NT(1)
2♣ (2)
pass
?
(1) 15-17
(2) Both Majors
 
West
♠ Q972
 4
♦ AJ986
♣ K53
 

You have a 7 loser hand and a fit for one of partner’s majors, so you would have to be looking for at least a way to invite to game? Let’s look at those taking the low road to Scotland.

David Barton: 2♠  At this form of scoring, partner could be bidding on any old rubbish Kxxx KQxxx x xxx Does not pay to push for close games at this scoring.

Irving Blakey: 2♠  More tricky at IMP scoring - reward partner's adventurous bid by playing the wheels off the partial for a good score.

Alec Smalley: 2♠  Why punish partner, also if partner only has 4 (likely) 3♠  maybe too high.

You should no doubt end up in a playable contract! Now for the one and only going for the High Road.

Espen Lindqvist: 4♠  Could be too much, but an invite would put pressure on partner. Going for game. From the school of “First we bid the game, then we make the game”.

We also have a scientist in our midst.

Royce Alexander: 2NT Game try enquiry. Usual responses are 3♣ / = non min with longer  /♠ , 3 /♠ = minimum longer  /♠ , 3NT = max 5-5. Opposite a minimum, I’ll pass 3♠  or sign off in 3♠ . Opposite a non-minimum with 5 Spades and so a 9 card fit, I’ll bid 4♠ . Opposite a non-minimum with 4 Spades and so an 8 card fit, I’ll look who the opponents are and guess whether to bid 3♠  or 4♠ . Bidding the opponents’ as well as one’s own and partner’s cards. Good to know if one plays against Royce, and Royce lays off in 3 it’s a compliment!

Now to the majority going for the middle road.

Joy Blakey: 3♠  I think it's too good for 2♠  but unless partner is very distributional it's not good enough for 4♠ . This gives partner a chance to bid 4.

Michael Byrne: 3♠  This is a tough problem. In standard methods I can either bid some number of spades, or 2  (asking for the better major) then convert hearts to spades to invite game. (Or raise spades if he bids that). Here I think I want to protect my hand (have the lead come round to it) so I am going to plump for a straightforward 3♠ . At teams I might consider bidding game, but the singleton heart is not a huge asset (not when accompanied by only a 4-4 fit anyway) and a lot of my minor suit honours are not as useful as they might have been. I think 3♠  is the mainstream choice, though a few wild men will plump for 4♠  (and Dave Barton will bid 2♠ ).

Rhona Goldenfield: 3♠  Shows a 4 card spade suit and some values.

Rodney Lighton: 3♠  Partner should have around 9-15 points, a wide range. 3♠  about hits the middle of this range, the club king is a doubtful asset, but the hand may play well on a cross ruff or by setting up diamonds.

Raymond Semp: 3♠  Had South opened 1NT I would bid 4♠ . As North is the owner, I will settle for 3♠ .

Tom Slater: 3♠  May be right to bid more if the style is to compete only on good hands, but NV at pairs partner should be free to bid 2♣  on all sorts of rubbish. Don't hang them.

 

Finally, for our TD call:

 

Jeffrey Smith: Dbl You have the majority of points and this is the logical way to show this. This happens when you read the problem, but would not have happened at the table.

My favourite bid was not made by any panelist:

 

Competitor Adam Wiseberg: 2  You choose, I'll convert   to ♠  at the 2 level. It looks as if too many of my points aren't working so I think I need to try to stop my partner from getting too high.

 

This caters for David Barton’s partner who has come in on some odd rubbish as well as for the partner who now can show some real values.

 

Problem 1
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
3♠ 
10
6
19
2♠ 
6
3
3
2 
5
0
1
4♠ 
4
1
3
2NT
4
1
0
Dbl
0
1
0
 
 

Problem 2

 

Dealer:East
Vul: All 
Teams
West North East South
1♣  dbl
1♠  2  3♣  pass
?
 
West
♠ K10743
 76
 A8
♣ Q865
 
This problem split the panel into two groups, a minority giving up on 3NT and the ones who wanted to keep it as a possible end station.
 
David Barton: 4♣ . I am probably going to bid this over 3  and will help partner if they bid 4 . However, I would not be starting from here. Would have bid 2♠  at my first turn to show 5♠  and 4♣  with invitational values.
 
Rhona Goldenfield: 4♣  Showing an interest in going to 5 if partner has good controls.
 
Tom Slater: 4♣  Does partner have a good hand, or just competing with more clubs. Playing purely natural methods it's a bit of a guess and I guess to compete only. I don't want to wait for 3  or 3  to come back to me.
 
Jeffrey Smith: 4♣  There should be a play for 5♣  (or maybe 4♠ ) at least here. This should be a safer game than looking for 3NT.
 
Now for the majority.
 
Royce Alexander: 3  asking for a Heart stop. Partner has 6+ clubs. If partner has a Heart stopper/trick, 3NT may be cold or on a finesse. If partner does not have values in Hearts, 5♣  may make.
 
Irving Blakey: 3  Fish with a cue. Definitely worth another bid.
 
Joy Blakey: 3  I want to give partner the opportunity to play in 3NT; otherwise there's always a club contract.
 
Michael Byrne: 3  This has to be the right first manoeuvre on a hand clearly looking for game. Vul at teams we can't consider passing (sure, partner could have Q, QJx, KQ, KJ10xxxx and all games fail by at least 2 but he could also have xx, Kxx, Kx, AKJxxx giving us 9 top ones in 3NT) so the only question is what bid to make.  3  angles towards 3NT, as well as giving partner the chance to show support (at which point I can show club support). If he has a heart stopper then we have 8 tricks on top (surely the clubs are running) and partner's short suit rates to be spades, not hearts due to the absence of a raise. 
 
Rodney Lighton: 3  Just enough to go on here, though partner's 3♣  may be shaded. The ubiquitous cue bid should help us find 3N or 4S if partner has the right hand, otherwise we will likely end up in 5♣ .
 
Espen Lindqvist: 3  Partner has bid 3♣  freely, need to make a try towards game.
 
Raymond Semp: 3  With what I suspect is seven top tricks (maybe eight) I will risk trying for game and bid 3 
 
Alec Smalley: 3  Is 3♣  just competing or a good hand that would have bid 3♣  without the interference - it is good to have a method eg. 2NT to show a good hand first and 3♣  competitive. This doesn't answer the question though - whichever hand partner has I will bid 3  as a good raise in ♣  and see where this leads us - 3NT one off probably but who knows it may make.
 
3H makes sense to me. You might of course end up every now and then in 3NT going one off when 5♣ is on, but I believe that the opposite is more likely. If you do go down - just say ‘my fault partner’. I say that time and time again!
 
 
Problem 2
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
3 
10
8
10
4♣ 
6
4
7
5♣ 
3
0
4
Pass
1
0
5


Problem 3

Dealer: East
Vul: All
Team
West North East South
1♠  pass
2♣ (1) pass 3♠ (2)
?
(1) GF 12+ hcp
(2) Extras, Good suit
 
 
West
♠ 987
 J10
 AQ7
♣ AQ1097
 
With partner’s extras and a good suit, there must be a way to safely look for/invite to slam. The question is what is the best way?
Let’s start with what could be the least good way to go hunting for the slam.
 
Joy Blakey: 4NT I don't play a 2 over 1 system but it doesn't sound as if 4♠  would be in any way constructive.  I didn't know if 4  would indicate ♠  support so plumped for 4NT.
 
Tom Slater: 4NT Ok I gave up on the science here. If we are off two heart tricks in 6♠  they still have to lead one. Not with much conviction. 
 
Can the rest of the Panelists conjure up more enthusiasm?
 
Rodney Lighton: 4♣  3♠  shows a solid or semi-solid suit and sets trumps, a cue bid now doesn't promise extras.
 
Alec Smalley: 4♣  I haven't any extras to what I promised, so a case for 4♠  but partner still unlimited I'll bid 4♣  (a cue - not more clubs as that would be a 5♣ /3NT bid)
 
Jeffrey Smith: 4♣  Cue. You are too good for 4♠ . In this situation, your p should assume spades are agreed even though you are rebidding your suit. Makes sense to me, can the majority convince me?
 
Royce Alexander: 4  Cue bid. Partner has a good 6 card suit and about 6 losers/7 tricks. I have 3 card support, 7 losers, a good club suit, but 2 heart losers. Does partner have: AKQxxx Axx xx Kx, or AKJ10xxx KQJ Kx xx, or AKQxxx xxx KJ  Kx. We need to cue bid and see if partner has a Heart control. 4  is an unambiguous cue bid directing partner’s attention to Hearts. What about 4♣ ?  Is that a cue bid, or natural? I play it as a cue bid (only 1♠  2  3♠  4  being natural). Switch my red suits, and I’d cue bid 4♣  (hoping for 4  from partner, then 4  from me)
 
David Barton: 4  Cue bid. The real problem is what to do over 4 
 
Irving Blakey: 4  (4♣  may be misconstrued) Hoping to hear 4  - then RKCB.
 
Michael Byrne: 4  Cue bid. This was what I chose at the table, although it occurred to me that 4♣  might be correct. Having said that partner often infers something in clubs anyway and will probably bid either 4NT (we will show him key cards) or 4  (then we will ask for key cards) or 4♠  (when we will pass knowing of a heart control missing). Ideally, we want to be the one asking for key cards, as assuming we have all of them (likely) we will be best placed to bid 5NT and ask for kings, the ♣ King will be vital although the  King might do in practice.
 
Rhona Goldenfield: 4  Cue bid showing interest in slam.
 
Espen Lindqvist: 4  Control bid. Would bid 4♣  with an agreement that it's not natural.
 
Raymond Semp: 4  Seeking a 4  response, which, if is fourth-coming, followed by 4NT.
 
It’s the fare of how partner would read 4C that drives the majority to the 4  cue bid rather than 4♣ . Making life easy for partner doesn’t only pay off on that one hand, it also pays off in all subsequent hands as no extra effort or disharmony has been introduced.
 
Michael gave us this problem, and here is the tail:
 
Partner's hand was AKQJxxx, AK, xx, xx and over 4  he bid RKCB and forced to slam, stopping in 6 when his enquiry about kings yielded a negative response. The play was really neat - he won the heart lead and drew trumps (2-1) and then cashed the other top heart before playing a club to the queen - and claiming! Whether the club finesse wins or loses, the other hand was endplayed to lead back round into the dummy (or give a ruff and discard), nice and easy. 
 
 
Problem 3
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
4 
10
7
9
4♣ 
7
3
3
4NT
5
2
6
4♠ 
3
0
5
5♠ 
1
0
1
3 
0
0
2
 

 

Problem 4
Dealer: East
Vul: None
Pairs
West  
North  
East   
  South
1NT(1)
  pass
2♣  
pass
2  
pass
?
(1) 15-17
 
West
♠ K1064
 KQ10876
 3
♣ A4
 
You have found a 10- card fit, and have a 5 loser hand, so slam must be looked for. Any point in looking for another strain?
 
Irving Blakey: 2♠  Forcing and natural (unless other specialised methods are used to distinguish twixt 6/4 and 5/4 hands in response to 1NT). This potential slam may well need playing in the four-four fit.
 
Rhona Goldenfield: 2♠  Bidding other M after finding heart fit shows slam interest.
 
Tom Slater: 3♠  Generic slam interest in hearts. Prefer this to a 4  splinter on balance as the club cue or lack thereof may help a later decision. Obviously keycard to follow. Note that a direct 4NT here is quantitative with spades but not hearts.
 
Sounds like good arguments, to me, but will it introduce a bit of unnecessary muddle? Now to the majority who are happy with the denomination found.
 
David Barton: 4♣  Strange decision to start with 2♣  rather than 2  but seems to have worked out ok. Over 4 , I will bid 4  but a failure to cue improves the hand so I will move on with 4♠ . Strange it might be, but so is a splinter on a doubleton?
 
Now to the majority.
 
Royce Alexander: 4  Splinter -  I have 5 losers, we have a 10 card fit, and 27-29 points. There’s enough power to probably make a slam, but we might be missing 2 (or even 3!!!) aces. Some people might play 4NT as RKCB, but most experts now play it as quantitative. There’s a case for punting 6  and getting a helpful lead. I could bid 2♠  (F1 invitational+) to see if partner shows a minimum or maximum. But the 4  Splinter seems best. Partner will sign off with   KQJ. But partner will go on with  Ace  (unless it is QJ Jxxx AJx KQJx).
 
Joy Blakey: 4  Personally I don't bid Stayman with 6/4 hands preferring to make a transfer then bid S. If 2♠  were forcing over 2 , I may try that in case we have a 4/4 spade fit and a 6/4 H fit. However, as that information isn't available to me, I bid 4  as a splinter. Do you play it as forcing? Hope so - your regular partner does!
 
Michael Byrne: 4  I think that most experts have a gadget to agree hearts in this sequence (3♠  or some such) but in the absence of any machinery I shall plump for a straightforward splinter. Partner will probably bid 4  at which point I will bid RKCB anyway but doing so in the knowledge that we are on a firm footing. Why not bid 4NT over 2  I hear you ask? That would be quantitative, showing a balanced hand and inviting slam, a balanced 16-17 with 4 spades (and not 4 ) that could be passed. No doubt many of the less experienced members of the panel (and a lot of the bolder contestants) will choose this bid, but it is not correct, and they deserve to be passed out. 
 
Rodney Lighton: 4  I would like to bid 3 which I play as forcing with most partners, but I suspect that isn't Standard English, so I will describe the hand with the space consuming splinter.
 
Espen Lindqvist: 4  Splinter. Next bid more difficult if partner signs off.
 
Alec Smalley: 4  splinter 4+H - why I bid 2♣  is a bit beyond me, why not a transfer to  , then bid ♠ 
 
Jeffrey Smith: 4  The splinter shows the hand and ensures that the subsequent 4NT is RKCB (rather than an immediate 4N which many partnerships treat as quantitative)
 
No doubt most of us would start with a transfer to   followed by ♠ , but here we had not. I think the 2♠  bidders have a point, but it might be tough to get the 6-4 character across. The splinter bidders have a headache after a 4  response. The competitors of whom 10 went for 4NT have a lot to chew over on this hand. Michael has good points and I’m sure it would only take one pass for partner to get it sorted out.
 
 
Problem 4
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
4 
10
8
7
2♠ 
4
2
0
4♣ 
4
1
4
4NT
4
0
10
4 
1
0
5
5 
1
0
1
3♠  4 1 0

Summary 

 

Experts

 

Name
Problem 1
Problem 2
Problem 3
Problem 4
Total
Michael Byrne
3♠ 
3 
4 
4 
40
Raymond Semp
3♠ 
3 
4 
4 
40
Rodney Lighton
3♠ 
3 
4♣ 
4 
37
Joy Blakey
3♠ 
3 
4NT
4 
35
Royce Alexander
2NT
3 
4 
4 
34
Espen Lindqvist
4♠ 
3 
4 
4 
34
Alec Smalley
2♠ 
3 
4♣ 
4 
33
Irving Blakey
2♠ 
3 
4 
2♠ 
30
Rhona Goldenfield
3♠ 
4♣ 
4 
2♠ 
30
David Barton
2♠ 
4♣ 
4 
4♣ 
26
Jeffrey Smith
Dbl
4♣ 
4♣ 
4 
23
Tom Slater
3♠ 
4♣ 
4NT
3♠ 
25

 

Leaderboard February (Over 60% score)

 

Pos
Name
Score
1
Mel Pelham
40
2
Dhun Daji
37
3
Adam Wiseberg
35
4
Victor Ridding
34
Peter Foster
33
5
Boris Ewart
31
6
David Fussell
30
7
Richard Acaster
29
Rob Harris
29
9
Mary Green
27
George Leigh
27
Paul Beckwith
27
13
Andrea Knowles
26
14
Ian Hempstock
24

 

Leaderboard Overall (Over 60% score)

 

Position
Competitor
October
November
December
January
February
Total
1
Peter Foster
38
40
37
34
33
182
2
Victor Ridding
37
32
35
36
34
174
3
Adam Wiseberg
32
28
36
30
35
161
4
Dhun Daji
30
28
34
28
37
157
5
Ian Pendlebury
40
27
31
32
23
153
6
Mary Green
31
31
31
19
27
139
Rob Harris
29
27
30
24
29
139
David Fussell
24
30
23
32
30
139
9
Mel Pelham
0
32
28
38
40
138
10
Steven Mattinson
24
35
28
28
21
136
11
Barbara Lewis
24
30
36
20
23
133
12
Richard Acaster
29
31
18
24
29
131
13
Andrea Knowles
34
24
25
19
26
128
14
Liz Ineson
26
36
28
25
12
127
Joyce Jones
27
34
21
24
21
127
16
Eamonn Scott
20
35
31
22
18
126
17
Valerie Morgan
23
16
27
38
20
124