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April 2021 - Solutions
What Would You Bid
 
April Solutions
 
We have now concluded the 7th month of What Would You Bid and, from now, it is for the competitors to aim to replace their worst score with a better one to improve their standing.  Remember, it is the best 7 scores from 10 which count.
 
This month, Steve Mattinson and John Parsons managed to get the perfect 40, with Mary Green in 3rd place with 37.
 
Peter Foster is still in pole position overall with 243 points and a 30 to improve, with Victor Ridding in second place on 240 with a 32 to improve on.  In 3rd place, Dhun Daji has 223 with a 28 to improve on.
 
Of the Experts, only Joy Blakey achieved a full pot with 40 points.
 
The first of April’s problems was a brainchild of mine, whilst the other 3 were from the unpublished book ‘The Misbids of Espen Mole 65 3/4”
 
If you have a hand that you think merits the experts’ judgment and thoughts, please drop me a line on Espen.
 
My comments are in italics. 
 
 

Problem 1
 
Dealer: North
Vul: All
Team
 
South  
West   North    East 
 
1  1 
?
     
 
South
♠ KQ4
 8632
 K3
♣ 9865
 
This is my brainchild inspired by an encounter with Adam Wiseberg. This is what the system in use says about this situation:
 
"1.3 A double promises four cards in an unbid major suit – that is what you most want partner to bid. So, for example:
 
1 ♣  - 1 ♠ - dble Promises four hearts
1 ♦ - 1   - dble Promises exactly four spades
1 ♣ - 1   - 1 ♠ Shows five+ spades (as a double would show four)
1 ♣ - 1   - dble Shows four cards in both majors"
 
So, on the hand in question you would have to pretend to have a spade suit (double), pretend to have a heart stop (1NT), pretend not to have 8 hcp (pass) or give us a tool to fix what is rotten in the state of Denmark.
 
Pretending to have a heart stop:
 
Rodney Lighton: 1NT. A balanced hand with a heart ‘stop’. Too much to pass and lacking four spades for a take-out double, 1NT seems the best option.
 
Pretending not to have 8hcp:
 
Royce Alexander: Pass. This is why some experts play Dbl as showing LESS than 4.  Spades. Values for 1NT, but no Heart stop. Hoping partner bids 1N with   Kx. Knowing it’s bad but going with Hamlet and the ghost into the dark.
 
Raymond Semp: Pass. If partner cannot reopen then I am quite happy to defend.
 
Tom Slater: Pass. 60%. Very heavy for pass and it may only delay the problem. Could well be right to double. Dislike 1NT with such poor hearts.
 
Jeffrey Smith: Pass. Although you have 8 HCP, there is no really sensible bid available here.
 
Something MUST be wrong when you cannot bid with this hand as it is such a commonplace bread and butter situation!
 
Pretending to have a Spade suit:
 
David Barton: Dbl. If partner bids ♠ 's it will probably not be a disaster as we may well get home on a  /  cross ruff.
 
Irving Blakey: Dbl. The least of the evils. Without going into all the ‘whys and wherefores’, I would prefer not to be constrained by a system forcing me to hold four Spades for this bid. Anyway,I like partners who enjoy playing Moysian fits.
 
Joy Blakey: Dbl. I think this is a difficult hand. I haven't enough values for 1NT and if I pass and partner reopens with a x I would have to bid 2♣  which I don't like so whilst dbl shows 4♠ (not when I play with Irving) I think it is the best of the bids available. So, you know how to get out of the darkness, but are willing to lead us into the dark!
 
Michael Byrne: Dbl. This is a good sort of problem and showcases whether people have thought through what will happen. Holding KQ,K including a fitting honour in partner's suit, we must take sone action because if a big heart raise is coming we want to encourage partner to bid. Certainly, if you pass and the next hand bids 3 or 4 hearts then you are going to feel very guilty when partner passes slowly. 
 
1NT is sick and will often wrong side the eventual NT contract so the only choice is double. You might get away with pass, but it puts too much strain on partner in my view. The only downside of double is that partner will expect 4 cards in spades (in standard methods 1♠  shows 5) but that's something I can live with. Certainly, there are hands on which the only making game is 4♠ . 
 
Alec Smalley: Dbl. whatever I call will be a lie, Pass too many points, 1NT no H stop (and wrong sides it), 2♣ Ugh -too few ♣'s,  Dbl - only 3 Spades, however this looks the best lie if partner bids ♠ as the Moyesian fit looks like it will play very nicely.
 
A singular voice to guide us out of the darkness - but as Dr. Stockmann in Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’, he might declare himself the strongest man in town as he is able to stand alone:
 
Espen Lindqvist: 1♠. Here we should play either double or 1♠ to deny four spades. My agreement is 1♠ .
 
As I said, this was inspired from an encounter with Adam Wiseberg, where he used the double to deny 4. I had not come across it and told him so. He threw every expert in the Manchester area as well as the kitchen sink at me, so I investigated. For many of my contacts, it was a trip through their bridge history and down memory lane. And what I found out is that many top-flight players use this way out of the darkness:
 
1m - 1  - Dbl: 4 or 5 ♠  (opener bids 1♠  forcing with 3+ )
              1♠ : Max 3 ♠ 
              2 : 6♠ 
              2♠ : Other Minor
 
Whether you play Acol, 2 Over 1, SEF, BWS, Sayc or whatever, it surely must be sensible to have a way to distinguish between having or not having a  suit instead of using all the available space to distinguish between 4 or 5. Read Espen Lindqvist’s short answer again.
 
Problem 1
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
Dbl
10
5
6
Pass
8
4
5
1♠ 
8
1
0
1NT
7
1
15
 
 

Problem2

Dealer: North
Vul: None
Pairs
South West North East
1♠  pass
2♣  pass 2  pass
?  
 
South
♠ K
 QJ10
 97
♣ AQ109843
 
Many years ago, I read that the best thing to do when you have identified a misfit is to stop bidding. To pass on this hand would surely be taking things to an unthinkable level, but should we slow down or march on?
 
Let us start with the minority views:
 
Espen Lindqvist: 2NT. I do play 2/1 as forcing to game. Alternative is 3♣, but find this hand a little soft and if partner raises me to 3NT, I think that would likely be the best game. Thinking the hand too weak for 3.
 
Royce Alexander: 3NT. It's Pairs, the club suit may or may not come in. A new take on gambling NT?
 
The players seeing some dangerous bumps and wanting to slow down:
 
David Barton: 3♣. This is not a weak bid. The (potential) misfit suggests caution. Been around the block a few times!
 
Alec Smalley: 3♣. I don't wish to force to game with this by bidding 2H - if P passes then fine. Once bitten, twice shy!
 
Now to the overwhelming majority:
 
Irving Blakey: 2. Need to hear more.
 
Joy Blakey: 2. FSF
 
Michael Byrne: 2. A damp squib here I'm afraid, 3C wouldn't be forcing in Acol and I have enough to have a go at game. 3NT would be crude and simplistic (is partner supposed to remove it with a singleton heart?) and anything else passable. 
 
Rodney Lighton: 2. Easier playing two over one where 3C would be obvious, fourth suit should help us to find the best game 4S/3N/5C with intelligent co-operation from partner.
 
Raymond Semp: 2. What other possible bid is there?
 
Tom Slater: 2. 70%. A bad feeling about the hand but too much playing strength for a NF 3C in these methods.
 
Jeffrey Smith: 2 . Game values so bid fourth suit forcing to get further information.
 
That’s it. Partner had 10xxxxx, ♥. AK,  AQxxx, ♣ - and 3♣  was the last contract one could make on one’s own accord. 3NT could scramble home on bad defence. How we ended up in 6 clubs you’ll have to wait for my book to be published to find out about!
 
 
Problem 2
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
2 
10
7
12
3♣ 
8
2
6
3NT
7
1
5
2NT
7
1
1
4♣ 
1
0
1
3 
1
0
1

 

 


Problem 3

 

Dealer: North
Vul: E/W
Pairs
South West North East
    1  pass
1♠  pass 3  pass
3♠  pass 4♠  pass
?      
 
South
♠ KQ108743
 -
 KQ7
♣ A86
 
When this hand was played, only one pair reached and made a slam, and of course it was against me. Two questions: Is a grand likely? If so, what’s the best way forward? If not, any reasons to foot about?
 
We start with the bid that was made at the table:
 
Royce Alexander: 6♠ . partner's 3 - 6 - ? - ? without a minor ace to cue bid. Cold opposite Axx AKxxxx xx xx, and good opposite AJx AQJ10xx Jx Jx, and partner will be better than that. Partner only had two spades, but it was Ax.
 
Will it help you to know how many aces partner has when you have a void? These panelists think so:
 
David Barton: 4NT. I would not be starting from here as I would have bid 2♠  at my first turn. Partner has apparently denied  Ace and ♣ King so must have ♠ Ace and excellent . I can bid 5NT if partner does show 3 controls. I am going to guess to bid 6NT if he shows 2.
 
Espen Lindqvist: 4NT. Don’t have a way to ask for aces excluding hearts here. Opposite two key cards I'll settle for six. If partner has three, I make a move towards seven.
 
As pointed out by Royce - can partner have 3 controls? If so, what happened to the 4 cue bid?
 
Now to the majority:
 
Irving Blakey: 5♣. What else?
 
Joy Blakey: 5♣. Cue, interested in slam.
 
Michael Byrne: 5♣. Recall seeing this hand before and I think it is as obvious to bid on now as I thought it was then. There is little point in Blackwood when holding a void and we have to do something when a grand slam might be on (AJ, AQJxxx, Ax, xxx) so 5C it is. In practice, stopping in 6 will be enough as partner would surely have cue bid himself with a hand where 7 was good. 
 
Rodney Lighton: 5♣. Blackwood with a void is a no-no, so initiate a cue bidding sequence.
 
Raymond Semp; 5♣. Again, what else is one expected to bid. If partner bids 5 I bid 6. If partner has solid hearts AND the ♠ Ace he will bid 7♠ and I will convert to 7NT. With 15 or 16 tricks! if partner bids 5 I sign off in 5♠ and leave it to partner to bid 6♠ with the ♠ Ace
 
Tom Slater: 5♣. 90%. No guarantees here whatever we do. I am forcing to slam possibly off two aces over a 5 response. Over 5 we still have a grand in the
picture.
 
Alec Smalley: 5♣. Toyed with 6♠ and 5♠ but I think 5♣ the best as it may deter ♣ lead and partner’s response will be very revealing. It will be, for the opposition too!
 
Jeffrey Smith: 5♣. Cue bid as slam is likely but the void in hearts is a bad sign. This also shows a hand where rkcb is unsuitable (with  void) without 2 losers in a suit so partner can judge accordingly.
 
As pointed out by Royce Alexander - partner is unlikely to have the  Ace so 7 is highly unlikely at the same time as partner can hardly have a hand where there is no play for a small slam. Alec Smalley points out that partner’s response to 5 will be revealing. It will be and it will tell the opponents what to lead too, enabling them to find the killing lead if there is one. Partner’s hand was  A9, ♥ AKQJ97, 105,  J42 and the spade suit split 2-2. Without a diamond lead 13 tricks was there for the taking.
 
Problem 3
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
5♣ 
10
8
14
4NT
6
2
10
6♠ 
6
1
1
Pass
1
0
1
 

Problem 4
Dealer: East
Vul: All
Teams
South 
West North East
pass
pass 2  dbl 3 
?  
 
South
♠ 8742
 K75
 AJ
♣ K542
 
You have a spade suit that looks like the leftovers from a suit given to a grizzly for breakfast, but it is 11 hcp. Are you Homo Sapiens or Mouse?
 
We have the mouse section first:
 
Raymond Semp: 3♠. If partner is declarer, I only have eight working points and I doubt we can make 3NT unless partner bids it.
 
Alec Smalley: 3♠. It is a free bid and I only have a working 8 count.
 
The Inbetweeners:
 
David Barton: Dbl. By far the most difficult question of the set. X suggests not 4♠ and may wrong side the contract. 3♠ could be very silly if partner has only 3. 3NT could be going off with 4♠ making. I have a sneaking regard for Pass expecting partner to X again and I will Pass for penalties.
 
Irving Blakey: Dbl. (and hope for the best!).
 
Michael Byrne: Dbl. Responsive double to show values and get partner to bid. I can't bring myself to bid this spade suit which has no redeeming features and could lead to a daft contract, when partner passes with only 3 spades and Ax hearts. 
 
Let’s hear what the majority, who are willing to run off with the grizzlies’ leftovers, have to say in their defence:
 
Royce Alexander: 4♠. better played by me rather than Heart through King. Considered Dbl and 3NT.
 
Joy Blakey: 4♠. Another difficult hand. X would show values; 3NT with a  stopper?? Anyway, hopefully Partner has 4+♠ .
 
Rodney Lighton: 4♠. At teams bid your games and try to make them; this one is quite pushy but the alternative of a responsive double would lead to a murky auction and possibly wrong siding the contract.
 
Espen Lindqvist: 4♠. Partner has made a take-out double against a passed hand. Although the king of hearts isn’t the best card, I feel I have to bid game.
 
Tom Slater: 4♠. 90%. Doing less seems a poor choice. Partner saw us pass in second when some of the field would have opened. Hopefully, they lead  Ace.
 
Jeffrey Smith: 4♠. The  King is doubtful value but a little good for 3♠ .
 
I bid as the majority did at the table, and partner converted to 5 clubs making. She was not too happy with my 4S, and after a friendly discussion we agreed that dbl would be the better bid - it also keeps open the possibility of ending up in 3 NT.
 
Problem 4
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
4 
10
6
9
Dbl
8
3
3
3♠ 
6
2
14
 

Summary 

Experts

 

Name
Problem 1
Problem 2
Problem 3
Problem 4
Total
Joy Blakey
Dbl
2 
5♣ 
4♠ 
40
Irving Blakey
Dbl
2 
5♣ 
Dbl
38
Michael Byrne
Dbl
2 
5♣ 
Dbl
38
Tom Slater
Pass
2 
5
4♠ 
38
Jeffrey Smith
Pass
2 
5♣ 
4♠ 
38
Rodney Lighton
1NT
2 
5♣ 
4♠ 
37
Raymond Semp
Pass
2 
5♣ 
3♠ 
34
Alec Smalley
Dbl
3♣ 
5♣ 
3♠ 
34
David Barton
Dbl
3♣ 
4NT
Dbl
32
Royce Alexander
Pass
3NT
6♠ 
4♠ 
31
Espen Lindqvist
1♠ 
2NT
4NT
4♠ 
31

 

Leaderboard March (Over 60% score)

 

Place
Competitors
Sum
1
Steven Mattinson
40
John Parsons
40
3
Mary Green
37
4
Ian Pendlebury
36
5
Francis William Wetton
34
Kathy Priestley
34
Andrea Knowles
34
Gerard Keary
34
9
Victor Ridding
33
Barbara Lewis
33
Michael Greaney
33
Richard Acaster
33
David Fussell
33
Mel Pelham
33
15
Dhun Daji
32
Joyce Jones
32
Rob Harris
32
18
Peter Foster
31
Adam Wiseberg
30
Geoff Ashcroft
30
21
Eamonn Scott
29
22
Millie Lang
27
23
Valerie Morgan
26
24
Heather Saunders
24

 

Leaderboard Overall (Over 100 points)

 

Pos
Competitor
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Top 7
Lowest
1
Peter Foster
38
40
37
34
33
30
31
243
30
2
Victor Ridding
37
32
35
36
34
33
33
240
32
3
Dhun Daji
30
28
34
28
37
34
32
223
28
4
Ian Pendlebury
40
27
31
32
23
30
36
219
23
5
Steven Mattinson
24
35
28
28
21
36
40
212
21
Mary Green
31
31
31
19
27
36
37
212
19
7
Adam Wiseberg
32
28
36
30
35
17
30
208
17
8
David Fussell
24
30
23
32
30
32
33
204
23
9
Barbara Lewis
24
30
36
20
23
30
33
196
20
Rob Harris
29
27
30
24
29
25
32
196
24
Mel Pelham
0
32
28
38
40
25
33
196
0
12
Richard Acaster
29
31
18
24
29
27
33
191
18
13
Joyce Jones
27
34
21
24
21
29
32
188
21
14
Michael Greaney
27
25
21
32
14
32
33
184
14
15
Andrea Knowles
34
24
25
19
26
21
34
183
19
16
Geoff Ashcroft
28
24
23
22
18
36
30
181
18
17
Eamonn Scott
20
35
31
22
18
21
29
176
18
18
Valerie Morgan
23
16
27
38
20
21
26
171
16
19
Paul Beckwith
0
30
32
29
27
27
22
167
0
20
Heather Saunders
26
27
27
32
0
27
24
163
0
21
Liz Ineson
26
36
28
25
12
15
20
162
12
22
Ann Thornton
31
27
34
19
0
23
0
134
0
23
Millie Lang
22
25
18
28
17
23
0
133
0
24
Francis William Wetton
10
31
25
0
21
0
34
121
0
25
Gerard Keary
0
34
0
22
0
28
34
118
0
26
Paul Worswick
35
27
29
25
0
0
0
116
0
27
Ian Hempstock
23
30
26
11
24
0
0
114
0