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May 2021 - Solutions
What Would You Bid
 
May Solutions
 

We are now closing in on the final few rounds of our 10-month long bidding competition. This month, none of the competitors managed to achieve a full pot. Michael Greaney and John Parsons came top of the pile with 38 points, Dhun Daji in third place with 35.

In the overall competition, Peter Foster is still in the lead with 243 out of a maximum of 280: an impressive 86.8%. Victor Ridding, in second place, cut the lead by one point and now stands on 241, and Dhun Daji is in third spot with 230. As there are two more rounds remaining, and it’s the top 7 scores that count, it is still all to play for: any one of the top 10 can win the competition if they finish off with a perfect 80 points.

My comments will be in italics. Hope you enjoy and maybe even learn a little.

 

 

Problem 1
 
Dealer: West
Vul: None
Pairs
 
South  
West   North    East 
 Pass
Pass 1 
?
     
 
South
♠ KQJ3
 A2
 109
♣ A10832
 

We have the points, but do we a suit to bid or the shape to double? It is pairs too, so what is the best bid or should we say the least of evils? First, we have the panelists opting to sit tight.

Joy Blakey: Pass. I don't have a problem playing with Irving as I can bid 2♠ showing 4♠, 5+ minor and opening values. However, I don't want to bid 2♣  with such a poor suit and I don't like dbl with only 2. I could bid 1♠  but prefer to see how the bidding develops.

Rodney Lighton: Pass. There are hands that I would overcall at the 2 level on a 5-card suit but I would need a much better suit than this.

Let’s see if the bidders can convince us, starting with the take-out double without a  suit:

Rhona Goldenfield: Dbl. Nothing is perfect but don’t like bidding that club suit at the 2 level.

Alan Jones: Dbl.

Not too much to tickle our imagination. What about the 2 bidders?

Royce Alexander: 2♣. This is a good 14 count, too good to pass. I do not want to overcall 1♠ on this 4 card suit with nothing to stop me being forced repeatedly in Diamonds. The Club suit is poor, but 2♣ is the best option. I may get the opportunity to follow with a 2♠ bid. Sounds like good reasons to me.

Irving Blakey: 2♣. The least of the evils.

Now let us see what the majority have to say in their defence:

David Barton: 1S. I feel I have to do something. 2C on a moth eaten 5 card suit is horrible and you will be badly placed if you double and partner responds in Hearts (don't they always?) So, while I am not a fan of 4 card overcalls, at least partner will find the right lead.

Michael Byrne: 1♠. I am prepared to be out on my own and receive a low grading, but the canape overcall has worked well for me over the years. 2♣ is grizzly and I lack the 3rd heart necessary for a double, and the values required for an overcall of 1NT. I am left with 1♠ which will work fine most of the time and at least lead us to being in the auction.

Espen Lindqvist: 1♠. Normally don’t like to overcall on four-card suits. Pass is timid and I prefer 1♠ over 2♣. Might play decent on a 4-3 fit this one.

Raymond Semp: 1♠ My first choice is Pass but depending on the state of the match I am playing - a very reluctant 1♠.

Tom Slater:1♠  50%. Anything out of 1♠, 2♣ or Pass could work. Normally it is right to stretch to bid at pairs, and the club suit is very poor for a 2-level overcall.

Alec Smalley: 1♠. Pass is a viable option and come in later with a dbl which now doesn't show tolerance for both majors and when partner bids  removing to ♠ will get the message across. However, I want to get in quickly in case I don't get another chance and so I'll fib a little about the ♠.

Jeffrey Smith: 1♠. The alternatives of Dbl, 2♣or pass all have bigger downsides and we would be happy with a spade lead if we end up defending.

This problem reminds me of a hand I held not too long ago. After 4 boards in a row with nothing but twos and nines, I finally had AQxx, J9, K10x, Q10xx and righty opened 1 in second hand. Against my better judgement and to fend of my boredom and loss of will to live I bid 1 - it did not end well!

 

Problem 1
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
1♠ 
10
7
7
2♣ 
8
2
9
Pass
7
2
6
Dbl
5
2
7
2 
1
0
1
3♣ 
1
0
1

 

 


Problem 2

Dealer: South
Vul: None
Pairs
South West North East
?  
 
South
♠ K1093
 QJ108753
 9
♣ Q
 

How weak can you be for a 1 level opening? Do you pre-empt in one suit with 4 cards in the other major? Or do you shut up and wait to see what will happen? This might be just as much about personality as it is about bridge.   Most of our competitors thought that the last option was the best. Let’s hear what the supporting panelists have to say:

Rhona Goldenfield: Pass. And hope - opening 4 could be the right bid.

Tom Slater: Pass. 100%. It is almost always wrong to pre-empt in one major with such a good holding in the other.

The rest of the panel wants to bid. Let’s look at them in descending order.

Rodney Lighton: 4. First in hand NV is one of the best positions for pre-empting. This hand has lots of playing strength and not much defence.

Espen Lindqvist: 4. A bit aggressive but feel I have too much playing strength for 3. Would be better if spades were substituted for a minor.

Irving Blakey: 3. Who knows? It might be ours, it might be theirs! I generally would bid 4 rather than 3 with a 7411, but the Spade holding tempted me to be (unusually?) cautious.

Michael Byrne: 3. This time I will sacrifice my principles and bid one lower than I should in order to attract mainstream appeal. I did originally hold the hand and opened 4 but that was at teams’ bridge, where going for a few 50s is no disaster. At pairs, I am going to try to be a bit sounder and hit the nail on the head. The holding of 4 strong spades suggests I pass, but I couldn't bring myself to let them have a free ride when I am 7-4, even if I do have the other major sewn up.

Jeffrey Smith: 3. Far from ideal given the strong 4cd spade suit, but this looks best - if the 3♠ was a club or diamond, then it would be entirely normal opener.

David. Barton: 2. Even if you have a ♠  fit these hands generally play better in your long suit.

Alan Jones: 2.

Now to the plurality of the Panel who regard this hand as good enough for a 1 level opening bid.

Royce Alexander: 1. Because the 4 card side-suit is a major, a pre-empt of 4H or 3H is not recommended, because partner will occasionally hold Axxxx Spades and a singleton Heart. Also, opponents are unlikely to make 4♠ , so what are we pre-empting them out of, 5♣ , 5 , 3NT? So, do we Pass?
Well, it’s only 8 HCP but has excellent playing strength with 6 losers. HCP 8 + 2 longest suits 7+4 = 19, so it qualifies as a “Rule of 19” 1-level opener. So open 1 , and hope partner can show spades or maybe raise hearts.

Joy Blakey: 1. A 6 loser hand and I don't like to pre-empt in one Major with 4 cards in the other.

Raymond Semp: 1.  I have had worse opening bids.

Alec Smalley: 1 . In a problem, but at the table who knows. It is a 6 loser hand which is better than almost all weak NT's. There are many downsides to 2/3 and my second choice maybe 4.

This problem reminds me of the hand partner had when I opened 1 in problem 1: Txxx, AQxxxxx, xx, - and due to having ‘the other major’ decided to pass. 4 spades was a dead duck contract, whilst 4  was a make. I think that the fair of missing a 4-4 fit in spades is an illusion as the 7 card suit more often than not will be just as good a place to play. Had it not been for the rules that the Plurality bid gets 10 points, the supreme court would have downgraded it and upgraded 4.

 

Problem 2
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
1 
10
4
9
3 
8
3
4
4 
8
2
1
Pass
6
2
15
2 
5
2
1
1♠ 
1
0
1

 

 


Problem 3

 

Dealer: North
Vul: All
Teams
 
South West North East
    1  pass
1  pass 2  pass
?      
 
South
♠ AJ10
 K10765
 5
♣ AKQ8
 
We are definitely investigating slam here, but what is the best path to walk along? First, the one not to walk.

Alan Jones: 2♣. Director!

We have one voice for the splintering road.

Espen Lindqvist: 4. Like that 3 here shows shortness and 4 to promise a void. But without that agreement 4 as a splinter is just fine.

Now the road via adding an extra spade into the hand.

Irving Blakey: 2♠. Presumably long suit trial- the response should give clarification of how best to proceed.

Rhona Goldenfield: 2♠. Too good to bid 4. No arguing with that!

Rodney Lighton: 2♠. We must be close to a slam.  I will make what is ostensibly a game try and if partner rejects that with 3 make a further try with 4♣.

Then we have, as always, the RKCB cohort - the competitors’ most popular choice.

Royce Alexander: 4NT. RKCB. This is a 5-loser hand opposite partner’s presumed 7-loser hand, we have an 8 or probably 9 card fit, so there should be enough power for 6. Check in case opener has 0 aces (KQx QJxx KQJxx x), otherwise bid 6.

Joy Blakey: 4NT. A  slam is looking promising.

Jeffrey Smith: 4NT. If partner shows 2 key cards, then ask for QT and look for Grand according to the reply.

Looks to me like 4 NT has a lot going for it. Can the plurality of the panel convince us otherwise?

David Barton: 3♣. and follow it up with 3/4 ♠ on the next round. Do not want to be in slam unless partner cooperates.

Michael Byrne: 3♣. I intend to start asking for aces, but our first priority must be to find out whether partner is maximum or minimum. A game try asks partner to bid 4 or 3 depending on strength, and only if he is in the middle does he look at his holding in the suit I'm bidding. A jump to 4NT would be wild, a jump to 4  would be timid, so I am left with this. (This is another hand from an OCBL competition, slam was cold with partner having a suitable minimum, something like xxx, Axxx, AKxx, Jx, in fact 13 tricks were made at both tables).

Raymond Semp: 3♣. Don't see the problem.

Tom Slater: 3♣. 90%. There are some 1-3-5-4 hands which belong in a club slam at teams. 4 splinter would be my second choice but should really have no alternative strain. 4NT RKCB a distant third

Alec Smalley: 3♣. A sound case for going to 4NT straight away but would like to see what P has to say and define their shape which may help get us to 7 with the correct controls.

 

Problem 3
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
3♣ 
10
5
6
2♠ 
8
3
3
4NT
6
3
15
4 
4
1
2
3♠ 
2
0
3
5 
1
0
1
4♣ 
1
0
1
3 
1
0
0
2♣ 
0
1
0

 

 


Problem 4
Dealer: North
Vul: All
Teams
 
South    
West    North    East
1♣  1♠ 
?  
 
South
♠ AK54
 1075
 KQ743
♣ J
 

When we discussed this problem, one suggestion was to have a 1  overcall, as perhaps the 1 overcall would make it too easy - it was the call made at the table. The prediction was that the panel would be unanimous - luckily they were not - whilst the competitors would find a lot of bids - and they did. So, this should be one to study what the panelists are saying!

Alan Jones: 2 NT.

Raymond Semp: 3 . Again, what else? We can only assume that you play 2 as non-forcing?

Now to the rest of the panel.

Royce Alexander: 2  Do we pass, hope partner reopens with a Double, pass again and hope for 1♠* -3 for +800? Or do we bid 2 and probably head towards 3NT for +600 or 630? Is 3NT definitely making? Probably. Is 1♠ making 4 tricks? Don’t know. Is partner re-opening? Probably. Are we making 6? Certainly, LHO has virtually nothing and the singleton ♣ Jack lead looks attractive. But I usually bid in these situations at the 1–level, so I will bid 2.

David Barton: 2. There is no rush to bid 3NT. Partner could hold say xx x Axxx AKQxxx and you go down in 3NT with 6 cold. Anyway, the more confident you sound when you bid 3NT the more likely it is that LHO will try his luck with his  suit.

Irving Blakey: 2. No rush.

Joy Blakey: 2. Natural and forcing.

Michael Byrne: 2. Nice to include an easy one to let everyone score 10 points. No doubt the competitors are wondering "what's the problem" and for once I agree with them. I can't think of any other call to be honest, 2 is natural and forcing for one round and gets the job done. Your bidding, as always is sound, the predictions less so as a majority of the competitors found another bid.

Rhona Goldenfield: 2. Alternative is Pass and wait for partner to reopen with a X.

Rodney Lighton: 2. Natural and forcing. I have sat and stared at this problem and still thought of no alternative. Hope it has not damaged your eyesight!

Espen Lindqvist: 2. Natural and forcing.

Tom Slater: 2. 90%. OK I'm ready to hear the story about how we passed and took 500 when 3NT couldn't be made. But I'm not sure I agree with it.

Alec Smalley: 2. All roads look to lead to 3NT but blindly bidding it now falls foul of missing a diamond slam and maybe going off in 3NT when partner has no heart stop.

Jeffrey Smith: 2. The alternative of a 3NT bid would be reasonable at pairs.

Even if the panel is close to unanimous, two other options have been given some credence - trap pass or a blunt 3NT - the latter is what was bid at the table, but I have not been told if it was a success or not. I feel the danger of losing a  slam when 3NT is going down is a good point made by David Barton.  If you do use 2 here as non-forcing - reconsider or do as Raymond Semp did and bid 3.

 

Problem 4
Points
#Panelists
#Competitors
2 
10
11
15
3NT
6
0
9
2♠ 
5
0
3
2NT
4
1
1
3 
4
1
0
Pass
1
0
1
Dbl
1
0
1
1NT
1
0
1

 

 
 

Summary 

 

Experts

 

Name
Problem 1
Problem 2
Problem 3
Problem 4
Total
Alec Smalley
1♠ 
1 
3♣ 
2 
40
Michael Byrne
1♠ 
3 
3♣ 
2 
38
Tom Slater
1♠ 
Pass
3♣ 
2 
36
David Barton
1♠ 
2  
3♣ 
2 
30
Jeffrey Smith
1♠ 
3 
4NT
2 
35
Royce Alexander
2♣ 
1 
4NT
2 
34
Raymond Semp
1♠ 
1 
3♣ 
3 
34
Irving Blakey
2♣ 
3 
2♠ 
2 
34
Joy Blakey
Pass
1 
4NT
2 
33
Rodney Lighton
Pass
4 
2♠ 
2 
33
Espen Lindqvist
1♠ 
4 
4 
2 
32
Rhona Goldenfield
Dbl
Pass
2♠ 
2 
29
Alan Jones
Dbl
2 
2♣ 
2NT
14

 

Leaderboard March (Over 60% score)

 

Place
Competitors
Sum
1
Michael Greaney
38
John Parsons
38
3
Dhun Daji
35
4
Liz Ineson
34
5
Victor Ridding
33
Mary Green
33
Joyce Jones
33
8
Richard Acaster
32
John Houlker
32
10
Ian Pendlebury
30
Denise Pthyian
30
Gil Fletcher
30
13
Peter Foster
29
Francis William Wetton
29
Andrea Knowles
29
16
Eamonn Scott
28
17
Barbara Lewis
27
Valerie Morgan
27
Heather Saunders
27
Gerard Keary
27
21
Adam Wiseberg
26
Rob Harris
26
David Fussell
26
24
Geoff Ashcroft
25
25
Paul Beckwith
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
29
243
30
2
Victor Ridding
37
32
35
36
34
33
33
33
241
33
3
Dhun Daji
30
28
34
28
37
34
32
35
230
28
4
Mary Green
31
31
31
19
27
36
37
33
226
27
Ian Pendlebury
40
27
31
32
23
30
36
30
226
27
5
Adam Wiseberg
32
28
36
30
35
17
30
26
217
26
6
Mel Pelham
0
32
28
38
40
25
33
18
214
18
7
Steven Mattinson
24
35
28
28
21
36
40
22
213
22
8
Michael Greaney
27
25
21
32
14
32
33
38
208
21
9
David Fussell
24
30
23
32
30
32
33
26
207
24
10
Richard Acaster
29
31
18
24
29
27
33
32
205
24
11
Barbara Lewis
24
30
36
20
23
30
33
27
203
23
12
Joyce Jones
27
34
21
24
21
29
32
33
200
21
13
Rob Harris
29
27
30
24
29
25
32
26
198
25
14
Andrea Knowles
34
24
25
19
26
21
34
29
193
21
15
Paul Beckwith
0
30
32
29
27
27
22
24
191
22
16
Heather Saunders
26
27
27
32
0
27
24
27
190
24
17
Geoff Ashcroft
28
24
23
22
18
36
30
25
188
22
18
Eamonn Scott
20
35
31
22
18
21
29
28
186
20
19
Liz Ineson
26
36
28
25
12
15
20
34
184
15
20
Valerie Morgan
23
16
27
38
20
21
26
27
182
20
21
Millie Lang
22
25
18
28
17
23
27
0
160
17
22
Francis William Wetton
10
31
25
0
21
0
34
29
150
0
23
Gerard Keary
0
34
0
22
0
28
34
27
145
0
24
Ann Thornton
31
27
34
19
0
23
0
0
134
0
25
Paul Worswick
35
27
29
25
0
0
0
0
116
0
26
Ian Hempstock
23
30
26
11
24
0
0
0
114
0
27
John Parsons
0
0
29
0
0
0
40
38
107
0