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Garner-Weinstein
garwein Minnesota’s favorite sons, Steve Garner and Howie Weinstein, have formed one of the world’s premier partnerships for more than a decade. Among the pair’s many great achievements are a 2nd-place finish in the 2007 Bermuda Bowl and numerous national championship wins. Today’s deal comes from the semifinals of the 2011 USBC.

 

 

 


Grue
A4
J95
Q1063
J943
H. Weinstein
Q10862
8742
KJ84
J. Lall
KJ3
K10
A9752
1082
Garner
975
AQ63
AKQ765
W
N
E
S
 
P
P
1
X
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
36
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
J
A
5
3
1
0
K
3
4
2
3
2
0
A
4
8
8
3
3
0
7
4
10
J
2
3
1
K
3
5
2
2
3
2
10
A
9
4
3
4
2
Q
9
2
10
3
5
2
7
J
6
9 tricks claimed
N/S -500
8


Garner and Weinstein play a fairly green (natural) card . It is worth noting that after the double, 2 by Weinstein would show both majors but only promises constructive values (as opposed to the more mainstream invitational values). That said, let’s investigate some of the more difficult bids.

Double
South’s hand has a lot of playing strength and flexibility. But is it best to begin with a double rather than a simple 2 overcall? Even though the excellent clubs, the void, and support for all the suits make the hand quite powerful, we prefer a simple overcall to double in close situations like these. For one, it’s good to get your strong primary suit in early when there’s a threat of preemption (here, in diamonds). It’s also likely that the other suits can be brought into play later in the auction [e.g., (1) 2 (3) P / (P) Dbl].

Two Diamonds
Should 2 be bid with all game-forcing hands or does it merely show values with no clear direction? For instance, how should North act holding AJ10x Qxx xxxx xx? Considering Garner-Weinstein’s treatment of a direct 2 over the double, should 2 over 2 be forcing or not? How would North have advanced the double holding a very weak hand with 4-4 in the majors? And how strong would North have to be to introduce hearts over 2 in the hope of finding the best strain? Here, even if 2 is passed by South, perhaps North shouldn’t sweat it. The club void and possibly misplaced diamond values could be harbingers against reaching higher-level contracts.

Two Spades
Should South fess up to 3-card spade support now, or bid 2 first with the intention of bidding spades later? If South does bid 2 then will partner expect a shape like 2416 when he eventually does bid spades? The decision probably varies somewhat based on the definition of the 2 call but, with South’s values concentrated in hearts, we prefer 2.

Three Hearts
North, aware that his partner might have suppressed 4 hearts to confirm 3 spades, tried to locate the partnership’s 4-4, which rated to play better than the 5-3. But was the effort to get to the correct major-suit game too late? Does 3 show shape or a concentration of strength?

Five Clubs
Garner believed North was showing heart strength, rather than length, with the 3 call. He assumed North would have bid 2 (or even 3) with both majors rather than 2. Opposite KQxx Kxx xxxx xx 5 is a good game. But was the jump still ill-advised? 4 would provide a fairly accurate description of the South hand and would still offer North a final chance to correct the contract. Alternatively, 4 would presumably be forcing and still offer good chances of reaching the right strain.

Pass of 5-X
While South is known to have 3 spades, his clubs could potentially be very long. It’s usually correct to pass a definitive bid like 5 rather than scramble to what is likely to be an inferior contract.

When you contract for 11 tricks in your 6-0 fit rather than 10 in either of your 8-card fits there were probably several places where the auction might have been improved. How should Garner-Weinstein have sensibly uncovered the correct level and strain on this deal?

We pulled the tape, now we invite you to make the call.

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