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All comments by Art Korth
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I have a rule with my partner in this situation:

1. For the prospective declarer, 3NT is non-serious, 4 level cue bids are serious.

2. For the prospective dummy, 3NT is serious, 4 level cue bids are non-serious.

So, in this situation, 3NT is non-serious.

Bidding 3NT non-serious is cooperative. Partner is invited to cue bid. It just shows the inability to make a serious cue bid.
Nov. 9, 2019
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“In the 7♠ hand, finessing is a no win play - if the finesse is right, RHO can ruff.”

That is the point.
Nov. 7, 2019
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I have a couple of nominations.

I was a witness to this one. I was watching a local round-robin team match. A friend was in 3NT reached in an uncontested auction. His spade holding was singleton K in hand facing singleton small in the dummy. A low spade was led. RHO put in the Q from AQx.

This one I heard about. Again the setting is a local round-robin team match. Declarer was in 7. A small diamond was led. Declarer had a 6-5 diamond fit missing the K (again, spades is trump). The Ace was in dummy. Declarer played low …
Nov. 6, 2019
Art Korth edited this comment Nov. 6, 2019
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“What do you do with 4S-6H and 10HCPs when partner opens 1NT? He could have 4 Spades and 2 Hearts.”

Smolen?
Nov. 1, 2019
ATB
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15 or 16 is too good to balance with a simple “overcall.” A simple bid in a suit in balancing seat should be limited to about 14.
Oct. 31, 2019
ATB
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South did not balance with a double or a jump (balancing with 2 is not unreasonable). Therefore, North's pass is reasonable.

The final contract is also reasonable.
Oct. 30, 2019
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Gary, I don't agree.

If 6 is very likely to make, there should be some rational way of bidding it. If the partnership does not reach 6, it is reasonable fodder for a ATB.

Just last week my partner and I were the only pair in a Sectional pair game to reach a very reasonable 6 contract. It required a 3-2 trump split and a particular side suit to break 4-2 or better. The trump were 3-2, but the side suit was 5-1. This gave us a zero against the second place pair (we were third).

I could not figure out a good way to make the slam against 4-1 trump, so I ignored it in the play, and it turned out to be irrelevant. For practical purposes, assume that there is no way to make the slam against a 4-1 trump break.

I would guess that the slam was much better than 50-50 to make. Whether it is right to bid it is another question (if all of the other pairs are in game and go plus, it is right to bid a better than 50% slam, but if any other pair is in a partial and goes plus, bidding the slam may not be right).

Would it be improper to ATB the pairs that don't find a good 6?

(As an aside, yes, we would have been second if we had not bid the slam. But I don't think it is reasonable to factor in your and your opponents' estimated relative standing into the equation. That would be 20-20 hindsight in the extreme.)

https://live.acbl.org/event/1910104/2503/1/board-detail/A?board_num=22
Oct. 30, 2019
Art Korth edited this comment Oct. 30, 2019
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You could make a similar argument from the other side, such as North could have – KJTxx KQ KQJxxx and bid it the same way. Why would South bid more?
Oct. 29, 2019
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There is nothing wrong with using Blackwood here, provided:

(1) South knows that North must have 4 hearts for his bid; and

(2) South is using Blackwood to avoid bidding a slam off two key cards.

So, upon learning that North has a key card, South must bid slam. If he is not willing to do so with that information, he shouldn't have used Blackwood to begin with.

Whether you or I think that the number of key cards North holds is sufficient to determine whether a slam should be bid is another question.

It appears that South did not know that North had to have 4 hearts, as South asked about the Q before deciding not to bid the slam.
Oct. 29, 2019
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Meckwell.

Double = single suited in one of the minors or both majors.
2 = Clubs and another suit.
2 = Diamonds and a major.
2 = Hearts.
2 = Spades.

EDIT

It is certainly possible that he could have just 5 hearts.
Oct. 29, 2019
Art Korth edited this comment Oct. 29, 2019
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This thread is amusing as it came up this weekend.

I was playing against two well known and highly respected players in a sectional Swiss teams yesterday. They were not a regular partnership. The auction proceeded exactly as set forth above. Slam was reached and duly made. Before I led, I inquired about the 4 bid. It was explained as RKCB in spades, and further comments were made along the lines of what else could it be? I commented that some players might take it as a splinter, to which my RHO said “Not if they are playing with me!”

While I agree with my RHO (who I have only known for about 45 years) that the interpretation among the players in our circle is virtually 100% that the 4 call is RCKB, it is interesting to see how many BW posters would not be playing with him.

By the way, it is generally accepted in our circle that after a 2 of a major response to Stayman, 3 of the other major is a slam try with a shortness and 4 is a slam try without a shortness. So any hand that has a splinter raise would bid 3 of the other major.
Oct. 28, 2019
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I agree.

The problem (as was mentioned upthread) is when asker signs off (especially if asker signs off slowly) in 6 and responder bids again.
Oct. 24, 2019
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I know that in one of the first Romex books there was an explicit agreement that any grand slam bid after asking bids was final - in other words, if the partner making the asks bid a grand slam in another suit, responder could not correct.

There was an example hand in which the asker bid a grand slam in a known 4-2 fit that was absolutely cold on any 4-3 break in the trump suit. A ruff was needed in the short trump hand for the 13th trick. No other denomination had any play for 13 tricks.

We can debate the merits of knowingly bidding a grand slam in a 4-2 fit, but it was a cute hand.

Absent that agreement, I agree that the 4NT bid over 1 is dangerous.
Oct. 24, 2019
Art Korth edited this comment Oct. 24, 2019
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Sure, but it allows for those bids to be used for other purposes.
Oct. 23, 2019
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@Randy: In the auction showing 5-5 in the majors with slam interest, the 4 bid is FORCING. Opener bids 4 with a preference for spades, 4NT as a regressive action without a fit, and anything else with a preference for hearts.

@Mike: In the usual Muppet Stayman sequence, if responder was just checking to see if opener had a 5 card major, over opener's 3 rebid responder bids 3 to deny 4 hearts (he may or may not have 4 spades) or 3 to deny holding 4 spades (and showing 4 hearts). Over responder's 3 call, opener will bid 3 with 4 spades. Responder will make sure that a 3NT contract is reached.

Note that the 3 call by opener promised at least one 4 card major (and denied holding a 5 card major).

Keep in mind that Muppet Stayman is designed to make the 2NT opener declarer except where unavoidable. So, with 4-4 in the majors responder bids 3NT over 3 and opener bids 4 of the major in which a fit exists.
Oct. 23, 2019
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In the Muppet version that I play, the following sequences show 5-5 in the majors:

2NT - 3
3* - 4**

*denies a 4 or 5 card major
** 5-5 in the majors, no slam interest

If opener's response to 3 is anything other than 3, there must be a 9+ card major suit fit. If opener's rebid was 3 showing at least one 4-card major, responder can bid 3NT promising at least 4 cards in both majors and opener will reveal the fit.

2NT - 3*
3 - 4**

* Transfer to 3
** 5-5 or better in the majors, slam interest.

This sequence allows responder to show his hand and his slam interest. It is a little awkward, but that is par for the course after a 2NT opening.
Oct. 23, 2019
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Deleted.
Oct. 22, 2019
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“I haven't thought it through, but I think leading towards the QJ wins with hearts 5-1 and Kx with west, but leading the Q doesn't help with hearts 1-5 and Kx with east.”

It does if there is a squeeze (red suit length both held by West). But, in any case, it doesn't hurt. You will be one trick ahead of those who led towards the QJ.

If by 1-5 you meant that the heart length is with East along with Kx of diamonds, then nothing helps, so it really doesn't matter. That case can be ignored.
Oct. 22, 2019
Art Korth edited this comment Oct. 22, 2019
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We were not told the type of scoring.

Considering the 5-1 breaks, I agree with you that the singleton K in front of the QJxxx is one case where you will make by leading small towards the QJxxx and there may not be a compensating gain for a 5-1 break in the other direction. You may still make even if running the Q loses to the singleton K depending on the heart distribution and whether a squeeze succeeds.

If this is matchpoints, running the Q gives you a chance of making an overtrick.
Oct. 22, 2019
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There may be more to this, but it seems to me that running the Q gives you more possibilities.

If the Q wins, you can then go after hearts to establish your 12th trick on any 3-3 or 4-2 break.

If the Q loses to the K, you can try for a 3-3 break in both red suits.

In addition, after losing to the K, you have the possibility that one of the opps has length in both red suits, in which case he will be squeezed on the run of your black suit winners. The squeeze may operate even if the Q wins, but you may not be able to give up a heart trick after you run your black winners.
Oct. 22, 2019
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