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Bulletin - "The Bidding Box"

It is with excitement and trepidation that I open my bridge bulletin each month.  I immediately open it to "The Bidding Box" to see how the scorer will maim the hands.  Will it be missing the par contract completely?  Will he give top marks to a bad game?  Forget to award a score for rightsiding the contract - or even better - give the higher score for playing the contract from the WRONG side?  


Well, the October Bulletin didn't just have two treats, but they were problems 1 AND 2!  Let's take a look:


West            East

JT7           AK92

QJ            K6

AT83        KQJ765

AJT4        7


North Opens 1.  

Scores: 6 (E) or 6, 10, 4NT 9, 4 8, 5 6, 6 (W) or 5 4, 6NT 2


Oy vey.  So if 6 by East gets tops score (presumably because the killing club lead is harder to find - you need spades 3-3 on a club lead) 6NT should score even higher!  It makes about as often, since 6 can make on 3-3 trumps with a club lead, but it can go down on 5-1 trumps with any lead.  And while we're at it, a score for 4NT but not 5NT?  Isn't the whole premise of the problem that the SQ is onside?  So you always have 11 tricks at least in NT.  

My scoring:  6NT E, 10, 6D 9, 6S (E) / 5NT (E) 8, 5NT (W) 6, 5D 3.


West           East

QJT42      AK

73            AQJ94

KJT82      Q54

T             Q74


Scores: 4 10, 4/5 8, 2/2/3 7, 3/4 5, 3 4, 1NT 2


So this is a trickier hand to analyze, but lets say diamonds break (so they aren't beating your major suit game off the top) and the defenders lead out two rounds of clubs, tapping the West hand.

In 4, you ruff in.  If you unblock the AK and lead a diamond to hand, they just tap the West hand again and you need 3-3 trumps.  If you go for diamonds right away, it gets more complicated.  When trumps are 3-3, they win the second diamond, take a ruff and tap you in clubs. Now you need the heart finesse.  When spades are 4-2 with the doubleton getting a ruff, you don't even get helped by the heart finesse, since the tap on the way back is fatal.  

When spades are 4-2 with the long trump hand short in diamonds, the analysis is trickier.  If the defenders win the third diamond and play a third club (declarer discarding his heart) the defenders cannot continue a fourth club or declarer can succeed on a crossruff.  But after the 3rd club, if the defenders shift to a trump, declarer is stuck.  he wins in dummy, but can't get back to hand without tapping himself and is now a trick short on crossruff lines.  (The defenders could defend this way with 4-2 trumps in either direction, but the ruff defense is more obvious.)

Even when the ace of diamonds is doubleton, the defenders, on winning the second diamond play a 3rd club and declarer is still depending on 3-3 spades.   So best I can tell, the spade game needs trumps 3-3.  


In 4, you are in even worse shape.  Two rounds of clubs, tap the west hand and what next?  Even with trumps 3-3 and the king onside, the defenders can win the third trump and play on clubs, tapping out the East hand.  So long as the player with the diamond ace has another club, you are down.  Alternative lines are even less likely to produce 10 tricks (3 spades, 2 club ruffs, 1 diamond and 4 trumps in hand??)


5 is a game on a finesse and a trump break and is the best game.  That should score around 8 since you expect the field to bid game and go down, so -1 might be average and making should be a great score (although in the rare cases 4M makes, you lose a bit.)  


If one thing is clear, it is that little about his hand is clear.  

My Scoring:  4D 10, 5D/3S 8, 2H 7, 3H 6, 1NT 5, 4S 4, 4H/2NT 3. 





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