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All comments by Andy Hung
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Interestingly, East did very well to pass 2 (not sure if I'd be able to resist the urge with a double fit!). That would've made it easier for N/S to bid 3 or 4.
May 31
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I think South is worth a 3 bid over the 2 at least? The 3-card support is unknown to partner, so sometimes partner has a bit of shape with the six-card spade suit and can raise 3 to 4 knowing about the fit. South can maybe think about even jumping to 4 knowing that there's probably six spade tricks, and three club tricks on a finesse, but that might be hanging partner who might have a slightly weaker hand, and/or not much shape with two diamond losers etc.

How come you guys don't play support X's or XX's? Although they're not super important, but I think it's a nice and easy treatment to use to handle competitive auctions much easier. Especially at the 1-level such as an auction of say 1-(Pass)-1-(1)-? If you play X here now as takeout, that's likely to be 2344 or 1354 etc, it means you won't be able to show 3-card support with other shapes such as 3343, 3352, but also it can be very convenient to show 3-card support with 36 hands so you can double then rebid the diamonds later. I think it's a very effective competitive bidding tool.

In terms of Support XX's, there are some auctions where I don't play Support XX's (sometimes I want to try to collect a penalty instead!). In those instances, I play a 1NT rebid is artificial and is the “Support Double” (and to keep it simple, use some sort of 2-way checkback system over it) - with a weak NT without 3-card support, at IMPs I can just pass as there's not much reason to bid 1NT.
May 31
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With North opening 1C, it seems that the CJ lead is pretty much 99% a singleton (or maybe JTx?), so it can't be right to duck the opening lead.

You can just secure the contract by drawing the necessary trumps, cash DAK to pitch a heart, and lead a club towards your Queen? You can only lose two hearts and the CK.
May 23
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If partner shows a max with clubs, you would make a slam try wouldn't you? It'd be a good slam is partner has 55 with SKQ and CK, or 54/55 with SK and CKQ and it'd be on a hook. And if partner is 55 or 5341 with diamonds, SKQ and DQ is pretty much a laydown slam provided partner doesn't have a stiff heart also.

With the opps passing and they're vul, it's unlikely that they will act over our 2NT, and we're not worried about any particular opening lead, so it seems free to ask with 2NT and reveal partner's minor.
May 23
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I think pass is right as you suggested. Also, our length in spades also suggests that if partner is short, she can still balance with a double and we can then bid hearts. If partner has 2-3 spades, then we're likely better defending.
May 23
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Was the system 2/1 or Standard? If 2/1, I'm just wondering about the rush of the 3NT bid - it makes it difficult for North to have a conversational auction if North has six hearts and extra values to show slam interest.
May 23
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Here's another example: http://bridgewinners.com/forums/read/team-australia/board-27-14-may/

Sorry, I don't mean to dig into anyone! I know Marianne had mentioned the better decisions that could've been made on this hand (I certainly make plenty of mistakes myself and I wouldn't want to write about them too!), but it's just a type of hand where if I see the opponents say "four-plus spades“, and I have a big fit, I'm going to grab a thick chunk of my bidding box and say ”good luck opp's"! :)
May 23
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Also, I've mentioned this before and I'll say it again. If your opponents are playing X or 1S as “4+S”, please please please, if you have 4-card support, jump to the 3-level and make it harder for the opposition. I understand West has a balanced hand but at least it's not 4333. Also, partner overcalled vul against not, so a 3H contract is hardly going to get slaughtered.

Say West jumps to 3H. What is North going to do? Maybe you say “well, it's an easy double”, I mean, yes it probably is, but does it guarantee three spades (is it an “extra values support double”)? Or is it just an “extra values” double where it might just be 2245 or 2236 with extra values? Maybe it could be either. Whatever it is, make life tough for the opponents! - It's their problem to deal with!
May 23
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South definitely undercooked here. Our 2S followed by 3S is consistent with a 4432 with six points. The 3D bid must promise extra values, so now South knows of the double fit and should jump to 4S (you can even toy around with 3H “last train” but I think South's hand is too good to not bid game).

Actually what am I talking about - I think South is closer to a slam try! If North's K was K: Axx x Axxx AKxxx, 6C is such a good contract. The problem is, we need North to have the K, not the K, and it might be difficult to diagnose that. At first I thought South can jump to 4 as a Blumer bid (reverse splinter, showing no wasted values) but this sounds like we're playing in clubs and I might want to play in 4S instead of 5C. But would I have bid 2S with a hand that prefers clubs? Maybe 4414? Or maybe South should bid 3H followed by 4H? That might sound like 3H was checking for half-stopper, and 4H now as a choice of games with 4423. Hm, interesting.
May 23
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It was definitely a well timed hand for the 2S gadget.
There's no way West can pass with that hand - imagine North jumping to 4m/5m as pass/correct. It's just unlucky, and I wouldn't spend much energy on thinking the hypothetical scenario if West decides to mastermind with a ‘pass’.

One other thing you might consider however is to double with West's hand. That way, you can expect North to try to find partner's minor, and as West you might be able to later make a takeout double and get spades into the picture too.
May 23
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I think a new suit as natural is too rare to worry about, and especially when 2S can be wide ranging, it's important to have 2NT as good hand inquiry.

Also when East passed, it's less reason to worry about trying to “go positive to bid our own suit”. If you have clubs, you can still have the agreement to bid 3C as P/C, and when partner bids 3D, bid 4C as natural.

Having said that:
(1) It's a different story if East doubles. Should discuss what Pass/XX is. I still like 3C/4C/5C as P/C to keep it simple/consistent.

(2) Also discuss what if East bids 4S. Now there's more of a case for 4NT to be ‘bid your minor’ (or a slam try in hearts) and 5m as natural.
May 23
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Feels right to ruff a club first to gauge the situation in clubs before deciding I think.
May 23
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Rule #1: If you don't know what partner's bid means, and it looks ambiguosly forcing, do not pass.

I do understand the stressful situations when we have to try and decipher and undiscussed bid(s). I would be thinking “what is 4” first. Well, partner probably won't have a single-suited hand as she would have bid that suit. So probably she has a two-suited hand or a three-suited hand.
What is 4NT? Not sure. What is 5NT? Not sure, but 5NT doesn't ‘feel’ like it's a quantitative raise to slam? With most slam auctions, 5NT is often pick a slam, so if partner has a 2 or 3-suited hand, that's what it seems like it is. Given my heart length and South's 3H preempt, partner is likely to be short in hearts.
Trust partner's bidding. She opened 2, then 4, then 5NT. She must have a seriously good hand!
May 23
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On a diamond lead with dummy's Q winning, it feels to me that it's probably better to run the 10 instead of a heart? Playing a heart risks the J losing to the Q, and when they knock out our A, we now play three rounds of spades, say West wins and plays a heart, now we have to guess to play the K or 9.

Also when East leads from a likely 5-card diamond suit, maybe West has slightly better odds to hold four spades, so we can even take a double finesse in spades (so win Q, 10 covered we win, A, spade to 9, K then give up a spade).
May 23
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It is definitely challenging for EW if North's hand is able to open 2NT for the minors, but I think you'd be “giving up” to the 2NT convention if EW's partnership cannot double the 2NT opening to show values? Otherwise this puts a heap amount of pressure on West if South can jump to 4m or 5m, you could be defending against 5m with a combined 25+ count.
May 23
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There's definitely lots of things you can do. Here's something that I came up with (and is something similar-ish to what I play):

1-2
2-
….2=Asking
….2=45+
….2NT=(5)6+ 3(4)+
….3=6+ good clubs, didn't want to ask with 2
….3=4+6+ good suits
….3M=?
….3NT=4333 Choice of games

1-2
2-2

2=4m <16 (can be 5044) (I presume 16+ hands would bid 1-2-3x?)
2NT=6+ <16
3=5 <16
3=5 <16
3=?
3=Weak NT (13+/14 that accepted with 2) prefers responder to play
3NT=Weak NT prefers to play

1-2
2-2
2-2NT (ask)

3=4
3=4
3=5044 (I presume 54(40) would start with 1-2-2)

1-2
2-2
2NT-3 (ask)

3=No shortage (ie. 6322)
3=Low shortage (ie. 6331)
3=Middle shortage (ie. 6313)
3NT=High shortage (ie. 6133)

For 1 openings, you can play essentially the same thing as above (I assume after 1-2; 2-? Responder jumps to 4 with just INV hand?), except there's the addition of the 45(40) hands:

1-2
2-2
2-2NT

3=4
3=4
3=4540 (low)
3=4504 (middle)
3NT=0544 (high)

Some points:
• This would obviously be extra work - especially after the asking bids, you need to know how to set the trump suit
• This assumes 16+ hands would not start with 2. If some 16+ hands go through 2, then this goes out the window
• Lots of variations/additions you can do
• You can do a lot more if you don't have the 3-card limit raise in the 2 bid (so 2 is GF). E.g. if you play Bergen raises where 1M-3=6-9, consider putting in the 3-card limit raise in there (e.g. 1M-3=7-9 4+M or 10-12 3-card limit (then 3 asks), 1M-3=10-12 4+M and 1M-3M=<7, or another variation is 1M-3=7-11 4+M (then 3 asks how good), 1M=3=10-12 3-card limit, 1M-3M=<7).
April 27
Andy Hung edited this comment April 27
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I think X should be takeout/responsive when the opponents had opened an artificial bid, because your side hasn't bid a suit yet, and it seems important that the second double is not ‘strictly penalties’. I guess you can play it as penalties, but then there would be a lot of hand types where you will be stuck on (e.g. fourth hand has 44 majors and 9+ points - sure with stronger hand you might cuebid 4m to get partner to choose, but when you're 4432 and balanced, you might not want to commit to 4M when things are breaking badly and give up on the opportunity to penalise them when partner is also balanced).

It's different if the opponents had overcalled a two suited bid, such as 1-(2NT)-X, in this case, you can play next double as penalties. Difference here is that we've already showed a suit (spades), and we could've made a cue raise, or show a heart suit, so it's OK to play next double as penalties.

This might seem like trouble in terms of memory, but maybe you can think of it this way. When the opponents open an artificial bid (2NT minors, or 2D multi, or 2x CRO etc.), first double is points, next one is takeout. But when the opponents overcall an artificial bid (UN2NT, Michaels), you can play first double as points and next double as penalties (takeout is also fine too).
April 27
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There are times where you can plan for the auction and try to find out information from your partner. However, I think 1M-2 should promise 5+ (or 4+ if you don't like all BAL hands to start with 2). If it can be a three-card suit, I think opener will have a very hard time judging the auction when she has diamond “support”.
I do quite like that the BAL hands start with 2, making the 2 more real. However, I sometimes go a bit too far with this idea (E.g. If I had AKx Qxxxx Kxxx x and partner opens 1, I would probably bid 2!)
April 27
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As for the X's if they ask for a lead or asking not to lead a specific suit - partnerships should definitely discuss that. Just be a bit careful about making generic rules though…for example, I would not use the low-level auction of 1-(1)-Pass-(2); X as a part of the leading/non-lead rule. I think this X is better played as either takeout of spades, or wants to rebid 2H (it's partnership agreement - I prefer the former where it's T/O).
April 26
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Nice analysis Jane, distributional deals aren't easy to deal with by either side! However, on the point about whether West should bid 3H or not:

After 1H-(2NT)-P-(3C); I think it's a very hard ask for West to pass. I would also bid 3H - understanding that the heart suit quality is bad, but with a 3730 (club void!), we can still have a game on our side. It's true that East didn't bid over double, but East could easily have a balanced 7-9 count (i.e. 4234) and if I pass, I could be on lead against 3C when 4H might be making! Sure, partner might be a bit weaker than 7-9 points, but 3H down one or two isn't too big of deal.

In fact, by bidding 3H, this actually created IMPs in a different way - it caused N/S to guess incorrectly by bidding up to 5C and East can now double to collect a penalty!
April 26
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