Bidding Challenge #1 from Gryphons II -- June 8, 2001 Kevin Wilson, with an afterword by Jim Plank To review, here was the problem: Matchpoints All Vul Here is your hand: S KQx H 9xx D K8xx C AJx Bidding: Partner You 1H 2D 4NT 5D 6D ? Enemy passes throughout. You may assume that you are playing Standard American bidding (not 2/1), and regular Blackwood. Kevin's analysis: I think there are several important inferences on this hand. One problem with playing Standard is that there is no convienent way to show a raise of responder's suit and a very strong hand. After 1H - 2D - now what? - 3D is not forcing. - 4D takes up a lot of space and leaves only a tiny bit of room for cuebidding. - Sure, 2S and 3C are forcing but then partner will never believe that you have diamonds with him. I think that 4NT says that partner believes that there are 12 tricks present if he doesn't have 2 immediate losers first. He is choosing to be captain. The next point is about the Aces. On this auction, we are definitely missing an Ace. Since 2D shows an unlimited hand, partner can't jump to Blackwood and then not guarantee all the Aces if we have them. He doesn't know if I am looking at a solid side suit that can take many tricks, so when he does choose to captain while I am still unlimited, then he is obligated to guarantee all the aces if we have them. So we are missing an Ace. Also, he has no voids because otherwise he would not jump to Blackwwod. Next, the only other thing that I suspect partner thinks about my hand is that I probably have 5 diamonds. So part of his 12 tricks are 5 diamonds. This, I think is critical. Almost everybody that answered thinks that partner has 10 red cards and most everybody thought he was probably 5-5. They also think his hearts are solid because its hard to imagine a hand that partner didn't open 2C but that he was strong enough to bid Blackwood over a 2D response. In my experience, when partner jumps like this, he is usually gambling a little because he visualizes 12 tricks, not because he has some massive high card count. I would also think that partner has 10 or 11 red cards, but if its only 10 then I think I should consider the possibility that he is 6-4 in hearts and diamonds with solid hearts. Almost everyone seems to agree that he has solid hearts. This is what he needs to be able to visualize 12 tricks: 6 hearts, 5 diamonds, and the ace that I showed. If he was looking at a King then he might consider 6H himself to protect it. He knows that by bidding 6D, if he had a king, it would not be protected. So I think that if he wre 5-5-2-1 with a Kx, that he would not immediately try for a slam, and that if he were 6-4-2-1 with a Kx then he would try 6H himself to protect it. By his bidding this way, he thinks we have 12 tricks or that he can't get enough information at a low enough level to make this determination. This brings me to the most important point. I only have 4 diamonds! So we have 6 hearts, 4 diamonds, and my ace of clubs. That is only 11 tricks. Our 12th trick must come from either spades or diamonds. If I were sure that the enemy would lead a spade, then I would bid 6NT. But since they might lead a club, then we may not have enough time to develop a 12th trick in notrump. What about hearts or diamonds? In hearts then there can be no 5th trick in diamonds if pard is 6-4. But in diamonds, then I can draw 3 rounds of trump and then run all the hearts and have 3 pitches for whichever black suit we have a loser in, and score a ruff in my hand. So then we would have our 12th trick. All this leads me to believe that pass is the best action, with 6H and 6N being very close. 6H would win if pard was 2-6-4-1 and they led clubs but 6N would win whenever they led spades, or it couldn't be worse if pard was 1-6-4-2. 6nt also wins whenever pard is 1-6-5-1, so I score it slightly higher then 6H. I expect partner to be 6-4 in hearts and diamonds and have solid hearts and very good diamonds. The scoring: - 6D 90 + any good reasoning like above will get up to 100 - 6N 60 + up to another 10 - 6H 50 + up to another 10 - 7D 10 - anything else scores 0 In actuality, I had the other hand... x AKQxxx AQJx xx Argue that I didn't have my bid if you want, but I thought I could see 12 tricks, and I could never have room for pard to cuebid a second round club control if he had the ace of spades. Also, I thought 6D might protect his K of clubs. Jim's comments: I was in the 6H camp, figuring partner needed either two bullets in the black suits, or the SA and a stuff club to bid Blackwood. Maybe a stiff spade and KQ tight of clubs. Given all that, it seemed to me that we won't have to worry about a black suit loser, so we'll be getting the same tricks in diamonds and hearts. 6N seemed like courting disaster after a club lead. So it goes -- all I can say is that when I make a bid like that, partner has the ace of spades and after the opponents cash two club tricks, I get to listen to one or both of them dissert on why they never bid Blackwood with a dead doubleton...... Of those who answered, here are the breakdowns: 6h : 9 6n : 7 Pass : 6 7d : 1 Here are some of the comments -- if you would like me to omit your comments in the future, let me know. From the passers. Most didn't like the 2D bid to begin with: From Bill Eddy: I would PASS!!! I do not have much beyond the 11 points I would need to respond at the two level and do not have a 5 card suit in Diamonds which I would normally have wanted in order to make the two diamond response. I WOULD TRUST MY PARTNER. From Mike Cappelletti Jr: Pass. Wouldn't have made the 2D bid and would've answered Key Card. However, if I can bid 2D with this hand, partner must be 5-5 in hearts and diamonds. Therefore, why correct to hearts on 3 little? As an afterthought, a simpler answer is "who invited me..." Partner is captain, partner asked for aces and set the contract. Obviously hearts and NT could be better contracts, but since partner didn't ask my opinion, I am not allowed to correct. From Dave Jerviss: Pass. You have already distorted your hand by bidding 2 Diamonds instead of 3 no trump. No extras that partner is not aware of. From Geoff Greene: Is it a correct answer to say I wouldn't play (twice, anyway) with someone who bid this way? The 4 NT is irresponsible. I subscribe to the theory that my partner is all seeing and all knowing. I'll trust him and pass. Brooks gives a detailed analysis, and like most everyone except Kevin, is giving declarer 5-5 in the red suits. However, Brooks sees where diamonds may play better than hearts: I cannot think of anything to do but pass. Partner controlled the auction, and I don't possess anything sufficiently surprising to overrule him. Assuming he's not a total idiot, he has a singleton spade and we're missing the A or we're missing the HA. Most possible hands will look like: x AKxxx AQxxx Kx as a minimum A KQxxx AQxxx KQ as a max The key will always be how good his hearts are. Obviously if theu're headed by AKQ, we have reasonable play for 6H or 6N. If they are AKQJx(x) with good diamonds, then both alternative contracts are probably preferable to 6D. If he has the CQ or a red card, the spade loser goes away in a suit contract. If the spade singleton is the SJ or the A is onside, I can generate two heart discards and maybe another in clubs. I guess my analysis should include deciding what the likely contracts will be at the other tables, but in general, I find this analysis highly error-prone and a waste of time. 6D will still have some play opposite AKxxx in hearts and the CK (eg, x AKxxx AQxxx Kx; and may be cold opposite J AKxxx AQxxx KQ) since I may be able to get rid of dummy's heart losers. If another contract turns out to be preferable, discuss the auction in detail at some later date. Maybe partner took control too early. Mike Waters has declarer with longer hearts than diamonds, but like many others, corrected to 6H: I bid 6H, if partner has broken heart suit, the contract will likely hinge on a finesse in either hearts or diamonds, so play in top scoring strain. Partner didn't splinter, but likely has singleton (or two) and shouldn't have a void (used Blackwood) and partner didn't investigate grand, so off an ace or hearts or diamonds aren't "solid." Would have jumped to 3H with solid hearts and either has diamond length/strength or playing you for doubleton heart. Possible hands: S Ax S x H AQJ1098 H AK8764 D A10876 D AQJ9 C x C Kx In fact, pretty much all of the 6H bidders said similar things. From Connie Anderson: I believe I would "correct" to 6H. I do not have 5 diamonds, I have a king more than partner may expect, and I do have 3 card heart support. I'd assume partner is at least 5-5. He may have more hearts than diamonds (otherwise we'd open our longest suit first). If we have heart losers, we have them in diamonds as well and at matchpoints, hearts score better. I'm not bidding NT since partner knows more about my hand than his and he may be VERY distributional, but he should not have a void since he used Blackwood to ask for aces. By the same token, he should not have two quick losers in the black suits either; but a club lead through me since he bid nt first might not be good. Anyway, right or wrong, that's my reasoning. Most of the 6N bidders are more flippant, going for a top: Jerry Vaughan: I hate my partner! I'm bidding 6NT, and going for the gold, I give pard this hand: x,AKQJxx,AQTxx,x, nothing else justifies his actions, I'm a K better than he has a right to expect playing SAYC............so in for a penny in for a pound......... Bill Wilson (Kevin's Brother): 6nt, what the hell, feels right. Enjoy.