Gryphons II -- Hand writeup -- June 22, 2002 Jim Plank & Kevin Wilson Another one of those long ones, since I'm at another conference. In going over the scores of last saturday's game, the board with the most variation was one that looked totally benign to me: ---------------------------------- Board: 21 Dealer: N Vul: N-S North passes and east opens 1N. You're south, looking at: S T H 975 D KQT76 C AKJ4 Do you bid or pass? I would pass. Partner is a passed hand and we're vulnerable. I don't like to commit to 5-card suits against notrump, and I can't show both suits without getting to the 3 level (unless we're playing DONT), So I'm going to pass. Pass. pass. We hold them to 2 or maybe one, and collect 5 out of 8 matchpoints. Before going on, what's your opening lead? The KD appears textbook, and works here. They should be able to get two club tricks, but not before you get three diamond tricks (sure, they can play three rounds of spades and squeeze you in the minors, but I doubt they will). All four hands: S K97653 H JT42 D 9 C 92 S 82 S AQJ4 H K83 H AQ6 D A85 D J432 C T8765 C Q3 S T H 975 D KQT76 C AKJ4 Here are the scores for E-W. 1 +1100 3 +800 1 +120 2 +100 1 -150 Wow. I can only guess that the 1100/800's were the result of south bidding minors and north bidding spades. Brad tells me that at his table, the bidding went as follows: N E S W P 1N 2D 2N* * - lebensohl -- relay to 3c, which 3S X P P west intended to pass, and which P was going to get waxed. I don't think north should be opening his mouth here, vulnerable, without an invitation from partner. I'm not typically a conservative bidder, but when the auction indicates that we're going to be playing a partscore, why risk going for 200 or more? I'd like to see if I could use simulation to see when bidding as opposed to passing is right with that south hand. Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now.... Kevin, any comments? Kevin: I think it is crystal clear to pass over 1N. I'm on lead and my diamonds are lead worthy. I don't need to mess around and get in this auction because we are vulnerable and they are not, and because the majors belong to the enemy. It seems that if making I'm 3 of a minor (for plus 110) then they are either getting killed in 1N or will soon be playing a major. The only convention that could make an argument for bidding is DONT. If someone who plays DONT asked me whether or not their bid was correct, I wouln't say they were wrong, but experience teaches me this is a hand (this vul, these suits, and the ability to lead KD comfortably) to pass. For those that don't know what DONT is: DONT - Disturb Opponents No Trump dbl = one suited hand; partner relays to 2C and I bid my suit (or pass) 2C = clubs and a ranking higher suit. Partner bids diamonds to find my other suit. 2D - diamonds and a higher ranking suit. Partner bids hearts to find my other suit. 2H = hearts and spades 2S = spades and not a hand that is trying for game opposite support (that hand is bid by doubling first and then bidding 2S) I think a far more interesting question is what to do with the north hand. Bidding 3S is bad, and clearly wrong. Partner showed no specific interest the majors and the nt bidder is right over me. Bidding 3S deserves the big minus it got. However, if it went 1nt - P- P - ? Now is it right to bid? And if you were going to bid would you make a 2 suited bid for the majors (assuming you had it available) or would you bid spades? (JIM - think about this for a sec before you read on... i think this is a good lesson here... maybe we should give this as a bidding challenge first???) I would certainly bid if the colors were reversed and I will bid this vulnerability only at matchpoints and only if playing DONT. The reasoning is simple. Partner is going to raise with values I am already bidding for us. He does know I am bidding red vs. white and he DOESN'T know that I don't have all of West's HCP. What if I have S K9xxxx H KJTx D A C xx With this hand I would want him to raise with good spade support and about 9+ HCP. I would bid 2S if playing DONT. Against no-trump pard is never leading spades and even if I could set them up its doubtful I'd have an entry to run them. So my hand is useless against 1nt. Since I can bid 2S without worrying that partner will raise, its worth the chance that I can take some tricks. It would not work out well here though. Finally, I would not show 2 suits. The reasoning here is that pard would have to have 5+ hearts for hearts to be better. I'm willing to risk that he doesn't and give up on hearts so that I don't risk playing in a 4-2 or 4-3. If he has only four hearts then again my hand doesn't rate to be super valuable. My weak HC strength makes it difficult to believe that he is going to be able to draw trumps and then enjoy my spades. Great hand to learn some judgement! Here's another hand I found interesting, although the point swings were minor: ---------------------------------- Board: 12 Dealer: W Vul: N-S S AKQJ653 H JT8 D C AJ6 S 97 S 84 H 9632 H A74 D T984 D AQJ52 C T54 C Q93 S T2 H KQ5 D K763 C K872 Here's my guess on the bidding: W N E S P 1S 2D 2N P 4S P P P Who knows. Maybe south passes and west bids 3d. Then N/S should have some fun. Given that auction, what would you lead as east? I think only a club or a spade look right. I'm neither leading my aces nor underleading them. Would you rather attack or be passive? I think passive is better -- where are the N/S tricks coming from? Certainly ruffs are looking dubious given the bidding. Ditto a long suit from dummy -- maybe clubs, but that's your attacking lead. With all that, I'd lead a spade. Now, north's obvious plan appears to be to take the club finesse, which loses, and N/S get +650. But there is a squeeze available here. Suppose north draws trumps, cashes the hearts, and then runs all the trumps. Everyone has to find five discards. Dummy will discard 3 diamonds and two clubs. Who cares what west discards. But east has issues. East either has to discard a club, or five diamonds, and that gives north 12 tricks. Is the squeeze a marked play, though? Maybe. East has at least 10 points, and probably will tank a bit on the opening lead before coming out with a spade (a diamond or club will give you +6 without thinking). You draw two rounds of trumps and play a heart. East ducks, wins your heart return, and returns a heart, probably quickly. Now it's time to run trumps. I'm guessing that east will have little trouble finding four diamond discards on the first four trumps. West will likely be completely disinterested, and will discard to keep length with dummy. Now is the moment to commit -- has their behavior indicated that east has both the CQ and AD? Or do you simply finesse the CJ? I think it's reasonable to place the CQ and AD with east, but I am certainly not good enough with my people skills to figure it out at the table. Kevin: Excellent judgement, Jim, and since you were concentrating so well you would have seen that E threw the Q and the J of diamonds. I think many people would choose this as a lead instead of a trump. That might lead me to drop the Q of clubs. Plus, without the CQ, many easts would try to cash the DA because declarer could just as easily be 2-1 in hearts and diamonds and your DA is going away if you don't cash it. With the CQ you could see that even if declarer is 2-1 you will still get a club trick that you might not get if you cashed the DA and it got ruffed. The more time I spend thinking about this hand, the more I'm convinced its right to play for the squeeze. However, many people would still just take the finesse and it may be the percentage play since, in playing for the squeeze you might lose 3 total tricks if you then decide to finesse. Would you find that play? I don't know, but +5 and +6 had vastly different scores: 1: +1400 - 5dX, down a bundle 6: +680 - 4S+6 -- good play or convenient defense 2 +650 - 4S+5 -- A one-IMP swing turns into a matchpoint disaster. Here's another hand with some variability: ---------------------------------- Board: 14 Dealer: E Vul: None You're north -- three passes to you, and you have: S AK H AKQJ85 D J8 C T75 You open 1H and East overcalls 2D. 2S from pard, and what do you bid? Partner is certainly promising five spades, and probably ten or more points, although I think eight points are conceivable. What is your bid? I would choose either 3D or 4H. 3d has the advantage of being forcing, and partner can show belated three-card heart support easily. It has the disadvantage that if partner is stuck for a bid (5 spades, 2 hearts, no diamond stopper), there's no nice alternative. 4H is a little unilateral, but it does have the advantage that it shows your hand, and you'll be playing it in 4H. With the given cards, partner will bid 3N over 3D, and you can bid 4H, showing a big hand. The spotlight is now on east -- what do you lead from, given that bidding? S Q4 H T3 D KT932 C KQ93 It would seem that partner has 4 or 5 spades, probably two or three hearts, and diamond shortness. Maybe the D3 or DT would work out, but I'll probably lead the CK, figuring that declarer is going to try to park club losers on spades (or diamonds). Kevin: 1st of all, there is no way I would overcall 2 diamonds on this garbage. I would also choose the CK as my opening lead. Nothing looks overly appealing and this is a good honor sequence. Wrong: S AK H AKQJ85 D J8 C T75 S J976 S Q4 H 742 H T3 D 76 D KT932 C J864 C KQ93 S T8532 H 96 D AQ54 C A2 At least I was right about declarer needing to park club losers. However, once I've led clubs, declarer is going to have an easy time losing a club and ruffing a club. +6. This argues for a heart lead. But that backfires too -- declarer can now draw trump in three rounds, cash the AK of spades, ruff two spades and throw his losing club on a spade. The AD, QD and AC are the three entries. And even better for declarer, if spades are 3-3, he'll make 7. Given that 4H should be making 6 against any opening lead, the scores are surprising: 1: +1100 -- another overzelous E/W pair get punished for overstepping their bounds 1: +980 -- The Jervi bid 6 -- I have to admit, I'd have a hard time sniffing for slam opposite a passed partner, with no clear 8-card fit. Sure, I only have 5 losers, but I don't remember partner promising 4 winners.... 2: +480 -- 4H+6 4: +450 -- Four pairs only made 5 -- I must be missing something. 1: +230 -- Pass, pass, pass, 1H, 2D, 2S, pass, 3H, pass, pass, pass. Whoops. Kevin: I agree. It seems as though making 6 is the norm and that there are no roads that lead to less than 6. Playing well is very important here. From a statistical point of view, I am shocked and appalled that +450 is the mode. +980 for bidding a questionable slam is worth 87.5% of the matchpoints yet bidding a very safe 4 and playing well by taking all your tricks is worth 68.75%. You decide about these slams.