Two hands from Gryphons II -- 4/14/01

           Jim Plank, with commentary from Kevin Wilson

Here are two hands whose results stood out to me.
Both hands are east-west.

First is board 24.  West dealer, no one vul.

Here are west and east.

S J             S AKT652
H AJ96          H QT542
D A862          D
C AKJ9          C T8

Yes, 7H is on a hook, but amazingly, the top score on the board
was 490.  There was one 490 (3n+6), five 480's (4 of either major
plus 6), and one -100 (6n down one).

With no bidding from north/south, the auction should be pretty

     W        E
     1d       1s
     2h       3h
     4c       4n
     5x       6h

A couple of comments -- first, I think you should open 1d, and
not 1c -- although the clubs are better, I think bidding shape
is more important.  That said, 2h is a bit of a lie, since
partner may think you have five diamonds for the reverse.  Since
reverses are forcing to game, 3h lets opener show the club
values, and now east has no problem asking for controls and
bidding six.  Without the 4c bid, it's harder for east to push
toward slam, since we may be off the AK of clubs.  I'd probably
still do it though -- partner did reverse, and I have an
offensive monster.  If you're playing key card rather than
straight blackwood, the response of three cards is a mixed
blessing -- you are pretty confident about 6h, but if partner
has the AK of hearts and no ace of diamonds, you may be cold for
seven.  So be it.  Nothing is perfect.

At our table, west opened a club, and east bid 4h over 2h, and
that ended things.  I think if west opens a club, then east can
splinter with 4d over 2h, and now you can go slamward.  In the
absense of that, knowing that 3h is forcing is very important in
your ability to set the trump suit, and then fish for slam.

     Kevin: With the east cards I would bid a slam.  The only reason
            to go slow is that partner might have 4 Key Cards and
            then I will bid a grand.  As East, my hand warrants a
            slam opposite a reverse in hearts.  I wouldn't be against
            an immediate jump to 6H, but I think a raise to 3H is
            best and the auction Jim gives is fine.  Remember that
            partner's King of clubs will be protected since he bid
            hearts first.  I think a more important auction to
            discuss is what to do if partner bids 4D or 4H instead of
            4C. Then I think 4S is the best but do not pass 4H!  Your
            hand is way too strong.  I would never stop below 5H and
            then I would stop ONLY on this auction.
     1D    1S
     2H    3H
     4D    4S
     5D    5H

I'm guessing, though, that at most tables, the opponents weren't
silent.  Here are all four hands:

         S Q94
         H K3
         D KQT
         C Q7642

S J             S AKT652
H AJ96          H QT542
D A862          D
C AKJ9          C T8

         S 873
         H 87
         D J97543
         C 53

If west opens 1d, most norths will overcall 2c, which lacks suit
``texture'' but you have plenty of high card points, and 2c makes
it harder for them to find their major suits.  Now east has some
issues.  I think the choices are double, 2s and 3c.  First, what
does your partnership think about 2s -- forcing or non-forcing?
When partner is not a passed hand, I think it should be forcing,
but it depends on your agreements.  I'm guessing that most people
selected 2s, and the auction went:

     W     N     E     S
     1d    2c    2s    p
     3n    p     4h    p
     p     p

Given the west hand's spade suit, double is much more flexible.
That's not to say it's the right bid (I'll look forward to Kevin's

     Kevin: My opinion is that 1 or 2 Norths at the most would even
            consider that disgusting bid of 2C.  Ewwwwww.  Overcalling
            on the 2 level I thought showed a full opener and at
            least a good suit or just under a full opener and a very
            good suit.  Bidding 2C with the North hand is asking to
            go minus a huge amount.

After the double, I think west will probably jump to 3h and east
will drive to the slam.  Again, east is probably going to be
hesitant to trot out blackwood with the dead doubleton of clubs.
If you have the agreement (this is one of those Kevin bids), 5h
by east can be used to tell west that we should be in slam if
west does not have two quick club losers:

     W     N     E     S
     1d    2c    X     p
     3h    p     5h    p
     6h    p

+980 and a very happy top.

     Kevin: In this case, overcalling gave East a perfect opportunity
            to get to slam anyway.  I'm quite surprised to see that
            nobody got to a slam.


The second hand was board 11: South dealing, no one vul.

Apropos of the mini-lesson on weak-two bids and responses,
here is an interesting hand.  You are east and have

                S AK4
                H Q9
                D 53
                C AK8752

South passes and partner opens 2S.  Your move.  Point-wise, you
should only be in game if partner has a maximum, but there are lots
of hands that partner can have to generate 10 tricks.  How about

S 876532
K K43
D 2
C 643

That's 65% given partner's solid spade suit (2-2 breaks are 40.7%,
so having a bad break is 59.3%, and two bad breaks is 59.3% * 59.3%,
which is 35.1%.  So the chance of either black suit breaking 2-2 is

I don't think science is going to help much here -- sure, I'd feel
better about it if an Ogust bid told me that partner had 8-10 points,
but I think 4S is going to make more times than not.  It would be my

     Kevin: 4S looks like the obvious bid.  Passing or inviting is
            not enough.  My clubs are really good and offer an
            excellent source of tricks.  Let's see the rest of Jim's
            analysis before I say anything else...

I'd of course have to simulate to be certain, but I'm not really
in the mood.  Oh hell, I'll do it...  It's 25 minutes later, and
I went over 20 random 2s openers (my style, meaning between 5
and 10 points, and not meeting the rule of 20, regardless of
suit quality, etc), and the odds of the game were 77%.
Interestingly, ten of those hands had 5-7 points, and would
answer 3c to Ogust.  Those had odds of 65%.  The remaining had
8-10 and would answer 3h to Ogust, and their percentage was 89%.
I know it's not a big enough sampling, and as always when I'm
doing these analyses, I'm prone to go too quickly and miss
things, but I think the numbers are probably close, so it seems
that 4s is the right bid (I'll put my hands at the bottom of
this mail so you can nitpick with me if you care to).

The actual hands were:

         S T2
         H AKJ74
         D 82
         C J643

S QJ9765        S AK4
H 85            H Q9
D KT94          D 53
C 9             C AK8752

         S 83
         H T632
         D AQJ76
         C QT

My quick analysis on this one would be (looking only at east/west)
that it's 50%, depending on the location of the ace of diamonds.
However, that is only if south gets in with a heart to lead a
diamond.  Otherwise, it should be nearly 100%. 

With the actual cards, I think the play should be straightforward.
If they start with two hearts and a diamond, ruff a diamond high,
draw trumps and claim: 6 spades, two clubs, one diamond and a diamond
ruff.  Alternatively, if they don't lead two hearts and a diamond,
you can ruff two clubs (one low, one high -- don't cash the ace and
king, just the ace), draw trumps ending in dummy and claim -- I think
only a 5-1 club break (or 4-0 spade break) can hurt you.  

The results were all over the place.  Only Ted and Mildred
chalked up +420.  There were two +170's (two or three spades,
plus four), three -50's (4S down one), and one weird +100 --
three or four hearts, down one doubled, or down two?  Not what I
would have expected.

Suzy noted that if you give east the queen of spades and the two
red aces, you're probably making a slam.  We play that 4c over
2s asks for key cards with the responses being 4d = zero key
cards, 4h = one without the QS, 4s = one with the QS and 4n = 2.
This is another Wilson bid.  We don't have a response for 2 with
the QS.  Probably that should be 5c.  Given that, perhaps 4c is
the right bid and you bid 6 after a 5c response!  Yes, a club
void will kill you, but partner can't open 2s with 10 points,
six spades and a void (because it would meet the rule of 20).

     Kevin: Great thinking Suzy!  This is the perfect hand to see if
            partner has magic.  If partner has 2 aces and the queen
            of spades then I would risk the slam.  With 2 aces an no
            queen of spades, I would happily settle for five; while
            12 tricks might be slightly over 50%, there are just too
            many chances for 2 losers and a bottom.  As long as
            partner has 6 pieces of the spade suit, then I am going
            to count six spade tricks, 4 club tricks, and the two
            aces for twelve tricks.  A question for everyone reading
            this... What spot card in my hand is the most important
            when considering bidding a slam?  Answer at the end.

And since I couldn't resist, 7 of my 100000 random hands opposite
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 were weak two's with Qxxxxx of spades, the ace
of hearts, the ace of diamonds, and at least one club.   All are
cold for 6S unless spades break 4-0 (10%) and clubs break really
badly (< 20% in the worst case).  I'll take those odds...

AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT9762,A32,A6,93
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT8765,A6,A96,T9
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 Q97532,A3,AT8,63
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT9763,A52,A8,96
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 Q98763,A32,A82,T
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 Q86532,A52,A94,T

     Kevin: The spot that matters so much is the 4 of Spades.  This
            may very well be the only chance for a third entry to my
            clubs.  If I had the two of spades instead of the four,
            then I would never bid more then 4. Also, partner
            better declare carefully and not waste his low spots when
            he plays trumps to dummy.  A final thought... all this
            for 7 times out of 100,000. jeez...

(Well, that's all hands opposite AK4,Q9,53,AK8752, not all weak
two's opposite AK4,Q9,53,AK8752, so it's not bad.  And hey, if 
you've got the bid to explore it, why not?)

Here are my quick percentages on 20 random weak two's opposite
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752.  After the two hands is my guess at the
percentages (and I don't get too exact if it's difficult -- I
just start guessing), and a Y or N, depending on whether opener
has 8-10 points (Y) or 5-7 (N).

AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT8653,JT5,Q,963 40   N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 T87532,AK73,,T43 100  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 987652,AJ86,9,J6 100  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 987653,AT83,A97, 100  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT9653,J,KT964,9  60  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 JT9832,A65,K976,  80  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJT875,765,QT8,4   0  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJ9732,JT85,Q8,J   0  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJ8762,KT5,987,4 100  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJT976,62,KT,Q93  55  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT8752,764,KJ96,  50  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 J98762,,QJ4,Q943 100  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 Q86532,AKT4,JT4, 100  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJT983,T8,KQT4,3 100  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJ9752,A63,T4,43 100  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJT865,JT2,A4,63 85   Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 J87652,T,AQT,JT6 70   Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJ9752,KJT54,64, 100  N
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QT9752,A5,7642,Q 100  Y
AK4,Q9,53,AK8752 QJT973,A2,T9642, 100  Y