Gryphons II -- Hand writeup -- June 1, 2002
                     Jim Plank & Kevin Wilson

After a brief hiatus, a hand writeup.  It's boards 7 and 9 from last
saturday's game.

Board: 7   Dealer: S    Vul: Both

You're east.

                S AKQ
                D K742
                C AQJ864

Three passes to you, and you open 1C. 1H by LHO and partner puts in
1N. What do you bid over 3H? How about over 4H?  Kevin?

I don't think there's much science.  Over 3H, I'll bid 4D -- partner
could easily have diamonds and a lame heart stopper, and 1N was her
best bid.  Over 4H, I'm going to go into the tank.  I think we can
get 800 opposite 4H-X, but are we missing 6C or even 7C? (it's
unlikely, but if partner shows up with xxx,Qxxx,Ax,Kxxx, you're
looking good for 7. Yes, not consistent with the bidding, but maybe
you're sitting opposite Paul and Norma).  Or 6D or 7D?

Kevin: Usually when I get problems like this, I'm vulnerable and the
       enemy is not.  I'm going to try for a total tricks analysis of
       what the right bid is.  Assuming they bid 4H vulnerable after
       both sides have passed, I think it is reasonable to assume
       they have 10 hearts.  If I limit pard to 3 cards in each major
       then that leaves 7 cards in the minors.  He might be 3-3-5-2
       or 3-3-4-3 or 2-3-5-3. All of these shapes suggest we have 9
       cards in our best fit.

       I wish I knew what suit it was.  True, we might have 10 or
       conceivably 11 if partner has good club support.  There
       appears to be no way to tell.  The Law says that if there are
       19 total tricks that I need to guess, because if we have 11,
       then they have 8, and doubling will only get +500 (while
       bidding gets +600). There are 2 additional reasons that
       bidding might be right.  The first is stated above - that
       partner might have 4 or 5 clubs with you, and the total tricks
       will be higher than 19. The second is that we might actually
       have a double fit in both clubs and diamonds.  The Law
       suggests raising the total trick count +1 for hands with
       double fits.  This second reason is tenuous, but with 19
       tricks I am having to guess what is right anyway, so its time
       to be deep.  What does it all mean?

       I agree with bidding 4D over 3H. It's a guess what to do over
       4H, but I'm bidding 5C. My first choice would be a forcing
       pass to 4H and then pull partner's expected double to 4N
       suggesting about this very hand.  BUT, since this is not a
       forcing pass situation, I cannot risk partner passing it out.
       If pard is 3-4-4-2 then I sure hope he has the right cards
       because we were killing 4H X'd.

What's partner's shape?  The above hand sheds some insights.  It
looks like the opponents have ten hearts, certainly given the
vulnerability, so partner has three.  Probably Kxx or Axx.  Pard
doesn't have four spades, and I don't think pard has 5 clubs.  So
pard has at least 7 cards in the black suits, and at most seven
points in the black suits.  Are we making slam with 7 points in the
black suits?  Maybe.  Here are some good candidates (> 50%) for 6d:

   xxx,Kxx,Axxx,Kxx  - 65%
   xx,Kxx,AJxxx,xxx  - over 80%
   xxx,Kxx,AJxx,xxx  - 75%

Actually, those last two are higher given the fact that lefty has
the majority of the remaining points.

However, there are some uglier hands that pard can have.  How about:


Don't tell me you've never considered 1N with that last hand!

Kevin: How about Jxx KQ10x Jxxx xx?  This would mean no entry to
       dummy to lead clubs or diamonds and the 4H was going to be a
       massacre.  It is hard to believe that RHO would jump to 4H
       without reason.

An additional worry -- given the jump to 4H, righty could be void in
a minor.

I'm going to go against my typically pathelogical instincts, and
double 4H.  It seems that whenever I think about 1370 in these
auctions, partner shows up with too much defense and too little
shape.  Partner can still pull it.  It should be obvious from her
hand that I'm void in hearts.

One last bidding issue.  Suppose RHO bids just 3H.  You bid 4d and
partner corrects to 5C.  Are you going for six?  I'm afraid I can't be
analytical here.  I'm bidding 6. +600 doesn't seem like enough when
partner has a clear preference for my 6-card suit.  We should have 10
trumps and enough shape to land 6.

Pard's hand: Yuck:

S 542           S AKQ
H K52           H
D QT9           D K742
C K973          C AQJ864

No lead makes me happy except a diamond.  Otherwise, I have to figure
out the diamond suit.  Since LHO should have >= 8 points, and RHO
should have <= 5 points, it's pretty obvious to play LHO for the AD.
But who do you play for the JD? Can you do any diagnostic work along
the way?  Suppose LHO leads the JS. You draw trump in two rounds, LHO
playing a low heart on the second round.  Another club yields two
heart discards, and the remaining two spades gets the 79 from RHO and
the 6T from LHO.

So what do we know?  RHO likely started with 987x,?????,??,xx, and
LHO with JT6,?????,????,x.  Does that help with the location of the
jack of diamonds?  My gut feeling is to play RHO for the Jx and LHO
with the Axxx, but I would have to simulate to be sure.  Given that,
I'd say the best tack is to lead a low diamond to the queen, and if
LHO doesn't fly with the ace, lead the ten back, and pray that the
jack comes out.  That works here, and you chalk up 1370.

All four hands:

Board: 7   Dealer: S    Vul: Both

         S 9873
         H Q9764
         D J5
         C T5

S 542           S AKQ
H K52           H
D QT9           D K742
C K973          C AQJ864

         S JT6
         H AJT83
         D A863
         C 2

The scores:

   100% (1 pair): +1540: 6C, doubled, making by Charles Priode and
                 Nick Saxena.  Something weird was up, though, since
                 their opponents were given an average-plus...

    79% (2): +630 3N+4 -- an easy make on a heart lead.  Actually, it's
               pretty cold on any lead.

    57% (1): +620 5C+6

    43% (1): +600 5C+5 -- misguessing the diamonds.

    29% (1): +400 4H-4, undoubled.

    14% (1): +170 A club part score, plus 6

     0% (1): +150 A club part score, plus 5

Kevin: Wait a second there Jim... I'm not as into your fancy
       simulations but it seems to me that if you can place one hand
       with 4 diamonds and the other with just 2 diamonds then the
       SIMPLE odds are 4-2 that the hand with 4 diamonds has the
       jack.  Did I miss something?  Also, when one of my enemies has
       2 Aces on lead against my slam that I bid in a pressure
       auction...its amazing how frequently they choose to lead
       one... you know, just to see the dummy.  If I actually got a
       spade lead against 6C, I would probably place the Aces to be
       split after finding out about the HA.

       One important scoring note: I made an incorrect ruling at
       Charles and Nick's table.  The bidding was p-p-p-2C-2H-2D.  He
       corrected to 3D quickly (but not before I was called) and I
       let the auction proceed.  This was a mistake.  The rules state
       that when there is an insufficient bid and EITHER the
       insufficient bid or its corrected equivalent are possibily
       conventional, the partner of the offender is debarred from any
       future bid.  The good Dr. jumped to 6C over 3D and got the
       Diamond A as the opening lead.  Case closed.

Five extra points (ok, I'm at a conference again, and have lots of time):

1. I didn't know if I'd have time to simulate, but here are the
   results.  Given 100000 random north/south hands opposite the given
   east/west hands, there were 1448 where south had less than an
   opener, Jxx or Jxxx of spades, at least eight points, and exactly
   five hearts.  Of those here are the breakdowns for the diamonds:

      In 38.6% (559), south had the Ace but not the Jack
      In 36.9% (535), south had the AJ
      In 20.1% (304), south had the Jack, but not the Ace
      In  3.4%  (50), south had neither the jack nor the ace.

   So the line above is best, but not by much.  Suppose you lead the
   KH early on, figuring that north would have to cover with the ace.
   Then you can pinpoint the ace of hearts.  Now, suppose it's in
   south's hand.  Then the percentages shift:

      In 43.8%, south has the Ace but not the Jack
      In 18.0%, south has the AJ
      In 34.0%, south has the Jack, but not the Ace
      In  4.1%, south has neither the jack nor the ace.

   If it's in north's hand, the percentages shift the other way:

      In 31.7%, south has the Ace but not the Jack
      In 68.7%, south has the AJ
      In  0.0%, south has the Jack, but not the Ace
      In  0.0%, south has neither the jack nor the ace.

   I like 43.8% and 68.7% better than 38.6%. However, see the comment
   below if you don't believe your defenders are going to be prepared
   for an unexpected lead.

   Oh, and not to be completely self-serving.  If south has excactly
   3-5-4-1 distribution, then the percentages shift again:

      50% south has AJxx
      32% south has Axxx
      16% south has Jxxx
       1% south has xxxx

2. Ok, suppose you decide that RHO started with 987x,?????,??,xx, and
   LHO with JT6,?????,A???,x.  If you want to try out your
   person-reading skills, you can start diamonds with the ten.  If
   RHO covers with the jack, thank him/her for defending poorly.
   However, if he/she hitches before ducking, you can assume that
   he/she has it, and duck.  If there's no hitch, go up with the
   king, and hook the nine on the way back.  I'm a poor
   person-reader, but I would guess that a good 70% of players in
   RHO's chair won't be ready for it, even at trick 9, and will hitch
   holding the jack.  This is a good reason why, if you are defending
   with the given north hand, you prepare how you will play diamonds
   as early as trick one (duck smoothly).

3. You'll note that doubling 4H gets you +800 and something like 86%.
   6C scores similarly, and getting the diamond suit right in 5C at
   least gets you above average.

   What do you think of bidding 4H with the north hand?  I'd consider
   doing it with a stiff somewhere, or non-vulnerable, but not
   vulnerable with that pack of garbage.  I'd be a 3H bidder.

4. Suzy says she'll open 2C with that hand after three passes.  We'd
   get to 6C with no competition opposite that start:

            West         East
            P            2C
            2D (1)       3C
            4C (2)       5C (3)

        1. Waiting, but promising at least 4 points or a king
        2. Key card in clubs
        3. Two key cards and a void

   Without seeing the other two hands, she made it, because even
   though you don't get the descriptive 1H overcall, you do have a
   few inferences:

   - Hearts are probably 5-5. If either opponent had 6 hearts, either
     they would muster a weak two, or their partner would likely open
     the bidding.

   - Since the requirements for LHO to open are much stronger than
     for RHO in third seat, (especially since RHO has 5 hearts), it
     makes sense to play LHO for the ace of diamonds, and RHO for the
     jack.  It's not bulletproof, but it's the best line.

5. Did any south's consider opening 1H?  I wouldn't but I'm guessing
   some may....

Board: 9   Dealer: N    Vul: E-W

You're south and hold a great hand:

         S Q
         H KQ2
         D AKT2
         C AQJ75

Of course, partner gums up the works by making a bid you really don't
want to hear -- 2s.

Now the questions -- do you think a slam is in the offing?  What
slam?  How do you best bid it?

I think the chances of a spade slam are 50% in the best case.
Assuming the club hook is on, you have to find pard either with the
AKJ of spades, or ace of hearts and the KJT of spades.  With AKxxxx
or spades, or the ace of hearts and the KJxxxx of spades, spades have
to be 3-3, which is certainly anti-percentage.

If partner has the king of clubs, it doesn't help.  She needs too
many points in spades and hearts to give you any decent chance of the

What about six of a minor?  Here are some minor suit gold mines that
ought to yield some > 50% slams:


And one last question -- what about 3N? That one is easy to me -- I'd
much rather be in 4S than 3N, because entries to pard's hand are
going to be very scarce.

Given all that, I think I'm going to wimp out and simply bid 4S.
Almost every hand above is 50% at best, and there are so many bad
hands that partner can have, I'll simply be conservative -- maybe the
others will end up in a bad 3N...

However, suppose you do decide to go forward - how best to bid?  As
always, it depends on your agreements.  Looking at the above hands,
it appears partner will have to be at the top of his or her range.
So you could start with 2n, if that helps define partner's range.
After that, you can try to fish for partner's shape, but you're
getting rather high rather quickly.

If partner would only raise with four pieces, I'd advocate 3C --
partner will bid 3d with diamonds, 3h with hearts (only if pard opens
those kind of hands), 3s with a minimum, and 3n with a maximum.  If
pard would bid 4s with a max and solid spades (AKJTxx), then 3C looks
even better.

The only problem is if pard bids 4C -- it doesn't help evaluate a
club slam, since pard could easily have Kxxxxx,Jx,Qx,xxx.  Of course,
if pard raises, you can bid 4s and perhaps pard will get the point.
I guess that would be my tack.

On the given hands, bidding would go:

     Pard       You
     2S         3C
     4S         6S

Convenient that I just made up a good meaning for 4S over 3C....

Kevin: Partner has to have magic for us to have a slam.  With a 6
       card suit parnter would have to have AKJxxx and the CK for us
       to have a cold slam.  Anything less then this appears to
       produce at best a 50/50 slam.  Partner can't have all these
       cards though, because by the rule of 20 he would have opened it 1S.
       I bid 2N to give partner a chance to show something unusual.
       Maybe he is 6-5 and can jump to 4C. Since I am not worried
       about the enemy getting into this auction, I will give partner
       every chance to show a freak.  It will be sweet to find a 6C
       slam opposite AJxxxx x x Kxxxx which I will bid after RKC
       reveals 1 or 2 key cards.

All four hands:

         S AKJT93
         H 65
         D J7
         C T42

S 7642          S 85
H T984          H AJ73
D 865           D Q943
C 83            C K96

         S Q
         H KQ2
         D AKT2
         C AQJ75

It's a 50% slam, of course, but the CK is onside, so you'd chalk up 980
or 1020, depending on whether east starts with the ace of hearts.  Note,
however, that if north didn't have the SJ, it would be a very bad slam.

The scores:

   100% (1 pair): +1020 - 6S+7 by Gerry Williams and Jean Mather.  I'd
                 put good money that the bidding went 2S-6S, and the
                 opponents didn't have enough information to lead the
                 ace of hearts.

    79% (2): +980 - 6S+6

    50% (2): +510 - 4S+7.  No east in his or her right mind will lead the AH.

    21% (3): +490 - 3N+6.  Even though 3N makes, it suffers because a heart
                           lead is natural.  Granted, if you swap the AH
                           from east to west, they'll both be +6, but I'll
                           play devil's advocate -- suppose you take the CT
                           out of north's hand -- then +5 is the limit in
                           3N.  I think 3N is a very risky bid, more likely
                           to generate a bad result than a good one.

One final comment.  Suppose bidding goes 2S-p-3C-p-4S-p-6S.  Or even
2S-6S. Do you lead your ace of hearts?  I usually only lead an ace if
I'm worried about it going away on a side suit, so if south shows
clubs, I'll lead the AH unhesitatingly.  With 2S-6S, I'm going to be
more wary, especially given my flat hand.  Kevin?

Kevin: I would be more likely to lead the Ace.....can you guess... at
       matchpoints versus at IMPs.  The overtrick comes into play
       enough that it catches up for being the only lead that allows
       the contract to make, or that takes away a critical guess.