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

       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

Board: 12   Dealer: W    Vul: N-S

         S AKQJ653
         H JT8
         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

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

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

                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


         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.

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.