Mon 24th N-S 1st Jim(Sco)/Chuck 60% 2nd Bjarni/Ole 53%
E-W 1st David/Kenneth 56% 2nd Jan/Phil 53%
Wed 26th 1st Dave/Hans 62% 2nd Chuck/Terry 58%
Fri 28th N-S 1st Bob/Dave 62% 2nd Jan/Tomas 59%
21st E-W 1st Mike&Angela 63% 2nd Bjorn/Ian 61%
Bidding Quiz Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated
Hand A Hand B What do you open with Hand A?
♦ 8 ♦ 82
♣ AJ876 ♣ Q97
Hand C Hand D With Hand C RHO opens 1♠. (a) what do you do?
(b) Suppose you pass and partner bids 2♦, what do you do?
♠ A64 ♠ 94
♥ QJ107 ♥ 106 With Hand D you open 1♦, LHO overcalls 2♠ and this is
♠ A8 ♠
♥ AJ ♥ 2 With Hand F LHO opens 1♠ and this is passed to you.
♣ K ♣ AJ53 (b) Suppose you bid 2♦ and partner bids 2NT, what now?
♠ K1043 ♠ KJ9652
♥ 87543 ♥ A6 With Hand H you open 1♠ in 4th seat. Partner responds 2NT
Hand J Hand K With Hand J LHO opens 1♦ and partner overcalls 1♥. What do
♦ J86 ♦ AQJ32 your rebid?
♣ KJ10 ♣ Q1073
Sequences L and M: West North East South
L: What does the 2♣ cuebid here mean? 1♣ 1♠ pass 2♣ ?
M: What does the 3♠ jump here
mean? 1♣ 1♠ pass 3♠ ?
Benjamin is the way Board 28 from Monday 24th
N-S vul ♦ 8 pass 4♠ (1) all pass
Table B (Standard American)
♠ Q1098 N ♠ 65 West North(A) East South
♥ KJ432 W E ♥ 876 pass 1♠ (1) pass 2♦ (2)
♠ - all pass
♦ KQJ106 Table C (Standard American)
♣ KQ5 West North(A) East South
pass 2♣ (1) pass 2♥ (7)
The ‘Benji’ Table pass 2♠ (8) pass 3♦ (9)
West North(A) East South pass 4♠ (9) pass 4NT (10)
2♣ (1) pass 2♦ (13) pass pass 5♥ pass 6♦ (11)
2♠ (14) pass 3♥ (14) pass pass 6♠ (12) all pass
3♣ (15) pass 4♣ (16) pass
4♠ (17) pass pass (18) pass
Table A: (1) What did you open with this North hand A in this week’s quiz? This hand really is a bit too good for 4♠. A 4♠ opener is pre-emptive with (usually 8 ♠’s). And the other reason that I don’t like 4♠ is that there may be a ♣ slam.
I prefer table B’s bid but the best solution is Benjamin.
Table B: (1) I too would open 1♠ if my partner was not enlightened enough to realise the
benefits of playing Benjamin twos.
(2) I would bid 2♥ - bid 5 card suits from the top down
(3) Natural and game forcing
(4) Presumably meant as natural. The problems are that (a) it’s the 4th suit and (b) even if partner thought it was natural he would never take it for an excellent 5-card suit.
(5) A jump in a game forcing situation – so fast arrival, indicating that that’s where he wants to play.
(6) But South preferred ♣’s. Pass may be preferable, especially at pairs scoring.
Table C: (1) Now the current trend in
one trick short of game. This hand may be about 9 playing tricks but to open 2♣ with just 13 high card points is way too off-beat for me. We’ve met this problem before (news-sheet 152 - A 2§ Opener? – part 1) when the very same player opened 2♣ with a strongish 2-suiter and again ended up in a hopeless slam when his partner had a monster with the other two suits. My personal opinion is that if 2♣ is your only strong bid then it needs to be at least 18-19 points. Of course the only real solution is to play Benjamin twos.
(7) A positive in basic Standard American.
(8) Natural and game forcing.
(9) 2nd suit
(10) Fast arrival. A jump to game in a game forcing situation indicates that that’s where you want to play.
(11) But obviously South is pushing on if North has anything remotely resembling a 2♣ opening. Luckily there was an ace missing or South would have bid a grand slam.
‘Benji’ (1) 8-9 playing tricks in this instance.
Table (13) Automatic relay
(15) 2nd suit (a jump to 4♠ is also reasonable here, which would show a hand with playing strength in ♠’s but not much elsewhere)
(16) I prefer ♣’s to ♠’s
(17) But I have very good ♠’s and this is pairs scoring
(18) OK. As it’s a mis-fit and you did not open 2♦ I’ll settle for 4♠.
And what happened? 3 pairs bid 4♠, the other 3 did not. 6♠ went minus one; it would have made on a ♠ lead and gone 2 down on a ♦ lead.
The bottom lines (assuming you play Standard American with just 2♣ as your strong bid): -
- Don’t open 2♣ with two-suiters.
- You need to set some sort of minimum point count for 2♣, I would say about 19+.
- Play Benjamin twos! – Then a 2♣ opener shows a good hand but not a load of points and 2♦ shows a very strong hand with points.
A real 2♣ opener?
♥ AJ and I found this Hand E from news-sheet 60/61. What did you open with
♦ AQJ108753 Hand E in this week’s quiz? Way back in 2003 I opened it with 2♣ and
I really am finding some gems going through the old news sheets and putting them on the web – and I’m compiling an index while I’m doing it – it’ll take a week or two.
There’s no negative double over a 1NT overcall Board 9 from Monday 24th
E-W vul ♦ 75432 - pass 1♠ 1NT (1)
♣ K8 dbl (2) pass 3♠ (3) pass
pass dbl all pass
♠ - N ♠ KQ9872
♥ A9763 W E ♥ K52
(1) 15-18 with a ♠ stop!? I guess that J10x is close to a stop but 2♦ is a sound alternative.
(2) Meant as negative (showing ♥’s). Unfortunately negative doubles do not apply when the overcall is 1NT. Double is penalties, about 9+ points. A suit bid here (2♣ or 2♥) is natutal and non-forcing (with values West would double).
(3) I would pass.
The bottom lines: -
Double is ‘automatic’ Board 22 from Monday 24th
E-W vul ♦ K94 - - 1♦ 2♠ (1)
♣ J854 pass (2) pass pass (3)
♠ AJ65 N ♠ 94
♥ J975 W E ♥ 106
(1) Exactly why South chose a ‘weak’ jump overcall rather than 1♠ will remain a mystery.
(2) What did you bid with this West hand B in this week’s quiz? Double would be negative (showing 4 ♥’s) and I too would pass and settle for the penalty after partner’s ‘automatic’ double.
(3) What did you bid with this East hand D in this week’s quiz? I guess that I have not emphasised the ‘automatic’ re-opening double enough in the news sheets?
And what happened? 2♠ went minus two and the 100 to E-W was a near bottom for them. The 300 from 2♠ doubled would have been an outright top.
The bottom line: -
- Much the same as it has been nearly every week for the past 155 news-sheets, if you play negative doubles then re-open with a double if partner passes LHO’s overcall.
When not to re-open with a double (when playing negative doubles)
have mentioned many times, the re-opening double is almost automatic but there
are (very few) exceptions. Suppose you open 1♠ and
Hand A Hand P Hand Q With Hand A bid 4♣, strong. There may be
♦ 8 ♦ Q ♦ Q7 With Hand P bid 3♣ showing a shapely weak hand.
♣ AJ876 ♣ KJ876 ♣ J8 This is close and I would not argue with a double.
With hand Q, pass! It really is very unlikely for LHO to have a 2-level overcall and partner to have a penalty hand. Note that your trumps really do need to be about this good for this action – you’ll be surprised at the rubbish that people overcall with these days!
Don’t leap off when it’s game forcing anyway Board 15 from Monday 24th
N-S vul ♦ K109 - - - 1♦
♣ K942 pass 1♥ pass 1NT (1)
pass 3♣ (2) pass 5♣ (3)
♠ QJ104 N ♠ K76532 pass 6♣ (4) pass pass
♥ 1062 W E ♥ 954 dbl all pass
♠ 98 West North East South
♥ A8 - - - 1♦
♦ AQJ32 pass 1♥ pass 2♣ (1)
♣ Q1073 pass 2♠ (5) pass 3♦ (6)
etc to 6♦ (7)
Table A: (1) What did you rebid with this South hand K in this week’s quiz? 1NT is 12-14
but, especially with nothing in ♠’s, 2♣ is best – show your shape.
(2) Game forcing.
(3) And this is also bad. Partner’s 3♣ is game forcing and there is all the room on the world to find the best contract. Of course it’s tricky because of the unwise 1NT at (1) but 3♦, 3♥, 3♠(4th suit) or 4♣ are all reasonable – there’s no need to jump.
(4) West knows that they have gone past 3NT and so punts the slam – that’s also what I would have done at pairs scoring.
Table B: (1) Life really is easier when you start off with the right bid.
(5) 4th suit, in this case just to set up a game force.
(6) No ♠ stop
(7) North knows that there’s a double fit (4-4 in ♣’s and 5-3 in ♦’s) and when your slamming suit quality counts, so he correctly chose ♦’s. I guess ♥’s would score more but nobody bid to 6♥.
And what happened. One pair bid 6♦ making, 6♥ would make but nobody bid it, two pairs bid 6♣ which didn’t make. Other scores were all over the place.
The bottom lines: -
- I’m always harping on about the 4-4 fit, and it’s usually better than 5-3. But when you are in slam you need good trumps and these ♣’s are not slam quality (the ♥’s are and the ♦’s are).
- Use 4th suit forcing to set up a game forcing situation. I like to play 4th suit as game forcing; it really does make life easy.
- Don’t rebid 1NT to show your points if you have a more descriptive bid available.
- There’s no need to leap off if you’re in a game forcing auction, take it nice ’n easy.
Bidding after partner balances Board 23 from Monday 24th
Both vul ♦ 9 - - - 1♠
♣ 9842 pass (1) pass 2♦ (2) pass
3NT (3) all pass
♠ A64 N ♠
♥ QJ107 W E ♥ 2 ‘Expert Table’
♠ Q10987 pass (1) pass 2♦ (2) pass
♥ AK3 2NT (3) pass 3NT (4) all pass
Table A: (1) I hoped you passed with this West hand C(a) in this week’s quiz? There’s nothing you can say.
(2) What did you do with this East hand F in this week’s quiz? Two players passed, it looks like a fairly clear 2♦ bid to me. I would make the same bid in the balancing seat without the ♣A. Note that 3♦ would be a strong bid (there’s no such thing as a weak jump overcall in the balancing seat).
(3) What did you bid with this West hand C(b) in this week’s quiz? Somebody asked me on Monday, 3NT is an overbid – you may be punishing partner who has balanced on 8-9 points. Remember, partner in the balancing seat is bidding 3 of your points. An invitational 2NT is correct.
‘Expert’ (3) An invitational 2NT is correct.
Table (4) And East has easily enough to raise to 3NT. He knows that the ♠K is useful as
partner has promised a stop.
And what happened? They scored a top at table A as nobody else bid 3NT! There was 1♠ passed out (twice), 2NT and 3♦ (twice).
The bottom lines: -
- You do not need 11+ points to overcall at the two level in the balancing seat.
- Be aware that partner has ‘borrowed’ a king from your hand when he makes a balancing bid and don’t leap about with 13 points.
KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid Board 7 from Wednesday 26th
Both vul ♦ Q1072 - - - 3♣ (1)
♣ J54 pass 4♣ (2) dbl (3) pass
4♠! (4) all pass
♠ K1043 N ♠ Q96
♥ 87543 W E ♥ AKQ10
♦ 943 DUMMY
(1) Now some people may not like this 3♣ opener but I have no problem with it. Give it a 7th ♣ and it would be too good for 3♣!
(2) This North reads the news-sheets and raised the anti – excellent. Make it difficult for E-W.
(3) A clear-cut double. You cannot promise both majors when you double a minor and with no ♣ stop 4NT (to play) is out.
(4) Now this West also ‘reads’ the news-sheets. If the bidding was at the 3♣ level he would have bid 4♣ - asking partner to choose the major. But at the 4 level he had to decide. What did you bid with this West hand G in this week’s quiz? Obviously 4♥ I presume – but not this West! He knew that partner may well have only 3 ♥’s and so chose the ‘4-4’ ♠ fit. – he knew that 4-4 is better than 5-3 and maybe better than 5-4. He was a little bit too ‘clever’ to realise that he might end up in a 4-3 fit!
And what happened? Everybody else ended up in a ♥ part-score by E-W. And at this table?
Both vul ♦ Q1072 to the ♠K and ♠A.
♣ J North switched a ♥ which was won in dummy.
Declarer led a trump to the ♠K in the vain hope
♠ - N ♠ - that they split – they did not.
♥ 875 W E ♥ A10 North led another ♥ won in dummy and Declarer
♠ - and for some reason North did not ruff till the
♥ - last one, he had thrown his ♣J(!) and was now
♦ 943 DUMMY end-played and had to lead from his ♦Q.
♣ A73 With a little help West made the atrocious contract
for a clear (well-deserved??) top!
The bottom lines: -
- 5-4 plays better than 4-3! 4♥ is an easy make; KISS.
- A contract that requires a finesse of the ♠9, North to mis-defend and North to have the ♦Q is somewhat against the odds.
- North should have easily defeated the contract of course, but didn’t West do well?
‘Dig Up’ a Minor Board 18 from Wednesday 26th
N-S vul ♦ A6 - - pass pass
♣ K84 pass 1♠ pass 2NT (1)
pass 3♠ (2) pass pass (3)
♠ 108 N ♠ Q743 pass
♥ KQ95 W E ♥ J73
(1) N-S play ‘2-way Reverse Drury’ – no, I’m not joking – and so South could not bid 2♣ as both 2♣ and 2♦ are artificial here. Anyway, no problem as 2NT is 11-12.
(2) What did you bid with this North hand H in this week’s quiz? The problem is that 3♠ is a weak bid and 4♠ may be a bit unilateral. I believe that 3♣ is the best bid here, I would play any bid other than 3♠ as forcing. Apparently North considered 3♣ but did not bid it because he was afraid of a 4♣ raise by South. Obviously he does not know his partner well enough, take it from me that South would never raise 3♣ to 4♣ if 3NT is a remotely viable alternative. Anyway, with this hand North could bid 4♠ over a possible 4♣ by South.
(3) South is has described his hand and decided to trust partner who may well have a crappy 11 count with 6 ♠’s.
And what happened? 3♠ made +2. Game was bid at 3 tables; 4♠ twice and 3NT (+2) once.
The bottom lines: -
- Don’t make a weak bid with game-going values.
- Very occasionally you may have to ‘dig up’ a minor suit – that is just another reason why I will very rarely go past 3NT into a minor in situations like this.
‘A Limit Raise or Better’
Now most people know how to invite game when partner opens 1♥/♠; normally a raise to 3♥/♠ is invitational. But when partner overcalls 1♥/♠ things are different. To start with partner may have anything from 7-16 points and a jump to 3♥/♠ may well be to high. Also, jumps to the 3-level are normally played as pre-emptive. The solution? – After a 1♥/♠ overcall from partner a cue bid of the opened suit shows a ‘limit raise or better’ – i.e. a sound raise to at least the 3-level. We had three instances on Wednesday: -
‘A Limit Raise or Better’ – part 1 Board 21 from Wednesday 26th
N-S vul ♦ 9865 - 1♦ 1♠ pass
♣ Q3 4♠ (1) all pass
♠ Q8754 N ♠ 109632 Table B
♥ 63 W E ♥ AJ5 West North East South
♠ - 4♠ (3) all pass
Table A: (1) With 10 combined trumps West is prepared to bid 4♠ (The Law) but I prefer the bidding at Table B.
Table B: (1) A limit raise or better. This hand really is a bit too good for a direct 4♠.
(2) With a sound overcall East is going to game (2♠ would be weak) but with all of his points outside ♠’s he suggested 3NT as an alternative contract as partner has only promised 3 ♠’s.
(3) Obviously West bids game in the 5-5 fit.
And what happened? Every table but one bid 4♠ and all lost the obvious 4 tricks – very unlucky. One pair managed to stop in 2♠ and got a lucky top.
‘A Limit Raise or Better’ – part 2 Board 16 from Wednesday 26th
And here we see how ‘limit raise or better’ allows you to stay low when overcaller has a lousy hand: -
E-W vul ♦ K105 1♥ 1♠ pass 2♥ (1)
♣ 93 pass 2♠ (2) all pass
♠ 1087 N ♠ A6
♥ AJ1062 W E ♥ 5 (1) A limit raise (maybe a bit pushy)
♥ KQ73 And what happened? 2♠ made exactly and so a 3♠
♦ Q32 raise by South would have worked out very badly.
‘A Limit Raise or Better’ – part 3 Board 10 from Wednesday 26th
Here we see how the ‘limit raise or better’ treatment gets to a decent game contract which was missed at most tables: -
Both vul ♦ J86 - - 1♦ 1♥
♣ KJ10 pass 2♥ (1) all pass
♠ 8752 N ♠ J1093 Table B
♥ J8 W E ♥ Q10 West North(J) East South
♠ A6 pass 4♥ (3) all pass
Table A: (1) What did you bid with this North hand J in this week’s quiz? It’s best to play 3♥ and 4♥ as pre-emptive. Not knowing about the ‘limit raise or better cue bid’, North simply raised to 2♥ as South only promises 7 points for his overcall.
Table B: (1) A limit raise or better.
(2) A decent hand on the border. South invited North with 3♥, he could just bid 4♥.
(3) And North has easily enough to go to game.
And what happened? Only one pair bid 4♥; everybody made 10 tricks in ♥’s.
The bottom lines (for the last 3 deals): -
- When partner overcalls in a major suit, play the cue bid as ‘limit raise or better’,
where by ‘limit raise’ I mean a sound raise to the 3 level.
- Thus a direct raise to 3 or 4 of partner’s major is pre-emptive.
- And so note that in this situation the cue-bid is not asking for a stop although overcaller may wish to bid NT if he is accepting the game invitation with points outside trumps.
Hand A: 1♠ if playing Standard American or 2/1 with 2♣ as the only strong bid. I require much more in the way of high card strength for a 2♣ opening. Playing strong twos then open 2♠ and playing Benjamin open 2♣. I don’t like 4♠ (or 4♦ playing Namyats) too much as it’s a bit good, wrong shape, and you may miss a ♣ slam.
Hand B: Pass. And pass partner’s ‘automatic’ re-opening double when you play negative doubles. I think that this is the best chance for a good score; double (showing 4 ♥’s) is not a good bid as it’s not strong enough for the 3-level. Settle for the money.
Hand C: (a) Pass. It’s too flat for double and there’s no bid but pass.
(b) 2NT. Partner’s 2♦ is in the balancing seat and he may have as few as 8 points, so an invitational 2NT is quite sufficient. Partner will bid game with 10+.
Hand D: Dbl. ‘Automatic’ playing negative doubles.
Hand E: 2♣. (or 2♦ if you play Benjamin). Clearly worth your strongest bid.
Hand F: (a) 2♦. Looks fairly clear but two players did pass on Monday. 1NT (10-13) is
also possible I suppose. Note that 3♦ here would show a much stronger hand as it’s the pass-out seat.
(b) 3NT. Your initial 2♦ was in the pass-out (balancing seat) and could have been as few as 8 points and partner has around 13/14 – so accept.
Hand G: 4♥, obviously.
Hand H: 3♣ or 4♠. I would bid 3♣ (a partner who reads the news-sheets is unlikely to raise to 4♣ and go past a possible 3NT). I prefer 3♣ to 4♠ as 4♠ is a bit unilateral if partner has a small singleton ♠. 3♠ is a weak bid, I would take any bid other than 3♠ here as forcing.
Hand J: 2♦. Showing a sound raise to 3♥ or better (limit raise or better). 2♥ is not enough and 3♥ and 4♥ are best played as pre-emptive.
Hand K: 2♣. Show your shape rather than 1NT.
Sequence L: A sound raise to 3♠ or better (‘limit raise or better’). It is not asking for a stop when partner has overcalled in a major.
Sequence M: Pre-emptive. With an invitational hand one would use the ‘limit raise or better’ cue bid.