Club News Sheet – No. 249        12th Aug 2007

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Mon 6th            1st  Paul Sav.. & Bob P..            61%         2nd Kenneth & Phil                     59%

Wed 8th            1st Lewis & Terry                      60%         2nd Gastone & Jean-Charles       57%

Fri  10th            1st  Bob P.. & Dave                   65%         2nd Lewis & Terry                      57%


Bidding Quiz                           Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated.


Hand A           Hand B           With Hand A you are in 1st seat at favourable vulnerability, what

do you open?

4                   -                                          

QJ10952      KJ97            With Hand B you pass as dealer and LHO opens 3, this is

J1095            KQ8762       is passed round to you. (a) What do you do?

Q4               653              (b) What do you do if partner made a very long pause before passing?


Hand C           Hand D           With Hand C RHO opens 1, what do you bid?


A763            AKQ3

Q10753        Q10753        With Hand D RHO opens 1, what do you bid?

J4                  A4

J10               J10



Bidding Sequences Quiz            All of these sequences occurred this week


E      1     2                             2 is a Michaels cue bid, promising at least 5-4 in the majors.

                                            But is it weak, strong, or any strength?                           

F      2     pass   2      dbl         2 is big and 2 is negative or waiting, what is the dbl?

G     1      2      pass   3         2 is a weak jump overcall, is 3 forcing?

H     3NT                                     What is a 3NT opening?


The Club Championships       The current standings are: -

Gold Cup = Best 30                 Silver plate = Best 10      Bronze medal = Best 5


1816.8  Janne Roos                  666.8  Janne Roos                   350.4  Janne Roos

1793.3  Jan v Koss                  650.5  Jan v Koss                    340.2  Jan v Koss

1773.2  Dave Cutler                 634.9  Paul Savelkral                336.2  Bengt Malmgren

1721.3  Bob Pelletier                634.5  Lars Gustaffson             332.9  Paul Savelkral

                                                632.5  Dave Cutler                   328.0  Dave Cutler


Different judgements                                           Board 2 from Monday 6th


Two North’s took totally different opinions about their hand on this board: -


Dealer:             AJ543                                         Table A

East                  Q                                                West          North         East            South

N-S vul            A1093                                        -                 -                 2              dbl      

                        KJ3                                            3    (1)      3    (2)      4    (3)      pass

pass           dbl   (4)      all pass

862                    N             7                          

109763          W    E          AJ8542                Table B

J542                  S              Q76                      West          North         East            South

4                                        Q72                     -                 -                 2              dbl

                        KQ109                                       5    (1)      6    (5)      all pass      





Table A:     (1)  This is feeble, with a known 11-card fit!

(2)   This is equally feeble. With 5 spades opposite a partner who has doubled, this hand is worth at least game.

(3)   I would pass, but then I expect my partner’s to obey the Law and raise my pre-empt to the appropriate level.

(4)   If 3 was feeble, this is terrible!

Table B:     (1)  This is the bid according to the Law; 4 may be better as you don’t want to make it obvious to N-S that they have a slam.

(5)  This North correctly had faith in his partner’s double (promising a good hand short in ’s with 4 ’s). Good bid Gerry.


And what happened? Just two pairs out of 6 bid the decent 6 slam (they both got the ’s right). 

The bottom lines: -

-         Don’t double the opponent’s game (non vul) with a singleton trump when you have a cold vulnerable game your way.

-         I note that one N-S pair managed to stop in 3 (+2)!





Dave’s Column     Here is this week’s Dave input involving the best play for the contract.


North               South                   You are North, playing in 6 after East has opened a weak 2.

AQJ53          K82                  How do you play on the Q lead?

AK76           83              

A8                K763         

AK               10752



Dave’s Column answer                      Board 27 from Wednesday 1st  



Dealer:             AQJ53                                        Book Auction

East                  AK76                                         West          North         East(A)      South

N-S vul            A8                                              -                 -                 2    (1)      pass

                        AK                                             pass           dbl             pass           3

pass           4    (2)      pass           5  (3)

10976                N             4                          pass           6              all pass

4                     W    E          QJ10952             

Q42                    S              J1095                    My Table

J9863                                 Q4                      West          North         East(A)    South

                        K82                                            -                 -                 3    (1)    pass

83                                               pass           dbl             pass         4        

K763                                          pass           4NT (4)      pass         5

10752                                        pass           6             pass         pass

dbl             all pass


‘Book        (1)  What did you open with this East hand A in this week’s quiz? Dave’s book

 auction’:          bid 2♥ and I suppose that’s obvious?

(2)   This jump, having doubled, shows a very strong hand.

(3)   South has promised nothing (0-8) so far so 5 (or even 6) is clear.

My table:    (1)  I (Terry) was East and opened 3with hand A. At this vulnerability I think it’s better than a mere 2 (read a few Marty Bergen books if you disagree). The suit has excellent body and there is also good body in the 2nd suit.

(4)  And North does not have it quite so easy as at (2) above. 4 is probably best but it does not promise as good a hand as the jump at (2) above. The 3 opening really messed North up.


Anyway, I guess that I was the only one to open 3, but only one pair reached 6. So how do you play 6on the ♥Q lead? Here’s the extract from Dave’s book: -

“You win the lead with the A and must somehow dispose of one of the losers. That won’t be possible if you draw trumps straight away as you need to ruff at least one in dummy. Suppose you play the K at trick two; that’s no good either as West will ruff and still be in a position to over-ruff dummy when you when you ruff one of your remaining losers with the 8.

Instead you must cross to dummy with the K and lead a 2nd round of ’s towards your hand. There is nothing West can do! If he ruffs a loser, your K will later take a trick and you can ruff the remaining loser with dummy’s K. Let’s suppose that West discards instead and you win the 2nd round of ’s with the K. You ruff a 3rd round of ’s with the K, return to hand with a honour and ruff the last with the 8. Whether or not West over-ruffs at this stage, he will score just one trump trick and the contract makes. By leading towards your 2nd honour, you prevented West from ruffing it.

Do you see why it was important to ruff the last towards the end, even though you knew that it would be over-ruffed? It was because West’s   10976 had been promoted into a trick when you ruffed a with dummy’s K. By forcing West to over-ruff, you avoid losing both a and a trump trick.”

And what happened at the Pattaya Bridge Club? 6-1 once, 3NT+2 twice, 4+1 once and 6♣*-2 once.    .

That 7 from last week                                        Board 7 from Wednesday 1st 



Dealer:             A10765                                    Dave confirmed that he did put the board in

South               76                                         last week. My suggested line of winning the Q

Both vul            A97                                      lead with the K, over with a trump and ruff a

                        A104                                    apparently does not work because East has

8432 and the 8 eventually gets promoted.

832                    N             4                    

4                     W    E          Q985                  Apparently, according to Dave’s book, you

86543                 S              QJ102             should win the K, overtake the K with the  

8653                                  J972               A and ruff a .

                        KQJ9                                     That indeed guards against 8432 with a defender

AKJ1032                             but I have changed the E-W cards slightly to have  

K                                          more sensible distributions. Dave’s book says

KQ                                      to then draw trumps (so just three rounds now)

and play the A and then the K if all follow.

A10                                          That leaves this position with the lead in the

                                                                     South hand. There are no entries to ruff out the

                        A                                          ’s now that it’s East who has the Q and you

                        104                                      have to lose a trick.  


-                        N                                    The odds: -

                       W    E          Q9              -   Dave’s book’s line of overtaking the K and later

86                       S              J                      playing the AK guards against a 4-0 break

865                                    J9                   but fails if the ’s are 4-1 with East having Qxxx.

                        -                                           It also fails if East has all 5 ’s.

J1032                               -   Which line is best? Let’s work it out:  

-                                            a 4-0 break is 9.57%

Q                                         a 5-0 break is 3.91%

                                                a 4-1 break is 28.26%


So Qxxx in one hand is 4/5 of 28.26 i.e. 22.60% and so Qxxx with East is 11.30%.

Qxxxx with East is 1.96%. So the odds of East having Qxxx(x) is 11.3 + 1.96 = 13.26%.

Let’s also look at the third possible line of trying the finesse on the 2nd rounds of ’s. It works whenever East has the Q (50%) and also if West has the singleton Q (2.826%)

So we finally have: -

-         The ‘obvious’ line of getting to the North hand by overtaking a trump fails

when trumps split 4-0 and is thus 100-9.57 =                                                          90.43%

-         The ‘spectacular’ book’s line of overtaking the K fails 13.26% of the time

and is thus 100-13.26 =                                                                                          86.74%

-     The 2nd round finesse is                                                                                       52.82%


                                                                                                QED (quod erat demonstrandum)


The bottom lines: -

-     Thus the ‘obvious’ line is nearly 4% better than the ‘spectacular’ book’s line of overtaking the K.

-     Was this a silly double-dummy problem?

A good Michaels cue bid?                                   Board 17 from Friday 10th


Dave and I agree on just about everything, that’s why the club runs fairly smoothly. However, we do disagree on the use Michaels cue bids and the UNT: -


Dealer:             9654                                           Table A

North               KJ4                                            West          North         East            South(D)

Love all            1082                                           -                 pass           1             2     (1)

                        K62                                           pass           2    (2)      pass           pass   (3)


102                    N             J87                      

98                  W    E          A62                      Table B

J7653                S              KQ9                     West          North         East            South(D)

Q974                                 A853                    -                 pass           1             1      (1)

                        AKQ3                                        pass           2    (4)      pass           2      (5)

Q10753                                      pass           3    (6)      pass           4      (7)

A4                                              all pass



Table A:     (1)  What did you bid with this South hand D in this week’s quiz? Dave (South here) chose a Michaels cue bid. In his style showing at least 5-4 in the majors and any point range whatsoever, from pre-emptive, average, good to strong.

(2)   Pretty obvious as 2 could be as little as 6 or so points.

(3)   Perhaps South should make an effort, but you are already up at the two level and partner may be bust. I will not comment further as this bidding style is completely alien to me.

Table B:     (1)  This is my answer to question D, with dbl being reasonable I suppose (certainly better than Michaels). With this intermediate strength hand, overcall and hope to maybe get the 2nd suit in later.

(4)   This shows a little something, generally around 5-9 with support.

(5)   South now knows that North has values and support (unlike in the auction above) and so South can try for game and also mention his 4-card suit.

(6)   With 4 ’s and excellent ’s North should accept the game try. It’s not obvious that South has 4 ’s but North should show his 4 ’s on the way to game.

(7)   South elects to play in the 4-4 fit rather than the 5-3 fit.


And what happened? Just two pairs out of four bid the cold 4. 4 would also have made.

The bottom lines: -

-     Do not abuse Michaels (and UNT) by using them to show shape but any point range.

-     Michaels and UNT are pre-empts!! Although some players (including myself) play that they can also be very strong (but this South hand is nowhere near strong/shapely enough for the latter).

-     I won’t bother to quote hundreds of books/articles on Michaels cue bids, but just stick with my usual two sources: -

(a) Crowhurst (Acol in competition – page 267): 1 - 2 shows at least 5-4 in the majors and 7-11 points.

(b) Max Hardy (Standard bridge bidding for the 21st century – page 212) The Michaels cue bid shows two suits of at least 5 cards. The range is usually 6 to 11 points.

-     To repeat what I have frequently said in the news-sheets, Michaels (and UNT) are the most abused conventions out there.

A long pause                                                         Board 18 from Monday 6th


I tend to be biased towards the opponents if there is a dubious bid at a table where I am actually playing, but I had to rule against them here when my partner objected: -


Dealer:             Q74                                            West          North         East(B)       South

East                  A8765                                        -                 -                 pass           3  (1)

N-S vul            A9                                              pass (2)      pass (3)      dbl   (4)… director called



K10                   N             -                     (1)  Normally it’s best to open 4 with an 8 card

Q4                 W    E          KJ97                    suit, but this South looked at the vulnerability.

J1054                S              KQ8762         (2)  West passed after a long pause.

AKQ72                              653                (3)  With 3 trumps I always raise partner – I

                        AJ986532                                   would bid 4 like a shot with this North hand.

103                                       (4)  What did you bid with this East hand B(a) in

3                                                 this week’s quiz? And what was your answer

J9                                               to question B(b).


What happened? I was South and my partner complained about the double by a passed hand after partner’s long pause. Normally if I’m called over I look at the hand and see if the call is justified – obviously I cold not on this occasion as I was South. Anyway, the rules are very clear here – after a long pause and pass from partner you have to have a very clear bid if you decide not to pass. A double here is forcing partner to bid at the 4-level (unless he has a penalty of 3’s). With a nine count I do not think that 80% of East’s peers would bid.

There’s also another way of looking at it, South presumably has 7 ’s and North presumably has two or less ’s (he did not raise). That leaves partner with 4 ’s and obviously a good hand (as he paused) but he did not bid NoTrumps – is it likely that partner has a penalty hand and is hoping that partner re-opens with a double? So should East double? Maybe – but not after partner has made a long pause and passed.


And what happened?

-         I ruled that East could not double and the contract was 3 undoubled making exactly.

-         Three other N-S’s bid to 5 doubled, going for 500 (twice) and 200. I guess that they did not look at the vulnerability?   The bottom lines: -

-         Try not to pass having made a very long pause.

-         This West hand is tricky, and if you take way over the expected 10 seconds to think then I would bid rather than pass. I would try 3NT (but you know me, if 3NT is an option …), North would probably bid 4 and East may just bid 5 to reach the top spot?

-         If partner makes a very long pause and passes then you have to have a very clear bid in order to say something.

-         In this auction: - North may well have 14 or so points but little prospect of game: South has made a vulnerable pre-empt against non-vul opponents and could easily have 9-10 points.  West’s long hesitation made it clear the he had the big hand and so East is barred from the auction unless he has a very clear bid – he most certainly does not.

-         Always raise any pre-empt from partner when you hold 3 trumps. North should bid 4 at (3) which should end the auction – or if the opponents come in after that then they will undoubtedly get too high (one pair did go down in 6). I do not know why North did not raise to 4 - if he passed because he knew that East would be banned from bidding after he complained to the director then I would consider that to be unsportsmanlike behavior.

A Word about pre-empts


The general rule is that you open two with a 6-card major, three with a 7 card major and four with an 8-card major. So why did I open just 3 with AJ986532 (an 8 card suit) on page 6 but open 3 with just QJ10952 (a 6 card suit, Hand A) on page 3 ?

The main answer was the vulnerability. It was unfavourable with the first hand and favourable with the second. The 2nd reason is solidity if the suit – or ‘body’. Intermediates are all-important in a pre-empt suit. Change that suit of Hand A to KJ7542 and, even though it’s one point more, I would open just 2- it’s just possible that you could make zero tricks with this suit but you are absolutely guaranteed two tricks with the original hand.

When considering how high to pre-empt, look at: -

(a)    The vulnerability.

(b)   The quality of the suit – i.e. the intermediates, not the top cards. – The Ace and King of a pre-empt suit are not that important to have as they will probably take a trick whether declaring or defending. To quote Marty Bergen – ‘A good pre-empt is topless with a good body’. QJ10987(x) is the ideal pre-empt suit.

(c)    Position at the table:

-     In 1st seat just be sensible, but you can make ambitious pre-empts as it’s 2-1 odds on that an opponent has the big hand.

-     In 2nd seat  pre-empts have to be very sound – RHO has passed and it’s evens that it’s partner who has the big hand.

-     In 3rd seat anything goes.

-     In 4th seat – there is no such thing as a pre-empt.






The Jump Cuebid overcall in the Search Engines


The search for ‘bridge jump cuebid overcall’ on Google now has the mention from the conventions page on their first page at number 10, but Google has not yet indexed the specific page I wrote. Yahoo has found it, but it has somehow slipped from No 6 to No 18 in their results! MSN has now found my page and it is listed at No 10 on their first page.

So, Google is not all that it is made out to be!! Both Yahoo and MSN find new pages quicker and so would appear to be more efficient search engines?

The problem with Google is that they only list pages near the top if they have a high ‘pagerank’. Pagerank is a number assigned by Google to indicate how good/important they think the page is. But a new page (or a new website) takes months and months to attain any Google pagerank (if they ever do). The only way to get something noted quickly by Google is to put it on a page that already has a high Google pagerank (such as my existing conventions main page).


Bidding Quiz Answers


Hand A:    2 is ‘obvious’ I suppose. But I opened 3; at this vulnerability and with these great intermediates and a 2nd 4-card suit I think that 3 is a much more effective pre-empt (and so it worked out).

Hand B:    (a)  dbl, pass and 4 are all fairly reasonable options. But partner has shown no values and RHO may have quite a decent hand so pass is probably most prudent. A double would force partner to bid at the 4-level and is obviously dubious.

(b)  Pass. Full stop. Partner’s pause has made it obvious that he has well over the expected 10-11 points on this auction. I gave my opinion above that double is a dubious bid, but it is simply not allowed if partner has made a long pause.

Hand C:    2, a Michaels cue bid. Showing about 6-11 points and at least 5-4 in the majors.

Hand D:    1, this hand is far too strong for a Michaels cue bid, which is a pre-empt. Double is reasonable I suppose (much better than Michaels which raises the bidding level pre-emptively) but you will have problems over a 1 response.



Bidding Sequences Answers    



E      1     2                             6-11 points, Michaels is a pre-empt.                          

F      2     pass   2      dbl         Dbl shows ’s and asks for a lead. It most certainly is not inviting partner to bid!

G     1      2      pass   3         3 is strong and forcing – just as if partner had opened 2.

H     3NT                                     In SAYC a 3NT opening is 25-26 points, but nobody plays that. The best treatment for an opening 3NT is the Gambling 3NT – a long totally solid minor with absolutely no ace or king outside the suit.