Club News Sheet – No. 251        26th Aug 2007

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Mon 20th          1st  Phil & Tomas                       60%         2nd Bengt & Jan                          59%

Wed 22nd         1st Phil & Tomas                       642nd        2nd Lewis & Terry                      60%

Fri  24th            1st  Bob & Dave                         57%         2nd  Lewis & Alan                       55%


Bidding Quiz                           Standard American is assumed unless otherwise stated.


Hand A           Hand B           With Hand A partner bids 1NT, what do you bid?


KQ7             J2                 With Hand B you are in 2nd seat, love all, what do you open?

A953            4                  

K3                AK10876532                            

AQJ6           Q


Hand C           Hand D           With Hand C you are dealer at favourable vulnerability. What,

if anything, do you open?

9                   76                        

J108642       A108            With Hand D partner opens 1 and you bid 1. Partner then

A1054          AQ632         bids 1, what do you bid?

52                KQ9


Hand E            Hand F            With Hand E RHO opens 1. (a) What do you bid, and

(b) What do you intend to do later?

J10942         AKJ4           

-                   J763             With Hand F you open 1 and partner bids 1. You bid 1

AQJ1062      94                 and partner jumps to 2 - what do you bid?

J2                 A76


Bidding Sequences Quiz        All of these sequences occurred this week


G     1     pass   1      pass       What is 1 - natural or 4th suit forcing?

1      pass   1                                                 

H     1     pass   1      pass       What is 2 - natural or 4th suit forcing?

1      pass   2

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

1815.9  Jan v Koss                  654.4  Jan v Koss                    340.2  Jan v Koss

1794.9  Dave Cutler                 640.0  Dave Cutler                   336.2  Bengt Malmgren

1736.1  Bob Pelletier                634.9  Paul Savelkral                332.9  Paul Savelkral

634.5  Lars Gustaffson             328.0  Dave Cutler

Walking the dog?                                                 Board 1 from Monday 20th


An American term for making a seemingly silly bid in the hope of being doubled there.


Dealer:             AQ43                                         Table A

North               K9652                                        West          North         East(B)       South

Love all            -                                                  -                 pass           1    (1)      1

                        9654                                          pass           4              pass (2)      pass


875                    N             J2                        

103                 W    E          4                           Table B

J4                      S              AK10876532       West          North         East(B)       South

AJ10832                            Q                         -                 pass           pass (1)      1

                        K1096                                        pass           2    (3)      5    (4)      dbl   (5)

AQJ87                                       pass           5    (6)      all pass




Table A:     (1)  What did you open with this East hand B in this week’s quiz? 1? 2? 3? 4? 5 or a gambling 3NT? I don’t like 4 or 5 as that rules out 3NT if partner has a few bits and pieces. It’s a bit good for 3 and much too good for 2. A gambling 3NT is reasonable but the suit is not really solid. So it appears that only 1 is left; the hand is 21 for the rule of 20 and so this East opened a very reasonable 1.

(2)  But with probably 9 tricks in offence and likely zero in defence this is a very poor pass, 5 is called for.

Table B:     (1)  This East took a very interesting view with hand B, and I certainly would not argue with this initial pass and come in later!

(3)  2-way reverse Drury – showing a sound raise to 3 (or better) with 4 ’s.

(4)  And now East shows his hand, interesting bidding Bob. Walking the dog?

(5)  South really has to do something with his 15 points – he cannot imagine that North has such a superb fit (or East such great ’s) and dbl is clearly called for.

(6)  But luckily for South, North (me) did not like to defend and I thought that there was something fishy (doggy?) about East’s bid – I’ve played against Bob before.


And what happened? 4 made +1 and 5 was bid twice and made exactly; these three thus shared the N-S top. One East was allowed to play in 5 and went just one down. One East went on to 6 doubled which should go just two down for a good score – but he actually got a top for making 6 when South covered the Q when it was led!

The bottom lines: -

-     Only cover an honour with an honour if you are likely to promote a trick in your hand or in partner’s.

-     If there seems to be no satisfactory opening – then pass?

-     If anybody need the exercise, I have a Great Dane that need regular walking.



Dave’s Column                                         Board 19 from Wednesday 22nd  


Dave’s input this week is a bidding question rather than the usual play problem. What was your answer to question A this week? With points to spare – play in 6NT rather than 6 of a suit (so simply bid 6NT) is the book’s answer. I disagree. Here’s what Dave’s book says: -


Dealer:             KQ7                                           Book Auction

South               A953                                          West          North(A)    East            South

E-W vul           K3                                              -                 -                 -                 1NT

                        AQJ6                                         pass           6NT   (1)    all pass


J9542                N             83                   “This is a typical deal where you have upwards of

10                   W    E          QJ84              34 points. With two balanced hands facing each other

10852               S              J964                you will have a good chance of making 12 tricks in

942                                    1087              No Trumps. It will be an unnecessary risk to play in

                        A106                                    a 4-4 fit, where a bad trump split may cost you

K762                                    the slam.          




So how should North bid this hand opposite a strong 1NT from partner? North has a possible ruffing value in ’s but there are two reasons why he might shy away from a 4-4 fit.

1.- He holds 19 points, so a slam might be cold in no trumps on sheer power while a bad trump break may defeat the slam.

2.-  His own ’s are not so brilliant. A953 opposite a random 4-card holding might easily produce two trump losers, even when twelve tricks are cold in NoTrumps.”


The above is all from Dave’s book which then goes on to repeat how much better 6NT is than 6♥.

Terry’s comments. This article is totally typical of writers and players who think that if 6/ or 7/ is a poor prospect, then bid 6NT. Does nobody know that 7/ scores more than 6NT?  The book’s recommended auction (correctly) dismissed looking for a slam – but why not a slam?


A106            Give South this hand (just two spot cards changed) and 7 - the golden 4-4 fit,

K7                is cold! Why is it that virtually every bidding book ignores minor suit slams?

AQ72           This author correctly points out that A953 is not a suit to go looking for    

K532           slam – but AQJ6 most certainly is!  


An ‘expert’ pair who have read the No trump bidding book would start off with SARS and then easily find the cold 7 had South held this hand – see next page. Dave’s book’s pathetic 6NT is absolutely typical (of people who do not know how to find minor suit slams after a 1NT opening). I only changed the South hand by two spot cards – but south could easily have 5 ’s and then it would be really silly to miss the grand. SARS enables responder to establish the 1NT opener’s shape.

And just as an aside – for non experts. North has a decent 19 count opposite 15-17. If opener has 17 then 7NT should be there – so he could try 4 Gerber and, assuming there is no ace missing, then 5NT (quantitative inviting 7NT). Giving up straight away with 6NT seem feeble to me.

And what happened at the Pattaya bridge club?  6NT=, 7NT-1 (twice) and 6-1.

My recommended (basic) auction . 1NT - 4 - 4- 5NT - 6NT .

Where 4 is Gerber, 4 shows two aces, 5NT invites the grand and opener bids just 6NT with a miserable 16 and the totally flat 4333 type shape. This was (pretty close) to the auction to 6NT by Lewis/myself.

The Expert Auction.


So how do an expert pair bid to 7 assuming South had this hand?


North               South                             North             South

KQ7             A106                          -                     1NT

A953            K7                              2   (1)          2        (2)

K3                AQ72                         3   (3)          3NT     (4)

AQJ6           K532                         4   (5)          4        (6)

7                 pass


(1)   In principle Stayman, but it could be a raise to 2NT (with or without a 4-card major) as our experts play 4-way transfers or it could simply be the start of a SARS sequence to ascertain opener’s shape.

(2)   No 4-card major

(3)   SARS (Shape Asking Relays after Stayman) – asking about partner’s shape.

(4)   4-4 in the minors.

(5)   RKCB and setting ’s as the trump suit. North has uncovered the 4-4 fit and also knows that partner has 4 ’s – so only 5 cards in the major suits and thus no loser there (assuming partner has the K); the hand is surely making 13 tricks if there is no keycard missing. A more pessimistic bid would be 4 - showing a quantitative raise with a 4-4 fit. South would assume that North is looking for a small slam and should bid 6 with these top cards and a great hand for ’s (get an extra  trick with a ruff); North then bids 7.

(6)   3 keycards – there is no advantage in playing 1430 when you are using 4 of the trump suit as RKCB.


The bottom lines: -

-         I’ve met this sort of thing before in bidding books and magazines – bidding 3NT or 6NT when there is no good 4-4 major suit fit but totally ignoring a possible minor suit fit for slam.

-         Bidding a minor suit slam after a 1NT opening is not as easy as a major suit slam as it takes a step more to establish the fit. SARS does it fine but is perhaps a bit of a strain on the memory.

-         SARS is far superior to minor suit Stayman as it allows you to locate both major suit fits and minor suit fits. It is fully described in the NoTrump bidding book. Note that for North to confidently bid the grand he needed to know about South’s shape, in particular the 4 card suit, and SARS does that.

-         SARS is obviously excellent if you play over the internet and can quickly refer to the SARS sequences in the NoTrump bidding book index – but would that be considered cheating?

-         This deal again illustrates the power of the good 4-4 fit; 7 is easy (even with a bad 4-1 trump break) but 12 tricks is the limit in NoTrumps. Note that this South hand is fairly minimal for a 1NT opener, it could easily have another point, giving up immediately with 6NT is simply chicken.

-         Don’t always believe everything you read in the books/articles (except mine).
Who needs Blackwood? – cue bidding to slam - 1
         Board 25 from Monday 20th


Our dynamic cue bidding duo from last week are at it again, an excellent 6 – and not a mention of Blackwood!


Dealer:             9                                                 Table A

North               J108642                                     West          North(C)    East            South

E-W vul           A1054                                        -                 pass (1)      pass           pass

                        52                                              2             pass           2    (2)      pass

2      (3)    pass           3    (4)      pass

AQJ7652           N             K843                    4     (5)    pass           4    (6)      pass

Q3                  W    E          A7                        5     (7)    pass           6    (8)      pass

-                          S              Q982                    pass   (9)    all pass

AKQJ                                843                     

                        10                                               Table B

K95                                            West          North(C)    East            South

KJ763                                         -                 2    (1)      dbl   (10)    3

10976                                        6    (11)    all pass


Table A:     (1)  I would open 2, especially at this vulnerability. Some purists may say that you need points in the suit – I think that intermediates are more important; this is a robust 6-card suit with a 4-card side suit. In fact, I would not even argue with a 3 opening – I’m sure that’s what Marty Bergen would open.

(2)   Waiting.

(3)   Game forcing

(4)   Agreeing trumps and showing slam interest (playing 3 negative and 4 fast arrival).

(5)   A cue bid (the A). This is an excellent example of why you should not always use 4 as ace-asking – O.K. Sally W?

(6)   A cue bid (the A and denying the A)

(7)   A cue bid (the K)

(8)   Denying the K but showing the K.

(9)   Unfortunately this pair’s bidding technique is not quite sophisticated enough for West to ascertain if East has 5 or 6 card in the rounded suits – with just the 5 rounded cards 7 is cold.

Table N:     (1)  This North opened the obvious 2.

(10)   A rather light double.

(11)   West simply bid what he thought he could make - so this E-W pair took 4 less rounds of bidding to reach the same contract.


And what happened? The 6 slam was bid at just these two tables. The other three tables stopped in 4. Everybody made the obvious 13 tricks.

The bottom lines: -

-         Good slam bidding is not just using Blackwood to locate missing aces/kings. Here, as last week, a cold slam was reached missing two kings, and this time with an ace missing also.

-         Do not use 4 as the ace-ask when it’s going to be a trump contract – it’s far more useful as a cue bid, a splinter or natural – depending upon the sequence.

-         Note that if West asked for aces in this auction that would be a very poor bid (with a void) as West needs to know whether East’s ace is the A or the A – cue bidding solves this.

Who needs Blackwood? – cue bidding to slam - 2               Board 6 from Wednesday 22nd 


Here we go again, with our dynamic pair cue bidding to a good 6 slam, this time as E-W.


Dealer:             86                                               West          North         East            South

East                  QJ85                                          -                 -                 1             3 

E-W vul           J1096                                          4              pass           4NT   (1)    pass

                        K87                                           5  (2)        pass           6              all pass


4                        N             AK6               (1)  A cue bid showing 1st round control - this

K109763        W    E          A42                      E-W pair play Kickback and so 4 would

AK75                 S              Q43                      have been Roman keycard Blackwood.

53                                      AQ104                 RKCB may be a better choice as that would

                        QJ109753                                 find the A and the K (and deny the Q).

-                                           (2)  A cue bid showing the A and denying the A       




And what happened? This time the operation (the bidding) was a success but the patient died; because of the adverse 4-0 trump break offside the contract went one down. Nobody else bid slam.

The bottom lines: -

-                                           -     I guess that 95% slams fail 5 % of the time!

QJ8                                      -     But is the slam really a failure? : -


                        -                                           North leads the J which is won in the East hand

with the Q and the A cashed. In order to achieve

-                        N             K                    the correct 3-card end-game West has to shorten

K109              W    E          42                   his trumps. So A and ruff a .   Take the Q finesse

AK7                   S              43                   and try the A and a ruff.          .

♣ -                                         10                  Everything has gone very smoothly and you have

                        QJ109                                  this 6-card ending. 

-                                           AK and a ruff leaves North and West with

8                                           only 3 trump each. Lead any card off dummy and

J                                           play the 9 and North is end-played.


I wish I had found this play at the table – sorry partner. Note that it is necessary to play the A rather than the K at trick two (as some at the table incorrectly suggested). It is correct to play the A rather than the K as declarer can pick up QJ85 for just one loser with South (although that’s unlikely on the bidding) but cannot if North has all of the trumps.
Who needs Blackwood? – cue bidding to slam - 3
               Board 27 from Wednesday 22nd 


Here we go again, a strange sequence with everybody bidding ’s :  2 - 3 - 4 - 5♥!


Dealer:             J96                                             West          North         East            South

South               Q6                                              -                 -                 -                 1

Love all            KJ763                                         2              3    (1)      4      (2)    5    (3)

                        AJ2                                            pass           6   (4)      pass           6    (5)

all pass

85                      N             AQ76                  

K109742        W    E          AJ853            (1)  Showing a good (game forcing) hand.     

-                          S              94                   (2)  Not enough?

98653                                Q7                 (3)  A cue bid, pretty obviously a void here.

                        K1032                                  (4)  A cue bid, showing the A and denying the A.

-                                           (5)  Pretty obvious as South knows that there is a loser




East enquired about the bidding and was told by our dynamic duo that 3 was forward going, 5 a cue bid and 6 forward going. At the end of play (6 made) East commented that N-S were lucky and did not know what they were doing. I leave it up to you if you think that N-S knew what they were doing (I am biased).

This particular East thinks he’s a great player and is continually criticizing others or else saying that they were lucky when they get a good score. N-S may not have been so ‘lucky’ of course had East obeyed the Law and bid 5 at (2) – the 4 bid is feeble when partner is known to have 6 ’s and North shown a good hand opposite an opener. I guess that East thought that N-S were such poor players that they would not bid on over 4?


And what happened? Two pairs bid and made 6, the other two stopped in game.

The bottom lines: -

-         I guess I’m somewhat different from this East. If the opponents bid or play well then I congratulate them and say ‘well bid’ or ‘well played’. It seems that this East does not use these words unless he is talking about himself.

-         Obey the law. 6+5 =11 so compete to the 5 level immediately.

-         6 would be an excellent save, but then not if N-S ‘did not know what they were doing’.

-         This is another good example of cue bidding rather than charging into Blackwood – reaching a decent slam when off two aces.






Doing a Chuck – part 1                                                          Board 12 from Wednesday 24th 


If you had not yet realised is, the egotistic East from the last board was Bengt. I don’t usually mention names but his continual incorrect criticism of everybody in sight really is getting too much. In last week’s news-sheet it was he who criticised his partner when he missed slam because he opened 4 with a three loser hand (and just a 6-card suit

- KQJ632 A 10 AK1054) and he also later passed partner’s reverse leaving him in a silly 4-2 fit when he has three cards in partner’s first bid suit. I played against him this Friday and he incorrectly criticised his partner twice (two separate boards) when it was he who had made the blunders. In this deal he was East and demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge about the order in which suits should be bid and also about simple preference: -


Dealer:             K3                                              West          North         East(E)       South

West                KJ10863                                    pass           1              1    (1)      2

N-S vul            K7                                              pass           2              3    (2)      4    (3)

                        KQ6                                          pass   (4)    pass           5    (5)      pass

5      (6)    dbl             all pass

Q75                   N             J10942                

Q97542          W    E          -                     .

954                     S              AQJ1062       

3                                        J2                  






(1)   What did you bid with this East hand E(a) in this week’s quiz? 2 (Michaels) – showing 5 ’s and a 5 card minor is a possibility but for me it’s a bit too good - but not strong enough for Michaels and then bid again – which I play as very strong. The ‘obvious’ bid is to show this great suit with a 2 overcall and then bid ’s once or twice later. This 1 overcall with a meager suit and a great 6-card suit is a poor bid.

(2)   So promising 5 ’s and 4+ ’s.

(3)   Rather silly - 3 must be better.

(4)   West was later criticized by Bengt for not doubling – but then N-S would run to 5 which makes with an overtrick.

(5)   So showing 5 or 6 ’s and 5 ’s.

(6)   Obviously West gives preference back to partner’s first bid suit.


And what happened? 5 doubled went two down and when the hand was over East criticized West’s 5 bid – saying that he had bid ’s twice and so had more ’s than ’s and that West should have passed 5. It’s about time that somebody told Bengt that he does not have a clue – so I’m saying that now. The sequence, bidding ’s once and then ’s twice, shows equal length (5-5) or more ’s than ’s. Obviously Jan (West) bid perfectly throughout and correctly gave preference at (6).


Doing a Chuck – part 2                                        Board 9 from Friday 24th 


Here we have the same players as the last deal.


Dealer:             Q9852                                        West(D)     North         East(F)         South

North               K                                                -                 pass           1             pass

E-W vul           K105                                          1              pass           1              pass

                        10842                                        2      (1)    pass           4    (2)      pass

5              all pass

76                      N             AKJ4                   

A108              W    E          J763               .

AQ632               S              94                  

KQ9                                  A76               






(1)   What did you bid with this West hand D in this week’s quiz? 2 here is generally played as 4th suit forcing (1 being natural and forcing). Assuming that you/partner play 4th suit forcing then 2 is clearly the best bid – you want (partner) to play in 3NT if partner has the ’s stopped.

(2)   What did you bid with this East hand F in this week’s quiz? Apparently this East is just about the only player in the club who does not play 4th suit forcing. Quite how somebody who is presumably well past the beginners stage does not play 4th suit forcing baffles me.

If East indeed thought that 2 was natural and very strong then he should, in any case, bid 3 (forcing) with these great ’s rather than jumping to 4.


Unless you agree something to the contrary: -

(G)  1 - 1 - 1 - 1  is natural and forcing.

(H)  1 - 1 - 1 - 2  is 4th suit forcing, I play it as game forcing.


And what happened? 5 went one down for a bottom as everybody else was making 3NT+1. Bengt then immediately ‘did a Chuck’ and criticized Jan’s 2 bid, saying that he did not play 4th suit forcing. He then ranted on about ‘don’t you trust me to bid 3NT’ – ‘you should simply bid 3’. This is utter nonsense of course, the 4th suit bid is obvious to anybody but a beginner and 3 would not be forcing in any case. This West hand cannot be sensibly bid unless you play 4th suit forcing.


When we had finished the round including these two boards Bengt and myself were still ‘discussing’ the hands. He asked me ‘why are you always right?’. The answer is self-evident when my ‘adversary’ does not understand reverses, simple preference, 4th suit forcing, 4 openings, the rule of 2-3-4 for pre-empts etc. I make mistakes, just like everybody else, and when I do I say ‘sorry partner’ – I most certainly do not ‘do a Chuck’. And, incidentally, I appreciate it when a good player like Lewis points out my deficiencies.

I put a lot of work into the news-sheets, conventions write-ups etc. and there is little doubt that a number of players (including Jan) have greatly improved over the last couple of years as a result. I don’t appreciate it when somebody wanders round the club ‘teaching’ things that are totally erroneous and attempting to undermine my good work.
Bidding Quiz Answers


Hand A:    The answer to this one depends upon how sophisticated you partnership’s agreements are. If they are very basic (as Dave’s book assumes) then bid 6NT. If you are a bit more sophisticated then bid 4 Gerber and, assuming that there is no ace missing, then 5NT (invitational to the grand) - an immediate 4NT would have been invitational to the small slam. If you are an expert, then bid 2 followed by 3 – SARS – to establish partner’s shape and if there is a 4-4 or 4-5 fit for a grand slam.

Hand B:    1. Anything (1, 3, 4, 5 or a gambling 3NT) could turn out right. I personally do not like to pre-empt in a minor suit above 3NT, especially opposite a non-passed partner, as you may miss 3NT. I would like to have the Q for a gambling 3NT but I guess that with a 9 card suit it’s a reasonable shot. But the hand is 21 for the rule of 20 and I would open 1 and be prepared to compete to the 5-level if necessary. Bob’s choice of pass (and then bidding 5 later) is a very interesting and perhaps better alternative to 1.

Hand C:    2. Don’t worry about ‘not having points in the suit’ when you have good intermediates. With a good 2nd suit, this is a decent 2 pre-empt. Pass is far too feeble for me and the only other opening bid worth considering (because of the vulnerability) is 3.

Hand D:    2, fourth suit forcing. If partner has a stop he will bid 2NT and you can raise to 3NT. 3 is a poor bid as it’s not forcing – in fact I can see no other sensible option other than invoking the 4th suit.

Hand E:    (a)  2. This is a great suit so bid it. I don’t like 2 Michaels as the hand is too strong in my style.

(b)  Having overcalled 2, subsequently bid the ’s (twice if you can) to show the shape.

Hand F:     Obviously this depends upon what the jump to 2 is. If it’s 4th suit forcing (standard) then bid 2NT so show the stop(s). If you think that 2 may be natural (and very strong) then bid 3- slam may be there and 3 conserves bidding space. 4 is silly, especially if 2 was indeed 4th suit forcing.


Bidding Sequences Answers    



G     1     pass   1      pass       Standard is that 1 here is natural and forcing …

1      pass   1                                                 

H     1     pass   1      pass       … and the jump to 2 is 4th suit forcing.

1      pass   2