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Chew the Fat! => IAC & Master Solvers Club => Topic started by: Masse24 on October 13, 2020, 01:37:57 PM

Title: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Masse24 on October 13, 2020, 01:37:57 PM
DECEMBER 2020 MSC

Deadline: NOVEMBER 10 at 9:00 a.m. (ET)

Submit your DECEMBER MSC responses here: The Bridge World - MASTER SOLVERS CLUB (https://www.bridgeworld.com/pages/msc/mscentercontest.html)

BWS 2017 System: BWS 2017 (https://www.bridgeworld.com/indexphp.php?page=/pages/readingroom/bws/bwscompletesystem.html)
BWS 2017 POLLS, CHANGES AND ADDITIONS: BWS 2017 - Polls, Changes, and Additions (https://www.bridgeworld.com/indexphp.php?page=/pages/readingroom/bws/bwspolls2017.html)


IAC Forum MSC Scores (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1whamPj4_SDF3cbYUdGL9dpMX23tpwzUJzUvNoVmip_w/edit?usp=sharing)


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Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on October 13, 2020, 09:15:45 PM



A: Give partner some leeway--pass    B:  17 pts can overcall 2 of a minor--ignoring the heart queen
C:  Invite with our "6-card suit"          D;  Go for the minus 160!
E:  A CLASSIC  UNT .                             F:  And a balanced 12-14, of the same "purity" that "E" has for UNT ;>
G: CUE partner into the party.            H:  I bid my 16-count and that skip-straight 6bagger already. Done.
                                                                                  (  oops!   leading 4th in longest & strongest )
   Here is my 2nd 15-minute quick-and-dirty   which will probably outscore my 8 final answers in four weeks --AGAIN.

A:   60 / B: 40 C:  70 [4SF] D: 100  E: 80  F: 90  G: 100  H: ZERO     total=540    so reconsidering helped a BUNCH (680)
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on October 19, 2020, 02:20:51 AM
OK, there are FEW re-thinks  from the above'from the hip'votes..   but these five  I might as well send today to Bridge  World:
Problem B:>>  Overcall 2D,  then double any expected rebid--if any, is my only plan, but it sure ain't pretty.
Problem D:>>  Leaving in the double of one heart took two seconds,  and we will never look deeper.
Problem E:>>  The selling point for me on Michaels, and unusual notrump is that you can express a hand that, if it were only 5-4             distribution WOULD NOT BE WORTH A BID AT ALL, or would be worth one bid only, leaving one with that left-over feeling later.  That is how I feel about this one.  The 5 child hearts make it ugly,  but count me IN.
Problem F:>>  It's a balanced 12:::  Open your minor and rebid a notrump.  What's the problem??
Problem G:>>  Cue-bid-- Encourage partner in whichever suit he wants to be encouraged in.  Who has a plan "B"?
   These five are settled for me;  that leaves  [A]  [C] and  [H]  to fuss over for three weeks.  Come on  IAC  give me some wisdoms!
                 (why is it ALWAYS  ,  A,  C,   and  H   ?)
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on October 19, 2020, 12:03:23 PM

Problem F:>>  It's a balanced 12:::  Open your minor and rebid a notrump.  What's the problem??
Problem G:>>  Cue-bid-- Encourage partner in whichever suit he wants to be encouraged in.  Who has a plan "B"?
   These five are settled for me;  that leaves  [A]  [C] and  [H]  to fuss over for three weeks.  Come on  IAC  give me some wisdoms!
                 (why is it ALWAYS  ,  A,  C,   and  H   ?)


Ok - you didn't ask for help seeing other alternatives for the others, but

On F - it may be a balanced minimum, but one stopper in the two unbids might be more than some may want to take on.  Although my inclination is to bid 1NT, as you did, I have not entirely ruled out bidding 2C to show the solidity of the club suit or 2 !D to advertise good clubs, a diamond fit and concern for the majors in NT.  Also, I only have one card to be led into, and it may be a filler for partner than a tenace position.  So it may not be so automatic, there are other considerations.  Supposedly, a bridge problem is a hand that has three or more reasonable choices - I think it applies here.

On G - some may think of the cue bid as being too strong of an action, but the Moysian fit will work out fine with the singleton club in your hand, so bidding either of partner's responsive double suits is reasonable, as is rebidding or jump rebid to show a longer heart suit.  I still haven't developed an initial position on this hand, but I can see these as possible plan A, B, C, D ...

As for A, C and H - when I sit down and take a look at them for my initial thoughts, I will pass them on to IAC.  Until then, I wouldn't mind seeing some initial thoughts from others.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on October 20, 2020, 01:30:08 PM
Thinking about C:

I assume the problem is that the hand is just a bit short of what we would like for a game force..

I also assume that a bid of 2 !C over 1 !S is game-forcing. I could not find that statement browsing through the BWS stuff, but I think that's how they play it.

I want to consider bidding 2NT. Of course this is passable and possibly I end in 2NT with no !C Stop. Ok, but worse tings have happened. And maybe partner will not pass. If not, then I think that with three card !H support he should bid 3 !H, meaning that "Yes, I accept the game invitation and I have three hearts in case you are interested".  That is, a 3 !H bid is forcing, offering a choice of games. Yes, this means that it is possible I will be playing in 2NT when partner has a 4=3=4=2 shape but if he lacks the values to accept the invitation that might not be all that bad. We might well have 8 tricks ready to go (five heart tricks and three elsewhere) as soon as we get the lead and that might well be the limit of the hand playing in hearts. I am saying "might" here. So sure, things can go wrong. But things can go wrong if I make a game forcing 2 !C bid and things can go wrong if I decide to treat my strong five card suit as if it were six cards.

My guess is that of I do bid 2NT then about half the time partner will accept the invitation and, if he does not have three hearts, 3NT will be a reasonable spot. 


So I think a case can be made for 2NT, even if I am less than confident that 2NT will be my choice. Mostly I want to see if we all agree that over 2NT a partner, if he accepts the invit, should bid 3 !H when holding three hearts. It seems cleat that 3 !H should be forcing since, after I bid 2NT, partner has to be prepared for me to have only a four card heart suit.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Masse24 on October 20, 2020, 10:47:15 PM
Thinking about C:

I assume the problem is that the hand is just a bit short of what we would like for a game force..

I also assume that a bid of 2 !C over 1 !S is game-forcing. I could not find that statement browsing through the BWS stuff, but I think that's how they play it.

I want to consider bidding 2NT. Of course this is passable and possibly I end in 2NT with no !C Stop. Ok, but worse tings have happened. And maybe partner will not pass. If not, then I think that with three card !H support he should bid 3 !H, meaning that "Yes, I accept the game invitation and I have three hearts in case you are interested".  That is, a 3 !H bid is forcing, offering a choice of games. Yes, this means that it is possible I will be playing in 2NT when partner has a 4=3=4=2 shape but if he lacks the values to accept the invitation that might not be all that bad. We might well have 8 tricks ready to go (five heart tricks and three elsewhere) as soon as we get the lead and that might well be the limit of the hand playing in hearts. I am saying "might" here. So sure, things can go wrong. But things can go wrong if I make a game forcing 2 !C bid and things can go wrong if I decide to treat my strong five card suit as if it were six cards.

My guess is that of I do bid 2NT then about half the time partner will accept the invitation and, if he does not have three hearts, 3NT will be a reasonable spot. 


So I think a case can be made for 2NT, even if I am less than confident that 2NT will be my choice. Mostly I want to see if we all agree that over 2NT a partner, if he accepts the invit, should bid 3 !H when holding three hearts. It seems cleat that 3 !H should be forcing since, after I bid 2NT, partner has to be prepared for me to have only a four card heart suit.

Yes, I agree Ken. 3 !H must be forcing. It is merely an "I accept your invitation to game and oh, by-the-way, I have three hearts" bid.

BTW, I hate 2NT. Which is why I am leaning that way too.

I'm just happy my clubs are not weaker.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on October 23, 2020, 12:53:42 AM
Problem C  is a perfect candidate for Sanya's deal-generator, which hasn't happened for a couple months.   I set the south to Qx, AKQ98, xx, 6542,   and north to generate 11-19 point diamond openers with four spades (allowing five might have been more fun--sorry)   After banging away through 180 deals  we have 100 that would actually be bid as required.  On 45 of them, it DID NOT MATTER which of the 3 thinkable rebids we choose!  "2NT", "3H" and 4SGF="2C"  each had less than 10 wins versus the other two.....And [hold onto your hat!]  the kitchen-bridge/Kaspar Milktoast  "2H" won more times than those three combined.  So who will adopt the wimpy 2H rebid  in challenge-the-champs I dare you.  (Meant  the MSC of course [does the magazine still do  "challenge the champs'??)
   As an aside,  the experiment  showed forcefully  how important it is for opener to check back when holding 3 hearts,
when able to accept. should responder choose the 2NT rebid -- As discussed in the chats just above!
The "all answers end at same place" category would shrink considerably, and "2NT"would turn into a disasterous choice if that advice is not followed.
   PPS:  it was eye-opening to notice that every time 'we' ended up in notrump, the defenders won the battle of the spots in the club suit, no matter how much help north brought to the party--cashing the 4th round over our six-spot  was pretty monotonous and was a major factor in the giant underbid-rebid of "2H" having had such a great winning ratio.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on October 23, 2020, 02:17:57 PM
I am leaving the comment, since I once made it. But see addendum below.

Indulge me a bit/ I am a long time skeptic of using computer programs to analyze such situations.   Some thoughts:
For example:
You say: On 45 of them, it DID NOT MATTER which of the 3 thinkable rebids we choose!  "2NT", "3H" and 4SGF="2C"

Bidding 2C will put them in game so, if it doesn't matter which bid is made on these  45 hands then I guess opener has enough strength to accept the game inviting bids of 3H and 2NT, else it would matter that 2C was bid. Further, if responder bids the game invitational 3 !H, I would expect that opener, if he accepts the invitation, will bid 4 !H rather than 3NT, while if opener has two hearts then, over the game invitational 2NT, he would, if he accepts, bid 3NT rather than 4 !H. This is matchpoints so even if both 3NT and 4 !H make, it matters which one we choose.

So the only case I see where it won't matter is if opener has three hearts and the strength to accept an invitation. Then they end in 4 !H no matter which of the three calls is made. (I am ignoring the possibility that opener could have slam interest). So maybe it is true that on 45 of the hands opener has three hearts and will accept any of the three invitations. Is that it?

Well, I guess I can think of another possibility. If opener has two hearts and will always accept, and if 3NT and 4 !H both fail by one trick, then it won't matter. If responder bids 3 !H opener raises to 4 !H, off 1, and if responder bids 2NT then opener raises to 3NT, off one.

Also, suppose opener has !C KJx. Or !C Kx. And suppose he has two hearts. Now, if responder bids 2NT he will be playing the NT, while if he bids 2 !C, opener will be playing the NT. I would be surprised if it never mattered which had was dummy. Although here we also have the possibility that 2NT will be passed. So maybe sometimes, after a 2NT call, the contract is 2NT off 1 because the wrong hand is declarer, but this is matched against the 2 !C call where opener rebids 2NT but now, since 2 !C was game forcing, the contract is 3NT down only 1 because opener is declarer.

And I would expect that on may hands there will be options as to declarer play and defense.


Anyway I am trying to understand just why it does not matter on these 45 hands.

Addendum.
Ah yes, while clearly it matters on each hand I guess it could be that while bidding 3 !H will sometimes be off 1 while 2NT would have made while other times bidding 2NT will lead to +120 while bidding 3H will  lead to plus 140, so that no matter which we do we will sometimes wish we had done the other. Still, I am less than convinced. And still not sure just what is being said.

Suppose that the N hand is such that we can be confident that, with the given S hand, the auction will begin 1 !D - 1 !H - 1 !S. Now imagine that 30 pairs are given the NS cards. Ten Souths are instructed to rebid 3 !H, ten rebid 2NT, ten rebid 2 !C. Then the auction goes however it goes and the hands are played. I guess a way of thinking of "it doesn't matter" is to say that if you could place a bet on which group of ten will come out best, there is no reason to choose one group over the other.  That would indeed be surprising..




Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on October 27, 2020, 06:35:39 PM
Hi Ken  re: just above  You figured my thrust out pretty well,   except the thirty pairs bit.    If one or two of the three choices  came out ahead, on the deal generated,  that deal would be put in the "DOES matter" column.  And by the way  if  all roads lead to a doomed contract,  then choice #4  -- "2H"  would receive a win  [ as long as it too was not equally doomed] this happened A LOT  as i state upthread  to my suprize, and I am running a further 128 generated hands  to check on what seemed a BaD LUCK run  of hearts not running, as well as implementing a more refined registering of what bid wins, and how resoundingly, egged on by your concerns :)   
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on October 28, 2020, 11:59:30 AM
My initial thoughts on this month's problems:

Problem A:  Pass - I would like to bid more, but in what direction.  Is 4 !H and improvement?  What does 4 !D say?  My second choice is 4NT,hopefully asking do you have what we need to make slam?  But of course, partner won't know unless peaking in my hand.  To move or not to move is a pure guess.

Problem B:  2 !D - I am not going to encourage partner bidding spades, and I am not going to overstate the strength of my diamond suit.  I will start with the overcall, and hope I get a chance to further describe my hand.

Problem C:  3 !H - To GF or not to GF.  Right now we have a misfit, so I tend to pull in my horns a bit.  Also being NV suggests not pushing hard.  Hearts are where this hand lives, so I will make an invitational jump.  The holding will be good opposite anything other than a void (and even then, the !S Q may provide an entry.

Problem D:  Pass - Matchpoints is a nasty game.  I am looking at a probable five tricks and they are red.  I am hoping for the magic 200 vs. a partscore or 500 vs. a game situation.  I am close to bidding 1NT to show my heart values that way.

Problem E:  2NT - I am torn between making the lead directing bid of 1 !D or getting both of my suits off my chest right away.  Typically, when I can accurately describe to partner where to find 10 of my cards in one bid, I like to show them.  I am almost too rich to make this bid.

Problem F:  2 !D - Usually I like to show my shape and rebid 1NT, and would have over 1 !H or 1 !S.  So what is different with 1 !D?  I think it is that neither of us is showing a major and I only have one stop for both suits.  Also, when partner responds 1 !D over 1 !C, there tends to be either five diamonds or a club fit.  Unless partner intends to reverse into a major, I want to steer clear of NT at this point.

Problem G:  3 !C -  This feels a bit like a stretch, but what a fit for partner's responsive double suits!  Not certain what my cue-bid shows except that my hand improved with what partner had to say.  Now it is time to listen.

Problem H:  !S A - Did Todd ever mention that he hates lead problems?  I haven't been as vocal, but I really hate lead problems too.  I don't really have a standout lead to make.  I hate leading my bare trump ace - I would prefer to wait and have it get a chance to pick up something other than air.  But the only other thought I have is the !C J, so maybe it will be better to look a dummy to get an idea of what might be an effective shift.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on October 28, 2020, 01:35:10 PM
Hi Ken  re: just above  You figured my thrust out pretty well,   except the thirty pairs bit.    If one or two of the three choices  came out ahead, on the deal generated,  that deal would be put in the "DOES matter" column.  And by the way  if  all roads lead to a doomed contract,  then choice #4  -- "2H"  would receive a win  [ as long as it too was not equally doomed] this happened A LOT  as i state upthread  to my suprize, and I am running a further 128 generated hands  to check on what seemed a BaD LUCK run  of hearts not running, as well as implementing a more refined registering of what bid wins, and how resoundingly, egged on by your concerns :)

There is a serious danger here of provoking the academic part of my personality. I can feel myself wandering in that direction.

What can we decide so far about partner's hand? Well, that depends  bit on who partner is. Suppose I (aka partner) was dealt KJxx / xx / AQxx / Kxx.
Of course I open this 1 !D, you bid  !H, then I do what?  Probably I bid 1 !S but this is a pretty flat hand and perhaps I think "Maybe I might regret skipping over the spades suit but on many hands I will be happy to be playin this in whatever number of NT pard thinks is right, having the lead come into my hand looks like a good thing, and keeping quiet about my four card spade suit might well inspire a helpful spade lead." Certainly some would, over 1 !H,  bid 1NT with this hand.

The point: If the automatic deal generator includes this hand in its analysis, we have to consider whether the bidding would actually go 1 !D - 1 !H - 1 !S when opener holds this hand.

And do we want to be in 3NT on this? It's optimistic to think we can run five !H. We could duck a !H to establish four tricks, but we will be needing some !S tricks and that also requires that we firs give them a !S. While all of this ducking is going on they might be setting up three minor suit tricks to go with their !H and !S. More often than not, we are probably limited to 8 tricks here. And it will probably, or at least maybe, help if opener, not responder, plays the NT.

A further complication is that perhaps double dummy analysis, which I assume you use to see how the hands work out, might show that 8 tricks is the limit but in actual play the defense has to do the best they can without seeing the full deck.


There are many more complications with modeling. What should we assume? I have a partner who, when he holds 4-4 in the minors likes to open 1 !C. Frank Stewart advocates that, or at least he used to. I haven't seen him pitch that so often recently. Steve Robinson, in Washington Standard, says (I'm pretty sure but haven't looked it up) says with 4-4 in the minors you can open either, depending on just what else you hold. That seems better, but me, I almost always open a 4-4 with 1 !D.  So, after 1 !D - 1 !H - 1 !S a model has to allow for me being 4=1=4=4. But I think Stewart would have opened that 1 !C, if I understand him correctly.

Also, suppose opener is 4=3=5=1. Suppose the !H are KJx and the !S are four spots. Give him a 13 count. Me, I raise 1 !H to 2 !H. In !H I figure pard can ruff a !C or 2 and then draw trump. And, if he has four !S, nothing is stopping him from bidding 2 !S over my 2 !H. Or, if he has a flat hand, he can bid 2NT over my 2 !H.


The point is that there are numerous possibilities for what partner has, opener still has choices to make over whatever responder does t his second turn, and even if we reach a bad contract the opponents still have to beat it.

I am still considering 2 !C. If pard has three hearts they would not be such that he would raise hearts instead of bidding his spades. But a big problem is that often, or at least sometimes, over 2 !C, he will bid 2 !D. I am not going to like that. Clearly this hand is a selling point for XYZ, but we are not playing that here.
 
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on October 30, 2020, 12:44:09 AM
YOU ARE RIGHT JIM-- MY TEXT DID NOT CONFIRM THAT I HAD SWITCHED SIDES ON PROBLEM F-- sorry  --->>
After being made aware that deal F auction was  "1c, 1DIAMOND; __? " , not "1C, 1HEART; __?"   and AGREEING THAT THE 1NT rebid is ill-advised,  my votes on the five dud-problems (relatively speaking) stand as posted on day one OTHER THAN SWITCHING #F TO  2 0F SOME MINOR, and strangely, mirroring Jim's upthread votes not only in substance, but in the thinking he sends to usJ about those!

Then there's A : I propose this middle-of-the-road hand for pard's 3NT response to go with my xx, AKxxxx, Ax,  KQx....... Axx,  ?x, Kxx, AJxxx.   Even this "non-stretchy" minimum has 10 off the top,  so it seems  raising to 4NT  is safe enough. and as he may have some goodie like a major-suit queen, then slam could come home if only hearts come home with one looser.    There are stretchy 3NT bids that will  bite the dust if hearts split lousy and there is no fast 10th trick, but I am leaning heavy toward giving partner a bump.



LEAD PROBLEM:   I desperately want to take a peek at dummy,  but  I am leaning to cashing the HEART ace, not the trump ace  to do this.  Perhaps deep heart looser they have will go away if we do not get right after it?  Perhaps  will see exactly WHICH diamond to shift to at trick two? Perhaps i will see no massive club suit in dummy in time to get back on that track?   And of course,  I may be blowing the timing sky-high by helping opps get heart tricks up and running:(   May I join the 'i hate problem H" club?


Problem C  will have to wait  until our 2nd and 3rd run of 100 sample deals is analyzed with the delicacy that Ken has driven me to apply to these!
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on October 30, 2020, 11:13:03 AM
I am confused!  Jock are you still voting for 1NT or switching to 2 !D?  I ask partly for the reason that you are unclear, and partly so you don't get stuck like Joe did last month, with an inaccurate (albeit, Joe's was blank) response recorded (even temporarily) for you.


After being made aware that deal F auction was  "1c, 1DIAMOND; __? " , not "1C, 1HEART; __?"   and agreeing that 1NT rebid is ill-advised,  my votes on the five dud-problems (relatively speaking) stand as posted on day one, and strangely  as Jim's upthread votes.


This suggests that my vote is for 1NT, but as you can see from my quote below, I am currently planning to vote for 2 !D. 


Problem F:  2 !D - Usually I like to show my shape and rebid 1NT, and would have over 1 !H or 1 !S.  So what is different with 1 !D?  I think it is that neither of us is showing a major and I only have one stop for both suits.  Also, when partner responds 1 !D over 1 !C, there tends to be either five diamonds or a club fit.  Unless partner intends to reverse into a major, I want to steer clear of NT at this point.


Please clarify where you currently stand on Problem F.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on October 30, 2020, 02:52:27 PM
On F, 2 !D seems right. Of course agreements matter, and agreements vary. Here is from BWS 2017

"In response to one club, with four of a major and four-plus diamonds, responder bids: one of the major with four diamonds, one diamond with invitational-plus values (otherwise one of the major) with five diamonds, one diamond with six diamonds."

So can responder have only four diamonds? Well, yes, but not often. With four diamonds he would skip over !D to bid a major if he had a major so if he has four diamonds he does not have a major. He is also very unlikely to be 3=3=4=3, with that holding it seems he would bid some number of NT, although perhaps there are hands where he would not. The most likely case where he holds four !D is when he also holds four !C.  That's one too few !C to bid either 2 !C or 3 !C, although there could be the occasional game forcing holding where he would bid 2 !C on a four card holding, showing strength, planning to clarify shape later.

So it seems that very very often he will be holding five !D for his 1 !D call.  And, when I raise !D, he will expect me to be holding five !C.   It seems to me that after 1 !C - 1 !D - 2 !D we are in a good position to end up in NT when we belong there, and in a minor when we do not belong in NT. It could go wrong, but I think it's odds on. Often with these MSC hands we have to go with the least bad choice. But here, it seems to me that 2 !D is not bad at all. 
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: thornbury on October 30, 2020, 05:10:29 PM

PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: Double
PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM G: 4 Hearts
PROBLEM H: Heart Ace
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on October 30, 2020, 08:23:15 PM
My thoughts for right now:

A: Pass
B: 2 !D
C: 2 !C
D: 1NT
E: 1 !D
F: 2 !D
G: 2 !S
H: !C J

A and B are conservative choices and so by C I see the need to get out there and live a little .
I don't promise to stick with any of these.
My thinking for E is that partner is a passed hand, I don't have all that much, I expect the opponents to be the declaring side. If partner is going to be on lead I want a !D lead, not a !H. Well, at least I think I want a !D. Depends a bit.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on November 03, 2020, 03:05:04 PM
I am interested in thoughts about H.
We need 4 tricks. Probably I need something from partner to get to four tricks. He is not likely to have much. But maybe the club Q. Or maybe the club K.  Of course he might have something in one of the red suits. Could be. But it seems like the club J might build a trick and is not as likely to give a trick away. They need ten tricks. Most likely they get 5 trump tricks in hand so they need five more.  I suppose dummy might come down with AKxxx in clubs and declarer has the Qx. That's ten tricks. But even if I do not lead the club they are established and declarer could cash the top three, throwing something. So we had better be able to take the spade A and three more tricks.


But who knows? I can see arguments for practically any lead. Maybe I am fantasizing but I think I do better with leads at the table than I do at lead quizzes..

Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 03, 2020, 09:12:12 PM
Maybe I am fantasizing but I think I do better with leads at the table than I do at lead quizzes..

Maybe most lead problems at the table are not nearly as hard?

Many leads can be right, but which one will grab the brass ring?  I don't know, but I was a bit fearful of the !H A as either giving up two tricks, or being ruffed on the go and setting up a pitch on the !H K.  I've been burned a lot recently with QJx(x) or JTx(x) type leads, so I am skittish of the !C J lead, though I could switch to a small club hoping for something good to happen. 

To be perfectly honest, I am still looking toward the ceiling awaiting divine guidance.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: DickHy on November 05, 2020, 10:19:01 PM
Thoughts while waiting for the 49ers/Packers game -- not quite the match-up we were hoping for (or that it once was):

A) 4N.  Wasn’t there a problem like this some time ago?  I’m not (quite) geekish enough to keep records of the MSC hands and I can’t seem to find past contests.  If memory is accurate, the same “pass or 4N” debate uncovered the panel’s preference for 4N.  But, my memory …

B)  x.  OK, the Q of hearts may quickly be relegated to making tarts, but she could be of some use, and a double shows the strength.  If partner bids 2H or 1S, I will bid 3D.  If partner bids 2m, I can bid 2H.

C)  2C.  Bridge World says, “After a one-level new-suit response and opener's simple new-suit rebid: a fourth-suit bid at the two- or three-level is forcing to game”.  OK, I’m a bit short, but if we play in NT it’s partner’s clubs that need protection – that’s if he’s not got 3c H support.

D) 1N.  This feels a bit wimpish but I imagine partner can make a negative double at the 1-level with 6 or 7 HCP.  Bridge World doesn’t say a negative x necessarily shows 4 cards in the missing minor, so 2C has the weakness that it might hit a 3c suit … and the much graver weakness of hiding my H stops.  Bridge World says under negative doubles, “After opener's one-notrump rebid, responder's two-level cue-bid shows invitational-plus strength.  If partner has 10+ HCP he can invite.

E)  2N.  2N or 1D? How bad will playing in 3Hx be in a xxxxx/xx fit?  Partner will surely choose H when 22 in the red suits.  He is a passed hand, so opponents could well have a vulnerable game.  Then again, perhaps I’m pessimistic; partner is bound to have 3c support for one of my two suits!  Bridge World; The requirements for initial pre-emptive defensive actions (jump overcalls; the weak version of two-suited actions) are possibly light.  So, there’s that excuse for the bar afterwards.  Besides, on the day I overcall 1D, partner will have four hearts and one diamond. 

F)  2C.  1N shows the HCP, but 2C shows the hand.  Partner could well be starting a Walsh-like/invitational + sequence and then the choice doesn’t matter too much (if at all).  If he’s weak with say 3343 then 2C looks a better spot to play than 1N.  One problem might be if he is weak with long diamonds – say 3361 or 3352.  Then he will bid 2D over 1N which looks safer than 2C with such hands, but maybe not 2D over 2C.  Still, I’m the weak one in the partnership, so 2C it is.

G)  2H (3C?)  What does the raise of clubs mean?  Bridge World says that responder’s single raise of opener’s 1m after an intervening double is natural, similar to a single major suit raise.  If that applies to a simple overcall too, it makes this a 20/20 hand.  What then does partner’s double mean? Bridge World is not much help: Among advancer's actions when responder raises opener: a double is not for penalty (for takeout or showing general values, depending on level).  If partner’s double shows general values, then deflation has set in, ‘cos he’s got only 6 or 7.  I have a choice of bidding one of his suits, with only 3c support, or showing the 6th heart.  Admittedly, the 3 cards in either case are spiffing, but if partner is 4243 and his values are in his long suits, then hearts looks the best spot.  So, I’m tending towards 2H.  3C is exerting a strange pull, however … must find my pills.

H)  Partner’s a passed hand and I don’t think he will have that much.  West could easily have 14 HCP to go with his 4/5 spades.  I’m going to be end-played often, so the temptation is to get rid of the AS and have a look at the world.  Surely that’s not going to cost with 10 or 11 trumps with E and W (and might help if - fingers and toes crossed – partner has Kx in S).  After that I can see what W holds and probably bang out with the JC.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: wackojack on November 06, 2020, 06:41:54 PM
Thoughts on C

1. Acol players this side of the Atlantic would play 2 !C as game invite plus (not game force).  Then 2 !C becomes the obvious bid.

2. BBO Adv plays 2 way check-back in this xyz sequence.  Then a bid of 2 !C would be a relay to 2 !D and then you as responder would rebid 2 !H.  This gives opener more room to explore. Sadly BWS does not play this.

3. Consider opener's most likely distribution.  4153 and 4351 are the main contenders.  With 4243 and 4343 the usual rebid is 1NT skipping the 4 card  !S suit.  With 4153, 2NT is most likely to be the winning bid.  With 4351 game becomes likely and 2 !C will get partner to show her 3 card heart support ending in 4 !H.  4153 is statistically more likely than 4351 because there are more spaces opposite the club suit.

So I bet on 2NT because we can stop short of game if partner has a minimum and can find a 5-3 heart fit when partner has a bit better than a minimum. 
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Curls77 on November 07, 2020, 03:53:39 PM
Watch me Jim!!  ;D

A) Pass
B) Double
C) wishing I lost connection, 2H
D) 2C
E) 2N unusual
F) 2D
G) 3H
H) sA
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: bAbsG on November 08, 2020, 03:47:33 PM
Your solutions have been received. This copy is for your records.

SOLVER: Babs Giesbrecht
             Qualicum Beach BC V9K 1C9
             Canada

Your Solutions for the December 2020 Contest 
-------------------
PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: Double
PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 1 Diamond
PROBLEM F: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM G: 2 Spades
PROBLEM H: Club Jack
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: hoki on November 08, 2020, 06:29:11 PM
PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM D: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM E: 1 Heart
PROBLEM F: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM G: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM H: Club Jack
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on November 08, 2020, 10:42:55 PM
I suppose I must choose soon. I am now thinking of leading a !D on H. Who wouold ever do such a thing? Well, me maybe.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on November 09, 2020, 01:17:44 AM
OK   At last the votes are counted for our MSC "PROPOSITION C"!:
    1:>   Over 100 simulations for which either INVITATIONAL rebids  ( 3H or 2NT ) are not accepted result in defeat either because the OTHER invite works better,  or the notrump is wrongsided --as has been mentiond by our thoughtful friends above--,  or "just because those pitiful xxxx clubs prove to be a deathtrap.  Hardly any 2NT contracts by south ever made  unless the 5-2  or 5-1 heart suit could be run without loss  when opener held 11-13 hcp!
    2:>   When an invitational rebid could be accepted,  it didn't matter much which was used, since 'we'  could always get to hearts when there was a fit, and always get OUT of hearts when there was not one -- sometimes to diamonds if opener was weak in clubs as well.
   3:>    The game-forcing 2C rebid did better, as we always got to the 8-card heart fit when it was there  ( forcing game is NOT MUCH OF AN OVERBID WHEN WE HAVE A HEART FIT, true?)  and the notrump is rightsided if opener has some club strength although  we sometimes are overbid  in 3NT.  Furthermore some hands belonged in DIAMONDS and that was easier done after the FSF  rebid, though again  sometimes we get a smidgeon high.  No SLAMS were missed after choosing the 2C rebid, while only ONE might have been bid after choosing either invitational rebid.


All in all,   this problem lead to very many contracts that went down even when bid to the 'correct' spot  which leads me to...
   4:>   The unthinkable underbid of TWO HEARTS took the gold medal,  wiping out half of those minus scores or reducing them , while not missing TOO many games that made when opener had serious extra points.


    If you cannot bear to rebid 2H with 11+  then game forcing 2C is the way to go,  but I am joining Sanya with  the super-lowball  "2 HEARTS"  which ought to suck in the MSC scoring.   This is it for my observations for the month .I worked my butt of and mostly learned just HOW BIG A DRAG those 4 stupid clubs are for declaring notrump with less than 27 points between us.
SOLUTIONS FOR: Jock McQuade    Gresham OR
PROBLEM A: 4 Notrump
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 2 HeartsP
ROBLEM D: Pass
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM G: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM H: Heart Ace  Hey, KEN!  CASH an ace then both of us may know WHICH diamond we should have lead trick one!

Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on November 09, 2020, 03:18:02 PM
Assuming that we are playing fourth best from strength, I am thinking of leading fifth best, the !D 5.  Pard cannot be holding much and his play will not vary with whether I lead the 5 or the 7. But sometimes it might influence declarer. If he subtracts 5 from 11 he gets 6. If he sees four cards in hand and dummy that are higher than the 5 he will then assume my partner has two of them. Say AQ4 hits the dummy and declarer holds T8. He will assume I hold the K but where is the J?  Under some circumstances  he might think it worth the risk to play low, hoping I also have the J. If I convince declarer that my partner has two cards higher than the 5 he might decide the danger is too high to let the trick ride to his ten.

I doubt, on the auction, that partner has the A. But he might have the Q, he might have a stiff, and at least possibly, I might be able to mislead declarer.

I have not yet decided, as always with lead problems the situation is unclear. But I don't think the !D 5 is crazy.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: wackojack on November 09, 2020, 05:46:37 PM
A Pass
I have a trick better than a minimum 1 !H opener.  However, finding extras with partner looks very uncertain particularly because of the lack of stuffing in the heart suit.  For the same reason I do not want to convert to 4  !H.

B  Double
I double I cannot risk bidding 2  !D with 19HCP.  Give partner  !S Qxxx  !H Jxx,  !D Kxx,  !C Jxx and 3N is a good bet and no way would partner take action over 2  !D.

C  2NT
I am almost sold on Blu's "unthinkable" 2  !H bid from the simulations.  But I have to stick to my original argument as I didn't do the simulations. 

D  1NT
If I were declarer in 1  !H, with a 4-1 fit (against Burns Law)  would I make 7 tricks?  It looks horribly risky for the +200 prize.  I will go for 1NT. True! If partner has a 4144 distribution, then 1N may not score as well as 2  !C or 2 !D.  The upside is that the opps may well compete to 2  !H with their 8 card fit.  Then I wield the axe.

Burn Law states: When you are declarer, the total number of trumps held by your side should be greater than the total number of trumps held by your opponents.

E   2NT
I cannot see a better bid than the "unusual".

F   2  !C
I think I just prefer this to 2  !D.  After all partner may have 3343 distribution. 2 !C leaves no doubt that this is at least a good 5 card suit. 

G    3 !C
I have 14 HCP with 6 card  !H suit.  Partner has  !S and  !D with I think 10+ HCP.  So is this enough to try 3  !C?  Or try the low road and make the conservative 2  !H rebid?  I will try the agressive 3  !C.  We can still stop short of game if partner bids 3  !D with no   !C stop. 

H   Lead A  !S
Toss a coin.  Let's look at dummy
 



 
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: wackojack on November 09, 2020, 05:54:18 PM
OLUTIONS FOR:
Jack Goody
Guildford
England

PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: Double
PROBLEM C: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM G: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM H: Spade Ace
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: msphola on November 09, 2020, 09:01:45 PM
A. 4H
B. x
C. 2C
D. p
E. 2nt
F. 1nt
G. 2S
H. AS
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 09, 2020, 10:10:51 PM

Burn Law states: When you are declarer, the total number of trumps held by your side should be greater than the total number of trumps held by your opponents.


I've come to appreciate David Burn's other laws as well.  YleeXotee needs to teach the second law to his partners; he cannot count on the opponents leading the wrong suit forever.  It is also known as the Rule of Eight and is similar to the well-known Rule of Eleven, and is applied in three stages:


But my favorite is Burn's Third Law:  You cannot make 3NT on a cross-ruff.  He also provides useful advice so you do not fall victim to failing to heed the Law.  If your side has bid and supported a major suit during the auction, but finished up in no trumps, you should put the major you were bidding on the extreme right of dummy.  This prevents thinking that the suit is trump unless there is a particularly rare form of dyslexia involved - the form that involves mentally reversing the order of suits in dummy.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on November 09, 2020, 10:48:17 PM
    MASTER SOLVERS CLUB SOLUTIONS RECEIVED


Your solutions have been received. This copy is for your records.

SOLVER: Kenneth Berg
        320 Quail Dr
        Sykesville MD 21784
        U.S.A.

Your Solutions for the December 2020 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM E: 1 Diamond
PROBLEM F: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM G: 2 Spades
PROBLEM H: Diamond 5
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: DickHy on November 10, 2020, 09:50:06 AM
SOLUTIONS FOR:
Richard Harvey
Netley Abbey
Southampton SO31 5EL
U.K.

PROBLEM A: 4 Notrump
PROBLEM B: Double
PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM G: 2 Hearts
PROBLEM H: Spade Ace
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: DrAculea on November 10, 2020, 10:17:58 AM
SOLUTIONS FOR:
Wladislaus Dragwlya
Tin Street No.1
Castrum Sex 545400
Romania

PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 3 Hearts
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 1 Diamond
PROBLEM F: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM G: 2 Hearts
PROBLEM H: Heart Queen
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 10, 2020, 12:14:33 PM
This month I failed to see or think of anything to abandon any of my initial thoughts, so they have been submitted intact.

SOLUTIONS FOR:
James Creech
5107 SEWELLS POINTE DR
FREDERICKSBURG VA 22407-9355
U.S.A.

PROBLEM A: Pass
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 3 Hearts
PROBLEM D: Pass
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM G: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM H: Spade Ace
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Masse24 on November 10, 2020, 12:53:22 PM
SOLVER: Todd Holes
        460 Raintree CT Unit # 1R
        Glen Ellyn IL 60137
        U.S.A.
 
Your Solutions for the December 2020 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: 4 Diamonds
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM G: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM H: Club Jack


PROBLEM A: 4 Diamonds.

First, we need to determine if we want to go on, or to pass and go quietly. Is it close? Yes. It’s IMPs not Matchpoints, which steers me towards making another call. 4NT seems a reasonable way to show extras and invite. Partner has ostensibly denied having three hearts since he did not support. But maybe partner has two? Since he already denied having three, if I allow him to show two (say, with Qx or Jx?) I must leave him the room to do so. Bidding 4 !C would, in my opinion, show a two-suited hand with extras.

But what about 4 !D?

It surely shows extras. If partner also has extras, he can move accordingly. With a minimum—and unwilling to show decent two-card support of hearts, his 4NT should be regressive.

PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds

That’s a sketchy diamond suit, so I hesitate to double with the intention of bidding diamonds at some higher level. What--the 3-level? Even higher should responder support hearts with a preemptive jump?  I’m not going to be a bean-counter and double first merely because the book says to do so with these values.

PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs

The value bid is 2NT or possibly 3 !H. Both lie, one about stoppers, the other suit length. 2 !C is an overbid but due to the space it saves, is the most flexible. Zia would say, “I would open this, what’s the problem?”

I get the desire to underbid here. It’s a misfit. If I did so, my choice would be 1NT.

PROBLEM D: 1NT

WTP? I’m not bold enough to pass.

PROBLEM E: 2NT

I hate this.

PROBLEM F: 1NT

Another WTP?

PROBLEM G: 3 !C

Tag, you’re it, partner! When all else fails, leave partner with the nasty decisions.

PROBLEM H: Club Jack.

I have no clue. Zero.

I hate lead problems.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: ccr3 on November 10, 2020, 02:28:35 PM
our Solutions for the December 2020 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: 4 Notrump
PROBLEM B: Double
PROBLEM C: 2 Hearts
PROBLEM D: 1 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Notrump
PROBLEM F: 2 Diamonds
PROBLEM G: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM H: Spade Ace


Thank you for participating in the Master Solvers Club.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: kenberg on November 10, 2020, 04:37:48 PM
SOLVER: Kenneth Berg
        320 Quail Dr
        Sykesville MD 21784
        U.S.A.

Your Solutions for the December 2020 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: Pass                                  60
PROBLEM B: 2 Diamonds                       40
PROBLEM C: 2 Clubs                             70
PROBLEM D: 2 Clubs                             40
PROBLEM E: 1 Diamond                       100               
PROBLEM F: 2 Diamonds                        60
PROBLEM G: 2 Spades                           30
PROBLEM H: Diamond 5                           0

                                                           400


Well, it was a bad day!
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Masse24 on November 10, 2020, 04:53:36 PM
A brutal month for me personally and all the solvers. Only a handful over 700. THAT is a tough month!

Scores have been tallied on the spreadsheet. FWIW, they are not final. I am giving notice that I fully intend to contest these answers and will be filing suit in the appropriate court.
I believe there was widespread fraud. I mean, c'mon . . . how can you not see the brilliance of my 4 !D choice on PROBLEM A?

 ;)  ;)  ;)  ;)  ;)  ;)  ;)
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 10, 2020, 05:00:51 PM
December Results

There was a two-way tie between frequent partners Pat McDermott (CCR3) and Jock McQuade (BluBayou) this month.  Their score of 680 was good enough to make the BW Honor Roll.  In third was DickHy with 630.  Congratulations to all!!!

NAMEBW-SCORERANKMPs
CCR3     680   1   30
Blubayou     680   2   30
DickHy     630   3   10
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Also participating: BabsG, Curls77, DrAculea. Hoki, Jcreech, KenBerg, Masse24, Msphola, Thornbury, WackoJack, and two anonymous solvers.

BTW, these results are subject to recounts and being contested legally.  After all, how can BluBayou possibly be in the top three, much less tie for the win without massive voter fraud!  WD Jock - you finally broke through.

Note:  Apologies to Thornbury - his answers were inadvertantly left off of the spreadsheet, but added now.

Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Masse24 on November 10, 2020, 05:11:34 PM

BTW, these results are subject to recounts and being contested legally.  After all, how can BluBayou possibly be in the top three, much less tie for the win without massive voter fraud!  WD Jock - you finally broke through.

Exactly!

This is clearly some sort of voter suppression. Maybe the beginner votes were counted twice? Or dead beginners born in 1900 somehow got to vote? I demand a full investigation!!!

 :o  :o  :o  :o  :o  :o  :o  :o  :o
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: bAbsG on November 10, 2020, 10:42:34 PM
Well done winners!!!  I was happy not to get a ZERO on any one hand.  :o
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Curls77 on November 11, 2020, 01:37:33 AM
WTG Winners from me too  ;D

hmm, i wish i can bribe someone make me change my answer on question or 2 so that just for one time i get into top 3 hahhaha
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on November 11, 2020, 03:10:43 AM
I can't tell y'all how shocked I was that the panel  saw the flaws in the south hand on my 'labor of love'  problem C!  We  expected to go down with the ship  over the 2H choice  with heads held high.    Thanks Sanya  for actually punching that ballot circle firstest  (this made me ashamed to go with the second-best obvious choice!).   
  second and lastly: we should all note the LANDSLIDE --and i mean Nixon vs McGovern style landslide  for aggressive support for partner's  responsive double  on problem whatever!  twentyseven to [six  X one]!   [1C] 1H, [2C], Double ... is not some sorry mousetrap   -- it is the opps who are 'blowing smoke' on this bidding.  I  actually intend to put pard in game, if he can confess to the expected long spade and doesn't jump there herself...  Hoping to hear the ACBL royalty  say just about the same thing  , in a few days. 
    I retired before this trend took hold, but I THINK some hard-core players agree that what used to be the nebulous responsive double now PROMISES 5 in the blocked unbid major IE: the wonderfully-named SNAPDRAGON CONVENTION ?
{do i get bonus points if a panelist mentions this? }
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on November 11, 2020, 06:00:55 AM
 !D , !H , !S ?..  By the way,  you hard-core group.   problem C lead me irresistibly  to wonder who skips their 1S rebid possibility  to rebid 1NT instead, and how much might they do this.  Please answer the poll  just up the hall,  and feel free to jump back here, or in the "January" thread to be verbal about this tender subject, (Jack).  Thanks
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: ccr3 on November 13, 2020, 06:11:22 PM
Wow, those of you who hate lead problems! Wait til you see what's coming in January. The panel must have heard your
love of lead problems.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 14, 2020, 02:15:46 AM
Wow, those of you who hate lead problems! Wait til you see what's coming in January. The panel must have heard your
love of lead problems.

!S 10 looked pretty reasonable to me - at worst the auction suggests I am hitting partner's 4-bagger, and it could be a better suit than that.  It may require an 8 count invitation and a 16 count acceptance, but I cannot say that this is my final answer, just my rise to the challenge before the new MSC thread has been started.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 19, 2020, 05:26:37 PM
DECEMBER MSC SUMMARY (Part 1)– Danny Kleinman, Director

A handful of the panel's comments:

Problem A: 4NT

The nature of Problem A is whether to bid or not.  There was no question that everyone was at least tempted to bid, but if you did bid, how would you proceed, what would the bid mean, and would it be something that would confuse partner?  JCreech describes the conundrum as follows:  “I would like to bid more, but in what direction.  Is 4 !H an improvement?  What does 4 !D say?  My second choice is 4NT, hopefully asking do you have what we need to make slam?  But of course, partner won't know unless peaking in my hand.  To move or not to move is a pure guess.”  There was a clear distinction between the panelists and the solvers (both IAC and BW).  Panelists were somewhat more aggressive than solvers; 75% of the panelists made some move over 3NT compared to roughly 50% of the solvers.


Before getting into the “serious” answers, there was spillover from the U.S. Election as Todd threatened legal action due to the patent disregard of his choice for a bid!  Masse24 wrote “I am giving notice that I fully intend to contest these answers and will be filing suit in the appropriate court.   I believe there was widespread fraud. I mean, c'mon . . . how can you not see the brilliance of my 4 !D choice on PROBLEM A?”  So what was the nature of this brilliance?  Here is his argument:  “First, we need to determine if we want to go on, or to pass and go quietly. Is it close? Yes. It’s IMPs not Matchpoints, which steers me towards making another call. 4NT seems a reasonable way to show extras and invite. Partner has ostensibly denied having three hearts since he did not support. But maybe partner has two? Since he already denied having three, if I allow him to show two (say, with Qx or Jx?) I must leave him the room to do so. Bidding 4 !C would, in my opinion, show a two-suited hand with extras. But what about 4 !D?  It surely shows extras. If partner also has extras, he can move accordingly. With a minimum—and unwilling to show decent two-card support of hearts, his 4NT should be regressive.”   Unfortunately, 4 !D was well down the list when an aggressive approach was selected, but he was not alone among the BW panel.  Nick L’Ecuyer:  “Four diamonds.  Probably should show a slam-try with extra heart length.  I would like my suit to be stronger, but this is all I have.  Still, four hearts might play much better than three notrump facing a hand that could not make a negative double, as a spade lead worries me,”  Kevin Bathurst:  “Four diamonds.  Showing a heart hand that is worth a slam-try.  I’ll pass four hearts or four notrump.”  Doub and Wildavsky:  “Four diamonds.  Partner has a wide range and need not hold a secure spade stopper.  We’ll pass four hearts or four notrump and consider other less-likely possibilities when they arise.”

The top choice was to bid 4NT.  About 25% of the IAC solvers and half of the BW panelists made this selection.  Nonetheless, the moderator has a caution for using 4NT.  Danny Kleinman:  “Fortunately, we are bidding with an expert North.  Try  it (4NT) with any but one or two partners from your local bridge club, and you will get a Blackwood reply even in the absence of suit agreement.”  DickHy justified his choice as a recollection from past MSC problems:  “4N.  Wasn’t there a problem like this some time ago?  I’m not (quite) geekish enough to keep records of the MSC hands and I can’t seem to find past contests.  If memory is accurate, the same “pass or 4N” debate uncovered the panel’s preference for 4N.  But, my memory …”  While BluBayou views it as a MOR bid :  “I propose this middle-of-the-road hand for pard's 3NT response to go with my xx, AKxxxx, Ax,  KQx....... Axx,  ?x, Kxx, AJxxx.   Even this "non-stretchy" minimum has 10 off the top, so it seems raising to 4NT is safe enough. and as he may have some goodie like a major-suit queen, then slam could come home if only hearts come home with one looser.    There are stretchy 3NT bids that will bite the dust if hearts split lousy and there is no fast 10th trick, but I am leaning heavy toward giving partner a bump.”  From the BW panel, Eric Kokish selects “Four notrump.  Four diamonds would cater best to hearts and level bu suggest shortness, four notrump is what’s left.  A fancy four clubs might strike gold, but if we belong in clubs we might get there after four notrump.”   Marty Bergen hopes for a 5 !C response:  “Four notrump.  Preserving all options.  I hope partner will bid five clubs, because: !S Axx !H Qx !D Kx !C A109xxx will produce seven clubs.”  Phillip Alder shows a simple soul:  “Four notrump.  I think taking 12 tricks more likely than taking only nine.”

The most popular answer for IAC was Pass.  Nearly half of the solvers and 25% of the panelists went this direction. The moderator phrased the argument well:  In light of West’s preemption, most likely on a highly-distributional hand, this is not a time to go looking for a slam in a  six-two heart fit or a five-three club fit.  Game in notrump should be able to withstand bad splits in either of those suits.”   I like BluBayou’s initial response (even though he changed his mind later):  “Give partner some leeway--pass.”  In a similar vein, panelist David Berkowitz says “Pass.  I won’t punish partner by bidding more, and it’s possible that hearts won’t split well.”  WackoJack, however, just didn’t think the hearts were quite good enough to move:  “Pass  I have a trick better than a minimum 1 !H opener.  However, finding extras with partner looks very uncertain particularly because of the lack of stuffing in the heart suit.  For the same reason I do not want to convert to 4  !H.”  BW  panelist  Robb Gordon emphasizes the uncertainty that 4NT brings:  “Pass.  It could be right to bid four notrump, but what does partner need to accept?  I think his expected range for three notrump is about 13-15 HCP.  So (a) does North accept with the top of the range, and punt when he is in the middle?  Or (b) must he be beyond that range to bid again?  If (a), then even five notrump could fail when partner is short in hearts or the suits break badly.  I’m also concerned about spades.”

There were a smattering of other moves made by IAC players, but none were reticent, so similarly minded experts from the BW panel were consulted.  Paul Ivaska:  “Four hearts.  The only threat to three notrump comes from the spade suit – can the opponents run it?  East is almost certain to have only one diamond, and he probably won’t lead it.  Instead, he’ll try to beat the contract by leading spades.  Most of the time he will fail, but occasionally he’ll succeed.  In contrast, the main threat to four hearts is a five-zero trump break.  A successful spade attack is more likely than a fatal heart split.”  Carl Hudecek:  “Four clubs.  Partner will usually have at least five clubs and no more than three=two in the majors, so six clubs should hinge on no more than the two missing kings and reasonable splits.”  Jeff Rubens:  “Four clubs.  A bubbling cauldron of mysteries.  I think it is better than 50-50 that we can make six clubs, but how will we know when to bid it?  And do I want to guard against East’s diamond lead or West’s spade lead?  If I don’t keep slam in the picture, should I pick three notrump or four hearts?”

Problem B: Double

On Problem B, you hold 19 HCPs, with 2-2-5-4 shape.  The five card suit is headed by the AJ while the suit the opponents opened in front of you is your Qx.  No good options!  It is clear you need to take some action, but what?  The IAC solvers were nearly evenly split between the top two scoring choices.

Slightly more went with the top choice of double, which almost 65% of the panelists also selected.  WackoJack worried about a premature end to the auction:  “I double. I cannot risk bidding 2  !D with 19HCP.  Give partner  !S Qxxx  !H Jxx,  !D Kxx,  !C Jxx and 3N is a good bet and no way would partner take action over 2  !D.”  While DickHy is planning how the auction will continue after he doubles “OK, the Q of hearts may quickly be relegated to making tarts, but she could be of some use, and a double shows the strength.  If partner bids 2H or 1S, I will bid 3D.  If partner bids 2m, I can bid 2H.”  Most panelists gave the call little thought. For example, Zia:  “Double.  Mundane springs to mind.”  Others gave passing recognition to the next round is when the problems emerge such as Kevin Bathurst writes “Double.  I can’t imagine starting with anything else.  What to do next may not be so obvious.”  While some clearly recognize the flaw with double, but come to terms with the choice.  Philip Alder:  “Double.  Supposedly, ace-king-doubleton is as good as three low and surely with:  !S xxx !H Qx !D AKJx !C AKQx, we would all double.”  While Bart Bramley says, “Double. Scary, but so is anything else.  Over a one-spade advance, I’ll bid two diamonds, so partner will bid two spades  only with at least five.  Double followed by a simple new-suit bid shows tolerance for other strains, particularly unbid majors.  With a massive one-suiter, I would double, then jump in my suit.”

All, save one, of the rest of IAC solvers overcalled 2 !D, which was the third highest score.  BluBayou simplifies the problem: “Overcall 2D, then double any expected rebid--if any, is my only plan, but it sure ain't pretty. … 17 pts can overcall 2 of a minor--ignoring the heart queen.”  While Masse24 frets over his rebid: “2 Diamonds That’s a sketchy diamond suit, so I hesitate to double with the intention of bidding diamonds at some higher level. What--the 3-level? Even higher should responder support hearts with a preemptive jump?  I’m not going to be a bean-counter and double first merely because the book says to do so with these values.”  And JCreech essentially crosses his fingers: “2 !D - I am not going to encourage partner bidding spades, and I am not going to overstate the strength of my diamond suit.  I will start with the overcall, and hope I get a chance to further describe my hand.”  BW panelist Bob Boudreau chooses “Two diamonds.  I don’t like doubling with only two top spades, especially if they must be used to ruff hearts.”  The big question raised about making the overcall is the fear of missing something better.  The moderator addressed that question:  “But isn’t this hand too strong for a simple overcall … as many believe and BWS notes explicitly: ‘The normal simple-overcall maximum is 18 HCP’?  No.  Point-count ranges are appropriate for notrump bids with balanced and semi-balanced hands, but not for overcalls, where the relevant question is:  ‘Will I fear missing a good game if everybody passes?’  The answer with this hand is no.  Our 19 4-3-2-1- points combined with the points that East needs for his opening bid leaves little remaining for North and West, and North needs nearly all of that strength for game to be good. … Compared to missing game, I fear more that two diamonds will go down …”

No one among the IAC solvers went with the 2nd choice of the panel: 1NT.  Personally, I was surprised at the choice.  The bid has two flaws; the hand has too much strength (19 in HCPs and a five-card suit) and lacks a stopper of substance (Qx) for the opponent’s 5-card or longer opening suit.  Under those circumstances, I tend to look elsewhere for a bid.  What wisdom does the panel shed on this choice?  Kit Woolsey:  “One notrump.  Roughly right on strength, and the opponents probably can’t run hearts.  Doubling one heart with only two spades is out of the question.  A two-diamond overcall looks a lot riskier.”  Ron Smith:  “One notrump.  Try to go plus.”  Eric Kokish:  “One notrump.  Truly ugly, but the extra jack makes up for the lack of a true heart guard and the bid will make it easier to reach a spade contract with confidence.  If North is weak and near-balanced we may belong in clubs as easily as diamonds.  Pass is sensible but anti-field.”

Problem C: 2 !H

This was the most discussed problem on the IAC forum.  With 11 HCPs and a five-card suit headed by the AKQ, it would seem the choices would be between a game force (a slight overbid) or an invitation (right on points, an underbid on trick taking potential). 

When the drum roll ended, the top choice was 2 !H.  A little more than a third of the panel went this direction.  Curls77 was the first to make this selection among the IAC solvers and seemed to feel it was inadequate, saying “wishing I lost connection, 2H.”  However, it was BluBayou who put significant time into this problem.  His analysis, based on 100 simulations, can be summarized as follows:  (1) invitational bids (2NT or 3 !H) are not best because if they are not accepted, a large number of the contracts are in the wrong strain or wrong sided, though when accepted, the strain typically is correct; (2) the 2 !C game force is not best because if there is not a heart fit, 3NT is too often too high; and (3) “(t)he unthinkable underbid of TWO HEARTS took the gold medal,  wiping out half of those minus scores or reducing them , while not missing TOO many games that made when opener had serious extra points. If you cannot bear to rebid 2H with 11+  then game forcing 2C is the way to go,  but I am joining Sanya with  the super-lowball  ‘2 HEARTS’  which ought to suck in the MSC scoring.   This is it for my observations for the month. I worked my butt of and mostly learned just HOW BIG A DRAG those 4 stupid clubs are for declaring notrump with less than 27 points between us.”  Bart Bramley agrees, “Two hearts.  Safe-guarding the plus.  Likely to be better than notrump, especially from my side.  Might also be right at imps, as partner needs quite a good hand for game.”  Eric Kokish:  Two hearts:  Speaks for itself.  It’s a bid that will attract a two-card raise when a game is worth bidding.”  Barnet Shenkin makes an argument for XYZ:  “Two hearts.  Conservative.  I’d rather be playing two clubs as a puppet to two diamonds, so I could follow with a mildly invitational two hearts.”

A little less than a third of the panel went with another “underbid” of 1NT.  One anonymous IAC solver made this choice with no discussion, so we are left with the BW panel for understanding this choice.   Doub and Wildavsky downgrade the hand:  “One notrump.  With club length instead of a stopper and two low in partner’s first suit, we don’t mind downgrading by a point.  In BWS-2017, opener can bid two hearts with a 4=3=5=1 minimum, making one notrump more attractive than it would have been in earlier versions.  Anything else makes turning a plus into a minus too likely.”  Brian Platnick:  “One notrump.  Perhaps wrongsiding notrump, but nothing else is attractive.”  Channeling Jock’s analysis, Marc Jacobus writes:  “One notrump.  The woefully weak clubs deter me from bidding more.”

40% of the IAC solvers were aggressive on this problem and selected 2 !C to put on the game force compared to 21% of the panel.  DickHy draws on BWS to justify his bid: “2C.  Bridge World says, “After a one-level new-suit response and opener's simple new-suit rebid: a fourth-suit bid at the two- or three-level is forcing to game”.  OK, I’m a bit short, but if we play in NT it’s partner’s clubs that need protection – that’s if he’s not got 3c H support.”  Masse24, on the other hand, decides to save space: “2 Clubs  The value bid is 2NT or possibly 3 !H. Both lie, one about stoppers, the other suit length. 2 !C is an overbid but due to the space it saves, is the most flexible. Zia would say, ‘I would open this, what’s the problem?’”  Checking in with Zia, “Two clubs.  What I would bid if my clubs included the jack.”  Nick L’Ecuyer:  “Two clubs.  So what if it’s forcing to game?  That's better than jumping to three hearts, or to two notrump with four low clubs.  I can handle the auction from here.  I will pass North’s two notrump but bid four hearts over two hearts.”

The middle ground did not fare well.  Roughly a fourth of the IAC solvers chose an invitational sequence.  Both bids are flawed, as Todd discussed above, but are they more flawed than the higher scoring choices?  JCreech  makes the argument for “3 !H - To GF or not to GF.  Right now we have a misfit, so I tend to pull in my horns a bit.  Also being NV suggests not pushing hard.  Hearts are where this hand lives, so I will make an invitational jump.  The holding will be good opposite anything other than a void (and even then, the !S Q may provide an entry.”  From the panel, Kit Woolsey also bids “Three heaarts.  Right on the value.  Even a five-one fit may suffice.  Anything else looks distorted.”  While WackoJack thinks of 2NT as being more flexible:  “I am almost sold on Blu's ‘unthinkable’ 2  !H bid from the simulations.  But I have to stick to my original argument as I didn't do the simulations. … I bet on 2NT because we can stop short of game if partner has a minimum and can find a 5-3 heart fit when partner has a bit better than a minimum.”  Robb Gordon agrees with “Two notrump.  The fourth club makes the lack of a stopper less of a drawback.  If partner is short in clubs, he may well show three-card heart support on route to three notrump.”  The moderator also likes the fact that both of these bids allow paths to game in the other strain.


The next part of this recap will be out ASAP.  Hopefully, this will satiate while we start to fret about the next set.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 20, 2020, 12:21:26 AM
DECEMBER MSC SUMMARY (Part 2)– Danny Kleinman, Director

As we continue through the December contest.

Problem D: Pass

This is a problem that frequently distinguishes between the expert and the non-expert.  An expert, while not always passing, first thinks about passing, where the non-expert will typically think first of bidding as a gut reaction to partner’s takeout double.  Here more than half of the panel does pass, while only 20% of the IAC solvers did likewise. 

Only three of the IAC solvers converted the reopening double to penalty, while more than half of the BW panel did.  BluBayou made a gut-reaction type of decision:  “Leaving in the double of one heart took two seconds,  and we will never look deeper.”  JCreech, though, did dig a bit deeper:  “Pass - Matchpoints is a nasty game.  I am looking at a probable five tricks and they are red.  I am hoping for the magic 200 vs. a partscore or 500 vs. a game situation.  I am close to bidding 1NT to show my heart values that way.”  Irina Levitna and Ron Smith, were identically succinct “Pass.  Let’s go for it.”  Phillip Alder likes the vulnerability, “Pass.  I expect most panelists to bid one notrump, but the form of contest and favorable vulnerability tempt me too much.”   Zia:  “Pass.  The opponents’ spade fit scares me, but I take pleasure in nailing a vulnerable overcall on a thin suit.”  Doub and Wildavsky:  “Pass. The hearts are too strong not to take a shot at plus 200 or more.  Partner will almost surely lead a diamond, a likely good start for us, and our hand rates to be worth at least five tricks on defense.  The only worrisome feature is the low singleton spade, as the opponents have eight spades.”

If you do take out the negative double, what should be the strain?  35% of the panel, half of the BW solvers and 60% of the IAC solvers selected 1NT.  DickHy expresses regret and quotes BWS in his decision to bid “1N.  This feels a bit wimpish but I imagine partner can make a negative double at the 1-level with 6 or 7 HCP.  Bridge World doesn’t say a negative x necessarily shows 4 cards in the missing minor, so 2C has the weakness that it might hit a 3c suit … and the much graver weakness of hiding my H stops.  Bridge World says under negative doubles, “After opener's one-notrump rebid, responder's two-level cue-bid shows invitational-plus strength.  If partner has 10+ HCP he can invite.”  While WackoJack thinks passing the double puts him on the wrong side of the risk/reward calculation:  “1NT  If I were declarer in 1  !H, with a 4-1 fit (against Burns Law)  would I make 7 tricks?  It looks horribly risky for the +200 prize.  I will go for 1NT. True! If partner has a 4144 distribution, then 1N may not score as well as 2  !C or 2 !D.  The upside is that the opps may well compete to 2  !H with their 8 card fit.  Then I wield the axe.  Burn Law states: When you are declarer, the total number of trumps held by your side should be greater than the total number of trumps held by your opponents.”  And Masse24 states it simply, “1NT  WTP? I’m not bold enough to pass.”  The great fear of the panel is that West will run to a better strain.  Carl Hudecek:  One notrump.  I’d be happy defending against hearts but unhappy defending against spades.  If I pass, East-West may find their spade fit.”  Paul Ivaska “One notrump.  … if I pass, West is apt to run, and the opponents are likely to find their eight-card spade fit.  Then we’ll probably wind up declaring our own contract against an effective opening lead followed by accurate defense.”  Bart Bramley bids 1NT more on general principle, “Notrump rather than clubs when it’s matchpoints.  Shape flaws for notrump are more palatable in competition.  I’d pass if desperate for a top, but passing is too risky otherwise.”

The other choice for taking out the negative double was to bid 2 !C.  This was the choice of 10% of the panelists, 16% of the BW solvers and 20% of the IAC solvers.  None of the IAC solvers making this choice discussed their reasoning, so we will look to the panelists for those clues.  Kevin Bathurst is tempted to pass, but bids “Two clubs.  The stiff spade and strong hearts suggest passing, but I’m a bit too short of strength outside of hearts to gamble for a top on defense at the one-level.”  While Jeff Rubens has other concerns:  “Two clubs.  Defending might be okay if West sits and partner's spades are strong, but the opponents have a spade fit and we (very likely) have a minor-suit fit, so this is not a good time to game a pass.”

Problem E: 1 !D 

The question in this problem is how best to show your hand.  You can show both suits at once with an unusual 2NT overcall, you can bid out your shape by bidding 1 !H and rebidding diamonds, or you can get you lead director in by bidding diamonds and suppressing the hearts unless partner shows them in some fashion.  In the end, it was a close contest between bidding to show a suit to lead and showing both suits in a single bid.

Half of the panelists and about 40% of BW solvers selected 1 !D.  Only three of the IAC solvers joined in.  KenBerg described his thoughts for bidding 1 !D as “partner is a passed hand, I don't have all that much, I expect the opponents to be the declaring side. If partner is going to be on lead I want a !D lead, not a !H. Well, at least I think I want a !D. Depends a bit.”  Bob Boudreau properly values his heart suit:  “One diamond.  I don’t want partner to lead hearts against West’s spade contract, so I’ll pretend that I have only four.”  While others recognize that the opponents have the master suit.  Billy Eisenberg:  “One diamond.  We’ll be on defense often enough to ignore the fifth heart.”  Jeff Rubens “One diamond.  A pessimistic view of the offensive prospects, but very often we will be outgunned, and matchpoints sometimes pays a lot for any extra trick.”

IAC solvers went with 2NT quite strongly (75%), much more so than the BW panelists (39%) or solvers (45%).  WackoJack puts it simply, “2NT  I cannot see a better bid than the ‘unusual’.”  JCreech adds a little texture to the argument:  “2NT - I am torn between making the lead directing bid of 1 !D or getting both of my suits off my chest right away.  Typically, when I can accurately describe to partner where to find 10 of my cards in one bid, I like to show them.  I am almost too rich to make this bid.”  DickHy used BWS to help justify his answer of “2N.  2N or 1D? How bad will playing in 3Hx be in a xxxxx/xx fit?  Partner will surely choose H when 22 in the red suits.  He is a passed hand, so opponents could well have a vulnerable game.  Then again, perhaps I’m pessimistic; partner is bound to have 3c support for one of my two suits!  Bridge World; The requirements for initial pre-emptive defensive actions (jump overcalls; the weak version of two-suited actions) are possibly light.  So, there’s that excuse for the bar afterwards.  Besides, on the day I overcall 1D, partner will have four hearts and one diamond.”  And always the pragmatist, BluBayou explains that “(t)he selling point for me on Michaels, and unusual notrump is that you can express a hand that, if it were only 5-4 distribution WOULD NOT BE WORTH A BID AT ALL, or would be worth one bid only, leaving one with that left-over feeling later.  That is how I feel about this one.  The 5 child hearts make it ugly, but count me IN.”  Bart Bramley:  “Two notrump.  Show two-suiters if you can, especially when you may shut out spades.  I wouldn’t know which red suit to bid if I had to choose.  Tipping my shape seems less likely to matter than usual, as I have no finessable holdings, and an opposing declarer would probably finesse clubs through North anyway.”  Kit Woolsey:  “Two notrump.  Perfect.  Partner is a passed hand, so we aren’t missing game, and the vulnerability is right.  Anything else would make life too easy for the opponents.”

There is a minority view (2 IAC solvers, 2 BW panelists and 6% of the BW solvers), that want to bid the two red suits in their proper order.  This implies that they feel the hand is worth two bids.  Our IAC solvers were silent on this, so we are forced to the panel for enlightenment, but all we get are jokes.  Robert Wolff:  “One heart.  For lead direction.”  And Arthur Robinson:  “One heart.  Getting ready for fan tan.”

Problem F: 2 !C

Too often in bridge, you find yourself in a position of not having any good bids available, and you are stuck looking for the least lie.  This problem is one of those times, if fact, this is the sort of hand that, given that it is a semi-balanced 12 count, that at the point of rebid I ask myself, why did I open this in the first place.  The answer of course is that you have a good 12 and were hoping to have a better bid from partner.  Carl Hudecek seems to be in this camp:  “Why did my substitute open this garbage in second seat?”

The panel’s choice (40%) was to rebid the beefy club suit, though it was slightly less a favorite with solvers (33% IAC, 34% BW).  The lie, of course, is that there are only five in the suit.  DickHy thinks rebidding the clubs is more descriptive:  “2C.  1N shows the HCP, but 2C shows the hand.  Partner could well be starting a Walsh-like/invitational + sequence and then the choice doesn’t matter too much (if at all).  If he’s weak with say 3343 then 2C looks a better spot to play than 1N.  One problem might be if he is weak with long diamonds – say 3361 or 3352.  Then he will bid 2D over 1N which looks safer than 2C with such hands, but maybe not 2D over 2C.  Still, I’m the weak one in the partnership, so 2C it is.”  While WackoJack is relying a bit more on his gut feeling:  “2  !C  I think I just prefer this to 2  !D.  After all partner may have 3343 distribution. 2 !C leaves no doubt that this is at least a good 5 card suit.”   Nick L’Ecuyer:  “Two clubs.  Looks like a six-card suit.  My other choice is one heart, but my partners tend to raise when I bid a three card suit.”  David Berkowitz:  “Two clubs.  Against my religion to rebid a five-bagger, but these clubs really look like six, don’t they?”  Some want to rebid the clubs to right-side the contract.  Joel Wooldridge:  “Two clubs.  Normally, I’d rebid one notrump with this shape, but there are two low spades and two perfectly playable minors.  Rather than wrongside three notrump (an important consideration at imps), I’ll settle for a minor-suit contract when partner can’t bid again.  Clubs rather than diamonds because I want to portray the excellent quality of the suit right away.”

A close second choice was 1NT.  36% of the panel selected to show their shape, despite a spade stopper made of air.  This was also the plurality choice of the BW solvers (42%), though it was a lesser choice for the IAC solvers (only 2).  However, the only IAC comment was a disappointing one from Masse24:   “Another WTP?”    While Todd is right that it describes the hand, the auction points to weakness in the majors, and not only are the spades a doubleton, but there is nothing there to help bolster partner’s holding.  The only plus is that the opponents are not biding the suit, so there is some hope for a 4-4.  Ron Smith:  “One notrump.  Balanced minimum.  No reason to be scared.”  Irina Levitina:  “One notrump.  Says more about my hand than any other bid.”  Bart Bramley:  “One notrump.  When I have a balanced minimum, I show it as soon as possible.  Anything else would be a distortion.  Yes, I would have raised hearts, but diamonds are a different animal.”

The favorite (53%) for the IAC solvers was 2 !D, and a distant third with BW (panel, 21%; solvers, 16%).  The lie here is that you are promising four-card support for partner’s suit.  KenBerg writes “2 !D seems right. Of course agreements matter, and agreements vary. Here is from BWS 2017 ‘In response to one club, with four of a major and four-plus diamonds, responder bids: one of the major with four diamonds, one diamond with invitational-plus values (otherwise one of the major) with five diamonds, one diamond with six diamonds.’  So can responder have only four diamonds? Well, yes, but not often. With four diamonds he would skip over !D to bid a major if he had a major so if he has four diamonds he does not have a major. He is also very unlikely to be 3=3=4=3, with that holding it seems he would bid some number of NT, although perhaps there are hands where he would not. The most likely case where he holds four !D is when he also holds four !C.  That's one too few !C to bid either 2 !C or 3 !C, although there could be the occasional game forcing holding where he would bid 2 !C on a four card holding, showing strength, planning to clarify shape later. So it seems that very very often he will be holding five !D for his 1 !D call.  And, when I raise !D, he will expect me to be holding five !C.   It seems to me that after 1 !C - 1 !D - 2 !D we are in a good position to end up in NT when we belong there, and in a minor when we do not belong in NT. It could go wrong, but I think it's odds on. Often with these MSC hands we have to go with the least bad choice. But here, it seems to me that 2 !D is not bad at all.”  Similarly, JCreech argued for “2 !D - Usually I like to show my shape and rebid 1NT, and would have over 1 !H or 1 !S.  So what is different with 1 !D?  I think it is that neither of us is showing a major and I only have one stop for both suits.  Also, when partner responds 1 !D over 1 !C, there tends to be either five diamonds or a club fit.  Unless partner intends to reverse into a major, I want to steer clear of NT at this point.” 

Problem G: 3 !C

On Problem G, the BW panel essentially said “what’s the problem?” as 75% of them proceeded to cue-bid 3 !C; 40% of the solvers (both IAC and BW) followed suit.  BluBayou says succinctly “Cue-bid-- Encourage partner in whichever suit he wants to be encouraged in.  Who has a plan ‘B’?”  JCreech seems a little less certain with his bid of “3 !C -  This feels a bit like a stretch, but what a fit for partner's responsive double suits!  Not certain what my cue-bid shows except that my hand improved with what partner had to say.  Now it is time to listen.”  WackoJack is cautiously optimistic with his 3 !C bid “I have 14 HCP with 6 card  !H suit.  Partner has  !S and  !D with I think 10+ HCP.  So is this enough to try 3  !C?  Or try the low road and make the conservative 2  !H rebid?  I will try the aggressive 3  !C.  We can still stop short of game if partner bids 3  !D with no   !C stop.”  While Masse24 is almost gleeful with his “3 !C  Tag, you’re it, partner! When all else fails, leave partner with the nasty decisions.”  Zia describes his choice of 3 !C as “(a) great hand if we have a fit.”  Brian Platnick echos:  “Three clubs.  I have a good hand with doubt about strain.”  Or more explicitly by Nick L’Ecuyer:  “Three clubs.  I want to reach game, but I don’t know in which of three available suits.  Partner’s next bid will tell me.”  Phillip Adler, though selects 3 !C under duress and wants to know “Why don’t the rules permit me to redouble for takeout?”

There is little consensus among the panelists if some other bid was chosen.  Among the IAC solvers, three went with 2 !H.  Although DickHy was tempted to go in a different direction, he settled on 2 !H:  “What then does partner’s double mean? Bridge World is not much help: Among advancer's actions when responder raises opener: a double is not for penalty (for takeout or showing general values, depending on level).  If partner’s double shows general values, then deflation has set in, ‘cos he’s got only 6 or 7.  I have a choice of bidding one of his suits, with only 3c support, or showing the 6th heart.  Admittedly, the 3 cards in either case are spiffing, but if partner is 4243 and his values are in his long suits, then hearts looks the best spot.  So, I’m tending towards 2H.  3C is exerting a strange pull, however … must find my pills.”  Doub and Wildavsky  bid “Two hearts.  We hold what used to be considered normal values and a sixth heart.  With both opponents bidding, partner rates to be minimum, and we have no clear direction to go in search of game. … One disadvantage of the trend toward lighter overcalls is that a minimum must encompass a wider range.”

Similarly, three IAC solvers chose to bid 2 !S.  Unfortunately, none chose to discuss their reasoning, so we have to rely on the panel for illumination.  The one panelist that made this bid was Kit Woolsey:  “Two spades.  Partner is supposed to have five spades for this double.  He doesn’t expect me to have four, as I didn’t make a takeout double.”  The moderator is defensive about Kit’s claim that the overcall could not have four spades, citing distributional examples that would not be suitable for a takeout double.

The last portion of this recap will be out momentarily.  I used too much material, so we are having the lead problem as its own section.  Todd asked for the segregation (he actually asked that lead problems be banned from MSC) because he hates lead problems so much - lol.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 20, 2020, 12:26:46 AM
DECEMBER MSC SUMMARY (Part 3)– Danny Kleinman, Director

As we complete the December contest with the lead problem - also known as the Masse24 I HATE LEAD PROBLEMS!!! Problem.

Problem H: !H A

In this month’s problem, the choice was between cashing an ace to see the dummy or trying to build a side-suit trick early.  The top choice was the !H A, which was selected by 42% of the panel, and joined by 32% of the BW solvers.  However, only two IAC solvers joined the party.  BluBayou said “I desperately want to take a peek at dummy,  but  I am leaning to cashing the HEART ace, not the trump ace  to do this.  Perhaps deep heart looser they have will go away if we do not get right after it?  Perhaps  will see exactly WHICH diamond to shift to at trick two? Perhaps i will see no massive club suit in dummy in time to get back on that track?   And of course,  I may be blowing the timing sky-high by helping opps get heart tricks up and running:(   May I join the 'i hate problem H" club?”  In IAC, there is a growing list of solvers who have joined the “I hate lead problems” club.  As you can see, there is a fresh application for membership, but based on Jock’s behavior last month (i.e., he did not avoid the lead on H, and even advanced his lead on G without being asked), he does not seem ready to join the esteemed membership.  Joining him in making this lead, Bart Bramley explains it well:  “Heart ace.  First chance:  Cash three hearts before they get pitched on clubs.  Second chance:  Set up a second heart and hope that’s good enough.  Third chance:  Shift in time.  Cashing the trump ace first loses a tempo and might blow a trick.  Minor-suit leads are shots in the dark.”  Similarly, Irina Levitina, wanting to hold onto trump control, says, “Heart ace.  Dummy is likely to have clubs.  We must try to cash our four tricks while I still have the ace of trumps.”

Second choice also involved cashing an ace, but this time the singleton trump ace.  This was the selection for 28% of the panelists and 22% of the BW solvers, but represented the largest block of IAC solvers.  WackoJack succinctly says “Lead A  !S  Toss a coin.  Let's look at dummy”  DickHy: “Partner’s a passed hand and I don’t think he will have that much.  West could easily have 14 HCP to go with his 4/5 spades.  I’m going to be end-played often, so the temptation is to get rid of the AS and have a look at the world.  Surely that’s not going to cost with 10 or 11 trumps with E and W (and might help if - fingers and toes crossed – partner has Kx in S).  After that I can see what W holds and probably bang out with the JC.”  JCreech: “I don't really have a standout lead to make.  I hate leading my bare trump ace - I would prefer to wait and have it get a chance to pick up something other than air.  But the only other thought I have is the !C J, so maybe it will be better to look a dummy to get an idea of what might be an effective shift.”  Eschewing the tempo issue, Kit Woolsey:  “Spade ace.  I’ll have a better chance to lead the right side suit when I see the dummy.  The lost temp probably won’t matter.  Any other lead would be a blind guess.”  Brian Platnick:  “Spade ace.  After seeing dummy, I will have a better idea what I should have led.”  Carl Hudecek:  “Spade ace.  Before I lose it.”  (Whereupon the moderator tells a story:  “Don’t laugh.  On a freak rubber bridge deal many years ago, my partner Lightner-doubled six spades.  I led from my long weak clubs to give him the ruff he sought with his singleton spade.  Two tricks later, I won my singleton ace of spades, and near the end my partner claimed the heart jack for a second undertrick. … until an alert dummy noticed that he had followed to my spade trick with the six of clubs.”  He proposed naming the cashing of the trump ace a Hudecek Safety Play.)

The third best score went to the !H  Q.  There was only one IAC solver (who was silent about his reasoning), but 18% of the panel also made this choice.  Joel Wooldridge:  “Heart queen.  I’ll try to score a couple of heart tricks.  I could lead the ace instead, but maybe declarer doesn’t know who has it and will duck dummy’s king.”  Zia:  “Heart queen.  So my friends will all say ‘I told you so!’ when declarer pus up dummy’s king.”

Only five  IAC solvers led non-aces.  Four led the !C J and one led a small diamond.  These were not popular choices with the panel, but 30% of the BW solvers did lead the !C J and 11% led a non-honor diamond.  From the BW panel, Billy Eisenberg incorrectly guessed that “Club jack.  Probably with the majority”  Masse24 was not much more forthcoming “Club Jack.  I have no clue. Zero.  I hate lead problems.”  The moderator, though, gave a reason – it “(r)equires the least from partner (the queen or clubs may suffice).”  The panel was also a disappointment for insight on a diamond lead.  Jeff Rubens:  “Diamond nine.  All four suits are possible (in hearts, my choice would be the queen).”  KenBerg was far more reticent:  “Assuming that we are playing fourth best from strength, I am thinking of leading fifth best, the !D 5.  Pard cannot be holding much and his play will not vary with whether I lead the 5 or the 7. But sometimes it might influence declarer. If he subtracts 5 from 11 he gets 6. If he sees four cards in hand and dummy that are higher than the 5 he will then assume my partner has two of them. Say AQ4 hits the dummy and declarer holds T8. He will assume I hold the K but where is the J?  Under some circumstances  he might think it worth the risk to play low, hoping I also have the J. If I convince declarer that my partner has two cards higher than the 5 he might decide the danger is too high to let the trick ride to his ten.  I doubt, on the auction, that partner has the A. But he might have the Q, he might have a stiff, and at least possibly, I might be able to mislead declarer.  I have not yet decided, as always with lead problems the situation is unclear. But I don't think the !D 5 is crazy.”

I hope you found this worth the extra space devoted to this set of MSC problems.  Good luck on next month's problems.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Curls77 on November 20, 2020, 09:05:47 PM
Curls77 was the first to make this selection among the IAC solvers and seemed to feel it was inadequate, saying “wishing I lost connection, 2H.”  However, it was BluBayou who put significant time into this problem.

Blu and Pat called my attention i was mentioned here, geee!!! I had NO IDEA this gets so nice detailed postmortem, guilty as charged!
Wow, such nice job Jim and Jack, and all that participate explaining ur thoughts :)

If I live long enough. I might get to retire and have time to play for a change and think more of a hand except give it 2 secs of thought which is what happened here  :-[

TY ever so much Jim and Todd, for running this forum event, losers are who do not participate.
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: blubayou on November 21, 2020, 01:20:57 AM
Glad we put you name in lights, Sanya...You lead the way on a really tough call that was the key to the promised-land  for us,  Though  the magazine's experts suprized us by seeing the virtue  of staying low, in force.   
    No panelist made a case for the auction  [1C] 1!H [2!C] DOUBLE "  showing LONG spades explicitly, though one guy went ASAP to the spade game,   and a million others  expected to get there and claim very soon.    However , my side bet  for a bonus 5 monster points  came to nothing :(
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: jcreech on November 21, 2020, 01:47:20 AM
Although Todd made a big stink about no scoring respect for his 4 !D on problem A, I feel certain that Jock's analysis on Problem C sent him over the edge to insist on a recount.  For Todd abhors real science, using things like random numbers, percentages, calculations and hypothesis testing.  Instead, he favors the "scientific" bidding conventions like XYZ, Serious NT or the Law, espoused by pseudo-scientists such as Larry Cohen.  In response to various set backs, the word is that he has bunkered in his own white house, muttering Waco and that there will be dire consequences if Bridge World does not recognize that his set of answers were worth at least 700 in December.  Most recently, all of the courts of appeal (run by the various national and international bridge organizations) say that his legal actions are without standing and that the Bridge World is a private subscription organization and not bound by their bylaws.  Meanwhile, I have asked YleeXotee to take Todd on as a patient in his professional capacity. :P  (I hope that emoji was for tongue in cheek.)
Title: Re: 2020 December - MASTER SOLVER'S CLUB
Post by: Masse24 on November 21, 2020, 02:39:56 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/v3QsMxx.png)