Author Topic: What is partner up to?  (Read 390 times)

Masse24

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What is partner up to?
« on: September 20, 2020, 09:36:21 PM »
Matchpoints, Nobody Vulnerable

WESTNORTHEASTSOUTH
-- -- --1NTa
Pass2 !SbPass3 !Cc
Pass  3NT       Pass  ??
 

a.) 1NT = 15-17
b.) Responder's 2 !S = Minor Suit Stayman
c.) 3 !C = 4+ !C

What is your call as opener holding:
!S AK4 - !H T54 - !D AQ6 - !C QT63

This is from a bidding contest (Dist. 8 ) I occasionally enter. I thought it was interesting.
There are still 10 days remaining, but I sent in my answers (there are 6 problems) this morning.

1. What's your call?
2. What is partner up to?
3. Construct a possible hand for partner.

“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

kenberg

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2020, 12:33:39 PM »
Answering 2, and perhaps 3 as well,  takes precedence over answering 1. So what does partner have in mind?

If I were to do this I would have both minors, I would have a weakness  for NT in at least one of the majors, and I would not have a singleton in either major.  Otherwise put, I am suggesting the hand should perhaps be played in 5m, in this case m being clubs.  If I had a stiff somewhere I would have bid it over 3C.

If we play this in NT, we will probably get a heart lead.  Could pard be 2=3=4=4?  I suppose so, and then 3NT has a good chance after they take their hearts while 5C is off the first three tricks. But that's a pretty flat shape to be bidding this way.  More likely:
xx / Qx / Kxxxx / AKxx
In this case we have to pray for a 4-4 heart split in NT but 5C has good chances.

It's matchpoints and so yes, maybe 3NT makes an overtrick and 5C either makes exactly or comes in with an overtrick for 420 versus 430, but I think this is too unlikely to worry about, I am going to go with what I think is the best shot at making.

As with any good problem, the answer is not clear cut.

But I go with 5C.  I suppose I could go with 4S instead, this would be a slam try in case partner has xx / Ax / Kxxxx / AKJx. This seems like asking too much from the bridge gods, but maybe I should try it. I'm inclined to stick with 5C.  I guess we want to be in 6NT if that's what pard has. Also, while I, as your partner,  would bid 3H over 3C with s tiff heart I think with MSS we should allow for a 3H call over 3C with a hand like this one also.

So I go with 5C.
Ken

Masse24

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2020, 11:10:39 PM »
Pretty much what I said when I submitted my answer, Ken. (You are permitted to include a short summary of your thoughts.)

I've played many variations of minor suit transfers, and although I've read about MSS, I have never actually played it. Like you, I assumed a similarity with minor suit transfers, so I also assumed partner would show shortness with 3M--if he had it. Also, the auction through 3NT, if it stopped there, screams heart lead (no double of 2 !S ). So passing, certainly on the table, is just too scary. Isn't partner telling us he has nothing in the majors? My construction did not give partner so much as a Queen. I am guessing something like a (32)5=3 or a (22)5=4.

Would he bid this way with something like xxx - xx - Kxxxx - AKx or similar? Maybe throw in another Jack or two?

As far as what to bid next, with a max and equal length minors, I would try 4NT. That's out. And although it's a slight fib as to length, my choice was 4 !D. AQx looks a little like four cards.  ;) My second choice was 4 !C (not necessarily promising five?).

I also wonder if passing 3NT may just work. They still need to find the heart lead. But maybe partner has two or three? If so, might they split 4-4 or 4-3? The beginner in me wants to just pass, but the auction is as informative to the defense as it is to us.

This is uncharted territory for me as I have not seen this auction before using MSS. I found this problem painfully simple, but complex at the same time.  ;D

« Last Edit: September 21, 2020, 11:27:44 PM by Masse24 »
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

jcreech

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2020, 12:30:06 AM »
I hated to respond to this because it really depends on how you play MSS.  I figured that because it is a problem, that there would be a need to and expected to see these sorts of analysis.  But the way I would have interpreted with previous partners that I played a form of MSS, I would expect partner to have at least one minor suit, not both.  Therefore, when partner rebids 3NT, I have the minor suit (s)he was concerned about and is now willing to play 3NT.  So I would be passing.

kenberg

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2020, 12:54:45 AM »
As with all conventions there is more than one way to play.

The bots play MSS and here is their way:
2♠    Minor Suit Stayman (Usually at least 54 in the minors, forcing to game)
Opener would normally bid a 4+ card minor if he had one, but can bid 2NT with 3343 or 3334 distribution.
 If responder's next bid is 3 of a major, he is promising a singleton or void in that suit, but not necessarily slam interest.

BWS doesn't play MSS.

Quite a while back I played MSS a la Kantar. Reasonably useful. In the Kantar version the 2S might be  weak, strong or very strong. As with the bots it showed both minors, but with one exception. A weak hand with diamonds could start with 2S. Opener was to rebid 2NT regardless of strength if he had no four card minor. After that, responder of course might pass or raise to 3NT. But he could also sign off. After 1NT-2S-2NT, a bid of 3C was a weak bid with both minors while a bid of 3D over 2NT was the weak hand with diamonds only. Of course there was more to it than just that.


One way of looking at this problem hand: Partner's 3NT certainly allows me to pass, so he must think that sometimes 3NT will be right. But he didn't just jump to 3NT so that when he bid 2NT  he must have been thinking that  5C could be right. So he is saying "Maybe 5C, maybe 3NT, you choose".  Maybe the choice is not clear cut, I think that it isn't, but since he is offering this choice I think it's a good bet to accept it.

Paying 1NT-2S-3C-3NT as saying "Nope, that's not my minor" is not something I have ever heard of, so I am trusting that's not what is going on here.


Ken

kenberg

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2020, 10:56:31 AM »
Just to complicate life, consider the following hand:


!S xx
!H Ax
!D Kxxxx
!C AKxx

!S AK4
!H T54
!D AQ6
!C QT63



If clubs and diamonds are both 3-2 then there are 13 tricks in clubs. OK, maybe we don't expect to get to 7 !C but we would like to reach  6 !C or perhaps 6NT.
Assuming we agree that 1NT - 2 !S - 3 !C - 3NT is not the way the auction should begin, how should it go? If 1NT - 2 !S - 3 !C - 3NT is a reasonable way for partner to go after my opening 1NT then I had really better bid 4 !C over 1NT.

My thinking was, and probably still is, that pard has offered me a choice between 3NT and 5 !C, and I choose 5 !C. But then how should the hands above be bid?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 02:50:50 PM by kenberg »
Ken

Masse24

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2020, 11:10:29 AM »
How should the hands above be bid?

1Nt - 3NT?
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

Masse24

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2020, 11:18:52 AM »
I already submitted my answer, so I am stuck with it. But I am starting to like Pass more and more.

If partner has the hand I think he has, with either two hearts or three, then the opps have seven or eight. With eight I need to get lucky and hope for a 4-4 split. But with only seven, a 4-3 fit is 62%.

I'm hoping the other suits will provide 9 off the top.

It's Matchpoints.
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

kenberg

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2020, 03:09:03 PM »
How should the hands above be bid?

1Nt - 3NT?


Quite possibly 1NT-3NT, as you say.  Likely to be making 6.
Responder, with
!S xx
!H Ax
!D Kxxxx
!C AKxx
has only a 15 count opposite a 15-17 NT. But he has some shape. The long diamonds might be a source of tricks and/or the short suits might be a source of ruffs, and, wit the hand you give for the opening 1NT, on 15 highs,  we see that 6 !C is pretty much on ice with a 3-2 club split, and 7 !C makes if both minors split 3=2. Sure it's a magic fit but if 6 is likely and 7 in not that unlikely when the 1NT is on 15, it seems we would like a way to explore.

So now agreements matter, as they always do Playing Kantar's way, the auction 1NT - 2 !S - 3 !C - 3 !D is out because that's the weak sign-off in !D. But playing the bot's way 2 !S was a GF and it could start 1NT - 2 !S - 3 !C - 3 !D - 3 !S and now some enthusiasm might develop. Still, I can't say that I can see just what comes next. Maybe 1NT - 2 !S - 3 !C - 3 !D - 3 !S - 4 !H - 4 !S.  Or maybe I am dreaming.

These contest hands are useful in getting to a discussion of just what means what to whom.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 03:11:07 PM by kenberg »
Ken

Masse24

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2020, 09:55:18 PM »
The Bidding Contest results are in.

Karen Walker was the person who submitted this. Below are her comments:


Partner had other ways to show slam-try values, so it sounds like he has just minimum game strength -- around 9-11 points (maybe 8 with two good suits). With this strength and a stopper in one of the majors, I think he would just try 3NT at his first turn, especially if he has only nine cards in the minors. With a slam invite that's 2-2 in the majors, he might have raised 3C to 4C, or even responded 4NT at his first turn, counting on you to bid four-card suits up the line if you accepted.

This is not a "system" problem. It's a  logic exercise. Unless you think partner is just torturing you with "Practice" Minor-suit Stayman, he has to have a sane reason for bidding his hand this way.

I confess I was the perpetrator of this auction, many years ago. My partner, who happens to be one of the passers on our panel, held the hand in the problem.

We had no prior agreement about this sequence, but he reasoned that I must be warning about extreme weakness in the majors, so he bid 5C over 3NT. He was right, as I held: 
♠53  ♥4  ♦KJ643  ♣AJ942
and we made 11 tricks when the club finesse lost. 3NT goes down, even if they lead the wrong major.

With the outside quick tricks and strong diamond holding, I think your hand is worth 5C (4C sounds like a weaker retreat). My choice is 4S to show an even stronger raise to 5C. That could help us get to a slam if partner has a stiff heart and bit more:  ♠53  ♥4  ♦K10643  ♣AK942.

This might be the sort of problem that's easier to work out at the table than in a bidding quiz.



The scores were:

Pass  -- 100
4 !S  --  70
5 !C  --   70
4 !D  --   70
4 !C  --   60

So while 3NT was the "winning bid" in the bidding contest, 5 !C was best at the table.  ;D
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 09:58:37 PM by Masse24 »
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” Abraham Lincoln

kenberg

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Re: What is partner up to?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2020, 01:05:51 AM »
Some of the comments suggest that the auction is incomprehensible.  That should not be. If you are going to play a convention such as this, surely you should discuss an auction such as this.  Karen (I seem to recall her once living in the Washington area) has a stiff, and holding her hand I would have bid 3 H over 3 !C and then, assuming her partner is on the same page, would surely get them into the club contract.

But there is a basic logic going on. Responder bid MSS and then converted the positive response to 3NT. Surely this can only mean that partner thinks it is possible the hand belongs maybe in NT, maybe somewhere else. And the somewhere else is clubs at some level.

I can understand why someone might say "Lacking the showing of a stiff, I think I will just gamble on 3NT".  Fair enough. But calling the auction incomprehensible? It's an offer to play in NT maybe and in clubs maybe.

As I think I said already, I played MSS for quite a while and found it to be a pretty decent convention. But not if you have had no discussion of what happens next.

Ken