Author Topic: 2021 February - MSC  (Read 2698 times)

DickHy

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2021, 11:38:08 PM »
With my usual rashness, I volunteered to write the summaries this month.  I plan to drip-feed boards two at a time.  I hope that’s ok.  You never know, after the first three parts I might get away with ignoring the lead problem.

February MSC Summary (Part 1):  Director Jeff Rubens

PROBLEM A.  Pass (blubayou, ccr3, peuco, babsg, masse24, msphola)

Imps EW vulnerable   !S:J5   !H:QJT8763   !D:KT5   !C:5

South  West  North  East
  3H        p        4N      x               4N = ace ask
  xx        5C        p       p               xx = no aces
   ?

There was much discussion in the IAC about this auction, particularly over whether partner was psyching or making a forcing pass.  The panel by a majority of 17-10 chose the former.  But, to be honest, quite a few of the panel were not sure what was going on.

Ira Chorush; “an auction which nobody has ever seen.”  Carl Hudecek; “Partner could have been kidding around. I told my story.”  Kamil and Sherman; “Seems a fairly good bet partner is the joker here.” Joey Silver; “Partner’s 4NT put him in charge.  He was either looking for a slam or trying to monkey the villains out of what they could make.”   Kit Woolsey; “I have described my hand … for all I know partner has psyched opponents out of a slam.  I am not invited to the party.”  Eric Kokish and Bart Bramley shared Kit’s view, with Bart adding; “If partner’s objective was to confuse the opponents, it worked.  If his objective was to confuse me, that worked too.”

blubayou quickly diagnosed the top mark and steadfastly stuck to his guns. His resolution was shared by ccr3: “If my partner wanted me to play in hearts, I'd be playing it. Yes, strange bidding but I pass.”  Masse24 originally doubted partner was pulling a con, but after analysis, chose the top score, “I came up with a construction of all four hands that I thought consistent with the auction. But I could not come up with one consistent with partner's pass. The only thing that made sense, then, was the unthinkable. Partner has choreographed this entire auction. He has kept them out of slam with his "Stripe Tailed Ape 4NT."  This was essentially blubayou’s point three weeks earlier; “For all we know, pard has bluffed them out of a grand slam in spades.”

Panellists commented on forcing passes. Ralph Katz: “Either partner psyched or asked for Aces with no club control and thought his pass was forcing.  I would vote for the former.”  John Hurd and Jill Meyers thought the pass could not be forcing at this vulnerability.  Oren Kriegel agreed but said he would not be sure about other colours either. 

5 !D

For the panellists reaching for something other than the green card, 5 !D was the popular choice (8/10).  Ira Chorush: “If I bid, five diamonds will tell North something about my hand which may be of use if the bidding continues, including what to lead.”  Curtis Cheek: “Five diamonds, ‘must’ show short clubs and a diamond king.”  Michael Rosenberg; “Five diamonds announces diamond and club controls.”

Those comments echoed precisely the analysis of Wackojack: “Partner should have been prepared for me to play in 5 !H opposite no aces.  I have a singleton club and the K !D which could be crucial for making 12 tricks.  So, 5 !D should give that message.” Jcreech shared the view: “On this auction, I think that partner's pass of 5 !C has to be a forcing pass … I think should show that I have something outside of hearts.”

Despite being a popular choice with 5 votes in the IAC, double rated nary a mention by the panel.


PROBLEM B. 3 !D (blubayou, ccr3, peuco, babsg, wackojack, jcreech, msphola, MarilynLi, dickhy)

Imps Both vulnerable  !S:K2   !H:Q73   !D:A97   !C:97632

South  West  North  East
   -           -        1D      p
  1N        2C      2D      p
    ?


Jeff Rubens acknowledged that 2 !H “seems technically correct on a constructive basis” but he preferred 3 !D.  One reason was that 3 !D would make it harder for East-West if they had a spade fit – a point echoed by Kamil and Sherman; “just in case the opponents have a major suit fit.”  Most 3 !D bidders on the panel weren’t thinking about opponents, however, but aiming at game.  Ira Chorush; “Partner could easily have a holding that makes 3N a good contract.” Danny Kleinman; “A maximum in context, with both face cards likely to be working, so give partner a chance to bid game”. Fleisher and Friesner; “Normal hands for partner make five diamonds cold; the club overcall and our length suggest North is short there, eg, Axx KJx KQTxxx x.  If partner bids 3N we will likely be putting down a satisfactory dummy opposite, say Qxx Ax KQxxxx Kx.”

Their construction of a 5 !D game mirrors that of Wackojack: “West’s 2 !C overcall does increase the chances that partner is short in this suit.  Could partner have ♠ Axx; ♥ KJx; ♦ KQxxxx; ♣x?  Yes easily.  So, I will press on to make the invite in diamonds.”  MarilynLi was thinking in this vein too; “My motive of the 3 !D bid is partner probably has club shortness. I can imagine a Diamond game vs. 13 count partner.”  Blubayou touched on both motives for the 3 !D bid: “3 !D might be our limit, but it will never go down.   On the other hand, the club bidder might be coming in spades… also, partner's non-jump to 2 !D can yet be making five with this dummy, so raising seems clear.”  In aiming for a possible 3N, the important card was cited by Jcreech: “I think I do need to make one more move after all, and what information does partner need most, where is the diamond A.”

3 !C and 2 !S

Nine panellists found 3 !D insufficiently encouraging. Eric Kokish; “Three diamonds feels inadequate with everything likely to be working and a near-maximum.” Ralph Katz thought 5 diamonds could be a great spot so made “the strongest bid possible”, a view in which he was joined by Boye Brogeland. Michael Rosenberg, with an eye on slam, opted for 2 !S - his son, Kevin (who Jeff Rubens wants us to look out for “one of America’s most talented younger players”) first preferred 3 !D and then decided a stronger bid was necessary, “two spades or three clubs is better; three clubs is more clearly raising diamonds, but the best card outside diamonds is spades.”  Neither of these bids seems to have occurred to IAC bidders.

2 !H.

This was seen as being flexible. John Hurd; “Encouragement at the cheapest level in the hope of giving North room to get his hand across.  We want to reach 5 !D opposite 3370 and similar shapes, perhaps 3N occasionally, yet stop in 3 !D opposite partner’s usual garbage” [I want to partner Mr Hurd if this is his default view].  Kit Woolsey; “Holding a maximum with nothing wasted in clubs, it is important to give partner this information rather than merely bid 3 !D which I would do with a random hand including some diamond support.” Curtis Cheek; “The same bid I’d have made without the overcall: maximum, diamond fit, cheapest stopper.”   

Masse24 was the only IAC bidder to take this approach; “My hand got better after 2 !D. I’ve already denied having four hearts, so this merely shows something in this suit and good diamond support in the context of the auction. Partner should be able to figure out I have the diamond Ace.”

Of other bids, Kenberg chose 2NT; “You may be right, I may be crazy”.  Keeping him company in the padded cell was Phillip Alder; “It is hero-or-goat time” to which the director observed; “let partner decide which; he’s the one who will be misled into thinking that the South hand has a high club honour.” Outside the cell being fitted with straitjackets will be 5 IAC bidders who passed - the option being mentioned only once: “pass is out of the question.”
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 12:43:58 AM by DickHy »

jcreech

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2021, 12:49:22 AM »
With my usual rashness, I volunteered to write the summaries this month.  I plan to drip-feed boards two at a time.  I hope that’s ok.  You never know, after the first three parts I might get away with ignoring the lead problem.

Not a chance Dick.  Thank you for stepping up, but the first quarter looks too good to believe that you won't have enough gas to make it to the finish line.  Certainly an excellent start, and I await further installments with anticipation.
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

blubayou

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2021, 02:12:03 AM »
     The B-Team's February comment summery:


Problem A:  10 panelists bid something red-mostly the low hanging fruit of 5 Diamonds.  The other 17 passed, with 10 of them echoing Harry Steiner'sobservation: "Once I opened 3 hearts, I relinquished captaincy. Partner has made the final decision....Anything other than PASS would be anti-partnership."   Twelve of the seventeen pass voters said "amen" to this position, many more or less sarcastically.
(ZIA: "If partner is not up to a friendly psych, you can call me a wacky Paki"). Four other passers hedged their position, hinting at other vulnerabilities, they would be inclined to ruin pard's operation with some bid.
Oops!   Keep it rolling, Richard!  I did not scroll up before starting the project, and you are doing a bang-on  job.  I am loving your stuff.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 09:55:57 PM by blubayou »
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ccr3

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2021, 03:14:02 PM »
Excellent Dick. Do keep up the good work. Eager to read more.

blubayou

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #49 on: January 24, 2021, 09:34:25 PM »
RE:  problem B--- I have no problem with those who wish to "raise" via any of the 3 side-suit bids, per se but i do think that hose who intend to push to the 4-level  ( or have already done so )  owe our team a 4th diamond!  Given the 3C butt-in,  partner may already be counting on such and a 2=3=4=4 shape is hardly suprising, when responder (us) goes ballistic, n'est pas?   One fascinating morsel touched on by panelists was how the three Club advanced should be understood!  SEVEN panelists chose this as their way to say "I like my hand",  but only David Berkowitz was specific on what he was up to: "no major cue actually fits, so I will try an anti-cue-bid [The Boss inserts: "BLOOMER"  ['Bluhmer??]  ] ...I have a NICE hand opposite club shortness".  the other six left us high and dry ( Or were all 6 of them just announcing "I like my hand--can you guess why." )  possibly
i
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 09:43:29 PM by blubayou »
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DickHy

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #50 on: January 24, 2021, 11:51:41 PM »
February MSC Summary (Part 2):  Director Jeff Rubens

PROBLEM C.  2 !H (wackojack, ccr3, DrAculea, veeree, yleexotee)

Imps Both vulnerable  !S:QJT   !H:AJ5432   !D:J9   !C:Q6

South  West  North  East
    -         p        1D      p
   1H       p        1S      p
     ?

Half of the 12 panellists who chose this bid mentioned the poor heart suit.  Some didn’t like the rest of the hand much either: Bart Bramley; “Too much junk.  No heart texture.”; Carl Hudecek; “Not enough strength to force to game with this quackery, and the heart suit is too ratty to jump to three hearts.”  Fitting right in was Wackojack; “This looks like a misfit so I will bid a conservative 2 !H with my quacky 11.” Curtis Cheek was more positive; “Two spades could be right opposite a low singleton heart, but the boring two hearts rates to be the best opposite everything else.”  He was joined by Eric Kokish; “Two hearts often will be enough opposite a misfitting minimum and the bid most likely to reach game when North has two hearts and prime honours.” Eric then went on to say, “at matchpoints, I could see two spades drawing a lot more panel support” …

2 !S

… indeed, ignoring the results and just reading the start of the discussion, gives the impression 2 !S was the favoured answer.  Jeff Rubens leads off; “Three strong spades, ace of hearts, broken long suit, ruffing potential, no apparent big fit elsewhere – seems like spades to me.  An important point is that when you raise a secondary suit on three, you should be prepared to accept (not necessarily in that strain) if partner makes a game-try; this hand qualifies.”  Kit Woolsey added the detail; “If partner can’t bid, this will probably be as good a contract as any.  If North is worth a move, I will be able to continue with three hearts and likely reach the best spot.”  Those explanations might be helpful to Blubayou; “Can't explain why raising 1 spade feels like such a happy compromise for this large pile, so I will just bid it and move on.”

2 !C

This was equally as popular as 2 !S (6 each), but everyone admitted it was too much.  Ralph Katz; “an overbid to find the best strain.”  John Hurt; “If it is right to reach game, I will reach the correct one.  I would likely choose one notrump or two of a major if nonvulnerable.”  Choosing between minimum moves and a game-force was, Jeff Rubens observed, the drawback of using fourth-suit bids as game-forces.  John Swanson could barely rein in his disgust; “Using two clubs as a game-force is repulsive.  It’s time to review Extended PLOB” [see below]

3 !H.

This had two takers both because they disliked the other bids.  Harry Steiner; “Far overstating the heart suit, but right on overall values, and all the alternatives are depressing.  I could be talked into two hearts at match-points, but vulnerable at imps, I won’t make that underbid.”  This was pretty much the view in the IAC, where 3 !H was the most popular choice (7 votes).  MarilynLi; “Right points and shape for 3 !H bid.”  Jcreech found nothing appealing originally and was going low with 2 !H on a misfit hand but sparked up later; “I have the invitational values and I am red at IMPs, so I will make the slight overbid instead of the slight underbid.”  Masse24: "An overbid, just by a bit. Give me the heart T instead of the deuce and it's clear. Vul at IMPs convinces me.”  Robert Wolff agreed about the card’s importance; “the absence of the ten of hearts tones me down from three to two.”



PROBLEM D.  2 !S (peuco, wackojack, msphola, ccr3, DrAculea, kenberg, veeree, MarilynLi, dickhy)

Imps Both sides vulnerable   !S: -   !H:AJ972   !D:AQ3   !C:KT984

South  West  North  East
   -         -          -       1S
   ? 


To Michaels or not to Michaels?  The majority of the panel (16-11) did, explaining that it was important to show 10 cards in two suits, this, as peuco said, “makes life easier” and MarilynLi wanted to avoid a later problem; “… I don't like to see a 3 !S  bid by West after I bid 2 !H. So Michaels, introduce my two suits now.”   John Swanson (“I’ll bid two of my three suits”) and Michael Rosenberg (“Uncomfortable because of the playability in diamonds”) worried about diamonds being lost.  However, others thought the suit could be resurrected if the auction went as expected:  Jill Meyers; “… if East-West bid three spades, I will double to show extras and 0535.”  Nodding their heads at this were Ira Chorush and Bart Bramley who also thought a fast spade raise would leave him “better placed than the doublers.”   

For the IAC debate about when Michaels should apply there was no resolution.  Danny Kleinman; “Thankfully, BWS contains no doughnut-hole for a cue bid”, but Kamil and Sherman; “as usual with these two-suited bids we wish the strength were either weak or strong.”

2 !H

Proponents of 2 !H, Oren Kriegel and Carl Hudecek, mentioned the same advantage of a later double over a fast spade raise as showing the minors.  David Berkowitz chose 2 !H but; “if it goes all pass, I will be sick” …hence an attraction of …

Double

“This is a three-suiter” (Billy Eisenberg) and a “potentially very-good dummy for diamonds” (Robert Wolff).  Jeff Rubens begins to emerge as the Dissenting Director.  After liking 2 !S in Problem C, Jeff departs from the consensus again, “it seems that there is no good answer.  One strategy in such instances is to pick what seems to miss by the least.  To me, that means doubling.”

Five IAC members agreed.  Masse24; “Half my values are in my three-card suit. It looks like my distribution is closer to 0 / 4.5 / 4 / 4.5 So I double.”  Jcreech; When I have three strains, I like to show them.  The void may see the opponents jumping in spades, so lets get all three strains in play now.  AQx of diamonds is almost as good as KTxxx of clubs.”

Hurling some cold water, Wackojack (who chose the top answer) observed; “ … A take out double perhaps gives you a better chance of finding a fit as it does not exclude diamonds.  However, you will be kicking yourself if partner turns up with a decent hand with 3 hearts.”  Joey Silver agreed; “As an initial action, I prefer overcalling in a five-card major to doubling.”   This weakness was not ‘fessed by any of the 6 pros who favoured the double.


Petty Little Odious Bid (PLOB) originates in the report of the MSC bidding quiz in the September 1968 issue of The Bridge World (TBW).  Dick Walsh suggested 2D as a forcing bid after 1C – 1H – 1N.  The Director Sonny Moyse didn’t like the idea of NMF at all; “I can't imagine why anyone would want to bid two diamonds (an odious, meaningless, petty little bid if I ever saw one).”  Obviously, PLOB is a better acronym to OMPLB! And was extended to fourth suit forcing bids by John Swanson in the July 1978 issue of TBW [I think this is accurate?]. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 01:35:06 AM by DickHy »

blubayou

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2021, 02:59:23 PM »
Don't die on us, Mr. Swanson!  Extended PLOB WILL be on the docket when the BWS2026 polls come out, and for sure the XYZ Party will sweep the field.
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DickHy

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2021, 01:29:30 AM »
February MSC Summary (Part 3):  Director Jeff Rubens

PROBLEM E.   3N (peuco, masse24, thornbury, babsg, jcreech, DrAculea, Curls77, veeree)

Matchpoints  Neither vulnerable  !S:AJT   !H:632   !D:AKQJT9   !C:A

South  West  North  East
   -          -         3C      p
   ?
 
This was eerily like the IAC discussion.  Some cited possible cards or friendly lines of play: “Sometimes they lead spades; sometimes partner has a heart stopper (Carl Hudecek)”; “I might catch a critical major-suit card in dummy … or get lucky with a blockage in hearts (Oren Kriegel), “Perhaps North will have a hand similar to Problem A’s South hand [with KTx outside the long suit] (Sami Kehela)”, “Hearts to break 4/4, or partner may have help in hearts (ccr3) and opponents making a poor lead (peuco and masse24).  Others channelled their inner Mr Micawber believing “something would turn up”: “With eight certain tricks, a ninth often appears (Boye Brogeland)” and (Roger Lee) “Even in the MSC, you’re allowed to be lucky” - Really?? That’ll be news to most of the IAC.  Others knew they might be headed for trouble but “that’s too bad.  Delicacy won’t accomplish anything (Kit Woolsey)” and “oh uh” (Curls 77).   

3 !D

Almost as popular, and seen as more flexible.  Ralph Katz; “Three no trump would be too unilateral.  If partner bids three spades or four of a major, off to the races; if he bids four clubs I pass.” Curtis Cheek saw the same high road; “maybe I’ll hear four hearts and wind up plus 920” and Henry Steiner spotted other routes; “three diamonds allows partner to show a heart stopper … if he surprises me with either three spades or four diamonds, I will try five diamonds.”  Kenberg saw this too; “Among other things, it's possible that the hand belongs in diamonds.”  Michael Rosenberg acknowledged, “three clubs may be our last plus, but passing doesn’t feel like winning bridge (and barely feels like bridge)” …

… which drew the retort “some people say that matchpoints isn’t bridge” from Jeff Rubens the Dissenting Director (who will now be referred to as The Voice of Sanity [I wonder why?! – Ed]) as he continued: “Panellists listed different ways the bidding could be right.  Start listing the ways it could be wrong, and you will soon see that passing is as good a matchpoint guess as anything (and probably better).”  The lesson here for future MSC quizzes (and perhaps bridge generally) is; hope trumps pessimism.


PROBLEM F. 1 !S (jcreech, peuco, masse24, wackojack, babsg, msphola, ccr3, DrAculea, kenberg, veeree, dickhy, yleexotee)

Matchpoints Both sides vulnerable   !S:AK542   !H:8   !D:JT7542   !C:T

South  West  North  East
   -          -          p       p
   ?

Chosen overwhelmingly as showing where we want the lead.  Bart Bramley; “Covers all the bases: lead-direction, pre-emption, constructive action.  Whatever happens we will have a chance to cope.  Pass would leave too much ground to make up.  Higher bids would be too unilateral. Diamonds can wait, probably until the next deal.”  On the last point he was joined by David Berkowitz “Get the lead first and foremost.  Diamonds can come later if at all”.  IAC bidders were like-minded.  Jcreech; “I hate opening this, but spades is a wonderful lead director, the hand has a lot of offensive potential, and it is my turn to bid,”  Peuco; “I do not see how one can profit by passing and see many ways by bidding both offensively and defensively”  wackojack; "If partner has 3 card ♠ support we likely buy the contract.  If West out bids us then we have got our lead director in"  kenberg; "This appears to be their hand, maybe we can compete in spades, if not a spade lead from pard seems right" and MarilynLi: "Just a 3rd seat opening, also lead directing.

2 !S

Jeff Rubens was surprised the two-bidders (there were none in the IAC) favoured (7 to 3) spades over diamonds.  Danny Kleinman; “Eccentric, but third-seat weak-two bids can be frisky.”  Billy Eisenberg planned to run to three diamonds if doubled.

2 !D

Required the courage of conviction later.  Carl Hudecek; “if anyone bids hearts I will be able to bid spades at the two- or three-level to complete the picture of 56” and, naturally enough, the fearless Zia; “two diamonds, then spades (as high as four).  I may be on my own but I like it there.”

Pass

Chosen by 6 panellists, most because like blubayou ("they can throw 8-pt "one-bids" at me till hell freezes.  It ain't happening”) pass seemed most accurate.  Eric Kokish; “not always right to open these canape hands with one suit or other at the one- or two-level, especially when finding a rebid or a comfortable pass of partner’s response may be an issue.”  Eric and Joey Silver mentioned the chance of showing both suits later.

I'll post the last part probably on Wednesday ... or Thursday, depending on how much trauma is involved in reviewing the lead problem.  Meanwhile, thanks for your patience and the very kind remarks.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 01:36:04 AM by DickHy »

DickHy

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #53 on: January 28, 2021, 01:47:18 PM »
February MSC Summary (Part 4):  Director Jeff Rubens

PROBLEM G2H (thornberry, babsg, jcreech, msphola, DrAculea, Curls77, kenberg, veeree, MarilynLi, yleexotee) 

Imps EW vulnerable  !S:AQ6   !H:J9652   !D:J43   !C:AK

South  West  North  East
   -        2D       p       p
   ?

Enthusiasm had sailed, every bidder was lukewarm.  This bid was clearly the top choice (in the IAC too).  In preferring this to a double, Joey Silver’s point on Problem D was re-iterated: Kit Woolsey; “It is a major and I have five.  Nothing else makes sense”; Bart Bramley; “I have a five-bagger, so I bid it.  No double with these major suit lengths”; with quite a few mentioning the possibility of a 5-3 heart fit being missed by doubling.  The choice was not especially appealing. Jcreech (“I have too many points to pass this out, but my suit is horrible - no lead direction potential because all my points are elsewhere.  I have to do something, so I think this is better than double”) and MarilynLi (“I don't like my H suit, but I don't see other better choice”) were with Ralph Katz (“might be the least of all evils, two notrump is a close second choice”), Kamil and Sherman (“when in doubt bid your long suit, our second choice is pass”) and Jill Meyers (“I hate the hearts but don’t want to pass.”).  Jill also said; “if the opponents weren’t vulnerable, I might bid two notrumps” - is Jill suggesting two hearts is likely, if passed, to push East into bidding 3 !D for -200 which two notrumps would rule out?


Double

The poor heart suit (Carl Hudecek, David Berkovitz, Billy Eisenberg) and Wackojack lay behind this option, but no-one was keen; “just guessing like everyone else (John Swanson)” and “unlikely to find favour with the purists (Sam Kehela).”

2N

Begrudging bidding continued, this call being made because 2H and 2N could not be stomached. Masse24; “Crossing my fingers with this "value bid."” Ira Chorush; “Every action has at least one drawback.  This one won’t miss game, although it could certainly lead to playing in the wrong one.  I doubt that pass will get many votes, even if it is technically correct”, a call which Danny Kleinman made; “no reason to think either side can make anything.” 

and so, with mood downbeat, the panellists faced the lead problem ...


Problem H. AH (jcreech, masse24, peuco)
   
Imps NS vulnerable  !S:T74   !H:AQ4   !D:5   !C:AT9763

South  West  North  East
    -         p        1H      2D
   3D       x        3H      3S      3D invite + 3H discouraging
   4C      4S       5C       p
    p       5S         p       p
    x   all pass

Take our tricks?  The overwhelming majority of the panel and the IAC said ‘yes’, but whereas the heart ace was a clear winner with the pros (16-4), the IAC favoured the club ace (6-3). 

Jeff Rubens explained the foundation for this approach; “North … with either six hearts or five clubs, would normally have accepted the game invitation [of 3 !D].  When North is only 54 in hearts-clubs, the opponents possess five hearts and three clubs – they will very often have three losers in those suits.”  Those three tricks were scented by the panel (and Jcreech; “we have a double fit, so they probably do also.  I think we need to take our tricks before they disappear on the diamonds.”)    The widespread opinion was that the heart ace was much more likely to cash (ccr3 saw this too; “partner seems reluctant to get excited about his suit, so a good possibility hearts will make it around the table”) and also kept options open.  Bart Bramley; “Plan A is to cash three tops before declarer claims with six diamonds and five spades. I start with the heart ace, since a club might be ruffed, and it will leave me time to try Plan B, a diamond ruff, should dummy indicate the futility of Plan A.”  Boye Brogeland, Curtis Cheek, Kit Woolsey and Harry Steiner were with Bart.   Fleisher and Friesner too, but they were looking to partner as well as dummy to decide between plans; “The best chance to beat the contract is to cash three tricks in our suits.  It is conceivable that partner has a pointed-suit ace and an opponent is void of clubs … in such a layout we will need to shift to a diamond to obtain a ruff and this will become clear after seeing dummy and partner’s signal.”     

In aiming for a ruff straightaway (4 panellists), much depended on one’s view of the standard of North’s 1 !HDanny Kleinman; “I don’t expect partner to be aceless for the opening bid, so I expect a ruff or two to be coming” and Oren Kreigel “maybe partner has a fast winner and I can get a ruff or two” echoed blubayou’s point; “with max of KQ, KJ in our suits, pard who opened has one of their aces, or at least some stopper.  Definitely go for the ruff--OR RUFFS!.”  Harry Steiner and Kit Woolsey suggested; “If partner has an ace I can clobber this by leading by leading my singleton but I have an ominous feeling partner has Kxx or Qxx in diamonds, and declarer might take the first 11 (or more) tricks after a diamond lead.”  Eric Kokish thought that those diamond holdings were ruled out by the auction; “As North seems to have at least one high card in diamonds or spades and was unlikely to have bid five clubs with the diamond king under the overcaller, we might as well go for ruffs, playing North for an ace.”   

Two panellists underled the club ace to give suit preference information to North.  The club ten called for North to lead a heart back through declarer's doubleton king.  This strikes me as an approach which will lose me partners even faster than the rate I lose points on lead problems, but looks an intriguing idea in the correct circumstances. 

The problem came from the 2010 Spingold. It’s a shame TBW didn’t provide more detail, as seeing the cards held by the other three players in this auction would be fascinating.

This has been great fun (if rather long-winded and slow to hit your screens), and prompted much admiration for Todd and Jim.




jcreech

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2021, 06:20:46 PM »
Nicely done Dick, and thank you.

Next time I do this, I think I will try to blend in some of your approach because I find it so readable.  (Now how to make those wonderful British phrasings come naturally as part of MY style - if Ia try too hard, I am certain that you will all start calling me a tosser - lol).
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

blubayou

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2021, 02:18:44 AM »
V nicely done, Dick.  Your quotes from Director Reubens jolted me! I Had not noticed that if he-- the boss, had veto-power,  he would have rescued four of my below-80 guesses to undeserved glory!  This must be the reason his ancient "Secrets of Winning Bridge" has moved with me through 7 or 8 households while a few dozen other bridge books have made the trip to Goodwill?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2021, 02:21:05 AM by blubayou »
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DickHy

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2021, 02:07:27 PM »
Suit Preference Leads

These were mentioned in the review of Problem H of the MSC February bidding quiz (just above).  Ever keen to be educated, I looked at Eddie Kantar’s Advanced Bridge Defense and Kit Woolsey’s Partnership Defense in Bridge.  I imagine most of you know all about this, but some may find it interesting.

The opportunity for a suit-preference signal on the opening lead is rare indeed,” says Kit.  He and Eddie cite the chief circumstance:

1) Underleading an Ace in a supported suit

This is Kit’s example.

West  North  East  South
  3S      x        4S      6H

West  !S: AQT9632   !H: 873   !D: -   !C: 652

West leads the 9 or 10.  East unexpectedly wins his King, and realises partner has underled the Ace as suit-preference.  Here asking for a diamond to ruff.  Eddie gives a very similar example but with the auction 4S – (x) – 5S – 6H and opening leader, who has a club void, leading the spade 2.

In each case there is only one spade trick cashing, and no other way of getting a ruff.  Presumably any supported suit situation would count – the one in the MSC quiz arose in a competitive auction – and the suit-preference signal would not always be for a ruff – the MSC quiz asked partner to lead through declarer into an AQ tenace. 

After (1S) – 2H – (2S) – 3S – (4S), presumably a spot card in hearts would be suit-preference.  But after (1S) – 2H – (2S) – 3H – (4S), with weaker heart support, opening leader may need to be cautious.

2)  The Alarm Clock Lead

Kit describes a second circumstance which is more frequent and not strictly suit-preference.  Here you may not be underleading an ace, but partner knows that a) you have “excess length” in the suit and b) are trying to get him to do something unusual.  “The first condition is satisfied if you have shown length in the suit during the bidding.”  Kit’s example is this:

South   West  North  East

   1H       2S      3H      p
   4H

West   !S: KJT642  !H: 942   !D: -   !C:Q875

You lead the lowest card in your long suit.  Partner is not guaranteed to have the Ace, but if he does, the lead “awakes partner out of his normal lethargy” (hence the name) to do something unusual.  The spade two is not suit-preference, but (in this case) says “I have a void in one of the other two suits.”  The newly-perked-up partner ought to be able to work out where after looking at dummy, his hand and remembering (hopefully accurately) the auction.   The crucial point is that you have shown length in the bidding.  This is especially true if your normal leads against suits are 3rd/5th because the lead of a lowest card in a 5c suit will appear to partner as standard. 

Please, please tell me if in future you make one of these leads.

PS:  Jim, "English" please; I don't want to be mixed up with the neighbouring Celts.  I'm sure they'd be even more alarmed to find me in their midst.  Thanks Jim and Jock.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2021, 02:14:16 PM by DickHy »

Masse24

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Re: 2021 February - MSC
« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2021, 01:37:11 PM »
Stellar job, Dick!

Thank you!
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