Author Topic: 2021 March MSC  (Read 967 times)

wackojack

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2021, 09:48:35 AM »
SOLUTIONS FOR:
Jack Goody

Guildford
England

PROBLEM A: 2 Spades
PROBLEM B: 3 Diamonds
PROBLEM C: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 4 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Hearts
PROBLEM F: Double
PROBLEM G: Double
PROBLEM H: Diamond King

Masse24

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2021, 11:58:12 AM »
Problem H: This hand seems to call for a trump to defend against a cross ruff. But too risky. C K

I was thinking the same. With West showing approximately 1NT opening HCP but not choosing to do so, shortage seems probable. Maybe something like 3=4=5=1.

But I'm too afraid of leading a stiff trump.

I hate lead problems.  ;)
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kenberg

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2021, 01:49:06 PM »
SOLVER: Kenneth Berg
        320 Quail Dr
        Sykesville MD 21784
        U.S.A.

Your Solutions for the March 2021 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: 2 Spades
PROBLEM B: 4 Clubs
PROBLEM C: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 4 Notrump
PROBLEM E: 2 Spades
PROBLEM F: 4 Notrump
PROBLEM G: 3 Spades
PROBLEM H: Heart 3


I believe that I am alone on the last two. Oh well.
Ken

DickHy

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2021, 01:56:14 PM »
SOLUTIONS FOR:
Richard Harvey
5 Westwood Rd
Southampton SO31 5EL
U.K.

PROBLEM A: 2 Spades
PROBLEM B: 3 Hearts
PROBLEM C: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM D: 4 Spades
PROBLEM E: 2 Spades
PROBLEM F: Double
PROBLEM G: Double
PROBLEM H: Club King

blubayou

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2021, 05:56:51 PM »
LOL  Nobody has any axes to grind over the lead problem  --bummer OOPS!  I will count Ken's trump lead as , in essence,  a 'debate'!  Way to go Ken, and there are 2 half-votes in here with you.
often it is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission

msphola

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2021, 06:12:01 PM »
A. 2S
B. 3n
C. 3C
D. 3N
E. P
F. 4N
G. 3N
H. KD

Masse24

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2021, 06:53:21 PM »
March Results

Lots of plus 700 scores this month! There were 8!
 
CCR3 won this month and made the BW Honor roll. Not only the honor roll . . . but FIRST PLACE!  OUTSTANDING PAT!!!

Also making the Bridge World Honor Roll . . . BabsG a solid 2nd place with a score that often wins. Blu completes the top 3 with a big score of 740. And VeeRee, with a solid 730 place fourth also making The Bridge World Honor Roll! Congratulations to all.

NAMEBW-SCORERANKMPs
CCR3     780   1   30
BabsG     750   2   25
BluBayou     740   3   20
VeeRee     730   4   11
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Also participating were DickHy, Jcreech, KenBerg, Masse24, Msphola, Peuco, Thornbury, WackoJack, Yleexotee and one anonymous solver.


Points adjusted now
« Last Edit: February 10, 2021, 11:26:18 PM by jcreech »
“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: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2021, 09:00:09 PM »

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

Your Solutions for the March 2021 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: 2 Spades                     100
PROBLEM B: 4 Clubs                        100
PROBLEM C: 3 Clubs                          90
PROBLEM D: 4 Notrump                   100
PROBLEM E: 2 Spades                     100
PROBLEM F: 4 Notrump                      70
PROBLEM G: 3 Spades                       70
PROBLEM H: Heart 3                          80


                                                          710

I have done worse and no doubt will again. B surprised me, I thought 4C was right, I just didn't think anyone else would think so. I will be interested in seeing the comments. My comment, earlier, was that since I had passed, and partner thought he could make 3C, it should be ok to raise to 4C. To my mind, this is a natural bid, partner can pass, partner can bid 5C. I hope that's what the panel says.

I just got my February Bridge World, that's the one with the scores and discussion for February, a day or two ago. Mail seems to be screwed up nationwide but it is seriously screwed up around here. I don't think we have gotten any Christmas cards in the last week  but in late January we were.




Ken

Masse24

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2021, 09:42:56 PM »
CONGRATULATIONS, PAT!

“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

ccr3

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2021, 02:15:16 PM »
Wow Todd, so cool. Thank you :)   :)  I love it!


jcreech

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2021, 05:37:41 PM »
March MSC SUMMARY (Part 1)– Eric O. Kokish, Director

Problem A  2 !C  (No IAC solvers)

Matchpoints  North-South vulnerable

♠ 7    A 8 4 3    A 10 9 6 4 3 2   ♣ 4

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——       1 ♣     Double    1 ♠
    ?*         
*BWS: 2 ♣ = one-round force; 2 ♠ = forcing to suit agreement or game

From the problem-setter, Michael Becker writes:  "Two spades.  The 'high' cue-bid is unlimited, forcing to at least three notrump or four of a minor, and more economical than higher bids.  Clearcut. A clinker."  Nonetheless, 80% of the IAC solvers came to the table with the same answer - 2 !S - which was the most aggressive response in the two BW hints.  All told, there was only three IAC responses; the other two were 3 and 5 !DMasse24, while selecting the majority answer, said "I think this is a difficult problem (more so than the IAC seems to think) and I expect to see many different answers."  Although this prediction was correct for the BW solvers (they came up with 11 answers) it was less true for the BW Panel (5).  Unfortunately, their plurality went for the other hint, so 2 !C picked up the top score.

The top score went to the "low" cue-bid of 2 !C (12 Panelists, 24% BW solvers).  The moderator was quick to point out that "No two-club bidder who intends to stop short of game says so explicitly.  The motivation for the cheaper cue-bid seems to be saving space."  Bart Bramley is "Content to go slow, which will help us gauge our fit and level while letting the bad guys get black-suit bidding out of their systems.  If I get to make the first natural call for our side, a diamond bid should imply hearts as well."  Harry Steiner has aspirations:  "A four-four heart fit should handle well, especially as partner has help in and might solidify the diamonds.  If this fails to develop, I'll take a stab at five diamonds.  I know that a perfecto might produce slam."  Barry Rigal expects "...to hear a spade raise and will bid diamonds at an appropriate moment.  A simple diamond bid might work fine, since someone will bid spades and then I can jump in hearts.  It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to."

The IAC solvers were looking hard at the hints provided, but chose the more aggressive approach (along with 8 Panelists and 40% of the BW solvers).  As YleeXotee wrote, "This is one where I'm going to play the game of MSC answers and take the hint of 2S. "  A big reason for the view is discussed by CCR3 "This could be a powerful playing hand with a double fit. I can see it making 6d, not as much slam in hearts. Need more information: 2S"  While JCreech echoes the sentiment, "What I lack in HCPs, I make up for in distribution and controls.  How could partner expect more than two bullets and two stiffs when everyone is bidding?"  Panelists going this direction wanted to set the game-force.  As Dan Gerstman said "Forcing to game:  four hearts if partner has four, otherwise five diamonds; if the opponents compete, I'll bid diamonds at the lowest available level."  While Chris Willenken wants "To set the force in case LHO bids a lot.  If I bid two clubs, even a three-club bid from LHO will cause huge problems, as three of a red suit would then be nonforcing.  Bidding either red suit would be looking for trouble."

The other IAC choices were in diamonds.  Two bid the game directly.  Peuco said "I’ve seen a lot of 4-4 contracts with a 7 card side suit go down"  While BluBayou justifies his bid with "Wackojack's 'perfecto' minimum for red suits scares me all the more to try to shut up the winning 5 Spade comp, and might make facing most less-than-handpicked support"  Joey Silver will "... take the direct route to our most likely game, before the villains can get together."  Similarly, David Berkowitz says the hand is "Unlikely to play well in hearts with my hand tapped, so I will stab at the best contract without letting the opponents get together."  While the one choosing 3 !D was silent, perhaps could be described with YleeXotee's alternative thoughts, "However, I believe I would bid something like 3D showing my real suit and taking my chances."  It was also not a Panelist choice, but discussed briefly by Richard Colker:  "Bidding three diamonds would increase the risk of losing the heart suit or missing game."  And followed up by the moderator "I hadn't thought of three diamonds.  Would that be deemed a different tactical underbid or just a remarkably-conservative unilateral invitation?"


Problem B  4 !C  (KenBerg, BabsG, CCR3, VeeRee, Blubayou)

Matchpoints  North-South vulnerable

♠ 9 8 3    7 6 2    10 7 5 3   ♣ K Q 10

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——       ——      1 ♣        1
  Pass       1 ♠       3 ♣        Pass
    ?         

With Problem B, you have a weak hand that was of dubious value on your first opportunity to bid.  Now that partner has jump rebid his own suit, it is time to reassess.  Do you choose to tell partner that you have better than he deserves when you lay down a dummy with three honors in his suit?  Do you bid game on the basis of those honors in either NT or clubs?  Or do you find some game try as a middle approach?

Slightly more than a third of the IAC solvers and BW Panel voted for 4 !C, violating YleeXotee's law; do not voluntarily bid four of a minor when it may be passed to play.  BluBayou shrugs (virtually), "I don't know what this will accomplish, but if partner has jump-raised himself, ALONE, at RED VUL,  then i have one for the road here.  I hope to not be taken for some kind of trap-pass by doing this."  Similarly, KenBerg writes "Well, I passed the first time and pard says he can make 3 !C. Seems we should be able to make 4 !C."  And CCR3 says "Give partner a chance. I have clubs with him."  Zia is reluctant:  "Four clubs. Three diamonds is the right bid, as it asks for three notrump with both major stops.  But clearly that is subjective, and so I boringly bid this."  Pepsi is uncertain:  "Don't know who is making what, but I'll make it more difficult for the opponents to bid and I like to raise."  Philippe Cronier says "Maybe we can make three notrump, but I've no good bid to make in that direction.  More importantly, the opponents have a fit somewhere nd will bid over three clubs.  Four clubs will make their lives a bit more difficult, and will let North bid five with a very special hand."

Nonetheless, the moderator says "The plurality choice gets no love from me, as it gives up on three notrump without sending enough information for North to make a wise decision about continuing on to game.  I'd rather bid five clubs than four."  Which leads us to why the second place points go to the game bidders.  IAC had a couple (as did the BW Panel, and 10% of the BW solvers).  Peuco chose 5 !C, arguing that "Pd must have a play for 5C. With an 8 card suit it could be cold" 

The IAC player going with 3NT was silent, but JCreech describes why he thinks the bid might be best.  "I have no shape to justify a try for an 11 trick game, but the club support is superb; that is why I think NT may be the best contract - partner's self jump-raise suggests values outside of clubs, so (s)he may have the outside stops, while I have the material to make the 6-7 bagger a running suit."  Harry Steiner, from the Panel argues "Partner must have great strength outside clubs and appears to have some length in the majors, as the opponents have not suggested an eight-card major-suit fit.  Three diamonds might be natural, so it's unacceptable.  Five clubs is less likely than stealing three notrump on a favorable lead."

Other game tries fared much less well than 4 !C.  The BW Panel was roughly evenly split among 3 !D/ !H/ !S, while the IAC solvers were more of one mind (combined, 10 Panelists made a game try below 3NT - the same number as those that bid 4 !C).  I know that I was reluctant to try either !H or !S because the opponents had bid those suits and, to me, those cue bids would promise stoppers.  Masse24 summed things up well:  "This is the sexy MSC bid. Giving us our only shot at the only game I think we can make—3NT. The question is, will enough of the Bridge World MSC panel agree? Too flat and too little help to make 5 !C. So I see little value in raising clubs to either 4 !C or 5 !C. (Probably.) But partner is jump-rebidding 3 !C without the !C KQT. What else could 3 !D be but a grope for 3NT?"  WackoJack's discussion focuses on the other concern, right-siding the contract:  "If partner has 7 clubs ♣ AJ9xxxx must have good high cards outside and yet did not rebid 2NT or 3NT.  I reckon he could well have 8 of them.  I think that with 7 or 8 tricks in clubs we could well have 3NT on." And as DickHy observed "right siding for 3NT could be crucial.  So, I will go for 3♦.  I will pass 3N or 4♣."  If you cannot tell, I think this action was severely undervalued in the contest.  Some of the BW Panelists jump in as well.  Sami Kehela wants to compel "... partner with ♠ Ax Ax xx ♣ AJxxxxx or the like to bid the (nearly) laydown three notrump." David Berkowitz:  "Interesting to have such strong clubs.  I bid my stopper, hoping not to play there, and, more importantly, to let partner bid three notrump." And Dan Gertsman:  "I can't pass with such good clubs and want to leave three notrump in play."

Pass was the overwhelming choice of the BW solvers (50%), but were much less likely to be chosen by either the Panel  (5) or IAC solvers (3).  YleeXotee said "It's MPs, I"m going to stay low and beat those going down in 3nt, and making it up with a couple extras if we make 5c."  When I was making my initial selections, I chose Pass because I didn't think there was enough to make an 11 trick game, did not want to bid 3NT directly myself, yet could not think of a sensible way to get to partner to bid 3NT.  George Jacobs thinks "Partner surely has ace-jack-sixth or -seventh of clubs, but for three notrump he needs every suit stopped, and he didn't say he had that.  How do we get him to declare three notrump?  Whichever suit we psyched might get doubled.  If we bid three notrump, we might not get in until trick eight.  Why look for trouble?"  Similarly, Richard Colker:  "Three notrump could be cold from partner's side, but how do we get there?"

Problem C 2 NT  (Blubayou, one other)

Imps  Neither side vulnerable

♠ A Q J 10 8    A 9    10 5   ♣ 9 8 4 3

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——       ——     1         Pass
  1 ♠        Pass     2         Pass
    ?         

The debate on Problem C is whether the hand is worth a game force or only invitational.  For the panelists, it was a dead heat between the two most popular choices representing each position.  The top score was given to 2NT largely because the bulk of the other selections were votes to the low side.  Two IAC solvers went with the choice of 9 panelists and 25% of the BW solvers.  BluBayou thinks "An invitational bid will do just fine here, and wrongsiding the club situation is not as ugly as it appears!  There are many layouts wher the 98xx comes to the rescue holding the def to 3 club winners, or trapping the 4th-round winner in a now-dead hand  (QTx and AJxx surrounding pard's club king  ie)  we don't need to WIN a club in imps  just have them be held at bay until the spades can come home:)   Another thought:  hearing partner rebid his hearts after our 2NT is more 'informative'  than hearing same after 4th-suit forcing 3!C,  where it is simply the default 'nothing to add" bid.   Those who want to force to game  arent exactly swinging from tree limbs,  but we are in for inviting only, and fits that bill"  From the Panel, Michael Becker:  "I must invite, as there are too many hands with which partner will pass two of either major when we have good play for game.  Two notrump keeps the bidding low enough while leaving other strains open, although it might not be the best partscore."  Bart Bramley:  "Closest among imperfect choices.  Must play in spades or notrump to give full value to my spades."

Again IAC solvers (9 of them) are more aggressive (along with 9 Panelists and 42% of the BW solvers) and make the game-forcing 3 !C bid.  DickHy's analysis is "4SF is GF in BWS but I’ll live with that.  Partner’s shape offers various games 4 !S (3541), 4 !H (2641) or 3N (1543).  Doubtless, he’ll be 2542 and we’ll end up in 3N hoping opponents will throw us a bone (clubs aren’t running - neither opponent overcalled 2 !C, white - and a couple of cards are well-placed)."  KenBerg waxes philosophic with "BW keeps offering these problems where it won't take much for game, you would like to have a descriptive game invite, but you do not. So I keep making game forcing bids and I keep getting bad scores, Quoting Hank Williams 'She warned me once, she warned me twice, but I don't take no one's advice'.   Partner plays the cards well I hope."  Andrew Robson thinks this is a "Classic strain-over-level problem.  Three clubs in not a big overbid with such fine intermediates."  Janice Seamon Molson agrees:  "A small overstatement.  Two notrump is the value bid but could wrongside the contract, and perhaps four hearts or four spade would be better even in a five-two fit."  While Billy Eisenberg is succinct: "Three clubs.  Too much hand for less."

The best invitational alternative is 3 !S, which tends to promise six, but the quality of this suit is almost worth treating it that way.  Peuco puts it this way:  "Not afraid to play 4S opposite a singleton"  While YleeXotee is worried about both bidding and play but thinks "3S is the most descriptive bid for me, 3C being GF and I feel that's a touch overboard. if p doesn't have club stopper, what am I doing over  after 3c -3d/3h. p sees my 3S, don't they bid 3nt with a club stopper and 1 or 2 spades?. OTOH, I tend to be aggressive and I suspect 3c is my real bid at the table. if Vul IMPs I might go this way. is that ace of h enough transportation to get those spades running....oy!"  Harry Steiner likes "Three spades.  Faking a sixth spade rather than a club stopper.  With an opening bid, I can risk a heavy invitation, the lack of a spade being compensated for by the maximum in high cards.  This spade holding can reasonably be treated as a six-bagger."


Problem D  4 NT  (Masse24, WackoJack, KenBerg, CCR3, VeeRee)

Imps  Neither side vulnerable

♠ A 8 6    Q 10 3    K J 8   ♣ A Q 7 4

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——       3 ♠      Double   Pass
    ?*         
*4 NT natural by agreement

The big question is what does partner have for his double.  There are two principles to consider.  One is that to act in the direct seat forcing the partnership to the four level (3NT notwithstanding), you have to have decent values.  The other is that if one member of the partnership has shortness in the preemptor's suit, there is added pressure for that person to act.  Looking at a good, balanced 16 HCPs the question is particularly pertinent.

Those bidding 4NT clearly regard their partner as having full values and want to invite slam.  Masse24 is open to partner's direction:  "I certainly have the values for this. Maybe partner can suggest another strain."  While CCR3 says "Let's not leave partner in the dark, 4NT"  And KenBerg felt that the bid "Seems right."  Michael Lawrence bids "Four notrump.  This will be bad if partner passes and I can't make it, but it may lead us to slam somewhere.  Four spades rates to lead to an awkward auction."  Kit Woolsey says "Too strong for three notrump, and a cue-bid or a club bid doesn't make sense.  Four notrump is about what the hand is worth."

WackoJack was not as certain.  He chose to bid 3NT because "We cannot expect much more than 14 HCP from partner for the take-out double and likely nothing in spades.  So, with ♠ xx, ♥ AKxx, ♦ Axxx, ♣ Kxx, we can count 9 top tricks only and likely only 1 extra trick in the red suits.  Can we then try 4N?  Partner no doubt would bid 6NT with about 15 or 16.  It looks right to try 4NT.  However, give partner 16:  ♠ xx, ♥ AKJx, ♦ Axxx, ♣ KJx.  We still need 4 tricks in ♦s opposite ♦ KJ8.  That is unlikely.  So, I think I will take the low road and bid 3NT."  Jeff Meckstroth also tries 3 NT:  "We may make a slam, but I'm hoping for a plus score.  No good way to explore."  And more cautiously, Carl Hudecek:  "Playing West not to have a red ace along with seven spades."

The moderator made Pass the third highest scoring choice even though only two Panelists made the choice because "Even when the penalty is disappointing, the loss will be small when slam is not in the cards, and there may well be some North-South minus scores from unlucky decisions."  Andrew Robson presents this case for the panelists:  "If I bid, what would I choose?  Three notrump would not be enough, four notrump too much (and spades worrying).  A 500-point penalty seems very likely, with 800 a distinct possibility."  Similarly, Zia says "If I knew whether to bid three or six, and which strain to choose, I might not pass; as I don't know, I take the money and hope it's enough."

The moderator views bidding 4 !S as a "mountain or precipice" choice and points to Sami Kehela as recognizing the abyss potential:  "Four spades.  Heading not so blithely into uncharted waters."  DickHy was far more certain of the mountain. "All North’s HCP are outside spades, and I’d expect him to have 14+, rather than a measly 12, say.  So, we have 26+ HCP in his three suits.  He’s probably 1444 – with 3c spade support East would have bid four spades.  That looks close to 12 tricks to me.  Among the silver linings, they could have a queen and two jacks, East could have the club king or West could have the heart king.  With thick clouds, East may have a red suit ace/heart king to go with his two spades, but if I make a 4N bid and North has 14 – minimum for his bid - he’ll certainly pass.   I'd bid 6N at the table, but that's likely to be a bit too blunt-instrument for pros.  A 4S cuebid may well lead us to a decent 6m contract."  Less certain, but still thinking slam, Peuco said "Let pd know slam is on the radar" and YleeXotee "I want to declare the spade control and keep exploring"  David Berkowitz thinks "Opposite a stiff spade, we have a mountain, with the perfect spade holding for a suit contract as opposed to say king-queen-low, which would be more notrump-oriented."
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 01:04:30 PM by jcreech »
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jcreech

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #41 on: February 19, 2021, 09:58:51 PM »
March MSC SUMMARY (Part 2)– Eric O. Kokish, Director

Problem E  2 !S  (Blubayou, Jcreech, DickHy, Thornbury, Yleexotee, Masse24, KenBerg, CCR3, VeeRee, one other)

Imps  North-South vulnerable

♠ Q 10 2    10 9 8 3 2    Q   ♣ 7 5 4 2

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——       1 ♠         2
  Pass      Pass    Double    Pass
    ?         

The moderator feels that this is a problem that should never have been.  He writes "I feel strongly that it's bad bridge not raise directly to two spades.  Very bad bridge.  Whatever South bids now will not tell North that he's facing a normal three-card raise to two spades, with two trump honors and a singleton in overcaller's suit no less."

Having passed initially, the big question on this problem becomes strain.  Do you raise and go with the sure fit, or based on partner's double, take a chance that the hearts will be better.  JCreech describes the dilemma:  "2 !S  I will start with the obvious response, but I am also thinking of trying 2 !H.  Why?  Because my hand will likely contribute more to the total trick taking in my suit than in partner's.  If we have two 8-card fits, hearts may play a bit better.  If hearts are actually a 9-card fit, then certainly better."  A secondary question, that of level, was more critical to the Panel (64% were looking to go beyond 2 !S, compared 9% of the BW solvers and none of the IAC).

For 10 of the BW Panel and more than 70% of the solvers (BW and IAC), the appropriate response was 2 !S.  Responses made me remember Al Roth's old "What's the problem?"  CCR3 said "Don't really think of any other bid"  YleeXotee virtually shrugged with "What else" And KenBerg:  "I guess that's what I do."  Other's at least gave some thought to alternatives, such as Masse24:  "I can see the viability of 2 !H , but a simple 2 !S can’t be too far wrong. Can it?"  The Panel is more thoughtful.  Carl Hudecek:  "Even with these hearts, I prefer to play in spades, with the short trump hand controlling diamonds."  Kit Woolsey:  "Something is wrong with this picture.  I'm not supposed to hold a singleton diamond.  Best to take a low road and find out what is going on."

I would not have been surprised to see 2 !H show up as the top choice, so second place was reasonable, but not when I saw the poll results.  The pick only received four Panel votes and about 20% of the solvers.  WackoJack's reasoning was "My first reaction was the safe 2♠.  However, we now seem to have a double fit and opponents have got a lot of diamonds between them so west is surely going to compete to 3♦.  So I bid the more forward going 2♥."  Thinking about the diamonds differently, Peuco says "with 2S the D ruff shortens dummy and there it goes the chance to profit from the long Hs"  Chris Willenken thinks "From a technical perspective, it's hard to say which major will play better, but two hearts has higher maximum than two spades (because of the inferences from my failure to raise initially), so I expect partner to bid again most of the time when we have a game.  Not strong enough for three of a major."  Barry Rigal:  "What more can I do?  Hearts is flexible and economical, not the least because if partner corrects to two spades, I can bid game."

For Panelists, the second choice was 3 !S, which pulled in 7 votes, 5% of the BW solvers and not on IAC's radar at all.  Phillip Alder:  "Partner seems to have a strong hand and we are vulnerable at imps."  Zia:  "Close to a cue, but partner will not pass if game is decent."  Robert Wolff: "What else?"

Problem F  Double  (BabsG, Blubayou, CCR3, DickHy, Jcreech, Thornbury, WackoJack)

Matchpoints  Both sides vulnerable

♠ 3    K 5    A 9 7 5 3   ♣ J 10 7 5 4

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      Pass      1          1 ♠
 Double     4 ♠      Pass     Pass
    ?         

There are two questions at stake with this problem.  The first is whether you have shown your hand with your first call.  And if you have not, what part of your hand do you still need to show?

Let's start with those that have nothing more to say.  This was the second place score; it polled 12 votes from the Panelists (equal to the top score), 33% of the BW solvers, and four of the IAC solvers.  Masse24 was more certain of his decision: "What did my first double show? Roughly this hand? Roughly these values? Partner knows this, right? But he did not double. So I pass and hope we defend well."  YleeXotee "this is a bit passive, and something tells me I might double in real life, but this is what I" going with. I have 1 trick and maybe the king of h. so p needs two tricks, or 3 if dummy only has one Heart. Ace of H, then probably a club honor and a diamond honor, but are they situated well?"  Michael Becker:  "Earlier my intention was to play in a partscore when my partner has a minimum.  East-West have now shown a nine- or probably 10-card spade fit, but not enough has changed to suggest that I reevaluate.  Give partner a near-balanced minimum, maybe with a wasted spade picture, and we're better off defending than declaring ..."  Pepsi:  "At matchpoints, I don't like a top-or-bottom strategy."

If you do have something more to say, what is it?  Those who are looking to penalize hit the top score.  In addition to have 12 Panel votes, it also got 42% of the BW solvers and half of the IAC solvers.  WackoJack (and BluBayou similarly) tick off a list:  "Have we got a 9 card fit in the minors?  Is partner’s shape 2533 or 2542?  So lets be optimistic and assume we have a 9 card fit in a minor.  Then according to LTT there are 19 total tricks: If they make 4♠ we make only 9 tricks in a minor.  If they are 1 off in 4♠ we make 10 tricks in a minor  If they are 2 off in 4♠ we can make a minor suit game.  I doubt if they can make 4♠ so I double  If partner passed the 4♠ raise with a 5-5 shape she may well pull the double."  CCR3 gauges it somewhat differently:  "I can see three tricks leading the heart K and continuing to partner's A and back for a ruff. Surely he has a trick to add to mine"  And JCreech thinks that a double here is "Cooperative/penalty.  I have some prime values opposite a 2nd seat opener.  I am not anxious to go to the five-level, but with shortness in hearts, I am willing to try punishing.  If partner has a lot of distribution, (s)he is welcome to pull, but I think we need to double to protect what they took away."  Michael Lawrence says it more succinctly:  "You did note that this was matchpoints."  Other panelists - Sami Kehela:  "Double.  But lacking conviction."  Zia:  "Double.  Pathetic and wrong, but acceptable in the post-mortem.  Getting old, I guess."

If you choose to bid, what should you bid?  DickHy describes the reason well "Are we likely to make 5m with these my patchy suits?  4N would add to the picture: the original double promised 44/44+, not the 55 I have."  Not nearly as reticent, Peuco says "what else as yleexotee says" While KenBerg is seeking either validation or explanation, writes: "I'm really sure that this is what I would do at the table. I look forward to hearing what's wrong about it."  To answer Ken, Harry Steiner says "I hate to be pushed to the five-level, but game could make both ways, or a minor-suit contract might be a worthwhile sacrifice (though a phantom save is more likely).  It is unlikely that the opponents will take the push to five spades, but stranger things have happened."  Robert Wolff:  "An overbid, but the clear-cut choice.  More good things than bad can happen."  But I like Phillip Alder's thoughts best:  "Four notrump.  With my apology ready."


Problem G  Double  (Peuco, BabsG, Blubayou, CCR3, DickHy, Jcreech, WackoJack, Masse24, VeeRee, one other)

Imps  East-West vulnerable

♠ A 10 7 5 2    K 5    A K Q 7 4   ♣ A

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——       3 ♣*      3
    ?         
*BWS style: not extreme in any direction for the given table position and vulnerability

This problem has a number of potential directions to take, so it was a bit surprising that about a third of the BW Panel and Solvers, as well as about 70% of the IAC solvers, all went in the direction of double, while there was little coherence with any of six other choices.  WackoJack calculates the situation like this:  "If I double for penalties, I reckon at worst +200, likely +500 and even possibly +800 if I can give partner a ♦ ruff.  Playing in 5♣ we may well make for +400 or could go off for -50.  I will double and got for the more certain plus score."  Similarly, JCreech argues "I will go with the law, and generally reap a greater reward with a double, than I would get by guessing the right level."  And DickHy takes an historical view:  "This looks like Problem E from last month.  Assume the 3 !C is KQxxxxxx, hope for a useful card outside and bid 3N.  Here the useful card doesn’t have to be so good – the jack of diamonds would be just fine.  However, this looks like a good time to start biting - we can take 5 tricks (+) against 3Hx for 500 (+)"  While CCR3 says it simply:  " I'm going for the set: Dble"  The simple answer from the Panel comes from Billy Eisenberg:  "Double.  Why bid when the vulnerability favors defending?"  Andrew Robson:  "As in Problem D, if I did bid, what would I bid?  We could get 500 against our game, or 200 if there isn't a game (or if we would choose the wrong one)."  Zia, though, brings in a concern not previously thought of:  "Double.  This is a first, but maybe North will think it's negative." LOL.

The second best score went to 4 !HYleeXotee mulled this over "Another tough one. I wish I could bid some form of kickback here, so I could ask if we are setup with KQ of clubs. 4H is tempting,and I want p to bid 4S showing the king of spades I suspect they have. Again taking theMSC hint that this isn't too weak a bid. p has to have something in spades. KH is coming home, LHO isn't going to lead from AQ so won't get a heart lead, to me its somewhat likely we don't have a heart loser unless we end up in slam where he might take it off the top. 4nt? doesn't help, if p has king of c, they say 5c ad now what, if they don't they say 5d, and we are toast. if I bid 5c p isn't going to raise so we lose out o 6c....    I think I'm going to diverge from everyone and try 4h, and see if I hear the magic response."  Michael Becker:  "Four hearts.  We may have a penalty available, and some days we'd be unlucky and go down in five clubs.  But when partner has strong clubs and a tad more, we will have a laydown slam, or a slam that depends on the lead."

The third choice includes 5 !C and was also selected by KenBerg.  Unfortunately, at the time of his writing "I need to think some more about this."  Making the bid more palatable, Jeff Meckstroth chooses "Five clubs.  Not three spades, because I don't want to reach four spades on a five-two fit.  We may survive in five clubs even if North has three spades."  Kit Woolsey makes it "A guess, but on balance it looks like one club loser and one heart loser.  Even if three spades were forcing - and I'm not sure it would be, partner will raise it on the wrong hand."  And Robert Wolff just bids "Five clubs.  And be done with it."

The fourth choice is 6 !C, which could be considered the bid that almost was.  IAC had one player make this selection, but was silent on his reason.  JCreech ultimately went differently but made it clear that "My at the table heart will always be an S.J. Simons like 6 !C, but the panel will not make it their majority selection."  Similarly, Masse24 writes "I so much want to bid 6 !C. Partner needs so little for the slam to be good, and that's exactly what he has promised. But they need to be the right cards and there is no guaranteed of that."


Problem H  !C K  (Thornbury, Peuco, BabsG, Blubayou, CCR3, DickHy, Jcreech)

Imps  North-South vulnerable

♠ 9 8 7    3    K Q J 6   ♣ K Q 10 9 3

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——       1 *     Pass      1
  2 ♣        3        Pass      4
 Pass       Pass     Pass   
*four-plus diamonds

An opening lead is all about what you hope to accomplish before anything, other than the inferences that come from bidding, is known.  Here the initial choice is between setting up something for the defense or reduce the cross-ruff potential of declarer by leading a trump.  If the choice is to develop tricks, then there is a second choice because there are two reasonable suits to pursue.

Again, let's start with the trump lead.  This was the lead that had the second highest score.  Nine Panelists, 17% of the BW Solvers and one IAC solver took this path.  Richard Colker considered both sides of a trump lead before selecting:  "Heart three. ... A trump lead risks compromising partner's honor holding.  I'm following the principle that with strong holdings in the outside suits one should lead a trump to cut down ruffs."  The solver voting to lead a trump was silent, but CCR3 talks about the choice:  "This hand seems to call for a trump to defend against a cross ruff. But too risky"  And BluBayou says, "Drawing trump should always be given a thought when holding diamonds like this under the bidder but if it is a good play, how can pard get in to continue it."  Andrew Robson thinks "The only extra tricks declarer can make seem to be ruffs, as diamonds will probably not set up."  Bart Bramley wants to "Make declarer work for tricks.  He doesn't yet know that I can't lead another trump.  Both minors look safe, but each might run into a bad layout."

For those trying to develop tricks, a !C honor was the most popular selection within IAC (50%, 13 Panelists and 49% of BW solvers).  DickHy argues that "East (35xx, 34xx, 25xx) may not be ruffing my diamond winners, and if he is, I’m not sure I can stop him.  Neither will partner enjoy a heart lead from me.  The king of clubs is an investment for the future too – reassuring partner that my two-level overcalls are solid and when the table is turned he can lead them safely (thus, the excited puppy transforms into Dr Pavlov)."  A slightly different perspective comes from JCreech "I don't want to make it too easy to set up the diamonds if opener has five or more, or pickle partner's trump holding by leading my heart.  I decided that if the suit is good enough to bid, it is good enough to lead."  Danny Kleinman says "Let declarer guess hearts and spades on his own, and don't warn him about diamonds."  Michael Lawrence  is "Slightly worried that a diamond lead might give declarer time to set up a long diamond, where the king of clubs won't."  Then again, Sami Kehela chooses the club king, but says to "Ask the guy who bid clubs.  Perhaps he knows something I don't."

Within IAC, nearly 43% voted to lead a !D honor (5 Panelists, 29% BW solvers).  Peuco sees the diamond lead as being safer because "perhaps I can play C K later C K lead can give a trick"  While BluBayou selected a different lead, he recognized that "Possibly we need to lead Diamonds, to grab one or two before they sluff one on the thirteener spade?"  Janice Seamon Molson has a simplistic soul:  "Sorry, but when dealt king-queen-jack I lead that suit.  And who knows, with trumps breaking badly we might survive five diamonds in dummy."  Pepsi believes "Any suit is possible, but the diamond king is a few percent ahead of the club king."
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 12:40:58 PM by jcreech »
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ccr3

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2021, 02:18:00 AM »
Well done Jim!

Masse24

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Re: 2021 March MSC
« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2021, 11:00:55 PM »
8) . . . . . . . . . .Thank you, Jim! . . . . . . . . . . 8)                         
“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