Author Topic: 2021 MAY MSC  (Read 4443 times)

ccr3

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Re: 2201 MAY MSC
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2021, 03:04:03 AM »
SOLVER: Patricia McDermott
        8015 Buford Commons
        Richmond  23235
        U.S.A.

Your Solutions for the May 2021 Contest
-------------------
PROBLEM A: 4 Clubs
PROBLEM B: Double
PROBLEM C: 3 Clubs
PROBLEM D: (d5)
PROBLEM E: Pass
PROBLEM F: 2 Spades
PROBLEM G: Pass
PROBLEM H: Heart 2

jcreech

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Re: 2201 MAY MSC
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2021, 10:25:09 PM »
May Results

CCR3 won this month with 720 and also made the Bridge World Honor Roll! 

MarilynLi was second with 700 and Masse24 was third with 690.  Congratulations to all!

NAMEBW-SCORERANKMPs
CCR3     720   1   30
MarilynLi     700   2   15
Masse24     690   3   10
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Also participating were BabsG, Blubayou, DickHy, DrAculea, FleuretteD, Hoki, Jcreech, KenBerg, Msphola, Peuco, Thornbury, VeeRee, WackoJack, and
Yleexotee.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 10:55:43 PM by Masse24 »
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

Masse24

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Re: 2201 MAY MSC
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2021, 11:01:47 PM »
Well done, Pat!  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

blubayou

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2021, 05:44:53 AM »
Holy Mackerel!  the May awards are full of real head-scratchers.  Starting at the bottom,  notice how they practically gave up on handing out BAD scores on the lead problem.  That's fine, except that leading ANY diamond should be punished about as severely  as the K!D lead was, IMO...
   ON problem A, where bidding onward was voted in by a 23-5 margin, the double of 3D scored 80--  not bad for the "loosing side"-- by a landslide, especially considering 3 Diamonds will be cold 40% of the time....
   It's worse with problem B:  any bid above 3NT can be called 'a looser' EXCEPT FOUR SPADES which is tantamount to driving to slam yet got the fat 90.   That's fine by me, as I just BID the club slam [awarded 20 :( ] but the bulk of the panel is against bidding this hand up-up-up,  so what's so better about the cuebid?  Can hardly wait for the quotes of wisdom on this....
  C, D, E, and F  all follow the normal rules for awards really well--like what the panel chose or not.  And prpblem G also, except for the weird high place for forcing game (4 Diamonds).  I guess it is the FIVE votes for that call that are wierd, not the moderator's giving the award appropriate to that number?   ANOTHER  batch of choices I can't wait to see in print, please.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2021, 05:46:51 AM by blubayou »
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jcreech

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2021, 12:28:50 PM »
Holy Mackerel!  the May awards are full of real head-scratchers. 
As I start thinking about how to summarize, I have been struck with similar thoughts.

Starting at the bottom,  notice how they practically gave up on handing out BAD scores on the lead problem.  That's fine, except that leading ANY diamond should be punished about as severely  as the K!D lead was, IMO...
Right – there are nine leads that score 80 or above.  How can that be a legitimate lead problem.  A lead problem should be that there are something like three strong contenders, and maybe a couple more that might get the wild hair vote.

   ON problem A, where bidding onward was voted in by a 23-5 margin, the double of 3D scored 80--  not bad for the "loosing side"-- by a landslide, especially considering 3 Diamonds will be cold 40% of the time....
I am more puzzled by the 4 !S getting 100.  Unless there is a great fear that the 2 !D jump overcall preempted our side out of finding a 4-4 major fit, I cannot see that sort of plurality for 4 !S.  If the fit is the Moysian 4-3, you are taking the tap from the wrong side.  With a jump overcall, the opponent’s spade split is much more likely to be at least 4-2 and possibly worse, so the second round of diamonds would shorten the long hand – oops!

   It's worse with problem B:  any bid above 3NT can be called 'a looser' EXCEPT FOUR SPADES which is tantamount to driving to slam yet got the fat 90.   That's fine by me, as I just BID the club slam [awarded 20 :( ] but the bulk of the panel is against bidding this hand up-up-up,  so what's so better about the cuebid?  Can hardly wait for the quotes of wisdom on this....
And while I see potential with the South hand, partner only made a negative double, and both opponents did bid (albeit, the direct seat was preemptive).  Personally, I don’t like committing to the five-level without knowing what our fit is.  Perhaps, 4 !S is putting the onus on partner to make that choice, but is partner going to make the club choice with three?  No, it is obvious that partner will bid diamonds, since you are looking at only the stiff Q; what else can partner do starring at five or more?  And as Blu says, we are now committed to a slam, but with no idea which is right.

I just hope the “words of wisdom” provided by the Panel will truly help explain some of these things that are puzzling both Blu and myself.  It certainly is making it difficult to start building themes before the great reveal.  If nothing else, it should be interesting.
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

Masse24

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2021, 01:33:47 PM »
One thing we can be sure of, the director was not Kleinman. His “grading” of calls is harshest among the regular directors. If you do not choose the top pick, lower choices only score highly if they are of similar value. Based on the scoring, my guess at the director’s identity is Bramley.

Regarding Problem A: 3 !S – not 4 !S. Partner knows “taking the tap” in the wrong hand in a 4-3 fit is unwise, so would raise spades only with a max of two diamonds. Could partner have only two? It’s unlikely, but possible.
It’s a playable Moysian with !S KQx - !H xxx - !D xx - !C Axxxx

More importantly, what 3 !S does offer is game in No Trump—keeping all the options open.
Picture partner with !S xx - !H xxx - !D QTx - !C AKxxx.
“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: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2021, 03:44:19 PM »
The one that really shocked me was Problem C.

!S 96532 - !H -- !D K - !C AJT9854

Auction was:
1 !H - (P) - ?

I understand the winning choice of 3 !C which we all considered (especially due to the helpful system hint) and both Marilyn & Pat picked. But in second place, 2 !C? GF? Really?  :o

I'm curious to see the rationale behind that call. Maybe a tactical choice to later bid spades twice? Intending to live or die in a black suit contract?
“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: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2021, 04:41:06 PM »
The one that really shocked me was Problem C.

!S 96532 - !H -- !D K - !C AJT9854

Auction was:
1 !H - (P) - ?

I understand the winning choice of 3 !C which we all considered (especially due to the helpful system hint) and both Marilyn & Pat picked. But in second place, 2 !C? GF? Really?  :o

I'm curious to see the rationale behind that call. Maybe a tactical choice to later bid spades twice? Intending to live or die in a black suit contract?

Also the harsh scoring for 1!S.  I noticed and understand that the expert community did not embrace, the response, but it was almost a smack in the face to the 52% of the solvers that followed, perhaps too rotely, the bridge community's emphasis on the majors.  That one expert chose 1 !S may have been the only thing to save the 50.
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

jcreech

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2021, 06:18:41 PM »
May MSC SUMMARY (Part 1)– Bart Braamley, Director

Problem A    3 !S   (Blubayou, Hoki, Msphola)

Imps
North-South vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ A 10 5 2    A K 6    6   ♣ J 10 9 6 2

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  1 ♣        2         3 ♣       3
    ?         
What call do you make?

3 ♠   100:  The choice of 3 !S confuses me as the top score.  Why did a plurality (43%) of Panelists make this choice (not nearly as popular with the solvers 20% BW and 23% IAC)?  The only reason that makes sense to me is that there might be a fear that a 4-4 spade fit being missed.  The problem for me is that it might lead to an unintended Moysian, and the Moysian does not make sense with the long hand taking the diamond tap.  Masse24, clearly, is thinking of spades as a place to play:  “Although partner has denied a major, I am willing to offer a Moysian fit in !S as our strain. We're vulnerable, and it's IMPs. In addition to offering spades as a strain, this keeps alive the possibility of partner bidding 3NT with a !D stopper.”  However, it became obvious that the Panel viewed the bid as a game try in clubs.  Sartaj Hans argues “Must keep alive the chance of a thin vulnerable game.  Showing the longest side suit should help partner evaluate best.”  Roy Welland thinks it is the better game try:  “A little to strong for four clubs.”  Nonetheless, David Berkowitz allows for the Moysian:  “Three spades.  Must make one try for game, and double does not look right.  Nothing says partner doesn’t have four spades.”  The best plan seemed to be Pratap Rajadhyaksha’s “Game-try on the way to four clubs.  Stretching a little, but three clubs can be pretty wide-ranging.  Will pull three notrump to four clubs.  Not clear we can beat three diamonds, so this is a two-way shot.  East-West won’t double four clubs when I have ace-king-ace in the majors.”  BluBayou, at least agrees with part: “Leaving in 3NT probably not.”  But my concern for the plan is does it start to sound slamish?  Phillip Alder echos that worry:  “I will be happy to reach five clubs, but are we heading for game or slam?”

4 ♣   90:  So that discussion begs the question of whether the simple raise is a game try or just competing?  Nearly 60% of the IAC went with this choice, far more than the 30% of BW solvers and 21% of Panelists.   WackoJack  thinks “ 4♣ (is) competing.  Partner should not bid again. Partner has something like ♠Kxx, ♥xx, ♦xxx, ♣KQxxx.”  Agreeing with that view, Carl Hudecek says “We can make at least four clubs, and I see no urgency to prepare for a defense against diamonds by making a lead directing major-suit bid that might be interpreted as a five-card suit, implying wild distribution).”  Erik Kokish makes the bid despite  “… not technically invitational, the implication in competing to the four-level in a minor is security based on shape and useful high cards.  On that basis, North might bid five with weak diamond length, a fifth club, and some potentially-useful major-suit holdings.  … (W)e want to encourage partner to compete aggressively with trump support and use his expert judgment if the bidding stays competitive.”  Similarly, JCreech writres:  “I suspect a 10 card or better trump fit, so the four level should be safe.  I know partner is limited, but with the perfect 9 or the perfect 8 with a well-placed trump K, seven could roll, and game on a lot less, but too much to find out and no good way to explore.”  DickHy  is more clearly in the competitive camp:  “If partner has AKxxx in clubs we’re losing a spade, heart (or two spades) and a diamond, but may well pick up the club queen.  With that hand we’ll pick up 4 tricks against 3D.  If partner has Axxxx in clubs and a useless honour in diamonds, say the Q, we’ll be losing 4 tricks, and probably still picking up 4 tricks against 3D.  So, -130 (pass) v +150/-100 (four clubs).”  While YleeXotee  simply violates his own law:  “4 Clubs - decided asking too much for p to have all that's needed for 3nt”

There were several other bids with high scores but no discussion from the IAC camp when selected.  Double   (80) was largely viewed by the experts as cooperative.  For example, Allan Graves thinks the hand has “Too much strength to pass.”  And Augie Boehm writes that it “Seems to fit the cooperative-takeout agreement.”  3 (80) is an alternative game-try.  Mark Feldman thinks the bid is “More aggressive than I would like, but four clubs might be insufficient.  Partner has room for a counter-try.”  Or bid the game 5 ♣ (70)Joanna Stansby “Applying max pressure:  Should they save?”  Robert Wolff:  “The hand is only worth four clubs, but I want the opponents to sacrifice and act to encourage them to do so.  Partner, with no four-card major, is likely to have at least five clubs, so game is possible.”


Problem B  Dbl  (KenBerg, CCR3)

Matchpoints
North-South vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ A 5 4    A Q 9    Q   ♣ A Q 10 8 6 2

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——       ——      Pass
   1 ♣       2 ♠     Double     3 ♠
    ?         
What call do you make?

Double   100:   Another plurality (43%) of the Panel went with double; only 27% of the BW solvers and two IAC agreed.  Among the IAC, YleeXotee was the only one to articulate the reason to consider the top choice:  “X and letting p decide on pulling to 3nt (because x surely means I have spades, but not a great fit for hearts or diamonds). I think we might have a good score after my QD lead.”  However, he eventually took a lower scoring option.  The moderator thinks double is the best way to involve partner in the decision making and points to arguments from Billy Eisenberg “Game may be available in hearts, clubs or notrump; and slam is possible.”  Pratap Rajadhyaksha “Covers all bases.  If pard bids four clubs, I can control-bid spades.  If pard bids four diamonds, I can offer four hearts.  If pard passes, we can collect a number.  If three notrump is the right spot, they got me.”

4 ♠ (90):  The second highest score was not even on the IAC radar, though it was selected by 36% of the BW solvers and 18% of the panel.  The moderator (Bart Bramley) makes it clear:  “Cutting to the chase.  The hand is so strong that South should be driving to slam, which might well be cold and will rarely be worse than a finesse.”  Longtime partner, Kit Woolsey, is in sync:  “As little as:  ♠ x ♥ K x x x ♦ x x x x x ♣ K x x produces great play for six clubs, and partner has more overall strength than that, so I’m driving to slam.  We will probably wind up in six clubs, but it can’t hurt to go slowly, in case North has something extra or a long heart suit.”  Zia “Too much temptation.  These days I succumb whenever possible.  Abstinence is not fun!”  WackoJack  was closest from IAC:  “3NT.  OK we could be missing 6♣, but we are too high to find out.”  Too many from the panel disagreed.

3 NT (80) was the IAC choice; 65% from IAC, 36% from the BW solvers and 18% of the Panel followed Hamman’s rule, but TGBH (BBO name, stands for The Great Bob Hamman) was not on the panel.  Masse24 said it simply – “Hamman.”  DickHy argued that he “Would expect partner to have at least 8/9 HCP for a negative double at the 2-level.  3N or 5C?  Seems an academic question, as it’s now or never for a 3N bid.”  Leonard Helfgott agrees “If notrump is right, it’s now or never.”  JCreech, though, is clearly more pessimistic “No great known fit, but we ought to be close on HCPs.  The preemptor is on my left, so hopefully if I need a club hook to make this contract, the missing honors will be on my right.”  From the Panel, Mark Feldman makes his “Best guess; at least it’s matchpoints.  I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if three notrump fails while six clubs would succeed.”  And Don Stack is “Bidding the game that looks like a make.  On a spade lead, I can hold up for two rounds, and partner may have either the jack or king of clubs, which would make this a great game.  Won’t try for a club game or slam, since this is a matchpoint venue.”  I’ve said it before, matchpoints are nasty.

4 ♥ (70) also scores well, but unselected by IAC.  Robert Wolff says “The flag is up and waving.  Partner would not have bid a mediocre five-card heart suit, so I’ll bid the suit myself.”  Barbara Haberman argues that “Sonny Moyse would like this four-three fit; first ruff in the short hand.” 


Problem C  3 !C  (CCR3, MarilynLi)

Imps
North-South vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ 9 6 5 3 2    —    K   ♣ A J 10 9 8 5 4

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——      1         Pass
    ?*
*BWS: 3 ♣ invitational

What call do you make?

Twelve cards in the blacks; five weak spades and seven much better clubs.  The moderator describes this hand as a “headache” and The Bridge World did give us a hint.  Did we take it?

3 ♣ (100):  Only two IAC solvers took the hint, along with a massive 68% of the Panel and 23% of the BW solvers.  The overwhelming concern of the Panel was the rebid problem and how to get across the invitational nature of this hand.  Don Stack said “If we don’t get this great suit and invitational thought in now, we never will.  If we start with one spade and partner bids two hearts or two diamonds, we will face an impossible rebid.”  MarilynLi  echos with “I don't like to bid 1S then facing a rebid after partner's 1NT or 2D”  Steve Beatty focused more on what is needed from partner:  “The spade suit requires better than honor-third support, and bidding spades would give up the ability to show a good six- or seven-card club suit without forcing to game.”  Ross Grabel says the bid “Alerts partner to a probable misfit and, should North bid three notrump, allows me to introduce spades without showing extra values.”

1 ♠ (50) is where IAC voted, 82% strong, and we were followed by 58% of the BW solvers, but only one Panelist.  YleeXotee  probably voices the IAC position best, “I can't bring myself to take the hint and bail on the spades completely. But taking the hint in this game always works, so.....and the spades are bad so....”  Masse24  is more generally descriptive:  “Ugly. Just plain ugly. A switch from my first approach of 1NT. But the panel will say that would be masterminding. So I pray for something good to happen. Truly ugly.”  The lone Panelist, Leonard Helfgott, was not blind to the rebid problem but felt that “Three clubs is wrong too many ways.  One spade could be disastrous, but so could anything.”  Feeling the fear, FleuretteD  bids “1 Spade (scary but more descriptive of my hand)”  The major suit focus was also a driver:  Peuco “1 Spade never bypass spades with a 5 carder” and Hoki  “1 Spade, hate to lose the spade suit which all other actions risk doing”  Apparently taking a wrong view on this problem, JCreech said “I feel certain that 1 !S will never be lower than 90, but 3 !C is where I want to be if there is no fit or there is only a NT game.  In other words, 3 !C is the feast or famine bid, but 1 !S is the bid no one will not at least consider strongly, and therefore safer for the contest.”

Other choices that did better than 1 !S but not as well as 3 !C include:  The 2 ♣ (70) bidders know they are overbidding but are trying to get the distribution right.  Joanna Stansby:  “A tad light on the high  cards, but I want to find the best strain.  On a really good day, partner will splinter in spades.”  After bidding 2 !C, Kit Woolsey will “Then bid and rebid spades; then over three notrump, rebid clubs.  This will get the distribution across.”  While the 1NT bidders are just not happy campers.  Joe Grue says it best “One notrump.  I hate doing this”  BluBayou  “forget spades, and forget invitational also”  Danny Kleinman “Catering to a misfit (planning a weak three-club rebid) over partner’s two diamonds or two hearts, while leaving the door open to reach four spades if, perchance, partner reverses into two spades.”  And Jeff Reubens appreciates the hand’s shape perfectly “One notrump.  Balanced hand, stoppers in the unbid suits, tolerance for partner’s suit – perfect.”  All, I am certain, with a straight face.


Problem D  (d2) Double; then, after (Pass) - 2 ♠ - (Pass) - ? 2 NT[/b]  (MarilynLi, DrAculea)

Imps
Both sides vulnerable
You, South, hold:

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

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——      ——       2
    ?         
What is your plan?
(a) Pass;
(b) 2 NT;
(c) 3 NT;
(d) Double; then, after (Pass) - 2 ♠ - (Pass) - ?
(d1) Pass; (d2) 2 NT; (d3) 3 ♣;
(d4) 3 ; (d5) 3 ; (d6) 3 ♠;
(d7) 3 NT

Someone is paying attention to Jeff Meckstroth when he says, “Stopper!  Who needs stoppers?”  79% of the Panel either selected a direct or indirect bid of 2NT with J98 as the only known stop in the opponent’s bid suit.  Scary!!  Barbara Haberman may have the best description of this problem:  “A tough problem!  I feel a disaster in the making.”

d2 (Double; then, after (Pass) - 2 ♠ - (Pass) - ?  2 NT)   (100):   Half of the Panel took this route, along with 22 % of the BW solvers and two of the IAC solvers.  Robert Wolff is “Following the Yellow Brick Road of exploring all reasonable options for a vulnerable game.”  Mike Passell thinks it is “Too strong for two notrump.  Even if this is opposite two low hearts, the opponents don’t always lead one.”  MarilynLi  suggests “Maybe rule of 7”  And Carl Hudecek writes “A vulnerable East could easily have ace=king-queen-sixth, but I refuse to sit quietly and defend against a contract I might not beat, when we could have a game.”  Sami Kehela may describe this sequence best as “More torture.”

b (2 NT) (90):  Another 29% of the Panel, along with 24% of the BW and IAC solvers bid the 2NT directly.  Hoki   chooses “(b), but maybe influenced by the knowledge that partner will bid 2♠ over double”   This is not a case of it being known that partner will bid 2 !S, but rather, our contingency plan for what to do if partner bids 2 !S, which given that we only hold a doubleton, is highly likely over the double.  Some just want to pull the bandaid off quickly.  Ross Grabel says to “Get it over early.”  While Eric Kokish thinks “The prospects after doubling are less attractive and committing to three notrump quickly or slowly with no long suit, no stopper, and 7 HCP in a two-card suit is too much.”  Pratap Rajadhyaksha just feels the bid “Comes closest to the what I hold.”  And Billy Eisenberg says “A small underbid for no stopper.” 

d5 (Double; then, after (Pass) - 2 ♠ - (Pass) - ? 3 ) (60) was the IAC favorite with 59% choosing this sequence.  Essentially, it is the asking for heart help version of the 2NT variations, but absolutely committing to 3NT or above.  As JCreech (with YleeXotee’s concurrence) says “I have points, no spades to speak of, and  no heart stop.  I will try double, and when partner bids spades, cue-bid to try to find a partial stop in partner's hand for 3NT.”  Similarly, DickHy  writes “Double to begin with which starts Lebensohl, meaning partner’s 2S shows 0-7.  If 3H from me then asks for a stop in hearts, that’s the choice.  Partner will know I have a big hand to be thinking about 3N opposite his holding.  Partner will then bid 3N or 3S (both of which I pass) or 4H (with x/void in H and 5-7 HCP).”  Kit Woolsey writes that “This sequence typically shows a strong 3=2=4=4 and definitely denies four-card spade support.  I’m a spade short, but if partner has five, the five-two fit could be right, and North won’t bid the suit again without at least five.  If partner rebids three spades, I will try three notrump, and he will get the idea that I am a spade short.”  The moderator expressed concern about being willing to force that high, but if you are willing, “Kit’s sequence is sensible.”  Meanwhile WackoJack  described the sequence as “Go fishing (d5)”

This is the end of the first half.  I will post the 2nd half as soon as I can, but we have Creecher's Features today, so it will be probably be another day or two for the second half.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2021, 03:04:52 PM by jcreech »
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

blubayou

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2021, 01:02:59 AM »
Here is a quote from the moderator that breaks my heart, regarding problem B:
    Bart Bramley makes it clear:  “Cutting to the chase.  The hand is so strong that South should be driving to slam, which might well be cold and will rarely be worse than a finesse.”   So why is my answer of "6C" worth 20, which considering how many 90's and 80's Bramley handed out might as well be minus 20?  Could it be that I have blown by the chance to reach 6 HEARTS-- c'mon, gang that cue-bid [4S] will not get ME to a heart slam as I wouldn't dare raise a 5H response,  nor even pass it.   I WANT an 85 for 6 clubs, zero panelist-votes be damned.
     P.S>  Jim could you revisit the comments of the cue-bidders, if they say anything juicy, as well as 3NT bidders that may have strong misgivings?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2021, 05:17:00 AM by blubayou »
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Masse24

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2021, 05:27:52 PM »
[R]evisit the comments of the cue-bidders, if they say anything juicy, . . . ?

Because it's unilateral. Why not consult partner?

Woolsey: "We will probably wind up in six clubs, but it can’t hurt to go slowly, in case North has something extra or a long heart suit.”

Personally, I initially chose the double and had posted my explanation. I later changed to 3NT (as well as the explanation), which I am still quite satisfied with. My reasoning mirrored both Jim’s and Leonard Helfgott’s who stated, “If notrump is right, it’s now or never.” I had replaced my initial reasoning for the double with simply, “Hamman.” Fairly self-explanatory.

As far as 6 !C goes, yes, I see the potential for slam. But again, why such a unilateral decision? Instead, if I were thinking along “let’s investigate slam” lines, then I would choose to keep partner in the decision making process with 4 !S. A distant third choice for me due to the pressure partner was under as well as the form of scoring.   
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jcreech

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2021, 08:09:12 PM »
May MSC SUMMARY (Part 2)– Bart Braamley, Director

Problem E  Pass  (FleuretteD, Peuco, Jcreech, Yleexotee, Blubayou, Masse24, MarilynLi, CCR3)

Matchpoints
Neither side vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ K J 5    J 9    9 4 3   ♣ A J 10 9 6

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  Pass      Pass      1         1 ♠
  1 NT      3 ♠    Double*    Pass
    ?         
*BWS: cooperative-takeout

What call do you make?

Again we are faced with a matchpoint decision:  which is the best route to the highest score?  The two best options are to either convert the cooperative/takeout double to penalty or bid 3NT.  Anything else would be either conceding that the opponents may make their partscore or that we are unable to make the more aggressive contract of 3NT.
 
Pass   100:   The top score was for Pass; 43% of the Panel, 49% of the BW solvers and 47% of the IAC solvers all made this their selection.  Perhaps the best argument is based on the LAW.  Pratap Rajadhyaksha described his thinking this way:  “Pard is likely 1=4=5=3.  Not clear what game we can make.  If West has the usual nonvul. Dreckm we could easily score 500 or 800.  There are likely 17 total trumps, so an 11-trick game would be a Law violation.”  JCreech thinks “I have my bid, in fact I have a max for my bid, and a bit more for my stop, so I see no reason to not convert the cooperative double to penalty.”  Similarly, Mike Passell says “Matchpoints let’s go for it.  No reason to suspect that five clubs is cold with wastage in spades.”

3 NT   90:   43% of the Panel also voted for 3NT.  The moderator broke the tie in favor of pass because he liked “… their case better.”  Nonetheless, 3NT was close to being the top choice, but the solvers agreed with the decision; only 29% of IAC selected 3NT, while 40% of the BW solvers followed suit.  Joanna Stansby saw “No reason to override Hamman’s Rule.”  While Kit Woolsey “Figures (the contract) to make and likely is where we belong.  I can’t be confident of a three-trick set.”  And Ross Grabel rates “… the chance of making three notrump somewhat higher than the chance of scoring plus 500.  I think my chance of failing in three notrump is minimal.”  WackoJack  agrees.  He is “More confident of making 9 tricks in no trumps than taking 7 tricks defending 3♠ x.”

A significant portion of IAC bid some number of clubs.  5 ♣ (70)DickHy said “I’m at the top end of the 1N response range.  Partner could well be 1444 – a 1D opening would be consistent with that and the auction.  If 6C has chances, that is the spot.  Partner would need AK in both red suits and the K of clubs – is that unreasonable?  How best to pursue 6C?  4C looks a bit “ok, I’ve got to bid, so here it is (sigh)”.  5C looks better”  Eric Kokish joined him with these thoughts “Much depends on whether cooperative might include a spade void and whether we can expect enough extra values to offer a play for 11 tricks.  With no diamond honor, it’s tempting to pass rather than to bid three notrump, which might be best if East has both high spade honors; however, the diamond length, doubleton heart, and excellent clubs sway me toward five clubs, which might occasionally catch a raise,”  4 ♣ (60): Hoki tries “4 Clubs, 3NT gives up on slam”  Leonard Helfgott wants to provide partner with more information:  “Partner already knows about the spade stop.  Bid where you live.  Pass is too risky against a nine-plus spade fit.”


Problem F  2 !S  (Yleexotee, Blubayou, CCR3, KenBerg, Thornbury, BabsG, VeeRee, Msphola, WackoJack)

Imps
North-South vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ 4    K 8 5    9 7 4 2   ♣ A Q 8 6 5

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——        1        1 ♠
    ?*         
*BWS: 2 ♠ invitational-plus diamond raise; 3 preemptive; 2 ♣ forcing to 2

What call do you make?
 
The moderator described this problem “… as mainly a two-horse race.  Both horses are diamond raises.  The simple bid feels like an underbid, while the cue-bid feels like an overbid.”  There is a third horse in the race, that is deceptive, because in the hint, it sounds a bit like a diamond raise, but is in actuality a one-round force to 2 !D.

2 ♠   100:  53% of the Panel and IAC solvers decided that the hand was worth the invitation, along with 36% of the BW solvers.  YleeXotee is “taking the first hint and going with diamond raise, already 8+ fit why go hunting for other things, and frankly I want to take away what looks to be the ops spade fit bidding.”  While WackoJack agrees “Partner almost certainly has 4 or more ♦s so this fits the bill”  Kit Woolsey focuses on the quality:  “With primes and a singleton spade, the hand is easily worth an invitation.”  Zia thinks the hand is “Closer to an invitation than to a preempt.  Partner will usually hold at least four diamonds.  It would be tempting to bid three spades opposite an unbalanced diamond.”

2    90:  Noone in IAC went with the slight underbid, while 29% of the Panel and 9% of the BW solvers did.  Danny Kleinman is  “Happy to raise a minor with secondary support and extra values, while preparing to continue with three clubs if the opponents bid two spades.”  Allan Graves argues that he is “Top of the range, but limiting the hand now allows maximum aggression as the auction develops.”

2 ♣   70:  47% of the IAC and BW solvers bit on the 2 !C hint, along with four of the Panel.  Mark Lair “Decided tactically not to go low with two diamonds, and two spades seems wrong with four low diamonds.  And Leonard Helfgott decided it was “Worth it, because of the diamond fit.”  Personally, I found the wording the hint to be suggestive of a diamond raise of some sort: “2 ♣ forcing to 2 .”  Upon further reflection, I think all it is saying is that it is a one-round force, as in keeping the auction open and 2 !D is coincidentally the opening suit.  It makes me wonder if 2 !C is natural.  Masse24:  “Later supporting !D at a low level. 2 !D also in the running.”  Hoki:  “2 Clubs, about as natural as we can get”  Peuco  “2 Clubs Ds too poor to push an invite via 2S”  DickHy:  “This looks pretty close to a 2S invite plus – all the HCP are working, but I’d probably prefer the minor holdings to be switched for that.  3D doesn’t look right.  Which leaves 2C.  It’s likely that West will bid 2S over my 2C, then if partner passes I can bid 3C and if partner does anything stronger, I can bid 3S asking for stop.”  Stressing the confusion, JCreech  adds “I hope this is right.”


Problem G  3 !S  (Hoki, BabsG, VeeRee, DrAculea, Yleexotee, KenBerg, Msphola, WackoJack, Masse24, MarilynLi)

Imps
North-South vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ K Q    6 5 3    8 7 4   ♣ A 10 9 6 2

SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——       1 ♠       Pass
 1 NT       2         2        3
  ?*         
*BWS: double = penalty

What call do you make?

The moderator talked about how “This problem produced one of (the) most schizophrenic votes I’ve ever seen.  A significant bloc forced to game, while a bigger chunk passed (hoping that if our side is supposed to keep bidding partner will do it), and the largest group staked out the middle ground."

3 ♠   100 is considered to be the middle ground; 59% of the IAC solvers made this selection, but the choice was a bit less popular with the Panel (36%) and BW solvers (38%).  Sami Kehela doesn’t speak to stronger actions, but feels the “Inaction is pusillanimous.”  Some do not want to defend at this level.  WackoJack:  “With ♦s overcalled and raised partner’s distribution is likely 5413.  So we don’t want to sell out and defend a ♦ contract.”  MarilynLi thinks “3S is likely to make and better than 3DX-1, Game is possible too”  Some think that if they don’t act, partner might not.  Don Stack says “I fear partner won’t bid again if I pass.  We could have a partscore, even a game.  I have three possible entries, so partner can lead up in hearts.”  YleeXotee adds “I think this might be overly aggressive, but surely p wont take me for anything more because of the initial 3s. KQ are almost 3 spades.”  And others bid because double would not be a takeout variant.  Hoki prefers a different option “3 Spades, but I would play double as responsive which would handle this situation perfectly”  Sartaj Hans gives added context “In Australia, we are used to all such doubles being takeout.  Since that is not an option, and game can be cold opposite not much, we need to take action.  Three spades is least misdiscriptive.”

Pass   90:  Roughly a third of the Panel (32%) and solvers (IAC: 29%; BW: 39%) decided that Pass was the right way to go.  For many, the pass represents the ambivalence they feel about this hand.  Zia “Feels like a double, but not penalty.  Feels like a bid, but which one?”  JCreech  “I still don't know which of partner's suits to prefer.  Maybe I will get lucky on the next round of bids.” FleuetteD chose to “pass but I came close to X as we dont have fit so they have some cards in my partner's suit.”  Many expect partner to reopen.  DickHy  assess the situation as “Partner looks to be short in diamonds and could be 55 or 64 in the majors or 5404.  I’d like to give him another chance to bid so I can choose the right suit.  Presumably, pass is forcing if x is definitely penalty and would shut partner up?”  But not all regard the pass as forcing.  Kit Woolsey thinks “North won’t pass with a singleton diamond and ten cards in the majors, so if he does pass, we figure to be better off defending.  If North bids something, I may need to guess, but that hasn’t happened yet.”  While BluBayou  is in a quandary “I both do, and do not hope to hear 3H. Would  we GO,  vul at imps?”  And others do not want to bury partner.  Ross Grabel reminds us that “Partner still has another turn.  With opening bids being so light these days, I see no need to punish North.”  Danny Kleinman says “I’ll settle for a small plus on defense rather than the minus I could expect from bidding three of either major.  I don’t relish partner’s needing to take diamond taps in the long hand.”  Or Jeff Ruben’s more simply stated “Chickens of the world unite.”

4    80 is the road less taken.  Forcing to game, but what game?  IAC avoided this choice, as did 96% of the BW solvers.  Only the five Panel members were pushing this option.  Most were viewing this as a choice of games solution.  Augie Boehm:  “More useful and frequent as a choice of games than a slam-try control-bid, particularly against two bidding opponents.”  Allan Graves: “Traditional best-strain-choice –of-games situation.” And Eric Kokish “Too much not to force to game and choice-of-games is more important than reserving the cue-bid for a strong heart raise in context.”  Nonetheless, the moderator is not sold on this interpretation:  “Persuasive, but is it universal?  Absent discussion, I’d treat the cue-bid as a big heart raise, but the choice-of-games meaning seems more practical.”  In other words, do not spring this on partner, or it may come back to bite you in the arse.

Problem H  !H Q / !H J  (Peuco, Blubayou, WackoJack, DickHy, Hoki, DrAculea, MarilynLi, Masse24)

Imps
Neither side vulnerable
You, South, hold:

♠ Q 7 6    Q J 8 4 2    K J 10 3   ♣ 5
SOUTH   WEST   NORTH   EAST
  ——      ——       ——      1 ♠*
  Pass     2 NT      Pass      4 ♠
  Pass     4 NT      Pass      5
  Pass     6 ♠           (All Pass)
*East-West use Bridge World Standard.

What is your opening lead?

Perhaps finally listening to Todd’s continual complaints about the lead problems, The Bridge World has come up with a virtually complaintless lead problem.  No fewer than nine cards can be led with a score of 80 or above.  Of the remaining four cards, none are likely to be ever the choice for a lead except by misclick.  They are the three trump, plus the !D K.  In other words, not everyone will be plucking the gold ring, but everyone is coming home with something reasonably pleasant as a participation gift.

However, the moderator took a different perspective:  “Kudos to the problem-setters.  Nobody led a trump, of course.  Hearts, diamonds and clubs attracted 11, nine and eight votes respectively.  Tough one! … Does that mean the lead is random?  I hope not.”

Q/ J    100:   According to the Panelists, leading the heart honor is all about safety.  36% of the Panel and BW solvers led a top heart, but the IAC solvers embraced the lead more (47%).  Danny Kleinman views the “Heart queen.  Least dangerous.  I’ll stay passive and hope that we can get another trick after declarer plays trumps straight up and loses a trick to my queen.  No heroics figure to be needed.”  DickHy's  analysis is that “Opener is minimum but responder, who has no shortness, is 19 HCP ish – strong enough for slam opposite an opener who has shown a minimum hand.  Which means partner has nothing, so let’s not dream about a club ruff.  If I held the heart ten, the lead of the Jack might be tempting.”  Barbara Haberman thinks “ Any lead could be right, but club and diamond leads seem too dangerous.”  Or more simply, Billy Eisenberg: “Heart queen.  Looks normal.”  Trying for a little trickiness.  Masse24  argues “Partner has nothing. Partner knows it. I know it. But declarer does not know it. If declarer has the !H T (or even partner), and no shortness in the heart suit, might this look like a shortness lead? If so, would he be more inclined to play the trump suit for a drop of the Queen? I don’t know, but I sure do hate lead problems! This is my "woop-woop" out there choice.”  Zia:  “Heart jack.  Too much chance that a passive defense is best.  ‘Tis as safe as I can see on this collection.”  BluBayou: “Heart Jack   --lead problem:   opps MUST have 31  (12 blah facing 19)   even the club JACK  with         partner is too much to count on .   the only hope is opps run out of gas  after 4 trump winners, AK,A in          the reds, and --lucky us-- only FOUR?! clubs.  So the lying  heart JACK lead  is called for.  Todd's idea    above  all the way for me.”

J/ 10   90:   The attacking lead is a diamond.  Although none of the IAC solvers took this approach, 32% of the Panel and 13% of the BW solvers did, so it is important to understand their thinking on this.  Steve Beatty writes “I have almost all of the defensive strength, and any lead could give away the contract.  In addition, clubs may be a source of tricks for declarer, so there may be some urgency to set up a trick and hope for a misguess in trumps. I need only the diamond queen from partner; other leads require more.”  David Berkowitz:  “More likely partner has a queen than a king.  Declarer will be unaware of his spade loser and unaware of the club split.  Even with the ace in dummy and the queen in hand, he might go up with the ace.”

♣ 5   80:   While the club lead is a mixed bag.  A large segment of IAC embraced the lead (42%), as did BW solvers (38%) and Panelists (29%).  Some chose the lead for safety.  Kit Woolsey:  “I’m not leading away from an honor, which could easily cost a trick, so this is all that is left.”  JCreech  thinks “RHO has a minimum opener with no real distribution (i.e., good long suit or shortness), so I'm not sure I want to commit any of my tenace positions to the opening lead.  Even though I am not necessarily looking for a ruff, it is probably the monkey lead.”  Sartaj Hans “Club five.  Like leading a trump.”  Others are looking to attack.  YleeXotee  chooses the “Club 5 - they are missing a ace, and if its club ace, they are down immediately, and no guarantee I will get that Q of trump … 9 card trump fit usually doesn't mind missing queen.”  Roy Welland:  “Might be necessary if partner has the club ace and a spade void.”  And some are viewing it as a two-way shot.  Carl Hudecek believes that  “Leading the stiff club gives us at least two chances for a beat: (a) club ruff at trick two; (b) a spade trick, when declarer misreads the spade situation *plus anther trick later).”  Then too, as Leonard Holfgott points out, there is always “Garozzo’s Rule.”  When in doubt, lead a singleton.

That's it until next month.  Until then, work on the next MSC problem set; they just keep on coming!  And good luck!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2021, 11:40:00 AM by jcreech »
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

jcreech

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2021, 08:25:09 PM »
Here is a quote from the moderator that breaks my heart, regarding problem B:
    Bart Bramley makes it clear:  “Cutting to the chase.  The hand is so strong that South should be driving to slam, which might well be cold and will rarely be worse than a finesse.”   So why is my answer of "6C" worth 20, which considering how many 90's and 80's Bramley handed out might as well be minus 20?  Could it be that I have blown by the chance to reach 6 HEARTS-- c'mon, gang that cue-bid [4S] will not get ME to a heart slam as I wouldn't dare raise a 5H response,  nor even pass it.   I WANT an 85 for 6 clubs, zero panelist-votes be damned.
     P.S>  Jim could you revisit the comments of the cue-bidders, if they say anything juicy, as well as 3NT bidders that may have strong misgivings?

I think what it comes down to is the 3NT are not necessarily adverse to a slam, they are just not certain which strain and the best way to get there, however, if the slam is not there, then this is the last chance to bail into 3NT.  This is a moment of opportunity for them, and they are taking it.

The cue-bidders are not willing to give up on slam.  Again, they are not certain of the strain, but they are stretching to get to the slam.  If their partner's rebid is not more promising, then they may settle for a game, or take their chances with 6 !C.  They are searching for something better, and hoping it will not elude them.

To belt out 6 !C is unilateral.  It may be the right strain and level, but it may not.  I believe you were punished for taking the partnership element out of the auction.  Without seeing the other hand, we will never know if you were right or wrong for the table action.  Phillip Alder was not far from your perspective, when he said "Four spades.  Then, presumably, six clubs."  Nonetheless, he still slowed down the auction a bit, to listen to partner, in case his initial perception was wrong.  You might think of it as a correction period, where some additional information can come in that might affect the decision making.
A stairway to nowhere is better than no stairway at all.  -Kehlog Albran

blubayou

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Re: 2021 MAY MSC
« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2021, 06:52:52 PM »
I confess that if someone put that cuebid in my mouth, THEN  I bid my 6C over 5H, AND partner now comes up with 5D,  then we do arrive at 6 Hearts,  so fine.
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