Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Be The Judge II: Boston NABC

For the original You Be The Judge post, click here.

Your job (yes, you. Even if you've never commented before, this is a great time to start) is to answer two questions for each of these two hands.

I will post one hand today and one tomorrow.

(A) Assign a percentage of the blame to West. (If you think both partners contributed equally, West gets 50%. If West had three times more of the blame then East, West gets 75%.)

(B) Name the worst action of the entire hand.

If we get enough commenters (12 or more), the person with both consensus answers and is closest on the percentages will receive a fabulous prize*.

The case before the jury today is a crime of underbidding:

(1) All red, matchpoints

East opened 1NT (14-16). West Staymanned and bid 3C [forcing] over the denial reply. East bid 3D, and West splintered with 4S. East cued 5H, West bid 6C, and East passed. Here's the auction:

--- 1NT;
2C - 2D;
3C - 3D;
4S - 5H;
6C - P.

There are clearly thirteen runners in any of three strains.

(A) What was West's percentage of the blame for missing this granny?

(B) What was the worst action taken by either partner? (This does not have to be by the player to which you assigned most blame)

Hand #2 tomorrow. Let the deliberations commence!

*Prize is not fabulous.


Noble said...

100% West for the 6c bid. (s)he should have bid 5s.

Shaz said...

Yeah, I remember this hand. We stopped in six, but in that case it was basically my fault and it was a pretty sad story.

I had the west hand and didn't really know how to bid it anyway, so I don't know if I can fairly assign the blame, but in this auction I'd say this was maybe 80% west's fault and 6C was where the auction went went wrong.

BD said...

Since there's a fabulous prize involved, I'll take a shot although (1) I'm an intermediate and have never commented before, (2) I have a TON to learn about slam bidding, and (3) I can tell already that I likely have no shot of winning given the first responses.

(A) Isn't most of the "blame" here attributable to "fate"? Is there really ANY blame for not finding a 29-point grand slam? Seems to me that West has to be confident that East has KQ of diamonds, or East has to be confident that West has at least AKQ of clubs (I think East can only know that West has 5 clubs, so I wouldn't want to be in a grand with Jxx across from AKxxx). So are there slam bidding techniques that help a partnership confirm the presence of a queen (other than RKC which clearly isn't right for West with the void)? So I say 90% of blame belongs to FATE, and 10% to West for the 4S bid. While 4S is very descriptive, it takes away a lot of bidding room. I'm assuming that 3C was game-forcing and already suggesting possible slam interest (it would be in my regular partnership), so 4C (or even 4D) over 3D could set trump and give East opportunity to cue bid at lower level. Also, it seems with West knowing a LOT about East's hand (14-16 points, balanced with no 4-card major and likely 5-card diamond suit), he's the captain and maybe doesn't need to tell East about his spade shortness.

(B) I actually think the worst call is East's pass over 6C. Maybe it's just beyond me, but on this auction it's not clear how East knows that West has AKxxx or better in clubs. West splintered over diamonds, which to me seems to set trump. Since I think the 6C bid is showing a club control rather than a rebid showing a good, solid suit, isn't it extremely dangerous to pass rather than bidding 6D (what if West had just Axxxx?)? Note that this "worst" move, if corrected, still wouldn't necessarily get them to a grand slam, but I still thinks it's the worst individual call.

Since I'm here more to learn than to "tell," I'd welcome any response to this...

Noble said...

A return to the trump suit is the least enthusiastic bid one can make in a slam auction; it doesn't say anything about the trump suit. Thus the 6c bid translates to "I don't like my hand". Since East has no idea that West was thinking about grand slam, he can't make a move.

East's hand is better known because he defined his HCP range to within a queen and then cooperated (showing enthusiasm) with the 3c slam try and the 4s splinter. Thus West should be playing East for at least 14 useful HCP and probably five diamonds because of the 3d bid. Even Qxx AK KQxx xxxx with East will produce a grand slam, and I wouldn't neccesarily cooperate with the slam tries if I had that.

Steve McDevitt said...

When East bid 3d, that almost certainly showed 5 diamonds (East has 7+ cards in the minors, didn’t raise clubs, isn’t cue bidding an ace with a max 4333, and probably would bid 3NT with a minimum 4333). Now when East cues the heart ace, I think West should take a crack at glory with 5NT (the GSF) since 13 tricks can virtually be counted (6 clubs, the heart ace, a spade ruff in dummy and 5 top diamonds). 5NT should confirm that the splinter was for diamonds and is not pick a slam on this auction. 6C does make it somewhat ambiguous whether the splinter was for diamonds or a self splinter in clubs looking for the diamond ace; I have sympathy for the pass.

West didn’t do a very good job managing the auction; 4d might have been more judicious rather than the splinter. After all, your diamond grand is still in the 95% arena opposite KJx Axx KQxxx Jx. I like the auction 1NT-2C-2D-3C-3D-4D-4H-5NT-7D best.

Memphis MOJO said...

I would like to weigh in here. Everyone seems to agree that 3D shows a diamond suit. I don't think so. Over 3C, the 1NTer's obligations are to show a club fit or not. If you have a fit and like your hand, a 3D/3H/3S bid would show the ace. So, I don't like the 3D bid.

I gave some thought to 4S bid because (as someone else pointed out) it takes up so much room. Yet, it is a very descriptive bid, so how can I criticize it? I don't.

I do think that West should be 5S over the 5H bid. It seems like it is "free" and East could have several minimums that would produce the grand. Holding: 10xx, AKx, KQxxx, 10x would make seven of either minor a fairly good contract, but that's only a 12-count and only a two-card club fit.

Having said all this, I would think that even in a tough field, bidding 6C would be too much below average. There would be some who open 1D and futz around and miss slam. There would be some who would get to 6NT. Perhaps these two groups cancel each other out (?). I'm guessing that there wouldn't be too many that get to the grand. Maybe 10%?

This might be a case, interestingly enough, where it's easier to bid seven if opener starts with 1D (instead of 1NT). 1D 2C; 2D gets West's attention. He can see (at least) 11 tricks in the minors as long as East is not short in clubs, something he'll find out about over his next bid.

Good hand, thanks for sharing it. I'm eager to hear more about it.

warren said...

When you put it this way, 5S rather than 6C jumps out at me.

As an intermediate, would I find the bid at the table? Who knows?

Becker said...

to me the issue for west, as long as 3 diamonds shows long diamonds (i guess debatable), is figuring out what is going to be done with the heart losers. it seems like west should be getting information from east. Because of that, i'd rather rebid the clubs than splinter. that should set trump and if partner likes his hand, he'll cuebid an ace. then we can take things from there. how about 1nt-2c-2d-3c-3d-4c-4h-4nt...7nt? after 3 diamonds and the heart cuebid it seems like the grand is an odds-on proposition--two heart losers go on the long diamonds, partner has the ace to cover another one, and maybe he has either the king of hearts or ace of spades--if not it should still have a lot of play. our actual auction was the same as i posted but instead of bidding blackwood i just bid 7 clubs. a little lucky that all the tricks were there, but i think it was a logical auction anyway.

Unknown said...

I like the auction up to the 6cl bid,(even though 3d does not neccasarily show 5 diamonds it could be a 3343 shape just keeping the bidding open in case 3nt is the correct strain.) it seems far too arbitary for me. I would like to think that 5nt is a better bid here, given the auction. O;d fashioned josephine( or whatever you guys call it in the states) partner do you have 2 of the top three honours in diamonds if you do bid 7.
After partner has shown the ace of hearts and spades are irrelevant this may be the only logical way to get to grand.
blame 100% west for closing down the auction.

Memphis MOJO said...

Another country heard from: I asked Lynn Deas what 3D was in the auction given in this post. She said she plays it asks for shortness, and says you can use it after stayman and a three-level bid, or a Jacoby Transfer and a three-level bid. I had never heard of that treatment, but I see the value.

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