Friday, October 31, 2008
All problems matchpoints. Check the Comments section for what happened at the table and what others would have done.
(A) All white
J8762 AT5 6542 8
RHO opens 2H, and the opponents are silent thereafter. You pass, and partner balances with 2S. Your call.
(B) White vs. red
AK 73 AKQ76 AJT6
You open a strong 2C. Pard bids 2D [artificial; no aces, at most one king]. You rebid 2NT. Pard Staymans, you deny a major, and pard bids a Smolen 3H, showing five spades and four hearts. What's your bid?
(C) Red vs. white
T QT92 QJ985 K54
Partner opens a "good 14-17" 1NT, and RHO passes. What's your call?
(D) All red
K63 AKJT642 86 J
There are three passes to you. You open 1H (would you?) and LHO overcalls a natural (!) 1NT -- explained as 11-13 HCP, usually a heart stopper. Pard doubles, and RHO bids 2H (transfer to spades). You're up.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Here are two auctions in which a double is not Snapdragon:
In the first auction, there's been a jump bid; in the second auction, only two suits have been bid. In either case, Snapdragon is off.
So what does a Snapdragon double show?
Two things: Length in the fourth (unbid) suit, and tolerance (or better) in partner's suit. In my partnerships, we usually define "tolerance" as Tx or better. So, when I hold a hand like
T53 K6 AJT872 62
and the auction goes
(1C) 1H (1S)
to me, I double to show competitive (or better) values, length in diamonds, and honor-doubleton or better in hearts.
When I hold
T53 6 AJT872 K62
on the same auction, I bid 2D, showing values and length in diamonds but no tolerance for partner's suit.
Partner will be able to judge the later auction much better with the information about your length in his suit.
I've also been known to [ab]use Snapdragon with a hand like this:
T53 K876 AJT8 62
in the same auction -- (1C) 1H (1S), I'll Snapdragon double and then pop to three hearts, trying to show a diamond lead-directional raise to 3H.
What about the redouble? Well, let's look back at a very similar auction:
(1C) 1H (X)
The double shows [exactly four] spades, so why not treat the auction the same way as the previous one? Clubs, hearts, and spades have been shown, so redouble can logically be used as Snapdragon in this situation.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We originally thought this would be a nice place for our friends to keep up with our travels and a fun way to share hands. I figured that maybe 15-20 people would log on every once in a while, and maybe someone would give feedback once a week or so.
As it turned out, we've had an amazing 180+ comments from our readers! I'd like to thank all of our commenters - especially Noble, Jenny, MemphisMOJO, and Kevin.
As time went by, we found that it wasn't just our friends that were reading and commenting. Other bridge blogs were linking to us, and Google sent many folks our way. So far, we've had over 1,000 unique visitors to the site from 52 countries and 46* states!
All that being said, I'm sure we can make this a better site (while keeping it less than five hours work per week). Please let us know how we can make the site better or more useful.
We'll be at the Virginia Beach Regional next week, and at the Boston NABC at the end of the month. Please feel free to find us and let us know how to make this site more entertaining or more useful. If you won't be at either tournament, please comment here or send an email-- McKenzie or Meg at DoubleSqueeze.com.
One last big thanks to all of our readers!
*If you know a bridge player in Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, or New Hampshire, please send them a link to this site! We want to get all fifty states before the end of the year!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
(A) All white
AK Q53 J85 J9842
You pass in first chair. LHO opens 2H. Pard doubles, and RHO passes. What's your decision?
(B) All white
J963 K876 A9853 none
Partner passes in first seat. RHO opens 1S. Do you bid?
(C) All white again
J96 A98653 QJ Q9
LHO opens a strong notrump. Partner passes, and RHO bids 2H, transfer to spades. What's your call?
(D) All red
AKJ5 T8 4 QT9743
You open 1C (do you?), and partner makes a game-forcing raise of 3C. What's your bid?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Read Stacy's take on Junior bridge and trying to get the average age of ACBL members down below 80 here.
2NT was a game-forcing raise, 3D showed a singleton, 4C and 4H were cuebids, 4NT was a keycard ask, and 5H showed two keycards without the queen of spades.
E-W let the momentum of the auction push them into slam, even though neither partner had extra values. They couldn't escape two heart losers, and 6S went down one.
East was now gun-shy. Even though everything was cuebid, he didn't have anything extra for his bid, so didn't think he should push on any more. They languished in 4S making 6.
How can we help poor E-W with these two hands? Maybe West should cuebid 4H on the second board, but not cuing a king-empty fourth certainly isn't a sin.
A simple solution has been devised for these situations: "Serious 3NT".
Serious 3NT is a convention that's only on when the partnership is forced to game and have agreed on a major. When those two criteria are met. a 3NT bid by either partner says "I have undisclosed extra values, and am interested in slam," and a cuebid that bypasses 3NT says "I don't have any extras, but I'm cuebidding just in case you have slam interest."
Playing Serious 3NT, the first auction should go like this:
1S - 2NT; 3D - 4C [I have a club cuebid, but no extra values]; 4S.
Once responder is known to not have extras, opener knows they don't belong in slam, and signs off. A cuebid of 4H over 4C would show slam interest even though he knows his partner doesn't have extras.
With Serious 3NT, the second auction could go like this:
1S - 2NT; 3D - 3H; 3NT [I have lots of slam interest!] - 5S [I'm chock full of controls, the only thing I'm worried about is the unbid suit, clubs]; 6C [I have clubs pretty well wrapped up] - 6S.
Some players [including myself] have started playing Non-Serious 3NT. This is basically backward from the original Serious 3NT - bidding 3NT denies extra values and cuebidding above 3NT shows extras and slam interest.
Back to the first auction, with Non-Serious 3NT:
1S - 2N; 3D - 3NT [I don't have any extras, but I want to leave room for you if you do]; 4S [I'm not too loaded either. Let's stop here].
The second auction:
1S - 2N; 3D - 3H; 4C [I have slam interest and clubs controlled] - 4D; 4S [I've done my all with the diamond shortness, club cuebid, and showing extras] - 4NT [my controls plus your extras has to be a good thing]; 5H [two without the queen] - 6S.
Why play Non-Serious rather than Serious 3NT? I think it works better because it doesn't give away information to the defense when you're going to stop in four of your major anyway. When neither partner has extra values, keeping the defense in the dark can be very helpful.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The best description of why transfers over notrumps work so well was by (I believe) Jeff Rubens - he said that basically responder gets to bid twice while opener bids zero times! Transfers are incredibly useful in many different areas of bidding. Hopefully I'll live long enough to write about all of them!
The way we play this is just a bit different from Justin's original layout.
Let's start with hearts:
1NT - 2D [transfer] - 2H :
- 2S = transfer to clubs (showing 4+), game force
- 2NT = invitational hand with 5 hearts
- 3C = transfer to diamonds (showing 4+), game force
- 3D = "transfer to hearts" - 6+ hearts, generally balanced, slam interest
- 3H = invitational hand with 6+ hearts
- 3S, 4C, 4D = splinters, slam interest
- 3NT = game-forcing hand with 5 hearts
- 4H = very mild slam try with 6+ hearts
Note that we can't transfer to spades. A good hand with five hearts and four spades will go through Smolen. A bad hand with that shape bids 2C then 2H weak. An invitational hand with that shape can either bid 2D then 2N (not showing the fourth spade) or 2C then 2NT (not showing the fifth heart). Sorry, can't do everything!
Over the auction 1N - 2D - 2H - 3C [showing diamonds], opener bids:
- 3D [I prefer diamonds to hearts, but 3NT may still be the right spot]
- 3H [I prefer hearts to diamonds and have a maximum]
- 3S [I loooove diamonds and have the spade ace]
- 3NT [I don't really like either of your suits but I'm loaded in the blacks]
- 4C [I love diamonds and I have the club ace but not the spade ace]
- 4D [I'm really, really interested in a diamond slam. I'm not denying either black ace. We still have plenty of room to find out our controls]
- 4H [I prefer hearts to diamonds but I have a minimum]
Over the auction 1NT - 2D - 2H - 3D [6+ hearts, slam interest], opener will cuebid his cheapest ace -- even if it's the ace of hearts! [Opener should also cuebid the king of hearts.]
Our structure over 1NT - 2H - 2S is a bit different, because we use the sequence 1NT - 2C - 2D or 2H - 2S to show an invitational hand with long spades. So when the auction goes 1NT - 2H [transfer] - 2S, the rebids are like this:
- 2NT = transfer to clubs (showing 4+), game-forcing
- 3C = transfer to diamonds (showing 4+), game-forcing
- 3D = transfer to hearts (showing 5+), slam try
- 3H = "transfer to spades", 6+ spades, poor trumps, slam try
- 3S = 6+ spades, good trumps, slam try
- 3NT = game-forcing with 5 spades
- 4C, 4D, 4H = splinters
- 4S = very mild slam try with 6+ spades
The only difference between the spade structure and the heart structure is that opener can "cuebid" 3S over the 3H bid with good spades.
What do you think of this response set? Any suggestions for improvements?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Suction (aka Cyclone) is a little complicated, but a lot of fun. Basically, in Suction, you're showing either a one-suiter or a two-suiter, all in one bid. The bid of a suit shows either the next suit up or the other two (never the suit you've bid). For example:
2D = Hearts or Spades + Clubs
3H = Spades or Clubs + Diamonds
1S = Clubs or Diamonds + Hearts
So all one-suiters can be shown in Suction by bidding the suit below the real suit. Touching two-suiters are shown by bidding two suits below the lower of the two. That only leaves non-touching two-suiters: clubs - hearts and diamonds - spades. With these two combinations you bid some number of notrump.
Over all of these bids, responder makes a "pass or correct" bid, usually as high as he can preempt safely. So let's say you have
QTxxx x Jxxx Txx
Your LHO opens 1C (strong, artificial, and forcing). Partner jumps to 3C, showing either long diamonds or both majors. Since he could've just bid 2C showing the same suit combinations, he must have lots of distribution. So what's your bid?
I bid 4S! We either have an eleven-card diamond fit (if partner has diamonds only, he should have 7 since he forced to 3D) or a ten-plus-card spade fit (partner should be at least 5-5 if he has both majors).
Remember: You can't bid your own suit here. You're responding to your partner's suit (or suits). If there's a big misfit, get out as low as possible!
Some enterprising souls play Psycho-Suction. This throws lots of confusion into the auction for both the big club side and the defensive side. Psycho-Suction is just Suction, but one step lower -- so if you have a one-suiter, you're bidding that suit. This has the advantage that responder, hoping partner actually has the suit he bid this time, can pass the Suction bid, but that's not much of an advantage when overcaller actually has the next two suits! Psycho-Suction should only be played by those with a lot of practice with Pass or Correct bids and a good sense for when and how to get out of trouble.
The king of confusion is Inverted Psycho-Suction. With IPS a bid shows either that suit and the next suit up or the one above that! So, over a big 1C, 2D shows either both red suits or spades. To play Inverted Psycho-Suction, the two criteria above are still in place, but you also need both partners to have a very good sense of humor!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Play the Bridge Movie here!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After winning the first pair event, we had no luck the next four days, so Paul and I finally made the switch over to IMPs for Saturday and Sunday.
We entered (and quickly exited) the Compact Knockout. We had much better luck in the evening Swiss, however. Isn't it amazing how much better your luck is when you're playing well?
All problems IMPs. Check out the Comments section at the end of the post to see what we did and what others would do. Also, feel free to leave a Comment yourself!
(A) White vs. red
AJ7 QT85 9432 J3
You pass in first chair. LHO opens 1D, partner makes a weak jump overcall of 2S, and RHO passes. Your call.
(B) Red vs. white
AJT KT753 Q4 AT3
LHO opens 1S, and RHO bids a forcing 1NT. Do you bid?
(C) White vs. red
A98763 T7 843 Q9
LHO passes, partner opens 1H, and RHO overcalls 2C. You put in a 2S bid [natural and non-forcing, by partnership agreement]. Partner now cuebids 3C. What's your bid?
(D) All red
76 Q9852 none AKQJ64
In third chair, you open 1C (do you?) and LHO overcalls 4S, which gets passed around to you. What's your action?
(E) All white
KJ97432 Q7 K9 65
RHO, in first chair, opens 1H. You're up.
(F) Red vs. white
KJ62 AJ92 KJ96 4
Partner opens 2C. Happily, you have a bid for this hand – 2NT shows three suits headed by the ace or king. Pard rebids 3NT, and it's up to you.
(G) All red
Here's a nice one for you:
AKQ73 Q842 AKQ7 none
You open 2C (anyone for 1S?), pard bids an artificial game-forcing 2D, you rebid 2S, and pard comes out with 3D! What to do with this pleasant turn of events?
Monday, October 20, 2008
K9743 AQJ6 94 82.
After counting your cards, you realize that the hand is already sorted. You are in second seat and there is one pass to you. What goes through your mind here?
To me, this looks very much like a hand that has been passed out. This presented me with a bit of a dilemma, both ethical and strategic. It's only 7 losers, and it doesn't even have rebid problems, but it's not a hand I would typically open in first seat. It doesn't meet the rule of 20, so I know none of the other players in this game are opening this hand. But I've got the spade suit, and on top of that, I'm playing against weak opponents, so I don't think I want this to get passed out.
I have UI from the fact that my cards were pre-sorted, but it's not necessarily reliable UI, and the UI certainly isn't my fault. What's the best thing to do here?
The granddaddy (and simplest) of them all is Mathe. Invented by Lew Mathe several decades ago, it just goes like this:
When the opponents open a big club on your right or they open a big club on your left, partner passes, and they bid a "little diamond" on your right, double shows both majors, and one notrump shows both minors. That's all there is to it.
The first big club defense I learned was CRASH. This is a quick mnemonic for Color, RAnk, SHape. CRASH uses one more bid than Mathe: 1D. So it doesn't quite work over (1C!) P (1D!).
Playing CRASH, when the opponents open a strong club on your right,
- Double shows two suits of the same Color.
- One Diamond shows two suits of the same RAnk (minors or majors).
- One Notrump shows two suits of the same SHape (look at the tops: pointed [spades and diamonds] and rounded [clubs and hearts].)
- Anything else is natural.
When your partner makes a CRASH (or SHARC) bid, it's your job to preempt as high as you can. Much of the time you don't know that you have a fit, but sometimes you're assured of one. For example:
LHO opens a strong club, partner bids 1D (RAnk), and RHO passes. You hold:
AJ652 74 T9742 4
Since partner either has the minors or the majors, you know there's a big pointed-suit fit somewhere. So you bid... 3D! Partner has at least four cards in one pointy suit, so you have at least nine trumps somewhere. The three level shouldn't be too high. Partner will pass (or maybe raise!) holding both minors, and will correct to 3H holding both majors. You'll correct 3H to 3S, and you've found your fit and your level!
This is very important. Playing CRASH, SHARC, Suction [which I'll get to soon], or many other big club defenses, responder's actions are all pass or correct. So if you hold:
T4 J2 73 QT98532
and pard overcalls with 1NT (SHape), don't bid 3C! He'll correct to his cheapest suit (because he almost certainly has spades and diamonds). Start with 2C, and when partner corrects to 2D, he'll get the message that all you have is clubs when you rebid 3C.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Well, there are good and bad parts of both, but in my opinion, Precision (or some other Big Club system) works better when the opponents stay out of the auction (or only come in at low levels), and Two Over One works better when the opponents bid a lot.
I have a suspicion that Standard American is stronger than 2/1 in very, very established partnerships, but 2/1 is certainly better for a partnership that plays 100 or fewer sessions per year together.
So I guess in a perfect world I'd play a Big Club when the opponents are vulnerable and 2/1 (or Standard) when they're not.
Stay tuned -- I'll be posting some of my favorite defenses to a Big Club, including:
- Inverted Suction
- Inverted Psycho-Suction
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Here's a quick defensive problem:
Your LHO opens a 10-12 1NT, and your RHO bids a "gambling" 3NT. Partner leads an attitude four of clubs (attitude = low from interest), you play the king, and declarer follows with the deuce. What's your play to trick two?
I think it should be the king of hearts. Sure, you're going to play more clubs, but if you need to lead clubs twice from your side, partner needs to know how to get back to you. So if you cash the heart then lead the ten of clubs, partner can overtake declarer's card, lead a heart to the ace, and the seven of clubs through kills the contract. The whole hand:
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
(A) Red vs. white
AK -- KQJ73 KQ9742
You open 2C (do you?), pard bids a game-forcing 2D, you rebid 3C, and he surprises you with 3D! What's your bid / plan?
(B) All white
K98 K86 AK 96532
LHO opens a 10-12 1NT. Partner passes, and RHO bids a "to play" 2H. This is passed around to partner, who balances with 2S. Should you move over this?
(C) All red
Bid these two hands to slam:
South opens 1C, and rebids clubs at his first turn.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I held A QJ763 A853 AJ9. We were playing against strong opponents in a weakish field (Monday morning, the day after a regional). We were unfavorable. Partner passed, RHO passed, I opened 1H, and LHO jumped to 2S. Partner negative-doubled, so I jumped to 4D. She bid a fifth and final diamond, and the king of spades was led. Here's the hand:
Monday, October 6, 2008
I'm always glad to get back to regular life (it's really hard to get any work done during a bridge tournament, and forget about eating right and exercising...), but it does bum me out to leave at the end. Still, I look forward to Sundays, because Swiss Teams are one of my favorite events.
My first Blue Ribbon Qualification came in Reno, when we won the A/X Swiss -- also the win that put me over the top for Life Master. I've since done very well in this event throughout the year. It's nice that one loss doesn't take you out of the running like in a KO, and I feel like there's more glory to winning a Swiss event than a KO, where you only need to beat three teams for a victory.
Yesterday's Swiss game in Seaside was a fun one for me, and I've got some good stories to tell -- but those will have to wait, because as if we haven't played enough bridge this week, McKenzie and I are on our way out the door to the 11am club game here in Portland!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Paul and I continued along in the pair games on Tuesday, with less success than Monday. We scratched both sessions, but didn't make the overalls.
All problems matchpoints.
(A) All red
AK J53 A875 AKQ6
RHO opens 1H. Assuming you double, what is your action over partner's 1S?
(B) All red
T42 J4 QT852 J63
The opponents bid uncontested to 6S on this auction:
1D - 1H;
1S - 4NT;
5H - 6S.
What's your lead?
(C) White vs. red
J63 J5 K543 A762
You pass in first chair, LHO opens 1H, pard overcalls 2D, and RHO jumps to 4H. Do you or don't you?
(D) All white
A987 JT7642 9 KT
Pard opens 2H (!) in second seat, and RHO overcalls 2S. Your bid.