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Bidding Problems for I/N players Part 19 Are you sure?

#1 User is offline   Kaitlyn S 

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Posted 2017-January-11, 22:30

Hi - these problems should be very easy for experienced players but an I/N player needs to think about the right things in an auction. If you get them wrong, don't feel too bad as long as you understand the rationale for the answers. I'll provide the answers later but I'll put a hint as a spoiler. Try to solve the problem without the spoiler. Also, let me know if you would be interested in seeing more of these from time to time.

Assume you are playing Standard American (a natural system with 15-17 1NT openings and 5-card majors), IMPS, and nobody is vulnerable.

Some background. There are some situations where your partner has suggested playing in notrump. You have the values for game and you're pretty sure there is no major suit fit so you figure you might as well bid 3NT. The opponents attack your weakest suit, and although your partner has the suit stopped, the stopper is knocked out immediately and your partner cannot take nine tricks without losing the lead, You are set, and the result was almost predictable. This is IMPs and there is no shame in playing 5C or 5D if 3NT looks dangerous and 5 of a minor has play. However, if your partner is well fortified in your short suit, 3NT is a fine contract where partner's wasted values in your short suit make 5 of a minor a poor contract.

When you've bid two or three suits, and the weakness is in one of the unbid suits, it is very likely that the opponents are going to lead your weak suit. It is optimistic to just bid 3NT and hope that by not giving the opponents information, they will lead your longer and stronger unbid suit.

An example:

You have a maximum 2D bid (you expect your diamond suit to provide several tricks) and want to accept game. However, it is not your best choice to say "I'm bidding 3NT - the club stopper is my partner's problem."

A better call is to bid 3H, which is clearly forcing. You are accepting the game, but you are telling your partner that clubs could be an issue. If your partner has Qxx, or if he has Axx and doesn't think you have nine running tricks, he probably doesn't want to play notrump.

Your doubt about notrump will pay off if these are the hands:



In 3NT, the opponents will lead clubs and will take four club tricks upon winning the A. 5D is cold.

However, your partner might have clubs well stopped in which case 3NT is indicated.



Here 3NT is a great contract while 5D loses three aces off the top. You stated that your fear was clubs, and partner has them well under control and bids 3NT with confidence.

By the way, in the above auction, a 3D rebid (1D-1S-2D-2NT-3D) wouldn't have shown doubt about the unbid suits; it would have shown doubt about making a game. South would be declining the game invitation and choosing to play in 3D rather than 2NT. On the other hand, a 3C rebid (1D-1S-2D-2NT-3C) is more valuable as a forcing bid pinpointing a fear of hearts in notrump than it is a suggestion to play 3C.

1.

Spoiler



2.

Spoiler



3.

3S = forcing; doubt about where the hand should be played
Spoiler



4.

Spoiler



5.
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Spoiler

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#2 User is offline   Kaitlyn S 

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Posted 2017-January-12, 17:30

Answers:

1.

Hint: If partner has a single club stopper, do you fear notrump?

Answer: Your jump shift is forcing to game, so if you wanted to express doubt, you could bid 3D as a forcing bid stressing diamonds. However, partner is very likely to have a club stopper in this auction; after all, he could have bid 3D rather than 2NT in many cases.

If partner does have a club stopper, I don't want him to think it's not enough because I can produce eight tricks and any club stopper is enough. If I bid 3D, partner may worry about having a single stopper and having to give up the lead, and could bypass 3NT. We don't want that to happen. Bid 3NT.

If partner as a minimum response, there might not be an alternative contract to 3NT. You have no heart or spade fit, and you have a lot of spade losers to handle in 5D.


2.

Hint: Do you have enough for game? How would partner know that 3NT isn't the best game?

Answer: You have enough to accept - partner should have 11 or 12 points and both majors stopped. You aren't worried about spades but you're quite worried about hearts. Bid 3S which has to be forcing (you can't have spades as you didn't rebid 1S after the 1D response), and pinpointing the heart weakness Partner will only play notrump with hearts well stopped. By the way, if partner bids 4D here, I think you can pass - partner has limited his hand to a very narrow range and there isn't much sense in using 4D as a slam try or a choice of games here. If partner wants to be in 5D, he should bid it.


3.

3S = forcing; doubt about where the hand should be played
Hint: Do you think you can take nine tricks off the top?

Answer: Your partner's 3S bid can't be a suggestion to play in spades as the opponent has overcalled spades. Your partner could bid 3NT if he was so inclined but there must be something about his hand that makes him think that 3NT might not make despite partner (who is forcing to at least the level of 3NT) having a strong hand and you having shown a spade stopper.

Sounds like your one spade stopper isn't enough, as you will probably have to give up the lead and East with five spades will take four spades and the trick he gets in with to set you. You do have a decent hand for your prior bidding, and you have two hearts to an honor, having denied three hearts, so bid 4H and play the 5-2 fit.


4.

Hint: Are you accepting the invitation? Is there a way to avoid a hopeless game even if you have the points for game?

Answer: You are accepting the invitation; you are maximum for your 1NT response and you have a fitting diamond honor. However, partner could easily have a hand like: S-2 H-A65 D-AKJT32 C-A98 where the opponents are almost certainly leading spades against notrump. On the other hand, your partner could have S-AK2 H-6 D-AKJ932 C-T98 where 3NT is easy. Bid 3H to show your values in hearts. Partner knows that you can't have four hearts because you failed to respond 1H. Partner will avoid 3NT with the first hand and will bid it with confidence on the second.

5.

Hint: Are you accepting the invitation?

Answer: While you could bid 3C as accepting the invitation and showing doubt about partner's heart suit, this hand doesn't want to accept any game invitations. It wasn't that good when you opened it (Kaplan-Rubens hand evaluator says 12.65, Danny Kleinmann's evaluator says it's worth 11.) It only got worse when partner responded 1H. You have no source of tricks. You should pass 2NT and hope partner plays it well.
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