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A couple of hands

#1 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-November-15, 17:02

Pickings seem thin, these days, in terms of even vaguely interesting hands, so I hope these two are of some modest interest.

Playing with an expert partner, in a 20 board team game against competent opponents, the first hand sees you pick up:

J9 J74 K4 AKQ1083

Partner deals and opens 1C, which shows 2+ clubs and will, if balanced, be at least 13 hcp. Nobody vulnerable.

RHO overcalls 3H.

What is your call, and why?



On the second hand, you pick up:

K AQ3 KJ10983 954

LHO, at favourable vulnerability for his side, opens 4C.

Partner overcalls 4S, and RHO passes.

What is your call, and why?
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#2 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-November-15, 17:26

For the first hand, it does look very likely partner's clubs aren't that long so they are likely to be somewhat balanced. In hearts they could have xxx, or Qx, or Kx, or Ax, or even xx with LHO having a singleton honor. In all of those cases we want to be in 3N and the only way we'll find it is if I bid it now. So I'll grit my teeth and do it without a stopper.

In the second hand, I'm really not sure. Partner is likely to have club shortness, but any slam comes down to whether they have the ace of diamonds or not, along with the AQ of spades.. perhaps there's a theme here, and I'll gamble on that club singleton and go with 4NT, planning to raise a 5 response to 6.
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#3 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2020-November-15, 17:50

In this partnership, am I likely to be able to double and get out in 5C on the first hand? That would allow me to offer an choice between 3NT and 5C, although I'll miss out when partner has a partial stopper. If I can't do that, I'll have to go with smerriman and simply bid it.

If we're making slam, 6D is probably the best place to play. But 4S could be our last making spot and any action is unclear. I've looked at it long enough and have to get back to work. So I'll try 5D and hope partner makes a sensible decision.
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#4 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-November-15, 17:52

MikeH 'Pickings seem thin, these days, in terms of even vaguely interesting hands, so I hope these two are of some modest interest. Playing with an expert partner, in a 20 board team game against competent opponents. What is your call, and why?
++++++++++++++++++++
I rank
1. 3N = NAT Blame Bob Hamman.
2. 4. Reese said put your faith in the long suit. If partner tries 4NT, you can pass :)
3. 4 = CUE Suggests a fit
4. 5. Shows a good suit.
5. Pass. = NAT Nearly forcing if partner doubles, does a delayed 3NT show doubt?
6. Double = NEG But, without agreement, partner will expect more
MikeH 'On the second hand, What is your call, and why?'
++++++++++++++++++++
I rank
1. Pass = NAT Timid but Partner probably has a good suit. But you might lose a and a trump promotion.
2. 4N = KCB. Brave
3. 5 = ASK partner to bid the slam with control -- but he almost certainly has control.
4. 5 = NAT.
5. 5 = CUE. Misdescription.

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#5 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2020-November-15, 17:58

View Postnige1, on 2020-November-15, 17:52, said:

I rank
1. 3N. Blame Bob Hamman.
2. 4. Reese said put your faith in the long suit. If partner tries 4NT, you can pass :)
3. 5. Shows a good suit.
3. Pass. Nearly forcing if partner doubles, does a delayed 3NT show doubt?
4. Double. But partner will expect more .

Partner opened 1C, which might change your decision.
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#6 User is online   nige1 

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Posted 2020-November-15, 18:05

View Postsfi, on 2020-November-15, 17:58, said:

Partner opened 1C, which might change your decision.
Thank you, again SFI. :( It doesn't change my 1st choice answer :) but I've edited the hand deal diagram :)
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#7 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-November-16, 12:27

I can’t say whether the actions I chose were *optimal*, from a theoretical point of view.

On the first one, I felt that there was too much chance that 3N was the last making game, and many holdings where it is cold.

So I bid 3N.

I got lucky because LHO, with Qxx in hearts, a weak hand but lots of shape, chose 4H

Partner passed, suggesting a decent playing hand, but I could infer that anyway since he’s now marked with short hearts. I couldn’t construct a hand for him, assuming nothing in hearts, where 6C wasn’t very good, and usually cold. I was more worried about missing grand, when I bid 6C, than about going down. Fortunately he held AKx x AQx Jxxxxx

On the second one, I really wasn’t at all sure what to do.

Partner was under pressure, so AQJxxx Kxx xx Kx would be a routine 4S bid, and of course there are many other hands where anything but pass invites disaster

Otoh, there are lots of hands where we can make a lot of tricks in the ‘correct’ strain. Heck, on a bad day we make game or slam in diamonds and have a tough time in spades: Axxxxx Kx AQx xx makes 5D but is never making 4S

Anyway, I chose 5D and got lucky. Partner held AJxxxx Kx Axxx x and raised to slam.

I often get these high-level decisions wrong, so wasn’t posting these two hands to show how great I am🥴 I thought they were difficult choices and that thinking about why one might choose one action or another might hold some interest.

Also, as the first hand shows, sometimes an aggressive move causes an opponent, also under pressure, to misguess. LHO’s bid of 4H was not unreasonable on the first hand: he was sure we had 3N cold, if I held say Kx in hearts.
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#8 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2020-November-16, 13:59

The first is a semi-automatic 4 for me, so probably I should study Hamman more. But an important part of that choice is playing 4 as a kickback, so if things look grim we still have a choice of game 4NT as well as 5.
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#9 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-November-16, 17:36

Why would opener be hauling out kickback if we bid what would, I think, be a non-forcing 4C? And how do we get to 4N over 4C when opener has, for example KQxx Qx AJx Jxxx where 5C is down off the top?

I’m afraid one has to make a committal call over 3H. Either 4H as a gf club raise or 3N. You pays your money and takes your chances

A very fine player, and my other regular partner, preferred 4H

That might get us to slam, so is probably the better call
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#10 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2020-November-16, 17:54

View Postmikeh, on 2020-November-16, 17:36, said:

Why would opener be hauling out kickback if we bid what would, I think, be a non-forcing 4C?

Your agreements about 1C are not clear in the initial post, and they are relevant. If all balanced hands go through 1C, then both 4C and 4D should probably just be forcing and natural. If it's ostensibly a natural bid, and is only two when 4432, then the non-forcing raise makes more sense. This may go some way to explaining different approaches.
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#11 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-16, 19:04

On the first hand I double, which, according to Bergen, doesn't show spades but just asks partner to bid 3NT with a stopper. (Of course, p can do something else with a strong and/or unbalanced hand, even if he has a stopper).

3NT is reasonable but I'm not sure if I like my chances in 3NT if partner can't bid it.

On the second one I think it's an easy pass.
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#12 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2020-November-16, 20:41

View Posthelene_t, on 2020-November-16, 19:04, said:

On the first hand I double, which, according to Bergen, doesn't show spades but just asks partner to bid 3NT with a stopper. (Of course, p can do something else with a strong and/or unbalanced hand, even if he has a stopper).

3NT is reasonable but I'm not sure if I like my chances in 3NT if partner can't bid it.

On the second one I think it's an easy pass.

So-called thrump doubles can be very effective, but they do come with the downside that one will frequently miss a good major-suit fit. Personally, I like thrump doubles after partner opens a major, and the opp overcalls in 3 of the other major. Game in a minor not yet bid is a lot further away, and can sometimes still be reached. Now one can play a bid of 4m as showing different raises of partner’s major. Plus, even playing thump doubles, one can’t expect partner to bid it with a stiff king or Queen, or even Qx.

Heck, xx may be enough if rho has HHxxxxx.

Few players, these days, bid 3H over 1C, with partner unpaused, with AKQxxxx.
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