Two Balanced 11-Counts
Web Ewell, and
I guess balanced 11-counts are a topic near and dear
to everyone's heart. Or religion. I seem to have
kicked off a serious system debate---half the respondents
think that better methods would solve the problems.
Different methods would solve them, but these problems
are here because they are hard for the methods in common use.
IMPs, short matches.
- favorable, you hold
xxx A542 KJ9 Kxx
CHO|| RHO|| YOU|
1|| 1|| ?|
Almost no one liked his choice. I figured that
would be the case, but I liked mine at the table.
Just about everyone wanted to play that double
denied 4. Odd...how many partnerships actually
play that? In my experience, not many.
2. I've never done this before but it is easy to be brave on paper. I
prefer 2 (diamond raise) to Neg double or 1/2NT. The attraction of
bidding 2 is to bid 3 over 2 and raise 2NT to 3NT. Yes each of these
could work badly but tant pis. I suppose 1 could work very well also
-- that is too rich for me. [It'd never occur to me, particularly if
it showed five spades. --Jeff]
I'll double, and over parner's rebid: raise 2 to 3; bid 2NT
over 2; raise 1NT to 2; and bid 1NT over 1, hoping to recover.
If partner makes a stronger rebid (unlikely), I'll make
a forcing rebid in diamonds, indicating slam interest.
This hand illustrates deficiencies in standard methods.
[Most problems indicate deficiencies in the methods in use. --Jeff]
I would like to be able to double showing (nominally invitational or better)
values with no biddable suit, but I'm probably not playing
that. Passing won't solve my problem, since I'm not
interested in defending 1x (they rate to score at least 4
trump tricks and probably 2-3 more). If we can
get 500 out of them, we probably can make a game anyway.
So I guess I'm endplayed into 2NT, although that feels
like a transfer to -50 quite often, and it will
work out atrociously if partner has Qx or Jxx.
Pass. If you play double denies four spades, then you can double
to show a hand with enough values to bid but with no good bid and
partner will bid 1NT with a balanced minimum hand. However, most
play double shows exactly four spades so double is out. The choices
as I see it are then to make a limit raise in diamonds or to pass
and then cue bid when partner balances with a double. The disadvantage
to the LR is obvious... you will be playing diamonds on hands where
you belong in NT. The pass and then cue bid approach shows 10+
HCP and a balanced hand with a desire to play NT from partner's hand.
The heart holding could be anything from xxx to AQx (sometimes partner
has Jxx). The disadvantage of passing is that the auction doesn't
always go like you expect and you might not be able to clearly show
your strength. Of course, if you pass aginst overly agressive opponents,
it might continue with 1NT on your left, pass, pass back to you. I play
inverted minors on over overcalls so I bid 2 when holding a LR in
diamonds, bid a direct 2 (which I would on this hand) to show a balanced
invitational or better hand with a stopper in hearts and pass and then
cue bid to show invitational or better values but no heart stopper.
[That's two bids to show hands without direction. What's 2NT if
2 shows a balanced hand with invitational (or better) values and
a heart stop? --Jeff] ... [Ed's partner, Jill Meyers, bid 2. --Jeff]
2. This is a limit raise in diamonds, no? 2 would be overly
conservative; 1NT anti-positional. If you play double as denying
4 spades then that would probably be better.
Well, I would double, denying 4 spades.
I assume I can't do that here.
1NT. Now, can we change our system?
This is a complicated hand. I would really like partner to bid
notrump first, unless we can run off nine tricks (not unlikely:
give partner AQxxxx in diamonds, A and three or four small spades,
for example) I assume you are playing (shudder) standard, which makes
this a hard problem (playing weak NT it's much easier: if partner
opened 1, this is a choice of games problem If he opened 1N and
they overcalled 2, you just double).
I considered doubling, but I found out I can't handle any spade
continuations by partner. It's close between 2 (L+ in diamonds) or an
agricultural 2N. I pick 2N because I don't really know that partner's
continuation over 2 is really going to help (if he bids 2N or 3 are
you going to pass or bid 3N?) [I'd pass. I said, "limit raise in
diamonds" and he said, "let's play a partscore." It's not as if
this 4333 beauty has improved on the auction. --Jeff]
1NT, the least distorting call.
Making a negative double without 4, bidding 1NT with this good a
hand, bidding 2NT with this heart stopper, or raising diamonds with
only 3 pieces are all too terrible to contemplate.
Partner will have at least 4 diamonds here (can he really be 4432?) it is
close between a 1NT underbid and a 2 (under trump) cue bid. Wish I had a
heart spot to make a more aggressive call.
1NT first. 2 (guaranteeing support second)
Double, denying four spades of course. [I'll treat this
as an abstention, as everyone realizes that this would be a non-problem
if we were playing that method. --Jeff]
2H. This helps rightside the notrump, and get the strength
of my hand off my chest. If partner bids 2 or 3,
I'll bid 3. If partner bids 2nt or 3, I'll bid 3nt.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
2. My lower honor is in trumps, and I have
sharp cards outside. Sounds like a trump contract. I'm hoping
to be able to talk partner into bidding notrump at some point.
- WINNING ACTION
not double. Just about anything else, though a
diamond raise rates to be best, as partner has
AQ10x --- Q10xxxxx Qx. He might get us too high in
diamonds, but he'll at least pull a double of 3 and
will take us out of notrump to a diamond contract.
Nothing remotely resembling a consensus
| 2 ||3|
| 1NT ||3|
| 2NT ||2|
| Pass ||1|
| Dbl ||1|
| 2 ||1|
| Abstain ||1|
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
Anyway, I agree that it's obvious that a Kokish double denying
four spades would be lovely on this hand. Finding out that
partner has five spades before the opponents blast you to the
three or four level is also helpful at times. I think that's
much more likely to come up and matter---I know it comes up
a lot. It is open to question, however, whether the problems
hands like this cause are sufficiently severe to give up that
advantage. I'm inclined to say, "no, it isn't." This is a
particularly rude choice and I don't object too much to any
of several choices. Move a single card around and this hand
would have been easy to bid. For example, move the J to
hearts and 2NT is obvious. Move the 2 to diamonds and 2
I still like the limit raise. I'm not fond of Ed's plan
to pass; the bidding just doesn't go the way he expects
very often, I find. Maybe his opponents don't bid as much
as mine. Or maybe his partners are more predictable.
- none vul, you hold
AJx KQ10x Jx 108xx
CHO|| RHO|| YOU|| LHO|
1|| 1|| Dbl|| Pass|
2|| 2|| 2NT|| Pass|
3|| Pass||3|| Pass|
a) Do you agree with your previous bidding?
Most did, but a few thought that this was a total non-problem,
as they'd've bid 4 earlier. That makes their next round simple.
No. I would have bid 4 over 3.
I might have bid 4 on the previous round.
Most were happy with the auction, though the consensus
is that we have a maximum. Some would even force game.
I would have bid 2NT directly the first round (but 3NT if vul) --
my cards are placed wonderfully in this auction, and I even have help
in partner's suit. And at IMPs, the 9-trick game seems a better bet,
especially with my holdings.
No, I would have bid 3NT over 2 but 2N could work out best.
I think you did a reasonable job of describing your hand.
Previous bidding was impeccable.
Yes 2NT is fine though I am not sure if I would have
found it.. I guess so.
I agree with the bidding completely.
- DAVID, STEVE, JOEL
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
I perpetrated this sequence. I like it OK.
- WINNING ACTION
The farmer at the other table bid 2NT the
first time and wasn't involved in this decision, so
we have a chance to do better.
b) What now?
There are two camps, those who think that partner is 1444 with
a probable stiff spade honor, and those who think he's denied
four hearts. Those who think he's 1444 generally bid 4.
3 here sounds very much like a 1-4-4-4 shape -- with 1-4-5-3
I can't say I'd bother. 3NT over 3 suggests a spade honor or
bad trumps. Still bad hearts hardly matters does it with the
ruffs coming in the short hand. Unless playing with a known
loony [I resemble that! --Jeff] (who might have a 1-3-5-4 shape)
I bid 4.
I'll bid 4. I think partner has 1453 shape with some reason to want
to play 3N (bad hearts or a spade honor or both). Either way, I think I
can score up one more trick in hearts by taking one or two ruffs in
Partner probably has a stiff spade on this bidding. Does he have a stiff
honor? We know that his hearts are not great and he may be assuming you have
only three of them. In any event, I am not playing 3NT. I bid 4.
The other vocal group thinks that partner should not have 1444
or he'd've bid 4 (or possibly 3 with a stiff honor) the previous round.
Pass. Partner may have 2-3-4-4 but I think 1-3-5-4 with some extras
is considerably more likely. I'd pass 3NT since partner is suggesting
it thinking I have only one stopper. I expect something like x Jxx AKQxx KJxx.
Partner doesn't have four hearts; I have 2 Spade stoppers. Good here.
Partner already knew you had 4. To me, this says "What game, pard?"
and partner could have said "I'm not sure, 3"... showing 4 and a
spade honor, presumably or 3 good hearts and a stiff spade. Partner
instead said 3NT a strong suggestion of contract after you've bid hearts
twice. Why wouldn't partner bid 2 over the negative double
with say Kx Axx AKxx xxxx? (I know 1NT would be reasonable, too)
[1NT would be my choice. --Jeff]
Couldn't partner have say... x AJx AKTxx Q9xx... I can't imagine bidding
2 over [the double] with that hand (partner doesn't show clubs with a negative
double, partner shows hearts and 4 is enough to make that the right strain
opposite 1354 hands, but partner can have more) And why can't partner have
a 3-card club suit with say... Kx Axxx QTxx AJx? Opposite this, 4 is
hopeless and 3NT is excellent.
I think these four think partner has four hearts, but are considering 3NT anyway.
In spite of my answer to (a), this auction looks like partner has a low
singleton in spades, and that spades are likely to be 6331 around the table.
[Seems more like 7321 to me as LHO didn't raise to 2 or 3. --Jeff]
I'll get a low spade lead, but may need to let RHO in twice (e.g., partner
has a 3-ace minimum). But in a case like that, 4 is making: 6 trumps (two
spade ruffs in his hand), 3 side aces, and a long diamond. And against 4,
a spade lead gives me the tempo, instead of them (as opposed to a club
lead). So I'll raise to 4. Shows you what I deserve for being so hasty in
4. Sounds like they will knock out a spade stopper on
the go. That means you can lose the lead only once. Partner
probably has no 5-bagger, so we'll be hard pressed to take
enough tricks on the fly. Add to that my good secondary
cards (T, J, T8) protecting me from slow losers, and
its not unreasonable to expect to get up to 10 winners.
Pass. I don't
think there's enough evidence that any strain is better
than 3NT, and you've described your hand (other than
the club fit), so I see no reason not to pass.
Partner may have opened diamonds, but this auction
sounds like partner is unusually weak there with 4 hearts. Something
like Kxx AJxx xxxx AQ--and opposite that hand it's much better to play in
4, thus that's what I'll bid.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
- WINNING ACTION
4. Partner had Q A98x Axxx KJ9x. 3NT wasn't
hopeless, but both clubs are offside. 4 isn't cold,
but trumps are 3-2 and there's no ruff lurking.
| 4: ||7 |
| Pass: ||5 |
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
I'm not sure what partner has. I think this one is a "know thy
partner," which I didn't. Is he the "looney" with only three hearts?
Or is he the simple man who thinks he's just bid out his pattern,
even to the point of showing his stiff spade honor?
Oct. 6, 1998