A Single Bidding Problem

Today's panelists: George Yu, David Milton, Roberto Scaramuzzi, Ed Davis, Mike Shuster, Rolf Kühn.

In the spirit of the new MSC problems:

Matchpoints, you hold

 S:A98xxx H:AJx D:AK C:109

Dealer, none vul. Do you

  1. Open 1S: and over partner's forcing 1NT
    1. rebid 2C:
    2. rebid 2D:
    3. rebid 2S:
    4. rebid 2NT
    5. rebid 3S:
    6. other
  2. Open 1NT (15-17)
  3. Other

i kind of want to open 1S: and rebid 2H: (?!) over the forcing nt, but i will rebid 2S: since this is matchpoints.
On this hand, I choose A3. I have a 6 loser hand and need partner to cover three of them. If partner has enough to do that, he will bid again. I realize that with  S:Kx H:KQx D:xxxx C:xxxx he won't bid.
I'll go with A2, but there is no good bid, obviously.
This hand is too good for spades to open 1nt. Too good for hearts, too. It is close between A4 and A5, but If I'm going to stretch I'll try not to lose the hearts, so A4 seems best.
A1, A2, or A5. Partner had  S:K10 H:Qxxx D:10xx C:KJxx. Spades were 3-2 and the H:K was onside.
A2: 1, A3: 3, A4: 1, A5: 1, C: 1
Kill my landlord.
If this were IMPs, I'd either open 1NT or rebid 2NT, since getting to 3NT when both 3NT and 4S: make is no disaster. At matchpoints, reaching 3NT when 4S: makes more tricks is going to be a zero, because the field is almost sure to open 1S: and rebid 3S: or sometimes 2S:. If my minors were reversed and I were playing the 2D: gadget, I'd rebid 2C: in the hopes of finding a 5-3 heart fit.

At the table, I chose 2S: figuring that at worst, I'll end up with a plus score and get some matchpoints, but I've concluded that that wasn't good matchpoint analysis. The field is going to rebid 3S:, even though I think it's not a good bid. The way to get the most matchpoints is probably to bid along with the field. If 3S: or 4S: is a terrible spot and we reach it on this auction, I'll have lots of company. If it's a good spot and I miss it via some other choice, I'm getting a zero. At least if I'm in the normal spot, I might be able to gain a trick in the play and get a good result that way.

Jeff Goldsmith, jeff@tintin.jpl.nasa.gov, March 29, 1996