What should I bid? (July 2018)

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What should I bid? (July 2018)

The best submission for July came from Viv Wood. She wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

Bd 1
Nil Vul
N Dealer
K Q 10 8 5 2
8 2
K 9
9 6 2
 
7 3
10 9 7
7 6 5
A K Q 8 4
[ 1 ] A 4
A K 6 3
A 8 2
J 10 7 5
  J 9 6
Q J 5 4
Q J 10 4 3
3
 

 

West North East South
  2 X 2
3 3 3NT 4
Pass Pass 5 All Pass

Hi Andy

North’s 2 bid was weak 6 cards in either major. X by East was either take out of spades or big hand. The bidding is slightly unusual. but 5 wasn’t the best contract.

One person thinks 5’s is the correct bid as we won’t get enough for 4X. The other person thinks East should double in order to “take the money”.

This was an imp scored teams match.

What do you think?
Thanks 🙂
Viv

———————————————————————————————

Hi Viv,

Interesting hand, and good questions.
Here are some of my suggestions:

– I think it is better for East to overcall 2NT (assuming that shows (15)16-18 BAL) since East has stoppers in both major suits. It is true that you might catch the opponents and penalise them by starting with a X (i.e. you double, then the opponents reveal they have spades and you double again as East hoping West will have a penalty pass), but the chances are slim for that to happen. What will happen most often is that if East starts out with a X, that hand will have a bit of trouble trying to “catch up” later in the auction.

Note that if East had xx in spades, then it will be best to X first since it is likely North will have spades, so it is best to have a stopper in spades.

– Over the actual auction, it seems like after South bids 4, EW should be in a forcing pass auction (West has shown values, East has shown enough points to be in game, and NS look like they’re sacrificing). I agree that this auction would be in uncharted waters, so if it is uncertain whether pass would be forcing or not, West’s hand should be doubling 4 to suggest defending 4X. It’s not that pass sounds encouraging, it’s more about West having values (AKQ) and a balanced hand, that is worth defending and taking the money against 4X.

– If West passes 4, I also believe East should double 4. East can’t be sure how unbalanced West’s hand is. It’s true that West is likely to have a stiff spade on this auction, but even if West had 1=3=4=5, you would still prefer defending 4 rather than playing in 5. If West had a 6-card club suit such as 1=2=4=6, then there might be a chance that West may have done something over 4 (5? 4NT to play?), so odds are that 5 won’t be a great contract as West won’t have an extreme shape.

The form of scoring (IMPs) also makes it much more attractive to “X and take the money” given that it’s Nil Vul. 4SX might actually be par on this hand, and usually I’m happy with taking +300 even if a +400 was possible to take as it’s not a great loss, but it’s definitely a big loss if I get -50 instead of +300. Who knows, it’s possible that 4X might go for +500 too.

All in all, I think both West and East should be doubling the 4 bid.

Hope that helps,
Andy

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