What should I bid? (September 2017)

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What should I bid? (September 2017)

The best submission for September came from Julian Foster. He wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridge Books.

Vul vs Not Vul, with West the dealer, I was South and held

Q9874
AQ10
853
A2 

West North East South
 1  1 5  ?

I faced this recently in a teams congress. What would you do?

I chose to bid 5 as I figured partner was almost certainly void in diamonds, which meant he was far more likely to have at least six hearts, and therefore less likely to lose trump control if the defence keeps persisting with diamonds.

But it was risky to bid 5 over 5.

The whole hand:

Bd 12
NS Vul
W Dealer
A 10 6
J 8 7 6 5 3

Q J 7 3
 
K J 5
K 4 2
A J 9 6 4
10 5
[ 12 ] 3 2
9
K Q 10 7 2
K 9 8 6 4
  Q 9 8 7 4
A Q 10
8 5 3
A 2
 

5 made exactly thanks to the spades playing for 1 loser (partner ran the Q from dummy) and the club finesse being onside.

But I felt that was pretty lucky – I could easily have gone -100 with an easy penalty (300) available from 5. That said, partner could have had more for his 1. The 5 bid was good – put a lot of pressure on.

____________________

Hi Julian,

High level decisions are never easy.

I personally would have doubled 5, and I know that this could easily be very wrong on another day! It’s true that partner rates to have a diamond void, but given that the opponents are at favourable vulnerability, it would not surprise me at all if they only had nine diamonds in total (i.e. opener has four diamonds, and responder has five-card support with a distributional hand). That’s the one big reason for me not to bid 5, since if we have a diamond to lose, the 5-level contract will probably go down. Even if partner has a diamond void, he may only have five hearts too (some sort of 5440 or 5530 shape), and a 5 contract may be difficult to manage if the defence persist on playing diamonds.

Having said that, partner could easily have a 64 shape, or a slightly stronger hand than what he actually had, and 5 would score the vulnerable game and 5X may only net +300. My belief is that I would prefer to stick to a sure positive score (if I feel I’m getting at least 300) unless I am very sure a vul 5-level contract is very likely to make and defending may only net me +100. If it’s a choice between +100 or -100, then I would be happy to try the 5-level contract.

But of course, more importantly, it is always better to be lucky! I certainly can’t proclaim to be any good at these high level decisions, and you are correct that the 5 was a great bid and it surely did its job!

Regards,
Andy

 

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