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How Would You Bid? What contract should you reach?

#1 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-20, 15:16

Game is imps. N-S vul. How would you bid, and what contract do you think should be reached?
East will raise to 2S regardless of your bid. Where do you want to be and how do you get there?

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#2 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2021-July-20, 15:36

Without the spade raise, a 3 splinter would take us to slam, now I am not sure if North will go on after South jumps to 4.

But maybe 6 6 is down if the club finesse doesn't work.

This post has been edited by helene_t: 2021-July-20, 17:28

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#3 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-July-20, 15:57

I think it close between double of 1S and 2H. The pointed suit holdings are really bad, especially for north as declarer, with a spade lead throughopener, who may well hold a vulnerable spade holding.

On balance, the heart 10 sways me to the mild overbid, plus if I double and pull 2D to 2H, I’d usually have a weaker hand with longer hearts.

Therefore 2H

South has a great hand opposite a 2H bid so will bid 3S. This doesn’t promise hearts, although a strong heart raise is a common holding.

North bids 4C and south bids 4H, showing a power raise to 4H….an immediate 4H over 2S would deny great high card strength but promise excellent playing values.

North is on the cusp. It’s impossible to be objective. I’d need to be given just the north hand and my suggested auction.

Having said that, this is a minimum hand so far, with the same bad holdings in the pointed suits. On the third hand, partner could easily have Axxx in hearts. Or, say, x AQxx AQJxx Kxx where slam is laydown.

So I bid 5C and over 5D I subside in 5H. On this hand, opener should pass 5H but with my x AQxx AQJxx Kxx he should bid slam.

Note that 6H is not cold even if the club finesse works. Both players have minimums for their auction to the 5-level.

Also…..I would strongly advise against a splinter even had east passed

Splinters do three things

One is that they tell partner that we have at most one loser in the splinter suit

The second is that they often let partner count on some ruffing tricks in our hand

But the third, and often overlooked by those who splinter with stiff Aces or Kings, is that they describe a range of high card strength (what range is being shown depends on the auction and whether it’s opener or responder splintering). When one has a stiff Ace, then one has fewer values in one’s longer suits, and this may cause partner to evaluate wrongly.

Finally, note that neither player can use keycard with much expectation of finding out what they need to know. This is a not uncommon situation where the partners have to use careful, descriptive bidding and pay attention not only to what partner bid but also what he did not bid.
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#4 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-20, 17:20

View Posthelene_t, on 2021-July-20, 15:36, said:

Without the spade raise, a 3 splinter would take us to slam, now I am not sure if North will go on after South jumps to 4.

But maybe 6 is down if the club finesse doesn't work.


First off, I am assuming by your answer that North bids 2H? Second, do you think the hand belongs in slam?
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#5 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-20, 17:27

View Postmikeh, on 2021-July-20, 15:57, said:

I think it close between double of 1S and 2H. The pointed suit holdings are really bad, especially for north as declarer, with a spade lead throughopener, who may well hold a vulnerable spade holding.

On balance, the heart 10 sways me to the mild overbid, plus if I double and pull 2D to 2H, I'd usually have a weaker hand with longer hearts.

Therefore 2H

South has a great hand opposite a 2H bid so will bid 3S. This doesn't promise hearts, although a strong heart raise is a common holding.

North bids 4C and south bids 4H, showing a power raise to 4H….an immediate 4H over 2S would deny great high card strength but promise excellent playing values.

North is on the cusp. It's impossible to be objective. I'd need to be given just the north hand and my suggested auction.

Having said that, this is a minimum hand so far, with the same bad holdings in the pointed suits. On the third hand, partner could easily have Axxx in hearts. Or, say, x AQxx AQJxx Kxx where slam is laydown.

So I bid 5C and over 5D I subside in 5H. On this hand, opener should pass 5H but with my x AQxx AQJxx Kxx he should bid slam.

Note that 6H is not cold even if the club finesse works. Both players have minimums for their auction to the 5-level.

Also…..I would strongly advise against a splinter even had east passed

Splinters do three things

One is that they tell partner that we have at most one loser in the splinter suit

The second is that they often let partner count on some ruffing tricks in our hand

But the third, and often overlooked by those who splinter with stiff Aces or Kings, is that they describe a range of high card strength (what range is being shown depends on the auction and whether it's opener or responder splintering). When one has a stiff Ace, then one has fewer values in one's longer suits, and this may cause partner to evaluate wrongly.

Finally, note that neither player can use keycard with much expectation of finding out what they need to know. This is a not uncommon situation where the partners have to use careful, descriptive bidding and pay attention not only to what partner bid but also what he did not bid.


Yes, I think the first bid by North is a difficult choice. Just as a curiosity, Marty Bergen would value the North hand as a 12 count so would have no issue with a choice. I never used his methods but I'm not a National champion either so maybe I should think about it

I've never been a fan of splintering with Aces or Kings; however, at this point the auction is: 1D-1S-2H-2S

That basically leaves the choices as 3H, 3S, or 4H without some specialized agreement. Comments?
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#6 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2021-July-20, 17:34

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-20, 17:20, said:

First off, I am assuming by your answer that North bids 2H? Second, do you think the hand belongs in slam?

Yeah, I assume 2. Mike suggests that X is also an option which I didn't think about but is a good idea. Off-topic: I prefer to play 2 or 2 as showing hearts here.

I am not sure if the hand belongs in slam. The timid bidding of opps may suggest that W has six spades but too strong for a WJO (hence the club finesse probably works), and/or neither opp has diamond shortness. If that inference is valid then slam is probably better than 50%.
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#7 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 00:07

View Posthelene_t, on 2021-July-20, 17:34, said:

Yeah, I assume 2. Mike suggests that X is also an option which I didn't think about but is a good idea. Off-topic: I prefer to play 2 or 2 as showing hearts here.

I am not sure if the hand belongs in slam. The timid bidding of opps may suggest that W has six spades but too strong for a WJO (hence the club finesse probably works), and/or neither opp has diamond shortness. If that inference is valid then slam is probably better than 50%.


Slam is better than 50:50 anyway I think:

Hearts 2:2 and diamonds no worse than 4:2 is 40.7%x84% = 34,2%
Hearts 3:1 and diamonds 3-3 or QJ tight either side is 49.7%x(35.5+3.2) = 19.2%

So it's a fraction over 50% just from that and there are possibilities even where this is not the case where the club finesse works, although it's long odds on the overcaller has A and can play a club to make you guess before you know the heart break. YOu also have the 1098 so Since there are 8 Qx/Jx holdings for E and only 4 QJx holdings you can up your chances by taking the ruffing finesse if trumps are 3-1 and if they are 2-2 stiff J or Q with E is also good enough but very unlikely.

I bid 2, not clear where we end up, somebody going to need to guess.
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#8 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 00:38

Without the interference we bid 1 as our GI/GF option defined as 10+hcp & a MLT of 7.5 or better. North's hand is better than this based on distribution

Over interference X shows 4+ and non-GF/GI. 2 with the interference will show 4+ and GF/GI.

I'd classify South's hand as Intermediate (14-bad 17) with Strong distribution (5.5MLT or better).

On distribution there are values for a slam i.e. 19-7.5-5.5=6 level, but hcp wise the odds look low versus North as a minimum.

I now have several options with the 4 support:
  • raise to 4 Minimum w. support
  • 3 Intermediate w. support
  • 3 and upwards control bids with support and a strong hand.

With 2 keycards & Q I base the next bid on the distributional rather than hcp strength which will be 3 showing the support and control

North then has the choice of signing-off in 4 or continues to bid controls. In this case with 2 KC I'd choose 3NT showing continued interest, but denies 2 of the top 3 honours.

Complete bidding
1-1-2-2
3-P-3NT-P
4-P-4 (2/4 KC w. control)-P
6 I can count 4KCs w. Q

Odds feel better than 50% for 6, but will need to have my A game declarer play if makeable
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#9 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 03:56

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-20, 17:27, said:

I've never been a fan of splintering with Aces or Kings; however, at this point the auction is: 1D-1S-2H-2S

That basically leaves the choices as 3H, 3S, or 4H without some specialized agreement. Comments?
4, confirming hearts with 6 strong diamonds. On reflection I think this might be the wrong bid - partner will count on a spade loser, plus there is no room to explore between 4 and 4. At the table I would have already bid it, so too late to change my mind. But 3 might well be better despite the fact that our singleton is the ace.
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#10 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 06:12

Objectively slam is the right spot as we can set up the if both red suits break in addition to the finesse and no doubt other layouts work too; so it is above the required threshold. In reality I doubt I would get there. Unlike others I would start North off with a Double since my minimum for 2 is higher than most. Then South makes their good raise, either 3 (which I typically play as positive rather than competitive in natural) or 3 (if using transfers). Over this North could make a mild slam try (3) but with the shortage in partner's suit I suspect I would just go peacefully (4).

As Mike mentions, it is easy to convince oneself to bid differently to get to the best contract looking at both hands - North could start with 2; South could treat the hand as 18 and force to game; North could make a slam try. Any of these make it easier to reach the slam so providing an auction for that would be no problem.

Incidentally, there is something weird going on with E-W here that still needs clearing up. They have a super 9 card fit at favourable and yet subside in 2? I would expect them to be bidding 4 over 4 more often than stopping in 2. After all, if West overcalls 2 or East raises to 3, it is a completely different problem!
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#11 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 06:43

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-July-21, 03:56, said:

4, confirming hearts with 6 strong diamonds. On reflection I think this might be the wrong bid - partner will count on a spade loser, plus there is no room to explore between 4 and 4. At the table I would have already bid it, so too late to change my mind. But 3 might well be better despite the fact that our singleton is the ace.

I doubt many players would take 3S as showing shortness. It’s just a cuebid. It announces a strong hand, and will usually be either a heartbraise, with slam interest, or a very good diamond suit, hoping partner can bid 3N.
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#12 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 07:03

Ah, I play Good/Bad NT here so hands without heart support take a slower route than the cue bid. That being said, with exactly 2=4=5=2 I would also need a bid, so 3 does not promise shortness.
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#13 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 12:45

View PostDavidKok, on 2021-July-21, 03:56, said:

4, confirming hearts with 6 strong diamonds. On reflection I think this might be the wrong bid - partner will count on a spade loser, plus there is no room to explore between 4 and 4. At the table I would have already bid it, so too late to change my mind. But 3 might well be better despite the fact that our singleton is the ace.


Yes, I considered 4D but wasn't sure if it retained the same meaning in competition.
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#14 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 12:57

Entire hand:



My thinking at this point - holding the South hand - was that my hand was worth around 16 which in my methods would call for a jump to game (not weak as 2H is only 1-round force) but that would not tell the story of the spade control and the quality diamond suit. 4D might be misunderstood in competition, so that left me with either 3S (overbid) or 4H (underbid).

The results are unimportant. I was just curious how others would judge to handle this hand. Thanks.
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#15 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 19:41

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-21, 12:57, said:

My thinking at this point - holding the South hand - was that my hand was worth around 16

My evaluation was 17 (and closer to 18 than 16).
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#16 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 21:33

View PostGilithin, on 2021-July-21, 19:41, said:

My evaluation was 17 (and closer to 18 than 16).


Sure. I discounted for the J9 doubleton. 17 seems about right. I must have liked it that much because I bid 3S - must have had on my rose-colored glasses.
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#17 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 21:42

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-21, 21:33, said:

Sure. I discounted for the J9 doubleton. 17 seems about right. I must have liked it that much because I bid 3S - must have had on my rose-colored glasses.

I am discounting for J9 doubleton and the ace being the singleton also devalues it somewhat. But the red suits are super.
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#18 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-July-21, 23:03

You basically have a 4 loser hand opposite a 2/1 response. 2H wasn’t as strong as it would have been had you opened 1S and LHO had passed, but it’s hardly weak.

Counting ‘points’ is a straitjacket. xxx AJxxxx xx Ax gives a decent play for slam and grand has play yet he won’t move over 3H.

Obviously counting points, with adjustments for shape, is popular and an excellent waystation on the way to learning hand evaluation. But ‘points’ are not cards, and there is only a rough correlation between points and trick taking power.
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#19 User is offline   mw64ahw 

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Posted 2021-July-22, 00:36

View Postmikeh, on 2021-July-21, 23:03, said:

You basically have a 4 loser hand opposite a 2/1 response. 2H wasn't as strong as it would have been had you opened 1S and LHO had passed, but it's hardly weak.

Counting 'points' is a straitjacket. xxx AJxxxx xx Ax gives a decent play for slam and grand has play yet he won't move over 3H.

Obviously counting points, with adjustments for shape, is popular and an excellent waystation on the way to learning hand evaluation. But 'points' are not cards, and there is only a rough correlation between points and trick taking power.

Using a traditional approach both hands have additional revaluation points depending on the approach you use taking the total into slam territory. This marries with the modified loosing trick count approach giving further comfort that the slam is viable.
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#20 User is offline   DavidKok 

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Posted 2021-July-22, 02:38

I fully agree with mikeh.

If we do insist on bean counting, I think this hand is worth closer to a traditional 19 than 18 (and let's ignore 16-17). We have an extra trump, a big source of tricks, our hand is practically all aces and kings and our points are working. If partner has a bit of extras for their 2 we are in the slam zone.
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