Jeff Lehman

Swiss quiz

Try some quizzes from last Thursday’s club Swiss.

Board 2.  You hold 






At favorable vul, you hear this auction:


What is your call?


Board 9.  You hold:



You hear this auction of the opponents, with explanations provided:


All Pass
(1) alerted and then explained as possibly short with agreement that with 4-4 in majors and 3-2 in minors, and out of range for their weak notrump, opening bid is in minor with more strength
(2) possibly not in tempo?

What is your opening lead?


Board 15.  You hold, at fav vul



You hear vul LHO open 2, passed around to you.  What is your bidding plan?

Playing in an unfamiliar partnership – where you want to avoid auctions that complicate partner’s life and can create bad boards to bring back to teammates – hey, maybe that is a good strategy even in a familiar partnership! –, you overcome your fear that partner will pass a takeout double, and you decide to double.  Partner responds 2NT, which you alert and explain as artificial presumed to be a weak hand of as yet undetermined type.  Do you make the usual 3 call now?  And if not, then what do you bid?  Are your choices influenced by the fact that you are playing in an unfamiliar partnership … or by the assessment that the opponents are among the weaker pairs in the field?


Board 17.    Against another weak pair, you hold



On lead against their labored auction of 1-2-2-2♠-3-3NT, you decide to lead a diamond.  You see this dummy and the shown line of play.


Q won in hand, A won in hand, 9 to the J (partner, playing UDCA, pitching a small club), K (partner pitching a slightly higher small club), spade to the 2, Q, and your king.

What do you now lead?





Follow up in a while …


LakOctober 16th, 2012 at 9:09 am

(2) I assume that you are East, not West with that hand. To avoid playing a 4-3 fit in spades, bid 4H. If partner bids 4S, pass. If he bids 5C, correct to 5D and hope he doesn’t bid 6! This is better than bidding 4S and playing a 4-3 fit.

(9) I assume that you are West, not North with that hand. Partner doesn’t rate to have much. There doesn’t seem to be much of a future in spades. I would hope that he has QJxxx of hearts and lead a small heart.

(15) If 2NT is artificial and weak, then you and partner have between you 20-22 points. 3C is enough. If partner is play lebensohl and passes 3C, then that’s your best spot. If he has weak spades or diamonds and bids them now, you can raise to game in spades or pass the diamonds. If partner forgot and 2NT shows a decent hand with a heart stopper, he can always bid 3NT over your 3C. So, the “normal” 3C seems the right thing to do. If you had long/strong diamonds instead of clubs, that would be a different story.

(16) King of hearts. Declarer is 4-1-3-5 (partner gave you count in spades in case you were in any doubt). You hope to win 2 spades, 1 heart, and 2 clubs. You will win the 2 spades and 2 clubs as long as you let declarer or partner lead either suit.

Jeff LehmanOctober 16th, 2012 at 10:24 am

Corrected directions on 2 & 9, where the shown problem hand should have been presented as East. Thanks, Lak, for pointing that out.

Stuart KingOctober 18th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

1) P almost certainly has xx in Hearts (so minor suit games will be bad) and we are not vul – the incentive to bid game isn’t great. Add to that the fact P may have only 3 spades (a 4-3 fit will play terribly with those spots) and I would take the low road and bid 3S. P is still there to raise and if he doesn’t we’re unlikely to have missed anything.

2) Seems like it is between a club and a heart. Unless P stops diamonds declarer looks like he has close to 9 tops if not more, so we need to beat it quick, so it may be best to hope he has the CA and lead C2. leading a heart looks like P needs KQxxx or QJxxx and a D stop. The small club will be right when P has the D stop and either C honour or no D stop and the CA. All in all I think the C2 might work more often (as the bidding suggests North has high cards in D not C.)

3) P doesn’t has spades having gone past 2S. If P has clubs we might have a good 5C as our Kings look well placed. 5D looks good opposite P with Qxxxx and a doubleton spade. Though 3NT might be best if P has a heart stop and more spades. I think I risk the pass out and bid 3C.

4) Absolutely all the evidence points to South being 4-1-3-5. That seems to make a small heart the obvious choice. As this is a quiz i suspect something to be not as it appears but for the life of me I can’t think what it could possibly be!

Ted BartunekOctober 18th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I agree with Stuart on 1 and 2, for much the same reasoning.

3) 3 Clubs is very unlikely to be passed out, since given your holding, chances are that’s not partner’s suit. And who knows, on a really good day partner will now bid 3 Spades or 3NT.

I’ll pass 3D — with no Heart raise from RHO, partner’s probably going to need everything I’ve got.

Unfamiliar partnership would not influence me. Partner agreed to play it — I won’t assume he’s forgotten a bid, unless my hand tells me his bid was impossible.

4)Again agree with Stuart. Small Heart seems the obvious choice. (Playing against a weak pair, it would be just my luck to hit declarer with the stiff Heart Q, having misplayed the hand, if I lead the Heart K!)

Jeff LehmanOctober 20th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

My thoughts, combined with what happened at the table/what would work:

If the expected distributions for (a responsive) double on Board 2 include the shown East hand, then double seems ideal. But does the double of a raise of one major deny ownership of the other major? That is a good question that partnerships might treat differently, perhaps even differently at the three level from lower levels. And if the double in this sequence does deny four spades, then is the shown East hand worth a 3S call or a 4S call? At the table, I bid 4S, down one. Plus scores were available for passing 3H or, more likely, for bidding 3S. Partner had her bid, Axx, Ax, KJTx, QTxx. I found the Board 2 bidding problem so interesting that I have triple dipped: I not only posted it here, but I have also posted it as a bidding poll on BridgeWinners website and submitted it to Bridge World for consideration for a future Master Solvers Club.

The seemingly automatic club lead on Board 9 produces an easy set. (Pard has J-fourth of clubs plus the SA.) Leading a fourth best spade (my choice at the table) also leads to a set … but only if declarer misplays and if the defense takes full advantage. The key play for declarer occurs at Trick 1. Dummy’s spades are A9x, declarer’s spades are Kxx. If declarer fails to call for the S9, an insert of the S8 from A8x by partner, when combined with careful defense thereafter [meaning later leading clubs], leads to a set. Heart lead will not succeed, as pard has J9xx and declarer KQT. Btw, I think the hesitation before 2NT raise is telling. Declarer, playing a variable notrump opening system, held a balanced 15 count. My experience when playing 12-14 1NT openings is it is best to expand the invitational notrump rebids from standard 18-19 to 17-19 … but that the 15-16 counts should just pass in an auction where partner’s range is around 6-10. Hesitating and then bidding 2NT would suggest to me not only a declarer who is not used to his system, but also a 15-16 point hand: Unauthorized Information to responder, Authorized Information (but use at our own risk) to the defenders.

On 15, I think there could be enough tricks for 3NT if partner has a heart stopper and not a minimum for her lebensohl call. Most pairs would place the lower limit for a three level advance at 8 or 9 HCP. If advancer owns a heart stopper and a pointed ace, 3NT should roll. I think the best bid now by doubler is 3H. But at the table, I feared that partner might not be on the same wavelength as I was and might not bid 3NT on a suitable hand. Treading heavily on the inference from the pass by my RHO, I went ahead and bid 3NT myself. That choice was a spectacular failure, as North held ATxx of hearts (and the SA) and the opponents rattled off six hearts and the spade ace. Worse, opposite partner’s QTx, xxx, AQxxx, xx (partner should, I think, have offered 3D and not 2NT), we can make six of either minor!

On 17, I favor the HK with partner’s hand. I would place declarer with 4=1=3=5. I doubt her stiff heart is the HQ, both because she might have supported the rebid heart suit with that holding (mild inference, perhaps less than mild against poor competition) and because she might have attacked the heart suit by overtaking the HQ with the ace and driving out the HK while retaining the late diamond entry to dummy (pretty strong inference, even against a poor player). Just about anything works as declarer was AQ76, –, AQ9, QT7432. But the HK seems to me to simplify the hand, while generating a defensive heart trick.

Thanks to all who responded; I hope you were entertained. (My having helped engineer down 3 on Board 15 where I can make slam, “entertainment” might be the best I can offer!)

RobinOctober 22nd, 2012 at 2:39 am

I’m a bit surprised at some of your decisions, Jeff, although I applaud you writing about them! I didn’t see this until today but I avoided looking at the answers before making my selections which were: 3S, CK, 3H. Curious to know what you think would happen in the latter case. Seems like a safe return best on the last one, such as ST though I’m not sure I would have found that in practice.

Jeff LehmanOctober 22nd, 2012 at 4:26 am


I don’t know what would have happened had my second call on Board 15 been 3H. I think that is the call I would choose in a bidding panel, but, of course, at the table one wants to choose the call that will produce the best table result to bring to teammates and not the best post mortem. Would partner have next called 3NT with something like Axx, Qxx, xxxxx, xx over 3H? It is quite possible that my choosing not to find out was short-sighted. Surely, relying upon my opponents to have bid more hearts with ten of them including all of the heart honors turned out to be pretty silly.

An aside on Board 15. The opening leader properly placed the HA face down on opening lead. Third hand played the H2 (rest assured this pair was not playing UDCA) from KQJxx2 before my partner had even called a card from dummy. Yet leader quickly played a second heart once it was turn to play at Trick 2.

— Jeff

Jeff LehmanOctober 22nd, 2012 at 11:01 am

I should mention the results of the BridgeWinners poll on the auction on Board 2. About 50% chose 3S, about 20% chose 4S, and about 30% chose double. In looking at the names of the voters for each of those three choices, I was not able to discern any particular expertise bias; that is, each of the three choices was selected by plenty of known experts.

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