Cambs & Hunts Bridge
|Newsletter Number 34||30 April 2003|
|Editors:||Chris Jagger, 2 Wycliffe Road, Cambridge CB1 3JD, Tel: 01223-526586 and|
|Jonathan Mestel, 180 Queen's Gate, London SW7 2BZ, Tel: 01223-329671.|
|E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Web page: http://www.cambsbridge.org.uk/|
Items for the Web page should be sent to David Allen on email@example.com
The next newsletter is scheduled to appear on 30th September. Please try to get copy to us no later than 15th September. All contributions welcome!
Congratulations to Fiske Warren on becoming the County's sixth Grandmaster.
Note the earlier date for the Newmarket Swiss Teams which will be on 26th October. There will also be an entirely separate newcomers event on the same day - please encourage people at your club to come along!
Annette Gerloch is the new `Bridge For All' coordinator. Please direct any enquiries on teaching to her.
This and previous newsletters can be found on the County Web page, whose URL is given above.
|In this issue Julian Wightwick displays remarkable unruffability (sic) in a letter to Aunt Agony, who also advises Eryl Howard on competing over the Multi. Chris Jagger recommends three card raises of responder, and steers a true path through an ethical morass. There is a report from County membership secretary Penny Riley and Jonathan Mestel discusses the competition from last Newsletter. There is the usual round-up of News and Results, including a report from Chris Larlham on the newly formed Cambs & Hunts Bridge League.|
North leads 7, playing 4th highest. Plan the play. (Solution later.)
Letter to Aunt Agony:
Playing in a recent Swiss Pairs event I had the following typical Pairs decision:
After a bidding misunderstanding I declared game in our fourth best fit:
North led a trump, and South switched to a diamond. North ruffed a second diamond and led a club to my ace. South ruffed Q and led A and another heart.
I now had to decide whether to accept -700 or whether to risk -800 by letting the heart run in an attempt to score -600. I couldn't see how our side could go three down doubled in anything, but N/S might well make 4 for 620 or 790. What would you advise?
Yours trumplessly, Julian Wightwick
A typical Pairs decision? I hope you're pulling my leg. Anyway, it was your fifth best fit - you have 5 tricks in no trumps.
To answer your question literally, it depends whether your hand would double 4 on sequences such as 1-P-P-4; if so your best hope of a matchpoint is to beat -790, when rising with the king is the correct Pairs play, even though it is unlikely that South is 8-2-2-1 or 6-4-2-1 on the bidding. North's failure to raise spades may suggest a near Yarborough. You know your club better than I do.
Most important however, especially early on in a Swiss Pairs match, is to prepare your post mortem. You must avoid losing an extra trick against correct defence. If hearts are 4-2, South could do no better. So play K. After conceeding Q on the actual layout, say to partner. "Sorry - I could have made one more, but on his actual hand I assumed that, rather than cashing A, he would lead a trump to partner, ruff the club return, lead another trump to partner, and throw a heart on the last club. A rather elementary endplay." You will doubtless recover some matchpoints on the next board by this manoeuvre. Partner. who may be anticipating some criticism for the auction, will also feel worshipful.
Anyway, it's rather difficult to achieve -700 nowadays. Congratulations!
Yours not too enviously, Auntie [For the record 4 made once undoubled, and 5 made once doubled! (ed)]
Another letter to Auntie
Dear Aunt Agony,
You pass as dealer holding:
Your LHO opens a Multi 2. Your partner doubles and RHO bids 2. Your partner's double may be a balanced 13-16 or 20+ or a strong unbalanced hand. Should you bid and if so what?
Ludor Ignoramus alias Eryl Howard
Two letters in four months! I must be getting popular.
This is a nice practical, everyday problem. Opponents have preempted you a little, partner has managed one bid, but won't bid again unless (s)he is strong. A good principle in these situations is that the defender with short trumps should strive to compete, which means you, on this hand. Opponents should have 9 hearts, and you want to compete the part score even if partner is minimum. What are the options? You could bid 3, make a take-out double, or some sort of conventional bid, such as a Lebensohl 2NT.
Let's deal with the worst option first. A double suggests 4 spades, and you could remove 3 to 3. The trouble is, partner is very likely to hold four trumps and pass. If partner were to make a penalty double you would surely remove it on your hand; thus you should not make a take-out double. 2 is more likely to make an overtrick than go down. No, double is taboo.
3 is a nice descriptive bid. But partner may have a problem. What would you bid with the same hand with KQ instead of J10? Presumably, 3 again. But in that case you have good prospects for 3NT opposite say Kxx KJxx Axx QJx. 4 may also be in the picture. How is partner to know whether to bid on if your bid is so wide-ranging?
The solution is to play 2NT in this position as Lebensohl. Many people play Lebensohl when an opening 1NT is overcalled. This position is exactly the same! Partner has shown a weak NT by doubling, and opponents have `overcalled' 2. So you bid a conventional 2NT, over which partner bids 3 unless very strong. You now convert to 3, showing a weak, single-suited hand, and partner knows to pass. On a stronger hand, you bid 3 directly showing extra values.
If you got too high on this hand, I suggest you discuss with your partner the benefits of Lebensohl on this and similar sequences, such as 2-X-P-? Of course you lose the possibility of a natural 2NT bid, but that is not a very high price to pay.
Best wishes, Aunt Agony
In a new series of articles, we plan to look at some situations which many players find baffling. Suppose partner were allowed to use every shrug and gesture you make to deduce things about your hand. The auction might commence - sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff (I have four points partner), scratch, scratch (two spades), tap the foot seven times (seven card heart suit), and so on, finally getting across to partner exactly what you have. Few people would want the game to be like this, and so there is a simple rule - you are only allowed to get information from legally made bids, and the play of the cards. Any other information from partner, such as sniffs, winces, alerts and so on, is unauthorised. If you use that information, the director may have to adjust the score (he lets the play continue, but may adjust at the end of the hand).
Let us look at a common problem sequence:
Unopposed, you bid 1NT-2-2-3-P. It's clear what went on in this auction - partner forgot you were playing transfers. One can picture it at the table - partner woke up to what was happening when you alerted 2, and you realised because partner looked flustered, perhaps even gasping when you alerted 2.
In this situation, both players are in possession of unauthorised information - you are not allowed to know that partner has forgotten the system, and partner is not allowed to know that you are playing transfers, unless it becomes absolutely clear from the bids alone.
Of course both of you do know what has happened, but must carry on bidding as though you do not. You should imagine that when you alerted 2, partner had nodded, and said `that's right, we play transfers.' Your partner should imagine that you had not alerted the bid, and had explained that 2 was natural.
So what should have happened? Over 2, partner should have assumed that opener had opened 1NT with a five card heart suit, and should have passed the 2 bid - why else would you remove 2? (If you had told opponents that 2 was a weak takeout in diamonds isn't that what 2 would mean?) Thus with three card heart support it is quite clear to pass 2.
What should you do over 3? With partner sagely nodding at every point, you would think it was clear that he had hearts and diamonds. There is no way that with three hearts and only two diamonds, you would let him play in 3. You would probably jump to 4 to show an above minimum hand with three card heart support.
The director should definitely adjust the score in this situation. But what should he adjust it to? 2 or 4?
It might seem logical to say that partner should have passed 2, and so that is where you should play. However, the rules are not so generous. The fact is that partner did bid on over 2, and you are not allowed to get a better result than you might do by using unauthorised information. If partner had used the unauthorised information and you had not, you would have played in 4. The correct decision is to look at both options and award the worse one. So in this case, you must play in 4, and the director must work out how many tricks he thinks it would make, giving the benefit of the doubt again to the defenders.
One of the greatest weaknesses of less experienced players is being afraid to raise partner - one of the greatest weaknesses of the better player is imagining that every bid should be forcing. In this article we treat a common sequence that illustrates both of these failings.
You pick up Kxx x AQxx Kxxxx, and open 1. Partner responds 1. Too weak to reverse into diamonds, many would rebid 2, and quite likely miss an excellent spade fit. Much better is to raise to 2. Whilst this may lead to an uncomfortable 4-3 fit, far more often the 4-3 fit will be the right place to play, or partner will have five anyway.
In fact, most top players would raise if it had started 1-1 and they held Kxx x Kxxxx AQxx even though they could now comfortably bid their second suit. Many would also raise a 1 response with Kxxx Qxx x AKxxx, and on balanced hands with three card support.
Aside from the fact that you tend to land up in better fits by doing this, it also makes stronger hands easier to bid constructively. Kxx x AQxxx AQxx can bid 1-1-2-2-2, accurately showing the shape of the hand, and also conveying extra strength to partner, as with a weak hand you would simply have raised 1 to 2.
So how do you continue after 1-1-2? How do you investigate the right game? The key is to bear in mind that partner may only have three spades. With five spades it is easy - you can make a game try with 3 or 3, or a subtle game try by bidding 4.
With only four spades, you have to be a little more careful. If invitational, choose between 2NT and 3, both natural and non-forcing. If partner has a maximum he will choose between 4 if he has four, and 3NT or 4 if he has three. Note that 3 showed exactly three hearts and four spades, so it leaves partner well placed to select the right contract. Notice also that it is not forcing. If partner has a minimum and 3-5 in the majors, it clearly cannot be right for him to have to put back to the 4-3 spade fit.
With a game force and only four spades, choose between 3NT and 4, the latter when you have three card support (with only 3-4 in the majors partner should either open or rebid 1NT, so you are known to have a fit in one of the majors). With four spades partner will pull back to spades.
Raising on 3 card support: If this is a struggle to you, take comfort from the fact that with 6 of your first suit and 3 card support you can choose whether to raise partner or rebid your suit (though with six hearts it is almost certainly better to rebid 2).
Forcing or not?
Have a go at the following sequences - are they forcing or non-forcing (all uncontested)? Compare your views with your partner's!
(see later for comments.)
Results Round Up
In the Eastern Counties League, the County had an excellent year. In the final two matches, the A, B and C team results were: Norfolk 3-17, 7-13, 17-3; Bedfordshire 15-5, 3-17, 20-0. This left the County in 2nd, 3rd and 2nd place respectively, in the A division being just 4 VPs adrift of the leaders. For the Cambs & Hunts Bridge League see later.
In the County Knockout Round 3 JAGGER bt JONES, LARLHAM bt RILEY, BIRDSALL bt MAY. In the semi final, JAGGER bt MILMAN, LARLHAM bt BIRDSALL.
In the County Plate Round 1, JACOBSBERG bt HOWARD, COPPING w/o MAN, CARMICHAEL bt MONROE, RICHER bt COLLIER. In the semi-final JACOBSBERG bt COPPING, CARMICHAEL bt RICHER, and in the final, CARMICHAEL (Dolan, Cambery and Courtney) bt JACOBSBERG.
|County Individual Final:||County Pairs Final:|
|1. Colin Campbell||1. Fiske Warren & Chris Larlham|
|2. Niel Pimblett||2. Rod & Sue Oakford|
|3. Sheila Barker||3. Don McFarlane & Sheila Parker|
|4. John Pearce||4. Kevin Smith & Joanne Caldwell|
|5. Ruth Forster||5. Victor Milman & Nadia Stelmashenko|
|6. Sheila Lancaster||6. Ian Aldridge & Mary Knights|
|7. Paul Lefort||7. Gladys Gittins & Ian Carmichael|
|8. Bill Penfold||8. Brian Copping & Mike Tedham|
|9. Chris Larlham||9. Bernard Buckley & Brian Robinson|
|10. Ted Shaw|
The New players tournament was won by Andrew Wilkinson & Margaret Mitchley, with Mary Ashworth & Gulzar Waljee 2nd and Maggie Brookes & Michael Brown 3rd.
St Neots won the county heat of the Golfprint Knockout. Chris Larlham's team represented the county in the Telegraph Cup, coming third out of seven teams.
In the NICKO, Cambridge A is the only team to reach the sixth round, beating fellow recent winners Coventry in round 5. In Crockfords, Chris Jagger's team have reached the final.
The King's Lynn Congress Swiss teams was won by Roger Courtney, Robin Cambery, Graham Dolan & Linda Quigley. In the Online One Day Congress, Graham Dolan and Linda Quigley won the Lou P Shield. Catherine Jagger came 2nd in the Ladies Trials and has been selected for the Lady Milne. Chris Jagger won Cwmbran Swiss Teams and the Harrogate Swiss Pairs, and came 2nd in the Grand Master Pairs, with Catherine Jagger coming 4th. Rod & Sue Oakford came 6th in the Portland Pairs. Geraint Harker & James Chapman won the regional heat of the National Newcomers Pairs and Carole Parker & Peter Jackson came 3rd overall.
Around the Clubs: Cottenham - The Championship Pairs was won by Peter Holmans & Vin Vachher, runners-up Alan Ashment & Peter Bhagat. Peter Morgan & Frank Padgett won the Evans Handicup cup ahead of Doreen Rapley & Myriam Warburton. Peter Holmans was Individual champion with David Laman 2nd. The David Haddock cup for slam bidding was won by Alan Ashment followed by Emile Habib.
Forcing or not?
(Solutions to the sequences given earlier.)
Ultimately whether or not a bid is forcing is a matter of agreement for a partnership, and the most important thing is that you and your partner are consistent. However, there is really little excuse for any of (a)-(d) to be forcing, whereas (e) is generally played as forcing nowadays, though would have been non-forcing in the past. Modern treatment is to play that a bid at the two level shows a hand that wants to go to game opposite a 15-16 balanced hand - this being the case, it makes little sense to play the last sequence as non-forcing. To go through the others:
(a) 1-2-3-3: 3 hearts, 4+ clubs, and 10-12 points, or thereabouts.
(b) 1-1-2-2-3: This is invitational with 5-5 in hearts and clubs. Partner may well have given false preference to two hearts, so you don't want to force him to be false twice!
(c) 1-2-2-2NT-3: Depends slightly on methods - but in my style 5-5 in the blacks - both hands are limited with no likely major fit, so unlikely this could be forcing.
(d) 1-1-2: Playing this as forcing is almost a criminal act! I see reasonable players, who believe in opening 1 on a ten count, stretching to respond 1 on a five count, and then think a new suit is forcing, thus raising to the three level on anywhere from 5-11, and somehow hoping that they might be able to find the right spot! Playing `new suits forcing' is a simple rule, but it can actually be more accurate not to know what your methods are and thereby have more chance of playing in the right contract!
Dates for your Diary
|1st June||Jubilee Swiss Pairs|
|29th June||ECL v Essex (H)|
|12th October||ECL v Northants (A)|
|26th October||Newmarket Swiss Teams|
|9th November||ECL v Norfolk (A)|
|23rd November||ECL v University (A)|
|1st February 2004||ECL v Beds (H)|
|14th March 2004||ECL v Suffolk (A)|
Solution to play problem on cover
Clearly, North has the higher spade cards, and it is tempting to win cheaply in dummy. However, even if we make two spade tricks, we still need three tricks from clubs. Suppose at trick 2 we run Q. From the auction, North is strong favourite to have K and will win and switch to diamonds. How shall we continue after winning A? North might hold Kx, when we must finesse 9 on the second round, or K10 or K10x when we must play clubs from the top. In short, we will have to guess correctly. Crossing to Q at trick 2 to lead a club towards dummy is no better; North will duck and we have no entry to the long clubs.
The moment you think of winning the first spade in hand with K, it is clear that this is the right play. Establishing Q for North does not matter, and at trick two we lead a small club towards Qx, while we still have the Q as an entry. The play is automatic if North has Kx, K10, or K10x, and problematic only if he has a singleton K or K10xx, which is not too likely. And if, despite his first round pass, and the lack of K lead, South turns up with K? Then we did the wrong thing at trick 1. We will make up for it by guessing well on the next round of the suit!
Competition report: ±600
Last Newsletter we asked for votes on the best line in 3NT on the hand below.
The unopposed auction was something like 1-2; 2-2NT; 3NT. South leads 10, to the J, 7 and 2.
Once we lose the lead, opponents have at least 9 winners to cash, as having not bid 2, South is unlikely to hold AK and AQ109x(x). Will he find a heart switch if we lose a club finesse to him at trick 2? When I set the problem I assumed he would, but Julian Wightwick and Joanne Caldwell are not so sure: For example, with xx Kxx AQ109x Qxx might he not lead a spade? It is difficult to estimate this factor, so for the rest of this article we will assume that the defence is optimal. In which case, how should we best combine our chances in the black suits?
There are two lines giving chances in each suit without risking losing the lead. We could:
(a) play off A, AK and then finesse J, or
(b) cash AK, and then finesse the J.
The point of playing off A in (a) is to pick up a stiff Q, by finessing the 9 on the second round. However, there's the possibility of a false card if South holds Q10. Also, if South holds Qxx x AQ109x Q10xx, the Q is quite a plausible false card with those frightening spades in dummy. For simplicity, let's assume South doesn't drop Q.
The advocates of plan (a) were Sheila Parker and John Turner, while Don McFarlane and Gareth Birdsall preferred plan (b). Roger Courtney considered both plans before indicating a mild preference for plan (a).
So let's compare plans (a) and (b) a priori, i.e. ignoring any other factors. Plan (a) works if Q drops in two rounds, i.e. in 1/6 of the 5-1 spade breaks and 1/3 of the 4-2 breaks. which is about 3+16=19 of the time. Of the remaining 81, the club finesse scores in 1/2 of the 3-2 club breaks, or 1/2 of 68. So the total chance for plan (a) is 19+(81×34%) or about 46%.
Now let's try plan (b). This succeeds if the Q is doubleton, or 2/5 of the 3-2 breaks or 2/5×68% or about 27%. Of the remaining 73%, we need Q, Qx or Qxx onside or 1.5%+8%+18% or about 27%. So the total chance for this line is 27%+73%×27% or about 47%. The two plans are so close that if we really want to know which is better we must do the calculation more accurately, and include the possibility of the Q dropping on the first round.
Are there any other factors? South appears to have led from AQ109x(x) and might have overcalled 2, but this won't help us place queens much. However, South is more likely to hold fewer black cards than North, and this ought to be taken into account. Clearly neither of plan (a) and (b) is obviously best, and even if you've read this far, I don't think a proper calculation would hold your interest!
This was why the competition was run on democratic lines. I was interested to see which line was the most popular. In the event, all plausible lines (including the practical shot of a club finesse at trick 2) received roughly equal support. So, by the somewhat unusual rules of the competition, I declare that everyone who entered is a winner! Except that in practice South held 43 1062 AQ10985 Q7. So most of you were 5 down. Of course, if plan (b) fails declarer is 6 down...I think the best line is the one you think your teammates will sympathise with if it fails.
I have held this post since September 2001 when I took over from Margaret Jude. She held this post for many years and has done a great job computerising the database. It involves: -
(i) Updating the database with all the EBU members who choose Cambs and Hunts as their first County. (This includes a separate section for those enrolled in Bridge for All)
(ii) Collecting fees from the 18 clubs in this County affiliated to the EBU.
(iii) Collecting subscriptions from those EBU members who do not pay by direct debit or credit card.
(iv) An annual visit to Aylesbury to meet other Membership Secretaries and to exchange ideas.
(v) Using the database to provide labels for, and aid distribution of, the newsletters. [N.B. For the distribution of newsletters, I need to know the main Club of each member.]
Membership of the EBU is important to all club bridge players because everyone benefits from the structure provided by the EBU.
Where would a club be without a Director, without movements and methods of scoring, without points, without a shop from where to purchase tables, cloths and cards etc., without a variety of people to play, without competitions against other clubs, without the chance to play in County or National events, without Bridge holidays and congresses, and without a magazine that provides news and information.
You might say that you are not interested in anything else beyond the club night, but others in your club may well be. Good Directors will have had some training either directly or indirectly from the EBU and everyone knows that the Director can make, or spoil, the fun of the meeting.
At present we have 391 members within the County, which is about 50% of all the clubs’ players.
Being a member of the EBU supports this structure which ensures that you will have enjoyable sessions of bridge at whatever level you play. So do join up this year and encourage other players to do so too.
Members’ Subscriptions for this coming year are 17.50 and are due from April 1st. (Under 25s pay 4.50 and Under 17s pay 1.50) There are four methods of payment. Most members choose (i) or (iii)
(i) The best method is to pay by direct debit. (Forms are available from your club treasurer.)
(ii) Phone Aylesbury and pay by credit card. (01296 317201)
(iii) Collected by club treasurers and then forwarded to me.
(iv) Sent directly to me as a cheque for 17.50 made out to Cambs and Hunts CBA. I will then update my database before forwarding the money to the County Treasurer, David Man. He will retain 3.00 per member (50p. per student) for the County and forward 14.50 per member (4.00 for under 25 or 1.00 for under 17) to the EBU.
Club Affiliation Fees are 22.50 (Schools are free, University is 10.00). This should be included in the cheque for members, paid to Cambs and Hunts CBA and sent to me.
New members will need to fill in a form with their details. This can be obtained from your club treasurer or myself. Those joining after November 1st and before March 31st only pay 8.75 for their first year. My address is: Penny Riley, 55, Almoners Ave, Cambridge CB1 8NZ.
This season has seen a new teams of four league take the place of the old South Cambs Bridge League, which was for club teams of eight and included restrictions on the master point ranking of the players involved. The new league contains no such restrictions and has attracted entries from a total of 30 club teams of four from 11 clubs, approximately twice the level of participation in the South Cambs League. The Thursday Club led the way, entering 5 teams, and it was good to see 3 teams from the University (who have not played in the South Cambs League in recent years) and a total of 3 teams from newcomers Crafts Hill and Linton.
The teams were formed into four divisions, each initially of 8 teams until one or two teams withdrew. Mary Knights of the Shire Hall club (one of the leading supporters of the new format) claimed the bottle of champagne I offered to the captain who sent in the first result of the new season and Shire Hall One has already completed its programme of matches in Division One. Cambridge 1 (Ann Curtin, John Turner, Cynthia Kirkby and Bob Speller) were runaway leaders of Division one, with 65 VPs from their first four matches, until they met Saffron Walden 1 (David Kendrick, Chris Larlham, Kit Orde-Powlett, Fiske Warren) in a recent match which Saffron Walden won 15-5. The final 6 matches could produce a very close finish in this Division (at both ends).
Two teams will be promoted from Division Two. Cottenham look fairly certain to be one of them but the other might be any of five or six teams. Division Three is too close to call at the moment whilst in Division Four it looks as if two out of Crafts Hill, Huntingdon 4, Saffron Walden 3 and Thursday 4 will be promoted.
|1 Cambridge 1||5||4||1||0||70||14.00|
|2 Thursday 1||4||3||1||0||50||12.50|
|3 Shire Hall 1||6||3||3||0||50||8.30|
|4 Saffron Walden 1||4||3||1||0||48||12.00|
|5 Cambridge 2||5||1||4||0||37||7.40|
|6 Ely 1||4||1||3||0||35||8.75|
|7 University 1||2||0||2||0||10||5.00|
|2 Shire Hall 2||4||3||1||0||52||13.00|
|3 University 2||4||2||2||0||47||11.80|
|4 Huntingdon 1||5||2||3||0||39||7.80|
|5 Ely 2||3||2||1||0||33||11.00|
|6 Cambridge 3||4||2||2||0||38||9.50|
|7 Balsham 1||5||0||4||1||23||4.60|
|8 Huntington 2||2||0||1||1||15||7.50|
|1 Thursday 2||5||5||0||0||78||15.60|
|2 Ely 3||6||4||1||1||78||13.00|
|3 Balsham 2||6||3||3||0||60||10.00|
|4 Cambridge 4||5||2||3||0||57||11.40|
|5 Shire Hall 3||3||2||1||0||36||12.00|
|6 Huntingdon 3||5||0||4||1||20||4.00|
|7 Linton 1||4||1||3||0||19||4.75|
|8 Thursday 3||2||0||2||0||12||6.00|
|1 Huntingdon 4||5||3||2||0||68||13.60|
|2 Crafts Hill||5||4||1||0||62||12.40|
|3 Saffron Walden 3||4||2||2||0||48||12.00|
|4 University 3||4||2||2||0||28||7.00|
|5 Thursday 4||3||1||2||0||27||9.00|
|6 Thursday 5||3||1||2||0||20||6.70|
|7 Linton 2||2||0||2||0||7||3.50|