Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spingold bidding problem -- outcome

I posted this last week:

Both Red at IMPs, you, East, hold:

Q 8 3
7 5 2
K J 10 6 5 4

SouthWest North East

Do you act at either opportunity?

In the comments, basically everyone passed (with one exception bidding 3♣ after 2♠ was passed around). This is also what happened at my table.

Partner had something like: xx/Jxxxx/AQJ/Qxx. So we had 10 tricks available in clubs (not surprisingly the K was onside) and instead went -110. In practice this was a push, though we don't know the result at the other table (we think it was 5♣ down 1, in fact).

My instinct (and takeaway for this deal) is that people generally fear losing 14 IMPs too much in competitive auctions and should be more willing to take that risk in order to win 5 or even a game swing: bidding directly over the transfer might be required to get the game-beating lead, for example.

Bidding early also may put opener in a bind. Probably will be unwilling to pass or double with 3+ spades, and how firm are everyone's agreements here anyway?

Of course, partner has to be on the same wavelength and not drive too high with a fitting hand.


  1. Perhaps 1N-P-2H-3C; 3S-DBL should be a constructive raise to 4C and 1N-P-2H-3C; 3S-4C should be a competitive raise. It strikes me that without discussion you'll be guessing about how high to go thus giving back what advantage you might have gotten by getting into the auction. The other table in your Spingold match may be an example of turning the good from getting in to the auction (pushing the opponents to a minus score in 3S or 4S) into no advantage (converting a plus defending 3S or 4S into a minus by playing 5C).

    Certainly a good place for partnership discussion.

  2. The -14s definitely aren't the only problem...there are some -5s and -7s out there when righty has a weak hand and sells out, and no one has a great fit. The lead-director is a plus, but is muted a bit by the fact that a heart lead might be as good or better. Overall, no one can be 100% sure how it balances, but I really doubt the overall equity is a huge plus for bidding, and my guess is still minus...if it's plus-minus .1 imp, it becomes more of an emotional issue -- do you and your teammates mind the cheap sellout more, or the occasional -800?

  3. One hand proves nothing but I do really think people are much too reluctant to balance at IMPs, especially vulnerable. I don't bid more than other people in most situations, but I do balance more than just about everyone and have seen nothng to persuade me to stop.

  4. One other comment was that made regarding the *direct* 3C: In the cases where it appears to be necessary as a lead director to beat 3N, the opponents will probably often have the option to double you for at least 500. (I.e., they have the values for game, without the fit to play in spades.) So the equity from that might be limited. This problem should really be a question of balancing or not.