Tuesday, July 20, 2010

PP 2nd Final Board 24

Board 24
Dlr W
Vul None

[Andy] You pick up:
♠K 8 7 5 3 2 9 3 A 8 ♣ 10 5 3

and hear partner open a 15-17 1NT. In addition to the standard transfer auctions, you also have the option of bidding 2♣-2red-2♠, which shows a light invitation based on distributional values rather than HCP. (But only promising 5 spades, so partner will not act with less than 3-card support.)

a) What do you do?
b) What do you expect the field action on this hand to be?

Possible actions on this hand include anything from signing off to just leaping to game. At IMPs, I think I would choose the stayman followed by 2♠ option. You stop at the 2 level when not bidding game, and likely get to game the times that it is right. I didn't think this was the right choice at matchpoints though, because there is so much chance that siding the contract incorrectly could cost a trick (on opening lead or otherwise).

So I knew I had to pick a transfer sequence. On general principle I hate light invite actions at matchpoints, as we could easily go down in 3♠. And that might be a complete disaster if partner had an atypical 1NT opening. Meanwhile, it didn't seem like game was likely to be great, so I took the low road and passed 2♠.

This choice was heavily punished as the full hand was:

♠ Q
K 10 8 6
Q J 10 9
♣ A J 9 7
♠ A J 10♠ K 8 7 5 3 2
A Q J9 3
7 6 3 2A 8
♣ K Q 6♣ 10 5 3
♠ 9 6 4
7 5 4 2
K 5 4
♣ 8 4 2

2♠All Pass

Partner not only had a HCP maximum, but also perfectly fitting cards and great trumps. Game is an extremely good contract. Even after the diamond lead and a losing heart finesse, 10 tricks still rolled in when the trump Q appeared.

We got 4.5 but had 11 available for bidding the game.

Afterwards, someone suggested that the field would all invite with this hand and if I knew I was winning the event at this point I should have been tempted to just try to duplicate the field action. In real life, I had no idea that I was winning -- indeed, when the event was over I figured we were probably third or something. Plus, I'm a little dubious of the argument. Enough of the field plays 14-16 NTs that duplicating their result would be impossible. (If partner has 14-16, they open 1NT and my hand passes; if partner has 17, they open a strong club or whatever and get to game. The range times out the worst for you when it centers around the borderline invite.)


  1. I was surprised the score was as high as 4.5 (tieing 9 tables seemed unlikely) so I looked...3 pairs were -50. It seems likely this is in 3nt. You can make 3nt on a diamond lead by knocking out the club, but will prefer to try the heart hook for making 4, and then are down. Actually, one of the minus 50 pairs were the runners-up, so you "won it on this board" (and many others, of course.)

    I agree with discarding the "field" argument...there is rarely a "field auction" these days, not to mention you never know exactly where you stand.

  2. I believe that there is merit in breaking the transfer with 3-card support when you have excellent controls.

    This is a case in point where all the points are likely to be working and the long weak suit is likely to be opposite shortage.