Chuck Arthur

MSC 10

Here are two quick problems that David Cohen asked me to solicit you for answers.

First problem; vulnerability unknown.













West North East South
1 Pass ??


Well, do you “Walsh” this hand, bid 1 diamond, or something else altogether?

Second problem; EW vulnerable, NS not.













West North East South
Pass Pass
 1 1nt  2   ?? 


2 notrump would be lebensohl. Do you trot it out?

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Dave CaryllNovember 23rd, 2010 at 1:37 am

1 Spade. In case he opened with 3 Clubs.

Dave CaryllNovember 23rd, 2010 at 1:40 am

Problem No. 2 – lebensohl: let partner play 3 clubs.

john cunninghamNovember 23rd, 2010 at 1:47 am

Are you trying to reach a consensus?

Those who Walsh, Walsh.

It is tempting to bid a spade for the lead, should LHO jump in, and I suppose I well might if I had some decent spot cards. Here, after bidding one diamond, I expect to be very quiet, to the extent of passing an uncontested one heart advance from partner. Partner will be 4-4-1-4 with 20 HCP, I expect.

IF we are playing Wolff signoff, I would be more likely to respond one spade, as I can bail out into 3 diamonds after partner’s jump to 2nt.

David LindopNovember 23rd, 2010 at 2:31 am

I’d probably bid 1S with the first hand, especially if non-vulnerable (a little scarier when vulnerable). I wouldn’t quarrel with a pass. I prefer 1S to 1D, since it has the bigger upside if I happen to find partner with four spades.

On the second deal, I would trot out Lebensohl, intending to play in 3C. I have no defense to 2H, and the opponents presumably have at least a nine-card fit. The hand could play well in clubs, or we might push the opponents to a level at which we actually defeat them.

Jim de BoerNovember 23rd, 2010 at 6:05 am

Problem 1: Pass. If it comes back to me at 1 club doubled (by either LHO or RHO), I bid 1 diamond. Vulnerability might be a factor. If vulnerable, I might rather bid 1 diamond right away and hope partner doesn’t make a forcing bid.

Problem 2: Pass. Partner has some good hearts – but can’t defeat 2 hearts. 3 clubs is likely going down – opponents may be able to double 3 clubs.

John Howard GibsonNovember 23rd, 2010 at 6:40 am

Problem 1 . A definite pass. Opponents bound to double or come in. If they double you have two safe places to retreat to 1D/1S. But hand can be far more damaging in defence on an initial club lead against their suit contract.

Problem 2. Partner should be showing 15-17 points ( Acol ) but might well have hearts given your void. Certainly, you can’t leave them in in 2H, and 3C looks to be an ideal contract and this might well push opponents up into an unmakeable contract. Lenensohl 2NT bid works well here.

Debbie BennettNovember 23rd, 2010 at 7:40 am

1. I bid 1D. If pard rebids 2nt, I will check back and pass pard’s response, especially at matchpoints. I don’t win every game and don’t win every hand. It’s only one board.

2. I bid 2nt lenbensohl, we have a least an eight card fit, what’s the problem. Pard’s H cards may be useful in that some of my baby spades can be discarded.

Steve GoldinNovember 23rd, 2010 at 8:44 am

I used to play with most partners that a 1 Club bid could be short, but even so, why venture into an auction that very probably belongs to the opponents ? The odds are against us missing game, and if the auction “heats up”, any subsequent action that I may make has been defined by my initial pass.

For the second auction, if the opponents were silent, I’d have transferred to my six card suit and hope that produces 2 0r 3 tricks more than 1NT would have. But, my opponents have taken me off the hook–I pass, in tempo.

Bob McPheeNovember 23rd, 2010 at 9:11 am

1 spade as suggested has the biggest upside, I am not fond of passing these hands.

The good news is I play lebensohl, this hand is why, so 2N and just maybe you get lucky and find partner with 3 clubs.

David CohenNovember 23rd, 2010 at 9:21 am

Thanks for the first wave of comments.

It seems I am in the minority on both hands. The first hand, I am not a Walsh person, so I choose my longest suit, and prepare to pass whatever else partner bids (unless we are playing Wolff over 2NT). Although I certainly would choose 1S as a very close second choice.

The second one, I am happy that the opps took us out of a NT contract that is probably going down 2 or 3. Why would I want to reintroduce the opps to a penalty dbl by Lebensohl’ing to 3C?

Ross AndersonNovember 23rd, 2010 at 9:47 am

I bid “1 D”.I don’t like clubs and don’t want to bid over 1C-p-p-*-p-p and I don’t want to see partner play in 1 club passed out. I will bid 1 diamond and pass out 1 heart , 1 spade 1 no trump or 2c by partner and bid over 2d , 2h, 2s and 2NT.I don’t like 1 spade because I don’t wish to play in no trump or clubs and I am making a rebid tough for partner if he does not have a strong hand .

In hand 2 I stay silent. Opponents may be gin for 4 hearts;especially if partner has strong clubs. Why open myself up for a big penalty double when I don’t have to. Remember partners heart cards may be useless in clubs.If partner has something like Kxx KJxx xxx AKJ 4 hearts may depend on the location of the spade ace and any saves are going for a royal ride.I don’t want to give out any extra info.

Chuck GallowayNovember 23rd, 2010 at 10:45 am

1: I would bid because I fear an opponent in last chair passing with a club stack. I like 1S.

2: Not a nice hand but 2N may bring on the “trained seal” effect (The heart bidders will want to play the hand) and if not 3C may work out okay.

Chuck ArthurNovember 23rd, 2010 at 11:08 am

Since these are not really my problems, I had better get my votes registered.

Problem the first

I am not much of a Walsh fan, but on a hand this weak, I bid 1 spade (as long as I am playing enough toys), for all the reasons that Walsh fans elucidate. The silence by East increases the likelihood that we’re about to hear a big bid from North next. Over 2nt, I’ll Wolff my way to 3 diamonds. Over 3 hearts, I’ll Ingberman (lebensohl application) my way to diamonds.

Problem the second

I pass!! Sure it is tempting to bid 2nt lebenshol, but if I insist on playing with my toys with 1 HCP, too many bad things might happn. 2 hearts might be on its way down with the bad trump break, and 3 clubs will almost certainly go minus. Knowledge of my opponents bidding “style” might modify my stance.

Jonathan SteinbergNovember 23rd, 2010 at 11:11 am

In my style/system, the first hand is an automatic 1S response. Pass is NOT an option. It is a textbook example of why Wolff sign-off is an excellent treatment as I am prepared for partners 2NT rebid and can easily get out in 3D.

The second hand is less clear. I might Lebensohl to 3C or pass depending upon my mood, table feel, if I need to go to the washroom, whatever!

Abe BirenbaumNovember 23rd, 2010 at 11:34 am

Not Vul Ibid 1spade,vul I pass

Bid 2NT Lebensohl

gowdyNovember 23rd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hand #1 1S for all the stated reasons (lead ,upside and style)

Hand # 2 Matchpoints vs weakish opps then perhaps lebensohl but if IMP’s what makes you think that you can play in 3C’s and/or beat 4 H partner holds k10x Kxx Qxxx AKQ On this one they could make slam!

Ivan PopivanovNovember 23rd, 2010 at 1:33 pm

#1: 1S, especially if playing two-way checkback and wolff signoff

#2: 2NT

Mike KennyNovember 23rd, 2010 at 7:41 pm

1. I would bid 1S. I do not like leaving partner in 1C with a stiff, and I have methods over 1nt or 2nt to get out in diamonds, and if partner raises me I will enjoy the play. If he rebids 2C he has 6, so that’s fine with me too. Unless partner has a special hand I do not expect to buy it, and my 1S response and a possible raise from partner may allow us to muddy the waters sufficiently that they may miss their optimum spot. Just as long as the ox does not reverse into hearts. And, sadly, I would do this red or white, IMPs or MPs – it’s my style to bid in these situations. I never pick up good hands, so I have to take advantage of bidding opportunities when they arise :<)

2. Since I could not even double a grand slam with my hand, I am concerned they may make a game and I do not want to push them to it. Partner can have a hand like Axx, Kxxx, Kxx, AKx, and it is not certain w wil beat 4H. Any cards my partner may have in clubs are not pulling their weight defensively with my length. I might be tempted to save at favourable if they bid 4H and partner has first crack and passes – although this is more dangerous at MPs than at IMPs. So – I pass here, because if I bid and they get to game, it s not clear that will be good for me.

Steve UngerNovember 24th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

1. I bid 1 spade; always have and always will.

2. 2NT; I am not worried about the opponents bidding and making 4 hearts. I am not worried about being doubled in 3 clubs. I’d rather defend 3 hearts instead of two.

LindaNovember 24th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

1. Bid 1S. If you play Walsh then you do it.

2. I would pass and I am surprised so many people want to come back into this auction.

Mike HamiltonNovember 27th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

FIRST PROBLEM: I am a believer in disciplined bidding, even if it produces an inferior result from time to time. This hand counts 5 playing points, being 4 working HCP plus 1 long-card playing point for the 5th diamond. I would pass to limit my hand to under the 6-point minimum required for an initial response. Having limited my hand in this way, I now have maximum values for any future bidding. In particular, my hand is worth 7 points in support of any other suit and hence is worth one more competitive call if partner can make another bid.

The big risk of an initial pass is that partner has a balanced 18-19 HCP with only 3 clubs and East has trap-passed. West passes and partner goes down in a 3-1 fit for a bottom score holding the strongest hand at the table. If this is what happens, it’s only one board.

If partners don’t exercise discipline in bidding, they start second-guessing each other on a deal-by-deal basis and after a while, each partner will lose touch with the other in the meaning of his bids.

SECOND PROBLEM: This hand has a nice shape for competitive bidding. Here we count 1 working HCP and 2 playing points for the long clubs for a total of 3 points. Since Lebensohl here could be used with a zero point count, I should at least consider it.

We have at least 8 clubs, but the suit might break badly. I think we have a fair chance at holding a diamond fit as well and that ought to be worth at least one trick if we declare this hand. If we think they will make a heart partial, we should play for a mini-sacrifice of down 1. Since we are not vulnerable, we can stand to be doubled as long as we can hold it to down 1.

Weighed against this is partner’s defense against a heart contract. He could hold 4 good hearts and 17-18 HCP, especially if East raises in competition on a whisper of value. And what if West has opened light in third seat?

This one is a judgement call. I think it pays to bid one more in these situations and play for down 1 at the worst. The tie-breaker for me is that many E-W pairs will compete one more as well and we will have pushed them one level higher than if I had passed. Therefore, I’ll try 2NT for the puppet club reply, pass or correct to diamonds. Here, of course, I pass.

Bill KilmerNovember 28th, 2010 at 12:21 am

Pass and Yes.

john cunninghamNovember 28th, 2010 at 11:34 am

A little sidebar for you Walsh fans.

From the discussion it seems that if one responds one spade, then rebids 2 diamonds over a no trump, it is weak canape. What about after a 2 club rebid? Same thing?

2 hands came up on the weekend: 1c/1s/2c/2d. K; Jxxx; Tx; AKJ9xx and next day Tx;QT;KT9; AKT9xx.

On the first hand I squirmed a little bit, then squeeked out 2 hearts (wrong, I know, it could be 4th suit forcing) Partner had jT9xxx,KQ,KQxxx,- and rebid 3 diamonds, which I PASSED. Too high, but not a bottom.

Having learned from that experience, on the next hand I supposed partner had club intolerance, so I passed!

Missing 3nt and 5 spades, as partner had KQ9xxx,Jxx,A,QJx


Hazel Wolpert tells me that Darren and she play 2 diamonds as an artificial GAME force. Tower of Babel.

Chuck ArthurNovember 30th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

From Abe birenbaum

re Dave’s 2 questions-1-Bid 1spade

2- Lebensohl

Chuck ArthurNovember 30th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

From Doug Andrews

1. 1D

2. 2NT

Blair FedderDecember 3rd, 2010 at 4:39 am

#1…1 Diamond

#2….Pass against unknown opps., make some noise ( a non-forcing 3 clubs or whatever ) against opps. good enough to bid their game

Chuck ArthurDecember 16th, 2010 at 11:20 am

The following is a roundup for this problem. The counts are somewhat approximate as I assigned some halfs, and Gowdy waffled based on the type of the scoring.

Problem 1

1 spade: 13

Pass: 6

1 diamond: 5

Problem 2:

2 no trump: 13

Pass: 6

bert curryMarch 17th, 2011 at 8:12 am

we play 1 c can be short and forcing 1 round if responder doesnt have clubs. 1 d shows 0-7 unless further call made. 1nt by opener shows 18-19,expect to pass openers next call

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