Friday, April 13, 2012

How thin is the game/slam?

Playing teams yesterday, we came in a close third. These are the two boards that got us and they both hinged on evaluating my hand on its suitability for somewhat thin games and slams.

As South, I opened 4H on this hand and played there (we open rather light, so partner's pass limited his hand to 9 points):
Dlr: W

The opponents at the other table bid a heart slam, and brought the contract home when West turned out to have KQ tight in spades.  Even if you are supposed to bid thin games and slams at teams, I think that this is a tad too thin.

Another board was also hand evaluation gone awry: 
Dlr: N
Vul: N/S

Partner opens 1C (Precision: 16+ points) and East comes in with 1D.  Now, I have to decide what my hand is worth. I have 9 high-card points if I count the Jack of spades. I decided to double, showing 5-8 points and a balanced hand.  Partner bids 1H which, in our Canape-style bidding, could be just 4.  Do I stick with my original hand-evaluation or has the hand gotten better?  There is a strong case for bidding 4H now, but I went the low road, bidding 2H which partner passed.  As you can see, we can make game when either the club or the heart finesse are on.  So, this was a game that ought to have been bid, even at match-points.  The opponents, playing 2/1, opened 1NT, did Stayman and landed up in 4H, making.


  1. First one is unlucky, About the only thing that will make the slam is Hx on your right, since you only have 1 entry to board, although Hx on your left will make as well if you guess to play for the correct 1 (Lead low from hand then guess right on next play from board).

    The second one, I think you have to take the field option. Partner has 16+, you have a fit, you have 9, most people are going to be in game. Deciding to go the low road means that you are putting up 10 IMPS vs gaining 5-6 when gamen fails. So you have to be getting better than 2-1 odds, so the game can only make about 1/3 times to break even, prob 1/4 times to be a little ahead, and that is on perfect defence. So usually that is the reason for bidding close games, especially vul, at IMPS. I think you need to bid either 3H, highly inv, or 4H, GF with that much.

  2. FWIW, I would open 2C on the hand you opened 4H! Lots of controls, great suit, no rebid problem, easy choice for me. (Makes slam opposite SKQ and out, a five count.)

    That having been said, when I plan the follow-up auction in my favored methods, I would have found it quite difficult to stop below the well-against-odds slam. Really hard to ascertain that partner has three small spades. I would be upset if I were an opponent and lost IMPs by stopping short of slam.

    On the second, although I am not a precision player, I don't understand why you would downgrade the nine point hand with all connected honors and a side T9. If double shows 5-8 and something else shows 9+, I would choose the something else. (And I agree with David's comments about underbidding on the next round, too. Just does not feel right, and I can't see a reason to go against the field, too.)

  3. Why open 4H instead of 1C? (we were playing Precision, so I'd have to open the hand 1C) I was afraid that the opponents would find a profitable minor sacrifice -- one problem with Precision is that opponents interfere more, since it is at a lower level. Also, we have no methods to find out whether partner has the spade king, so I didn't see the point of opening the bidding 1C.

    Playing 2/1, I'd open 2C because it makes it harder for the opponents to interfere, and we do have the gadget that 2C-2D-3H sets the trump suit and asks partner to cue-bid his Aces and kings. Now, I can hope to hear 3S. If I don't hear 3S, I'll sign off in 4H.

    As for the second hand, I agree with both of you. I'd like to take that hand back and make a better response :)

  4. Good point, Lak, about a possible standard (non-Precision) auction beginning 2C-2D-3H on first hand. As much as I hate to admit that my favored methods of control-showing responses are not working well (at least on this hand), my auction would begin 2C-2S (an A and a K, not necessarily in the same suit), and from there are not sophisticated enough to solicit the necessary negative information that partner has three (or four) small spades.

    I do not play Precision, but my gut tells me that if that were my system choice, to open the hand 1C ... even though the worry you expressed about major suit interference is legitimate.

  5. No way to make a CAB in spades in the first hand playing Precision? Why are you playing Precision without asking bids? Opening 4H? Open 1C and jump in H asking for cue bidding, you will learn partner has AK of diamonds and nothing else, so you will NOT bid slam - but you give it your best shot bidding this way.