Many bidding problems are clearly a bit of a guess -- if you can reason well about the percentage guess, the long-run rewards are significant. Here are two problems from a close District GNT semifinal which we won last weekend (final at a later date.)
1. You hold Ax AKQT9x xxx Jx. At neither vul., partner opens 3c in second seat, passed to you. Your style is "modern standard." Your call?
2. You hold xxx x Jxx AJ9xxx. White v. red, partner deals and opens 3S -- the auction continues 3S-4H-4S-5S-P-6H-?? Are you bidding?
#1: I decided opposite most hands we needed at least a club hook, more often needed a hook and heart break, and sometimes had no play for game. The few times game was good didn't seem to compensate and I passed. Partner held xxx x xx AQxxxxx (how traditional) and just made 3C. At the other table my hand bid 3h and preemptor bid 3nt, which even on a non-diamond lead is under 40%. They won the spade lead and lost a club hook -- down 5, we won 8 imps. Needed some luck, but I think I made the percentage guess.
#2: A difficult guess -- you know the save will be super-cheap, but mightn't partner have a stiff club, so you can beat 6H even when the opponents have their bids? An agonizing decision where you can lose 12-14 imps either by a phantom save or by failing to save. I can't tell you for sure what I would have done, because partner did it for me -- holding KQJxxxx xxx x Tx he bid 6S over 5S, so the problem I posed never arose. Against imperfect defense he got out for 500 and we won 14. (His lefty holding Kx clubs needed to pop king to cut communication at a crucial moment -- he led a low club from hand to discourage this, good technique.)
6 months ago