July bidding contest: the results!

Bidding Contest


Answers gathered from the experts
Deal 1: Rotating Sputnik
Deal 2: Pairs Syndrome
Deal 3: Not every day is a party!
Deal 4: The big plunge
Deal 5: A well-protected queen
Deal 6: Better to hold than flee
Share your opinion with us!

Answers gathered from the experts

Bidding Contest

Deal 1: Rotating Sputnik

Deal 1

As is often the case, two questions in one. First of all: should you force to game with this hand?

Yes, respond the minority of experts, who, in this framework, seem not to have any options other than bidding 2♥. Rombaut: “2♥. A hand too strong to invite to game. Although minimum, I therefore see it as my obligation to force to game.” and Thuillez: “2♥. I am forcing to game if Partner has Hearts stopped. I find this hand too nice to simply settle for an invite.”

No, the majority answered; but here is where it gets tricky: some still chose to bid 2♥, such as Jill Meyers: “2♥. Limit raise.”, Pichot or Duguet: “2♥. Not forcing to game.” Aside from Rocafort‘s original (and amusing) suggestion: “2♣. Let us quickly move on to the traditional deal advertising Inverted Minors. The usual exclamations can be repurposed: are there still people who insist on living without these? The ideal bid! Nothing can go wrong! What’s for dinner?” and Lorenzini‘s too: “2♠. For me, this bid shows five-card support for Clubs; it is equivalent to a classic 2♥ bid and is forcing to the level of 4♣ if a heart stop is missing and 3NT is not playable.” What was the bid the others chose? Curiously, it was a 1♠ bid!

Let us look at Cronier‘s explanations: “1♠. Following Rotating Sputnik, my 1♠ bid replaces a take-out double over 1♥. I have no choice: a 2♥ cue bid shows game-forcing support for Clubs, 3♣ a weaker and more distributional hand”, made complete by Lévy‘s: “1♠. Followed by 3♣ over 1NT, the mid range between supporting directly with 3♣ and making a 2♥ cue bid” and Quantin‘s: “1♠. In the framework of my system, equivalent to a take-out double (double would show four or five cards in Spades).” We shall have to get used to it: the good old Sputnik double is no longer popular!

Good to discuss whether the 2♥ cue bid is game-forcing or not, a source of huge disasters (such as playing in 3 Clubs with slam cold – an example from real life) and to take an interest in this famous Rotating Sputnik, which will surely be the subject of a few more articles.

Score Deal 1

2♥: 100 (9 votes)
1♠: 80 (7 votes)
Double: 20 (2 votes)
2♣: 10 (1 vote)
2♠: 10 (1 vote)

Deal 2: Pairs Syndrome

Deal 2

On one hand, 9 nice points; on the other, three small spades and a singleton heart. Should you, at pairs, where it is important to get a plus score on borderline hands, bid a game?

Yes, for eleven experts, including eight who have no qualms about raising with a singleton when without a spade stop for bidding 3NT. Here are their arguments. Lévy: “4♥. Pairs or not, I bid game with 25 HCP on our side.”
Kokish: “4♥. 3♥ for me is a very good suit rather than an intermediate hand with six cards, so it might be easier in that case.”
Kerlero: “4♥. As it is pairs, you might imagine passing but, as North is also playing pairs, his 3♥ will definitely be solid, as well as his suit.”
Saporta: “4♥. A very borderline decision. I am afraid that by passing, I will be going anti-field.”
Hackett: “4♥. I hardly want to get a spade lead in 3NT with my three small.”

Among the other three experts, only Pacault is opting for 3NT, while two others make a rather obscure 3♠ waiting bid.

For the nine other experts, except for a few divergences that you will see in the comments below, their motto is: in case of doubt at pairs, best to stay prudent.

Lorenzini: “Pass. I neither have a fit nor an ace, my minor-suit values could well be falling opposite a singleton; it is more prudent to pass at pairs.”
Quantin: “Pass. If in doubt, at pairs, I prioritise making a plus score to bidding a random game.”
Rombaut: “Pass. Surely a bunch of honours in Partner’s singleton, a misfit… Yuck!”
Lhuissier: “Pass. Without any aces and with a heart singleton, the chances of game being bad are quite high. Even with as much as ♠AK3 ♥AQJ1053 ♦Q3 ♣52 opposite, we are still not there on the likely spade lead.”
Toffier: “Pass. Only at pairs! In a teams match, I would have bid game in Hearts.”

On this deal, from the Winter Festival in Biarritz, Partner had ♠AQ2 ♥AK10873 ♦A102 ♣4. Game was making.

Pacault’s advice, as a pairs specialist: the right decision at pairs mixes both judgement (which might here incite you to pass) and the knowledge of the level of the field, to anticipate what the majority of players will be doing (here, bidding game due to the 9 HCP).

Score Deal 2

Pass: 100 (9 votes)
4♥: 90 (8 votes)
3♠: 20 (2 votes)
3NT: 10 (1 vote)

Deal 3: Not every day is a party!

Deal 3

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One comment

  1. It would have been useful to see what I had bid for each of these hands.
    I cannot seem to access my ranking either.
    If I do a masterclass again I would need to record my bids, opening leads, score etc. for the results to have some context.

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