To save or not to save?

May 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm 9 comments

This deal came up against Cayne today.

NS vul
Dealer East


RHO opponent opens 1D and I guess you have a choice of heart bids, or perhaps, even, 2NT, Michaels? I chose 3H, partly because I thought it would make it more likely, if I were to bid 5C next, that I had five of those. This is the auction to your next bid:


What now, to save or not to save? How likely is their slam to be making and how likely is it, over your presumably cheap save, that they can bid and make 7S?

In the other room you are making the decision after this auction:

4H …..Dble…..5H……6S


Entry filed under: Cayne matches.

Play problem answer To save or not to save, continued.

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jonathan  |  May 18, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    I wouldn’t think of saving at unfavourable. I’ll curl up in front of my fire with my cocoa, slippers and cat. J

    • 2. cathychua  |  May 19, 2009 at 9:13 am

      Yes, but you aren’t at unfavourable….

      • 3. Jonathan Mestel  |  May 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm

        Doesn’t it say N-S Vul above the deal? Tea culpa, I think. J

        • 4. cathychua  |  May 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm

          Oh, bidding is now fixed up. It is a not-vul decision.

  • 5. andrew webb  |  May 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    bid 7C – makes it harder for ops to forcing pass & reduces the chance they can bid 7S. Saving looks OK, partner might have C ace and us thence 2 tricks, but will s/he swing it? Mind you, if you know things about what partner leads vs slams, then you might choose to pass.

    Meckwell play a bunch of bids over 3S that mean “4H with varying degrees of defence” – nice to have the negative inferences of that available now.

    • 6. Ben Thompson  |  May 19, 2009 at 8:46 am

      I’m late for making a comment on saving or not, but I think 7C might give them a shot at bidding 7S they otherwise wouldn’t have.

      The guy on my right is the one with heart control. I doubt they play lefty’s pass over 7H as “I’m good to go for the granny if you have 1st round heart control”. You could maybe play that, but you would have to be extremely clear on what auctions it applied in (in principle auctions where the guy in passout clearly has some sort of control and the guy in the immediate seat is very unlikely to – now define that in an accident-proof way). If you play something like that, I bet your system book comes in 3 volumes and your name is either Jeff or Eric.

      On the other hand, if you bid 7C, that’s like the surprise suit. Now for sure everyone would play pass as “I have 1st round club control”. This is also a suit lefty could actually have 1st round control in.

      So if I’m going to sac, I do it with 7H.

      • 7. andrew webb  |  May 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

        if you think the 6S bid will have 1st round H control, then I agree. If you think it’s biddable with only 2nd round control, then the 7C bid forces them to sort it out in 2 suits, which I doubt they can do.

        i guess the absence of BW is suggestive, but suggestive of what?

      • 8. Ben Thompson  |  May 19, 2009 at 2:46 pm

        Well … no

        If we bid 7C:
        LHO says (reasonably extrapolating from standard agreements) –
        P = I have 1st round C control and I like my hand
        7S = I have control of everything and I love my hand
        Anything else except X = just like 7S but more confusing
        X = none of those (so you assume no 1st round C control)
        Then, assuming LHO passes –
        7S = you have 1st round C control, I have 1st round H control and we all like our hands

        Whereas, if we bid 7H, almost everyone is going to play LHO’s pass as showing 1st round control in hearts – which they almost certainly don’t have, so they almost certainly have to X, so oppos almost certainly can’t get to 7S. I know RHO can pull the X, but who really does that? People with lots of ex-partners. And they could do it just as easily in the 7C auction.

        So long as we think RHO is the one who holds the H control for their side, bidding 7C gives them the potential to sort out RHO’s heart control – so long as LHO has C control.

        Now if we thought LHO had H control for their side, it would be a different story. Should pass over 7C show just C control, or both H&C control? Not so obvious how to extrapolate the standard agreement, and I bet most pairs would just X and discuss it later.

        Here’s a suggestion – if they randomly produce a 2nd suit as a slam sac, and your side is not absolutely known to have 1st round control in either suit, play Pass as “I have 1st round control in exactly one of their suits” and partner can bid the grand holding 1st round control in the other. And everyone likes their hand enough.

  • 9. Michael Ware  |  May 18, 2009 at 10:24 am

    On the second auction, I think it is clear to pass 6S. The auction has given West a significant guess and our CK may be a trick to go with 1 or 2 trump tricks from partner.

    On the first auction, it seems almost certain 6S is making. East has shown longer spades than in the second auction and West had room to go slower if wished.

    I would think the chances of the opponents bidding 7 (and making it) are very low (say 5%). The vulnerability is just too tempting for them to take the money. Thus I would bid 7H and go for my probable 5 imps (-800 vs -980)


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