Scottish Cup denoument

June 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm 12 comments

PS: The bid I made, when asked, was 4S. Why are the 4NTers not taking a bid that says that same thing and keeps everything lower with a useful 4NT bid for partner???

Dealer East
EW Vul









Pass……Dble…….All Pass


In the other room:

2H………4S………All Pass


I was watching on BBO and, at the end of 64, it was announced that John Holland’s team had won by 6 IMPs. In fact, however, a score had been put in the wrong way and the match was so far a tie. I wasn’t the only one who missed the ensuing excitement, thinking it was all over. Another eight boards and then another two and then another two. Finally that produced a winner, Les Steel’s team by 3 IMPs.

When shown this hand and thinking exactly the same way as everybody else, show your two-suiter, I figured I’d better ask Les what his thinking was. He was concerned about the idea that a club ruff in diamonds was more likely than a diamond ruff in clubs.

There is also the worthy point to consider that bidding this high MEANS you have a two-suiter as a passed hand, so partner, if highly unsuitable, should be able to correct as a matter of general principle. I think this idea has much merit, though I never see it discussed in bidding theory. Have I missed something?


Entry filed under: bidding.

Scottish Cup Too irritated for words. Drugs in bridge. Groan.

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jonathan  |  June 5, 2010 at 1:34 am

    What’s bidding theory got to do with this hand? We don’t want to describe it, we want to declare a making contract. I like Les’s sequence. LHO may well misassess his Kx or AQ of clubs when we insist on the suit. Unless partner is strong, which is unlikely when he fails to double 5S, he will have 3 clubs (2452 is pretty remote when we have 6 diamonds). So we want to play in clubs doubled. Forget describing the hand.
    At the table, I might fall into the trap of bidding 5NT over 5S, because we’ve been brought up to involve partner in things.
    But this would be thoughtless in my view.

    • 2. cathychua  |  June 5, 2010 at 6:58 am

      Jonathan, You do realise you are an Englishman agreeing with a Scot. This could be war, you know…

      But yes, I like the idea.

  • 3. sartaj  |  June 4, 2010 at 10:47 am

    The concept of passing and bidding to indicate a two suiter applies when acting unilaterally. Here, with partner’s double, it gets waved.

    I believe this was standard “bidding theory” for a while in bridge but has lost followers with each passing decade.

    • 4. cathychua  |  June 4, 2010 at 11:55 am

      Standard bidding theory??? Really??? I’ve never seen it talked about. But yes, it is obviously something that belongs to unilateral action as a passed hand….I wondered if it might have application here. An example of when it obviously applies is pass and then over 1H 3H bidding 3S for example. I can see that the more hands one passes on to begin with as not appropriate for an initial action, the more one might wish to make it something else. Me, if I’m playing free-wheeling preempts and some two bids, I like the idea of this being a 2 suiter.

      • 5. Chris Mulley  |  June 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm

        The context in which I use it is an auction like:
        1NT (P) P (2H)
        P (P) 2S

        I would play the 2S as being 4 spades and a longer minor (having not transfered first time).

        • 6. cathychua  |  June 4, 2010 at 7:04 pm

          Well, yes, but the point of that is what has gone before it. The point of coming in at a high level as a past hand opposite no sound from partner is what hasn’t gone before it, rather than what has…

      • 7. phil markey  |  June 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm

        like i said earlier i think passing as the dealer when you plainly have a big stake in the auction is just always dumb – one aspect of that with this sort of hand is that against good/very good opponents your now playing with your cards face up

        given that you open as the dealer based on your stake in the auction – ie a lot – you have disguised this hand from a good/very good player

        so…” I can see that the more hands one passes on to begin with as not appropriate for an initial action, the more one might wish to make it something else” – reads like the more stupid you are early the more stupid you have to be later to make up for the early stupid – i kind of crazily want to pass throughout if i had a brain seizure and passed initially with this sort of hand – at least that way no-one will guess what i have

  • 8. Ben Thompson  |  June 2, 2010 at 3:16 am

    “There is also the worthy point to consider that bidding this high MEANS you have a two-suiter as a passed hand”

    Are there any hands you wouldn’t pre-empt on at Red v Green that are worth a bid now? How about xxx x Ax Jxxxxxx? Or xxx x KQx Jxxxxx?

    As for suffering ruffs … partner can listen to the 4C splinter, and your minors-4NT, and make up his own mind AND get the guy likely to be ruffing on opening lead.

    The actually good choice in the auction was X instead of 2H.

  • 9. Ben Thompson  |  June 2, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Cueing 4S or 5S (or 6S) sounds like 2 suits including hearts. The oppos are obviously going to bid 4S over 4H, so you should take the chance to get the H-plus-minor hand off your chest with your own 4S bid every time you’re intending to compete at the 5-level.

    • 10. Andrew  |  June 2, 2010 at 5:47 am

      I was planning to bid 4D and follow it up with C as required, because I don’t care that much about the 7th C and I want partner to prefer a D lead.

      • 11. Chris Mulley  |  June 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

        I don’t agree with this logic. In fact, I think it makes it more likely that partner will lead a club because he will think that your diamonds are longer and hence are more likely to be ruffed. When you follow up with lots of clubs, why can’t you have better (but fewer) clubs?

        Misleading partner as to length is much worse unless partner always woodenly leads your first bid suit without any thought. If you have the agreement that 4D followed by some number of clubs is lead directional for diamonds and an immediate 4NT is lead directional for clubs, then I agree with you. However, my guess is that most people play it as more of a “preference” exercise – with 6-5 on diamonds, I bid 4D and follow up with 5C; with a 6-5 on clubs, I bid 4NT; with a 7 – 4/5 (poor suit), I might bid 4C/4D and follow up with 4NT.

    • 12. david  |  June 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

      Actually, it makes sense that 4S is both minors (over which 4NT is equal preference) and 4NT is hearts and a minor. Same as when they preempt 3H and you play non-leaping michaels, so 4H is minors. The only time a cue is vaguely useful as other major is over 1H when getting out in 2S is valid.


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