Vil .. That's Who (has the answers)

The questions from last week: Vil thanks all those who sent in their answers.
Dlr N Nil Vul
You are West and after two passes, South opens 1H. Your hand:
S KQ987
H KQ87
C 7
What would you bid?
a) If you double, North passes, East bids 1S and South 2C. What would you bid then?
b) If you bid 1S and North doubles and East bids 2S and South bids 3C, what would you bid?
c) If you pass, North bids 1NT and South 2C. Do you wake up and bid something now and if so, what?

This was the West hand when South opened 1H. The best option, I believe, is to overcall 1S. If partner supports spades willingly, you can now bid 4S. Double is a option but if partner then bids 2C you will have to bid 2S, which does not quite describe your hand, though it would show a strong overcall in spades. With your heart cards, No Trumps could be a better spot than 4S if you have game your way. If you double and partner makes a FORCED bid of 1S, unless you and partner bid carefully (and properly), you may either miss a game or overbid to an unmakeable one. If you do double, East will bid 1S and you should then bid ONLY 3S to allow for the fact that you have forced a bid out of partner. Too many people don’t understand that.

S AQ73
C K754
You have the opening bid. What would it be?

This is a truly awful 21 count and, I believe, worth only a 1C or 1S opening bid. Why? The “quacks” i.e. queen jack of hearts are not worth anything opposite a partner who could be weak and not have either the king or ace in the heart suit, which is most likely. Unless partner has enough to respond to a one level opening bid you will be better off in 1C or 1S but which? If you play ‘five card spades’ you have no option but to open 1C which could turn out worse than 2NT, as it happens in this deal. The best spot in fact is 1S, which is where we would bid if playing our ‘Superclub’ in Evil Acol but let’s not go there now. Ask me about that some other time!

S 7
D AJ105
C AKQ1075
All Vul, partner opens 3S. What is your bid?

Do you trust partner’s preempts or not? The only thing of concern is how many SPADE losers partner has, so asking for aces then kings, however you do it, will be of little help. If you bid 5S, that will tell partner that your only concern is the spade suit, and partner will either pass or bid 6S depending on how good his trumps are. They are great in this case so you will reach a stone cold 6S. If you don’t trust partner to have a decent spade suit, may as well bid 3NT, which is unequivocal, you do have nine tricks in your own hand and more potential ones. Interesting problem isn’t it?

S KJ954
H A108
C J5
Partner opens 1NT (12-14). How would you bid your hand if
a) you do not play transfers
b) you play transfers

a) Bid 3S which is a game force and shows exactly five spades and asks opener to raise with three or four spades, and to bid 3NT with only two.
b) Bid 2H as a transfer to spades and when partner bids 2S bid 3NT which also shows exactly five spades, but also a balanced hand (332 outside) and opener should now bid 4S with a three card suit unless he has forgotten or has some other GOOD reason to bid 3NT. This is not best handled by Stayman, partner may not understand your 3S bid as forcing after Stayman.

S Q42
H 63
D KQ954
C K102
You are NORTH, Dealer South and EW vul. After two passes, would you bid anything and if so, what?
If you pass and East opens 1NT (12-14) and West bids 2D (transfer to 2H) what would you bid?

I know most people will pass but this is an ideal situation to make a (what I call by the acronym of “SLOB” ) Strategic light opening bid. Being not vulnerable against vulnerable opponents should give you the courage to be a bit daring. Nothing much can go wrong, can it. If you do pass you will as it happens get another chance to bid your diamonds, when East opens 1NT and West bids 2D as a transfer. You can DOUBLE to show your hand, and as it happens partner does not have diamonds to compete in but does have a good enough spade hand to venture 2S when opponents transfer to 2H. As it happens, 2H by EW can actually make four thanks to the very favourable layout but would they go even as far as 3H if North opens 1D or doubles 2D after a transfer sequence and South bids 2S?

S 4
H A7
C K93
You are South, Nil Vul. You open 1D and partner bids 1S. What is your next bid?

If you follow the point count doctrine you will bid 3D: “15-17 HCP and a good 6+ card diamond suit. But this hand is FAR better than that. You have eight certain tricks (you can’t possibly have a diamond loser unless it is a ‘goulash’ deal) and very good chances of either a club lead or making the king later, so bid a confident 3NT. And hope partner does not have seven spades and decides to bid 4S!

Thanks to all those who had input into this analysis.