Contract Bridge Themes with a Midwest Accent! 

Partnership Understandings?

I have a feeling that this problem, sent to me by a frequent correspondent, might pose a challenge for many partnerships. We all have methods in place for an overcall of 2NT after RHO makes a weak two bid. Our group plays “Wardiator.” A 3Club Graphic bid relays to 3Diamond Graphic for some signoff. A 3Diamond Graphic call is invitational in “our” major. Cue for Stayman. There is some variation (which we should eliminate) in how we handle the relay followed by a cue bid. With most partnerships we are playing an immediate bid of Three of our major as showing 5-5 in the minors! As Terrence Reese once observed, this is something that should not be “dis-remembered”!

But what about balancing bids of 2NT? Is everything still in force? Assuming you know what you are doing, how would you handle the problem as posed.

At favorable vulnerability You hold Spade Graphic J93, Heart Graphic KJ52, Diamond Graphic —-, Club Graphic J98654.

Your RHO, the dealer, opens 2Spade Graphic, you pass as does LHO. Your partner balances with 2NT, and RHO passes.

What is your call?

Warren Buffett Cup

Just as a reminder to our readers, the trans-Atlantic match for the Warren Buffett Bridge Cup is currently underway in Ireland. Scheduled to coincide with the Ryder Cup, the match features an innovative format. Players use simplified methods and are matched against a counterpart pair on the other team. The U.S. #1 pair, for example, plays Europe’s pairs 2-5 and then compares scores with Europe’s #1 on a one point per board basis. There are team and individual formats along the same lines.

There is plenty of information, including an interesting diary by each team captain, at the official site.

You can also watch the matches online at BBO. Because of the time difference and mostly daytime play, the times are pre-dawn to a little after noon in Chicago.

Justin is Back in Action

Readers who enjoyed Justin Lall’s excellent commentary and problems on his blog, Squeezing the Dummy, will be happy to know that he is back in action.

It is always difficult for active players to keep up with the reporting of their hands. Everyone will enjoy his account of the Thailand event, as well as some other interesting problems.

Responding to Blackwood — The Sequel

I said that I had a strong opinion about this. The press of activities seems to have caused me more six months to state it, more than my usual delay!

I agree with Simon Cheung (who is most welcome to post, btw, as are others who have joined in).

I find that even players who deem themselves to be experts do not plan their Blackwood sequences. If you are asking, you should already know what your next move will be.

If you are responding, a reasonable delay is always in order, since care is the essence. Once you make a response, you cannot decide to move later.

In particular, if partner issues a try with 5NT, you respond, and then partner delays before signing off, you are finished. There was a case that went before a committee in the World Championships many years ago. Hamilton and Eisenberg had such an auction. The responder had a clear-cut grand slam bid over 5NT, but just answered kings. When he moved again after a delay, the Italians protested. The USA prevailed on that one, but we all prefer not to be in a committee on such a key hand.

It is much better to figure out whether you can accept over 5NT and so so at that point. As to the question, I would have shown the Heart Graphic Q, and I would not move again after showing the Diamond Graphic K.

A Game Decision

With neither vulnerable in a Sectional Swiss Teams, you are fourth to speak holding Spade GraphicT6 Heart Graphic AKQ953 Diamond Graphic 853 Club Graphic KQ. Your LHO opens the bidding with 1Diamond Graphic followed by two passes. You make the balancing call of 2Heart Graphic and partner raises to 3Heart Graphic, both opponents passing.

How do you feel about this? Do you have any extras for your bidding so far? Most importantly, what do you call?

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