BBO Prime bidders challenge: April Panel Comments

Conducted by Marc Smith

Set 2022-4



Welcome to the fourth set of the 2022 competition. By the time this is posted, last year’s COVID-delayed World Championships will have at begun in Salsomaggiore. Many of our expert panellists are playing in one of the competitions in Italy, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish them all good luck. I hope we can report next month that all four events have been won by teams including members of our esteemed panel.

Our guest panelist this month is Francois Duffour from Paris, France. Francois is 65 and he has been playing for many years with some good results in national events (“but too many second places” he admits). He stopped playing 12 years ago for professional reasons and has come back to the game in the past year (“thanks to Covid and BBO,” he says).

Hand 3 this month comes from one of our most consistent competition entrants, Pete Law, and Hand 6 was sent to me by one of our expert panelists, Barnet Shenkin. My thanks to both for their contributions. If you have a hand that you think would produce an interesting panel discussion, please send me details. Remember that the best problems offer three or more sensible actions rather than being a straight choice between two.

We have a majority choice from the panel on four of the eight hands this month. The most popular choice of competition entrants matches the panel’s choice on three deals and is amongst the top contenders on four others. On only one deal does the largest group of competitors choose a bid not even on the panel’s radar. We have a record number of entries this month, 1,725 eclipsing the previous record from February by just 16, so congratulations to everyone who makes this month’s leaderboard. This also looks like being the highest-scoring set of the year so far, with an average score of 50.88. However, I’m sure that there is still plenty that can be learned from our experts’ observations, so let’s get to them…


HAND 1.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES
510827.2
4♠️  8120.9
Dbl6436.9
5❤️400.5
6♣️201.3
Pass0011.4
4NT000.9
5♠️  000.4
7♣️000.1
5:diamonds:000.1
6NT000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 6.65

Partner’s Pass is clearly forcing, so the more than 10% of competition entrants who pass out North’s 4 undoubled will hopefully learn something from their zero on this deal. The most important question is what does partner’s pass of 4 show? Most of the panel think double would show a balanced hand, so pass suggests an interest in declaring…



BROCK: 5♣. Partner’s pass is like a take-out double, is it not? Maybe I should bid 4♠, but it seems more normal to bid my six-card suit. I am slightly heavy for this action, of course, but any more seems too much.


COHEN: 5♣. Not many partnerships will know what East’s Pass (as opposed to double) means. Presumably it is forcing, and I don’t want to double or bid a four-card suit, so that leaves me with 5♣. Partner might even get a lead out of turn.
DUFFOUR: 5♣. Partner should double with a balanced hand. Pass is take-out with a two- or three- suiter. I answer politely (if we have a 4-4 spade fit, too bad…).
Jill and David both make similar points
MEYERS: 5♣. I would double with a bad hand, so this is somewhat constructive and shows long clubs.
BIRD: 5♣. I would have to double on a flat 1-count. A bid of 5♣ shows that I am happy to play for 11 tricks and therefore shows around these values.
LAVEE: 5♣. Not clear in my opinion.
P-O summarizes for the 5♣ bidders:
SUNDELIN: 5♣. “Strong” is very wide-range. What balanced hands can East have? Would he double with any balanced hand? Or always bid with one-suiter, two-suiter? Double if understood as takeout risks 5, but should be open to suggestion. 4♠ may be better played by partner, but imagine AQxx/xx/Kxx/AKQx and 4♠ is all we can make. (He would be 23+ if balanced. MS) 5♣ is perhaps too optimistic, but a friend of mine says:” I’d rather take a zero for acting than for not”. So, it’s 5♣ after all that.
Neither Paul nor Barnet would have been in this position to start with, but they now come up with different solutions.
MARSTON: 5♣. I strongly disagree with passing the first time. Surely, I can bid 3♣ and solve the problem. I know my points are low but fit comes first when the bidding is contested.
SHENKIN: Dbl. I would have bid 3♣ over 2.
ROBSON: Dbl. Uneasy choice but, if partner passes, I have a good lead and a probable 300/500 against a game.
WANG: Dbl. This is my only realistic option.
Tim seems to be alone in his interpretation of the meaning of partner’s pass…
COPE: Dbl. A lot of systemic agreements present in this auction. I am sure I am probably being talked out of something, but partner’s Pass shows a strong balanced hand as they could have doubled for take-out. We have a good lead and expect to have two losing hearts if we play the hand, so no guarantees of big money, but I expect +300, which is better than guessing what to bid. I will leave it to our esteemed conductor to tell us why we did not bid 3♣ one round earlier, and we might not then be in this position now.
Ola comes up with a unique solution, but he has sound logic to back it up.
RIMSTEDT: 4♠. I don’t know what pass showed over 2 but, presumably, I denied five spades, so I can now bid 4♠ to show anything close to a take-out with four spades. I believe my opponents know what they are doing when bidding freely to 4 with no hcp, so I won’t double.

Partner had Axxxx/AQ/AKJ/AQ10 so both 6♣ and 6♠ were decent contracts, particularly with East declaring. You can get +500 from 4-X.

HAND 2.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES (%)
4♠️  10935.3
3♠️  7139.3
4❤️717.5
Dbl614.6
4:diamonds:208.8
Pass002.4
4♣️001.5
3NT000.2
4NT000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 7.25

This is purely a matter of judgment – just what is this hand worth? Our expert panellists are emphatic in their opinion, with only a couple of dissenters. Let’s hear first from the majority:

COHEN: 4♠. I have too much for 3♠ and not enough for 4. It is too risky to bid 4, which partner might raise when spades is much better.
MARSTON: 4♠. Clear and simple.
COPE: 4♠. Not quite good enough for a cue-bid raise with a doubleton heart, but too good to bid just 3♠ as this hand could have immense value.
SHENKIN: 4♠.
RIMSTEDT: 4♠. This hand is pure, and definitely good enough to force to game. It’s worth more than just its 10 HCP.
LAVEE: 2. 4♠. One cannot preempt after the opponents’ preempt. A cue-bid here should be a slam try.
BROCK: 4♠. Maybe I should bid 4, but that feels insufficiently spade-oriented.
SUNDELIN: 4♠. See previous comment about zeroes
WANG: 4♠. A little over bid.



Francois sums up for the majority.
DUFFOUR: 4♠. I am too strong for 3♠ and I cannot double as I do not wish to hear 4♥ on my left and 5♣ from partner.


Jill chooses an alternative as she has an interesting extra systemic arrangement not available to everyone else.
MEYERS: Dbl. I like to play double here as showing either a good 3♠ bid or both minors. Partner will bid 3♠ if he would not have accepted an invitational spade raise, and something else with a game acceptance.
David does not think the hand is good enough for a jump to 4♠…
BIRD: 3♠. I am going to raise the spades, since partner might pass a negative double. In any case, I don’t like to double with good spade support. 3♠, 4 and 4♠ are all flawed. I will risk the underbid.
…whilst Andrew thinks it is too good.
ROBSON: 4. Good raise. I must show my fit, and set up a forcing pass situation if North saves (I’ll double 5 if partner passes). [Yes, a 4 fit non-jump would be a useful agreement on the hand.]

This hand originated in the final of the Italian Women’s Trials, where West raised spades via a 4 cue-bid. When North found an imaginative raise to 5 on her 1-2-6-4 shape, it was then virtually impossible for East to go plus with K109xxxx/Q10x/–/AJx. Indeed, she jumped to 6♠, obviously expecting short hearts opposite. 5-X goes three down for +500 and there are three unavoidable losers in a spade contract.

HAND 3.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES(%)
Dbl101129.2
4♠️7126.2
5❤️4112.3
5♠️302.1
5NT202.3
4NT0018.0
6NT004.2
6♠️003.2
Pass001.9
5♣️000.1
5:diamonds:000.1
6♣️000.1
6:diamonds:000.1
6❤️000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 5.36

This hand produced by far the most decisive vote of the month from the panel. Indeed, it was only in the final couple of days that votes came in to avoid the dreaded unanimous panel. Although the most popular choice of competitors scores 10, around 45% take an overly-optimistic view of their hand. Let’s hear from the majority first:

MEYERS: Dbl. I have a defensive hand and I have no direction.
BROCK: Dbl. It’s only Love All, so taking the money might well be the best thing to do.
BIRD: Dbl. At this score, the likely penalty may exceed our expectations when declaring. We could be missing 10 HCP or so, in which case making slam is no certainty.
SHENKIN: Dbl. Partner has a singleton heart so the K is not full value. Let’s take a decent number defending.
DUFFOUR: Dbl. I hope partner passes. The K (at least) is probably useless on offense, and I’m not even sure to make 4♠ on a 4-4 fit if partner has something like Qxxx/–/AQxx/Axxxx. I will have a new problem if partner bids but, fortunately, that’s not the question…
ROBSON: Dbl. Probably 800 if there’s a slam, but it feels like there’ll be a hole or a ruff somewhere, so let’s take the money (assuming partner passes).
MARSTON: Dbl. I intend to pass partner’s response. So be it if we miss slam.
RIMSTEDT: Dbl. If partner doesn’t have anything unexpected he will pass. If he bids I’m happy too as I’ve got a strong hand with support for all suits. We probably make a slam if he bids over the double.
WANG: Dbl. If partner bids something, I will raise.
Larry and Tim both make excellent cases for the majority choice.



COHEN: Dbl. I am not driving to slam, as my values, shape and high-card location all seem iffy. If partner passes the double, we’ll surely get adequate compensation for what we’d get if I had bid a conservative 4♠. Indeed, we could even go down in 4♠ facing, say, Jxxx/x/AQ10x/Axxx.


COPE: Dbl. Not a penalty double, just showing values. True, it doesn’t have to be a 17-count, but with seven of my points in hearts, the hand is not as strong offensively as it might seem. Give partner a hand such as AQxx/x/Axxx/Kxxx, and we would have no guaranteed slam, and sometimes not even a game against bad breaks, so we will accept +500 and move on. As this is a convertible double, if partner does move on, I will look towards slam.
There were just a couple of mavericks, one pessimist…
SUNDELIN: 4♠. Cowardly, I know, but even this might not make opposite something akin to Qxxx/x/AQxx/Axxx.
…and the lone optimist amongst our experts.
LAVEE: 5. Try for slam with a heart control.

At the table, partner had a bog-standard double with AQJx/x/AQxx/10xxx, but it was still easy to get too high. You can make +420 in 4♠, losing two clubs and a club ruff, but your best result is to defend and collect +500. Obviously, any plus score is preferable to going minus at the five- or six-level. Well judged by the panel and the largest group of competitors.

HAND 4.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES(%)
4:diamonds:10613.9
4NT925.2
4❤️933.1
4♣️8114.8
6:diamonds:703.5
4♠️710.9
5NT700.2
6♣️500.5
5:diamonds:405.9
3NT3043.1
5♣️303.3
Pass003.2
Redbl002.0
6NT000.3
5♠️000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 5.30

All five denominations at the four-level attracted the support of at least one panellist, all with the same general thought in mind, to investigate slam. This proved to be the most difficult deal this month for the competition entrants, with by far the largest group settling for 3NT, which the panel universally dismissed. Let’s start with the majority:

BROCK: 4. I like my hand for slam, so time to show partner the fit.
WANG: 4. I just tell partner that I fit diamonds and have interest in slam.
LAVEE: 4. I am keen on making a slam try diamonds.
DUFFOUR: 4. 3 was just a waiting bid. South’s double suggests that partner will not have too many wasted spade values, and he also probably has no heart stopper, which means good diamonds Let’s make a move towards a diamond slam. I will follow with RKC.
ROBSON: 4. This must be 100% forcing, but I would have bid 4NT RKCB for diamonds the round before. This auction is getting unnecessarily murky.
COHEN: 4. I would have bid 3 on many hands that were stuck, so partner’s 3♠ could just be probing for 3NT. I haven’t promised diamond support yet. Ideally, I’d like to just ask for keycards with diamonds trump – is that 4NT or 4, or maybe even this in our system?
David is the lone voice for rebidding our own good six-card suit.
BIRD: 4♣. Partner will bid 3♠ on a wide variety of hands. I will continue with a descriptive bid.
Barnet plans to offer partner a choice of minor-suit slams.



SHENKIN: 4♥. I think I must have some diamonds for this. If partner can cue-bid 4♠, I’ll bid 5NT, pick a slam.


RIMSTEDT: 4. As I’ve got no agreements here, I don’t know about my options. I have a hand with many extra values and it’s probably unlikely that we won’t make at least a game in a minor. I’m going towards a slam either way.
Jill is bidding 6 if partner can show any sign of life.
MEYERS: 4. I plan on correcting 4♠ to 6.
Tim gives partner the chance to take over.
COPE: 4♠. I feel pretty happy about playing this hand in at least 6, but do not wish to rule out a possible grand. Partner’s 3♠ will just be showing a spade value, so maybe a hand such as KQx/xx/AKxxxx/xx, which will be enough for the small slam, but replace the ♠K-Q with the ♠A and we have left room for partner to use Keycard on our way to 7.
And the final group simply Blackwood their way forward,
SUNDELIN: 4NT. RKCB 1430. I see no clever way to bid this hand.
MARSTON: 4NT. Key Card for diamonds. I am happy to hear the double, as it suggests partner has no wastage there. Why do players double for the lead? It never works and I suspect they are just control freaks.

Partner had Qxxx/x/AKJxxxx/x, so 6 was an excellent contract, and most forward-going moves would get you there.

HAND 5.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES (%)
2♠️10511.7
3❤️837.0
2NT7215.8
Pass6333.7
3♣️4023.1
4❤️203.8
3NT002.3
3♠️001.0
4♠️000.9
3:diamonds:000.2
4♣️000.1
6:diamonds:000.1
7NT000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 5.86

The panel came up with four choices, none of which attracted a majority. However, three of those choices were forward-going, with just a small minority choosing to pass, which is why the most popular choice of the competition entrants scores only 6/10. Alas, the competitors second choice fares even worse, attracting no support on the panel. A tricky hand, for sure, so let’s see what our experts have to say.

WANG: 2♠. A request for partner to tell me more about her hand.
ROBSON: 2♠. Too good to pass, and nothing else appeals for now, although I am guessing we may end up in 4.
RIMSTEDT: 2♠. It’s quite unlikely partner has less than six hearts, because he didn’t double with short spades. Therefore, I can bid 2♠ showing a good raise with heart support.
DUFFOUR: 2♠. Then 3 (non-forcing) over 3 and Pass over 3. We could be too high at the three-level, but I have a little too much to pass.
BIRD: 2♠. Pass could be a winner, but game in hearts will be worthwhile if partner has a respectable six-card suit.
The next faction get the second-best score as they are of similar mind to those above.
MARSTON: 3. The only realistic game is hearts. Let partner have the final say.
COPE: 3. This is not a hand suitable for NT on an impending diamond lead, but it is just too good to Pass partner’s protective bid, which covers a wide range of hands.
MEYERS: 3. I have too much to pass but not enough to bid a game.
Just a couple preferred no-trumps.
COHEN: 2NT. This seems like a reasonable compromise between all possible actions (low road/high road, supporting hearts, etc.)
LAVEE: 2NT. Partner is borrowing a king, but our spades are well positioned and there is a chance for game. I think bidding 3♣ is close, as that would be a club suit with heart tolerance since we failed to overcall 2♣.
Even most of the passers thought it close.
BROCK: Pass. I would bid 2♠ if we were vulnerable, but I am prepared to miss a non-vulnerable game to ensure what is a likely plus score at this level.
SHENKIN: Pass. This seems like the most likely route to a plus score. If vulnerable, I might try 3♣, groping in the dark.
SUNDELIN: Pass. Bidding must be against the odds.

Even though partner had quite a good hand for his 2 bid, —/AKQ9xx/K9xx/108x, the hands do not fit well and neither 3NT nor 4 is particularly good. Although the passers would have been right at the table, virtue must be its own reward here.

HAND 6.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES (%)
3♣️10449.7
3❤️934.5
5♣️8210.1
Dbl610.1
6♣️611.5
4♣️4217.9
3:diamonds:006.4
3NT002.2
2NT001.4
5:diamonds:001.4
4NT001.3
4:diamonds:000.8
Pass000.7
3♠️000.5
4♠️000.3
6:diamonds:000.3
2♠️000.2
4❤️000.1
5♠️000.1
5NT000.1
6♠️000.1
6NT000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 6.99

This is the most contentious deal this month: the panel is split six ways with no single action attracting more than four supporters, whilst the competition entrants smash the previous record by coming up with 22 different choices. Despite this, almost half of the competitors pick up top marks. Let’s first deal with a bid that clearly sets the Francophiles apart from the rest:

LAVEE: 4♣. A jump shift with clubs, as opposed to a splinter.
DUFFOUR: 4♣. What else? No, it’s not a splinter and no, I can’t double with a singleton spade.
It may not be a splinter in France, but that would seem to be just about the only thing on which the majority of the panel do agree:
SHENKIN: 3. I plan to bid 5♣ on the next round. This seems more descriptive than an immediate 5♣. 4♣ sounds like a splinter agreeing spades.
ROBSON: 5♣. Rather uncultured, but I am concerned that 4♣ is a splinter agreeing spades (I think it is). So, it’s either 3♣, which is not 100% forcing chez moi, or 5♣.
COPE: 3♣. This already shows a good hand, as 2NT would be the competitive noise, and whilst we might be too strong even for this, our hand is not going anywhere until we find a fit. Give partner a 6-3-2-2, or a 5-4-2-2 shape, and we will be happy that we have underbid the hand. We must also remember that a natural 4♣ bid is not available, as that would show a spade fit.
BIRD: 3. It’s hard to answer this when we don’t know which, if any, variant of the Good/Bad 2NT is in use. Since I have 2♠/3♠/4♠ and probably 4♣ available to show hands with spade support, I see no reason for 3 to agree spades. I will probably follow it with 5♣.
SUNDELIN: 6♣. At least this cannot be misunderstood as showing a shortage with spade support.
WANG: 3. Cue bid. If partner bids 4♠, I will bid 5♣, showing a strong hand with 6-5 in the minors. If I have room to show the same hand at the four-level, even better.
MARSTON: 3♣. I am ready to say sorry if everyone passes.
BROCK: 3♣. Partner is sounding as if he is 5-4 in the majors, so I am happy to underbid a little.
COHEN: 5♣. 3♣ is definitely non-forcing, no matter what anyone says. 3 could be misleading/confusing and 4♣ is probably a splinter agreeing spades. This straightforward bash no doubt shows a big hand with both minors and avoids a misunderstanding or accident.
Ola is alone in trying to keep as many options open as possible



RIMSTEDT: Dbl. This double just shows extra strength with no good bid. Best scenario, partner will bid one of my minors and I can ask for aces. If he bids spades, I’ll bid natural clubs at a high level next.



Partner had AQxxx/xxxx/Jxx/x, so 6 was a decent spot.

HAND 7.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES (%)
3♠️10740.7
4:diamonds:9619.7
4♠️5016.2
4♣️401.8
2♠️208.1
3❤️201.2
2❤️003.1
3♣️002.2
2♣️001.8
3:diamonds:001.7
4NT001.0
Pass000.8
1NT000.6
2NT000.3
4❤️000.3
2:diamonds:000.1
3NT000.1
5:diamonds:000.1
5♠️000.1
6♠️000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 6.91

The panel is split fairly evenly between just two options, and more than 60% of competition entrants concurred with one of those two choices. Remarkably, though, the remaining competitors came up with 18 alternatives, a few of which received some marks if only because they are less far off the mark than some of the other choices. Let’s hear the debate between the panel’s choices.

COHEN: 3♠. This feels just about right – worth no more and no less.
MARSTON: 4. Splinter bid for spades.
LAVEE: 3♠. This shows four spades and about 15-17 points, which is what I have.
BIRD: 4. A splinter bid does not promise the earth in terms of HCP. It merely says ‘I want to play in game and I have a diamond shortage.’ So, I discarded my first thoughts of a raise to 3♠.
DUFFOUR: 3♠. My hearts are too weak to be afraid of missing game if partner passes.
BROCK: 4. The choice is between this and 3♠. Maybe the latter is wiser, but partner needs quite a lot to make a slam try without a heart control.



MEYERS: 3♠. If the ♣A was the ♥A instead, I would force this to game, but I like to give partner some rope.



ROBSON: 4. Minimum, and will sign off in 4♠ over 4. The main caveat is not so much the overbidding, but more tipping off the club lead (Zia will, of course, splinter 4♣).
RIMSTEDT: 3♠. This shows a good unbalanced minimum hand. I’m quite strong for this, but it’s also the best way to describe my hand.
COPE: 4. A slight overstatement in terms of high-card points, but I am worth a splinter on the losing-trick-count. At least partner can judge whether their points are in the right place or not if slam is available.
SHENKIN: 3♠. Let’s leave room to investigate.
SUNDELIN: 4. It is a pity that my normal system is not standard; we play that a jump to 2NT is either a stiff spade and 6+ or a good hand with four spades.
WANG: 3♠. 6-4 suit. 2♠ is too weak.

Partner has 1087xx/10/AKxx/KQx, so game is high enough. He will clearly raise 3♠. With poor spades, a singleton in partner’s suit, and diamond wastage, he should advance cautiously after a 4 splinter, although perhaps some would be tempted into danger.

HAND 8.


ACTIONMARKSPANEL VOTESCOMPETITORS’ ENTRIES (%)
4NT10611.8
5❤️8560.3
6❤️624.0
Dbl2015.0
Pass006.4
5♣️000.7
5♠️000.4
5:diamonds:000.2
6♠️000.1
7♣️000.1


Competition Entrant Average Score: 6.55

Only three choices from the panel on this one, bid game, try for slam or bid slam. We also have the largest vote of the month for a single action, with more than 60% of competitors agreeing with the second-largest group on the panel and picking up 8/10. Let’s start with the most conservative action:

MARSTON: 5. This should make. Slam is too much of a gamble.
SHENKIN: 5. I can’t bring myself to double with four-card heart support, although it might be the right thing to do.
BIRD: 5. Since I am going for 11 tricks instead of four, I must hold around these values. It is too much to bid 6: if partner holds AKJxxx and the ♣K we might even go down in 5.
SUNDELIN: 5. I am not satisfied, and would appreciate any clever alternatives.
Well, here they come, P-O.
BROCK: 5. I used to play that I’d bid 4NT and then pull 5m to 5 to make a slam try, but that is not so clear if partner bids 5 over 4NT, so we have agreed to do it the other way around. So I think 5 is stronger than 4NT and that seems to describe my hand reasonably.
The largest group on the panel still plays it the ‘old-fashioned’ way:
RIMSTEDT: 4NT. This shows either both minors or a good heart raise. It’s not comfortable with two small spades and a flat hand, but I’m too strong to just bid a competitive 5.
DUFFOUR: 4NT. This shows minors initially but, when I then follow with 5 over partner’s preference, it shows a slam try in hearts.
WANG: 4NT. First of all, partner would think 4NT is both minors, but when I then remove her preference to 5 it shows a slam try.



COPE: 4NT. This is not keycard, just a slam try in hearts. We need to differentiate between hands where we might want to bid 5♥ competitively, such as the hand we have without the ♣A, and hands where we want to invite slam.


LAVEE: 4NT. It’s not clear if 4NT is two places to play or Blackwood for hearts. My plan is to bid 4NT (two places to play) and then bid 5 as a slam try in hearts.
Clearing up Daniels’ concerns…
MEYERS: 4NT. I will follow with 5, which shows a better hand than biding 5 directly. 4NT should not be ace-asking when we have not found a fit.
Just a couple don’t think it even worth asking partner…
ROBSON: 6. Let’s try to bounce them into 6♠, then we don’t need to worry whether we are making.
COHEN: 6. This is quite reckless, perhaps, but I am in love with every one of my high cards, and I might induce a (phantom?) save. If I had a sure/clear way to invite slam, I’d do it, but might partner not take 5m as natural with, say, something like x/x/AKQJxxxx/Kxx?

At this vulnerability, should pass be forcing after a 3-level overcall or double and a jump to game by responder? Is there some way to find out if partner has a spade control? At the table, partner had Kx/AKxxxx/x/KQxx, so 6 was an easy make. 4NT should show minors in this auction, so bidding 4NT and then 5 if partner bids 5♣ should be taken as a slam try in hearts. Partner will surely accept with that hand, Sally’s suggestion that the meanings of these two sequences should be reversed seems a more than sensible one, though, and that is something that regular partnerships might discuss.



Congratulations to Wen Fei Wang, who wins a bunch finish by a short head, topping the panel with a score of 75/80. One of only four panelists who have been ever-present since we began this feature 16 months ago (Andrew Robson, David Bird and Larry Cohen are the other three), Wen Fei joins Robson as the only panelists with three victories to their name. Close behind this month are Paul Marston and guest panelist Francois Duffour with 74/80, and Sally Brock, Jill Meyers and Ola Rimstedt, all with 73/80.

The BBO Prime Expert Panel:

12345678TOTAL
Wen Fei WANGDbl4♠️  Dbl4:diamonds:2♠️  3❤️3♠️  4NT75
Francois DUFFOUR5♣️4♠️  Dbl4:diamonds:2♠️  4♣️3♠️  4NT74
Paul MARSTON5♣️4♠️  Dbl4NT3❤️3♣️4:diamonds:5❤️74
Sally BROCK5♣️4♠️  Dbl4:diamonds:Pass3♣️4:diamonds:5❤️73
Jill MEYERS5♣️DblDbl4❤️3❤️3♣️3♠️  4NT73
Ola RIMSTEDT4♠️  4♠️  Dbl4❤️2♠️  Dbl3♠️  4NT73
David BIRD5♣️3♠️  Dbl4♣️2♠️  3❤️4:diamonds:5❤️71
Larry COHEN5♣️4♠️  Dbl4:diamonds:2NT5♣️3♠️  6❤️71
Tim COPEDbl4♠️  Dbl4♠️  3❤️3♣️4:diamonds:4NT70
Barnet SHENKINDbl4♠️  Dbl4❤️Pass3❤️3♠️  5❤️68
Andrew ROBSONDbl4❤️Dbl4:diamonds:2♠️  5♣️4:diamonds:6❤️66
Daniel LAVEE5♣️4♠️  5hx4:diamonds:2NT4♣️3♠️  4NT65
P.O. SUNDELIN5♣️4♠️  4sx4NTPass6♣️4:diamonds:5❤️65
          
TOP SCORE5♣4♠   Dbl4:diamonds:2  3♣3♠   4NT 

MARKS:

HAND 1: 5♣ 10, 4♠ 8, Dbl 6, 5 4, 6♣ 2

HAND 2: 4♠ 10, 3♠/4 7, Dbl 6, 4 2

HAND 3: Dbl 10, 4♠ 7, 5 4, 5♠ 3, 5NT 2

HAND 4: 4 10, 4/4NT 9, 4♣ 8, 4♠/6/5NT 7, 6♣ 5, 5 4, 3NT/5♣ 3

HAND 5: 2♠ 10, 3 8, 2NT 7, Pass 6, 3♣ 4, 4 2

HAND 6: 3♣ 10, 3 9, 5♣ 8, Dbl/6♣ 6, 4♣ 4

HAND 7: 3♠ 10, 4 9, 4♠ 5, 4♣ 4, 2♠/3 2

HAND 8: 4NT 10, 5 8, 6 6, Dbl 2



AVERAGE SCORE:

HAND 1: 6.65

HAND 2: 7.25

HAND 3: 5.36

HAND 4: 5.30

HAND 5: 5.86

HAND 6: 6.99

HAND 7: 6.91

HAND 8: 6.55