Buenos Aires, July 3rd, 2014
On Sunday June 29th evening, I received an email from Venezuela from my friend: Master Antonio Hernandez (VEN) asking me about a board played in a teams tournament in Venezuela.
I took the opportunity and resend the query to some friends, I greatly thank them for their answers; and because they have been so clear and precise and instructive, I want to share their answers with all our readers.
The hand in question: A K J 9 x A 10 x x J x x x
The Question: What should South say in the second round of the auction?
First Answer: Roberto Martiniano Figueira de Mello (BRZ) WGM (World Grand Master); for many of us Robertinho; sent me an article called:
Competitive Bidding Decisions
a must to read!
“Receiving the bidding at the 3rd level = 3, North in practice has only one voice available to show the heart suit = 4. Consequently 4 can be made with a wide range of points and with different possible distributions. Conclusion: The North hand can be very indeterminate.
The reader can easily imagine a North hand where 4are defeated, for example:
3 K Q J 9 8 3 Q 6 4 K Q 4
and another where N/S can win 7, for example:
5 3 K Q J 9 8 3 void A 7 5 4 3
Now hearing 4, South knows that he has an unexpected value for North: his fourth card support : ( A 10 7 4), adds value to the hand…
There is an obvious weakness: the lack of a diamond control, the oponent suit, that prevents South to command the bidding asking Aces with the voice of 4NT.
As mentioned above, the North hand is very indefinite and South decision must be based on odds and also intuition, that is, to ascertain assuming minimal risk with what kind of hand 4 was said.
In my opinion the Pass voice is an inferior decision because I believe that the probability of Slam (6 or 7) is high and the probability of being defeated on 5 is low. I think South should invite showing heart support and for that he has the following options: 5 showing diamond control, and 5 denying diamond control.
In conclusion, with the South hand I would bid 5.”
Second Answer: Marcelo Castello Branco (BRZ) WGM (World Grand Master), four world titles and one of the few players that has won the triple crown. Those who know him know that we can always consult him and learn from his wise answers, I am sure the readers will enjoy it as I did!!!.
“I think that South with ( A K J 9 X A 10 x x J x x x) is obliged to say 5.
Note, the word I’m using – obligation – that is, he just can not skip an effort to declare a possible Slam with A10XX support.
It is not easy or comfortable, I know; but the chance of losing the contract of 5 is very small and as South didnt say 4NT (asking for key cards) it is clear that he does not have a diamond control.
Now it remains to know: ¿What would mean 5?
I want to insert here the Gran Maestro Sudamericano Benjamín Robles (CHI) comment:
Here you have no tolerance for clubs so 3 spades is all you can do; although I do know some players who might risk double here too. The other player (1615) suspects that more than game might be in the cards, but there’s too much help needed to make the hand slam suitable.
Fourth Answer: Pablo Lambardi (ARG) WIN (World International Master) and Gran Maestro Sudamericano, a southamerican star. Pablo’s comments: