Bridge: 2021 District 4 MSC (now also 2023)

1A, pass, yes.
1B, pass. Is that crazy?

No, but it’s somewhat conservative. Opps are pretty likely to make 2C, even if our side has the majority of HCP (and we may not). If they can make 2C, either they have to double 2D (somewhat risky for them) or beat it 2 to outscore what they could make playing 2C. It is usually bad tactics to sell our cheaply when the opponents have a fit, and they likely do here.

And they’re vulnerable. So point taken.

I just don’t love 2D or 2S and also fear ending up with us playing a contract at the 3-level.

Partner shouldn’t hang you for bidding 2D. If you had spades with any sort of actual diamond support, you had both (in decreasing level of enthusiasm) a fit jump to 2S and a snapdragon double available last round. 2D is easily readable as an attempt to push the opponents up one level. The only calls partner should be taking over an opposing 3C are pass or double. Partner might correct 2D to 2S, with, say, Qx of spades, but you’ll be OK with that.

Outcome? Feb problems?

Passing on first round won in a landslide (for 20 points). Unanimous among the 16 panelists. Preferring 1S, selected by 4 of 30 solvers, got a gift 10 points.

On the second round, pass (9 panelists) got 80. Double (4 panelists) got 70. 2D (2) and 2S (1) each got 60. Interestingly, each of those 4 were chosen by 7 solvers. The remaining 2 solvers, and no panelists, got 50 points for 3D.

Anything besides 4H and P seems demented. Some might think 4H is also demented. I’m leaning towards 4H anyway.

I think 4D may be less demented than 4H or Pass.

I like Pass. 4H and 4D both seem reasonable as well.

I went with

Fortunately VVV persuaded me to take 4D, chosen by 7 of 14 panelists (but only 3rd most popular among solvers). Pass (3rd among panelists, 1st among solvers) and 4H (2nd in each) scored 90. As always, it’s tough to score badly in the D4 MSC. Everything else chosen by anyone scored 80 (that’s one solver each for 4C, 4S, 4NT and one panelist for 4NT).

My first instinct is double. I don’t like any options. I don’t like 5S chances or anything else we bid. Perhaps Pass is best, but I think we are likely to set them with double. We have 3 quick tricks and likely a fourth in spades. Even if they can ruff one of those tricks we still likely set them. Their combined distribution would have to be pretty ideal to make. Especially with East being completely silent until the end.

I expect Pass will be the top score. The only question is whether this is a forcing pass. The idea of a forcing pass is:

  1. We definitely have most of the strength.
  2. Their bid is certainly (or likely) intended as a sacrifice.
  3. It would (virtually) never be right to let them play undoubled.
  4. Therefore pass means “I don’t have a hand worth bidding 5S myself, but my hand is good for that contract if you bid it.”

Certainly all the honors would be valuable in 5S. Maybe having only 2 spades is too much of a drawback. Maybe having only 14 points is too much of a drawback. Still, I expect the forcing pass to win.

On the other hand, arguing in favor of double is that partner is envisioning you have a fifth diamond to pitch something on.

Started to double and was writing the justification, then switched to the forcing pass, assuming good opponents