Bridge: 2021 District 4 MSC (now also 2024)

Having thought about this more, I would redouble, and I think pass is the second choice, 3S third, and 3C not in the running. I would pass at IMPs, since redouble could be a disaster. At matchpoints, not only is the occasional negative telephone number not as important, but a spade lead rates to hold in the overtricks even when it doesn’t set something, and that matters a lot at matchpoints.

I think it’s clear redouble simply asks for a spade lead and does not promise general strength (though you should have somewhat reasonable hopes of making 2S or holding it to one off against a game). Analysis of why is in the last two paragraphs.

I do not particularly want to be at the 3 level in spades. 2SXX scores better except when both are disasters. We have already preempted them, and we have surprise distribution for defensive purposes. Let them play guessy-guess. The other problem with 3S is that it could be a raise on all small cards. If LHO bids 3N over it, I’m not so sure I’m getting a spade lead.

3C only implies spade support if you are playing McCabe (2NT forces 3C so you can sign off with a misfit) in this situation. That would be a reasonable agreement, but you probably don’t have it for purposes of this problem. I think 3C is just running from 2SX (not forcing like it probably would have been if RHO had passed). Note that even if 3C shows spade support, it in that case asks for a club lead, so I wouldn’t choose it, since I think it’s more likely I want a spade lead than a club lead.

A general-strength-showing redouble has to be reasonably sure of a plus in the redoubled contract and has to want to suggest penalizing them if they bid on. It’s very unlikely to hold such a hand on this auction, with both opponents already having shown decent hands. (Negative double of 2S, unlikely doubling a simple overcall, promises a decent hand. Fewer than 10 points will be quite rare.) In the grossly unlikely event you are staring at 15-16 HCP without spade support on this auction, then your best bet is to pass and listen. Either RHO has 7-8 cards in an unbid suit, or they are simply overbidding (in which case, let them keep overbidding, don’t warn them).

On the other hand, redoubling to show a lead is a hand you will hold often, since it’s safer than raising. You only need to have reasonable hope of making 2S–it does NOT need to be a favorite–since 2SXX down 1 may be a good sac (and also beats 3SX down 2), and since you figure to gain from the intervention in the likely event they bid on. On this hand, redouble is the only call likely to get an ace underlead against a diamond contract. Even though you can’t ruff the 3rd round, partner may be cashing it if he is on lead after trick two.

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Declarer explains that it’s a strict rule that if nothing receives a majority of panelists and anything receives a plurality of both panelists and solvers, it gets 100. Hence Pass is 100. Even after everyone’s comments, he doesn’t think Pass is best.

They surely have more HCP than we do, but we have the majors. Inclined to bid at both scorings. First thinking 1S, but maybe this is the time to open 2S and then rebid on my own to show weird distribution.

At matchpoints the goal is to go plus. Since everyone else probably has 11-12 balanced, I’ll open 1S, expecting to settle into 2 of our better major and make 110 or 140.

At IMPs, I might pass. The extra upside at IMPs is finding a game. The extra downside is any auction that ends up with us or them being doubled. 3CX and 3DX by them are game, and running from that to -500 won’t be great, either. At matchpoints, those things happen, but they are infrequent, and it doesn’t matter that they are large losses. If I am going to open at IMPs, 2S may be safer and avoid some of these issues.

I like 1S at matchpoints intending to play 2M. Could get into trouble and go down at 4M, then better off passing.

I like pass at IMPs. More likely to end up pushed to 4M and go down.

1S, with 50% of the panelists and tied for a plurality among solvers (10 of 28) got 50 points at matchpoints. Pass and 2S (with Pass having more support) each got 40. 3S and 4S, with almost no votes for either, each got 30.

At imps, pass got 50. 1S and 2S each got 40. 3S and 4S again got 30.

Quite the problem, with the heart king to be led through if partner declares. It is a potential vul game, so we don’t want to miss the game if it happens to make.

Probably we should bid 5C. Almost certainly makes if any game does. and chances seem good enough to justify it.

I am tempted by 5C also, but there are certainly hands for partner, like QJx xx xx AQxxxx, where 3N makes from your side on a heart lead (and most of the time also on a spade lead) but 5C from partner’s side is less than 50%.

5C was my instinct as well.