72 English Bridge October 2019 www.ebu.co.uk
With E/W vulnerable, West holds the hand
below. After South's 1NT bid North observes
that he understands his partner's bid to be
equivalent to a weak take-out double (Baron
system). What should West bid?
3™ - 12 points, Dble - 6 points. If South had not
intervened, West would undoubtedly have forced
with 2™ and he is best advised to take th equivalent
action with the situation as it is. A direct raise in
diamonds to a high level would suggest a hand
much poorer in honour strength than it actually is.
A double has something to recommend it, in that it
signals to partner that West holds the balance of
high cards, but paves the way for obstructive action
in spades by the opponents, who many find a
profitable sacrifice in that suit.
In the Baron system, a take-out double was a
strong bid and 1NT was used when the hand was
suited for a distributional take-out (defined as 10½
™ K 9 8 7 4
t A Q J 2
® A 8 4
E/W Game. Dealer North.
W N E S
Pass 1t 1NT
E/W Game. Dealer South.
W N E S
2® Pass 2™ 2´
3® Pass 5® All Pass
East and South hold the hands below. North
leads the ´10, taken by West's ace. West now
leads the ™3-™7-™Q-™K.
1. In view of the bidding, the cards held by South
and East and the play so far, what is the most
likely holding that should be attributed to West
2. As viewed by South, West has two intelligible lines
of play for his contract. What are they?
3. What should South lead at the third trick to
frustrate West's first plan?
4. If, in consequence of South's lead, West falls back
on his second plan, South can legitimately hope
to beat the contract provided North has a certain
minimum holding in a particular suit. What is
E/W Game. Dealer South.
™ A Q 9 5 4 2
t K 8 2
® Q 10 3
´ K Q J 9 7
™ K J 10
t A Q 7 6
To start with, a word of explanation. When the Acol
system first came into being, the favoured slam
convention was the Culbertson 4-5 NT: this was a
complicated device since it both gave and obtained
information. There was more to it than this, but the
most important feature was that a bid of 4NT
showed either three aces or two aces plus the king of
a suit bid by the partnership. The responding hand
would bid 5NT holding either two aces or one ace
plus the kings of all the suits bid by the partnership.
Lacking this holding, responder's most
discouraging bid was five of the lowest suit bid by
the partnership, other actions being more
As Marx notes, a bid of 4NT (Culbertson) directly
over 3™ doesn't work very well on this hand: a 5NT
response, showing the two missing aces, takes up
too much room and it would be difficult to establish
that North has, as well as his two aces, the king of
clubs and the something extra which would be
needed for a grand slam to be good. However,
should he hold all of this, he will surely bid 4´ over
to 13½ points with a 4·4·4·1 or 5·4·3·1
distribution). Although doubling 1NT is not an
ideal action, 3™ is capable of misinterpretation (for
instance, partner might conclude that it is weak
with a long heart suit). Marx does not mention the
possibility but I think that 2NT has a lot going for
it, establishing the values for game while leaving
room for exploration.
1. ´Axxx ™xx tx ®AKJxxx. West should have a
really good club suit to justify his vulnerable
overbid and rebid of the suit. A holding of four
spades can be inferred from North's lead of the 10;
if the latter held four, he would have led the lowest.
2. West can either plan to set up dummys hearts,