Solutions from 26-January-2018:
(From the 2017 Australian Open Playoffs)
Problem 1: (From the 2017 Australian Open Playoffs)
You are South and West opens 1D. Partner overcalls 1S, and East makes a Negative Double.
What do you do?
Solution to Bidding Problem
Usually with less than game values, you should have five-card support to be jumping straight to 4-Major. Although we only have four-card support, we have the vulnerability on our side (we are not vul. vs. vul opponents), as well as a very distributional hand. Even if partner has a weak hand for the 1S overcall, our side rates to take 9 tricks in spades.
If we rate to take 9 tricks in spades, then we might as well take the push straight to 4S to put on the pressure and force the opponents to guess at such a high level!
Alternatively, you can also make a 2D cue raise, but that won't achieve much when a direct 4S can cause a lot of problems for the opponents!
Problem 2: (From the 2017 Australian Open Playoffs)
Your opponents have a natural auction to 3NT. What do you lead?
Solution to Lead Problem
DJ (or CQ).
We have two very attractive sequences to choose from. As clubs is the unbid suit, it would be normal to lead the CQ.
However, given that we know the diamonds aren't breaking for declarer (i.e. he won't be able to set up the suit), with a solid JT987 sequence, it is also perfectly OK to lead this suit, despite diamonds being the opponents suit!
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