What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Feb. 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 3♥ was named top bid.
You have an opening bid without much defense. Should you re-raise hearts to block the opponents, or are you afraid you will push them into a makable game?
The majority of the panel bid 3♥ to try and obstruct East–West.
“3♥,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “This is to play, not invitational. It shows six or more hearts and is simply blocking.”
Jill Meyers agreed with Kennedy. “3♥ is not invitational, but shows a sixth heart or at least some distribution.”
Lynn Deas agreed with 3♥. “I am competing to 3♥ anyway, so I will make it more difficult for the opponents by doing so immediately. My hearts are so good that I’m not worried about being doubled.”
“Bid 3♥now,” said Kerri Sanborn, “so that when West bids 3♠, it won’t have the same impact. We are always bidding 3♥, so why wait?”
Sanborn’s point is that after a 3♥ bid, 3♠ by West has a wide range. It can either be competitive or invitational and gives East a nasty guess.
“I can’t bid more than 3♥ with so many losers,” said Grant Baze.
“While there are possible North hands that will produce game,” said Allan Falk, “they are few and far between. If I make a game try, it may provoke North into doubling the opponents, expecting more defense than this paper tiger contains. So, I’ll bid 3*H*, what I think I can make.”
“Bidding 3♥ seems normal, usually a cause for suspicion in a bidding forum,” joked Karen Walker. “A 4♥ bid or a game try puts us in the minus 500 chair, or might push them into a making game.”
Some panelists didn’t agree with Walker and Falk. They think they might make game. Also, the game try sounds stronger than 3♥ and might allow your side to steal the contract.
“I’ll make a 2♠ game try,” said Steve Robinson. “If partner has king–jack of both black suits, we can make game.”
If partner has what Robinson suggested, you may still have a loser in each suit. There are other hands, however, with which partner would make a simple raise, and would produce game.
“We bid 3♣,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “This is an overbid, but game is certainly possible. We prefer our method where we could bid 3♦ to make a short-suit game try. That’s a better description.”
“Although it’s close, this hand is worth a game try,” Janet and Mel Colchamiro said. “Clubs seem better to ask about (than spades). We admit that 3♥ has the advantage of blocking a 3♦ bid by West.”
Three panelists bid 4♥.
“I want to make it hard on the opponents by bidding 4♥,” said Larry Cohen. “Bidding only 3♥ doesn’t feel like it will do the job. If we buy the contract, I’m happy with either plus 420 or minus 50 a trick.”
“They probably have game,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “If we are lucky, 4♥ might stop them from bidding it.”
“I’m not sure whether I want to take a shot at game,” said Barry Rigal, “or whether I want to push them to something that I don’t know if I can beat! I’ll take the position that 4♥ will not be hurt too badly and make them guess what to do.”
“Because four people made a game try, we demoted 4♥ slightly in the scoring,” said the Coopers, the week’s scorers.
The Bridge Buff software is the only “panelist” that passed. “I’ve found that if you bid on with hands like this one,” Buff said, “you push humans into makable games they would not have bid on their own. The green card is often best.”
Passing is too conservative, but bidding game or making a game try is too aggressive. The panel majority takes the middle road by bidding 3♥. This takes up one level of bidding with little risk.
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