Retro Edition

IMPs. N-S vulnerable.
♠A Q 6   Q 10  J 10  ♣K Q J 10 7 6

West North East South
3 ?

What’s Your Call?

3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
4♣ 100
Dbl 60
Pass 60
3NT 40
5♣ 10
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, Bob Giragosian, The Gordons, The Joyces, Betty Ann Kennedy, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Bridge Baron

A good description

The panel is divided into four camps. Each call has flaws. The straightforward 4♣ overcall received the most votes.

“4♣ seems like the only reasonable thing to do,” says Giragosian.

“4♣,” says Walker. “This may not get us to the perfect contract, but it won’t get us to a ridiculous one, either.”

“If I double and partner bids 3♠, I still won’t know if he has a five-card suit or not,” says Robinson. “If I double and he bids 4, then what? At least 4♣ is a good description of this hand.”

“I choose 4♣, but 3NT is a close second,” says Kennedy. “For 3NT to be right, however, I need two cards from partner — a heart stopper and the ♣A.”

“We have a bit too much to pass and double is too exotic,” say the Gordons.

“On paper, it’s easy to bid a brave 3NT, and against very aggressive preemptors, perhaps it’s a percentage bid,” says Boehm, “but at the table, I don’t relish convincing teammates that 3NT, off the whole heart suit with a possible game somewhere else, is ‘unavoidable.’”

Five experts choose to double. “Double leaves room for partner to bid 3NT or pass 3 doubled,” says Meckstroth.

The Joyces agree. “While double is not ideal and could work out very badly, it keeps 3NT available as a possible contract,” they say.

“We double and hope for the best,” say the Coopers. “We would try 3NT, but the clubs aren’t running.”

“I would double with 3NT being a close second,” says Meyers. “I don’t want to bid 4♣ and blow by game in notrump, which may play better from partner’s side. I will be unhappy if partner bids 4, but double is the most flexible call.”

“Double,” says Sanborn. “I have admiration for 3NT, but we could easily be off the first seven tricks. I don’t like 4♣ as it doesn’t cater to our most likely game of 4♠.”

Two panelist choose 3NT.

“3NT is just a little iffy on the heart stopper,” says Stack, “but I hope to catch partner with A 7 3 or K 8 4 or opening leader with a singleton A or ♥K. No one ever seems to have the classic preempt of ace–king–seventh. If I had a third heart, this would be a unanimous answer. I’m anxious to see how my hero, Meckstroth, bids this.”

Sorry, he didn’t agree.

“In a bidding contest, it’s easy to be a paper tiger and bid 3NT, isn’t it?” asks Rigal. “I want all my partners to know I’d never do this at the table, but bear in mind that even if East has the A K, my partner may have jack third or maybe they won’t lead the suit.

Four panelists don’t like any of their options, so choose to pass.

Lawrence: “All choices have serious flaws.”

Falk: “This looks like too many losers to go venturing to 4♣. Partner could produce two aces and a club fit and we still can’t make game. Sometimes, you just gotta pass.”

Colchamiro: “Bidding 3NT is too rich for me. Bidding 4♣, while tempting, is an overbid because my Q is wasted. Double is out because my partners always bid 4.”

Cohen: “Oops, I hope I passed in tempo so maybe my partner can balance with light values. I want to bid 3NT, but just can’t do it. I wish they wouldn’t open 3 when I hold this hand.”

When all choices have flaws, do what Robinson says: Pick the call that is a good description of your hand.

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