Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠A Q 4 ♥6 52 ♦8 7 3 ♣K Q 7 5
What’s Your Call?
Not risking much
The majority of the panel weren’t willing to sell out to 2♠. They felt that would be a bad result, so the risk isn’t high. Seventeen experts bid 3♣. Why?
Coopers: “Partner is short in spades and has scattered values. The good suit makes it hard for East–West to double 3♣. Some days we will make it, some days the opponents will bid on to 3♠ and some days we’ll have egg on our face.”
Kennedy: “If I allow the opponents to play 2♠, I’m almost certain to get a below-average result.”
Falk: “Defending 2♠ feels like a 35% score, so I have to take some chances. I expect this to be close to unanimous.”
Gordons: “Besides trying to push them to 3♠, bidding helps get partner off to the best lead.”
Walker: “The field will try to jockey East–West out of their comfortable partscore, so I’m there, too.”
Lawrence: “Defending 2♠ is usually worth about 20% so I’m not risking much when I bid 3♣.”
Sanborn: “Can’t let the opponents play 2♠ at matchpoints as it’s an automatic bad result. Bidding doesn’t risk much.”
Cohen: “I’ve made my living making sure that the opponents don’t play on the two level when they have an eight-card fit. I just have to keep up my reputation.”
Other experts agreed for similar reasons. One didn’t agree.
“Pass,” says Robinson. “I would have overcalled 2♣ because it’s a lot safer. At matchpoints, 3♣ is too likely to go for minus 200, especially when either opponent can double for penalty.”
A 3♣ balance doesn’t risk much. You might make it or the opponents might bid 3♠ and go down.
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