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Retro Edition

It’s Your Call

IMPs. North–South vulnerable.

♠A 10 5 2   9 8  A J 7  ♣A 8 6 2

West North East South
Pass Pass 1♠ Pass
2♠ Dbl Pass 2NT
Pass 3 3♠ ?

What’s your call?

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
Pass 100
Dbl 80
3NT 50
4 50
5 20
Panelists
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, 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
Playing hangman

Walker suggests that the choice between double and pass may depend somewhat on partnership style. “Here, the passers seem to be allowing for the possibility that an aggressive part-ner is stretching, while the doublers are counting on him to have a near-opener.”

Much of the discussion of the bidding harkens back to the second-round 2NT call.

“What was 2NT by us?” ask the Coo-pers. “Pick a minor?”

Lawrence passes. “I do not expect to beat them two, so even if we can make 3, we can get only 100 against 3♠.” He adds that this would be a good sequence for a 2NT lebensohl bid. “If South was a passed hand, then 2NT here would be ‘pick a minor.’ I doubt there are any natural 2NT bid-ders on this panel.”

How about a natural 3NT bidder? Weinstein, the poker player, passes, but muses, “If I knew I was getting a spade lead, I might try 3NT.” He puts partner’s shape at 0=4=6=3. “Partner appears to have six diamonds and didn’t bid 2NT (two places to play) or 3 right away, so he must be trying to get all the suits in play.”

Boehm thinks partner’s likely shape is 1=4=5=3. He passes. “The opponents are probably down one, so I’d double at matchpoints, but at IMPs it’s risky — maybe at the end of a tight Swiss match.”

Sanborn is just happy to have gotten the opponents a level higher. “Already declarer will know that trumps are breaking poorly. I’m not even sure what to lead, so pass.”

Walker passes, too. “It sounds like a spade void is a big chunk of partner’s assets. I’m not going to hang him for a light balance with that hand.”

Cohen, “breaking all my normal rules,” doubles. “I don’t like to punish partner for pre-balancing, and I don’t like to double partscores at IMPs. However, partner was vul against non — he cannot be totally broke. I plan to lead the 9 and expect to set them several tricks.”

The Joyces agree. “We’re as hesitant as anyone to double a partscore into game at IMPs, but this has the ear-marks of success. Partner entered a live auction, so he should have solid values.”

Kennedy doubles, too. “So far, I have been unable to define my hand, so it’s time for me to show defensive values.”

Robinson, who also plans to lead a heart, is on the same page as the other doublers: “I have three sure tricks and a good lead. True, they could always make it, but I would expect down two more often than minus 530.”

Two panelists make a stab at the vulnerable 3NT game. One is Meck-stroth; the other, the Sutherlins, who “go for the big payoff.”

Last but certainly not least is Falk, who bids what he believes to be a “straightforward” 5. “Give partner something like:

♠— K J 10 x Q 10 x x x x ♣K J x.

3NT will be quite iffy, while 5 re-quires only the K or Q onside.”