It’s Your Call
IMPs. N-S vulnerable.
♠10 3 2 ♥A K Q 10 2 ♦Q 10 5 2 ♣8
What’s your call?
A simple majority of the panel chooses to bid 4♦, belatedly showing the diamond fit that many insist they should have been allowed to show earlier in the auction.
The Gordons want to take their cards and go home. “4♦. We are tempted to abstain because we would never be in this position. Why 2 and not a direct diamond raise? We can’t catch up so now we have to guess.”
The Coopers are none too happy, either: “On this auction, partner has some concern about clubs. We do, too. Why didn’t we raise diamonds or splinter over 2♦? We do not under-stand the 2♥ bid.”
And Boehm: “4♦, but under protest. Why on earth didn’t I raise diamonds immediately? It’s not even matchpoints!”
The Sutherlins suspect that partner may have but one club stopper. “If diamonds don’t run, 3NT is failing when 5♦ or even 6♦ may be making.”
Sanborn’s analysis leads to a similar conclusion as she, too, bids 4♦: “Part-ner could be pointing out weakness in her club stopper. If she bids 4♠, I will show my club control. Meanwhile, we’re just looking for the right game.”
Kennedy says, “IMPs makes the decision easier.”
Lawrence is very upbeat: “4♦. Slam is still possible, perhaps even likely here. Give partner:
♠A x x x ♥x ♦A K x x x ♣Q x x,
and 6♦ is the place to be.”
Also on the slam track are Meckstroth, Rigal, Weinstein and Col-chamiro. But they’re proceeding forward via 4♣.
Weinstein explains: “I expect to make 4♥ or 5♦ with a shot at 6♦. Partner might have a hand like:
♠A K x x ♥x ♦A K x x x ♣Q 10 x.
I cuebid clubs since that is what partner might need to hear.”
Rigal says that the auction as given suggests only three-card diamond support in our hand. Partner’s se-quence suggests doubt about strain and level “and we certainly know we have doubt. 4♣ might be read as a choice of game by the cognoscenti (not a bad description of my hand), but I think it is simply a club control for diamonds.”
Colchamiro bids 5♦ and picks up where the Gordons and the Coopers left off — griping about the 2♥ rebid. “4♣. Why didn’t I bid 3♦ the first time? I know that going to the three level shows a good hand but this is a good hand: plenty of trumps, side control and a source of tricks … Also, at IMPs, a 4♣ splinter over 2♦ might well be the majority choice. 2♥ just seems so misplaced with two other good options. I would call 2♥ fairly stupid.”
The passers of 3NT trust partner to know what he’s doing.
Says Cohen: “I don’t like my ear-lier auction, but now that I’ve shown nothing but red suits and partner of-fers 3NT, why should I overrule him? I still have nothing but red suits. He could easily be 4=0=5=4.”
Walker, too, passes 3NT. “Partner knows he’s getting a club lead. I don’t have enough undisclosed values to overrule him.”
Stack passes, but regrets not raising diamonds immediately. “There is no reason to overturn partner’s decision to play 3NT. We have already painted a picture of having few high cards in the black suits.”
Falk bids 5♦, throwing around invectives like “good grief” and “it would never (all capital letters) have occurred to me to bid anything other than 3♦” and “2♥ is an abomination.”
He kvetches, “I’m not sitting in 3NT. And I don’t want to try for slam now — 4♦ would suggest a strong hand, not one that may be nearly worthless opposite 4=1=5=3. Imagine playing 3NT opposite
♠K Q x x ♥x ♦K J x x x ♣A x x .