It’s Your Call
Matchpoints. None vulnerable.
♠A 8 5 3 ♥7 ♦J 6 5 3 2 ♣A 4 2
What’s your call?
An overwhelming majority of the panel chooses to make what they believe to be the second and final penalty pass of opponent’s 1♥ opening — making the contract 4♥.
“Partner’s pass of the redouble is for penalty, no ifs, ands or buts,” emphasizes Falk. “I have two aces, which is plenty of defense as a passed hand.”
Cohen is more emphatic — but hastens to add that it’s a matter of partnership agreement. “If pass is penalty, then why would I pull? I have two aces and a heart (not a void), plenty for a passed hand — 100% to sit for a penalty pass. Of course if pass was not business, then I would run.”
Rigal is even more emphatic. “You have got to be kidding me! My partner passed for penalties because if he wanted to bid, he is old enough (and ugly enough) to do so without my telling him what his long suit is. He knows that better than me, and his pass says, “Goody, the penalty is coming in 600 units, not 300 units.”
Like Cohen, Lawrence notes that partnership agreement dictates the conditions. “Either you have an agreement that your partner’s pass is penalty or you do not have that agreement. Most players do have it, so they pass. South has nothing to be afraid of with his two aces. Two sure defensive winners is as much as a passed hand rates to contribute.”
The Sutherlins point out that if a partnership doesn’t play that a pass of the redouble in this sequence is for penalty, “the opponents can easily escape from one-level penalty doubles.”
The Gordons are just plain hungry. “Two aces and a trump — we are licking our chops!”
The Coopers say simply, “Trust partner, who has a penalty pass.”
Robinson trusts his partner, too. “West has made a big mistake.”
The 1♠ and 2♦ bidders either don’t have a partnership understanding or don’t know what Bridge Bulletin Standard would make of this auction and they’re erring on the side of caution. Only Weinstein’s partnership agreement suggests bidding: “2♦. I don’t think any passes of redoubles should be to play at the one level. In my partnership, the pass asks me to bid my longest suit, so diamonds it is.”
Kennedy also bid 2♦. “Partner’s failure to bid 1♠ leads me to believe that he not only has hearts, but he does not hold four spades.”
The Joyces and Stack bid 1♠. Absent any Bridge Bulletin Standard definition, Stack says, “I will assume that partner has no clear- ut bid on a hand such as:
♠Q x ♥x x x x x ♦K x x ♣K x x.
If 1♠ gets doubled, then we can run to our five-card suit.”