It’s Your Call
IMPs. E-W vulnerable.
♠K 9 3 ♥K ♦Q J 8 7 ♣A K J 8 6
What’s your call?
While the (stodgy?) doublers outweigh the (foolhardy?) daredevils, this problem moved many a doubler to look back fondly on their bravado of yesteryear. Double is certainly the safer action — so safe, in fact, that several of the doublers don’t understand what the problem is.
Walker doubles. “Seems automatic. Or am I supposed to be worried that I have only three spades?”
Robinson: “I don’t see the problem. I would like to have four spades, but I do have three spades and heart shortness.”
Kennedy doubles and adds, “3NT is tempting but the double offers more options. Partner can bid 3NT, a suit or convert the double to penalties.”
“In our youth, we would have found 3NT hard to resist,” sigh the Gordons. “Now we take the middle-of-the-road approach.”
“Double,” calls Meckstroth. Then he, too, sighs: “I should probably bid 3NT instead.”
Sanborn doubles, saying, “It is tempting and fashionable to bid 3NT with a semi-stopper these days, but the chances of a big number loom. Also, I do have spade support.”
It’s no surprise to find Rigal in the 3NT bidders’ camp. “Don’t we all play this for the minors?” he jests. “Okay, only kidding. I could double and decide what to do over a 3♠ response or gamble that they won’t lead the ♥A against me — and I think I’m safe there. Not that we will make the game for sure when I win the ♥K at once, but if I can’t make 3NT after that start, no contract was any better.”
It is surprising, however, to find Cohen right there beside him. “3NT. The modern, sexy call. They are not laying down the ♥A, so even if partner doesn’t have hearts stopped, we’ll survive that first hurdle. If partner is broke, we’ll go down, but then it is his fault. Do you have to show this hand to my students?”
Modern suits Meyers just fine: “3NT. If partner has any values, I don’t want to bypass 3NT, and they would have to bang down the ♥A to beat me.”
Lest it be forgotten, Weinstein plays poker as well as bridge. “I would double if I thought there was a good chance partner would leave it in, but here, my red versus white opponent opened at the three level, so I doubt that is happening. I will make my best guess at 3NT and hope West doesn’t lead the ♥A and laugh at me.”