Retro Edition

It’s Your Call

IMPs. Both vulnerable.

♠8 6   Q J 6 5 4 3 2  — ♣A 10 6 2

West North East South
5 5♠ Pass ?

What’s your call?

6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
Pass 100
6♠ 70
6 50
5NT 40
6 20
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
High-level heroics

Confronted with an auction already at the five level, a preponderance of the panel choose simply to pass, allowing partner some leeway for his 5♠ bid. Fifteen bridge players express compassion for a partner under pressure. Read that again. Fifteen bridge players express compassion for their partners!

Boehm says, “Partner may have already done something heroic to get us into the auction. No need for two heroes.”

Along those same lines, Robinson says, “Partner took his life in his hands when he bid 5♠. He was counting on me having something. He might have as little as:

♠A Q J 10 x x x   x x  x ♣K Q x

Go plus against preempts.”

Walker allows that partner may have a big hand, “but he could have something like:

♠A K Q J x x x x   A  x ♣x x x

and need everything I’m putting down. I don’t think I have more than two tricks for him, and that’s not enough to convince me that slam is a good bet.”

The Sutherlins echo her sentiments. “Partner was under pressure and was probably hoping we have something … Don’t punish partner.”

Sanborn seems to remember this hand from real life. “It was right to bid. But I’m sure at the table I would pass.”

Cohen points out that “even if slam is decent, there are likely horrible breaks out there which could doom it.”

Meyers passes, although she is tempted to bid 6♠ on the premise that the opponents have a diamond fit. “Yet RHO did not bid 6, perhaps thinking he would push us into slam?”

Colchamiro has seen the hand and says that 6 makes. “But at the table, I would pass.”

Meckstroth laughs, then passes. “LOL. If I took a stab, I would bid 6.”

Lawrence passes, too. “As for bidding hearts, why should my partner’s hearts be better than my spades?”

Kennedy, the Coopers and Rigal all bid 6♠. “This looks like a hand from a recent semi-final KO,” says Rigal. “No point in trying to land on the head of a needle. The grand looks too hard to bid, and why would we make exactly 11 tricks here? I rate to be offering partner two to three tricks, so I bid what I think he can make.”

The Coopers call pass “cowardly” and looking for the grand “too ambitious.” They muse, “We wonder what 5NT would be. If it’s trying for another strain, it would be good, but we think it’s a try for a grand.”

Scorer Walker thinks Weinstein’s 5NT is interesting, even if she gave it only 40 points. “In auctions that start this high, many experts play this as “pick a different suit,” she says, referencing a treatment recommended by Richard Pavlicek. And that’s what Weinstein is conveying. “On this auction, I like 5NT pick-a-slam (converting clubs to hearts), but pass and 6 are reasonable, too.” He adds, “I would be able to objectively say I would bid 6♠ if East had bid 6. because that’s what I did at the table.”

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