Retro Edition

What’s your call?

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

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, Steve Weinstein, Bridge Baron

As always, the panelists are beyond bedeviled by opponents’ bothersome preemptive bidding. The majority took the conservative route.

Cohen calls 4 “such a big underbid that I am embarrassed that I will
have to see it in print.”

Stack says 4 stands out as an easy first bid. “It is tempting to bid 5, but what would it ask for? If the opponents bid 5♣ and partner bids 5, we will carry on to 6.”

For Walker, the decision comes down to her spade holding. “We may be missing a slam, but without better support for spades, I don’t see an accurate way to find it unless partner moves over 4.”

Ever the optimist, Boehm advises, “4. Stay fixed. Maybe bad splits will defeat an otherwise promising slam.”

“I can stand for partner to retreat to 4♠,” says Rigal, who also bids 4. “And of course on a good day, he might have a good enough hand to bid on, though I’m not expecting it.”

“4,” says Falk. “5 might be misunderstood as asking for club control rather than heart support. If the answer is ‘pass,’ 5 is too high. 5♣ loses my potential seven-card trump suit and guarantees spade support unless I have a good enough suit to bid on my own, which I do not.”

The Gordons call it “close between 4 and a card-showing double, but we feel that we need to show our seven-bagger, especially since we have (somewhat of) a spade fit to fall back on.”

Three panelists do choose to double.

Weinstein says that his double would typically show something like a 2=5=5=1 pattern, “but here I am not sweating a diamond response. My goal is to get to a 7–3 heart fit without inordinately emphasizing hearts over spades. I would be shocked if the double gets left in. Over 4 by partner, I will bid Blackwood, and over 4♠, I will try 5♣. If partner bids 4, I will underbid slightly with 4♠.”

Robinson: “Double, showing two places to play. If partner bids 4, I’ll bid 4, which shows spade tolerance. If partner bids 4♠, I’ll pass. If partner bids 4, I’ll bid six. Bidding hearts directly shows a better suit.”

Sanborn and the Coopers bypass the seven-bagger to raise spades to four. “So much to say, so little space,” laments Sanborn. “Partner surely rates to have six spades. If he doesn’t have a heart fit — likely — my hand may not be as good as it looks.”

While the Coopers aren’t sure that 4♠ is the best spot, “we don’t have anything else we can do that’s sensible. We hope the three aces make up for the missing trump.”

Colchamiro bids 5♣. “Transfer advances, anyone?”

Lawrence goes all in. “5NT, asking partner to bid a slam of his choice. If he chooses diamonds, I will bid 5 suggesting hearts and some spade support.”

The Zoom Room is available Monday through Friday, 3:30 pm-5:30 pm (Eastern).

Getting help is easier than ever with the ACBL Zoom Chat service.
Simply click the "Join Zoom Chat" button below to be taken to our dedicated zoom room.
Once there, click the "Launch Meeting" button to start your session. To hear us and vice-versa - don't forget to "Join with computer audio."

If the Zoom Room isn't available and you need answers, you can email us at

Join Zoom Chat