Retro Edition

3 3 3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Pass Double

What’s your call?

Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
4 100
3 80
5 50
4♣ 20
6 10
Pass 0
3♠ 0


For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from May 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 4 was named top bid.
There’s a reason why players preempt. The opponents often want to compete but have less room to describe their hands. The preempt causes them to select from among bad choices.
Because there’s no such thing as a preempt over a preempt, experts give a jump bid special meaning in certain auctions. Over 3♣, a 4 bid shows at least 5–5 in diamonds and a major, and a strong hand. This treatment has various names: Roman jump overcall and leaping Michaels are two of them. It’s not part of Bridge Bulletin standard, but seven experts chose that call.
“4,” said Larry Cohen. “If this isn’t part of the system, let’s make it part. Roman jump overcalls come up quite frequently. Without them, I wouldn’t know which guess to take. 4 shows diamonds and a major and is 100% forcing.”
“I play that 4 is diamonds and a major,” said Jill Meyers, “but I doubt that is BBS.”
“4,” echoed Kitty and Steve Cooper. “We’ll correct hearts to diamonds. In our methods, we can bid 4, a leaping Michaels bid that is forcing.”
“I play 4 shows diamonds and a major and is forcing,” said Kerri Sanborn. “This is probably not BBS, but I still think it shows a good hand.”
“I’m bidding 4,” said Karen Walker, “even though I assume leaping Michaels is not part of BBS. This is about the best I can do as double is way too dangerous, and 4♣ shows the majors. I’m not confident that I could ever talk partner out of hearts if I bid that.”
Some panelists bid 3 and took their chances.
“3,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “I’m expecting, or, maybe hoping, further action, and I will introduce spades.”
Mike Lawrence echoed 3. “If this is passed out, I will make it. I’m prepared to bid spades next. You will get some votes for 4 to show diamonds and a major. This hand is a bit extreme, however, even if you are using this treatment.”
“I want to keep the bidding low with 3,” said Don Stack. “I’m hoping for another bid by anyone so I can follow with 4♠. I wish 4 showed diamonds and a major.”
As a new panelist, Stack was sticking to the Bridge Bulletin system.
“It’s an ‘Edgar,’” said Janet and Mel Colchamiro, referring to one of Edgar Kaplan’s adages. “When in doubt, bid your longest suit. We are definitely in doubt.”
“3, what’s the problem?” asked Allan Falk. “What’s the alternative? It’s almost impossible for the bidding to die here. 4 is not leaping Michaels in BBS.”
Others decided to double.
“There is no good bid for the hand, unless you could bid 4 to show diamonds and a major,” said Lynn Deas. “Because I can’t bid 4, I double and hope for the best. If partner bids hearts, I’ll correct to diamonds.”
Steve Robinson also doubled. “If partner passes,” he said, “I’ll lead my A and try to get to partner for a ruff — just kidding. If partner bids hearts, my subsequent spade bids should show spades and diamonds. I think 4♣ should show any two suits, but that’s not standard.”
Two panelists agreed with Robinson’s last remark.
“4♣,” said Richard Freeman. “That should show a strong two-suiter. Although unlikely, if partner bids 4, I’ll bid six. Over 4, I’ll bid 4♠, showing spades and diamonds, although it doesn’t show the disparity in length.”
There was one vote for slam, and they made a good point.
“6,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Another nasty problem after a preempt in which we must guess. Most bids that partner makes in response to double or 4♣ leave us with another guess. How will partner know that the ♣A or the K are valueless, but the K or the Q is gold?”
“Who wants to hold this hand?” asked Kay and Randy Joyce. “We grudgingly go along with the majority, but we admire 3, which leaves room for partner to cooperate and gives us a chance to mention spades.”
Seven experts felt strongly that 4, showing diamonds and a major, was the best description. They chose it, even though it’s not part of BBS.

Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?

Click here to subscribe.
For archived versions of this feature, click here.

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