Retro Edition

What’s your call?

2 2♠ 2NT
3♣ 3 3 3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Dbl Pass
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August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, Geoff Hampson, 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


A good bridge player anticipates partner’s opening lead dilemma. Here’s a chance to suggest a safe lead. Is it wise to do so? Is it safe? The panel is split right down the middle.

Brandishing his 2♠ card, Rigal challenges: “At this vulnerability, only a chicken would cluck out a pass.”

“2♠,” agrees Meckstroth. “Got to get busy bidding here.”

The Coopers describe 2♠ as “not so sound,” but believe it’s important to tell partner what to lead. “It would be sad to hear it go 3NT all pass and watch pard blow a trick or two on opening lead.”

Boehm is worried he may miss his chance if he doesn’t bid 2♠ right now. “Passing and balancing over 2 isn’t necessarily safer.”

Hampson, Kennedy and Walker agree that 2♠ is “risky,” but the lead-directing value is worth the gamble.

“There is some risk of penalty versus a non-game (or bigger penalty than game),” says Hampson, “but I desire a spade lead versus 3NT or 4 and if they are going there, I won’t get another chance to suggest one.”

The Joyces take it a step further. “We have a good lead director and it may be our hand.”

Stack, Walker, Colchamiro and Lawrence note that this looks like the companion hand to hand No. 4 above, except for the vulnerability. Stack and Walker bid 2♠. “The spades are strong enough to think we will not get doubled, and we want a spade lead if the opponents bid on,” explains Stack.

Lawrence and Colchamiro, however, hang back. Lawrence says he would pass over 2 and balance with 2♠ over 2&kearts;.”

“Pass,” clucks Weinstein. “I will back in with 2♠ if given the opportunity. This is much safer than stepping in with 2♠ in a live auction. We’d prefer a spade lead, but we have values elsewhere if partner leads his own suit.”

Robinson says, “On my frisky days, I might bid 2♠.” But today is not a frisky day.

“Bad distribution, live auction,” dismisses Meyers with a pass.

“I hope to be able to balance later,” says Sanborn. “If I wind up defending 3NT without my lead director, 2♠ doubled was likely going to be bloody anyway.”

“Chiming in with 2♠ on a flat hand is just an insult to partner,” admonishes Falk. “If it goes 2–pass–pass, I can balance with 2♠.”

The Gordons pass. “We don’t even see a rational alternative.”

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