Retro Edition

What’s your call?

2♣ 2 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, Dianne Isfeld & Martin Henneberger, The Joyces, Mike Lawrence, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Steve Weinstein, Bridge Baron


Most of the panelists set forth describing this two-suiter by bidding their longer, better suit.

“2,” states Weinstein. “I’m prepared for any action by LHO or CHO. Any other bid is a distant second.”

Hampson, too: “A suit this strong and long must be mentioned immediately.”

Rigal thinks it through. “The problem here is not just how to bid our hand, but how to cope with the inevitable spade raise to 3♠ or 4♠. I hate 2 then 3, though I agree it might work. 2 deals more realistically with competition, planning 4 over 3♠ and 4NT for a two-suiter (correcting clubs to hearts) over 4♠. How much worse can diamonds play than hearts?”

“Yes, we will be preempted,” anticipate the Gordons, “but we think it is worth showing our pattern.”

The Sutherlins explain, “It is highly unlikely we can buy the contract below the five level, so we want to emphasize our self-sufficient diamond. A negative double would not get this across.”

“We may lose hearts if the auction gets rambunctious,” according to the Joyces, “but we’d rather have that happen than for partner to think our hearts are longer or better.”

Guest panelists Isfeld and Henneberger look in their crystal ball. “We foresee this auction getting high fast, as the opponents clearly have a spade fit. If we choose hearts now and compete in diamonds later, we may be sorry we did when partner takes a heart preference at the five level.”

Walker bids 2, knowing that “more spade bids are forthcoming. I may lose a heart fit, but at least I’ll find a good trump suit. I don’t want to hear any false preference from partner, which might happen if I bid 2 now and then 5 over their 4♠.”

Robinson agrees. “I have a suit that will play opposite a void. If they bid 4♠, I can bid 4NT and correct 5♣ to 5 showing four or more hearts and longer diamonds. Usually I would bid 2, but if partner has:

♠x x x  K x x  x  ♣A K Q J x x,

6 would make but 4 might go down.”

“We will bid 2 next, and if the enemy bids 4♠, we will bid 4NT and correct clubs to diamonds,” say the Joyces. “We never make a negative double with this distributional a hand, and we do not like to distort our suit lengths.

Then there are those panelists who are unwilling to lose the heart suit.

Cohen justifies his 2 call: “This is the direct way to reach an eight-plus-card heart fit. If that doesn’t materialize, I will bid my diamonds next (and it may have to be at the five level).”

Sanborn bids 2. “As putrid as it seems, hearts are probably the key to slam. If I can get them raised, I might be able to initiate an exclusion key card auction. It would be good if I could find out about hearts and still wind up in diamonds, but that is a trickier problem.”

2 by Boehm, “before the opponents raise spades and the fifth heart gets lost.”

“There are a million reasons for bidding 2,” according to Colchamiro, who chooses to bid 2. “I seem to get better results by getting my five-card major (such as it is) in there right away.”

Falk likes 2, too.“Yuk! I just can’t make a negative double with a spade void. I’m going to have to overbid, hoping partner’s values are in clubs and not much in spades. If I don’t find a heart fit immediately, and expecting the bidding to come back around to me at 4♠, I will bid 5 (with the standard agreement that 4NT by me would show a second suit not longer than hearts, so 5 says my diamonds are as good as or better and longer than my hearts). If my black suits were reversed, a negative double would be more than enough (and give us a chance to right-side a red-suit contract).”
Two of the experts opt to use an extreme negative double to show hearts.

Stack is one of them. “Hope the bidding does not go all pass or 4♠ on the left. The next bid by this hand will be diamonds at whatever level suggesting beaucoup red cards with longer diamonds.”

“A nightmare!” moans Lawrence, the second negative doubler. “It is possible that we do not want to find hearts. I do not bid hearts now and then 5 later because getting put back into hearts with a poor holding would be bad.”

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