Retro Edition

6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT

What’s your call?

Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
5NT 100
Pass 80
6 30
6♣ 10


For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from August 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 5NT was named top bid.
What does North’s double mean? He rates to have some values outside the spade suit. Eleven experts thought that non-spade values that look like defensive tricks should give them a play for slam.
Six experts bid 5NT.
“5NT,” said Jeff Meckstroth. “I don’t need much to make a slam.”
“I’m going to guess that partner has one of the rounded-suited aces,” said Allan Falk, referring to hearts and clubs. “5NT suggests at least one other place to play.”
“I’m playing partner for scattered values,” said August Boehm, “and not just spades. He’s a favorite to hold at least one rounded-suit ace.”
“Partner’s double shows values,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “He will correct our 5NT to 6♣ with equal minor length.”
“5NT should tell partner that I am bringing all three non-spade suits into the picture,” said Jill Meyers. “I will pass 6♣, but correct to 6 over 6.”
“Partner’s double shows values and 5NT says pick a slam,” said Mel Colchamiro.
Four experts bid directly to 6 .
“Partner’s double shows a good hand, and I have a heart suit that will play opposite a void,” said Steve Robinson. “Partner shouldn’t double 5♠ if he only has spade values.”
“Partner’s double shows values,” said Larry Cohen. “These values should be useful. With just a spade trick, he should keep his mouth shut.”
“Partner’s double cannot be based on spade values,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “Therefore, he should have the ♣A and possibly the Q.”
The panel said North cannot double with only spade values. This means that if he has ♠K Q 8 and nothing else, he has to pass. The contract can be played doubled only when South doubles 5♠ for takeout — then North can leave it in. When North doubles 5♠, he shows what are called transferable values. This means he should have something outside the spade suit. It may seem strange to pass with two spade tricks, but usually North is more likely to hold non-spade values than spade values, so it makes sense to play it that way on a frequency basis.
“I think with partner’s values, we can make slam,” said Don Stack. “Besides, I don’t think we will play slam — they will take out ‘insurance’ and sacrifice.”
Mike Lawrence chose 6♣.
“I will take a shot at 6♣,” he said. “There is a real chance that one of the opponents will bid spades again.”
Five experts passed.
“I lead the ♣K,” said Barry Rigal. “I’m not sure we can beat it. We might make 6 , but I’m a coward. I’ll try and go plus against 5♠.”
“Partner and Grant [Baze] have spoken, and, missing two aces, I have no reason to overrule either one of them,” said Karen Walker.
“This is tough,” said Kerri Sanborn. “Partner cannot know we can make slam holding ♣A 8 7 6 2 and out. This is matchpoints, however, and maybe we can score plus 500 against plus 450 our way.”
Richard Freeman and Bridge Baron are the other two who chose to pass.

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

Click here to subscribe.

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