Retro Edition

IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠K 8 4 2   Q J 5 4   Q 7 6 5 2   ♣—

West North East South
Pass Pass
3♣ Dbl 5♣ ?
5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Pass Dbl

What’s your call?

Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
Dbl 100
5 70
Pass 50
6♣ 50
5 30
5♠ 30
6 30
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from November 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), Dbl was named top bid.
When the opponents preempt, you will frequently face a guess. In this case, the bidding is at the five level and you likely have a fit, but how do you find it? Half the panel doubled.
“Double for takeout,” said Lynn Deas. “If partner passes, that is okay. I don’t want to bid a suit, though, because who knows whether we even have an eight-card fit. Double is the most flexible call.”
“This is the toughest problem this month,” said Jill Meyers. “I don’t love it, but I double. This is responsive, and partner should pull with a long suit.”
“I double, although I hate my choice,” said Allan Falk. “No, this is not a penalty double. It just says, ‘Partner, you played me for 6 points, but I have a bit more than that. Everything else is too big a gamble. It is quite possible that we can’t make anything at the five level, or we might find the wrong fit if I guess which suit to bid. I’m not strong enough for 6♣ to ask partner to pick a suit.”
“Double is responsive, regardless of the level,” said August Boehm. “I have useful cards in partner’s suits. With only club values, you must pass and hope partner can reopen with a double.”
“Double,” echoed Karen Walker. “Making anything at the five level is far from a sure thing. Double shows some values, and if partner has a monster, he can bid on. If not, I’ll settle for plus 500.”
“I need to show some stuff,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I don’t want to choose a suit myself.”
“Let partner pick where to play,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper.
“I think double is the best of a bad lot,” said Mel Colchamiro. “5*D* might be called the worst (because it’s the most committal), 6♣ might be called the investor, and Pass might be called the chicken.”
There were five chickens.
“Pass,” said Don Stack. “Am I entitled to bid at this level? I don’t think so. Partner should know that I have a few values and act accordingly.”
“Pass,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth. “If partner can double again, then I will act.”
“Pass, which is unequivocally forcing facing a passed hand on my right,” said Barry Rigal. “A better question is if I pass and partner doubles, would I pull it. I’m glad you didn’t ask.”
“I want to bid, but whichever suit I pick could be ridiculously wrong,” said Larry Cohen. “Pass has to be forcing because there is a preempt opposite a passed hand. Pass is encouraging partner to bid. With garbage, I’d double. Once you realize that pass is forcing, it’s a standout. Let’s hope my fellow panelists see the light.”
One man’s chicken is another man’s standout.
Four panelists neither doubled nor passed.
“5,” said Fritzi and Paul Gordon. “We would like to double for takeout with the presumption that East is preempting and the hand belongs to North–South. I don’t think we have that agreement, so we have to contest the auction with our five-bagger.”
“Double could result in a minus score,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Bidding 6♣ will get us to the right suit, but possibly at the wrong level. We like bidding 5 — the middle ground.”
“6♣,” said Steve Robinson. “Might as well get to the best strain. Double shows values, but partner can never expect me to be void in clubs.”

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