IMPs. N-S vulnerable.
♠A 3 ♥K 8 6 4 3 ♦K 7 ♣8 7 5 4
What’s your call?
If the opponents quit preempting, life would be easier. That’s not going to happen, so how do you cope? There are two schools of thought on this deal. One is to bid 3♥ because you’re a passed hand, this doesn’t overstate your values.
“3♥,” said Don Stack. “My 10 points are all prime, and I’m a passed hand, so I must bid, even though the heart suit is not robust. Partner rates to be short in clubs so I should find some heart length in dummy.”
“3♥ isn’t perfect, but what can you do?” asked Barry Rigal. “If I’ve misjudged, they may not find it easy to double me.”
“I’m thrilled that I’m a passed hand and so can bid 3♥,” said Jeff Meckstroth. “Passing is out because we could easily have a game. I admit that if partner doesn’t fit hearts, this may not work so well.”
“The preempt improved my hand,” said Mel Colchamiro. “Being a passed hand makes 3♥ an easy bid. Being short in clubs, partner likely has some hearts.”
“I don’t like my poor suit quality, but I have 10 points,” said Jill Meyers. “With length in their suit, we likely have a fit somewhere. I’m a passed hand so partner knows I cannot have a weak two-bid in hearts.”
“3♥, but yecchh,” said Allan Falk. “My heart texture is awful, but with a doubleton spade, I can hardly risk a negative double. North rates to be short in clubs, but, if not, maybe he can bid 3NT.”
The other group chose to pass.
“I can’t find any reason to be stampeded into a huge overbid with this sparse hand,” said Karen Walker. “If we have game, partner will reopen. If he passes it out, I’ll be glad I didn’t hang him for opening in third seat.”
“If partner can’t reopen with a double, we probably don’t have a heart game,” echoed Steve Robinson. “In that case, defending clubs would surely get us a plus score. Bidding 3♥ puts all of your eggs in one basket, and my hearts are not that good.”
“Pass,” agreed Kay and Randy Joyce. “A 3♥ bid could find partner with a doubleton club and a doubleton heart — yuck! If partner reopens with a double, then we can bid 4♥.”
“Being a passed hand isn’t a license to show this threadbare heart suit at the three level,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “If partner is short in clubs, he will reopen and we will bid 4♥. If he can’t reopen, we’d rather defend.”
“Pass,” agreed Larry Cohen. “Because I’m a passed hand, I originally wanted to bid 3♥. But if partner reopens with a double, I can always bid 4♥ then. If he doesn’t reopen, he probably is not short in clubs and defending 3′ should be our best spot. I hope I can pass in tempo.”
“I’ll pass and await further developments,” said Betty Ann Kennedy.
“We pass because everything else is worse,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “3♥ could be a winner, but it could also change a plus score into a minus. If partner reopens with a double, we can hang him with a 4♥ bid.”
Bridge Baron chose to double. The problem with this bid is that North will bid 3♠ or 4♠ a high percentage of the time, and you have no good answer.
Whether you bid 3♥ or pass depends on how aggressive you are.
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