Retro Edition

Matchpoints. N-S vulnerable.
♠A Q 10 6   K 10   A  ♣K Q 10 9 8 4

West North East South
4 ?
4♠ 4NT
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♣ 90
4♠ 30
Pass 20
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from April 2010’s Bridge Bulletin), Dbl was named top bid.
Should you bid your strong, six-card suit or double and try to keep spades in the picture? The panel was divided.
“Double and pray that partner does not bid 5,” said Jill Meyers. “I don’t want to give up on 4♠, particularly at matchpoints.”
“Double,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth. “If partner bids 5, I’ll have to bid 6♣, but I can’t afford not to keep spades in the picture.”
“Double and I’ll correct 5 to 6♣,” agreed Barry Rigal. “If you bid 5♣ instead of double, you might play a 6–0 fit instead of your 5–4 spade fit.”
“Can I possibly go quietly with the hand?” asked Don Stack. “No, I must take some action, and I’m not willing to put all my eggs in the 5♣ basket. Partner may pass my double or bid 4♠, which is great. If partner bids 5, who says I can’t make 6♣?”
Karen Walker agreed with double. “I’m willing to risk the discomfort of 5 from partner for the chance to find 4♠,” she said.
“If partner bids 5 over my double, he’s supposed to have a fair hand,” said Mel Colchamiro. “If so, I’ll chance 6♣. If partner passes with a weak hand, then 5♣ may have been going down, too. We hit the home run when partner bids 4♠. Bidding 5♣ is too unilateral for me.”
Eight experts didn’t agree.
“5♣,” said Kerri Sanborn. “Preempts work and I can’t risk double and guessing what to do over 5. Of course, double looks brilliant when partner can bid 4♠.”
“Nothing else but 5♣ makes sense to us,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “Are we happy? No.”
Kay and Randy Joyce bid 5♣ but admit that “it’s very tempting to double at matchpoints.”
“5♣ could lose the spade suit or miss a penalty,” said August Boehm, “but it avoids a diamond disaster and may lead to a club slam.”
“5♣ may not be our best spot, but it should be a reasonable place to play,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “If we double and partner bids 5, then what? A 4♠ bid is really rolling the dice.”
“5♣,” said Larry Cohen. “Double would beget 5. Even for me, 4♠ over 4 would be a stretch with this hand.”
“4♠,” said Mike Lawrence. “This hand is impossible to bid accurately. Bidding 4♠ gets us to the high-scoring contract, assuming I can make it. Where is Marshall Miles when I need him? I will take Larry Cohen in a pinch.”
Miles is a proponent of four-card overcalls, but not necessarily at the four level. Cohen likes to bid 4♠ over 4 when reasonable, but chooses not to on this deal. Still, you have to admire Lawrence for having the courage of his convictions.
Allan Falk summed it up: “Not surprisingly, it was neck and neck whether to double to bring spades into the picture at the risk of inducing North to bid 5, or just to bid our long suit at the risk of missing a spade fit. Tastes great or less filling — you pick.”

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