Retro Edition

5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Pass Double

What’s your call?

Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
6 100
6♠ 90
5 60
5NT 20
6♣ 0


For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Jan. 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 6 was named top bid.
You have a strong hand, and as the bidding proceeds, it starts looking stronger. Partner could have signed off in 4♠, but he offered 5. What is that?
Richard Freeman thought it showed diamonds. “6,” he said. “The contract should be worth an extra trick or two playing in diamonds.”
“6,” agreed Kerri Sanborn. “Partner must have some good, fitting cards and a diamond suit. With lots of hands partner could hold, I wouldn’t want to play 6♠, but 6 looks pretty good, for example:
♠10 3 2   7 4 3   Q J 10 7 3   ♣A Q.”
Partner may have bid 5♣ as a control bid holding the above hand.
Allan Falk pictured partner’s hand as:
♠K 3 2   8 5 3   Q J 8 7 4 3 2   ♣ —.
“If I’ve misread North’s intentions,” said Falk, “no problem. He will correct to 6♠.”
“Not sure what 5 is,” said Steve Robinson, “but if partner has long diamonds, we could make more tricks in that suit because hearts can be ruffed in the short (trump) hand.”
“6,” agreed Karen Walker. “I’ll assume I arrived late and a caddy subbed to bid my hand up to this point, or maybe my thumb slipped when I pulled the 4 bid out of the box. I think 4♣ makes more sense. Partner’s 5 sounds natural and encouraging, maybe a 3=3=7=0 hand.”
Grant Baze agreed with 6 but isn’t so sure it shows diamonds. “Partner should have the ♠K, a stiff diamond, the ♣Q and something extra,” he said. “Just in case he thinks he is showing a suit, I’ll take out some insurance.”
Mike Lawrence agreed with Baze. “It’s more likely that partner has a singleton diamond,” he said, “and something good in spades and clubs. On the chance that diamonds is a better contract, however, this is the way to do it.”
“6,” said Jill Meyers. “Partner should have six diamonds and another useful card. I don’t think we will make 6♠.”
Three experts cuebid hearts again.
“5,” said Barry Rigal. “I have no idea what is going on here. Bidding 5 should not be a suggestion of a place to play. Bidding 6 would be, so I assume partner has short diamonds. I will pass if partner bids 5♠ or play any slam partner suggests.”
August Boehm agreed with Walker regarding the 4 bid. “It seems doubtful we can bid a slam,” he said, “but I don’t see any harm in trying. The problem was the premature 4 bid. A 4♣ bid would have alerted partner to upgrade a club fit.”
“5,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Partner has denied first- or second-round control in clubs. We think our auction suggests we need club help. We expect North to bid 6*S* with the ♣Q and ♠K.”
Other experts bid 6♠.
“Partner has shown life,” said Larry Cohen. “He presumably has short diamonds and no club ace. I hope he has the ♠K and the ♣Q. We could belong in 6♣, but he would probably take a 6♣ bid as a try for seven.”
“6♠,” agreed Steve and Kitty Cooper. “Partner did not sign off, so he must have the ♠K. We do not look for a grand because he does not have the ♣A. We look forward to seeing the dummy so we can find out what the 5 bid meant.”
If you gave the panel the auction without showing your hand, they would probably say North has a control in diamonds, perhaps the A (and no club control). Because South has it, several experts let that influence them into believing that North has a queen-high diamond suit.
What does 4 mean? Perhaps the answer to that leads to the meaning of 5.

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

Click here to subscribe.
For archived versions of this feature, click here.