What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Jan. 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 3*S*♠ was named top bid.
The opponent has five cards in one of your majors, but you can’t tell which one. You have to act, however, because if you pass, the auction could end. Eight experts planned to bid both of their suits, starting with 3♠.
“3♠,” said Barry Rigal. “I’ll bid both majors and see what happens, probably something ending in 00 for one side or the other.”
Steve Robinson agreed. “I plan on bidding both my majors. Not sure what a double is and wouldn’t want to defend against 3♣ doubled.”
Some experts thought double was negative, some thought it was penalty, and some weren’t sure.
“I bid 3♠,” said Richard Freeman, “and 4♥ next. The negative double has two disadvantages: partner may pass and you’re stuck for a bid over 3NT.”
Karen Walker also bid 3♠. “A negative double is way too dangerous,” she said, “and 4*C* would be a diamond raise. So I’m stuck with making natural bids in my long suits.”
Because the second suit is unknown, this bid is listed on the ACBL Superchart. That means it would be allowed in events such as the Spingold or Vanderbilt Knockout Teams. Clubs could also choose to allow it.
Six players chose to double. What does it mean and why do they do it?
“Double,” said August Boehm. “I trust that partner will treat this as negative. If he passes, we should be okay since I have East’s major suit bottled up. Still, it would be more comfortable if I had a trump to lead.”
“Double,” agreed Larry Cohen. “I hope partner doesn’t pass.”
“We presume double is negative in Bridge Bulletin Standard,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “At first, Steve wanted to bid 4♣ for the majors, but Kitty pointed out this is a diamond raise in BBS. Kitty wanted to bid 3*S*, so the double is a compromise.”
Betty Ann Kennedy liked the double because it is flexible. “It allows partner to bid a major, 3♦, 3NT or pass” she says.
“The double is negative, and may be our last plus score,” said Grant Baze.
“Double is negative,” said Jeff Meckstroth. “You have to bid something.”
Two players didn’t agree and passed.
“I hate this problem,” said Jill Meyers. “Please don’t deal me these cards at the table. My second choice after pass is 3♦.”
Allan Falk also passed. “Ugh,” he said. “I can’t double, even if that is negative, because it may go all pass with disastrous results. I have no reason to expect the left-hand opponent doesn’t have a fit in one of the majors. Also, he may have five cards in whichever eight-card fit our side has. So, I’ll await further developments, if any.”
Falk made a good point. If you bid spades, then hearts, you’ll find your fit, but the suit may not be splitting. If you pass, however, the auction may end, or West may raise clubs. If you don’t bid now, therefore, you will likely be shut out of the auction.
Peggy and John Sutherlin bid 4♣. “A 3♠ bid would be confusing,” they said, “and could land us in the wrong spot. We expect partner to bid a four-card major if he has one.”
Most of the panel who commented thought 4♣ was a diamond raise. Over that, if North bids a major, it would be a control bid.
When given a problem in an area where your partnership has no firm agreements, try to make a bid that makes sense to partner. In this case, that means bidding your spades, then your hearts.