♠Q J ♥9 4 ♦K J 3 ♣Q J 10 9 8 6
What’s your call?
There are several attractive choices for South. Panelists went for 2NT, 2♠ and 3♣.
“2♠,” said Mel Colchamiro. “The Q–J doubleton is surely as good as ♠4 3 2. I’ve begun to support on hands like this with good results — thank you Marshall Miles. 2NT is the obvious second choice.”
“I know that raising with two-card support is hardly the norm, but if there ever was a hand where it made sense, this has to be it,” said Barry Rigal.
“2♠* holding ♠Q J with diamonds stopped should work out well,” said Steve Robinson.
“I’m lying about trump length with 2♠,” said Kerri Sanborn, “but this is too good a hand to pass because we can’t easily make up ground on the next round. I would bid clubs at the two level, but not at the three level.”
“I rather dislike bidding 2♠,” said Mike Lawrence, “but at least I have two honors. This is an unusual choice, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were unanimous.
“I’ve got extra values and trump quality to make up for my missing spade,” said Allan Falk, “and this will almost surely get us a plus score. Bidding 3*♣, essentially forcing to game, is out of the question.”
Four 3♣ bidders didn’t agree.
“3♣,” said Larry Cohen. “I’m upgrading my hand due to my ♠Q J in partner’s suit and my well-placed diamond cards.”
August Boehm also liked 3♣. “My hand is probably worth an opening bid,” he said. “I’m promoting the spade honors, the club texture and the diamond position.”
“3♣,” agreed Betty Ann Kennedy. “The diamond suit is well-placed, and I have a decent six-card suit.”
“Bidding 3♣ may get our side too high,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin, “but if we pass, we won’t know what to do on the next round. Even worse, if we pass, partner may pass.”
Bidding 2NT was the slight favorite among the experts.
Kay and Randy Joyce: “Nothing is ideal on this hand, but 2NT is not a major lie. We might bid 2♠ at matchpoints.”
Linda and Robb Gordon: “Bidding 3♣ commits us to game. 2NT expresses our values, and we think we are a big favorite, if partner can raise.”
Jeff Meckstroth: “Bidding 2NT seems right to me.”
Jill Meyers: “2NT stands out. I have the values and a double stopper in East’s suit. I don’t think the hand is good enough to bid 3*♣ and commit to game.”
Karen Walker: “2NT limits my hand and shows the diamond stoppers. That rates to be of more interest to partner than my club suit.”
Kitty and Steve Cooper: “2NT describes our strength and diamond stoppers. We cannot force to game with 3♣.”
Don Stack: “Bidding 2NT is right on values with a double diamond stopper and a good club suit to work on. Pass is not an option.”
One panelist disagreed with Stack.
“Pass is a standout,” said Bridge Baron. “Humans want to bid some¬thing when there are many choices — very primitive. I want to hear what North says, and then I’ll have a better idea. I can always bid some number of notrump or raise spades the next time. What’s the rush?”
Optimists bid 3♣, pessimists raise to 2♠, while people in the middle bid 2NT. Which group are you in?
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