Retro Edition

Matchpoints. N-S vulnerable.
♠8 3 2   —   A K Q 9 8 7   ♣A K 4 3

West North East South
2 2♠ 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
5 100
5NT 50
6 40
6♠ 40
4NT 10
4♠ 10
5♠ 10
6 10
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from September 2010’s Bridge Bulletin), 5 was named top bid.
South has an amazing hand opposite a partner who could bid their spade suit at the two level. Surely slam will make, but what about the grand? Ten experts cuebid 5.
“5,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “If partner bids 5♠, I’ll continue with 6.”
“5,” agreed August Boehm. “I’ll bid 6♠ over 5♠, searching for seven.”
“Because partner may have ♠A K Q x x x, we have a shot at a grand,” said Mike Lawrence. “I’m bidding 5, hoping partner can bid 6♠ with a good spade suit.”
Partner doesn’t have a control in any of the three side suits. He may be afraid to bid slam. Most of the time, you’ll hear 5♠ over your cuebid.
“5,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “We’re not stopping short of 6♠.”
“5 asks for spades and says not to worry about hearts or anything else,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper.
Other panelists didn’t agree with this.
“Last month, a five-of-a-major bid was looking for a control in the opponents’ suit. This month, I can’t use the same call to claim it is asking for good trumps (I wish I could),” said Larry Cohen. “I’m bidding 5 to show the heart control, and presume partner will go to slam with good spades. What else can he have?”
“5,” agreed Mel Colchamiro. “Bidding 4♠ is way too conservative. By the way, would 5NT be grand slam force or pick a slam?”
Three panelists thought 5NT was pick a slam.
“5NT,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “This is pick a slam, not grand slam force in spades because we have not con¬firmed spades as trump. Bidding 5 would confirm spades. Why pick a slam? Playing 6♣ or 6 may be our ideal trump suit.”
Barry Rigal agreed with 5NT. “Partner may never be able to bid the grand slam, although 6 might invite it. It feels wrong to commit the hand to spades when it could be wrong opposite ♠A J 9 7 6 4. At matchpoints, we are probably destined for spades, but it can’t hurt to be careful.”
“5NT pick a slam seems so much better than 5,” said Allan Falk. “After 5, I’m not likely to learn anything from partner’s bid, so why create a mean¬ingless sequence just to postpone my agony. We hit the jackpot if partner has: ♠A Q 9 7 6 Q 2 J ♣Q 9 7 6 5.”
Other panelists went different routes.
“6♠,” said Karen Walker. “Bidding 5 will usually get you 5♠, then what? A jump to 6 might convince partner that I have all the outside controls, but could also imply four-card spade support.”
“6,” said Jill Meyers. “I hope partner has the ♠A K Q and bids 7♠. I don’t know how else to get the message across.”
“6,” agreed Kerri Sanborn. “What could this be, but a hand with all the first-round controls and inviting a grand? If I had a top spade honor, I would bid 5NT, a grand slam force.”
“4NT, Roman Keycard,” said Steve Robinson. “I’ll take a chance that partner does not have the A.”
Bridge players are taught not to bid Blackwood with a void. In this case, the reasonable gamble might pay off. If North bids 5♠, showing, presumably, the ♠A K Q, you will have hit the jackpot.
The only panelist who bid a pessimistic 4♠ was Bridge Baron. “I’ve seen my human partners play the dummy,” Baron explained.
At a high level, a cuebid tells partner you have support and a strong hand.

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