What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Jan. 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 1NT was named top bid.
You have some values, but no convenient bid. Should you raise with only two-card support? Should you bid 1NT without a stopper? Seven of the panel chose 1NT.
“1NT,” said Jill Meyers. “I hate not having a heart stopper, but I also don’t like raising to 2♠ with only two of them. If my right-hand opponent has three hearts, over pass, pass, he might bid 2♥ and I can bid 2♠ then.”
“1NT,” agreed Larry Cohen. “Yes, I see that I don’t have hearts stopped. I expect to be in the minority, but I don’t like showing direct spade support with a doubleton.”
“1NT,” echoed Betty Ann Kennedy. “This is an awkward hand with no good bid available.”
“This hand isn’t as good as it first appears,” said Karen Walker, “but vulnerable at IMPs I think I have to bid something. I don’t like the 2♥ cuebid. It rates to leave you still wondering on the next round, but just a level higher.”
“1NT is right on general values and might be right, even if not facing a heart stopper,” said Barry Rigal. “In low-level auctions, bidding one’s hand-type seems best to me.”
“I have too much to pass and too much for 2♠, so I’m punting with 1NT,” said Allan Falk. “With this much strength opposite a vulnerable overcall, we should be able to scramble seven tricks (if it goes all pass), even if they run five hearts.”
“You have a square hand, and East didn’t raise hearts. All this suggests 1NT,” said scorers Kay and Randy Joyce. “The hand is much too good to pass when vulnerable at IMPs.”
“I bid 1NT, but have full sympathy for those bidding 2♠,” said Mike Lawrence.
Five of the experts did bid 2♠. What were their reasons?
“I owe partner a bid, and 2♠ makes the most sense,” said Grant Baze.
“We need to make some noise,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin “Our heart stopper is too tenuous for 1NT, and 2♠ is all that is left. Partner should be happy with our hand, if he bids on.”
“All actions are flawed,” said August Boehm. “The extra HCP often compensates for the missing spade.”
“I don’t like 2♠, as I am overbidding my length and underbidding my strength,” said Kerri Sanborn, “but it is the least of evils.”
“I choose 2♠ by process of elimination,” agreed Richard Freeman.
Three panelists cuebid 2♥.
“I’m a spade short for my bid,” said Jeff Meckstroth, “but I have a great hand for partner.”
“I have a good 10 points and need to make a constructive bid,” agreed Steve Robinson.
“We have a good hand, though we owe partner a trump for our 2♥ bid,” said Janet and Mel Colchamiro.
“We choose 2♦,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “This is what we want led. We have spade tolerance and too much to pass.”
Old-fashioned bidding required a heart stopper to bid 1NT. New-fashioned bidding puts a premium on showing values and a balanced hand that couldn’t raise spades. If you agree to play this way, when North has a strong hand and wants to play 3NT, he should check for a stopper before bidding it.