Retro Edition

Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠Q 8 7 6 5   3  A 9 8 7 2  ♣A Q

West North East South
1 Pass 3(1) ?

(1) Weak
What’s Your Call?

3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
3♠ 100
Dbl 80
Pass 40
4 20
4 10
A ratty suit, but a good hand

The most likely game is 4♠, but your suit is weak. The majority of the panel chooses to bid 3♠. What are their reasons?

Walker: “My apologies will be ready if bidding 3♠ goes south — just as they would if I had meekly passed and that had been wrong.”

Colchamiro: “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Another easy decision, although a slightly uncomfortable one.”

The Gordons: “Would we like a better suit? Sure, but we weren’t dealt one. Double is a distortion and pass is wimpy.”

Stack: “We may have a partscore, we may have a game or we may go for a large number. I don’t like to pass when I’m this distributional and am able to get my lead director in at the three level (an old joke).”

Kennedy: “My suit is terrible, but being two-suited makes up for that.”

Robinson: “I have to take action. Because any action could be wrong, I might as well assume we have a spade fit. If 3♠ gets doubled, I might run.”

Boehn: “Their auction encourages competition because we are now guaranteed a fit. Bidding 4 is too much and double might miss a 5–3 spade fit. I won’t worry about partner’s opening lead because we will often buy the contract.”

Five experts choose double.

“Double and pull 4♣ to 4,” says Lawrence. “3♠ could be the winner, but if partner doesn’t fit spades, it will work out poorly.”

“Double and correct clubs to diamonds,” say the Coopers.

“Double is not ideal, but better than 3♠,” say the Joyces. “If partner bids 4♣, I have a short but stout holding for him.”

“3♠ could be right, of course,” says Falk, “but it could get partner off to a terrible lead and if it goes all pass, I won’t be thrilled. So, I choose to double and hope we land on our feet.”

Meckstroth agrees. “I don’t want to bid 3♠ and put all my eggs in one basket,” he says. “Double rates to work better.”

Cohen chooses to bid 4. “I can’t pass and I was originally thinking of bidding 3♠,” he says, “but then I realized that if they bid 4, I won’t be content to let them play there anyway, so I might as well get the hand off my chest now.”

Two panelists pass.

“Maybe my partner can bail me out on the next round of bidding,” says Sanborn. “If I overcall this ratty suit and we have no fit there, it won’t be easy to scramble to a good spot. It’s dangerous to bid, but I know it’s also dangerous not to bid.”

“Pass,” agrees Bridge Buff. “My simulations show that even when we have a 5–3 spade fit, the suit will split poorly a high percentage of the time. Partner still has a chance to act. I would predict everyone will pass, double or bid 3♠, but sometimes Larry Cohen makes weird bids.”

With a good offensive hand in a competitive setting, you have to act, even if your suit isn’t strong.

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