IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠A 6 5 ♥K J 10 2 ♦A K 7 4 2 ♣Q
What’s Your Call?
Bidding 2NT has two flaws: It is a slight overbid and you have a singleton club. Nevertheless, that’s the choice of the majority.
“Passing is risky while 1♠ or 1NT are too weak — I have many flawed options,” says Lawrence. “Bidding 2NT is the simple choice that has the least chance of something going horribly wrong.”
“2NT is the value bid,” say the Sutherlins. “For a pass to work depends on partner’s hand. If he has 8 points and diamonds, we will not do well on defense and will be favorites to make 3NT. Passing could be plus 500 or minus 160.”
“If we can beat 1♥ doubled, we’re heavy favorites to make 3NT,” says Walker. “I’d pass if we were white, but there’s too much of an IMP difference between plus 200 and plus 600 to go for it at this vulnerability.”
“At matchpoints, we might roll the dice with a pass,” say the Gordons, “but we think the more down‑the-middle 2NT is called for at IMPs. What stiff club?”
“2NT,” says Sanborn. “Pass is a good second choice. If partner fits diamonds, however, I don’t really want to be defending at the one level.”
“It’s easy to see that pass might work extremely well if partner is short in diamonds,” says Rigal. “But if I’m facing:
♠K 8 4 2 ♥4 3 ♦Q J 8 ♣J 10 6 4, they might make a surprisingly large number of tricks in 1♥ while we make 3NT.”
“I’m a point light to bid 2NT,” says Meckstroth, “but my good stoppers in hearts should make up for that.”
Three experts passed.
“Let’s pass and take the likely large plus score, rather than trying to figure out what we can make,” say the Coopers.
“I can see two possible bids, 2NT and pass,” says Stack. “Pass has the advantage of the directed diamond lead. If the dummy has no entry, pass could produce plus 500.”
“I pass because my partner recently tried this on an incredibly similar hand, and he was very right,” says Cohen. “The other benefit is that if this is a long match, my opponents are likely to keep in line if they know this sort of auction can occur.”
There is one vote for 1♠.
“This is a good lesson hand where 1♠ shows exactly three spades with a hand unsuitable for bidding something else,” says Robinson. “With four spades and 11–14 high‑card points, bid 2♠. I expect a low score, but this is how one should respond to a negative double of 1♥. The hand is not good enough to bid 2NT.”
Some of the panelists’ comments indicated they thought the hand was too strong to bid only 1♠.
2NT comes the closest to describing South’s hand to North at a form of scoring where there is a big premium for bidding vulnerable games.
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