Retro Edition

IMPs. E-W vulnerable.
♠A 6 5   K 8 4 3   A 9 5 4  ♣6 2

West North East South
Pass Pass
1 Dbl 1♠ ?

What’s your call?

1NT
2♣ 2 2 2♠ 2NT
3♣ 3 3 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
2 90
2 70
1NT 60
Dbl 50
Panelists
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, The Joyces, Betty Ann Kennedy, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Bridge Buff
Keep it Simple

Twelve panelists choose bids that show a hand at the top of the passed-hand range. Most prefer an “honest,” “invitational,” or “simple” 3 bid, striving above all to avoid confusion.

“3,” says Walker. “Straight value bid bypassing the vague 2 cuebid. Partner shouldn’t have a trashy double at IMPs.”

“No need to force game at these colors, especially if partner has only three hearts,” Cohen says. “I could double or cuebid, but that complicates matters when I have a relatively straightforward description available. Forcing to game with this hand will keep my partner from making shapely, light takeout doubles.”

Lawrence, too, opts for the direct approach. “I could create a more complex auction. 3 at least will not lead to confusion.”

Rigal mentally concocts a few convoluted auctions before deciding on 3. “I can see why defending might be right here (double 1♠ and any red suit later on, hoping partner can double clubs). But the simple invitation seems pretty reasonable and close to what I’m worth.”

Colchamiro, too, explores the dark side before emerging with a 3 call. “Is 2♠ here natural, exposing a psych, or does double do that? I personally prefer that double shows four cards in hearts.”

Nearly as many panelists choose to cuebid 2, but not necessarily for the same reasons — and the waters get a little murkier.

Sanborn: “2&diamss;. An easy cuebid looking for the heart fit. Many people play a 2♠ bid as natural. Second choice is 3, but we might be in a 4–3 fit there.”

The Sutherlins: “A 2 cuebid should let us find a 4–4 heart fit if it exists. Playing 2NT or 3NT is our fallback spot.”

The Coopers: “We would have opened 1 because we can raise either major. This hand is too good for 2 now. The spades are not good enough to double 1♠, although at pairs we might do that.”

Kennedy: “2. If partner bids 2, I’ll raise to three.”

The Gordons: “2. This is an auction that many pairs have never discussed. South is a passed — and therefore limited — hand. Two cuebids are available, neither of which can be game-forcing. For us, 2 is the more balanced and flexible cuebid. We confess we are tempted to go for the throat and double 1♠, but when they run, partner won’t believe we have only three spades, and that might get us in trouble.”

Robinson opts for a 2 bid. “I’d like to have five hearts. Unless partner has four hearts, 2 would get us too high.”

Falk bids 2, calling it “pusillanimous.” Again, the meaning of a double in this position clouds the issue, although he has no doubt about its meaning in his auction. “Double is penalty and cuebidding 2 forces to at least 3 (or higher if partner does not bid 2). 3 seems just a bit rich with dull distribution opposite a nonvulnerable partner. If the enemy bids again, I can double to show my extras and partner can do something halfway intelligent.”

The Joyces choose an interesting call: “1NT. Other options are not as appealing as this one.”

Boehm is leaning on Bridge Bulletin Standard to justify his double, but he sounds skeptical. “Our notes specify that ‘low-level doubles are for takeout,’ so I’ll make the systemic bid. But I don’t believe it. Classically, this double shows four or more spades — a useful weapon against a psych. I’d prefer an immediate 2 cuebid, invitational to game, reserving the higher cuebid (2♠) for a game force.”

Meyers also doubles, then bids 2 at her next turn (assuming there is a next turn). “I don’t know if we belong in game, and if we do, I don’t know if that game is in notrump or hearts, so I don’t want to put all my eggs in the 3 basket.”

Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?

Click here to subscribe.