Matchpoints. None vulnerable.
♠A K Q ♥A J 9 6 3 2 ♦7 5 4 ♣K
What’s your call?
Strong clubbers look at this hand and pity (or scoff at) the poor people playing standard systems.
“This hand and its cousins have shown up in bidding contests since before we were born,” expound the Gordons. “What do you do with such a flawed hand? Underbid with 2♠ or 2? Jump to 3♠ with only three? All of these are possible, but we choose the boring mainstream 3♥.”
“3♥, but yuk,” says Cohen. “There is no good rebid in standard — just a choice of evils.”
Meckstroth agrees wholeheartedly. “Rebidding 3♥ might miss a good spade fit, and raising spades might lead to a poor 4–3 fit. Good hand for a strong club.”
“We would like to have a better suit, but the hand is too strong for 2♥ or 2♠,” explain the Sutherlins. “Jump raising to 3♠ is ugly, and rebidding 2♦ doesn’t solve the problem.”
A couple of the 3♥ bidders first give some thought to bidding 2♦.
One of them is Colchamiro. “3♥. Inelegant, but so is everything else. At IMPs, perhaps strangely, I would go with 2♦, but here I stay with the field (I hope) so that if I’m wrong, I’ll have company.”
“The bid I really like is 2♦,” says Lawrence, but I am not going to bid it. I wonder if it will get a mention anywhere. Practical choices are 2♥, 3♥, 2♠ and 3♠. All are flawed. I hate bidding 3♠ if there is another choice since I do not want partner, in the future, remembering that I might jump raise with three.”
Which brings us to panelists who did bid 2♦:
“Yuk to everything,” says Walker. “The hearts aren’t strong enough for 3♥, and this is the wrong dummy for a 4–3 spade contract.”
“This hand is too good in spite of the stiff king to raise to 2♠ or rebid 2♥,” explain the Coopers, “so we lurk with this phony 2♦ bid. We are hoping for a 2♥ bid so we can bid 2♠ next showing our good three-card support with extras.”
“2♦. Tough one,” says Sanborn. “No clear-cut bid. I am well placed if I don’t play it here, and maybe even then. Good hand for 2♣ forcing.”
Electing to jump raise to 3♠ caught the fancy of three panelists.
Stack was one of them. “Because more than half my high-card points are in spades and my hearts are so poor, I will opt to bid 3♠. I’ve seen this problem a dozen times, and the three-card raise has never gotten the top score. Will this problem stop the streak?” (Nope. Sorry, Don.)
Rigal agrees that the quality of the spade support more than makes up for the missing one. “3♠ is not the normal choice, I admit. But I can’t stand to invent a minor, and 3♥ looks off target. So I’ll pretend I have four spades. I do, don’t I?” (Nope. Sorry, Barry.)
Boehm bids 3♠, “warts and all. The ♣K may protect us against a forcing defense if partner supplies some secondary club strength.”
Three panelists choose to “go low” with what we’ve now universally determined to be a yucky hand.
The Joyces bid 2♥, saying, “Would like to jump, but this hand has too many flaws.”
Likewise, Falk bids 2♥ as he hypothetically shifts cards around to make the problem easier. “If the ♣K and the ♦7 were reversed, this would be almost everyone’s 3♥ bid. Raising spades when partner may have to use the ♠A K Q to ruff clubs does not appeal and going plus is critical. This would be more problematic at IMPs.”
Meyers bids 2♠ at this form of scoring. “Were this IMPs, I would bid 3♠.”
Robinson goes solo with a bid that isn’t on anyone’s radar screen. “3♦. I want to force to game and I don’t know which major is best. Maybe I will find out something over 3♦.”