What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from June 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), Pass was named top bid.
Bridge players hate to double one of a major with only a doubleton in the other. In this case, however, your hand is so strong that the majority of the panel felt double was best.
“I agree with double,” said Larry Cohen. “I’m too strong for 2♦ and have the wrong hand for 2NT.”
“I don’t like doubling with shortness in the unbid major,” said Lynn Deas, “but I do have 19 high-card points.”
“Holding 19 HCP and a good suit is beyond our overcall limits,” echoed Janet and Mel the Colchamiro.
“Double is seriously flawed,” said Allan Falk, “but the extra strength requires some action. I’m too strong for 2♦, and no other call is sensible.”
“An overcall is insufficient with this hand,” said Kerri Sanborn. “It is good enough to double and then bid diamonds, especially because my suit has texture.”
One-third of the panel did not agree.
“No,” said Steve Robinson. “I try not to double when I don’t have support for an unbid major. I would have overcalled 2♦.”
“I would have bid 2♦,” agreed Barry Rigal. “Yes, 2♦ may not work out either, but I think it’s closer to describing what I have.”
August Boehm would have bid 2♦. “A heavy suit overcall followed by a flexible double, allowing us either to declare or defend, works better. If you double, then bid a suit, you may only be able to declare.”
After you double, West skips to 4♠. What now? Seven experts doubled again.
“We double again to show more values,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “We have too much to pass. Partner will sit with most hands, and we may easily collect 500.”
“Double,” agreed Karen Walker. “The second double suggests a penalty oriented hand. Partner, who couldn’t open 2♥, is unlikely to pull to 5♥ at this vulnerability.”
Kitty and Steve Cooper agreed. “Partner is expected to pass without a good suit or extra distribution,” they said. “We don’t bid again to go down at the five level.”
Boehm also doubles. “If partner takes out with long hearts and a minor, I trust he’ll bid 4NT showing
two places to play.”
“Double,” agreed Deas. “Partner should be flexible and bid 4NT if he is going to pull.”
Eight panelists chose to pass.
“Pass,” said Sanborn. “Double is unattractive because partner could easily pull with a long heart suit. We
might go set when they are also going set.”
“I have to pass,” said Rigal. “I can’t risk doubling and hearing 5♥ from partner.”
“I’m stuck now,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “If I had bid 2♦ earlier, I could double for penalty without worrying about hearing 5♥.”
“Had I overcalled the first time, I would be comfortable with doubling,” echoed Richard Freeman. “I don’t want partner to fall in love with a long, ratty heart suit. Also, you may not set them.”
“If partner has a five- or six-card heart suit, he may find bidding 5*H* irresistible” agreed Falk, “and that rates to have no play. So, I’ll take my plus 100 or 200. At worst, we’ll lose 7 IMPs.”
“I can’t double because partner might bid hearts,” said Robinson. “I can’t bid 4NT because partner will bid clubs with equal length in the minors. Because both bids are flawed, I must pass and take my plus score. If I bid 2♦ the first time, I would double now because partner would know that it’s less likely I have hearts.”
Three panelists didn’t agree that 4NT was flawed.
“If I knew partner wouldn’t bid 5♥, I would double, but you know how partners are,” said Cohen. “By bidding 4NT, I could be trading down one for down one, but also I could be getting plus 600 instead of minus 620.”
“I think it’s close between pass and 4NT,” said Jill Meyers, “but I think I would bid 4NT because partner can have as little as ♣Q 8 6 4 3, and we are on a diamond finesse to make game.”
“Assuming the vulnerable opponents aren’t crazy, partner should have only one spade,” said the Colchamiros. “We need, therefore, precious little to make a contract at the five level, and 4NT brings both of our suits into the picture. Passing is too cautious and doubling too dangerous (partner might bid 5♥).”
The majority doubled at the first bid, hoping to show their diamond suit next. After West ups the ante to 4♠, the experts didn’t see a clear action. Double shows your strength, but you may not be able to set them, or partner may bid 5♥. Pass seems too conservative. As long as preempts give opponents problems, players will continue to make them.
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