Retro Edition

Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠9 2   8 4 3   A K Q 2   ♣A J 6 3

West North East South
1
Pass 1 Pass ?
1♠ 1NT
2♣ 2 2 2♠ 2NT
3 3 3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Pass Dbl

What’s your call?

Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
1NT 100
2♣ 90
2 60

For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from October 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 1NT was named top bid.

The panel was split into three camps. Rebidding 1NT shows a balanced minimum, but doing it with two low spades can be dicey. Rebidding 2♣ is awkward for responder to bid over, and usually shows nine or more cards in the minors. The heart support is weak for a 2 raise. To solve problems like this is why we pay the panelists the big bucks.

“1NT,” said Larry Cohen. “I feel like the hand hog, but I don’t like raising on three low. My good partners are 4–4 in the majors and we are in the right strain.”

Lynn Deas agreed. “I would like to have a spade card, but it’s my style to show a notrump-type hand as soon as possible when balanced,” she said. “The two other possible bids have worse flaws. A raise to 2 is normally four-card support, or three with a singleton. Rebidding 2♣ tends to guarantee five diamonds and is hard to respond to because it has a wide range of 12–17 points.”

“1NT is not ideal,” said Karen Walker, “but the hearts are too weak for a raise, and 2♣ is just asking to play a 4–2 diamond fit. Stoppers or not, 4–4–3–2 patterns should be described as balanced hands, not two-suited.”

“Balanced minimum openers rebid 1NT — no exceptions!” exclaimed Jeff Meckstroth.

“I raise on three trumps more than most people,” said Allan Falk, “but I see no reason to do so now. If I had a heart honor instead of a club or diamond value, that would be different.”

“1NT,” agreed Bridge Buff. “I have a balanced minimum hand. Humans want to do something fancy while computers are boring, but practical.”

Mel Colchamiro agreed with 1NT. “If you raise to 2, partner’s heart suit might be Q–6–5–2, and it would be awful. 2♣ is not for me, although it could work out.”

Six experts chose 2♣.

“2♣,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “1NT and 2*H* are too ugly. After 2♣, partner will think we have the minors — amazingly, that’s what we have.”

Betty Ann Kennedy agreed with 2♣. “1NT looks wrong-sided,” she said.

“2♣,” echoed Steve Robinson. “While this sequence shows nine cards in the minors, this hand is an exception.”

“Presumably, the reason I open 1 is to show both suits,” said August Boehm. “I would raise to 2 with a singleton spade or a heart honor.”

Four experts raised to 2.

“I would like to have better hearts,” said Jill Meyers, “but I like 2 better than 1NT.”

“Bidding 2♣ is a feeble description and 1NT is disgusting,” said Mike Lawrence. “That means 2 is what’s left. Other than lousy trumps, the rest of the hand is fine for this.”

“I’m a keen raiser with three trumps,” said Barry Rigal. “This hand is on the cusp for me, but I prefer it to 1NT or 2♣.”

“The only time I raise with three-card support is when I have a worthless unbid doubleton,” said Don Stack. “I prefer to have a heart honor, but you can’t have everything.”

The votes were nearly evenly divided. The correct bid probably depends on your style rather than what is right or wrong.

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