Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠9 8 7 ♥A Q 7 4 ♦2 ♣K Q J 5 4
What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from December 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 4NT was named top bid.
Because of the preemptive 3♠ bid, North acted under pressure. His hand, therefore, has a wide range of values. Even though South should give his partner some leeway, the majority chose to bid again. Most were willing to play partner for short spades.
“4NT,” said Mike Lawrence. “I have to put some faith in the opponents’ bidding.”
“4NT,” said August Boehm. “Once I’m willing to assume spade shortness, the sky’s the limit.”
Kerri Sanborn agreed. “I pay off to the four-card overcall and bid Keycard Blackwood. I don’t need cooperation, just answers.”
Sanborn meant that if East overcalled with a four-card spade suit and West raised with four, North–Side could be off two quick spade tricks.
Steve Robinson agreed. “If partner has three key cards, slam should have play. I will gamble on partner having short spades.”
Also, there are constructions where you could be off two aces.
“With clubs as a source of tricks, good trumps and singleton diamond, I’m moving forward with 4NT,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “Partner is short in spades.”
“Partner has one or no spades, so we should be safe at the five level,” said Don Stack. “It could even be a 7♥ deal.”
Peggy and John Sutherlin chose 4♠.
“This nasty situation was created because we failed to bid 2*C* initially,” they said. “Now we have to guess what advance is best. Because of space limitations, partner should interpret this as a general slam try.”
Two panelists bid 5♥ to ask about spade shortness.
“Partner made this bid under pressure,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper, “but we still have a great hand, and slam should make when he has a spade control, so let’s ask for it. We expect he has a stiff.”
“5♥ makes sure about the spade shortness,” agreed Allan Falk.
Seven panelists were not willing to jeopardize the plus score at matchpoints, so passed.
“I would have bid 2♣ sat my first turn,” said Jill Meyers. “Because I made the negative double, I pass 4♥. Partner acted under pressure, and could have good distribution instead of extra high-card values.”
“Pass,” agreed Mel Colchamiro. “It’s admittedly a conservative action, but partner was under the gun, and I don’t want to go minus.”
“We vote for a reluctant pass,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “Partner could have wasted diamond values. Also, we have seen the opponents bid that way with only eight spades between them.”
“I have a good hand, but I don’t want to punish partner for enterprise,” said Barry Rigal.
“I don’t want to punish partner for an aggressive 4♥ bid,” said Jeff Meckstroth.
Cohen agreed. “Let’s give partner some rope — he may have stretched already. I have all the wrong controls.”
The real issue might be to what extent would North push to bid 4♥? That’s a partnership-style question, and nearly half the panel voted for the conservative bid.
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