Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠A 5 4 ♥8 7 6 2 ♦7 5 4 ♣A K 6
What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from December 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 2♠ was named top bid.
This is a difficult problem because you have several choices, but none is satisfactory. You have values, but no suit to bid and no stopper for notrump.
Seven experts bid 2♠. This might be a ridiculous 3–3 fit, or a 4–3 fit with the long hand being tapped, but at least it doesn’t raise the level.
“I’ll take the low road and bid 2♠,” said Don Stack. “There’s no reason to think that we can beat 2♥ or make game. Partner may have balanced with a light hand. Let’s try and get a plus score at the risk of missing game.”
Mike Lawrence agreed with 2♠. “Passing does not feel right without a potential heart trick,” he said. “It is too easy to imagine them getting six heart tricks and a couple of tricks from dummy.”
“I hate this problem,” said Jill Meyers, who also bids 2♠.
Larry Cohen agreed. “This is brutal,” he said. “I really want to pass, but the pain of a possible minus 670 (partner was in the balancing seat) at IMPs is too much for me. As for, 3♥ that sets up a force and drags partner into game — that will be the last time he balances.”
“I bid 2♠,” said August Boehm. “This is a poisonous problem.”
“Let’s bid 2♠ and keep the bidding low,” said Allan Falk.
“2♠,” said Steve Robinson. “Passing is too big of a gamble. Because I could be playing a 3–3 fit, I’ll go conservative.”
Some didn’t feel pass is a gamble.
“Pass,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “There’s no guarantee of game, and this could be a nice plus. Very little risk of minus 670.”
“Pass should get us 200 or 500,” said Betty Ann Kennedy.
“Pass,” agreed Karen Walker. “Partner could be stretching too far to protect at IMPs, so I’m not going to risk playing a silly 3–3 fit. I expect at least plus 200.”
Several panelists chose to cuebid 3♥.
“Pass is too dangerous at IMPs,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “3♥ shows a good hand with no clear direction.”
“I believe in investing a level at IMPs,” said Mel Colchamiro. “Maybe partner will surprise me and bid 3NT.”
“This is a well-known and impossible problem,” said Barry Rigal. “Sometimes I go high, sometimes low. Today, the roulette wheel came up red, not black. I’ll drive to game. Even minus 200 will beat defending 2♥ doubled for minus 670.”
“3♥ shows my values,” said Jeff Meckstroth. “I don’t have a suit to bid.”
“This hand is a recurring theme,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I want to give partner a chance if he has a good hand, but hate to propel us too high when he is balancing with a weaker hand. There is no sure action with hands like this.”
“3♣,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Passing is out because declarer may have six heart tricks and two side tricks. Because we play lebensohl 2NT, 3♣ shows some values, and gives us a chance to reach game when partner has a big hand.”
Lebensohl over weak two-bids is part of Bridge Bulletin Standard.
There is no good call. All of them are dangerous. Jill Meyers summed it up well when she said she hates this problem.
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