Retro Edition

IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠Q 9 8   7 6   –   ♣Q 9 8 7 5 4 3 2

West North East South
1 Dbl 2 ?
2♠ 2NT
3♣ 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
3♣ 100
5♣ 70
4♣ 50
Pass 30

For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from May 2010’s Bridge Bulletin), 3♣ was named top bid.

You have a long suit but a weak hand. How many clubs should you bid? Ten experts chose to bid 3♣. Some said they were worried that partner may have a strong hand with diamonds.

“The modern style is to play something called equal-level conversion, which permits a takeout double of a major without club support,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “Partner may have four spades and long diamonds, so we bid a timid 3♣ in fear of that scenario. We don’t expect the auction to die here.”

“3♣,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth. “I don’t want to bid too many because I feel a correction to diamonds coming from partner.”

“3♣,” echoed Steve Robinson. “No aces, no kings and two low hearts say go conservative. I suspect that partner might have diamonds and not clubs.”

Barry Rigal agreed with 3♣. “Partner may be strong with a diamond suit, and we don’t want to cross him up by suggesting a good hand when I may have nothing for him,” he said. “If the opponents rebid hearts, I’ll change my mind. If 3♣ is passed out, it may not be a tragedy.”

“I bid 3♣ only,” said Mike Lawrence. “There is a strong likelihood that North has lots of diamonds and I need to give him some room.”

“Partner is likely to have a hand too good to overcall 2,” said Allan Falk. “If I leap to 4♣ or 5♣, partner will trot out his diamonds and we’ll be in the soup, so I am going to stay low with 3♣.”

“Any number of clubs or pass could be right,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “There’s no way to find out if partner’s values are in diamonds, so let’s go slow with our eight-card suit.”

“I suspect partner may have a big diamond hand,” said Larry Cohen. “He will override clubs but, of course, I will repeat them forever if need be. If I bid 5♣ at once, he might ‘correct’ to 5 and that would be unpleasant.”

Remember MAD Magazine character Alfred E. Neuman who used to say: “What, me worry?” Five panelists took that attitude.

“5♣,” said Brad Theurer. “I’m anticipating West bidding 4*H* or at least making a game try, so I’ll put him to the test right away. A 5♣ contract might make or be a cheap save. Occasionally partner may have a hand without decent club support. If so, too bad.”

“I bid 5♣ and hope partner’s double wasn’t based on a strong one-suited diamond hand,” said Jill Meyers. “This preempts left-hand opponent, as well.”

“5♣ will give East–West an awkward decision,” said August Boehm. “It will often be the perfect save or occasionally make.”

Karen Walker agreed. “5♣ must be either a make or a good sacrifice,” she said.

“Who can make what?” asked Don Stack. “Does partner have a classic takeout double with three- or four-card support for clubs? If so, the opponents can possibly make a slam. 5♣ puts maximum pressure on the opponents.”

Two experts took the middle road.

“We choose 4♣, the middle-ground bid,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Bidding 5♣ is too much.”

“4♣,” agreed Kay and Randy Joyce. “This is the wrong heart holding for a blast to the five level.”

Because partner might have intended to double and bid his own (diamond) suit, the majority chooses to go slow by bidding 3♣. As Barry Rigal pointed out, in the unlikely event that it’s passed out there, that may not be a disaster.

Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?

Click here to subscribe.