Retro Edition

IMPs. None vulnerable.
♠A 9 3   A 8 7 5 2   K 6 4   ♣K 2

West North East South
Pass 1♠ 2
2♠ 3 Pass ?
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
4 80
Pass 70
3NT 70
5 60
4 10

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

You overcalled with a bad suit, but partner’s bid has improved your hand. Now what?

Eight experts chose to cuebid.

“3♠,” said Karen Walker. “Ugh to that 2 overcall, but it’s looking like I have the right cards for a diamond or notrump game.”

“3♠,” agreed Kerri Sanborn. “I’m not sure what partner has in that he didn’t preempt the first round, but I have a very good hand in support. By the way, I’m not in love with the 2 bid.”

“Partner’s only forcing bid is a cuebid,” said Allan Falk, “so 3 is not forcing. Still, it shows values and a 3♠ by me seems easy. Most deals that make 3NT from my side will also make 5.”

“With softer spades, such as K–Q–x or K–J–x, I’d try 3NT,” said Larry Cohen, “but this spade holding is much bet¬ter for suit play. It’s likely that 5 or even 6 is better than 3NT. Anyway, no need to make a premature guess. Bidding 3♠ simply means ‘forcing’ — it is not telling or asking.”

“Partner’s initial pass makes his 3 call likely a ‘fit-showing’ bid, likely with three hearts.” Said Mel Colchamiro. “How about: ♠7 6   K 9 3  A Q 8 7 2   ♣7 6 5? “I could just jump to 4, but I’ll take out insurance and bid 3♠.”

Linda and Robb Gordon are on the same wave¬length as Colchamiro. “4,” they said. “Our passed-hand partner hasn’t suddenly discovered his diamond suit. He has a heart fit and wants us to evaluate our hand in the context of having diamond length and values.”

“4,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “We like diamonds, and if he is showing heart support with 3, then we want to be in 4. This gives him room to bid it.”

“First of all, this is not a 2 overcall!” exclaimed Barry Rigal. “Bidding an empty suit like this is not bridge. The 3 bid shows diamonds and heart tolerance. Just in case partner is not reading the same book as me, I’ll bid 4 and let him tell me what he has.”

Experts don’t like to overcall at the two level without a good and/or long suit. Mike Lawrence agreed with Rigal on this.

“That was a pretty wretched 2 bid, but it has worked out well,” said Lawrence. “My initial thought was to bid 3NT, but I don’t see where nine tricks will come from. With most hands I can project for North, we have a shot at a diamond game, so 5 is what I bid.”

Other experts bid 3NT.

“We have a diamond fit and a spade stopper,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “3NT may not make, but it should have play. Partner may have a working card and six diamonds to the A–Q. There figures to be more hands that make 3NT than 5.”

“We like 3NT,” said Kay and Randy Joyce, “although 3♠ is a close second choice. As Hamman advocates, when 3NT is an option, bid it.”

Three experts chose to pass.

“Pass,” said Jill Meyers. “I would not have overcalled on this suit at the two level and with 3=5=3=2 distribution, I certainly don’t have anything extra. Partner didn’t open a weak two-bid, so I don’t think we have nine top tricks in notrump.”

Steve Robinson agrees with pass. “Partner didn’t open a weak 2 bid, and therefore figures to have a good five-card suit, something like: ♠7 6  9 3  A Q J 10 3  ♣J 8 6 4, for instance. With only one spade stopper, we would need nine top tricks to make 3NT.”

“I have nice honor cards, and passed-hand partner is implying a mild heart fit, say doubleton honor,” said August Boehm. “The IMP odds appear poor, so I pass.”

When you’re not sure about the final contract, a cuebid shows a good hand and asks partner to help with the decision.

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

Click here to subscribe.