Retro Edition

Matchpoints. E-W vulnerable.
♠A Q 8 7 5 4   8   10 7 5 4  ♣A J

West North East South
1♠
Pass 2♣ Pass 2♠
Pass 2NT Pass ?

What’s Your Call?

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
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
3♣ 100
3 70
3♠ 60
3NT 40
4♠ 10

Show where your strength is

“Bid where you live” is a bridge expression that means bid a suit in which you have values. Experts avoid bidding a bad suit in the middle of an auction — it misleads partner. Nine panelists choose 3♣, a two-card suit, at their third turn to call.

“3♣,” says Boehm. “Ace-jack should be as good as a tripleton. 3 isn’t where I live.”

“Let’s search for the right strain by supporting partner,” say the Joyces.

The Gordons agree. “Even if partner has a four-card diamond suit, it is unlikely that diamonds are the right strain,” they say.

“I like 3♣, although it’s close between that and 3,” says Cohen. “The tie-breaker is that 3♣ leaves the most room for partner to probe. If he bids 3 next, I will steer away from notrump. If he bids 3NT next to show cards there, I will have a comfortable 3NT bid.”

“3♣ gives partner a chance to preference spades,” says Meckstroth.

Robinson agrees. “Let’s see whether partner has two spades so we can play 4♠,” he says, “or whether he has good hearts and we can play 3NT.”

From the good-bid/bad-prediction category:

“A 3♣ bid is closer to the truth than 3,” says Colchamiro. “Because I suspect that 3♣ won’t get any other votes, this will relegate me to the bottom of this month’s scrap heap.”

“Bidding 3 misleads partner,” say the Sutherlins. “Partner is unlimited, so let’s bid 3♣ to show where our strength is.”

“Bidding 3 is pointless,” says Falk. “I don’t want to play in diamonds. Meanwhile, I have excellent clubs and a 3♣ bid might get us to an excellent club slam.”

Four experts choose 3.

The Coopers: “It could be right to show the secondary club support, but partner might be 4–4 in the minors, and we don’t want to lose that fit. Bids at this point in the auction are about finding the right place to play.”

Sanborn: “I want to point out my shape. I often have a weak 6–4 pattern for this auction. Bidding 3♣ would sound more constructive.”

Rigal: “There might be a case for a 3♣ call, but I think bidding out my shape gives partner a better chance of getting to the right contract.”

Meyers: “3 shows a ‘weak’ 6–4. I think this is the best route to find out if we belong in 3NT or 4♠.”

Two panelists bid 3NT.

“The ♣A J should be an asset,” says Kennedy.

“The spade suit is not good enough to bid a third time,” says Stack. “The diamond suit is too anemic to bid. The clubs will be a great asset at notrump. What is left but bidding 3NT?”

Others bid 3♠.

Walker: “I like 3♠, but it depends on your style for the 2♠ rebid. At my table, partner doesn’t yet know I have a sixth spade. Bidding 3♣ risks having partner fall in love with his hand and 3 is a misrepresentation.”

Lawrence: “I don’t really want to play in clubs or diamonds. At least 3♠ will get a 4♠ bid from partner is he has two of them. If he, instead, bids 3NT, my ♣A J will be useful.”

Bridge Buff: “3♠. I must try to get to 4♠. I play contracts better than humans.”

If you’re not sure what call to make, consider raising partner with a strong doubleton.

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