Retro Edition

Matchpoints. None vulnerable.
♠7 4 2   J 7 5 2  A Q J  ♣A K J

West North East South
2♠ Dbl
3♠ Dbl Pass ?

What’s Your Call?

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
Pass 100
4 40
4♠ 40

Get a trump out there

You’re supposed to have a trump stack to leave in partner’s takeout double, right? In this case, the panel doesn’t agree.

Walker: “Pass. Partner is showing minors, not hearts, and there’s no guarantee we have game.”

Sanborn: “Pass and get a trump out there.”

Coopers: “We have a balanced hand and no particularly better place to play.”

Lawrence: “I pass and lead a trump.”

Colchamiro: “Pass is easy. I’m leading a trump, of course.”

The Joyces: “Passing and leading trumps every time may be our best plan.”

The Gordons: “We will give pass the ‘should be unanimous’ curse — usually when a panelist says this, their answer isn’t even in the majority. We lead a trump, of course.”

Others who pass give similar reasons. What does Mr. Law (Larry Cohen, who wrote two books on the “law” of total tricks) say about passing?

“Pass,” says Cohen. “I’m issuing a speeding ticket to West (I think he did it with only two-card support). Pass should be unanimous, but that’s a scary prediction with Bridge Buff making weird bids.”

Four others bid something besides pass.

“4♠,” says Robinson. “If partner is 5–5 or longer in the minors, 3♠ could easily make. If, instead, partner is 4–4 in the minors, then I should pass. I’m guessing that 5♣ or 5 will have play.”

“4♠,” agrees Meckstroth. “I have extras and want partner to pick the suit. I don’t think partner has four hearts.”

“4,” says Rigal. “Partner rates to have four hearts and I’d expect only to get 300 against 3♠ doubled. I’m sure that ‘law’ advocates would insist on a pass here, knowing they could blame Larry Cohen if they were wrong.”

“4,” agrees Bridge Buff. “Partner knows I only have a four-card suit, and he can run if he’s 5–4 or 5–5 in the minors. My bids might sound weird to human ears, but are very logical to a well-programmed robot. I do 50,000 simulations on each bidding problem. One time I decided to do more, my circuits overheated and it was a mess. Now I stick to 50,000. Humans like Larry Cohen are jealous of me, I think.”

When your side has the majority of the high-card points and no clear choice of games, consider a pass of a takeout double. If you pass, lead a trump to minimize ruffing by the opponents.

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