2024 Retro Edition – February Week 1

What’s your call?

3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Click to reveal awards

August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, Allan Falk, Geoff Hampson, Betty Ann Kennedy, Daniel Korbel, Mike Lawrence, Roger Lee, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Steve Weinstein
Mile Lawrence Unplugged

Sanborn passes. “Let’s hope they don’t have 10 tricks! Partner could easily have five defensive tricks. Lord knows, looking at my hand there’s room for them!”

Meyers passes. “The good news is it is matchpoints and we may be collecting 200. I know we could also be minus 730. If 3 makes and I bid, we could be going for more than 730 anyway. This is the joy of matchpoints!”

Colchamiro passes “because the bible (the Law) tells me so.”

Falk passes. “If they make this, minus 730 might still beat all the pairs going for 800 in 4 . On the other hand, if partner has a rock crusher, this might be our last chance to go plus, e.g.,

♠A K J x x A K x x ♣A Q x x.

Note that even opposite this hand, 4 easily goes down as the defense can dummy-lock me repeatedly by playing on hearts.”

Korbel passes at matchpoints, but he wouldn’t at IMPs. “Anything I bid will almost certainly end in disaster, so I hope partner can beat this in his own hand.”

Hampson, too: “Partner will need five winners to get a plus here, but I think five will be easier than nine or 10. Minus 730 could be our best minus now.”

Pass by Lee. “It’s very uncomfortable, but this seems to be our only serious chance at going plus, so I’m just going to take it.”

In response to his partner’s takeout double, Robinson is duly taking out to his four-card suit. “4 . While cheaper, 3♠ could easily lead to playing in at least 4♠. What if partner has only three spades?”

Rigal is unusually compliant. “Partner asked me to bid a suit, so I will bid 4 . Do I like it? No. But minus 730 is equally unattractive.”

Sitting in for Cohen, the deep thinker, is Cohen’s sarcastic alter ego: “Well, with the two 9s you gave me, I considered jumping to 5 , but decided they might not be pulling their full weight.”

4 from Stack. “Again we seem to be in the soup. Let’s opt for the diamond soup rather than the spade soup. The pass soup has no appeal. I love soup, especially chicken soup!” (Stack takes the record for the number of times “soup” was used in an IYC answer.)

Boehm bids 4 . “Likely they have a nine-card fit, guaranteeing us a fit somewhere. Partner would usually overcall 1♠ with five, planning a takeout double for the second round. We need to reach a real fit. The heart taps will ruin the 4–3 fits.”

Then there are those four panelists who, unwilling to go to the four level or sit for the double, bid their three-card spade suit. Kennedy is one, Meckstroth is one and the Sutherlins are one.

Lawrence is the other. Follow the expert bridge player’s thought process as he works this problem: “I refuse to believe we can set 3 doubled. That is minus 730. Perhaps minus 930. So bidding is probably best.

“I can bid 3♠, which may slide by if no one doubles. Down quite a few, but hopefully an undoubled quite a few. Or I can bid 4 , which may get us to a better trump suit, but which is more likely to be doubled. I hope my partner can infer that I am broke. They rate to have about 20 high-card points, perhaps a bit more or less, and my partner knows how to count that high. He will know I have a weak hand.

“If he raises to 4♠, it will be the end of the world and I get to play it. Incidentally, I would bid 4♠ if I had:

♠J x x x x x x x Q x x x ♣x and my partner knows this.

“Last month, I got the lowest score of all time. And I was trying to make good bids. Perhaps some bad ones will score better this month.”

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