2024 Retro Edition – December Week 4

What’s your call?

4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Pass Dbl
Click to reveal awards

August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, Geoff Hampson, The Joyces, Betty Ann Kennedy, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Steve Weinstein
Principles of a lifetime

Cohen bids 4♠, citing one of what he calls his principles of a lifetime: “When in doubt, bid 4♠ over 4.” He follows up with the customary unprincipled gripe: “If you weren’t nice enough to deal me six of them, I wish you could have at least given me the 10.”

Robinson was raised on those same principles. “Isn’t 4 a transfer to 4♠? Hopefully partner knows that this is an average spade holding in this auction and won’t pass with a singleton.”

“This seems straightforward,” Stack says, joining the 4♠ contingent. “The hand contains plenty of high-card points and a good spade suit. Partner can carry on to 5♣ if short in spades, or possibly even contemplate slam with a spade fit and a good hand.”

Walker, too, tries 4♠. “Close, as we probably have a ‘sure’ 300 on defense, but I’m fairly confident about scoring plus 420 unless partner has an unlikely singleton spade.”

4♠ from the Joyces. “If partner can’t stand spades, hopefully he will bid again.”

Meckstroth calls 4♠ “the most practical bid” with this collection.

“4♠ — what else can I do?” asks Falk. “This might be our last makeable game.”

Meyers selects 4♠. “We may be missing a slam, but such is life.”

“4♠ — is this a real problem?” demands Colchamiro. “Double is for hands you don’t have the strength or direction to bid naturally. Here, I have both.”

The opponents’ aerial antics are taking their toll on Lawrence. “Three months of preempts,” he moans. “Is someone paying you to put these hands in the Bulletin?” As for the business at hand, he doubles. “If partner bids spades (a miracle), I raise to 6♠. If he bids 5 , I bid 6♣. If he bids 5♣, I bid 6♣. If he passes, it probably means he has two hearts, in which case defending may be best.”

Sanborn also doubles. “Tough problem! I can’t have a trump stack, so I must have cards. It’s just that I have extras. 4♠ seems OK, but it doesn’t promise high cards. 6♣ is a stab. I expect partner to pull my double, in which case I’ll revisit the problem next round. But if not, then maybe we’re in a sensible spot. They could easily be in a 5–4 fit, in which case defending is probably right.”

Rigal doubles. “This does not look like a great hand for offense so the middle course is to defend. Double shows cards, and partner is encouraged to bid with extra shape.”

The Coopers: “We would rather be a little weaker for this bid, but the vulnerability is right, so there’s no need to be heroic.”

Weinstein confidently wields the red card. “Double. If this was matchpoints, I would bid 4♠, but at IMPs, I don’t want to turn a sure plus into a minus. Over double, I expect to go plus regardless of what partner does. It’s also worth noting that double does not prevent us from getting to 4♠ when partner has three spades and a stiff heart.”

The Sutherlins double. “Slam is definitely in the picture, but what suit? We don’t expect partner to pass unless he has a flat hand.”

Boehm doubles, too. “I’m willing to settle for plus 300 when we have a game and lose 3 IMPs to avoid a costly blind guess that loses triple that amount.”

Hampson makes his fourth double of the set. “I don’t want to select strain incorrectly, so I will double for takeout and allow partner to make the final mistake.”

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