2024 Retro Edition – May Week 4

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
Pass Dbl
Click to reveal awards

Wafik Abdou, 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
Flitting thoughts

Cohen leads the 3 charge. “I don’t like this hand for notrump because of the inability to hold up in spades. I’d need a tad more to double and then bid 3. So, by process of elimination, it’s 3.”

Meyers confesses, “A fleeting thought of double entered my mind, but it flit right out.”

Hampson gave fleeting thought to 2NT, “but with short spades and only one stopper, I opted for my five bagger – leaving room to hear 3♠ from partner and still get to 3NT.”

Stack: “This hand is not good enough to double and then bid hearts, so I will opt for the sound 3 overcall. The hand contains the correct point count for 2NT, but there are too many flaws: no aces, only two spades with one stopper and the inability to hold up if spades are led. This excellent five-card heart suit would be buried after a 2NT overcall.”

Korbel, too. “We can still get back to notrump if partner tries a 3♠ cuebid, so 3 seems the most flexible. 2NT doesn’t appeal to me with a shaky spade stopper and no fast running tricks. Imagine partner holding:

♠x x x A x x A x x ♣Q x x x.

He would happily raise to 3NT, down one, while 4 is an excellent contract.”

3 by Kennedy, who says, “My hand is good enough to bid at the three level even though my suit is only five cards. Also, I want to protect the ♠K.”

Weinstein calls 2NT right on values, and “if it were close, I would still choose to bid my good five-card major. But with only the ♠Kx, this one isn’t close.”

Colchamiro is aghast that anyone would even consider bidding 2NT – or doubling, for that matter. “Only ♠Kx and no aces? Impossible! Doubling with a three-honor, five-card major that may potentially never get bid? I don’t get it.”

Boehm bids 3, “prepared for a classic double if West raises spades.”

Lee says, “Normally I would double with this shape and strength since it works well with lebensohl, but the hearts are good enough to just bid them.”

There are doublers – among them, the Sutherlins. “Overcalling 2NT is out. Double leaves us well placed to bid 3 over a strength bid of 3♣ or 3 . We have support for any suit partner might want to sign off in over lebensohl 2NT.”

Meckstroth solicits partner’s input with a double. “With only ♠Kx, it feels like we belong in a suit contract.”

Abdou also chooses to double. “2NT is flawed – one spade stopper and no tricks. 3 feels wrong on length and shape. I will mention hearts if partner makes a positive noise – I will try for a plus if partner wants to sign off in a minor by using lebensohl.”

Rigal believes double best covers all the bases. “I cannot afford to pass, but at matchpoints, I’m worried that the flaw of 2NT (I can’t hold up my spade stopper) far outweighs its benefits. Bidding 3 gets me into minus 500 territory very fast. Double may lose the 5–3 heart fit, but it allows me to find a decent fit most of the time. You can’t win them all.”

Sanborn bids 2NT. “I don’t much like it, and I realize that 3 could work better. At least I am getting the balanced strength across. I would surely like another ace or two!”

2NT from Lawrence, too. “Slightly more descriptive than double or 3. It might be right to pass. Really an awkward hand!”

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