Retro Edition

IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠J 7   A 6 3  9 6 5 4 3  ♣A 8 2

West North East South
Pass 1♠ 2 Pass
3 4 4 ?

What’s your call?

4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Redbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
6 100
15♣ 90
5 50
5 40
4NT 30
Pass 10
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, The Joyces, Betty Ann Kennedy, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Bridge Baron

From pass to slam in 60 seconds

There was support for a variety of calls with this hand — most of them an attempt to tell partner, “Your diamond bid has me thinking slam.” A couple of the panelists object to having passed over East’s 2 call.

“I can’t believe the conditions of this auction,” argues Colchamiro. “Pass over 2? No way! My choice would have been 2♠ à la Marshall Miles. I have had good success with such tactics.”

At least Rigal and Falk admit they’re glad they didn’t raise spades initially. “‘Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon,’ but I might have bid 2♠ over 2 or doubled,” says Rigal quoting the Bible, of all things (and in a bridge magazine!). “As it is, I’m glad I didn’t since I get a chance to jump to 6 now. While I appreciate that partner might be bidding solely on shape and we have two losers, as little as:

♠A x x x x x   x  A K x x x   ♣x

makes 6, which is where we want to be. If we do have two losers, they might make 5, I suppose.”

“My two bullets should cover partner’s side losers, and we almost surely have 10 diamonds,”says Falk, explaining his jump to 6. “My biggest worry is that we’re missing a grand slam.”

“If I thought my 4NT bid would be interpreted as Blackwood for diamonds, that would be my bid,” Meyers says. “But I don’t want to create confusion, so I am bidding a straightaway 6.”

Robinson, a 6 bidder, asks, “Is it too much to expect that partner has A–K–x–x–x of both pointed suits?”

Lawrence gave his partner the same holding and says, “I would like to make a slam try. Unless someone tells me that 4NT and 5♣ are some kind of slam try, I will skip the science and bid 6 directly.”

The Joyces and the Gordons see 5♣ as the way to get to a making 6 or even 7.

“5♣,” agrees Kennedy. “Cuebidding for diamonds. With two aces, this hand warrants a bid better than a competitive 5 call.”

Boehm chooses the same route. “5♣. Advance control implying diamond support. Can’t be clubs, having passed twice, and spade support would have been shown a round earlier. If I thought partner would be confused, I’d try 6, but a grand is within reach.”

Cohen and Sanborn both choose 5 as their call. “I suppose I could just blast to 6 (which I expect to make),” says Cohen, “but it can’t hurt to try for seven on the way. Partner can easily have something like:

♠A K x x x   x  A K x x x   ♣x.

He should bid 5♠ over 5, in which case I would bid 7. I can hardly do less than drive to slam, as it has play even opposite a dead minimum such as:

♠K Q X X X   x  A K x x x x  ♣x.”

Meckstroth’s slam try of choice was 4NT. “This should be a good 5 bid, not Blackwood. Having passed twice, it can’t be Blackwood. I don’t want to bid slam on my own because the A may be opposite a void and that’s not that good.”

Colchamiro, Stack and the Sutherlins bid a conservative (by panel standards) 5. The Sutherlins are “walking the dog,” ready for the opponents to push them to 6. “If the opponents don’t, plus 620 may be more than their minus 500 save in 6.”

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