Retro Edition

IMPs. None vulnerable.
♠A 9 8 6 5   Q 8 4  K 7 2  ♣Q 4

West North East South
1 Pass 1♠
Pass 2♠ 2NT(1) ?

(1) Clubs and hearts.

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
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
Dbl 100
3 60
3♣ 40
3 30
4♠ 20
3♠ 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

Offense or defense?

An overwhelming majority of the panel favors doubling 2NT primarily as a way to solicit partner’s involvement.

“Double creates a force, at least through the three level,” says Boehm. “Let’s see what develops.”

Cohen calls his double “a tactical attempt to scare LHO so that we can buy it in 3♠. When I later bid 3♠, it will be invitational, which I don’t mind, because I want partner to go to 4♠ with, say:

♠K Q x x   K x  A Q x x   ♣x x x.”

“I need to let my partner know that I have a good hand,” says Kennedy as she pulls the red card out of the box.

Meyers has the same strategy: “Double, and then I will bid 3♠ over the opponent’s bid.”

“I’d like to hear partner join in the conversation as to whether we should be defending,” says Rigal. “If I decide we want to declare the hand, I might bid 3 now as a long-suit game try, but I’m not convinced of that. My queens suggest defense.”

Many of the doublers focus more on the penalty potential of this sequence than on the invitational aspects. “Double,” says Robinson. “If partner doubles them, I’ll be happy. Otherwise I’ll bid spades.”

Walker is on the same wavelength. “Double sets up a penalty situation. I hope my partner can double if they bid 3♣. There’s no guarantee we have a game (my two queens just lost some offensive value), and even if we do, this could be a huge number.”

Five panelists choose to make a game try — but which one?

Sanborn, Meckstroth and Stack opt for 3. “It’s a game try that shows the fifth spade,” explains Sanborn. “It also preempts the opponents a little”

The Joyces choose 3 as a game try in spades. “We have too much not to make a try, even though our values are soft in the opponent’s suit.”

Lawrence uses 3♣ to probe for game. “3 is passable and 3♠ is competitive. I’m not doubling since they rate to have a good fit, perhaps nine cards in one of their two suits.”

Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?

Click here to subscribe.

The Zoom Room is available Monday through Friday, 3:30 pm-5:30 pm (Eastern).

Getting help is easier than ever with the ACBL Zoom Chat service.
Simply click the "Join Zoom Chat" button below to be taken to our dedicated zoom room.
Once there, click the "Launch Meeting" button to start your session. To hear us and vice-versa - don't forget to "Join with computer audio."

If the Zoom Room isn't available and you need answers, you can email us at

Join Zoom Chat