Retro Edition

Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠ —   Q 10 7 5 2  A 10 9 8 3  ♣A K Q

West North East South
1♠ ?

What’s your call?

2♣ 2 2 2♠ 2NT
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
2♠ 100
2 30
Pass 20
2 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

Two suits or three?

If you were hoping to find out whether a double or a Michaels 2♠ bid was the experts’ “right” choice, you’re going to be disappointed. A dead tie between the calls prompted the scorer to award all the matchpoints to both calls.

The doublers — with the not-too-shabby ♣A–K–Q on the side — allow for the possibility of a club contract in addition to playing in hearts or diamonds. As Lawrence puts it, “The club holding is too strong to ignore with a Michaels cuebid.”

Also, because Michaels generally shows either 8–11 or 17+ HCP, they would need to start with 2 to show the two red suits with this 15-pointer — and the quality of the heart suit is, let’s face it, the least attractive feature of the hand.

Falk explains, “While a 2♠ bid would tell partner I’m 5–5 in hearts and a minor, it would discourage him from competing with something like ♣J–10–x–x–x–x. I’d be delighted if he wants to bid that suit at a high level over the expected bid of many spades by West.”

More succinctly, Meyers says, “Double. I would not bid 2 on this suit and I have three possible fits.”

Kennedy calls double “not ideal, but better than the alternatives.”

“A 2 overcall may result in us playing a heart partial instead of a makeable game or slam in a minor,” say the Sutherlins. “Give partner something like:

♠J 9 x x x   x  K x x x x x   ♣x

and we can make 5 or 6.”

The Gordons agree. “The hearts are too weak for Michaels, even if you upgrade the hand. 2 will often buy the wrong strain.”

The Michaels bidders are willing to forego a possible club fit in order to show a two-suited hand.

Meckstroth calls 2♠ “my best bet here.” But not without some hesitation: “If we belong in clubs, starting with a double would work better.”

Stack uses Michaels without giving a thought to the club suit. “Why not the Michaels cuebid since we have the required 5–5 and an excellent hand?” he asks. “If partner bids hearts, we will bid the 4 game and if partner bids 2NT asking for the minor, we can bid 4, inviting the minor-suit game.” Then he pauses to add, “If partner has only spade values, we could be in trouble.”

The Joyces view Michaels as the lesser of three evils: “2 is wrong on suit quality, and a double might bury a 5–3 heart fit.”

Sanborn may have slight misgivings about overlooking the club suit, but plans to get back to it if she gets another bid. “Michaels can be this good,” she insists. “I’ll follow with a double if partner doesn’t act over a spade raise passed to me.”

Walker, too, believes the hand is strong enough to merit a vulnerable Michaels call. “It gets both suits into the picture.”

The two 2 bidders are treating the hand as the intermediate two-suiter that doesn’t fit into either Michaels range.

Rigal doesn’t “like the Michaels action with all those tricks on the side.” He bids 2, planning, “If this goes pass–pass–double, I will remove to 3. Nothing is close to perfect, but this looks as good as anything.”

Boehm bids 2, saying, “I’m strong enough to bid twice if they raise spades. With a weaker hand of this shape, double would be my choice.”

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