Retro Edition

Matchpoints. E-W vulnerable.
♠6  K  A 10 9 8 6 3  ♣10 7 5 4 2

West North East South
3♣ Dbl Pass ?

What’s your call?

3 3 3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 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
4 100
Pass 70
5 70
3 60
3NT 50
Panelists
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 Buff
Minor headache

Walker demoted the passers on this hand because more than two-thirds of the panel judged the hand as better for offense. On the other hand, she rated 3 as inferior to 4 because a clear majority of the panel made at least a strong move toward game. “Even the passers were trying for a better score than plus 150,” she noted.

Meckstroth feels it could be right to defend, but bids 4 anyway. “I’m hoping for a four-card diamond fit from partner. It is possible he has five!”

Meyers says she almost bid 5. “But I wasn’t quite sure how to handle ruffing clubs (without being overruffed) if partner has only three diamonds.”

Lawrence also considered bidding 5, but prefers to leave partner room to do it himself. “His double promises the majors and only suggests diamonds.”

“4,” echoes Cohen, indulging in a little bit of a pity party. “If my opponents are going to preempt on five out of five deals, I’m staying retired from playing from now on.”

With five of the opponents’ trumps, six panelists opted to defend. Kennedy likes her chances. “At this vulnerability, we should get a good result.”

Stack, too: “Partner has made a takeout double and I have a six-card suit to bid, yet I am passing for penalty because it is far from sure we can make game. I am betting on plus 300 or more.”

“Again we have no idea if this is right,” concede the Coopers, “and I don’t think we would chance it at IMPs. This rates to be the winning action if partner finds a successful lead — either a diamond to tap or an ace to start a ruffing defense. Failing that, we could easily score zero trump tricks.”

Sanborn looks at the vulnerability and takes what she thinks will be the sure plus. “I can’t see the opponents taking more than seven tricks.”

Weinstein is also “seduced” by the vulnerability. “If partner is 4=4=5=0, I will chalk it up to a bad beat.”

The Sutherlins and Walker make the leap to 5. “If partner has extras, he may be able to bid 6,” says Walker. “I considered passing for about one nanosecond.”

he Sutherlins call partner a favorite to have four diamonds, “so our defensive potential is limited. Making plus 500 by passing is unappealing.”

Robinson, Colchamiro and the Joyces all bid 3.

The Joyces take the low road, saying, “These hands usually seem to have unpleasant surprises.”

Robinson says he’d be very surprised if his 3 ended the auction. “Partner could easily have a major-suited hand and 3 allows him to get it out of his system.”

Boehm is on the money when he calls his 3NT bid “far from obvious.” He explains that 5 depends heavily on partner having major-suit aces and a fourth diamond to handle the clubs. “We might collect 500 passing the double, again dependent on major-suit aces, but if the 3♣ preempt was marginal, other North–South pairs won’t have a shot at a number. Even though 6 could be a good contract, at matchpoints I’ll go for the Old Reliable.”

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