Retro Edition

What’s your call?

1 1 1♠ 1NT
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

August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, Geoff Hampson, The Joyces, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Bridge Buff

Outtake doubles?

We’re taught from day one that a takeout double shows support for the unbid suits. Here, not so much. Yet it’s the call most of our experts make.

Falk shifts into the present day and puts the double card on the table. “Apparently everyone else has partners who don’t bid diamonds when they double with this hand, so this is the modern style. It would be more danger-ous to pass. If it goes (1♣)–Pass–(1 or 1♠)–Pass; (2 or 2♠) back to you, you are really out of luck. You’ll never be able to bid with the best hand at the table. Overcalling 1NT with terrible club spots rates to be wrong — you won’t find your major-suit fit and will probably end up in the worst contract from the wrong side (if there is a right side at all).”

Stack rules out pass. “We must choose between two flawed options, which are double and 1NT. I double. If partner has a major, we will hit the jackpot. If partner bids 1, then I will have to decide whether to bid 1NT or one of the majors.”

“Nothing is perfect here,” admit the Joyces, “but we do have a lot of strength. The singleton diamond and poor club spots make 1NT less appetiz-ing than double.”
Sanborn doubles without much con-fidence. “Not ideal, and I don’t relish rebidding 1NT when partner responds 1˛. But this will get us to a major-suit fit if we have one. If I don’t act this round, there might not be a next.”

“Not perfect,” agrees Rigal, “but far better than bidding 1NT on a hand where even a 4–3 major fit rates to be best. My plan is to remove a response of 1 to 1.”

Double by Cohen, who begs, “Please don’t juxtapose this with my series on takeout doubles. Without support for all the suits, I should have a little more. But I’m willing to take a chance that partner, for once in his life, won’t disappoint me. If he does bid diamonds, I will convert to notrump, showing just a tiny bit more than I have.”
Robinson is a little less partner-friendly. “The object is to find an eight-card major-suit fit. If I overcall 1NT, partner could pass it with 7 points and a four-card major. If partner bids diamonds, I’ll trade him in for a new partner and probably bid hearts.”

Hampson doesn’t seem so bothered. “I want to get moving towards a major-suit game, and double will get that started.”

Meyers doubles. “I have too many values and too many major-suit cards to pass. If partner bids 1 or 2, I will bid the cheapest level of notrump. If partner bids 3, I will ponder.”

The Sutherlins double, “primarily for takeout for the majors. Overcalling 1NT with a singleton diamond does not feel good when there is an alternate bid that will quickly let us discover if we have a major fit.”

Lawrence passes, hoping to get a bid in later. “I have bid Michaels on this hand more than a few times, and I usually get stuffed by the moderator for this. So in my heart, I would bid 2♣ but recognize that it is not mainstream enough. This time I am passing for the score, not the result.”

The Gordons pass. “While we might be tempted to overcall 1NT over one of a major, we don’t see much point here.”

Again, Walker goes for the defensive plus. “Only because they’re red. I’m not expecting that I’ll have a chance to make a takeout double later, as no one ever seems to bid diamonds these days.”

Colchamiro passes, but supposes that “a weird 2♣ may actually work out. Double is just not my cup of tea, nor is 1NT, which is the worst of the lot. I wonder what my partnership notes say about 2 in the auction (1♣)–Pass–(1NT)–Pass; Pass–2?”

Meckstroth slides in with 1. “Tricky problem. I can pass, which might be okay if left-hand opponent bids 1, or I could try a 1NT overcall. But it feels to me like we want to play in a suit contract, and I hope to find a major-suit fit.”
Boehm goes Rambo with 1NT. “If partner insists on notrump or dia-monds, we’ll see if the lone jack serves as well as two low diamonds. Meanwhile, a number of good things can happen.”

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