What’s your call?
While not entirely sure how high Bridge Bulletin Standard takeout doubles extend, most of the panelists proceeded on the assumption that it was through 4♠ (it is, by the way) and put the red X on the table inviting partner to be heard.
“I’ll chance it,” gambles Boehm.
“Double and thank the card gods for dealing me shortness in clubs instead of diamonds,” says Walker.
“No guarantee that this will work,” says Meckstroth as he doubles, “but I have too much not to get involved.”
“Ugh, double,” per Colchamiro, a syllable heavy for his bid. “Double is the most flexible action, assuming I can convert 5♣ to 5♦ . Passing and 5♦ seem so unilateral.”
A takeout double from Lawrence, too: “I expect to be able to bid 5♦ if North pulls this to 5♣. 4NT would imply a two-suiter with relatively equal length in my suits. Of course, passing could be the winner, too. That’s why we play this game.”
Kennedy doubles and plans to convert 5♣ to 5♦ . “The double gets hearts into the picture.”
“Double — takeout,” declares Robinson. “If partner bids 5♣ and I bid 5♦ , he’ll know that I have only four hearts. If I bid 4NT and I correct clubs to diamonds, he’ll think I have five hearts. Unlucky if partner is 2=3=4=4 and passes my double.”
The Coopers call double the most flexible option.
The Gordons double and snicker. “It would be fun to bid 4NT and then con- vert clubs to diamonds — until partner corrects to 5♥ with three hearts and two diamonds.”
The Joyces drop 4NT on the table. “It could be a disaster to bid. At least 4NT is more flexible than 5♦ .”
“Either one does or one doesn’t,” says Falk enigmatically. “I do.” He bids 4NT, planning correct 5♣ to 5♦ . “Of course I’d rather have a singleton spade. On the other hand, this suggests spades are favorable for East, which is all the more reason to bid.”
Weinstein bids 4NT with a lame missorting rationale: “Now that I’m older, can I get away with saying I had a diamond in with my hearts?”
Over his 4NT, Cohen says he’ll correct partner’s 5♣ to 5♦ . “I have found that vulnerable four-of-a-major preempters always seem to have the goods. If opener has clubs on the side, this could be a deal where both sides make tons of tricks.”
Stack’s soliloquy: “Should we bid or should we go quietly with what is probably the best hand at the table? Because offensive prospects are good, we will opt to find a fit with 4NT, showing two places to play. We will convert 5♣ to 5♦ and hope for the best.”
Sanborn passes. “I know we could be making for a double game swing, but my options are not great. Double then 5♦ ? 5♦ directly could be a disaster. 4NT then 5♦ could get us in trouble, as well. It’s so close that I would bid if the black suits were reversed, and I would surely bid at nonvulnerable.”