2024 Retro Edition – June Week 4

What’s your call?

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
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Wafik Abdou, August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, Allan Falk, Geoff Hampson, Betty Ann Kennedy, Daniel Korbel, Mike Lawrence, Roger Lee, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Steve Weinstein
Bridge 101

Once again, too easy.

Cohen: “I can’t even guess what the alternative to 2 would be.”

“This round of the auction is not the problem, is it?” asks Rigal. “Unless you think 2 is nonforcing, in which case we send you back to bridge basics with a slap on the wrist and a request to clean the erasers after school.”

2 from Falk, who at least takes a minute to explore all the options. “As I do not have any forcing diamond bids other than 4♣, splinter – which is nuts – and possibly 4 , which is so unclear it rates to get me to a committee in a bad way, I have to bid something clearly forcing. I’m going to game and hoping for slam, but I might as well let partner take one more call with no particular pressure. His 2NT will dampen my ardor substantially. 2♠ will allow me to bid 3 forcing. A heart raise will just tell me partner had a hand unsuitable for a 1NT rebid – nothing in clubs (good!) or spade shortness, like a void (not so good). I’ll still try 4 over the heart raise. A 3 bid by partner will allow me to bid 4 forcing.”

Vandy champ Meckstroth, dryly, succinctly: “2. I assume this is forcing.”

Hampson explains that he plays 2 as forcing, but not necessarily natural. “You need to be able to force with just spades or a diamond fit. So I will probably need to repeat my hearts or possibly just raise diamonds and see if partner can offer a heart preference.”

Robinson bids 2. “Even though it might not be natural, it’s forcing. Later, I can decide whether to support diamonds or bid my hearts.”

Sanborn opines: “2 should be my force in this auction. It isn’t clear that we want to be playing in a major even if we find an eight-card fit. I am not excluding a diamond slam with these cards, so I don’t want to get too high by bidding 3 now. That would leave me poorly placed on the next round if partner bids 3NT – I couldn’t be sure whether to bid 4 or not.”

Korbel, too: “I like to play 2 as forcing for one round, and then a 3 follow-up as game forcing if partner bids 2♠, 2NT or 3♣.”

Stack believes slow is the way to go. “2 is forcing. This hand should be bid slowly because of the two big cards in partner’s suit. It is possible there is no major-suit game, but there may be a game or slam in diamonds. Going slow allows partner to give the best description of his hand.”

The Bridge Bulletin Standard system notes are silent on the nature of 3 in this auction – invitational or forcing? It is a topic worth partnership discussion.

“2 – keep it simple,” the Sutherlins urge. “3 intending to show a 5–5 major-suit hand with extras is more descriptive if it’s part of the partnership agreement. But many people would play this as a splinter for diamonds. Let’s go slow and avoid a partnership misunderstanding.”

“Going the slow route seems fine to me,” agrees Lee. “If 3 shows a gameforcing hand with 5–5 in the majors, I think that bid would be fine, but 2 should get us to the right strain anyway.”

Lawrence bids 2. “I can’t bid 3 since that shows invitational values. With some of my partners, 3 shows a singleton. Neither meaning works. My hope is to reach 6 , but it is premature to emphasize the KQ.”

Abdou bids 3, forcing. “We could have a nine-card heart fit. If partner raises to 4, I will complete my pattern description with 5 . I don’t care if pard thinks I am cuebidding or patterning out – he knows I am not showing shortness in his suit. That’s my best shot at slam.”

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