Matchpoints. None vulnerable.
♠K Q 9 8 5 ♥Q J 6 5 4 ♦Q 8 ♣8
What’s Your Call?
Go for the jugular
Twelve experts choose to pass.
Most of them hope partner will reopen with a double so they can pass for penalty.
“I pass for penalty,” says Sanborn. “I may have to bid hearts later, but not now. I like defending.”
“I want to collect a penalty with my juicy spade stack,” says Meckstroth.
“I pass and hope to defend 1♠ doubled,” says Walker. “Even if we have nine hearts, a 4♥ contract may not make and I’m expecting at least plus 300. If partner has quick tricks to make game, this could be 800.”
“We’ll pass and hope for a reopening double,” agree the Joyces.
“We pass and go for the jugular with these great spot cards in spades,” say the Gordons.
“We don’t have a good enough hand to bid 2♥,” say the Sutherlins, “and this hand is too unbalanced to bid 1NT. There is a good chance that partner will reopen with a double, which we will pass.”
Colchamiro agrees. “Partner is sure to reopen with double and I’ll pass because of the ♠9 8. If West bids 2♦ and it passes back to me, I can double to show at least two diamonds and a penalty pass of 1♠. This could backfire if partner has four hearts and we can make game.”
Not all panelists who pass are intending to pass a reopening double by North.
“It’s close between pass and negative double,” says Falk. “The problem with double is it may encourage partner to bid more clubs. If partner reopens with a double, I can decide between 2♥ and 3♥ since I’m not planning to play 1♠ doubled. Bidding 1NT now with a singleton club is not my cup of tea. Partner will pass 1♠ only with two or more spades and that might indeed be our best spot.”
“Pass and reassess on the next round, if there is one,” says Rigal. “The other choice is a negative double. I’d do that with my major suits reversed.”
“Pass,” says Robinson. “If partner passes 1♠, they are in our best fit. If partner doubles, then I’ll have another problem.”
“Pass,” agrees Boehm. “Let’s hear what North has to say. A negative double leaves us unprepared for 2♦.”
Three experts choose to make a negative double.
“I’d rather gently suggest hearts with a double than start towards the stratosphere by bidding 2♥,” says Cohen.
“Let’s double and get the heart suit mentioned now,” says Lawrence.
“Double,” echoes Meyers. “It is tempting to pass and hope partner reopens with double, but on those you rarely get rich.”
The Coopers choose 2♥, but admit that “This works well when partner has a fit, but probably gets us too high otherwise.”
There was one vote for 1NT. “Trying to penalize the non-vulnerable opponents at the one level is usually a losing proposition,” says Stack. “Bidding 1NT shows my values. A negative double will lead to problems if partner bids 2♣ or 2♦. This is a tough problem.”
With a strong spade suit and no clear game to bid, the majority pass and hope North will reopen with double.
Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?
Click here to subscribe.