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Retro Edition

Matchpoints. E-W vulnerable.
♠K 7 5   J 9 8 6  J 9 5 3  ♣9 8

West North East South
1NT Pass Pass
Dbl (1) Pass 2♣(2) ?

(1) Five or more of a minor; four or more of a major.
(2) Pass or correct.

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
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
Pass 100
2 60
Dbl 40
2 40
Panelists
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, Bob Giragosian, 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 Baron

Sometimes you have to pass

South would like to compete, but it’s not clear that it’s safe to bid. The majority, therefore, chooses to pass.

Sutherlins: “The points for each side are equal and it’s possible that nobody has an eight-card fit. Let’s defend well and try to go plus.”

Sanborn: “I have no safety in bidding with no real reason to bid. This isn’t a very good hand.”

Stack: “I have nothing intelligent to bid and probably no partscore to protect.”

Walker: “I pass — fast!”

Giragosian: “I’m not going to stick my neck out when I’m not sure what suit the opponents’ fit is in or if we can make anything our way.”

Coopers: “We pass and think we must be old-fashioned — we play double is for penalty in this case.”

Gordons: “We don’t really have an alternative. We don’t think we have enough to double.”

Three experts choose to double.

Kennedy: “Double shows values. The board belongs to our side — my hand is limited by my original pass.”

Rigal: “All first doubles from either side must be takeout and all subsequent doubles are penalty. One can’t sensibly play any other way.”

Cohen: “Because the newly released Bridge Bulletin Standard says ‘Doubles at low levels are for takeout,’ count me in. It’s hard to do well at pairs by selling out at low levels. Even if we get plus 50 on defense, that will be a poor score if other North–South pairs are making something.”

Five panelists bid 2.

Colchamiro: “2 is a guess. This shows only four hearts and another place to play. Bidding 2 is wrong because partner will play you for a five-card suit and pass with a doubleton. As for double, there are arguments either way and you’d better have good partnership understandings to avoid a disaster.”

Colchamiro means that because you didn’t transfer to hearts, you can’t have five.

Robinson: “With a doubleton club, I have to bid. I’ve denied five hearts, so at the worst, we’ll be in a 4–3 fit. Double would be good if I was sure that it was takeout.”

Meyers: “I’m not selling out to 2♣. 2 is pass or correct.”

Falk: “I could be stepping into quicksand and I hate bidding a four-card, jack-high suit, but selling out to 2♣ sure feels wrong. If double were takeout, I’d try that, but it’s penalty. It’s tempting to bid 2, but partner will expect five of them. Because I didn’t transfer on the previous round, partner should know I have another place to play.”

Even when it feels wrong, sometimes you have to pass.

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