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Retro Edition

IMatchpoints. N-S vulnerable.
♠8   K 7  K 9 8 7 5 4 3  ♣K 10 4

West North East South
1 Pass 2 ?

What’s Your Call?

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
3 100
Pass 80
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

Do you pre-balance?

It’s generally agreed that the player who is short is the one who has to balance or pre-balance in a low-level auction. Even though there are risks, the majority chooses to bid 3.

Kennedy: “There is some danger that partner may play me for a better hand. Surely my length and distribution compensate for my lack of high-card points.”

Cohen: “I’m not passing here. Is that a seven-card suit you are waving in front of my eyes? My partner knows I can come in light here, and I’m surely not embarrassed at all by the quality of this hand. Partner, who couldn’t bid spades, likely fits diamonds. It wouldn’t shock me if we have a play for a diamond game. He could hold: ♠Q 7 4 3 A 5 4 A 6 2 ♣Q 8 7, or a similar hand. I’d give up bridge (no jokes, please) before passing. If they double and beat me 500, I’m still bidding 3 next time.”

Lawrence: “It’s clear to bid. If I pass and opener passes and partner balances with 2♠, I would still have to bid 3. The fact that partner didn’t overcall 1♠ means he likely has something in the minors, which is good news.”

Boehm: “Is 3 unanimous?”

Coopers: We believe in bidding whenever it is a fairly reasonable option.”

Walker: “This is similar to No. 4 in that I don’t want to let them play two of a major. Yes, I’m walking into the middle of a live auction, but there is some safety in having a seven-card suit, and it’s worth the risk to keep partner from making the spade lead.”

Eight experts don’t believe it’s automatic to bid.

“Pass,” says Rigal. “It’s much less clear to act in the direct seat. The auction is not over and I may get a chance to act later.”

Meckstroth agrees. “Partner still has a bid coming.”

“Has matchpoints gotten so absurd that this is really a problem?” asks Falk. “Do I really want a diamond lead? This is not close.”

“The vulnerability is unfavorable, we don’t have a strong lead preference, the K is under the gun and we are in the direct seat,” say the Gordons.

“We don’t have enough to enter a live auction vulnerable at the three level,” say the Sutherlins. “Partner still has a chance to balance. Where are the spades?

“If the contract belongs to us, partner will balance in spades and I can correct to diamonds,” says Giragosian.

Would you pre-balance? The majority sees its long suit and chooses to do so.

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