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Retro Edition

IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠A K Q J 8 4 3   —  A 10 4 3  ♣6 4

West North East South
1♠
Pass 2 Pass ?

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
3♠ 100
3 80
3 20
5♣; 20
4♠ 10
5 10
2♠ 0
4 0
Panelists
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, 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

Again, a plurality rules, jumping in spades, but the bid does not come close to expressing the potential of the hand. South can envision a grand opposite a 7-count , say:
♠x   x x x   K x x x x x x   ♣A x x
(or any of a zillion variations). Nor does it clue North into South’s key focus — the length and quality of North’s diamonds, and whether North has a club control. This hand motivated several panelists to employ exclusion Roman Key Card Blackwood — a convention that permits one hand to exclude an ace from the responses to Blackwood because that player has a void in a named suit.

The Joyces are succinct. “3♠. We love a jump rebid to show a solid suit.”

Colchamiro, too, bids 3♠, but not nearly as succinctly. “At matchpoints, I might try something sexy like a fake exclusion Blackwood 5♣ bid. But at teams, I’ll leave that to Zia and just try to uncover whether partner has a club control by setting the trump suit.”

The new guy agrees. “3♠,” says Giragosian. “I want to let partner know I have a slam-going hand with good spades. I plan to support diamonds on my next bid.”

Sutherlins: “3♠. Says spades are trump. Let’s start cuebidding.”

Rigal: “3♠. Anything else makes our auction far too complex. I can’t see why we need to play diamonds unless partner has ♣K x, and why would he be so mean?”

Cohen argues, “3♠. Let’s set trump and see if partner can make a control bid in clubs. This really isn’t the right hand for exclusion Roman Key Card Blackwood (no club control).” But upon further review, he ponders, “Maybe I should raise diamonds via a splinter since opposite:

♠x x  Q x x   K Q J x   ♣A J x x

our only grand slam is in diamonds.”

Falk points out that the splinter bid of 3 comes closer to letting partner in on the decision making. A number of the experts, including Sanborn, Meyers and Lawrence, choose to support diamonds via a heart splinter.

The Coopers’ strategy: “3. If partner bids 4♣ next, we’re off to the races with 5 exclusion. If partner bids 3NT showing heart wastage, we can try 4♠.”

Lawrence: “3 splinter. I hope to hear 4♣ from partner, after which I can bid 5 exclusion Blackwood.”

Falk: “3. I think any expert would understand this as a splinter. So my first desire is to see if North has lots of heart wastage. (I’ll probably catch 3NT.) I can possibly bid my spades later, but giving partner a chance to cuebid the ♣A and to express interest in a diamond slam will help me decide whether we are playing game or a small or grand slam. No spade rebid will do as much.”

3 is demoted by the scorer because it is not forcing in SAYC. Neither the Gordons nor Stack anticipate their 3 bid being passed.

“3, hoping to set up the auction so that partner will be able to cuebid a club control,” says Stack. “If we can get the club cuebid, then we can bid 5NT and possibly get to an easy grand.”

Gordons: “3. There are a lot of fancy actions available here including 3 shortness and 3♠ solid suit. We think it is best to start slowly. If we can elicit a club cuebid, perhaps we can try exclusion key card Blackwood with 5. Then we can correct to spades at whatever level.”

Boehm bids 3, as well, but with a little less confidence. “If 3 gets passed, this partnership should be dissolved.”

Meckstroth gets a token mark from the scorer for his immediate 5 exclusion Blackwood bid with this caveat: “That tips off the club lead against any final contract, against which South has no explanation if North cannot produce a control in the suit. Not the right situation for South to seize captaincy.”

Falk added 5a7clubs; to the call roster. “In honor of George Jacobs, even though no one made the call, the psychic exclusion Blackwood bid of 5♣ gets a higher mark because it may steal the pot, or lead to defining the club suit (e.g., if LHO doubles, partner may be able to redouble with the ace or void and pass with king or singleton). Either way, it is almost sure to provide a good story at the bar after the session.” Almost sure?

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