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Retro Edition

Matchpoints. None vulnerable.
♠9   A K Q 10 9 8   Q J 8 3  ♣6 3

West North East South
Pass Pass Pass ?

What’s your call?

1♣ 1 1 1♠ 1NT
2♣ 2 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
1 100
3 80
2 70
4 30
Pass 10
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
What do your hearts tell you?

The easy answer is, “Bid heart(s).” The question is, “How many?” Seven panelists see no reason to distort the bidding simply because they’re in fourth seat.

“1,” says Meckstroth. “I would open 1 in any other seat, so I see no reason to do differently here.”

The Gordons agree. “This is the old ‘how to fight the spades’ problem. But sometimes partner has the spades, so we just make our normal bid.”

Boehm concurs. “The rule of 15 should apply only to marginal openings.”

“If I knew for certain the opponents could make 2♠ or so, I would open 2 and limit partner’s expectation of my defensive values,” explains Falk. “But I don’t see the need to do that here and possibly miss an easy game.”

The Joyces open 1, fearful that a 2 bid “might stampede the opponents into the auction.”

Meyers, too, opens 1, although she thinks 3 very reasonable “if partner could interpret that as a good hand with short spades, trying to shut out that suit.”

Mike Lawrence wrote the book, and he says 3 is the bid. “Perfect. Straight out of my passed-hand bidding book. It shows values and acts as a preempt at the same time.”

Did Sanborn read Lawrence’s book? “3 should be constructive in fourth seat. I count my hand as seven winners, and I want to make the spade
speculation expensive.”

Colchamiro opens 3, hoping that “combining picture bidding and tactics will work out.”

Rigal says that his 3 opener perfectly combines offense and defense. “Let them decide whether they want
to back in at an uncomfortable level.”

Which brings us to the 2 bidders, who cite the hand as the classic, intermediate fourth-seat opening two bid.

The Sutherlins like the descriptiveness of the 2 opener because “it allows partner to get involved in an intelligent way.”

Cohen says the hand is a little heavier than he’d like to open 2, “but I’m afraid that 1 will make it too easy for the opponents to come in.”

Robinson is also worried about the opponents and their spades. “4. Partner has nine points and ometimes
his points are in diamonds. By starting lower, I might allow the opponents to find a spade fit.”