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Retro Edition

It’s Your Call

IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠—   A J 9 7 4 3  Q 10 8 6 3  ♣A 6

West North East South
1
Pass 1♠ Pass 2
Pass 3♣(1) Pass 3
Pass 3♠ Pass ?

(1) Possibly artificial.

What’s your call?

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
3NT 100
4 100
4♣ 40
4♠ 40
4 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
Sigh

In her scorer’s comments, Walker points out that the 3 rebid creates a very awkward problem. “I’m awarding 100 to (almost) everybody for being good sports and not abstaining.” Holding a club stopper, eight of the panelists feel obligated to bid 3NT while another eight, holding what they view as a suit-oriented hand, choose to bid 4.

Stack throws up his hands in dismay. “What an ugly hand this has become! I cannot raise to 4♠ with a void, and we have already described this red-suit distribution. 3NT seems to be all that is left to bid.”

“This is a sticky problem,” says Kennedy. “I’ll try for nine tricks in 3NT. Partner still has a call.”

“3NT,” agrees Walker. “I endplayed myself with 3. Why did I show the fifth diamond instead of the sixth heart? The hearts aren’t good enough to insist on them now.”

Sanborn rules out 4 for that very same reason: “3NT. 4 should have better trumps than these.”

“I think my partner knows 10 of my cards after this call,” says Rigal, who bids 3NT. “Anything else would be more appropriate with less in clubs and more in a red suit.”

Along similar lines, Meckstroth comments, “We probably belong in a suit, but I think I’m obliged to bid 3NT with a spade void and a club stopper.”

Colchamiro prefers 3NT because of its flexibility. “Partner can still bid 4 over 3NT with two of them if he wants to, or 4♠ if he wants to. But we can’t get to 3NT over 4.”

The 4 bidders rule out 3NT because of the lack of tricks or, as Falk puts it, “I have a club stopper and a heart trick; where will I find seven more? Partner could have solid spades or just a forcing spade bid with a variety of red suit holdings.

Just in case partner is 6–2 in the majors, I want to offer the information that I have an extra heart and am not willing to bid 4♠.”

Cohen can’t see this hand playing well in notrump either. He bids 4, saying, “I haven’t shown a sixth heart yet. Even a 6–1 heart fit on this misfit deal might be the best possible spot. If partner overrules with 4♠, so be it. I’ve shown him 11 red cards.”

Boehm also bids 4. “I can hope for better heart support than I have for his spades.”

Likewise, the Gordons are holding out hope that partner has a heart. “Or at least a sense of humor.”

Robinson, like Walker (and several others), would have preferred to bid 3 at his second turn rather than showing the fifth diamond. “4 — might as well show partner that I have six hearts.”

The Coopers are truly “sorry about the whole thing.” Kitty says, “Steve might pass at pairs even though 3♠ is forcing. At IMPs, it is just too big a position to take.” The Joyces apologize, as well. “Shoo! Sorry for my part in this mess!”

And then there are the two odd-ball bidders who at least get points for creativity. Meyers raises partner to 4♠ with her void. “We have no fit and I want to slow this down.”

Lawrence bids 4♣, reasoning, “This is not likely to be a club raise. I’ll see what partner is up to.”