It’s Your CallIMPs. None vulnerable.
♠K Q J 7 2 ♥K 10 7 6 5 ♦9 3 ♣K
What’s your call?
Almost half the panelists choose to make a Michaels call with this hand while almost half elect to enter the auction with a 3♠ call. Here’s why:
Meckstroth says, “While I would love to bid Michaels at a lower level, I don’t think my hand is good enough to bid 4♦ to show both my suits here. We need to stop below game. At least spades is my best suit.”
For Sanborn, all the hand’s negatives add up to a 3♠ call: “I’m not quite good enough for a four-level Michaels cue. Not the right shape for a double. I don’t have to force us to play in a major with this hand. And I don’t have to force us up a level.”
Fear motivates the Joyces’ call as well. “3♠ is less likely to get doubled if East is lurking in the bushes with a good hand and short diamonds.”
Cohen says he doesn’t have quite enough to bid 4♦, but too much to pass. “If I doubled, my partner would bid 4♣.” So he bids 3♠. “If partner bids 3NT, I will bid 4♥ next.”
Meyers bids 3♠, but she doesn’t mind a double on the hand. Her only misgiving would be that partner, holding 3–3 in the majors and a five-card club suit, would bid 4♣.
For Colchamiro it boils down to the minor suit configuration. “I’m 2–1 the wrong way with a semi-useless ♣K,” he grumbles. “If I had ♣K–x and a stiff diamond, I would probably risk 4♦, investing a level to insure getting to the right major.”
Almost to a man (woman), the 4♦ bidders agree their action is anywhere from a mild to a huge overbid. But its pluses are that the Michaels cuebid zeroes in on what is likely to be the best trump suit.
Robinson is oblivious to the level. “4♦. Michaels shows 5–5 or better in the majors.” Is it really just that simple?
Boehm is of the school that 4♦ is a “mild” overbid. “The alternatives appeal less.”
Lawrence, on the other hand, calls 4♦ “a huge overbid, but one that will get us to the right major. We might be minus 500 instead of minus 800, but there is a fair chance of this working well.”
Walker, too, is willing to invest in the strain even if it means playing a level higher. “We could be a level or two too high, but at least we’ll be in the right trump suit.”
Rigal, ashamed of his 4♦ bid, asks that anyone who knows him to skip to the next paragraph. “It works for Lauria–Versace. In a Bermuda Bowl, one of them once did this in the direct seat on a hand Rodwell passed. But as everyone knows, I’m no Versace,” he says, pointing out the obvious. “I’ll explain I was balancing when they collect their 1100 penalty.”
Stack wishes he had the ♥Q–J for his Michaels bid, “but we must work with what we have. I don’t believe that double or pass are good options, though either could be the winner.”
The Coopers call 4♦ “tempting,” as it gets to the right strain but may be too high. They call pass tempting, “but cowardly.” Then their bidding hand settles on the double card. “If partner as a diamond stack, double is the winner. Double also has the advantage of stopping in three or bidding a major suit game. If partner bids 4♣, we can bid 4♥ showing majors with no extras.”
With their double, the Sutherlins recognize that “there are lots of IMPs up for grabs here. We can be on for a major game or headed for minus 800 when partner has a poorly fitting subminimum.”