It’s Your CallIMPs. None vulnerable.
♠8 6 ♥Q 8 6 ♦A J 10 ♣A J 10 3 2
What’s your call?
Going low or going for the gusto?
The majority of the panel is split between a “go-low” 3♣ bid and a hyperaggressive 3♥ call, with the 3♣ers edging out the cuebidders by a single vote. Various numbers of notrump and Rigal bring up the rear.
Robinson has a special name for his 3♣ action:“I like to use my when-everyone-is-in-the-auction-it’s-usuall-a-partscore-hand rule.”
“I’m not burying partner for prebalancing,” says Cohen of his choice to bid 3♣. “I like him to enter light, and if I drag him into game, he won’t double for me next time. In effect, I have a good 10 count. Picture partner with:
♠Q J x x ♥x ♦K x x x ♣K Q X X
— an automatic double in my opinion, and we are already high enough.”
Stack is cutting partner some slack, as well, to a point: “If the opponents compete to 3♥, then we will double and hope for an adequate penalty.”
Walker believes “someone’s stretching (probably everyone), but not me. The nonvul game bonus isn’t enough of a temptation to talk me into hanging partner with this collection.”
Colchamiro sees that “at least we’re nonvul, so if game is on, it’s only 6 IMPs, not 10.”
Meyers evaluates game prospects similarly. “No one vul at IMPs, I am going low. Partner could have a light distributional hand.”
Boehm says that at the table, he could ascertain if 2♥ is semiconstructive, marking partner with a light, shapely double, “which, on paper, I suspect.”
Turn now to the 3♥ bidders, whose partners must have nerves of steel. “I have too good a hand to not make a game-forcing bid,” says Kennedy.
“3♥, hoping partner has ♥K–x or ♥A–x,” says Lawrence. “If he does not, my sequence will drive us to 5♣.”
Sanborn envisions 3NT or maybe 5♣. “Over the expected 3♠, I want to bid 3NT. This should show some doubt as to the final strain. If partner has the weak 4–4–4–1, she might pull now. It is very likely we can make 5♣ and not 3NT, but not if my partner has a doubleton heart.”
Meckstroth also hopes that his partner can bid 3NT over his 3♥ cuebid. “That is where I’d like to be. If he can’t and he bids 3♠, I’ll follow with 4♣ and he should have a decent picture of my hand.”
The Gordons are headed in the same direction, but allow for a pass of 4♣. “We agree with the pass of 1♥, but now we have to come alive. We will happily pass 3NT, but will convert 3♠ to 4♣, which should not be forcing since we might have only been trying for 3NT.”
With hope in their hearts, the Sutherlins and the Coopers opt for a direct 3NT. The Coopers are hopeful that ♥Q–x–x holds up as a stopper and that the ♠A is not in RHO’s hand.
The Sutherlins hope that partner has a little help in hearts. “We have too much to bid 3♣ and 4♣ makes it hard on partner, not to mention that it takes us past 3NT.”
Scorer Walker says, “I’m not sure if it’s BB Standard, but I think most expert partners would take 2NT as a scramble. If partner is 4=2=4=3, he’ll rebid 3♦ and that will be a new problem.”
ne panelist (plus Bridge Baron) does bid 2NT, but not for scrambling purposes. “I hope partner thinks (a) this is natural and (b) I can figure out to block the heart suit when partner has ♥x–x and we can take nine tricks in the other suits,” says Falk. He gives partner:
♠A J 10 x ♥x x ♦K x x x ♣K Q X
“I’ll have to decide whether to play RHO for ♥A–K or only one, and then find the ♦Q.” Upon closer examination, he backpedals a bit. “Actually, partner needs more to raise me to 3NT. While on some layouts 5♣ could be right, I don’t know how to figure out which ones or how to differentiate them in a constructive, non-forcing manner.”
And then there’s Rigal out there bidding 4♣ solo. “I’m glad you didn’t make me overcall 2♣, though I admit it might have worked out just fine today. As it is, showing clubs and extras looks fine.” He then poses an excellent question: “Would 2NT have been lebensohl here? I think it should be, so this is stronger than the direct and indirect sequences to 3♣.”