Retro Edition

IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠8 7 4  Q 9 7 5  A K 10 9 7 6  ♣ —

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
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
2 100
Pass 90
1 80
3 60
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 Buff
Pearson shmearson

The panel is of three minds on this problem. First there are the 2 openers, who feel the hand almost fits the description for a classic fourth-seat opening two bid.

“2,” says Stack. “Although this hand is probably a bit under strength for this bid in the fourth chair, it is a great playing hand opposite a few major-suit high cards.”

“If we have game in a major, so be it,” says Cohen. “I’ll be content with any plus in a diamond partial and hope that the preemption keeps the opponents out.”

Boehm looks ahead to what can happen after he opens 2: “If they compete to 3♣, I can re-enter the auction with a reasonably descriptive takeout double.”

Weinstein is a kid with a new toy. “2 is not usually a bid I have available (I play Flannery) so I am probably misusing it, but I will give it a shot.”

The passers justify their action with rules. “Not enough Pearson points,” say the Joyces.

“The Rule of 15 suggests pass, but really, who knows?” asks Colchamiro.

(Pearson points and the Rule of 15 are one and the same: Add HCP and the number of spades in the hand. If the total is 15 or more, open the bidding in fourth seat when the decision is close. If the total is 14 or less, pass the hand out.)

The Coopers use the same philosophy to back their pass. “Why open light in fourth seat without spades?”

While Walker has a “nagging feeling” she’s missing something, “there’s always a chance that it’s minus 140.” She passes primarily because she feels the opponent holding her cards at the other table will pass. “I’m going for the push.”

Falk chooses to pass to keep the opponents out of the auction. “We could have a game — or they could. While a 2 bid would not promise the world, it should show closer to an opening hand. To find a major, I’d have to start with 1 and now it’s really easy for the opponents to get into the fun.”

The deciding factor for the 1 openers is their major-suit holdings.

“We have good potential, and we have our share of the major-suit cards,” say the Sutherlins. “It’s worth hoping that partner can bid a major.”

Simply stated, Meckstroth says, “I have to bid. We could easily be cold for 4.”

Robinson takes it a step further. “Because I have support for both majors, I can afford to open light. If partner has:

♠A Q x x x x x  Q x ♣x x x x,

we might even make 4♠.”

The Gordons are playing it fast and loose opening 1 with “only” 12 Pearson points. “We have a good chance of owning the hand.”

Kennedy, too: “In spite of the lack of HCP, this hand would play quite well in diamonds or hearts.”

And then there’s Rigal, who opens the hand 3. “I close my eyes and try to hit it where they ain’t,” he says. By they he must mean Bridge Baron and the other 17 panelists. “Having paid my entry fee to this competition, I can hardly pass it out with the lame excuse that I have only 9 HCP. Point counting is for wimps.”