IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠4 ♥A Q 7 6 ♦A J 9 7 5 ♣Q 8 3
What’s your call?
The panel as a whole is vehemently opposed to dropping partner in 1NT. Most are also opposed to rebidding the feeble five-card diamond suit and choose, instead, to try 2♣ with a three-card suit, figuring they’ll hit partner in one minor or another.
“Seems obvious” to Boehm.
“Easy,” agrees Colchamiro.
“All the experts do this and look where it gets them,” says Rigal. “Into the Hall of Fame and the new encyclopedia!”
“2♣,” bids Hall of Famer Kennedy, unwittingly confirming Rigal’s folderol. “Partner is short in both majors and may have clubs.”
“I don’t mind if partner raises, since he will have five clubs,” says Weinstein. “This puts me in a better spot than if I pass and they balance with 2♠.”
“Partner certainly has some minor suit length,” say the Sutherlins. “He may even have six clubs and one diamond. The opponents’ 2♠ balance is probably coming if we pass 1NT. Let’s help partner decide which minor is better to compete in.”
“I’m willing to play a 4–3 rather than have them run spades or maybe worse, find spades,” agrees Sanborn. “If partner can raise clubs or bid 3♦, we might buy the hand.”
Lawrence, too, wants to keep the opponents from finding their spade fit. “We have an eight-card minor suit fit. This (bidding 2♣) will find it. The only time this is wrong is when partner passes me with three diamonds and four clubs.”
It’s just that hand pattern that worries the Joyces, as well. “We bid 2♣, hoping partner won’t be exactly 3=3=3=4.”
Watching partner struggle in 1NT doesn’t appeal to Meyers. “Partner doesn’t have more than three spades, so I want to play in a suit,” she explains. “We have to have a minor suit fit.”
“So I had a spade in with my clubs,” says Falk as he rearranges his hand. “The choices are 2♣ and 2♦. 2♦ promises six and 2♣ promises four. What swings the decision for me is that partner either has at least four clubs, or four diamonds but a hand that’s not good enough to make an inverted raise. So we’ll get back to diamonds when we belong there except when partner is 3–4 and chooses to pass. In that case, the opponents are sure to balance. If they do not, who cares what minor we play?”
Meckstroth and Cohen care. “2♦, trying to play a safer partscore,” says Meckstroth. “Perhaps I should bid 2♣, but I don’t want partner to get too excited.”
“2♦,” bids Cohen. “I don’t like repeating a five-card suit, but surely I am too weak to reverse, and I don’t want to play in notrump with the opponents having tons of spades. Partner rates to have some diamonds for me since he has, at most, six cards in the majors.”
The Gordons call it close, but opt to pass 1NT. “It could be right to bid 2♣, but we’re passing because it will be harder for the opponents to find their fit. Partner might have spade concentration and even if they run spades, we might have seven tricks.”