Retro Edition

What’s your call?

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
Dbl Pass
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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, Steve Weinstein, Bridge Baron
Reverse psychology

The gist of this problem seems to be ascertaining whether partner’s 2 bid is a true reverse. All but one of the 3♣ bidders say no, or express some uncertainty.

Falk explains: “No, 2 was not a reverse and did not show extra values — that’s how partner bids with 4–5 in the minors or even 4–4 with better clubs. Missing a non-vulnerable game is the same as bidding game and going down when it’s our hand for a partscore.”

Robinson, too, thinks the hand is a partscore. “1♣–2 is not a reverse. It just shows a minimum hand with four diamonds and five or more clubs.”

Robinson suggests that partner, holding:

♠8 7 2  5 3 2  A K Q   ♣A 9 7 4

could well respond 2 to the negative double.

Lawrence bids “a wimpy 3♣” on the theory that if partner has a good hand, he will bid again. “It may be that we cannot make 3NT even facing a good hand.”

Rigal believes that partner’s 2 denies reversing values. “With that hand, he’d jump to 3 or cuebid,” he says. “I always open my better minor and do not open 1 with 4–5 and a minimum hand if I can possibly avoid it, so I expect to be facing 4–4 or 4–5 in the minors and 12–15 high-card points. 3♣ is still not an overbid.”

Meyers opens 1♣ “most of the time” with 4–4 in the minors, “I don’t play that 2 shows extras.”

The Gordons ask, “3♣ — overbid or underbid? We can take the bull by the horns with 3♠ or even some number of notrump. We can pass the buck with a second double. Here we think our lack of intermediates and balanced shape are enough to convince us. This does raise an interesting question: If you and your partner open 1♣ with 4–4, what do you do over 1♣–(1♠)–Dbl–(Pass) holding something like:

♠7 3   K 8 3   A 8 6 2  ♣A Q 5 4?

Personally, we would bid 1NT and prepare to apologize. We think 2, while not a reverse, shows some extra strength or shape.”

Kennedy is unsure whether 2 in response to a negative double constitutes a true reverse. “If it isn’t, 3♣ should be sufficient.”

Of the 3♣ bidders, only Stack is certain that partner’s 2 is a true reverse. “3♣ should be forcing. This is an excellent hand after a reverse and we plan to cuebid 3♠ after partner bids 3 or 3, and will pass 3NT if partner bids that.”

For the most part, the non–3♣ bidders treat 2 as showing extras.

It is the Sutherlins’ theory that partner’s 2 shows reverse values. “If so, slam is certainly possible. 3♠ feels like the best bid to move forward.”

Walker says that because the negative double didn’t promise diamonds, “partner’s 2 should show reversing values. Even if you disagree with that premise, this hand is too strong for a competitive 3♣, which you might bid with a 7-count.”

Boehm calls his 3♠ response a “typical utility cuebid — a good hand lacking clear direction.”

Meckstroth and Weinstein leap to 4♣.

Weinstein says, “I assume 2 shows at least a solid hand (I wouldn’t think it is a reverse), so I am going to show my excellent club support and a pretty good hand.”

Meckstroth doesn’t mind skipping over 3NT to propose the minor-suit game. “I don’t think 3NT will make with only one spade stopper.”