Retro Edition

What’s your call?

4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
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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
The waiting game

While 4 may seem tame on this offensive powerhouse, it is the bid of choice for nine panelists.

Stack is one of the 4 bidders, but he has misgivings. “Because partner’s negative double indicates help in diamonds and spades, 4 doesn’t seem like enough with this hand. I actually have a sneaking admiration for 6. Barry Crane always said, ‘Don’t play me for the perfect hand. I never have it.’”

“Slam may be on but we will need a boost from partner to get there,” say the Sutherlins. “If we double or cuebid, and partner bids spades, what do we do?”

Walker: “It’s 4 or a ‘gambling 6,’ as none of the in-between bids will drag anything helpful out of partner. 5 sounds like I’m looking for a club control and 5♣ would be a cuebid in support of … what?”

Meckstroth treads carefully. “We could easily make a slam, but I don’t really have safety at higher levels.” Kennedy, on the other hand, is on surer footing. “4. Why not?”

Falk points out one more pitfall. “Those who consider themselves ethical players must learn to bid 4 in tempo with a hand like this. If you think a long time and then bid 4, partner knows you have extras.”

Colchamiro calls a 5♣ cuebid “a good place to start.”

Weinstein takes partner’s seat to hear what a 5♣ cuebid sounds like from the other side of the table. “While it is possible that partner might misinterpret 5♣, we have 5♠ as a way to show spades and 5 as a way to show five-plus hearts,” he says. “I think 5♣ is just a general try with a club void. 5 could work, but partner won’t be able to judge when to pass and when to bid on accurately enough. Hopefully over 5♣, partner will bid 5NT — pick a slam — with a hand he likes and 5 to find out where I’m coming from with a hand he doesn’t like.”

Lawrence says, “Partner’s two expected bids will be 5 some of the time with a few 5 in there. I will bid 5 over 5 and 6 over 5 or 5♠.”

Sanborn cuebids 5♣ and while she plans to raise partner’s 5 to 6, she’ll “probably pass 5 and pray that partner doesn’t bid 5♠.”

Cohen, Meyers and the Coopers boldly leap to 6.

“A stab in the dark,” says Cohen, “but I can’t think of any scientific action to get partner to realize that ♠A–Q–x–x along with two low hearts is enough for slam.”

Meyers gives partner a couple more measly holdings with which he’d never picture a making slam and relieves him of the guess by bidding six herself.

The Coopers would have opened 2♣ and avoided this entire discussion. But given the auction, they believe that “bidding 5♣ or 4NT now is about spades, the last suit bid by the means of a negative double. So we take a shot at 6.”

Robinson and Boehm bid 5.

Boehm calls it “a general slam try, not club specific with so little prior description.”

Robinson defines 5: “This is too strong a hand to bid just 4, which is what 5 says.”

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