What’s your call?
All but three of the panelists envision slam with this offensive blockbuster. Getting there with minimum mishap is, of course, the challenge.
While it gives up on a possible grand, 6♣ is the most direct route. “Bid what I think I can make,” states Meckstroth.
“6♣,” agrees Rigal. “4♠ should be setting hearts, so I’ll bid what I think I can make. Rightly or wrongly …”
“Bidding what I think I can make,” says Robinson. “I don’t want to give partner a chance to bid diamonds.” Walker elaborates. “The alternatives — 4♠ (partner torture) and 4NT (often misinterpreted) — are futile because there’s not enough room to find the cards needed for a slam.”
With the best of intentions, no doubt, several experts elect to torment partner with a cuebid. “4♠ with a plan to jump to 6♣,” says Meyers. “I am definitely bidding a slam on this hand, and I think this route shows more than a direct jump.”
“I would love to bid 4♣ forcing,” says Weinstein, “but I am not confident that it won’t go all pass. I think if I bid 4♠ followed by 6♣, I have an outside chance of getting to seven when it is cold. I don’t see a smart way to get to hearts if partner has five good ones, and even if he does, the hand might not play well there.”
Cohen bids 4♠, as well. “Maybe I should just jump to 5♣, but I feel that isn’t enough. As little as:
♠x x ♥K J x x ♦x x x x ♣K x x
gives us a slam, and that’s not even enough for partner’s three-level double.”
The Joyces hope that their cuebid prompts partner to correctly evaluate “with a singleton spade and an ace and a king or two kings.”
The 4NT bidders hope they are Blackwooding. “Ace-asking,” says Kennedy.
“Blackwood, we think,” say the Gordons.
“I hope this is Key Card Blackwood with clubs as the agreed suit,” says Giragosian. “If I had hearts, I could bid 4♠ to show a big hand.”
Sanborn and Lawrence take a vastly more restrained view.
“3NT,” says Sanborn. “Last chance … Sure, we might make a slam, but let’s be practical. It’s only a board. No good way to investigate a slam contract.”
Lawrence also tosses the 3NT card on the table. “Easiest game available. I can see where nine tricks might come from and if I bid 4♥ or aim for a club contract, there are visible worries.”