Retro Edition

What’s your call?

4♣ 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, Bob Giragosian, 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 Buff
As the crow flies

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.”