♠A Q 10 6 ♥K 10 ♦A ♣K Q 10 9 8 4
What’s your call?
Should you bid your strong, six-card suit or double and try to keep spades in the picture? The panel was divided.
“Double and pray that partner does not bid 5♦,” said Jill Meyers. “I don’t want to give up on 4♠, particularly at matchpoints.”
“Double,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth. “If partner bids 5♦, I’ll have to bid 6♣, but I can’t afford not to keep spades in the picture.”
“Double and I’ll correct 5♦ to 6♣,” agreed Barry Rigal. “If you bid 5♣ instead of double, you might play a 6–0 fit instead of your 5–4 spade fit.”
“Can I possibly go quietly with the hand?” asked Don Stack. “No, I must take some action, and I’m not willing to put all my eggs in the 5♣ basket. Partner may pass my double or bid 4♠, which is great. If partner bids 5♦, who says I can’t make 6♣?”
Karen Walker agreed with double. “I’m willing to risk the discomfort of 5♦ from partner for the chance to find 4♠,” she said.
“If partner bids 5♦ over my double, he’s supposed to have a fair hand,” said Mel Colchamiro. “If so, I’ll chance 6♣. If partner passes with a weak hand, then 5♣ may have been going down, too. We hit the home run when partner bids 4♠. Bidding 5♣ is too unilateral for me.”
Eight experts didn’t agree.
“5♣,” said Kerri Sanborn. “Preempts work and I can’t risk double and guessing what to do over 5♦. Of course, double looks brilliant when partner can bid 4♠.”
“Nothing else but 5♣ makes sense to us,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “Are we happy? No.”
Kay and Randy Joyce bid 5♣ but admit that “it’s very tempting to double at matchpoints.”
“5♣ could lose the spade suit or miss a penalty,” said August Boehm, “but it avoids a diamond disaster and may lead to a club slam.”
“5♣ may not be our best spot, but it should be a reasonable place to play,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “If we double and partner bids 5♦, then what? A 4♠ bid is really rolling the dice.”
“5♣,” said Larry Cohen. “Double would beget 5♦. Even for me, 4♠ over 4♥ would be a stretch with this hand.”
“4♠,” said Mike Lawrence. “This hand is impossible to bid accurately. Bidding 4♠ gets us to the high-scoring contract, assuming I can make it. Where is Marshall Miles when I need him? I will take Larry Cohen in a pinch.”
Miles is a proponent of four-card overcalls, but not necessarily at the four level. Cohen likes to bid 4♠ over 4♥ when reasonable, but chooses not to on this deal. Still, you have to admire Lawrence for having the courage of his convictions.
Allan Falk summed it up: “Not surprisingly, it was neck and neck whether to double to bring spades into the picture at the risk of inducing North to bid 5♦, or just to bid our long suit at the risk of missing a spade fit. Tastes great or less filling — you pick.”
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