Retro Edition

IMPs. E-W vulnerable.
♠A K 7 4   8 6  2  ♣A K J 10 9 2

West North East South
3 ?

What’s your call?

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
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
4♣ 100
Dbl 80
Pass 40
5♣ 20
3♠ 10

Is it safe to double?

A takeout double promises at least three cards in each unbid suit ( or very strong values), but eight experts are willing to make that call with two low hearts. What are their reasons?

Lawrence: “Double, likely followed by clubs. This is a miserable problem.”

Stack: “If partner passes or bids 3NT, we will be happy. If partner bids 3♠, we are delighted and will raise to 4♠. If partner bids 3 or 4, we are strong enough to correct to clubs. The other choice is to bid 4♣ and put all options in one basket.”

Meyers: “Double and correct 3 to 4♣. If partner jumps to 4, I will pass.”

Meckstroth: “Certainly a tough problem. Over a 3 bid from partner, I will correct to clubs and hope for the best.”

Rigal: “Double, planning to convert 4 to 5♣ – a little of an overbid, but I have some quick tricks.”

Robinson: “I think I can handle heart bids from partner.”

Sutherlins: “We want to keep spades in the picture. If partner bids 3 or 4, we will bid the minimum number of clubs.”

Ten experts bid 4♣.

Falk: “The last time I made an off-shape double, I was the only panelist to do so. This time, I suspect I will be in the minority of those who don’t double. I’d rather bid 4♣ now than 5♣ over 4. Anyone who says they will double, then pass 4 is a sadist.”

Sanborn: “This isn’t the right hand to double and convert, as that should show more values than what I have.”

Kennedy: “Perhaps I’ll get another opportunity to show my spade suit.”

Gordons: “We would love to be able to get spades in the picture right away, but the wheels could come off after double. We just hope partner or left-hand opponent will save us with a bid.”

These were the two best comments, and summarize the problem:

Cohen: “Double. Maybe for once, the dope won’t mention hearts.”
Walker: “4♣. When my opponents double with this hand, their partners always bid 4♠. Mine bid hearts.”

Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?

Click here to subscribe.

The Zoom Room is available Monday through Friday, 3:30 pm-5:30 pm (Eastern).

Getting help is easier than ever with the ACBL Zoom Chat service.
Simply click the "Join Zoom Chat" button below to be taken to our dedicated zoom room.
Once there, click the "Launch Meeting" button to start your session. To hear us and vice-versa - don't forget to "Join with computer audio."

If the Zoom Room isn't available and you need answers, you can email us at

Join Zoom Chat