IMPs. N-S vulnerable.
♠A Q J 9 6 4 ♥A 7 4 3 ♦8 ♣8 2
What’s your call?
The panel was divided into two main groups: Pass and double.
“I can’t imagine that we have a game,” said Karen Walker, “so I’ll pass and concede the partscore and avoid the possibility of a big minus score. Partner could have stretched to compete with three-card spade length or four hearts.”
“Your hand doesn’t suggest partner has a club stack,” said Mike Lawrence. “It’s best to concede this one.”
“The odds we have a game are very low,” said Allan Falk. “If I double and partner bids 3♦, that’s a disaster. I’ll avoid the disaster and leave the heroics to others.”
“I pass this awkward hand,” said Brad Theurer. “If I double and partner bids 3♦, then what? There are negatives to bidding 3♥ or 3♠, too.”
Eight experts didn’t agree with pass.
“Double,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “Partner may convert to penalty. If he bids 3♦, I’ll bid 3♠.”
“I double, just in case partner has clubs,” agreed Steve Robinson. “If partner bids 3♦, I’ll bid spades.”
“I’m not going to sell out, even though it’s dangerous to bid,” said Don Stack. “If partner passes or bids 3♥ or 3♠, I’ll be happy. If he bids 3♦, I’ll bid 3♠.”
Peggy and John Sutherlin agreed with double. “We need to give partner a chance to make a penalty pass or bid hearts,” they said. “If he bids diamonds, we can correct to spades.”
“We choose double and think it’s an easy bid,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “We are missing diamonds, but that suit is below the rank of our long suits.”
“Double,” agreed Larry Cohen. “I am probably trading a plus for a minus, but I can’t resist trying for 620 in case partner has long hearts, such as: ♠7 ♥K Q 8 6 5 2 ♦7 6 3 ♣7 6 3, and would jump to 4♥.”
Three experts chose 3♠.
“We don’t need a lot to make game,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “This hand has a lot of offense. We could double to get hearts back in the picture, but if partner passes, that may be wrong.”
August Boehm agreed. “The doubleton club makes bidding a bit scary and reduces the chance that partner is trapping. We could still make a vulnerable game.”
Jill Meyers also chose 3♠. “I don’t want to bid 3♥ because partner will pass with two spades and three hearts. I don’t like double because if I correct 3♦ to 3♠, that shows more strength. I’m bidding what I have.”
Lots of things can go wrong after double, but eight panelists chose that call. Lots of things can go right, too, and they were willing to take the chance.