IMPs. Both vulnerable.
♠K 10 5 ♥A 9 7 ♦A 9 ♣A K 10 7 6
What’s Your Call?
Could your side still make a game?
South has a nice hand, but it sounds like North doesn’t have much. Nevertheless, 11 experts choose to bid and 2NT was the most popular choice.
“Partner could still have many 7-point hands that would let us make 3NT,” say the Sutherlins.
“Into the valley of minus 500 rode Walter the Walrus,” says Rigal. “Then you hear: ‘But I had 18 points, partner.’ Seriously, I intend to go down fighting.”
“2NT is not without risk,” says Boehm, “but facing ♠Q 4 3 and a red king, we are favorites for a vulnerable game.”
Is 2NT natural or a takeout bid?
“Even if I can only scramble seven tricks in 2NT, it is better than allowing East–West to score 110,” says Sanborn. “Some partnerships would play 2NT as either a good/bad bid or as a minor-suit takeout with emphasis on clubs.”
“2NT,” says Cohen. “I have prime cards and a trick source. I want to reach game opposite: ♠8 6 ♥6 4 3 ♦J 5 4 2 ♣Q 9 3. I have the wrong shape to double and too much to pass. My only worry is that instead of being natural, this is some sort of two-suiter with six clubs and four of either red suit. Am I paranoid to think that in some old problem the panel bid 2NT with a hand such as: ♠7 6 ♥3 ♦A Q 8 4 ♣A K 8 7 6 3 commenting, ‘How can it be natural?’”
That’s a good idea for a future problem. How long should It’s Your Call wait before doing so? Bridge players have long memories.
“I hope partner takes 2NT as natural,” says Meckstroth.
Four experts refuse to pass, but don’t choose 2NT.
“Double,” says Robinson. “The opponents have an eight-card fit, so I have to push them up.”
“Double — we have too many values to give up on the partscore battle,” agree the Joyces.
“3♣,” says Lawrence. “This is against all the rules, but defending against 2♠ feels very wrong — there’s a good chance they can make it. Bidding 2NT is possible, but that promises a different hand type that includes a spade stopper and running club suit. I’m just trying to get a small plus score.”
“3♣,” agrees Colchamiro. “Normally I would have six clubs, but partner seems to be short in spades, so a few clubs isn’t too much to ask from him. The payoff is when they take the push to 3♠. 2NT would show clubs and diamonds.”
The rest of the panel chooses to pass.
Walker: “Partner has at least 11 cards outside of the spade suit. If he couldn’t muster up a negative double or a club raise, I don’t think we’re missing a game.”
Stack: “I don’t think there is game opposite a silent partner — we probably have a plus score, but that is speculative. On defense, it looks like this hand can take five tricks and maybe partner can take one.”
Meyers: “I don’t think we have a game, and I have too much in spades — with the king poorly placed — to compete to the three level on my own. If I pass, maybe partner can bid if she has a long suit.”
Gordons: “We think bidding is way too optimistic with this balanced 18 points.”
Falk: “Bidding 2NT should show a better spade stopper and some tricks. My club suit may turn into tricks, but then again, it may not. Because there’s no good bid for this hand, what remains is pass.”
Coopers: “We hate to pass with such a good hand, but bidding is likely to get us a minus score. Partner is still there.”
Bridge Buff: “When humans have a good hand, they become attached to it and it’s hard for them to pass. I’m an emotionless machine made of silicon and finely honed metal. For me, passing is easy.”
The scorer, Ashton, comments: “2NT was given a higher score than pass because 11 panelists voted for some action. If you pass at the table, it needs to be in tempo.”
It’s IMPs, North–South is vulnerable and North might have enough scattered values to make game. Playing IMPs is all about bidding games.