What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from April 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 4♠ was named top bid.
Even with a fairly strong hand, 12 experts bid a conservative 4♠. When partner is in the passout seat, he is allowed to bid with less values than if he doubles directly.
“4♠,” said Janet and Mel Colchamiro. “We might miss slam, but we don’t want to hang partner.”
Others agree with the Colchamiros.
“There’s no compelling reason to believe we have a slam,” said Karen Walker, “and no room to explore safely for it.”
“This is the best problem of the set,” said Mike Lawrence. “You might have slam if partner has:
♠A K 6 3 ♥2 ♦K 8 7 3 ♣A 6 4 3,
but if North lacks any of these cards, you might have game only. You also have to worry that spades might split 4–1.”
“When my partner makes a takeout double and I have a major suit,” said Steve Robinson, “I bid it.”
“We don’t have good enough values or strong enough spade suit to invite slam safely,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “I have a lot of high-card points,” said Jill Meyers, “but I’m not going to hang partner for balancing. We may not be safe at the five level.”
“4♠ may be an underbid,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper, “but we cannot hang partner for reopening and 5♠ may be past our safety level.” They also point out that after a preempt, spades may not be breaking well.
“Partner is allowed to be light in fourth seat,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I will try for the plus score.”
Do some of the panelists remember the deal?
“I missed a slam last time, said Richard Freeman, “and I’ll miss it again.”
“4*spades;,” said Larry Cohen. “That’s what I bid in the USBF Team Trials. I know that we have a slam, but it is really punishing partner for balancing to bid more than this. In the four matches where this was played, all four bid 4♠.”
“4♠ seems automatic to me,” said Jeff Meckstroth. “I expect this one to be unanimous.”
There were votes for six other bids.
“5♠,” said Barry Rigal. “I am way too good for 4♠. To bid 4NT (pick a minor), then correct to 5♠ might imply a heart control. I think few players have firm agreements here.”
“5♥,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “Let’s let partner choose. Preempts have once again created a problem.”
“5♣,” said August Boehm. “I’m not expecting many panel points. Both 4♠ and 5♣ risk missing slam to accommodate the balancer, but 5♣ looks less susceptible to bad splits. If West competes to 5♥, I can bid 5♠, perhaps backing into slam or the best game.”
Allan Falk agreed with 5♣. “I can hardly bid slam or even try for slam, so the issue is whether to bid 4♠ or 5♣. 4♠ has too much risk.”
“Trump quality versus loser count,” said Grant Baze. “I have so many high cards, in 5♣ I expect to be able to hold down the loser count.”
Lynn Deas summed up the majority position.
“I am bidding what I think I can make,” said Deas. “It is tempting to bid more, but I don’t want to punish partner for making a good bid. It would be a shame to get too high when partner has:
♠K 9 6 4 ♥3 ♦K Q 7 6 3 ♣A 5 3.
When you’re preempted, take your plus rather than guessing at the five level.”
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