What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from September 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 4♥ was named top bid.
“4♥,” said Lynn Deas. “It could be right to pass, but holding 11 cards in the majors and a void in their suit, it seems like I owe partner another bid.”
“4♥,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth. “I don’t like sitting for the double with a void.”
“We have an opening hand with majors,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “This is perfect for a 4♥ bid. Partner can settle for game or make a move towards slam with the right hand.”
“There are many hands partner would have to double with that will be good enough for us to make slam,” said Mel Colchamiro. Even with wasted diamond values, we will likely make six opposite:
♠A 2 ♥A 8 6 ♦K Q 4 ♣K Q 7 6 3.”
“Anything besides 4♥ is ridiculous,” said Jill Meyers.
“I have a great hand if we have a heart fit,” said Don Stack. “I have only a few bridge rules, and one of them is that I try not to pass a penalty double with an unbid five-card suit. If partner passes my 4♥ and we make slam, then preemptive action wins again.”
“To remove a penalty double at this level describes a very distributional hand,” said August Boehm. “Even if partner has four diamonds, we have an eight-card fit somewhere with a good chance for a vulnerable game. Sometimes, partner will double with three decent diamonds and a strong, semi-balanced hand — then, takeout is surely warranted.”
“Partner’s double just shows values,” said Larry Cohen. “Pass is out of the question. Maybe I am worth more than 4♥, but with bad breaks abounding, I’ll take the low road (4♥).”
“Partner will know that I’m at least 5–5 in the majors to bid 4♥, and that I’m probably void in diamonds,” said Allan Falk. “We might have a grand slam. What if North holds:
♠A ♥A J 10 4 ♦Q J 4 3 ♣K Q 7 4,
or many other hands?”
“I’m bidding 4♥, a craven, wimpy bid that gets us to game,” said Mike Lawrence. “Pass could work out. I considered 5♥, but partner might have wasted diamond values. Still, 5♥ could be right.”
Five experts chose 5♥.
“5♥,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “Partner obviously has a great hand, and I need to tell him about mine.”
“There is no good definition for double,” said Kerri Sanborn. “It is not strictly penalty, but can just be a good hand, such as an off-shape strong notrump or a 2NT rebid. 4♥ could be made on a much weaker hand than this, and a cuebid leaves partner in the dark.”
“5♥ is a value bid showing lots of major-suit cards and slam interest,” said Karen Walker. “Partner’s double promises extra values, so I can’t bid a meek 4♥ with this much playing strength.”
“5♥ is natural and a slam try,” said Barry Rigal. “Partner’s double shows values, and this looks like the least I can do.”
“Partner’s double shows a good hand,” agreed Steve Robinson.
The Bridge Baron choses pass. Computer software has come a long way in bidding, but when faced with a problem such as this one, it usually makes a conservative choice.
Kay and Randy Joyce summarized the problem well: “4♥ seems clear-cut,” they said, “but we admire 5♥ because it tells partner we have more than what a 4♥ bid would show. Partner was under pressure, as often happens after preempts, and we know that he has few options at this level to let us know he has a good hand.”