What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Jan. 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 4NT was named top bid.
After a three-level preempt, a 3NT overcall has a wide range. It could contain 15 to 21 high-cards points or even a long diamond suit with a stopper in the opponent’s suit. Nearly half the panel made the direct raise to 4NT. Partner can pass if he has a minimum 3NT overcall. If he has extra values, he can bid on.
“4NT,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “We don’t have enough to insist on slam and too much to pass. Partner can suggest playing in a suit if he bids more.”
“I bid 4NT,” said Grant Baze, “just in case partner has the goods.”
August Boehm agreed with 4NT. “If partner moves,” he said, “there’s still room to reach slam in a suit contract.”
“We should be safe in 4NT,” said Jeff Meckstroth, “so I’ll give this one try.”
“4NT,” agreed Karen Walker. “This is a general notrump raise and move toward slam — the best I can do with no agreements for sorting out partner’s hand type. Bidding 4*S* seems pointless.”
“We agree with 4NT as the most flexible bid,” said scorers Kay and Randy Joyce. “Partner should play us for a hand like this one. We think 5NT is a little pushy.”
Two panelists bid 5NT, which they intended as asking partner to pick a slam.
“I’m worth a drive to the six level,” said Barry Rigal. “I want to play in a minor-suit fit if we have one.”
Larry Cohen agreed. “5NT is pick-a-slam,” he said. “It’s too hard to intelligently reach seven, and the hand is too good just to invite. Bidding 5NT as pick-a-slam is one of the most useful (and underappreciated and underutilized) bidding tools.”
Three experts choose 4♠.
“4♠,” said Richard Freeman. “I’ll pass 4NT from partner and raise five of a suit to six.”
“We bid 4♠,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “We want to tell partner that we are slammish with the minor suits.”
“There are several ways to treat this hand,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I could bid 5NT or 4♣, but I believe that 4♠ should get across to partner that I have a slammish hand that is short in spades.”
What does 4♣ mean?
“4♣ is forcing and natural,” said Jill Meyers.
“In SAYC, 4♣ is surely natural and forcing,” said Allan Falk. “Most experts, however, would play this as conventional, asking partner to describe which category of 3NT hand they hold. I’m not stopping short of slam, and my plan is to see how high to go and whether to play in a suit.”
Steve Robinson passed. “I don’t have a good way to show clubs,” he said. “Partner likely has a strong notrump and we’re high enough. This is why opponents preempt.”
Because he said there is no good way to show clubs, Robinson must use 4♣ as an inquiry or Stayman.
As long as preempts give their opponents problems, players will continue making them.