What’s your call?
For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Jan. 2009’s Bridge Bulletin), 6♦ was named top bid.
You have a strong hand, and as the bidding proceeds, it starts looking stronger. Partner could have signed off in 4♠, but he offered 5♦. What is that?
Richard Freeman thought it showed diamonds. “6♦,” he said. “The contract should be worth an extra trick or two playing in diamonds.”
“6♦,” agreed Kerri Sanborn. “Partner must have some good, fitting cards and a diamond suit. With lots of hands partner could hold, I wouldn’t want to play 6♠, but 6♦ looks pretty good, for example:
♠10 3 2 ♥7 4 3 ♦Q J 10 7 3 ♣A Q.”
Partner may have bid 5♣ as a control bid holding the above hand.
Allan Falk pictured partner’s hand as:
♠K 3 2 ♥8 5 3 ♦Q J 8 7 4 3 2 ♣ —.
“If I’ve misread North’s intentions,” said Falk, “no problem. He will correct to 6♠.”
“Not sure what 5♦ is,” said Steve Robinson, “but if partner has long diamonds, we could make more tricks in that suit because hearts can be ruffed in the short (trump) hand.”
“6♦,” agreed Karen Walker. “I’ll assume I arrived late and a caddy subbed to bid my hand up to this point, or maybe my thumb slipped when I pulled the 4♥ bid out of the box. I think 4♣ makes more sense. Partner’s 5♦ sounds natural and encouraging, maybe a 3=3=7=0 hand.”
Grant Baze agreed with 6♦ but isn’t so sure it shows diamonds. “Partner should have the ♠K, a stiff diamond, the ♣Q and something extra,” he said. “Just in case he thinks he is showing a suit, I’ll take out some insurance.”
Mike Lawrence agreed with Baze. “It’s more likely that partner has a singleton diamond,” he said, “and something good in spades and clubs. On the chance that diamonds is a better contract, however, this is the way to do it.”
“6♦,” said Jill Meyers. “Partner should have six diamonds and another useful card. I don’t think we will make 6♠.”
Three experts cuebid hearts again.
“5♥,” said Barry Rigal. “I have no idea what is going on here. Bidding 5♦ should not be a suggestion of a place to play. Bidding 6♦ would be, so I assume partner has short diamonds. I will pass if partner bids 5♠ or play any slam partner suggests.”
August Boehm agreed with Walker regarding the 4♥ bid. “It seems doubtful we can bid a slam,” he said, “but I don’t see any harm in trying. The problem was the premature 4♥ bid. A 4♣ bid would have alerted partner to upgrade a club fit.”
“5♥,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Partner has denied first- or second-round control in clubs. We think our auction suggests we need club help. We expect North to bid 6*S* with the ♣Q and ♠K.”
Other experts bid 6♠.
“Partner has shown life,” said Larry Cohen. “He presumably has short diamonds and no club ace. I hope he has the ♠K and the ♣Q. We could belong in 6♣, but he would probably take a 6♣ bid as a try for seven.”
“6♠,” agreed Steve and Kitty Cooper. “Partner did not sign off, so he must have the ♠K. We do not look for a grand because he does not have the ♣A. We look forward to seeing the dummy so we can find out what the 5♦ bid meant.”
If you gave the panel the auction without showing your hand, they would probably say North has a control in diamonds, perhaps the ♦A (and no club control). Because South has it, several experts let that influence them into believing that North has a queen-high diamond suit.
What does 4♥ mean? Perhaps the answer to that leads to the meaning of 5♦.