♠— ♥K Q 4 2 ♦J 5 2 ♣A 10 8 7 5 3
What’s your call?
The South hand looks good for offense, so most experts decided against passing 4*S* doubled. Should you bid your four-card major or your six-card minor or try something else? Most of the panel chose to bid 5♣.
“5♣ is a bit of a hedge,” said Mike Lawrence. “I’d like to bid more, but all the choices are flawed. My bid shows some values, so maybe partner will bid again.”
Kay and Randy Joyce agreed with 5♣. “We have reasonable values for a plus on offense,” they said. “Slam may be dicey when the distribution is wild.”
“I bid 5♣ and expect to make it,” said Allan Falk. “I hope North can bid again. I can’t bid 4NT because partner will surely bid 5♦.”
“Taking out to 5♣ should be bidding to make,” said August Boehm, “so maybe partner can act.”
“I’m giving up on perfect and settling for a reasonable spot,” said Karen Walker. “Maybe we have a heart fit and maybe we can make slam, but I’m not willing to risk the game bonus to take a stab at either.”
“I should not remove the double unless there is a reasonable chance for a making contract,” said Don Stack. “Who knows who can make what?”
“Because I’m void in spades, I believe partner has a big balanced hand,” said Jill Meyers. “I’m tempted to bid 4NT and correct 5♦ to 5♥, and I’m tempted to bid 6♣. But, after all that, I’m making the practical 5♣ call to go for a plus score.”
“5♣,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth. “We can probably make a slam. If they compete to 5♠, I’ll bid 5NT. Frequently, we can get only 500 from doubling 6♠, and plus 620 beats that!”
“We expect to make 5♣,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “The alternative of bidding 4NT and then bidding 5♥ over 5♦ may land us in a poor spot. We do not bid over this double unless we expect to make a contract at the five level.”
Four experts bid 4NT.
“4NT is takeout, of course,” said Larry Cohen. “I am burying partner and driving at least to a small slam. The double of 4*S* is not penalty — it shows a good hand. When most of the readers see that the panel takes this out (please, panel, don’t let me down), we can finally put to rest the mistaken notion that a double of 4♠ is penalty. After partner’s rebid, I will follow with 5♠.”
“4NT shows two places to play,” said Kerri Sanborn. “The real question is whether to raise if partner bids one of my suits. It’s tough with no guarantees.”
“Because of the spade void, we think partner has a huge balanced hand,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “The plan over 4NT is to correct 5♦ to 6♣ showing clubs and secondary hearts.”
“I’m bidding 4NT followed by 5NT,” said Mel Colchamiro. “I’m going to force to slam, but why didn’t I open 1♣ in the first place?”
Brad Theurer chose to bid 6♣. “The preempt has taken away valuable space, so I have little room to explore,” he said. “If I simply bid 5♣, North will never play me, a passed hand, for these values.”
After a preempt, it’s okay to underbid a little. The goal is to survive.