♠Q J 10 5 4 ♥K 10 9 8 7 3 ♦4 3 ♣—
What’s your call?
The panel was mainly split into two groups: those bidding the six-card heart suit and those making a negative double.
“Double,” said Jill Meyers. “If my major-suit length was reversed, I’d bid 2♠ and follow with hearts. Because my hearts are longer, I’m going to start with double and hope I can handle the later auction.”
Mike Lawrence agreed. “If I had six spades and five hearts, bidding 2♠ would be my choice,” he says. “Instead I choose to double and hope my next bid is not at the five level.”
“Double gets both suits in the auction,” said Don Stack. “I will bid 2♥ if partner rebids 2♦. I will bid 3♥ after a 2NT rebid. If partner leaves it in, then c’est la vie.”
“Double,” echoed Jeff Meckstroth. “I hope this won’t be the final contract.”
“I double and hope partner doesn’t pass,” agreed Betty Ann Kennedy. “If possible, I’ll try and bid hearts at my next turn.”
Yes, that’s the problem with double. Partner might choose to leave it in, and the South hand is better suited for offense.
Even though the South hand has only 6 high-card points, six experts chose 2♥.
“I’m afraid of a negative double because I don’t want to lead against 2♣ doubled,” said Larry Cohen. “Yes, 2♥ shows 10 or more points, but I think my hand is worth it.”
“Both double and pass seem too risky, so I choose to bid 2♥,” said August Boehm. “A two-level response in competition should only be a one-round force.”
“Sorry, I can’t risk a negative double with this hand,” said Allan Falk. “If partner left it in, it could be a disaster. I will overbid slightly with 2♥ — a one-round force. I will follow with a non-forcing 3♥ if nothing good happens.”
“2♥,” agreed Karen Walker. “I can’t bring myself to pass, which lets them steal the contract, or to make a negative double which may let them steal it doubled.”
“If we pass or double, it is likely to be passed out,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “This seems undesirable with this hand. With both majors, we bid our longer suit (2♥) and hope for good things.”
“We have too much to pass, and a negative double is too risky,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “I don’t want to distort my hand by bidding 2♠ first, so that leaves 2♥.”
What about 2♠?
“Because I have two diamonds and no clubs, instead of being 2–0 the other way, I’m bidding to four of a major despite my weakness in high cards” said Mel Colchamiro. “Making a negative double with 6–5 deserves a boo.”
Three experts chose to pass.
“I can’t think of anything to say,” said Barry Rigal. “Maybe I’ll get a second chance or maybe it just isn’t our deal to declare. If I doubled, and it went all pass, I’d be sick.”
“If we make a negative double, partner may pass,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “Our hope is the auction doesn’t end and we get a chance to do something descriptive the next time. Bidding 2♥ would be our second choice, but it has too many flaws.”
“We pass and hope to get another chance to bid,” said Kay and Randy Joyce.
No bid is perfect and it’s not clear which will work out.