IMPs. N-S vulnerable.
♠K Q 9 3 ♥J 8 3 2 ♦5 ♣A K 10 7
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Ten experts cuebid 2♠. Of course it’s forcing, but what do they hope to accomplish?
Cohen: “Let’s explore instead of bashing.”
Rigal: “I’ll treat this as a game-forcing hand and try to get to the right game. 4♥ and 3NT are likely, but 5♣ is an outside shot.”
Meckstroth: “I’ll bid 3NT over a 3♦ bid by North, but hearts otherwise.”
The Gordons and Cooper made similar statements.
Sutherlins: “We’ll play game in hearts when partner has four, but otherwise we’ll probably reach 3NT.”
Colchamiro: “A 2♠ cuebid leaves most options open. If we get too high, too bad.”
Robinson: “I expect to show a good hand with four hearts and two places to play.”
Some like their spade holding and bid game in notrump.
“3NT,” says Falk. “I had a hand like this and bid a heart game, down on a spade ruff when 3NT was cold. I’ve learned my lesson.”
“3NT,” agrees Stack. “There are lots of possible bids, but with my ♠9, I will bid game. I thought about bidding only 2NT, but why torture partner? I want to be like Meckwell and bid thin vulnerable games.”
Some panelists choose hearts:
Meyers: “I am going to bid 2♥, something I am sure I can make. I’m hoping West competes to 2♠ with a 3 or 4 count, something I can double. I don’t want to jump to 3♥ as partner may have only three-card heart support.”
Kennedy: “2♥ — I don’t want to punish partner for reopening.”
Lawrence: “2♥. I’m betting we don’t have a game.”
Boehm: “3♥. I’m close to bidding game, but partner has to strain to balance when short in spades, something my spade holding makes more likely.”
Two experts bid 2NT.
“2NT,” say the Joyces. “We have too much not to try for game.”
“2NT,” says Walker. “I have a triple spade stopper and weak hearts. We had this problem before.”
Walker is the only panelist who remembered this from the November 2008 Bridge Bulletin. It was problem No. 3. In the original version, South held the same hand except his spades were different by one spot: ♠K Q 8 3. Another difference is that East–West were vulnerable and North–South weren’t. Given these conditions, seven panelists passed in the original problem. They were trying for plus 200 or better. When the opponents are not vulnerable, pass is less attractive — the reward isn’t as great compared to the risk. That’s why none of the panel passed for penalty this time.
In the original problem, seven experts cuebid 2♠. Experts like to use that bid to force and find out more about their partner’s hand.