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Retro Edition

It’s Your Call

IMPs. Both vulnerable.

♠K J 10 9   A  A Q J 9  ♣A K Q J

West North East South
Pass Pass 3 Dbl
Pass 3♠ Pass 4
Pass 4♠ Pass ?

What’s your call?

4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
Pass 100
4NT 70
5♠ 70
5 50
6♠ 50
Panelists
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, The Joyces, Betty Ann Kennedy, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Bridge Baron
Sometimes pass is the better part of valor

A goodly number of the panelists feel that by doubling then cuebidding over partner’s forced, minimum bid, they’ve said their piece and pass, concerned that the five level — and even the four level, for that matter — might be too high.

Meckstroth summarizes: “We could easily be cold for slam. However, if I’m going to go wrong in a case like this, I want to make sure I get a plus score. I hate to go minus on these kinds of hands hoping for a slam. The last thing I want to do is end up in 5♠. Partner can have four low spades and the suit may not break well with the preempt.”

As Kennedy points out, “Partner will have a tough time getting to his hand to lead towards the dummy.”

Further, Robinson observes: “Partner might have nothing. When they preempt, take a plus score. Things might not be splitting well.”

The Gordons shudder, “Yes, we are wimps, but this is a dangerous pattern in a dangerous auction. We don’t think partner has the ♠A and ♠Q or the ♠A and the K for his meek sign-off, which means slam is at best marginal and the five level could be at risk.”

Rigal believes that partner would have known to move forward with ♠Q–x–x–x–x and a working king. “Accordingly, I should pass now.”

Falk says, “I suppose partner could have ♠Q and K, but with the ♠A–Q, he should have tried 5♠, and with the ♠A and K, he might have tried 5. Because North might have a complete yarborough, I gotta take my plus.”

Meyers, Lawrence and the Coopers aren’t ready to give up so easily, but after a 4NT probe denies as much as the trump queen, they might consider stopping at five.

“I am giving this one last shot, realizing that we may be too high at the five level,” says Meyers. “My double and cuebid announced a good hand, but I have more than a good hand (although I would like to have a fifth spade).”

If partner shows no key cards in response to his 4NT query, Lawrence intends to ask about the queen of trump. “East will usually lead a heart, so partner won’t have a diamond lead to contend with at trick one. I am hoping North has five spades to the queen or four to the queen with the K. There are many hands that will make slam and I can confirm some of them this way.”

The Coopers are banking on one card. “If partner has the ♠Q, we will bid a slam. Pass could be right, but we have no way to find out.”

Walker, Colchamiro and the Sutherlins choose to probe for slam via a 5♠ call.

Colchamiro translates: “Partner, take another look.”

“The cuebid then raise should be a general try asking partner to bid on if he has something of value,” says Walker. “If all I needed was one filler, I surely would have taken a stab at 6♠, so partner may be able to work out that he needs a couple of helpful non-heart cards.”

The Sutherlins are on their knees. “Too much of a hand to pass and not enough to bid slam. So we beg partner to bid slam with a little something.”

The Joyces give partner another shot by cuebidding (again) 5. “Partner will know what to do.”

Only Boehm goes all in. Happily! “6♠. Can’t do less — queen-fifth of spades gives us a decent play. We may not need the diamond finesse. 5 followed by 6♠ as a grand slam try is possible.”