Matchpoints. None vulnerable.
♠A K 8 2 ♥Q J 8 2 ♦K ♣K J 7 6
What’s your call?
South would like to double 2♦ for takeout, but in Bridge Bulletin Standard, it’s for penalty. The majority chose to raise to 2NT as the most descriptive bid.
“2NT,” said August Boehm. “Double is penalty and the risk is not worth the return because the opponents are not vulnerable.”
“2NT,” agreed Peggy and John Sutherlin. “This is what we were going to bid anyway if East passed.”
“My first thought was double for takeout,” said Kerri Sanborn, “but that’s not standard. 3NT is possible, but I have no source of tricks. This is a bad, good hand.”
“2NT is natural and descriptive,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper.
“2NT is a middle-of-the-road action,” said Mel Colchamiro. “I’ll go with the field.”
“We would like to double to show values, but fear that partner will take it as penalty,” said Linda and Robb Gordon.
“2NT,” agreed Steve Robinson. “I don’t think double is for takeout in BBS, so I’m bidding for a plus score.”
The experts who didn’t bid 2NT were divided as to what the alternative approach should be.
Three experts chose to double.
“It would be handy to play double as takeout, but partner bid a natural 1NT, so it’s penalty. I’m doubling anyway on the theory that something good may happen. If it doesn’t, I’m not risking much because defending 2♦ not doubled feels like a sure average-minus score.”
“Double,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “It’s takeout with extras.”
“I believe that the standard treatment here is that double is for takeout,” said Don Stack. “I have the perfect distribution and extra values. I will not be embarrassed if partner passes.”
Bridge Bulletin Standard defines the double as penalty.
Two panelists passed.
“Pass,” said Mike Lawrence. “A takeout double would be nice, but that’s not in my current methods.”
Larry Cohen agreed. “If double were takeout, sign me up, but presuming it’s penalty, I’m a bit short in the diamond department,” he said. “Bidding two of a major would require at least a fifth club. I hope I can produce this pass in tempo, so as not to ethically hinder partner.”
Two panelists didn’t agree that 2♥ promised five clubs.
“This is a fascinating problem,” said Barry Rigal. “I’m going to give up on penalties, and just bid my suits up the line with 2♥.”
Jeff Meckstroth agreed with 2♥. “Not that I want to play in hearts, but I definitely don’t want to defend 2♦. If double were takeout, that would be perfect, but it isn’t.”
There was one vote for 3♣.
“Ugh,” said Allan Falk, “what a terrible bid. Double would be penalty. 3♣ is a bad bid, but 2NT and 3♦ are even worse bids.”
Other alternatives received no votes. A 3♦ cuebid leaves North–South in the stratosphere with no defined direction if North has no diamond stopper. Bidding 3NT is too much.
Because the alternative bids have problems, the majority choses 2NT, the call they would have made if East passed.
Want to receive the retro “It’s Your Call” by email?
Click here to subscribe.