♠K 6 ♥J 8 5 4 ♦K Q 10 9 6 5 3 ♣ —
What’s your call?
South has a great playing hand, but not much defense. Because of the lack of defense, six experts passed.
“I pass,” said Don Stack. “Why open up a can of worms? I wouldn’t be sur¬prised to find out that the opponents can make 3♠ or more.”
Kay and Randy Joyce agreed with pass. “We have a severe lack of Pearson points.”
A method to decide whether to open in fourth seat is to add the number of spades to the number of high-card points — the total is called Pearson points. If the number is 15 or higher (some say 14), a player should open, according to this guideline.
“I will pass, but it’s an absolute guess,” said Betty Ann Kennedy.
“Partner should expect more if I open 3♦ in fourth seat,” said Allan Falk. “I have only 9 HCP and no defensive tricks. I’m grateful to be able to pass out this deal.”
Kitty and Steve Cooper agreed. “It’s not our hand — we have only 11 Pearson points,” they said. “Either West or East has missorted his hand.”
“Pass, but it might depend on whether partner is a sound or light opener,” said August Boehm.
The hand has strong offensive potential, however, and the majority chose to open. Nine of the panelists opted for 3♦.
Peggy and John Sutherlin: “It’s strictly a guess. We have a good chance to go plus in 3♦ and this bid is likely to be high enough to silence the opponents.”
Karen Walker: “I have to try for a plus score at matchpoints.”
Barry Rigal: “Nothing is perfect, but 3♦ feels like it might keep the opponents out or push them overboard. Passing? That’s for wimps.”
Jeff Meckstroth: “I have to open 3♦ to try for a plus score.”
Linda and Robb Gordon: “What else but 3♦?”
Mel Colchamiro: “Who knows what’s best with a hand like this one? I choose 3♦, despite not satisfying the Rule of 15.”
The Rule of 15 is another name for the Pearson points concept.
Larry Cohen: “I give up on the chance that we can make 4♥ in exchange for the likelihood of buying the contract in 3♦.”
Jill Meyers: “I bid 3♦, but I don’t mind 4♦.”
Two experts chose 4♦.
“4♦,” said Mike Lawrence. “I’m giving up on game and looking to put maximum pressure on East–West.”
“4♦ should show about eight tricks at this vulnerability,” said Kerri Sanborn, “so this hand qualifies in my book. The higher you bid, the more chance the opponents get it wrong. Don’t worry about a four-card heart suit with a freak hand — just play your long suit.”
One expert made a minimum open¬ing bid.
“1♦,” said Steve Robinson. “With a full opening bid, make the normal opening.”
Bidding 3♦ gives North–South an excellent chance for a plus score. South doesn’t have much defense, but the preempt may buy the contract.
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