♠A 8 6 3 2 ♥K 9 7 2 ♦5 4 ♣A K
(1) Splinter raise of spades
What’s your call?
After the splinter bid by North, South knows he is playing with a 30-point deck — the 10 HCP that East–West have in diamonds are worth one or no tricks. That makes his four prime cards look huge. Half the panel made an encouraging pass. What’s that mean?
“I make a forcing pass,” said Larry Cohen. “If partner doubles, I am content. If he bids 5♥, I will bid a slam. Let’s hear from him instead of guessing on our own.”
“Even in a casual partnership, pass should be forcing because partner voluntarily committed to game,” said August Boehm. “If the red vs. white opponents are sane, voids and singletons abound. If partner has a slam-suitable hand, he should control bid 5♥. If he has a balanced splinter, he’ll double and we’ll defend.”
“I pass and will accept partner’s decision,” said Barry Rigal. “If he doubles or bids 5♠, I will pass. If he makes a 5♥ control bid, I’ll move to slam.”
“Pass suggests little or no diamond waste and encourages partner to bid on,” said Karen Walker. “That’s the most I can do here. A 5♥ bid would be a slam try, something I’m not willing to do with bad trumps and a weak side suit.”
“Is this a pinochle deck?” asked Linda and Robb Gordon. “As a passed hand, partner has splintered and forced to game, suggesting a fifth spade, a diamond void or both. Slam is a lively possibility. We pass, and if partner reopens with 5♥, we’re bidding it.”
“Pass is forcing because we have bid a vulnerable opposite a non-vulnerable game,” said Kerri Sanborn. “Partner could have 4=4=1=4 and maybe we should defend. He might have 5=3=0=5 and we should bid on. Let’s pass and keep partner in the decision-making process.”
“Pass,” agreed Jill Meyers. “If partner doubles, I will pull to 5♠ showing a better hand than bidding 5♠ directly. If partner bids 5♠, I will raise.”
Three panelists went for the plus score and double.
Kitty and Steve Cooper were optimists: “We expect to beat this a lot.”
Kay and Randy Joyce were not: “We plan to take two clubs and at least another trick.”
Don Stack is in between: “I double and expect to score at least plus 500. Because it’s IMPs, I don’t have to beat a score of plus 650. I have great defense, and we may not have a plus score above 5*D*.”
Three experts did the heavy lifting and bid slam themselves.
Peggy and John Sutherlin: “6♠. There are few hands that partner would bid 4♦ with that don’t make slam an odds-on favorite. We like our chances when partner is aceless, but has a diamond void. We can’t expect partner to get us to slam with most of his hands.”
Allan Falk: “Sure, 6♠ might go down, but for partner to splinter with no control in clubs should show good trumps and strong hearts. All I need is: ♠K 10 7 5 4 ♥A 5 ♦7 ♣9 8 7 4 3 which is not enough for a 4♦ bid. I simply have a fantastic hand for partner, and don’t think we are off two fast tricks.”
Mel Colchamiro: “6♠ probably won’t get many votes but should get the money. Partner might have as little as: ♠K J 7 4 ♥A 10 8 6 3 ♦— ♣8 7 4 2, and slam would be a good bet.”
“5♠,” said Steve Robinson. “Partner is a passed hand, so I’m not making a slam try.”
Betty Ann Kennedy also bid 5♠. She is afraid North has wasted points in clubs.
Instead of guessing, pass, and let partner help you make the decision.
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