IYC Retro Edition

1 1♠ 1NT
2♣ 2 2 2♠ 2NT
3♣ 3 3 3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT

What’s your call?

Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
1♠ 100
2♠ 80
4♠ 50
Pass 30
3♠ 20
3♣ 20
2♣ 10


For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Dec. 2008’s Bridge Bulletin), 1♠ was named top bid.
The card dealing machine went crazy on this hand. While it’s true there is no right or wrong action with a freak like this, it is still instructional to examine the reasons the experts choose various actions. The majority of the panel took the slow train and made a simple 1♠ overcall.
“1♠,” said Kerri Sanborn. “There is no perfect way to deal with a freak. More and more often lately, bidding high will not intimidate opponents. I think the value of being able to bid both suits outweighs the preemptive benefit. It is easy to construct deals where 4&spades goes set and 7♣ makes!”
“Who dealt this one?” asked Jeff Meckstroth, who agreed with 1♠. “If I don’t get raised, I’ll bid clubs next.”
“Getting to the right suit is more important than guessing and missing the best fit,” said Lawrence. “I will bid to 5♣ if I have to.”
“We prefer not to preempt with more than one first-round control,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “Bidding 4♠ is our second choice, but that overstates the spades when we may be cold for many, many clubs.”
“At first we were going to bid 4♠,” said Janet and Mel Colchamiro, “but that will just preempt our own second suit. The benefit of 1♠ is that we will find out immediately if partner has three or more spades. We will bid clubs at our next turn — maybe even 5♣.”
“With two-suited freaks, it is best to keep the auction moving as slowly as possible,” said Grant Baze.
“1♠,” echoed Barry Rigal. “I hope the bidding does not end here — yes, I’m only joking. Al Roth would probably pass, but I’m no Al Roth.”
One panelist chose to pass. The Bridge Baron’s circuits whirred for four milliseconds before pass appeared on the computer screen. “I try to be conservative on freak hands,” he explained. “I may be able to make a bid that shows two suits at my next turn. If I can get my club suit into the auction, my partner might avoid a disastrous spade lead. Humans need all the help they can get.”
Four experts rode the fast train.
“4♠,” said Karen Walker. “I can’t convince myself to bid anything less with a four-loser hand. On a bad day, four losers could turn into six, but it’s only matchpoints, not gasoline.”
“4♠,” agreed Steve Robinson. “Yes, I’m guessing, but there’s no correct way to bid seven–six hands. Because I have only 6 high-card points, however, it could be right to pass and see what the opponents have. You might find out that you don’t belong in this auction.”
“Who knows?” asked Betty Ann Kennedy, who also bid 4♠. “Certainly I would prefer a club lead, but with these freak hands, anything could be right.”
“I have no clue,” said Richard Freeman, “but my guess is that 4*S* will work out best in the long run. Unfortunately, this is a very short-run problem,” he joked.
Three experts didn’t like the fast train or the slow train.
“3♠,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “This gets in the opponents’ way and might slow them down. If the opponents bid 3NT, we have to continue with 4♣.”
“2♠,” said Larry Cohen. “There are many possible approaches. This won’t end the auction, and I’ll bid clubs next.”
Allan Falk agreed. “There is no bid to describe my hand. Starting with 2♠ limits my strength. I expect to bid again, even at a fairly high level. If I overcall 1♠, partner would expect an extra king.”
The one thing the panel agreed on is that anything could be right. Because the spade suit is weak, 1♠ was the most popular choice. 2♠ was promoted in the scoring because (like 1♠) it makes it more likely (than 4♠) that clubs can be introduced at South’s second turn.

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