This Week’s Expert Opinion

The Expert Opinion is in. What do you think?
Matchpoints. N-S vulnerable

♠ 6 4 3 7 5 K Q J 4 ♣ K Q 6 3
West North East South
1 Pass 1NT
2♠ 3 4♠ Dbl
Pass 4NT Pass ?

For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from June 2008’s Bridge Bulletin), 5NT was named top bid.

Partner made a non-forcing 3 call at his second turn, but now bids 4NT. What does this mean?

Allan Falk expects to make 5, and intends to redouble if the contract is doubled.

“Wow! I’ve never seen this auction before,” exclaimed Falk. “Partner should have 0=7=3=3 distribution. With spades bid and raised, North is assuming I’m doubling on values which are working for offense. He is making an innovative try to find our best fit in case I have a five-card minor. I’m just going to bid 5k and land us in our nine-card fit, then rest my hand on the blue card in case someone doubles this.”

Other panelists agreed with 5k.

“5,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “It’s logical that partner is 0=7=3=3 and doesn’t want to defend or insist on hearts. Perhaps he has:
A Q 10 8 6 4 2
A 9 5
♣J 7 2.
If so, 5 is high enough.”

“I think 4NT is an attempt to play in a minor with 0–6–4–3 distribution,” said Steve Robinson. “We have to play in hearts.”

“4NT is takeout, not Blackwood,” said Kitty and Steve Cooper. “Partner rates to have six hearts and a four-card minor. At matchpoints, we will play hearts.”

“It’s strange that partner is trying for another suit now, but didn’t bid it on the three level,” said Larry Cohen. “Probably he is 7–4 or 6–4 with good hearts. Anyway, a doubleton heart is plenty of support. It wouldn’t surprise me if we have a slam in a minor. Still, plus 650 or plus 680 won’t be a bottom and we can hope to beat any pairs that play five of a minor.”

What would a fifth grader do?

“5,” said Andrew Jeng, a fifth grader Johns Creek GA. “In 4NT, the opponents would just run their spades. I want to get partner out of a bad contract.”

Eight experts bid 5NT. What does that mean?

“I am not sure what partner is up to,” said Mike Lawrence, “but he is bidding strongly. He pulled my double saying he is happy at the five level. With this hand I cannot imagine our not having a slam. Over 5NT, he will choose the spot that will make with my hand.”

So, 5NT says pick a slam. Jeff Meckstroth agreed with this.

“I want partner to pick a slam,” he said. “I have the perfect cards with nothing wasted in spades.”

“Pick a slam,” echoed Janet and Mel Colchamiro. “Our three low spades and K–Q in both minors are gold.”

Barry Rigal, August Boehm and Richard Freeman agreed and gave similar reasons.

Two experts bid something besides 5 or 5NT.

“5♠,” said Kerri Sanborn. “This is a bit subtle, but I hope it offers hearts as a contract where 5NT might be 5–5 in the minors. This hand just got huge, and I’m playing partner for 0–6–4–3 or 0=7=3=3.”

“6,” said Grant Baze. “If partner had bid 5, I would pass. 4NT is more forward-going, and I expect to make slam if partner can negotiate the heart suit.”

Both 5 and 5NT received eight votes. How did the scorers break the tie?

“The majority thinks there is a slam and bid above 5,” said the Coopers. “Thus, we gave 5NT the 100.”


Call Score
5NT 100
5 90
6 30
5♠ 10

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