This Week’s Expert Opinion

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

♠ 9 6 5 2 7 5 K 10 2 ♣ K 9 8 4
West North East South
1♠ Dbl Pass 2♣
Pass 2 2♠ ?

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

Partner doubled and bid his own suit, showing a strong hand. You have modest useful values, but no convenient bid. Three panelists passed.

“Pass,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I have about what partner expects of me, so why should I make a poor bid? I have no support, no five-card suit, no second four-card suit and no stopper in the opponents’ suit.”

Kitty and Steve Cooper agreed. “If partner bids again, we might get excited,” they said. “Otherwise, we are happy to defend. At matchpoints, we might make a card-showing double.”

Seven experts chose double. What did that mean?

“Double,” said Larry Cohen. “Little by little, the world is starting to realize that doubles below 2NT — especially when they bid and raise one suit — are not penalty doubles. They show values, but nothing convenient to bid. A good general rule is that unless it is clearly penalty, all doubles below 2NT are not penalty. If this is not part of the IYC bidding system, too bad — give me a zero.”

Actually, Cohen gets two zeros with a one in front of them: Double scores 100.

“It makes sense to play double as if they had raised directly — I have values and no clear bid,” agreed JoAnna and Lew Stansby.

“Because low-level doubles are takeout, this describes our hand perfectly,” echoed Peggy and John Sutherlin.

“Double showing values and no clear direction,” agreed Barry Rigal. “With two kings, I’m much better than I might be.”

“I am unlikely to have a spade stack,” said Mike Lawrence, “but I can have mixed values. If partner passes, 2♠ doubled rates to be down two tricks.”

Four panelists raised hearts on two-card support.

“3,” said Karen Walker. “I would expect a very good hand for a red-vs.-not 2 overcall, so this auction should promise a near-mountain.”

“I have values, so I need to bid something,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth.

“I must act with two potential tricks,” said August Boehm. “I don’t care for double which I think implies some spade strength whereas my honors are elsewhere.”

“4,” said Grant Baze. “Two kings and two trumps are enough to bid game. If one of the kings were a queen, I would bid only 3.”

Three experts cuebid 3♠.

“3♠,” said Steve Robinson. “We belong in game, but I’m not sure which game. If partner has six hearts, we belong in 4. If partner has only five hearts and club support, we belong in clubs.”

Richard Freeman and Betty Ann Kennedy agreed with 3♠ and expressed similar reasons.

Seven panelists doubled. They felt that is the most flexible call. Eight panelists looked for game instead of risking minus 470 (when North does not read the double correctly). Because 15 experts moved toward game, scorer Allan Falk has downgraded the pass.

Call Score
Dbl 100
3 90
4 60
3♠ 50
Pass 10
2NT 0
3♣ 0
3NT 0

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