This Week’s Expert Opinion

The Expert Opinion is in. What do you think?
Matchpoints. Both vulnerable

♠ A K 6 5 A K Q 10 7 4 ♣ K 7 3
West North East South
2(1) Pass 2♠ ?

(1) Michael cuebid (majors).

For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Aug. 2008’s Bridge Bulletin), 3♠ was named top bid.

Six experts cuebid 3*. What did that mean?♠

“3♠ shows partner where I have a stopper and asks him to bid 3NT with hearts stopped,” said Jill Meyers.

“Bidding the stopper you have is the usual practice when there are two danger suits,” echoed Janet and Mel Colchamiro. “Partner must bid 3NT with a heart guard.”

Karen Walker agreed. “3♠ shows a spade stopper and asks for a heart stopper. There’s no reason to bid 3NT yourself when you have a perfectly good way to ask partner for one.”

Kitty and Steve Cooper agreed with Walker. “There is no reason just to bid 3NT when West may have the first five heart tricks,” they said.

Four experts go ahead and bid 3NT. If partner has a heart stopper and the ♣Q, that usually would be nine tricks.

“3NT,” said Allan Falk. “North is a huge favorite to have a heart stopper.”

“I expect North to have five hearts,” said Mike Lawrence, “and I hope he has a tiny something to go with it.”

Three experts bid 2NT.

“2NT is natural,” said Barry Rigal. “Partner has hearts, so this looks to be enough. 2NT shows tricks and not 18–19 high-card points.”

“2NT is not a perfect bid by any means,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I’m pretty sure that it should be natural rather than takeout, however, and that is what I want to get across.”

JoAnna and Lew Stansby agreed with 2NT and pointed out the downside of cuebidding 3♠.

“We’re not worried about a heart stopper — partner has length there,” said the Stansbys. “Cuebidding 3♠, however, can get you overboard.”

Several experts doubled.

“Double is takeout,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Instead of jumping to 3NT, let’s see what partner will bid. Maybe he has ♣Q J 10 6 5 and nothing else and we can make five of a minor.”

“It would be pleasant to hear partner jump in clubs,” agreed Grant Baze. “He may have 2–4–1–6 distribution. If partner bids 3♣, I’ll follow with 3. 3NT is for the young, who have more faith in their stars than in partner’s judgment.”

“It is tempting to blast into 3NT, but what’s the hurry?” asked Larry Cohen. “I can always bid 3NT later. Let me show my good hand for now.”

Comments from scorer Falk: “The flaw with double is that no one really knows what this shows. The usual, ‘Partner, please do something intelligent’ is not applicable, because partner has no idea what our hand looks like. Asking partner to bid our cards in the blind is not a winning strategy.

“The problem with 2NT is that not only is it cowardly, North may read it as showing both minors with longer diamonds. If so, the bid won’t lead to an intelligent continuation.

“Among the calls receiving no votes, 3 at least aims us at a plus score, and so it has been promoted in the scoring.”

Call Score
3♠ 100
3NT 90
Dbl 70
3 30
Pass 10
2NT 10
4 0
5 0

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