This Week’s Expert Opinion

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

♠ A Q J 8 7 3 K Q 4 3 A 4 ♣ 2
West North East South
Pass 1NT(1) Pass ?

(1) One-round force

For yesterday’s It’s Your Call deal (from Aug. 2008’s Bridge Bulletin), 2 was named top bid.

Almost half the panel are content to bid 2. They felt that if they survive this round of bidding, they will be better placed to get to the best contract.

“The hand is not quite good enough to jump shift,” said Jill Meyers. “If partner corrects 2 to 2♠, I will bid 3♠ which shows a good 6–4 hand.”

The modern expert treatment is to rebid the six-card suit with a minimum, but rebid the four-card suit with more than a minimum. What Meyers meant, therefore, was that the order she bid her suits was an indicator of her strength. If she bid spades, spades, then hearts, she shows the minimum 6–4 hand. But if she bid spades, hearts, then spades, she shows the good 6–4.

“The hand is not quite good enough for 3, although I prefer that to any spade rebid,” agreed Grant Baze. “The spade rebidders deserve to catch partner with one spade and five or six hearts.”

“There is too much potential in the heart suit to rebid spades,” agreed August Boehm. “Partner knows that 2 is a wide-range rebid (12–18 points) and is a weak spot in our system. I hope he strains to keep going, perhaps with a mark-time 2♠ call.”

Mike Lawrence agreed with Boehm. “This is an awkward hand for standard bidding,” he said. “Bidding 3♠ loses the heart suit and 3 overstates the hand.”

“We need to get hearts into play because partner may be 1–5 in the majors,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin. “Game is unlikely if it goes all pass after we rebid 2.”

Bidding 3 was the choice of seven experts.

“3 is a slight stretch,” said Janet and Mel Colchamiro. “Hands like these are handled better by a big club system.”

“The hand has too much playing strength just to bid 2,” said JoAnna and Lew Stansby. “It would be useful to play that 3 showed five hearts while a jump shift to 3♣ showed a variety of hands including exactly four hearts.”

“If all partner needs is J 10 8 6 to make game, then I must jump shift,” said Steve Robinson.

Cohen reasoned similarly. “If I bid 2 and partner thinks it over and passes, I’d know we had lost 10 IMPs,” he said. “True, I’m a bit light, but how can I bid less when 4 is playable opposite J 9 8 6 2 and out?”

Three panelists choose 3♠.

“This hand is too strong for 2 and not nearly enough for a game-forcing 3,” said Karen Walker. “The only rebid that isn’t misleading, therefore, is 3♠ which shows this suit quality and hand strength. I’m not that worried about burying the heart suit, as even if we have a heart fit, spades may play better.”

Richard Freeman agreed and gave similar reasons.

The problem tests modern expert style. Fifteen of the 18 panelists agreed they must introduce the hearts; rebidding spades can wait. By a slight margin, more panelists chose the conservative 2 call, hoping to survive this round of bidding. If they do, they will likely get to the right contract.

Call Score
2 100
3 70
3♠ 20
2♠ 0
4♠ 0

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