This Week’s Expert Opinion

The Expert Opinion is in. What do you think?
IMPs. None vulnerable

♠ Q 9 2 A K J 9 7 K 9 8 ♣ A 3
West North East South
1♣ 1 1
Pass 1♠ Pass 2
Pass 2♠ Pass ?

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

Is North showing at least 5–5 distribution in the black suits, or was he stuck for a bid over your 2 cuebid? The experts are not sure.

“3,” said Mike Lawrence. “North’s bidding sounds like 5–5, but he may not have it given that I pushed him into a corner. He could have a hand with four good spades and no other message he wanted to send (no diamond stopper, no heart fit).”

“3,” agreed Kerri Sanborn. “The question is whether 2♠ really showed five spades, or was it a ‘punt’ bid.”

Other 3 bidders have similar reasons.

“I want to hear more from partner,” said Jeff Meckstroth.

“This hand is worth one slam try before signing off in 4♠,” said Grant Baze.

“Should 2NT be forcing?” asked Barry Rigal. “It should be, but I’m not going to risk it. I’m hoping for further clarification from partner.”

Five panelists voted for 2NT.

“Having cuebid, I may as well make a notrump suggestion,” said Allan Falk. “It also saves bidding space. Anyone who thinks North has shown 5–6 in the black suits is nuts. The 2♠ bid is how North might be forced to bid with chunky spades, no diamond stopper and no heart tolerance, such as:
♠A K J 3 5 7 6 5 3 ♣K Q 7 5.”

“2NT,” agreed August Boehm. “Because partner may be anywhere from 5–6 in the black suits to 4=2=3=4 with five low red cards, it seems important to leave maximum room to sort this out.”

“I will bid 2NT for the moment to see where partner is going,” said Jill Meyers. “Partner’s 2♠ bid did not show long clubs and spades, but rather inability to make another bid.”

“There is every reason to go slowly and hear more,” said Larry Cohen. “Partner is not showing five spades for sure. He could be stuck for a bid and 2♠ is a ‘punt.’ Over 2NT, if he bids 3♠, I’ll know he really has 10 or more black cards.”

“2NT lets partner describe his hand more fully,” agreed Peggy and John Sutherlin. “If partner can support hearts with Q 4, we will play hearts in game or slam instead of notrump. 3NT is a poor bid because it will end most auctions when we may easily make a slam.”

Two experts choose 3NT.

“This is a very tough hand,” said Karen Walker. “3 is pointless and it’s not clear if 2NT, 3♣ or 3♠ is forcing. I don’t play it as forcing because I’d have cuebid 2 with:
♠Q 9 A J 8 7 4 9 8 2 ♣A 4 3.

“With all of partner’s values in the black suits, slam seems way too pushy and there’s potential for misunderstanding. I’m opting for the safe game.”

Janet and Mel Colchamiro agreed. “We’ve been down that road too often of whether or not 2NT is forcing, so 3NT ensures getting to game. 2♠ did not necessarily show five spades, just no diamond stopper and no three-card heart support. If partner is really 5–6, he can bid again over 3NT.”

Steve Robinson bid 4. “This is a splinter slam try in spades. In Bridge Bulletin standard bidding, partner is probably 5–5 or better in the black suits, and 4 is my only slam try.”

Kitty and Steve Cooper believed partner had shown five spades. “3♠,” they said. “This sets trumps and is forcing, hoping to hear more. We will bid Blackwood next. Partner should be at least 5–5.”

Falk commented on the scoring.

“This is a very hard problem to score,” he said. “The plurality gets 100, and 3 is not a bad bid. The 2NT bidders are merely offering a suggestion, hoping to clarify the black suit length ambiguity. The 3NT bidders essentially give up on a hand with a great deal of slam potential. The spade raisers think North has five spades, or a 4–3 fit is right.”


Call Score
3 100
2NT 90
3♠ 50
3NT 30
4♠ 20
5NT 20
4 10
3 0

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