This Week’s Expert Opinion

The Expert Opinion is in. What do you think?
IMPs. E-W vulnerable

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

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

The panel supplied five different calls to this problem. Nine bid notrump, but couldn’t agree on how many, eight passed and one cuebid.

“2♠,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I plan to bid 3NT next time, but show some doubt.”

Jill Meyers had no doubt. “3NT,” she said. “I am not settling for less than game, and I don’t have good enough spades to defend 1♠.”

The 2NT bidders explained why they chose that action.

“It’s too difficult to defend against one-level contracts with these poor spades spots,” said Larry Cohen. “It’s just a question of how many notrump to bid. We don’t want to bid 3NT and bury partner, who only balanced.”

“My spades spots are not good enough to defend,” agreed Jeff Meckstroth.

Four experts bid 1NT.

“I have a little extra,” said Betty Ann Kennedy, “but if partner passes, then we should be in a maximum spot.”

Steve Robinson asked, “What do I expect to make opposite:
♠8 K 7 6 4 K J 10 2 ♣A 8 6 3?
I would be happy to take seven tricks, so I bid what I think I can make.”

“This is another split vote,” said Janet and Mel Colchamiro. “Mel likes 1NT, Janet likes 2NT and the coin flip came up 1NT. With only one stopper and partner a passed hand, game is unlikely.”

“Am I ahead or behind in the match?” asked Karen Walker. “When in doubt, I’ll take the ‘sure’ plus in 1NT. I might be giving up a small penalty, but avoiding a possible minus 160 or 360. I’m too short on stoppers, aces and tricks to have any realistic hope of a notrump game.”

Eight panelists chose to defend 1♠ doubled.

“If they make it, it’s no big deal,” said Grant Baze. “If they go for 800, that is a big deal.”

“If East has semi-solid spades and an entry, 3NT may fail,” said August Boehm. “We’re booked for a plus score in 1♠ doubled, maybe as much as 500.”

“Pass and lead a trump,” said Richard Freeman. “I’m not sure we have a game and we should get at least 200.”

“Pass,” agreed Kitty and Steve Cooper. “We admit our spade spots are not up to the job on defense, but they are not up to the alternative of 2NT or 3NT either.”

“I would rather have better spade spots to pass,” said Allan Falk, “but we must be in position to collect 500 or maybe even 800 if East opened a four-card suit.”

“The Q,” said Barry Rigal. “Oh, this is not a lead problem? Yes, bidding might work, but I’m going to convert the double. We should have the balance of the high cards.”

“Isn’t this supposed to be a lead problem?” echoed Peggy and John Sutherlin. “With partner’s values, we should be able to beat 1♠ two tricks most of the time. Declarer will need to play everything out of his hand.”

Scorers Kay and Randy Joyce summed up the problem: “On defense, not only do you have a passed-hand partner, you have no spots in the spade suit and no clue about what to lead. If you bid, no level of notrump seems correct (although we think 2NT is better than 1NT). This is a very tough problem.”

Call Score
Pass 100
2NT 70
1NT 50
2♠ 10
3NT 10

If you’d like to hear what others are saying, join the debate on our Facebook page. Look for another “It’s Your Call” in your inbox every Tuesday.

To see past “It’s Your Call” problems, click here or here.