This Week’s Expert Opinion

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

♠ K Q 10 4 3 9 6 5 2 4 ♣ K J 9
West North East South
1 Dbl 1♠ Dbl(1)
Redbl(2) Pass 2 ?

(1) Penalty
(2) Three-card spade support

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

Your double uncovered East’s psychic 1♠ bid and he escaped to 2. What do you do now?

“3♠ ,” said August Boehm. “Let’s clarify the trump suit and invite. Nice try East.”

“3♠ ,” agreed Jill Meyers. “East has psyched and I want to make sure partner knows about it. I want to invite game and show five or more spades.”

Because West made a support double, showing three spades, you know the suit is splitting 3–1 or 3–2.

“3♠ . We can’t get both majors into play here,” said Barry Rigal, “so let’s settle for the one we know is splitting.”

Grant Baze agreed. “Even if partner has three spades and four hearts, 4♠ may be the best game, given that we know that spades are splitting.”

Four panelists felt they had already showed the spade suit, so rebid 2.

“Yes, RHO is fooling around,” said Jeff Meckstroth, “but there is no reason not to mention the heart suit.”

“2 shows my hearts along with my spades,” agreed Larry Cohen, “and we should be able to reach the right spot from here.”

“East psyched his 1♠ bid,” said Karen Walker. “My spades don’t have to be this strong for my double, but my 2 freebid should help us sort it out. If partner is 3–3 or 4–3 in the majors, he’ll bid some number of spades next.”

Some of the experts didn’t think 2 was strong enough.

“3,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I have already exposed the psychic bid, so now I should show some strength and shape.”

“3, ugh!” exclaimed Allan Falk. “I would have bid 2♠ the first time; double is silly. I need to show decent values now, but don’t have enough to cuebid, so here I am jumping in a bad suit.”

Some panelists disagreed that this hand is not strong enough to make a cuebid.

“3,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “I’m willing to force to game in either hearts or spades.”

Richard Freeman agreed with a similar comment.

“I don’t like the original double,” said Mike Lawrence. He felt that “an original 3♠ bid (over 1♠) would show around 11 points and five or more spades. Because I didn’t do that, I guess now I vote for 3.”

Two panelists bid 4♠.

“I’m bidding what I think I can make in my best trump suit,” said Steve Robinson. “Obviously, East is a little short in the spade department.”

“4♠ is a slight overbid,” said JoAnna and Lew Stansby, “but trumps are splitting and the heart honors are likely to be onside.”

Peggy and John Sutherlin voted to pass. “Our partner knows if we should be defending 2,” they said. “Let’s hear what he has to say. We don’t have enough extras that we need to bid in fear of missing game.”

There were votes for seven different calls. How did Kitty and Steve Cooper decide on the scores?

“Because seven people jumped to the three level, that gets top marks,” they said. “Six experts forced to game or bid game, so those bids get the next group of scores. Finally, only five people bid at the two level, counting pass, which we think is not forcing, so those bids are downgraded. Perhaps their partners make light takeout doubles.”

Most of the panel didn’t comment about the strength of the double of 1♠. Lawrence felt that double showed less strength than this hand. The Coopers play the reverse: 2♠ would be weaker than double. Falk doesn’t state the strength of double, but prefers a 2♠ initial action.

Your follow-up bid depends on how strong the first double was. If it promised 8 or more points, then a bid at the two level may be enough. If the double can be made on less in the way of values, then stronger action is called for.


Call Score
3♠ 100
3 90
3 80
4♠ 70
2 60
4 60
Pass 30
2♠ 20

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