Jeff Rubens, director
IMPs, neither side vulnerable. You, South, hold:
K Q 8 6 5 3
10 8 2
|1 ||Double||1 ||3 |
What call do you make?
The panel was in fairly general agreement, not on what action to take but that this was a tough problem.
BILLY EISENBERG: "Four clubs. Not exactly happy, but other choices are worse."
CARL HUDECEK: "Four clubs. North's one-spade bid implied either a poor tolerance for diamonds or ten or more black cards. In either case, I have a reasonably good hand in support of clubs."
KIT WOOLSEY: "Four clubs. North should be fairly distributional for his one-spade bid when West has promised length in the majors, so clubs should be an adequate trump suit."
MARSHALL MILES: "Four clubs. If partner has a defensive-type hand, he should have passed West's double. Consequently, he has ten or more black cards, or else a singleton heart (not a singleton diamond)."
IRA RUBIN: "Four clubs. Seems foisted, since it's incumbent upon you to compete (the diamond king-queen may not be facing shortness)."
LARRY COHEN: "Four clubs. Three notrump seems remote with a single heart stopper, no solid diamonds. Double is silly . . ."
The panel did not agree on whether a double was silly, or even on what it means. Stauber called it cooperative, which doesn't tell us much. Cayne intended it for penalties (he planned to lead trumps), but noted that partner could pull with four-six in the blacks. Does that make it cooperative? Bramley called double revolting, but he chose it nonetheless; he was going to lead the spade queen. Bluhm called it an "action" double, and Katz said he would like to make an action double, but it was not available in BWS (right!). Others have their own terminology:
ERIC KOKISH: "Double. Another in the growing pile of 'grope' doubles."
AL ROTH: "Double. Impossible problem. Where do you dig them up? In a lifetime of bridge I never . . . But, you must make some bid. Partner should recognize double as responsive."
And he can respond in his choice of the unbid suits. I think the terminology is fun, but who wants to be on the receiving end of one of these doubles? Since it's a grope, you don't know if partner has three hearts and two clubs, or two hearts and three clubs. (You wanna bet the gropers don't double with both hands?) And there's lots of action, too, usually in the post-mortem. It's reasonable for the doublers to be unsure of which minor to guess, but it's hardly cooperative to try to pass the blame to partner.
The four-diamond bidders at least aren't afraid to take a position:
ROBERT WOLFF: "Four diamonds. Four clubs may be right, but we must make a decision. Four diamonds allows us to get back into clubs, but four clubs probably will rule out diamonds."
BILL SIDES: ``Four diamonds. Partner figures to have at least two diamonds (or possibly distribution that warrants another bid). Four diamonds sounds like a value bid, while four clubs tends to be competitive--it lacks a fourth trump, and likely precludes playing game in diamonds."
Does South really mind precluding game in diamonds (or anywhere else)?
EDDIE KANTAR: "Pass. The opponents may be stealing, but we have no game, and the minor suits are probably not breaking well."
Is our Eddie suffering from contextual misorientation? Our next panelist thinks so.
JOHN SWANSON: "Three notrump. Pass wins only in Challenge the Champs."
ED MANFIELD: "Three notrump. Hard to imagine any other choice."
That's what you get when you let someone drive around with an expired prognosticator's license.