May 2009


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By Arlene Port


You are South – Matchpoints, E-W Vulnerable

Your hand is: 

S        4
H        7
D        A K Q T 9 4
C        A Q T 8 7

The bidding is:


* 2D shows 4 spades, 5 hearts and 11-15 hcp (Flannery)

- What do you bid? 


Bruce Keidan: Pass. And 4NT at my next turn. And double if another turn after that. (If West passes 2D, he's a better than I am!)

Ernie Retetagos: 2 NT. I don't see any foot notes, but I play that 2 NT shows minors.

Stanley Ruskin: 5D While it probably doesn’t matter, it would help if I knew if this was imps or match points. At any rate, unless some strange things occur, my opponents will have to play a contract at the 6 level and I think it is important for them to do the guessing. My partner has passed and theoretically, we could be making 6D if he has a major suit A and the K of clubs but these are specific cards and it is wrong to try to place specific cards. I think I will bid 5D with my ear to the table. If West bids 5 of a major, my partner can double (unlikely) and East will pass and I will now bid 6C.

Jim Bachelder 2H. Typically, Flannery defense is 2H = T/O, 2S = natural and 2N = notrump overcall. If partner bids 2S, I'll bid 3D and if the opponents jump to a major game, I'll bid 4NT. Partner will have to know that I’m at least 6/5 and will place the contract depending on his minor suit distribution – with 3C and 2D he should correct to D. If the opponents bid 6 of a major, unlikely but possible, I will take my chances that there is no minor suit voids and even if there is, they still might not be able to make a slam and I will double.

P.J. Prabhu: 4NT - pick a minor. Too strong for 3D. I'm comfortable forcing to the 5 level. May miss slam when pard has the CK and an ace; but how would you determine he has those cards? So I take my best shot and put maximum pressure on the Op's. By the way, I'd like the lead to come to partner's hand rather than through him. What would you lead against C or 5D if you, East held QJTx, AQTxx, xx, Kx on this bidding (declarer may hold AKxx, xxx, xxx, xxx)?

Herb Sachs: 3D—Depending on what you play, if double shows diamonds I would double and bid clubs at my next opportunity. If not, then I have to bid three diamonds. If I get another chance to bid, I bid clubs.

Mary Carns: 2NT. Luckily we play that direct 2NT is for minors. Next call will be diamonds if pard prefers clubs, showing my big 6-5 (all values in my suit and the 11th card in the minors makes up for lack of high cards)

Trudy Cohn: I will pass the first round and come back in with some number of unusual NT later.

Bill Holt: I bid 2H … Undiscussed I need to make the one bid partner can’t pass; and that bid is 2H ...hoping to unravel it later. With my regular partners it’s an easy 2NT (both minors) bid. H there would be for Take Out and would include spade support and I don’t have that. Double would be balanced power – like a good 1NT hand with both majors stopped.

Florine Walters 2H There are conventions to play over Flannery - The one I generally play is Double shows a no trump (15-18) over two diamonds, two hearts shows a somewhat flat takeout double with four spades, two no trump shows at least 5/5 in the minors, unlimited point count and two spades shows an opening bid with spades, three clubs and three diamonds shows a one- suited club/diamond hand with an opening bid. Since I do not know whether we are playing this or some other convention, I would bid two hearts and ask partner to do something intelligent. I would not bid 4 NT for the minors as that would be giving up on slam.

Lou Joseph: I'm bidding 4NT. That has to be a whopping minor suited takeout. They're going to sacrifice anyways, so why let them do it at the 4 level? I want partner to know I'm not interested in defending, even if I should be.

Gail Carns: X -- I play double is diamonds and a better hand than 3D. I plan to bid clubs if partner does not double the response.

Judy Haffner: 4D 4 diamonds is my initial call followed by 5 clubs over the opponents anticipated 4 of a major. I want partner to know that my diamonds are longer and not equal in either length or strength. I must be able to accept the pump in diamonds but I want to include partner in this decision.

Jim Bossert: 2 hearts unless I'm playing a sound flannery defense.

Steve Nolan: 2H  If partner and I have agreed that 2NT shows the minors that's what I'll bid. If not, I'll bid 2H, which partner should recognize is equivalent of a takeout double.

Asim Ulke: I bid 3D. Surely the bidding will continue. I shall bid clubs in my next turn unless partner bids 3NT. I play 2NT here for minor suits, but the shorter clubs risks playing in an inferior club contract. Doubling first and showing clubs next may have the same result.

Auxiliary Experts:
Marvin Rulin: Pass
There does not seem to be a good descriptive bid available right now. A bid of 5D is a possibility but could miss a slam. I would pass that the bidding will come back to me and then jump in later.  Laying back I might get doubled at 5D

The results of this survey is a cautionary tale: “Make certain you and your partner agree on Flannery Defense before you play." There were just too many versions from different people.


Internet Post Results:





National Experts:

Philip Alder3DBob Lipsitz2NT
Michael Becker3HJeff Meckstroth2H
David Berah2HMarshall Miles4NT
David BerkowitzDMiErik Paulsen3D
Larry Cohen4NTArthur Robinson3C
Billy Eisenberg3DBeverly Rosenberg3H
Lt. Col. Robert FriendDJohn RossD
Barbara Haberman4NTAl Roth4NT
Carl Hudecek2HJeff Rubens4NT
Eddie Kantar2HIra Rubin3H
Edgar KaplanDTom & Carol Sanders3H
Sami Kehela3DJoey Silver3D
Eric Kokish3DRobert Wolff2H
Michael Lawrence3HKit Woolsey3D
Sidney LazardDZia Mahmood2H

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