Have you ever been told by an expert that a bid you’ve made is foolish, badly judged or plain wrong? And although you may not agree, you tell yourself that you really ought to submit to their superior judgment? Before you do, my advice is: get a second opinion, and maybe even a third. When it comes to tricky bids, you’d be amazed how much disagreement there is among pros — and amazed, too, at how stubbornly each insists that their decision alone is the right one. If you want to see bridge egos clashing in this way, you need only turn to the regular section in the excellent online monthly Bridge Magazine in which a panel of experts is given various hands to bid; there are always at least three differing views on each one. For example:
2♥ is weak with six hearts, and partner has made two takeout doubles. What would you bid? I’d probably go for 3NT, but here we have some of the experts. Alon Apteker (of South Africa): ‘3NT. Partner has made a takeout double and I have two stoppers.’ Sally Brock: ‘3NT. The simple action.’ John Carruthers: ‘3NT. Nothing else appeals.’
Bobby Wolff: ‘Four Diamonds. To make 3NT needs more than can be remotely expected with partner required to have perfect cards… As for passing Three Hearts doubled, that is wild, partner-baiting and IMHO, wrong.’
Andrew Robson: ‘Pass. Guessing 300 versus a part-score. With so many of my points in hearts, this looks the long-term winner.’ Sartaj Hans (of Australia): ‘Pass. There are no guarantees that 3NT will make so might as well take money in the bank.’
The hand was taken from real life: East held ♠AKxx, ♥J, ♦Kxx, ♣KQxx. North was 1-6-3-3 with the red aces so, as it happens, three hearts doubled nets +300 while 3NT is two off and four diamonds at least one off.