We included this problem for ‘the fun of it’. It is the kind of hand that has no ‘right’ answer and what surprised me is that not a single Panelist or competitor opted for the ‘all in’ 6♠ bid. You need partner to have only one of the ♦ honours for it to make, and if it is off, it might still be a good save. And you get the opponents to guess at your level. Let’s see what the panelists said.
Alan Mould: Pass. The late great John Collings said that he was no longer prepared to discuss hands with 2 voids in them or hands with 9 card suits in them since anything could be right. I have great sympathy for that view. You are going to have to bid this hand on your own so it doesn't much matter what you do. 4♠, 1♠, 2♥, 6♠ could all work out fine. Since I don't have real teammates to answer to, I will try the old saw of passing - I may possibly bid later. Catches people occasionally… I told Alan: “Takes “walking the dog’ to a new level for me, but I’m sure you will get another chance to bid”. Alan replied: “I would be astonished if the hand got passed out. Mind you Neil Rosen did try passing Axx, AKxxxxxxx, -, x over a 1♦ opening on his right in a Camrose trial once and that did get passed out….”
Now to the bidders:
Espen Lindqvist: 4♥. Believe 4♥ should show at least twelve cards in spades and a minor, and game in hand. Anyway, it might be difficult to locate a diamond honour with partner.
Irving Blakey: Dbl. What else? I've got the Spades! Cannot disagree with the comment!
Joy Blakey: Dbl. It looks easy to get excited with this distribution but as you've got the spade suit you can start with dbl.
(1♥) - dbl - (4♥) - 5♣; Pass - ? Would that not be a bit of a pickle to be in?
The most popular way to show the two suiter amongst the Panelists was:
Royce Alexander: 2♥. Michael’s Cue bid showing 5+S, 5+m. Planning to jump in Diamonds on the next round.
Michael Byrne: 2♥. (Michaels Cue Bid). Hands with freak distribution immediately suggest a wild leap to a high level, and I am expecting to have to take several bids here, but the first priority must be to show a two suited hand and see if I can elicit support from partner. If I can, the sky's the limit.
Rhona Goldenfield: 2♥. Spades and minor
Jeffrey Smith: 2♥. Best to show the two suited nature – Hopefully, you can cue bid later to find if Partner has a D honour which is possibly all you need for slam.
All sensible bids and comments in my book, even though I quite like my name brother’s distinction in distribution by the jump to 4♥. Now to the plurality who are deciding to take it slowly.
David Barton: 1♠. There is zero chance that this will be passed out and I feel I will be better placed if the auction comes back to me with opponents in a large number of Hearts or Clubs
Rodney Lighton: 1♠. Bid my longest suit first, intending to bid my second longest suit next (maybe).
Alan Jones: 1♠.
Raymond Semp: 1♠. Please don't tell me it goes P-P-P. I will not believe it! I will then bid 5♦.
Tom Slater: 1♠. 0%. Don't lose any sleep whatever you bid. So long as you don't pass throughout, I am sure you'll be fine.
Alec Smalley: 1♠. the bidding isn't going to end here - and I'll be better placed as to where to play with more info.
Alec’s final comment - I guess - is the reason that so many go for 1♠ rather than 2♥. As Tom Slater said: “Don’t lose any sleep whatever you bid”. One competitor also suggested 3♣ (Modified Ghestem, showing S's and D’s) and 2♠ which we assume was meant as a strong jump shift.