What should I bid? (November 2019)

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What should I bid? (November 2019)

The best submission for November came from Barbara Travis. She wins a voucher of $30 funded by TBIB, toward any purchase made at the Bridge Shop or Paul Lavings Bridgegear.

Nil Vul
Dealer North
You are North and hold
10 6 5 3
K 8
K Q 3
A J 4 3

West North East South
  1 3  Double
Pass ?    

What would you bid and why?
I sat North and found myself in this awkward position!
After some cogitation, I decided that West had not Redoubled, showing any spade honours,
making it more likely that South held either 1 or 2 spades.
If that was the case, West had either a void or a matching singleton over South’s singleton, and therefore a suit contract was less attractive.
Whether this thinking is correct is open to debate, however those thought processes led to my 3NT rebid!
3NT was passed out, and partner tabled
void
A 7 5 3 2
J 10 5 2
K Q 10 9
Thankfully East decided not to lead a spade (her partner held AQ doubleton so the spades were blocked anyway) and 3NT made.
At the end of the hand, West said she should have doubled for the lead. I would definitely have run then!
However, I’d have rather got this right at the table.
Your thoughts?

Hi Barbara,

I’ve seen this type of problem crop up from time to time, and my preference here is to usually pass for the following reasons:

1) Partner doubled over 3 so we will (should) have the balance of power to beat 3.

2) If 3NT is making (e.g partner has a spade honour), then 3X is likely down two or three. Sometimes 3NT is not makeable but 3X is down one or two. Our Kx hearts sometimes means that we may even be able to get a heart ruff.

3) At nil vul, these days preemptive bids can get quite aggressive, so I wouldn’t be surprised if East’s 3 bid is made on a six-card suit.
With all of these combined, I would therefore prefer to collect my plus score against 3X than to risk bidding on.
Having said that, the one thing that I’m most afraid about passing (instead of bidding on) is that defeating 3X is not enough for a making slam! This usually happens when partner produces good support for our clubs, along with a spade void (like here). However, sometimes partner has a singleton spade (or perhaps even a doubleton spade) and those are the hands where you probably prefer to defend 3X.
For what it’s worth, I have Liam Milne sitting next to me and I gave him the problem. He was also a bit torn between 3NT and Pass, but he favoured 3NT by just a little bit. Goes to show – preempts can cause a headache!

Kind regards,
Andy

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