Important bidding choice

Sue Allen and Mizuho Okamoto won a past Wollstonecraft Pairs from Pauline Gumby and Warren Lazer. Surprisingly, this hand was an absolute top...

Your vulnerable opponent opens a weak 2S (suggesting a good 6-card suit and 6-10 HCP). You are not vulnerable - what would you do with these cards?

S J6
D AK5 
C J96

       Pass   2S     ?

Pass is possible but the real choice is between double and 3H. From the look of the traveller, it seems that most Souths overcalled in the chunky 5-card major. This was the full deal:

Dealer North, EW vul.

          S 2
          H 9
          D JT9874
          C AT743
WEST                EAST
S AT43              S KQ9875
H A6543             H Q2
D Q                 D 632
C KQ5               C 82
          S J6  
          H KJT87  
          D AK5  
          C J96

     Pass  2S   3H
4S     All pass

The common auction is shown above. After West raised to 4S, most Norths passed, sensing a misfit.

However, 6-5 hands should usually bid, especially at this vulnerability with matchpoint scoring. A 5D bid by North would be somewhat unilateral so is there a way to get both minors into the picture?

Being a passed hand, and with partner having merely made a simple overcall, it is unlikely North would ever want to use 4NT in this auction to ask for aces (or keycards). It would make more sense to use 4NT for the minors, a variation of the Unusual Notrump.

If you finish in 5D doubled, that escapes for -100, while 5C doubled is likely to go for -300, which is still better than -620 defending 4S.

Sue Allen as North had an easier bidding decision because Mizuho doubled 2S, keeping all the unbid suits in play. That made it routine for North to dive in 5D over West's 4S. With a diamond less, she would bid 4NT – with no suit having been bid by North-South, it is even clearer that double should be minors in that auction.