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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

 

On the same Wavelength.

 

Are you? You and your partner. Every so often, even the most experienced partnership will sometimes hit unfamiliar territory in their bidding but they should have the more common situations off pat. That does not mean they all come up with the same answer. That’s why it is so important to know what the player sitting opposite you thinks. Try this situation:

 

 Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 
East Deals
Both Vul
   
J 5 3 2
Q J 5
K Q 9 7 5 4
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
    Pass 1 
2  4  Dbl Pass
?      

 

It’s Pairs and it is your bid. What does partner’s double mean and what should you bid?

We actually asked our Panel a little more. We asked them whether they approved of our 2Club-small overcall and also had their partner not been a passed hand, whether the meaning of double or the action they would take be any different.

There seem to be two camps with respect to the answers to the above. There are those who are clear that the double is for take-out, irrespective, and also were quite happy,mainly, with the overcall:

Matt Brown “4Spade-small No criticism of 2Club-small. I think this is completely clear. Partner is asking us to take it out and our offensive to defensive ratio is through the roof. I don't think partner being a non-passed hand would change anything, except I guess it is more likely they will be going down? As it is 4Spade-small could make (maybe unlikely but not impossible) and if not -200 or -500 is better than -790 or worse.”

Nigel Kearney “4Spade-small: For me, partner's double is for take-out and I have an automatic 4Spade-small bid. He might have Spade-smallKQxx Heart-smallxxx Diamond-smallAxxx Club-smallJx. There's more value in getting to your own best contract than in trying to increase the penalty when they've made a mistake.

No difference when partner is a passed hand and the 2Club-small overcall looks normal to me.

 

Michael Cornell “4Spade-small: Double is not penalties for me; so this is easy. I do not mind the 2Club-small bid at all- would have bid it myself.

I expect partner to have four spades and good club support. If he has a penalty double, he should pass for 100s or more if partner can reopen.”

 

Agreeing at least on the meaning of double is:

 

Pam Livingston “4Spade-small: Doubles are for take-out.  And, no, I wouldn't overcall 2Club-small.”

While the last of the great predictors is:

 

Michael Ware “4Spade-small: I agree that 4Spade-small will be unanimous. That is because we all play double of 4Heart-small as "takeout" - not penalty. Yes, it could be values without 4 spades but then we will have a club fit. We don't penalty doubles here, ever.”

There’s a lot of international experience and A Points associated with those answers above. However, there is another way. There seems much more concern about our overcall among those who are now obliged to pass because that is what their partner wants them to do:

 

Kris Wooles “Pass: but not very comfortable about it. Don’t want to go from the frying pan into the fire. Even though the 2Club-small bid is not great, my partners are usually conservative and know my bidding style. I’d pass in either case.”

Our next Panellist assumes the double is for penalties:

Peter Newell “Pass: What is the double of 4Heart-small?  As this is given as a problem, I assume it is penalties.

While I don’t like my defensive strength, I could easily see us going for -800 in 5Club-smallx. So, -790 is better….(I don’t see why partner should have 4 spades and given mine are bad even if partner had 4 spades, 4Spade-smallx may not play well) and we must have a chance of beating 4Heart-small given partner has chosen to double and trumps are breaking badly…so sit tight and hope for the best.

I’m ok with 2Club-small. Yes, it is thin, but overcalls don’t guarantee defensive strength and it does have offensive strength. I much prefer bidding my 6 card suit rather than doubling.”

 

Bruce Anderson “Pass: Yes, I would like to have more defence, and partner may have the miracle passed hand that means we can make 4Spade-small.  But most of the time it will be right to pass as we cannot make game and declarer will not be able to cope with the bad trump break.”

 

And finally, one view that the fact that our partner is a passed hand does make a difference.

 

Stephen Blackstock “Pass: Certainly, it would be different if partner was not a passed hand. From a potentially strong hand, I expect double to deliver transferable values, i.e., cards that will be useful to me as declarer but will also provide some defence. Overcaller is invited to bid again with a long suit or extra shape, but can pass and expect to defeat 4Heart-small with nothing special to add. The double says nothing about trump tricks, and hence in those circumstances I would bid 4Spade-small. (Yes, this agreement means I do not have a trump stack penalty double available, but that hand will be rare compared with all the times I have scattered values outside the opponents’ suit and want a noncommittal way to express that).

However, as a passed hand, partner cannot have the values to ask an overcall to compete, potentially at the five level. I expect the double to be penalty now. Of course, I don’t like it, but have no option other than to hope that between us we can find four tricks. Any bid would be shot in the dark; anyone who thinks that East must have four spades to go with his penalty double is wanting a bit each way.

 As for the overcall, I will say only that it is apparent that either West has little experience of playing for money or is a millionaire.”

 

It seems to me that the negative doublers are just a bit easier with the auction though that may be because they know what they had to do and that was to bid.

 

Our own heart void does not mean in the above auction that our partner will have a trump stack. North could just as easily have 5 or 6 card heart support as the delayed game raise they actually held. Peter Newell’s prediction of -790 versus – 800 almost came true.

 

Bidding on should have cost -800 but East’s heart pips were good enough to ensure that +200 rather than -790 would have been the outcome from 4Heart-smallx.

 

 

East Deals
Both Vul
A 4
A 7 2
K 8 7 4 3 2
J 10
J 5 3 2
Q J 5
K Q 9 7 5 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 9 6
K 9 8 6 4
10 9
A 3 2
 
K Q 8 7
Q J 10 5 3
A 6
8 6
West North East South
    Pass 1 
2  4  Dbl Pass
?      

 

At the table, confusion reigned as West pulled the penalty double to 4Spade-small with West finishing in 5Club-small, strangely undoubled though in reality, there was no difference on the score-sheet between -300 and -800.

 

So, it’s your choice as to what the double means. The negative doublers are, sometimes still able to exact a penalty, if the overcaller is alert and perhaps brave enough. I side with them..and you?

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And have you told your partner?

 

 

 

Bid ‘em up: Play ‘em right!

 

 

 

South Deals
Both Vul
K 2
A 10 7 3
7 3 2
K 7 4 3
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A 9 6 4 3
K 9 8 5
10
A 8 6
West North East South
      1 
Pass 1 NT Pass 2 
Pass 4  All pass  

 

Well, North really liked his controls, especially in the majors. 4Heart-small was certainly an overbid. So, over to South to justify their partner’s optimism. West led Club-smallJ. Over to you. Well, you are South! Oh, trumps break 3-2.

 

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

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