Friday, October 28, 2011


There were a few bidding sequences that are bothering me from last night and one big concept that people don't seem to understand.
1-2-X. This double shows penalty interest in one or both of the opponents' suits. All subsequent doubles are for penalty. Instead of X, 3H would be a invitational+ spade raise, and 3S would be a constructive raise usually with 4 trumps.
1-1-2-X. What does this double show? In this case, the X should show a 2S raise and also suggest leading a spade. Because the opponents have a good fit and at least half of the high cards, showing penalty interest isn't important. 3H and 3S instead of X retain the same meaning as above. I guess the question is whether the X of 2S here should be constructive or just show a spade honor. Would you double 2S with Kxxx   xx   xxxx   xxx? As the overcaller, I trusted him to have a better hand than this so I doubled when they competed to 5H, which was cold. I held AQJxx   xx   A   AT9xx.
1-X-1-P; 1-X. This one didn't come up but I'm not sure what it would mean. 1NT would show 19ish balanced and I don't think stoppers in specific suits are necessary, especially in spades, 2C, 2H, and 2S would all be natural (too good for a simple overcall), and 2D would be a big takeout (18+ with short diamonds).
1-X-1-X. Double here definitely shows hearts but are there any strength requirements – is it equivalent to a free bid or just saying I would have bid 1H if I could?
1-X-1-P; 1-P-2-P; P-X. The way many beginner-intermediate and even some advanced players interpret this double baffles me. I had a takeout double of 1D so there is no way I can have a penalty double of 2D! This is just another takeout double. So what if they've bid 3 suits – diamonds is the suit they have decided they have a fit in. We could still easily have an 8 or 9 card major suit fit. There are 3 types of hands that can initially double 1D: a) shortness in diamonds, 12+ points; b) balanced hand too strong to overcall 1NT; and c) one-suited hand too strong to overcall. C is the only of those hand types that might want to make a penalty double, but that hand would have bid 1NT over 1S.
1-X-P-2; 2NT-X-P-P; P. This time I was pretty sure they opponents had really stepped into trouble, despite me being void of spades. This double just shows a huge hand. Partner dutifully left it in. I held ♠-   AKQ865   KQx   ATxx. I led the A and found this dummy: xxx   Txxx   xxx   JTx. So, I had to play for partner to have Jx of hearts, which he did have. But I had to be careful to lead my lowest heart as a suit preference signal to let him know to get back to the rest of my hearts by leading a club, not a diamond. Unfortunately I wasn't playing with someone who paid attention to such subtle signals and declarer took the next 8 tricks. She had 7 solid spades and the A. But it is an interesting application of the suit preference signal. You have to be thinking ahead and trying to imagine what sort of message partner is trying to convey with the order he played the cards.

1 comment:

  1. I believe you mean "B is the only of those hand types..."

    We play 1H-1S-2S-x as Rosenkranzish--partner, it's safe to lead a spade because I have the ace or king. No strength assumption. With Kxxx of trumps and out, I'd probably bid 3S. Maybe not if we were vul at MPs.