What should I bid? (April 2014)


What should I bid? (April 2014)

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

Both sides vulnerable I am dealer sitting North, playing Acol and have been dealt this hand:


The bidding went as follows:

West North East South
1 1 Dbl
3 Pass Pass Dbl
Pass ?

After some thought I passed it out.

My partner was telling me about the law of TNT so I must not pass and bid my 6 card club suit instead.

I passed for 2 reasons:
1) I thought the second double showed shortage in clubs either doubleton or singleton.
2) I believed 100% it was a penalty double and I have a principle of never taking partner’s penalty doubles even if they are wrong.

1) Was this a penalty double?
2) What would pass from partner be after 3 was passed to him, would it be a forcing pass situation?

What should I have bid?

The hands:

All Vul
N Dealer
K Q 4
8 6 3
K J 10 9 7 6
A 10 9 8
J 8 7 5
Q 10 2
5 4
[ 13 ] K J 6 5 4 3
9 6
A J 9
Q 8
  7 2
A 10 3 2
K 7 5 4
A 3 2

Hi Anne,

(1) No, your partner’s double was not a penalty double. Doubles in these types of competitive situations merely suggests “cards” and is usually takeout orientated than it is to penalties. Of course, if you had good trumps say AKTx of spades, you can pass out your partner’s double.

It is true that if you and your partner has defined the second double as “Penalties” then you should of course pass the double since you don’t mind to defend if that’s what partner prefers to do.

A good tip that I can suggest is that if the opponents have bid-and-raised, then the subsequent doubles by either you or your partner is takeout (or showing “cards”) – unless, of course, the double is obviously for penalties. For example, 1-(1)-Pass-(2) // Pass-(Pass)-X, this double is penalties since if you had a “takeout/negative” double, you would have doubled on the first round of the auction.

The reason for this is because when your opponents have an eight-card fit (and even more so if they have a nine-card fit [or more]), then you would often find yourself holding more “takeout/cards” type of hands than you are to hold a “penalty” type of hand. Probability can confirm this since you’re more likely to hold shortage in the opponent’s suit than you are to hold length in their suit.

Therefore, frequency and efficiency-wise, it is better to play doubles as takeout than penalties when the opponents have bid-and-raised in a competitive auction.

(2) Your partner has a good hand and should definitely compete with a (takeout) double. As you can see, if you didn’t have a takeout double available, then your partner would be stuck for a bid! Since it was West who had jumped to 3, then if your partner (South) passes, then the auction ends! Forcing pass does not exist in this situation by either you (or your partner if, say, West had raised to 2 and was re-raised to 3 by East) since you both could have minimum hands.

If the second double was defined as takeout, then you would no doubt bid 4 with your hand.




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