What should I bid? (August 2022)


What should I bid? (August 2022)

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

EW Vul
N Dealer

K Q 7 2
J 8 7 4 3
10 9 7 5
A 9 5
A 9 3
J 8 6 4 3 2
[ 9 ] K J 3 2
J 10 8 6 5 4
  Q 10 8 7 6 4

Q 10 6 5 2

West North East South
  Pass 1 4
Pass Pass X Pass
5 Pass Pass Pass

Is opener’s double for penalties or takeout? Or is it partnership agreement?

With thanks
Margaret Foster

Hi Margaret,
In that auction, I would say it is mostly down to partnership agreement. I would say, if the overcall was 4 (say the opening bid was 1 then a 4 overcall), then opener’s double tends to be more “takeout”. But when the overcall is 4, this is where the meaning of the X can diverge as different partnerships may prefer different things.
My preference is that it is not “purely penalties” (such as the actual hand), and not “purely takeout” (such as a pure 1543 type of shape), but somewhere in between where I’m happy if partner takes it out, but also happy if partner doesn’t want to bid and passes the X to collect the money. The typical hand might be something like a good hand with 2533 or 1633 or 1543. Some people might call it “cards” or “transferable values”. What this means is that if I have a “pure penalty” such as the actual hand, I would be forced to essentially pass – which of course is unfortunate, but typically when the opponents overcall 4M, they tend to have a long suit so I would seldom have a “pure penalty” type of hand.
What this means for the actual hand is that I am most likely ‘forced’ to pass it out which is OK since 4 wasn’t making in the first place. You might think that it was an opportunity lost and decide to play double of 4 as penalties, but then when you pick up x AKxxx KJx KQJx next time, you won’t be able to double 4 (for points/takeout) being afraid of partner passing (thinking that our double is strictly penalties) as we may not have enough defensive tricks to beat 4. So essentially, it is a big loop and it just depends on what type of hand comes up that suits your needs!

Hope that helps,

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