What should I bid? (May 2013)

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What should I bid? (May 2013)

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

Hand: Dealer West, N/S Vulnerable, Playing teams, I was East:

J73
AK85
42
AQJx
KQ84
10
J98
109763

Bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH
1NT P P 2
P P X P
P P P

 

________________________________________

Comments:

I believed I had an easy take out X with my hand, and as I had already shown a lack of hcp’s thought it would be a clear decision for partner to bid unless he had a holding AKJTx or similar :-).

2 is a making contract N/S and E/W can make 3 and 1.

The consensus is I do not have a t/o X option here as partner would be expected to leave it in with the holding above. I still like the t/o in this auction as I believe it offers more options than a guessing bid from my hand.

Can I have your thoughts please?

Thanks,
Viv

Andy’s Reply:

The argument for making a takeout double (or not) and whether to pass the double for penalties (or not) is a bit circular as both decisions depend on each other. What I mean by that is, whether to pass a takeout double for penalties in that situation depends on what kind of hands you are allowed make a takeout double with.

For instance, let’s say your hand was [KQ9x  —  Jxxx  xxxxx]. Are you allowed to make a takeout double with this hand even with a void? What if you didn’t have the J? If the answer is ‘yes you are allowed’ then the 1NT opener should be much more inclined to remove the takeout double, and would seriously need very good trumps (such as AKJ9) and a good hand to pass the double out for penalties.

If you require your takeout doubles to have a doubleton heart (which is what I prefer) such as [KQ9x  xx  Jxxx  xxx] then the 1NT probably does not need “seriously good trumps” to pass the double out for penalties (just AK8x will do) since the opponents fit will be reduced and your defensive power will be increased (as opposed to offensive power when you have a 4=1=4=4= shape for example).

So back to this hand. I would 100% balance with your hand (can’t let the opponents play in 2M when we have the majority of the high cards and singleton in their suit), and to do so there are two choices: (a) Double, (b) 2.

(a) Double – I have just discussed above. If the partnership can expect this type of hand (i.e. singleton heart) then double is a no-brainer.

(b) 2 – This is the interesting choice. This might sound a bit weird, but as responder of the 1NT opener, when you make a delayed 2M bid (i.e. passed the 1NT first, then bid 2M later), then it should show exactly 4 cards in the Major bid, plus a 5+minor. The reasoning is because that if you had 5 cards in a Major, you would have transferred to that major on the first round of the bidding.

Obviously, this 2 bid (or a delayed 2M bid if you prefer) should be geared towards the ‘more offensive’ type hands such as a 4=0=4=5 shape (or alike) because you almost always want to declare with those shapes rather than defend.

Therefore, the cut-off between a balancing double and a 2 bid on this hand is up to your partnership agreement about what to do with hands that contain a singleton in the opponents suit. I say singleton heart because the decision should be clear at both ends of the spectrum, i.e. with a void in hearts you’d want to bid declare and thus bid 2, and most hands with a doubleton heart you would prefer to defend and thus make a takeout double.

However, if your partnership is allowed to make a takeout double with a void (not something I’d recommend), then make sure you pull the double much more often! One thing that I wouldn’t advise is to allow your takeout double hands to have 0-2 hearts. This is too big of a range and the 1NT opener will never know when the best time to pull/sit the double.

Hope that made some sense, somewhat 🙂

Regards,
Andy

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