What should I bid? (October 2022)


What should I bid? (October 2022)

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

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

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

I was North. I thought my partner’s X must be for takeout, but he intended it for penalties because he said he had 10hcp and I had opened, so it must go down. I knew he must be short in hearts. We play 1x-(4) X as takeout and 1 as 3+, only 3 if 4-4-3-2 shape.

Hi Margaret,
You are correct in saying South’s double is for takeout (it’s usually best to play it as takeout in general when the opponents announce a fairly big fit). However, with the North’s hand, I would pass the double, understanding that it is entirely possible (and likely) for South to hold five spades. North’s hand has two big flaws: (a) Having Kxx is bad (even if South might have a heart void) as it is more defensive in nature, and (b) North’s hand is balanced with xxx of spades, and that there’s no guarantee of a 5-3 spade fit.

South’s double is takeout in a sense, but in general showing extra playing strength. In these high level situations deciding whether to defend or bid on, you have to judge whether your hand is more offensive or defensive in nature – and North’s hand here is defensive so I would pass and just “take the money” (which you will since you have the majority of the high cards). For example, let’s say South had a 5=1=4=3 distribution, there is still a good chance 4 goes down one (i.e. East can easily have four spades from the T/O X, so you might have 3 spade losers and one heart loser) for -100 or -200 if doubled, whereby 4X can go down by 1 (+200) or 2 (+500), and that is still a big difference in score, thus making you prefer to defend.

Bridge isn’t easy, and these high-level pressure situations are very difficult to get right (even I mess up plenty of them!).

Hope that helps

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