Question of the Week - 2

Hi All,

I've had no questions so far this week, so everyone must be doing well. I'll discuss an oldie but goodie.


Here's the North/South hands:

North            South
♠️  10              KQ43
♥️  AK7            4
♦️  AQ1062      KJ9753
§  AK94          32

East opens 2 Spades and East/West pass from then on. What do North/South bid?

South passes and North doubles (Big). South advances to 4 Diamonds to show his suit and 9-12 points. North reevalauates to 23-24 points and thinks about slam. They haven't overtly agreed on a suit, so 4 No Trump would be to play or ambiguous at best. With the fit, 33 or more points, 3 Aces and a singleton, North just bids the slam and it makes. With South's Spade stopper, it also makes 6 No Trump, but that's hard to find.

As often happens, East's attempt to obstruct made it easier for North/South. If East instead passes, South will pass. He's too weak for 1 Diamond and doesn't qualify for 2 Diamonds. West will pass and North will open 1 Diamond. South will respond 1 Spade and North will stop to think. He likes the look of No Trump, but must describe his hand. A jump to 3 No Trump would limit his hand to 18-19 HCPs and 4 No Trump would be some form of Blackwood. He decides to jump-shift to 3 Clubs to show 19 or more points, two suits and force to game.

South stops to think. He knows nothing about Hearts, so No Trump is out. He now knows that partner has at least 4 Diamonds, so wants to support them. He ponders 4, 5 or 6 Diamonds. He's not sure of slam and Blackwood is useless, so he narrows it to 4 or 5 Diamonds. He's forced to game, so he's sure that partner would interpret 4 Diamonds as stronger, showing extra values. He bids 4 Diamonds and North goes to 5 Diamonds, 6 Diamonds or 6 No Trump as he desires.

Keep those questions pouring in.  Dave

Questions of the Week -1

Hi All,

It was suggested to me that I share some of the questions from members and my attempts at answers. This makes sense because it takes me as long to send it to one player as all. The procedure will normally be for me to answer the question to the person asking. They will reply that my answer was helpful or not and I will decide whether to send it on.

This week's question was from an online game, so I don't have the hands available. The client was East with 4 HCPs (an Ace) and two 4-card suits. The bidding went as below:


 S      W      N       E
 P       P      1D      P
 1N    x      xx       P
 P       P

Declarer made the contract for a huge score and a top. The question, of course, was whether East or West should have taken it out. The answer depends on whether the double was for penalty, takeout or for who knows what.    

If both players were Monday attendees, they would know that a double of No Trump is always for penalty. West had already passed, but thought she could get 7 tricks in No Trump. Whether North redoubles or not, East must trust partner to still have 7 tricks and butt out. Anything he does may well make it worse. When N/S make it, West will probably say that it seemed like a good idea at the time and they'll go on to the next board.

If East and West have agreed that a double in that situation is for takeout, they will know what to do when it's redoubled. Both players know that they can't let the opponents play 1 No Trump redoubled. East must help partner by describing his hand. If he has support for all three unbid suits, he will pass. This tells partner to bid his best suit and count on East to have help. If East has at least one suit that he doesn't want partner to bid, he must bid his best suit to throw partner a lifebuoy, even with no points.

The problem, of course, arises when East doesn't know what partner's double meant. He must do the best that he can. Partner has previously passed, so it's unlikely that she could hope to set them with a flat hand, especially since you could have nothing. If she had one good suit, she would probably bid it or trap-pass. Assuming she has several decent suits and it's for takeout, she's in a jam when opener redoubles.

When East decides whether it is a penalty or takeoff double, he will follow the procedures from above. If he decides that it's penalty, he'll trust partner and pass. If he decides that it's takeout, he'll bid one of his 4-card suits since he doesn't want partner to bid the wrong suit. If he guesses wrong about the double, it will turn out poorly. That's the problem of playing without partnership agreements. There's no need to find fault, just make an agreement and get it right next time.

Stay well,  Dave