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February 2016 English Bridge

www.ebu.co.uk

spades, I'll bid them' so that, say, 1™-Dbl-2™-Dbl

denies four spades. However, there's no reason not

to double with four spades because partner can bid

them; sometimes three of a minor is a better spot:

West East

´ J 4 2 ´ A 8 7 3

™ A 5 ™ 8 4 2

t A 8 7 2 t K Q J 3

® K J 10 3 ® 9 4

South West North East

1™ Dbl 2™ Dbl

Pass 3® Pass 3t

All Pass

A 2´ bid doesn't promise five; it just says you aren't

interested in playing elsewhere. After 1™-Dbl-2™ it

is best to bid 2´ with:

´ K Q J 3 ™ 8 4 2 t 9 4 ®Q 9 7 2

because a 4-3 spade fit should play well, possibly

better than a 4-4 club fit. After 1´-Dbl-2´, it is

harder to work out if there is a heart fit. One

solution is to agree that double promises four hearts

while 2NT is 'unusual' showing 4-4 in the minors.

Higher level doubles

At the three level you have less strict shape

requirements for the double, rather it is a more

flexible 'I want to bid'. It shows decent values,

particularly after a weak two opening, as partner is

allowed to pass:

South West North East

2™ Dbl 3™ Dbl

All Pass

EW would far rather defend 3™ doubled on a trump

lead than toil in 3´ or 4®.

It's common for partnerships to agree that double

is just 'values' rather than 'penalties' at any level.

The higher the level, the more often double will be

passed but it always shows 'convertible' values, not

good trumps.

What do I do with a penalty double?

Suppose you are looking at

a) ´ J 4 2 ™ K Q J 3 2 t3 ® K 8 7 2

b) ´ A 6 3 ™ A K 2 t Q 10 5 2 ® J 10 4

and the auction starts 2™-Dbl-3™-? You cannot

double, because that is responsive and partner, with

0 or 1 hearts, will not pass. On hand (a) you must

pass smoothly and hope that partner doubles for

take-out again. If he doesn't, you will defend 3™

undoubled and miss out on a nice penalty. That is

the downside of playing responsive doubles. On

hand (b) you bid 3NT.

Remember

When left hand opponent opens the bidding,

partner doubles and right hand opponent

raises, a common agreement is that your double

is 'responsive':

• With a penalty double, pass (smoothly!)

• Bidding shows confidence that the suit bid

is the right strain

• At the two-level, double shows two fourcard

suits

• At higher levels double shows high cards

and invites partner to bid

• Agree with your partner whether double

shows, denies or is neutral about your

holding in the other major. r

´ J 4 2 ´ A 8 7 3

™ A 5 ™ 8 4 2

t A 8 7 2 t K Q J 3

® K J 10 3 ® 9 4

W E

´ K 4 2 ´ A 10 7 5

™ 5 3 ™ 9 7

t A K 6 2 t Q 10 3

® A J 10 3 ® K 9 7 2

W E

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