Dos and Don’ts
TRAPS FOR THE UNWARY
THIS month’s article continues the theme double and then bid no-trumps.
of competitive bidding by looking at What you must not do is double on an Michael Byrne
making take-out doubles. The mysterious ‘intermediate hand’ with some of the suits
‘red cross of doom’ is an exciting new tool and shortage in another and hope to
when we first learn about it, but a keenness weather the storm. Have a look at Hand 3: immediately look like a double but are
to use it can quickly turn to an addiction, such that you should be taking action?
doubling on the most inappropriate hands While it is fine to
and passing on ones you should be bid- Hand 3 double 1™ on this, if Hand 5, whether
ding on. ´ AQJ5 the opening bid Hand 5 the opponents open
Let’s remind ourselves of what a take- ™ 8 were 1t the correct ´ A43 1® or 1t, is a fine
out double shows: t KQ2 call would be ‘Pass’, ™ KJ65 double of either. It’s
® K7652 hoping to be able to t A32 true you are lacking
show your hand later ® Q86 shortage, but when
When you double an opening bid for (by doubling when you put down your
take out, you are showing opening an opponent bids hearts). It would be 14 glittering points
values, support for the other suits quite wrong to say to yourself: ‘I will partner’s frown of disapproval will turn
and (in principle) shortage in the suit double and then if partner bids hearts, I to a dazzling smile. You have support for
opened. can go to no-trumps in the knowledge all of the unbid suits and a good opening
that partner has that suit covered.’ bid, and whatever partner bids will be
This would be wrong on so many levels: fine. It would be a fair gambit to double
A traditional double of a 1t opening if you double and then bid no-trumps, 1´ (if that was what was opened) as well,
would look like Hand 1: partner will think you have 19+ and a although there is less incentive as partner
balanced hand including at least two can't reply cheaply at the one level.
Many people often hearts. Partner will invariably bid hearts
Hand 1 forget that a take- again and the whole auction will descend Let’s review the Dos and Don’ts of take-
´ AQ43 out double should into chaos. out doubles:
™ KJ76 be used when they
t 7 are too strong for HHHHH
® Q973 another action, typi- Do:
cally too strong for a Sometimes people double when they • Remember to double when you
suit overcall (18+ should be overcalling, as with Hand 4: have a balanced hand too strong
High-card Points with a long suit) or too for a 1NT overcall (19+ HCP)
strong for an overcall of 1NT (19+ HCP If the opening bid (Hand 2).
with a balanced hand). Hand 4 is 1™, then while it’s • Double when you have an opening
If 1t were opened on your right, then ´ AQJ5 true that you have hand with support for all the other
you’d have to double on Hand 2 as well: ™ 8 shortage in the suits, even if you are more balanced
t 65 opponent’s suit, an than you’d like (Hand 5).
It might seem ® K Q 10 8 7 5 opening hand and
Hand 2 weird to double good support for Don’t:
´ 54 holding four strong the other major, your • Make a take-out Double when you
™ KJ76 cards in the oppo- heart will sink to its lowest depths if you have a long suit that is better suited
t AKJ8 nent’s suit and a double and partner bids 5t over the to overcalling (Hand 4).
® AKJ small doubleton in opponents’ 4™ contract – not that an • Double with a singleton in an un-
spades, but remem- unlikely scenario. Better to bid 2® and get bid major, whatever the strength of
ber: you have a re- the spades in later. your hand (Hand 3). r
bid available; you are strong enough to And finally what about hands that don’t
www.ebu.co.uk October 2011 English Bridge 19