Page 0009

Teams Tactics by Derek Patterson

Penalty Doubles of Game Contracts Part II

HOW WOULD you negotiate the following Tricks one and two were the same but at and the deal turned out to be as below?

trump suit for the loss of just one trick? trick three, declarer called for the ™10, an

audacious play! East covered with the jack,

™ 10 8 6 2 declarer won with the king and continued ´ Q9

W

N

E

low to dummy’s ™8 and East’s ™9. Sub- ™ K862

S

sequently, declarer was able to finesse t K 10

™AK73 East’s ™Q, draw the final trump and cash ® KQ962

the spades to record 4™ doubled making. ´ 84 ´ 10 5 2

When the deal occurred in a recent teams In a sense, the key to the play was in the ™ 5 N ™ Q J 10 9

W E

match, at one table declarer laid down the bidding, which had advertised the bad t J86432 S t A97

ace first. If an honour had appeared (or the trump break and caused declarer to adopt ® J875 ® A 10 3

™ 9 with West), he would have continued an unusual but, under the circumstances, ´ AKJ763

with a low card towards the ™10 in correct line of play. Her chosen play of lead- ™ A743

dummy, thereby catering for all 3-2 breaks ing the ™10 might have lost unnecessarily t Q5

and many of the 4-1 breaks. When both to many holdings, including a singleton ® 4

East and West followed with small cards, honour with West, but declarer had been

however, declarer played the king next, able to discount these possibilities because

West showed out and the contract went of East’s final contribution to the auction. 4™ has no chance, yet 4´ will make by

down. The full deal was: Quite literally, East’s double gave the throwing a heart loser on a club winner in

game away! due course.

What should be made of East’s double? At pairs, it would be madness not to

E/W Game. Dealer South. After all, often declarer will be unable to double 4™ on this East hand, because

´ K9 make 4™ despite being warned of the bad usually North-South will have no safe

™ 10 8 6 2 trump break – for example, North having haven. At teams, however, because the

t K 10 ™K-10-x-x. Playing pairs, as long as the reward for success might be small (an extra

® KQ962 contract goes down, such a double is likely 2 or 3 IMPs), the decision is much closer

´ J4 ´ 10 5 2 to turn an average into a top, roughly and a good but cautious player might still

™ 5 N ™ QJ94 speaking and, therefore, might be con- choose to pass, the full hand vindicating his

W E

t J86432 S t A97 sidered a fair gamble. or her reticence. With a singleton spade,

® J875 ® A 10 3 In contrast, playing teams, the extra 50 two aces and ™Q-J-10-9, even the most

´ AQ8763 or 100 gained by taking the contract one timid of players should double at any form

™ AK73 off is a small reward by comparison with of the game. This is because it is likely that

t Q5 the scenario described above, in which the partner will have length in spades, giving

® 4 team’s loss of 12 IMPs could be attributed the opponents no escape route.

directly to the ill-conceived double. It should be remembered that whenever

On the above deal, a contract that had you double the opponents, you are giving

West North East South been destined to crash on the rocks of bad information about your hand. It is possible

1´ distribution was resurrected by East’s that this information might be used to their

Pass 2® Pass 2™

double, which gave a blueprint of the advantage, either by executing a brilliant

Pass 3™ Pass 4™

All Pass

heart suit – a blueprint that declarer was line of play that caters solely for the existing

able to use to her advantage. The key to a layout of the cards (revealed by the double),

West led a diamond to the ace and East successful doubling strategy at teams is to or to run from the ill-fated contract to one

returned the t9 to dummy’s king. At that ensure that declarer, despite being warned that cannot be beaten.

point declarer tackled the trump suit in the of the bad breaks, will still be powerless to Playing teams, one should be very wary of

fashion described above, resulting in one avoid the impending shipwreck. making penalty doubles that will occasion-

down. Both the bidding and the play had If one were to improve East’s hearts to ally backfire in the manner described above

been normal, so a flat board seemed likely. ™Q-J-10-9, allied with the two aces, then a – there should be a strong emphasis on the

At the other table, however, there had been penalty double of 4™ would be a highly opponents being dead in the water. At pairs,

an unforeseen twist: East had doubled the attractive proposition. Even then, how a much less circumspect approach is to be

final contract (also 4™). To what effect? would East feel if South removed to 4´ recommended in this area. r

www.ebu.co.uk August 2012 English Bridge 9

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