JUNE_10_EB_p05 Robson:EB_Layout 3 06/05/2010 16:57 Page 5
Leave in partner’s take-out
doubles more often at pairs
HAVE you ever crowed that you haven’t have not yet mentioned*). Yes, once in
doubled the opponents into game all year? a while the opponents will make their
Well to be honest it’s nothing to crow doubled part-score – into game and
about – it almost certainly means you’re you’ll get a bottom. Most of the time,
not doubling enough. however, you’ll defeat the contract and
Say the bidding begins do very nicely, thank you. At teams (or
rubber) you’d probably be well advised
West North East South to bid 3t, as the cost of 3® doubled
3® Dble Pass ? into game is painful (although it
would not surprise me to hear that 3 The key decision. Passing is risky, of course.
As South, you must decide what to do in passing 3® doubled was a long-term But does bidding 4® feel like the way to
response to partner’s take-out double. Here winner there too). garner match-points? Sometimes it’s a
are four possible hands you might hold: good idea to take an action that, if
successful, will reward you with a good
Love All. Dealer South. result.
Hand 1 Hand 2 ´ J 10 2
´ AQ732 ´ A753 ™ AQ932 4® (doubled) would have been very un-
™ Q 10 5 ™ KJ73 t 8 pleasant for East-West. 3t doubled was
t K7 t Q 10 ® A 10 7 4 different. Yes, declarer could have made
® 752 ® 742 ´ AK93 ´ Q86 his doubled contract. However, he did not
™ KJ754 N ™ 10 6 have X-Ray vision – a point you must
Hand 3 Hand 4 t Q S t 10 9 5 2 always bear in mind when opting to
´ 74 ´ 86 ® Q65 ® K982 defend.
™ J9742 ™ J74 ´ 754 West led the ace of spades, East encour-
t K6 t A862 ™ 8 aging with the eight (standard ‘throw high
® 8642 ® J942 t AKJ7643 means aye’ signals). West cashed the king
® J3 of spades and followed with the three, East
winning with the queen. That lowest
1. You must jump to 4´. It would be a spade from West sent the message that
major (excuse pun) error to bid just West North East South East could underlead the king of clubs (he
3´, even though it is generally a 3t1 would lead the highest of his two
mistake to push too hard for games at Dble2 Pass Pass3 Pass remaining spades without the queen (or
pairs. Even facing a minimum double, king) or clubs.
4´ should be easy provided partner is 1 No one could accuse South of having Declarer beat the queen of clubs with
reasonably shape-suitable. made a frisky pre-empt. dummy’s ace and could have made his
2. 4®. Again you must go for game, as a 2 Whether you would double a 1t opener contract if he had led a trump to the ace
minimum-level response is consistent or overcall with 1™ would be a matter for (felling West’s singleton queen), then fines-
with holding a Yarborough. You bid debate (in the modern style, many would sed the queen of hearts and dumped his
4® to ask partner to pick a game, that bid 1™ to locate a 5-3 fit, planning to club loser on the ace of hearts. Naturally,
way ensuring that a major-suit fit is double later). Over a 3t opener, double however, he assumed that East had better
found (should there be one). (rather than 3™) is clear-cut: you don’t have trumps to convert the double. He finessed
3. 3™. You would jump with a decent 9 the luxury of the overcall-then-double the jack, and now West could win the
points, so this bid shows 0-8. No route. queen and lead to East’s king of clubs. East
problem. had to score a trump trick with his t10-9-x
4. This is where it gets interesting. I am *The vulnerability is almost always hugely rele- and that meant down two.
convinced (and so is the computer – vant in competitive auctions. However, some-
after thousands of hands have been times the factors counter-balance one another.
entered in similar scenarios) that the For example, while it is superficially more attrac- Andrew’s Tip: Leave in partner’s take-
winning action at pairs is to pass tive to double a vulnerable opponent (larger out doubles more often at pairs – pay
partner’s double. And that’s regard- penalty), do bear in mind that he is likely to have off to the odd bottom. r
less of the vulnerability (which we a better hand for his vulnerable pre-empt.
www.ebu.co.uk June 2010 English Bridge 5