Three of this month's problems were provided by one of our
expert panellists, Larry Cohen, and Larry also appears as guest
moderator of the bidding forum in the magazine. So make sure you
grab a copy of the August issue and check out the article.
The first problem of the
month led to a few queries about system, so let's get that out
of the way first...
David Davies: 3.
I can't double if partner can't.
Fraser Rew: 3.
Double from either side would be penalty here. If partner can't double I certainly can't and game should be on somewhere, so I pattern out to give him the choice.
Dean Eidler: 3. It's a forcing situation so I can't pass. 3
would sound like 4441.
Göran Lindberg: Dbl. There is nothing "forcing" about this action....so
Manuel Paulo: Dbl. For takeout; partner can choose a penalty pass.
Ulf Nilsson: Dbl. Takeout with extra values.
Ron Lel: Dbl. What sort of hand does partner have for his
redouble? Is the pass of 2 forcing?
Despite partner being a passed hand in my partnerships it would
be. Playing with my partner I would bid 3, but on this forum
double is the most flexible bid.
David Matthews: 3. I am going to assume partner's redouble signifies a maximum pass. So we have enough for game and it may be 3NT or one of the minors.
Tim Trahair: 3. So what does the redouble mean? The system doesn't provide any guidance. East's
1 response suggests he has some HCP and perhaps West has about 12, so it seems North is weak and probably can tolerate
It's true, AB Standard doesn't mention North's
redouble. It doesn't mention West's double either; for some auctions we just rely on the basics:
Language of Bidding by Paul Marston: Redouble shows 10+ HCP and interest in penalties...
Official Encyclopedia of Bridge: ...any strong hand with a minimum point count of about
10, usually with a defensive hand ... With a fit for opener's
suit, a redouble is unattractive because it makes it simple for
the opponents to find a fit.
Bridge Bidding Made Easy by
Eddie Kantar: ... neither promises nor denies support for
partner, although in an expert game he is likely to be short.
Most experts with four card support disdain the redouble ...
with a big fit it is unlikely that East-West can be punished at
a low level.
Goren's Bridge Complete: If, as
is probable, the opponents' elect to bid, they will fall into
your trap and you will be in position to make a devastating
With those comments in mind, now seems a good time
to announce that the top reader vote, and the equal top panel
vote, went to the devastating penalty double.
Bruce Crossman: Dbl. Redouble shows 10+ HCP and shortage in
clubs. So partner's pass figures show shortage in spades and
clubs. Looking for penalties or possible game in NT.
Jameson Cole: Dbl. Everyone at the table is playing a deep game besides me. I think West is 3442 and partner 3343. We should get 500.
Alan Jones: Dbl. We have most of the points.
Partner appears to have hearts and no support for my suits.
This could easily be 800 to us.
Alvin P Bluthman: Dbl. Expecting partner to pass for
penalties. Because he had the opportunity to support my suits,
and failed to do so, I can only conclude that he cannot do so.
Therefore, he should hold hearts and diamonds, not clubs or
spades. If he pulls, it will probably be to 3;
I will then bid 3,
showing a diamond stopper and asking for a heart stopper for
Barbara Hunter: Dbl. I expect partner may have 4 if not he can bid 2 or 3 or 3.
Martyn Rew: Dbl. If partner stopped bidding because he has hearts, double will pick up more than a part score.
Margaret Reid: Dbl. What is pard up to? I'll double and maybe it will give us a result. After all we should have 25 points.
Some of these comments suggest that double is intended as penalty,
despite the singleton. Bidding partner's hand for him, you might
say. A gutsy call, but it has to be a losing action when the LOTT man is
Many of the doublers explicitly stated that the
double was intended as takeout:
Sydney Frish: Dbl. With combined count of at least 25
HCP hopefully on way to 3NT unless North should prefer conversion to penalties.
Damo Nair: Dbl. What's the
catch? I don't get it, I have 16 HCP good shape and controls on
top of North making strongish noise. If I can't double with this
hand I don't know what hand I can re-open with!
(I have it on good authority that Damo is a very good card
player, so he is accustomed to adding a point to all his
David Monahan: Dbl. Double gives a good description of my hand while partner has the option of leaving the double in with a reasonable holding in heart
-- Rule of 4 and Rule of 6 will give partner a good indication of the possibilities including the NT option.
Kajsa Larson: Dbl. Game is not out of question. Since partner didn't double 2, she hopefully doesn't have
many wasted points there. If he bids 2, I pass; if
he bids a minor, I will raise.
Ron Landgraff: Dbl. Maybe partner will do the right
thing. With clubs and hearts he can bid 3NT, else pass and hope
for down 1 or 2. If he has good hearts, 2x
will be juicy.
Much of the confusion surrounding this
problem came from our 1 rebid:
Nigel Guthrie: 3. Fixed by failure to pass and pull.
Robert Black: Dbl. Did I rebid 1? That sounded a bit weak. We seem to have 25 HCP and partner's redouble may be penalty oriented. Perhaps my 1 bid stopped him doubling 2. If he thinks I have some hearts we are in trouble
-- maybe the end of a partnership.
Andrew MacAlister: Dbl. It is going to be difficult to persuade
partner that I have a good hand after I showed a weak distributional one with 1.
Partner may have been waiting to penalize 1
so now I give him the chance at 2.
Paul Gipson: Dbl. Not a problem unless double is wrong, but I am maximum for my (third seat) opening and I cannot let them play in 2. I have already suggested that I do not like hearts by bidding 1.
So what does that 1 bid mean exactly? Let's go back to
Official Encyclopedia of Bridge: ...
the opening bidder will not take a further bid at his next turn
unless he has a distributional hand unsuited to defence.
That does cast some doubt on the wisdom of our 1
bid, but does it necessarily mean we have shown short hearts?
Whatever it means, Larry was not amused by all this apparent disregard for
the textbooks -- an understandable response from someone best
known for writing bidding texts. He awarded 70 points to the
double, with the top score going to this much less ambiguous
Amiram Millet: 3. Catering for hands that will play 3NT better than 4. Even a black Slam is a possibility. Doubling 2 isn't always best.
Bastiaan Korner: 3.
Don't want to miss vulnerable game
Tony Treloar: 3.
We hold game values and partner's pass suggests that 3NT (or in the absence of a
heart stopper 5) appear better than 4.
Sam Arber: 3.
Partner did not double 2 so no strong holding
there. Feel partner should do something.
John Furedy: 3. Partner is promising 10+
HCP, so if he has a stopper in hearts, 3NT is a good bet.
Roger Yandle: 3. Pard can't double 2 nor support spades so looks like a balanced 10-11 count with 2-3 small hearts. I can't double on strength alone (opps might have Axxx-AQxx-Jxxx-x
opposite xx-KJxxx-xx-xxxx). However I think I need to make one more try for game before giving up.
Ian Smith: 3. A splinter asking partner to choose a suit.
I'm not sure that 3 is a splinter, but one of the
experts was thinking along similar lines (as well as expressing
concern about our earlier 1 bid).
Eddie Kantar: 4. I thought
bidding over a redouble showed a weak distributional opening
bid? In any case I'm jumping to 4 to try to make up for past
Eric Leong: 3. We belong in a game. The only question is where?
Terry Dunne: 3. With Larry Cohen moderating, 'Pass' won't score very well. It's our hand, with 3NT being the most likely spot. 3 'forces' 3NT to be played by the more suitable hand. There's a fair chance partner would pass a double and I can't imagine taking 2 off three tricks.
Well, hopefully we can all agree that partner has 10+ points,
so it's true that passing our combined 25 count won't score very
The remaining options involve simply describing our hand and
letting partner decide what to do:
Boris Richter: 2. The obvious thing to do, saving bidding room with 2.
Seemingly giving partner the wrong information, showing six
clubs and five spades, but then again we could have bid 2 immediately with such a hand
(or opened 1).
Niek Van Vucht: 3. Bid out my shape, showing better than minimum, and suggesting 3NT if partner has heart stoppers. The singleton heart, and a probable club fit suggest that penalising 2 will not be profitable.
Bill Bennett: 3. We must be close to game values, but NT is unattractive if North does not have
two heart stops. He may bid NT over my 3, or EW may be tempted to raise
Emil Battista: 3. Passing is too wimpish and I am too wimpish to double.
Rainer Herrmann: 3.
Looks to me like a good description of the hand. With 4045 I would tend to cuebid in this position.
Hoi-Ming Chan: 3. Bidding my shape out.
David Hester: 3. Flexible; giving partner a chance to do the wrong thing.
John R. Mayne: 3. I'm strong enough to show the shape of the hand. Partner will do the right thing.
Tim Francis-Wright: 3. It is time for partner to admit to her heart stopper.
Zbych Bednarek: 3.
Showing shape (4135 or 4045) with points on way to 3NT.
We have been told that this deal is from a world-class event,
but we don't know which one. As usual, if anyone recognises the
hand, please send us the full deal and I'll add it in.