A Low-Level Double

Today's panelists: Ed Davis, Roberto Scaramuzzi, Curt Hastings, Steve Altus, Walter Hamilton, Rolf Kühn, and Desi Vad.

Both white, IMPs, short match, you hold

 S:AKx H:10 D:Qx C:AJxxxxx

PassPass1C: Dbl
1S: Pass2C: 2H:
Dbl Pass?

3S:. To do anything else would be an insult to the game of bridge.
3S:. With all my junk in partner's suit (with dummy likely short) I don't realy like our defensive prospects enough to double them into game in a short match. My hand is excellent for offense at this point... 3H: is too ambiguous.
The double is penalties, but partner's failure to redouble with a good hand and both majors worries me. I suspect he has six spades. If he has 5-5 or 5-4 in the majors, they are likely to have a resting spot in diamonds. Anyway, I'm bidding 3S: now (2S: is also reasonable) I would have raised 1S: to 2 earlier, by the way. [On the other hand, there is something to be said for rebidding one's seven-card suits in competitive auctions. --Jeff]
I'll try 3S:. CHO must have better spades than hearts, so it cannot be right to try for a 2 level penalty. 2S: here would be a weakness bid.
2S:. The opponents have a double fit. I would have bid 2S: instead of 2C:. This bidding poses lots of questions. If CHO has 5S: and 4H: why haven't they found the diamond suit and why did CHO not redouble the first time. If CHO is 5422 then you don't rate to beat 2H:. If she/he is 5431 you may beat it by 1 or 2. 2S: may lead to game and won't lead to a big negative.
Pass without alternative - Maybe I missed the point, but this double must be based on hearts and is clearly for blood.
Pass. To do anything else would be an insult to partner's judgment.

OK, the real problem. Partner's double of 2H: was very slow. Now what?
There is no acceptable alternative to 3S: so I bid 3S:.
I reach across the table and strangle him. I think I would still bid 3S:, but I would have some misgivings, and I would not be completely surprised to lose the committee.
In MP I'd probably argue pass is a LA (+300 vs whatever) but in IMP thats only win 4 or so vs partials and lose 3 or so vs games. So I'd let an expert south pull. [I don't like this reasoning. If one is to demonstrate that pass is not logical via IMP odds, they have to be overwhelming, and 4 to 3 is hardly that. --Jeff]
pass, obviously.
2S:. Passing is out of the question.
Pass. Can partner be 5521? Wouldn't some pass if partner sat up, looked surprised and said, "bonus if you make it!"
Kill partner. Otherwise, it's hard to say.
hard to say
Partner had  S:J9xxx H:K5xx D:Ax C:Qx. We have no play at all for 4S: (as the cards lie) but 3NT requires the defense's failing to lead or switch to diamonds early. 2H:x was cold for an overtrick. On the way to the bank, declarer found a five-trick compression play and managed to go down four.

What do you think of partner's bidding? I don't like it much. 1S: is fine; redouble is an option, but I'm not keen on it when I don't really want to saw them off anywhere. The double was pretty bad. 2NT would have been a fine bid (and might've led to a making game) and 3C: is OK, if a bit pusillanimous. Double showed more testosterone than sense, I think, or a very good understanding of declarer's ability to play the hand.

Jeff Goldsmith, jeff@tintin.jpl.nasa.gov, September 26, 1996