Andrew’s Bridge Tips -Problems facing doubler’s partner

Below are six hands. For each we will consider how East will call after the following sequences. Again you will see that East’s action depends not only on his own hand but also on the circumstances. Sometimes he will seem to have no perfect bid available and must decide upon the best compromise. In general, common sense is the key.

i)    West has 12+ HCP and has demandedthat East takeout the double, however weak. The only time that East could choose to pass is if he had an outstanding heart suit in an otherwise worthless hand (eg. ♥ K Q J10 8 6). Then he would be positively choosing hearts as trumps, not opting out of his responsibility to bid. West’s most likely holding in the enemy suit is a singleton. Therefore:

a) 1♠.  0-8 HCP.

b) 2♠.  9-12 HCP or slightly less with good shape.

c) 2.  A game forcing cue bid to get more information.

d) 2♠. Same as b).

e) 2NT. 10-12 HCP (1NT would show 6-9) and good heart guards. Don’t worry about the spades. Partner has them for his double. 3♣ would be a reasonable alternative.

f) 5. Excellent playing strength.

ii) West has demanded that East takeout the double, however North has already taken it out so East is relieved of his obligation to bid with rubbish. If he chooses to bid it is called a free bid and should show six HCP (or compensating shape), just as though he had responded to an opening bid. Therefore:

a) Pass. Too weak for a free bid.

b) 2♠. You will bid to 3♠ if they continue with 3.

c) 3. A game forcing cue bid. If partner bids 3NT you will pass. Alternatively if he bids a suit you will raise him to game in that suit.

d) 3♠. Less HCP than b) but more shape.

e) 2NT, or perhaps a penalty double.

f) 5. As with i).

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