M J Bridge
I have emphasised throughout this work that doubles are in general for take-
There are though one or two specialist uses for the double, particularly in high-
At a low level we chose to double the opponents’ artificial bid in general to show length and strength in the bid suit. The strength was there to indicate a lead in defence to partner and the length was there to suggest the possibility of a preemptive sacrifice together with some safety in case they decided to let the double stand.
At a high-
The artificial bid is likely to be a cue-
Sounds sensible, doesn’t it, but beware
The first trap to be wary of is that you do not make a lead-
Suppose that your opponents were on their way towards a slightly dodgy contract of 6♥. On the way you double their cue-
Secondly, do not make such a lead-
And thirdly, it is far from unknown for such a bid to drive declarer from a failing contract in a suit to a making contract in no trumps, or possibly a making contract in a different suit played from the other hand.
Do not remove them completely from your repertoire -
In this situation the message is different. To use a business, or gambling, allusion -
It is fair to say that most club players in England do not use the penalty double as frequently as they should -
In pairs in particular, you can afford to take the risk. If your penalty double changes +100 into +200 six times out of ten then it does not matter that on the other four occasions you have changed -
It has often been written by expert bridge writers that if you have never doubled your opponents into a making game then you don’t double often enough. I could not agree more. If you think that you are more likely than not to take them down, and that this would score better than anything you are likely to make then at pairs you should double. Don’t worry when they make the first such contract -
Here the story is very different.
On the example above you might gain 3 imps six times out of ten, but on the other four occasions you are losing 11 imps -
This time you dare not double your opponents into game.
Once they have reached game-
As a general rule -
However, there are times when they will be going down by at least two tricks. You must find the doubles in these situations -
The Lightner double
This will be seen far more often in the newspaper bridge column than it will in any normal level of play. As with several of the conventions in this chapter it will be a rare performer, but when the right hand comes it can more than repay the memory-
Quite simply, if the opponents have reached a freely bid slam (you might wish to broaden this context) then a double at slam level invites partner to make an unusual opening lead. This must be interpreted as best possible. In general it will not be the un-
But beware -
A double of 3NT
When you are on lead there is little point in such a double if it is not to be a straight penalty double. Usually it will suggest a solid suit, or a near-
Beware though, that you do not drive your opponents from a doomed contract into a safer haven. Each case will have to be judged on its merits.
When your partner is on lead it is a different matter.
Again, the bid shows a solid or a near-
Rather than leading from one of his more promising holdings partner should then search for your long suit, which will usually involve the lead of a short suit as the best chance, and will frequently suggest the lead of a suit bid by the opponents.
Beginner and above
|Overcaller's rebid and beyond|
|Responder's rebid and beyond|
|The continuing auction|