Double Dummy 20

Sometimes you get into trouble and in afterthought you see how you could have avoided the trouble by a ‘double dummy’ solution. This one is not exactly a ‘double dummy’ solution because it relates to bidding rather than play. But the lessons are nevertheless there.

Board 6 from Monday 15/04/24
Dealer E EW Vul


This is what happened at one table. After three passes North opened 1S. East overcalled 2C. First mistake, in hindsight. Two passes followed and North doubled. This was a typical match point situation: North was always prepared to play in 2S but in case South preferred a penalty of 2C, the double left that option open. East passed as did South and West also passed. 2C doubled was not a success for EW, down three which declarer might have kept to down two, still a zero. Had West been able to see what Deep Finesse saw, West could have run to a safer spot, but how, and where?

In the old days there was the “SOS” redouble, which asked partner to run somewhere else. Such a redouble by West would have resulted in East now running to 2H and who knows what might have happened then. But West of course had no reason to think that either a) opponents knew what they were doing or b) there was anywhere better to go. East, also, in hindsight, had the SOS redouble available and instead of passing, could have redoubled, suggesting that West bid a red suit. That would have worked well. But even a better suggestion: When North opened 1S, East could have DOUBLED instead of overcalling with that awful club suit. The double should have promised four hearts and some support in diamonds if that was West’ suit. We tend to use the double of 1S to say: “I have a heart overcall but only four hearts” and also the double of 1H saying the same thing about spades, a four card spade suit. We take our chances if partner decides to take the double out to a minor because partner knows that we have the other major. I believe that in this deal, East was right to try and compete, and a double of 1S was far better than an overcall in clubs. Do you not agree?