Takeout doubles are usually doubles at the one or two-level, higher if opponents pre-empt, while the following doubles are for penalty:
1. Doubles made by doubling over and not doubling under;
2.A double made by your partner when you have already told him your hand (1NT or a pre-empt does this);
3. A double after one’s partner has already answered (by a bid not a pass) a takeout double;
4. A double made when the partnership knows they have the balance of power;
5. A double made after the partnership has agreed on a suit;
6. Any takeout double may be passed not for lack of a better bid but for penalty (conversion).
7. Any double made after a takeout double has been converted to penalty (passed); and
8. any double after the partnership makes a redouble.
This week’s column is an example of 4 and 5.
The bidding: South opens the bidding with one spade. West overcalls two hearts and North makes a cuebid of hearts showing spade support and a hand with limit raise or better.
West is sure they are getting to game and takes away cuebidding room with a four heart bid. South goes to game and West bids 5 hearts hoping to push the opponents too high.
South may either be doubling because he thinks five spades will not make and he wants to take any positive score he can get. Alternatively, he may be doubling because he can get a higher score this way. North cannot sit for the double. His five-card support is suitable for offense not defense. Although his heart void may indicate that partner has a stack of trump, it may not or the trump may be easily finessed.
The contract: Five spades by South
The opening lead: 1. The king of hearts 2. The king of diamonds
With partner showing support and one opponent likely having a void, there is not a lot of future in a heart lead. The king from king queen of diamonds will likely develop a trick.
1. With a heart lead: Declarer ruffs a heart. Often, declarer will ruff and save the ace for later. However, if trump were the only entry to a long suit in dummy, the declarer would not ruff and win the ace in his hand. Here he has three clubs so, if he takes a club finesse, he has an entry with the third club.
Declarer cashes the ace of trump and sees the bad break. He ruffs a second heart to dummy and takes the spade finesse.
With trump drawn, he takes the club finesse and is able to run all of his clubs. He pitches a diamond and a heart.
The result: Five spades making seven for +510.
2. With a diamond lead: The play is similar except now diamonds can be used for transportation and the result is different.
The result: Five spades making six for +480.