Tuesday, March 27, 2007 4:50 PM
Hand Evaluation  - Lead Directing Doubles ( Fit )




            As stated in a previous article , even lead directing doubles can interfere with your auctions. Experts have understandings on how to deal with them . The secret is to think fit vrs non fit. If you have a big fit already established , a XX is not a suggestion to play the contract if they double a secondary suit. Think about it . If you have enough outside cards to make a secondary fit redoubled ( may losing 4 trump tricks Qxxxx opposite Axx with KJ1098 in one hand) you will make a grand slam or a small slam in your suit. In any event , if you have enough strength for a punitive redouble , you will make your fit game with ease. Therefore with fits established , actions after a lead directing double are geared to getting to a slam.


            Not so with non fit auctions. If they double your Stayman bid , transfer bid or just a new suit without a fit , a  different set of understandings emerge. A bid by you means no possible interest in playing the contract doubled or redoubled. A pass means you have tolerance or stoppers in that suit & a XX is punitive asking partner to leave it in with an acceptable hand. Players in the modern era are getting pretty loose with their lead direct doubles , so they should have to pay a price. If they double partners 2nd suit for a lead , pass with 3 of them & of course redouble with 4 . With extra values & 3 of partners suit , redouble as you probably can handle the 5-1 break with no difficulty.


            Again going with the fit vrs non fit theme , if they double a transfer , do not pass with 3 or more of partners transfer suit even with a willingness to play the hand in the doubled contract. In fact , a pass means you only have two of partners suit but does not leave out the possibility of a punitive redouble by partner. Punitive redoubles were only designed for non fit auctions or confusion will reign supreme in the partnership. A double of a Stayman auction is different. Do not bid your 4 card major if there is a chance of exchanging club information or playing 2♣ XX . Go for the throat.


            A XX in a fit auction of a secondary suit follows standard Q bidding rules. If you XX , you show a 1st round control playing Italian style Q bids. If you bid something , you show at least 2nd round control. A pass denies a 1st or 2nd round control. The possibility of playing the contract should never enter your mind as you have already found your fit so you should be thinking of slam . Punitive XX’s do not exist in these “fit” auctions.


            Lead directing doubles means that you must trust the opponents. If they are in a small slam voluntarily you must trust them that they are off an Ace or cards to make a grand slam. Thus means there are some lead directing doubles that are “automatic” . ♠xxx xxxxx xxxxxvoid . The auction goes 1♠-P-2♣-P & they end up in 6♠ . Do you double ? Of course you do , as a club lead will result in a ruff. On the auction partner should have a trick or two for you. A lead directing double does not mean you have the contract set in your hand. The double means that you shift the odds in favour of you beating the contract that’s all. What do you lead with this hand against 6  void Jx J10xx ♣Q1987xxx . The auction goes 1♠-P-2♣-P & they get to 6undoubled. You cannot lead a club as partner did not double. A heart lead looks risky so you try a diamond & luckily this lead beats the slam. You took the negative inference partner did not double for a club lead.