Saturday, March 29, 2003 3:17 PM

Hand Evaluation - Escapes

 

PITBULLS:

 

Sometimes a partnership gets into trouble . The opponents have doubled you due to bad trump breaks or a preponderance of HCPs. Just sitting there and taking your lumps is not a good idea . Established partnerships have well planned escape routes . Sometimes though , it is fuzzy on who should take the initiative in rescue auctions .

 

Partner makes an overcall either at the one or two level with a negative double converted for penalty in front of the overcaller . The bidder has the responsibility to initiate escape routes not the partner. Partner rescuing might lead to a greater disaster because she does not the quality of partners suit or hand , but the overcaller does. A redouble by the overcaller is always SOS . A run to NT usually means minor tolerance while bidding the opponents suit is natural . The SOS redouble implies the majors or the unbid suits when thats what is left.. The SOS redoubles follows takeout principles . You redouble with ♠Q10xxx xx xx ♣xxxx when 1x gets left in . You pull 1x to 1 so you show your club tolerance. You do not rescue overcalls before the doubling starts. A bid is forward going so not a rescue .

 

Partner opens , LHO makes a takeout double but the contract gets converted for penalty. It is the opener who is responsible to initiate rescue sequences . You do not rescue before the fact . Partner is going to assume you are bidding on values , not being concerned that the contract is going to be converted for penalty by the opponents. You do not pre-rescue.

 

O.K. the situation changes when the re-opening double gets converted for penalty . The overcaller does not get a chance to rescue herself because she does not know that the hand is going to be converted for penalties. Experience shows that it is best to escape , if at all possible . Again a redouble is SOS and NT means pick a minor and the opponents suit is natural . When the opponents say partner is getting a horrible trump break, it is best to believe them . Even players with sound overcalls get bad breaks so why play in that suit if you have a reasonable chance of an alternative contract ?

 

Established partnerships have rescue understandings when their NT opener or overcall gets doubled . DONT is a good run out treatment as the redouble to show a one suited hand is very helpful . DONT runouts have been modified with a toughing/nontouching element . If you bid immediately , you are showing touching suits. There are 6 combinations of suits that fall into the touching/non touching category 4C2. Non touching is simple as there are only two of them, ♣s & s and s & s . Touching suits have 4 combinations ♣s & s , s & s , s & s and finally s & ♣s.

 

However, what a about the situation where partner doubles a NT but hits you with a bad hand ? Passing can be expensive as 580 is not a good score . If you are vul sometimes it is best to let them have their 180 or 380 rather than going for a huge number yourself. Peter Jones & I had an understanding that if you can not stand partners double you always bid 2♣ unless you have a long suit . This does not show clubs but tells partner to start running. Sometimes doubling 1NT in the balancing spot is a gamble . If the opponents are vul , it is a good gamble to double with 10-12 points. If you hit partner with 10 HCP or more the opponents are in deep trouble as 2 HCP or less will show up in the dummy . Sometimes you strike out since the opponents have the greater HCPs . Partner should pull to the automatic 2♣ so maybe you can land on your feet.

 

There is another sequence where to rescue or not to rescue is the question . This is where either after an overcall or a balance , the opponents double you for penalty . If you have what partner can reasonably expect you to have for your overcall , you should pass . If you have extra , you should redouble to tell partner not to rescue .

 

A hand that Lorna & Lloyda had Thurs nite resulted in a lot of discussion . Lorna held

 

x

A

Q

K

x

x

x

Q

 

 

x

10

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

x

The auction went 2and around to Lorna in the balancing position . She balanced 3♣, Lloyda bid 3NT which was doubled . Should Lorna pull ? My opinion is that if you have enough to balance , you have enough to pass . If you have extra say 16 HCP you should redouble to tell partner not to pull but you should never pull by yourself . This is an auction where partner knows more what is going on then you do . Partner can have 16 HCP with a heart trap or any assortment of hands.

 

Lloyda actually held ♠xxxx QJxx xx ♣AJx so in the absence of a redouble , partner has around an opening bid 12-13 HCP . With your 8 HCP the opponents have as many points as you do , which is a recipe for a disaster. Leaving the double in and best defense by the opponents results in 6 down or 1400 not vul . With Lloydas hand , you do not mind trying 3NT but when it gets doubled ,. 4♣ would be discretion before valour.

 

 

Maurice & Tom had an auction where the SOS redouble saves the day . 1 by Maurice with ♠xx AJ10x QxxxAQJ , Tom passes with ♠Q10xxx 98x xx ♣xx . Lisa doubles in the balancing so Stan converts for penalty. This is a time to believe the enemy and run . Which escape tool do we use ? Bidding 1 is a little single handed as you do have heart tolerance. The redouble is a good bid as this shows the majors . It cannot be that the passed hand has magically grown HCPs so wants to play a redoubled contract. Maurice pulls to 1♥ , both Lisa & Stan have 3 hearts so a penalty double is averted. Even if 1 somehow gets doubled it plays quite well so the defense has to be sharp to beat it. Anyway, using the appropriate rescue tool a disaster like 1100 in 1♠x is averted.

 

x

A

x

Q

x

J

x

J

 

x

 

10

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

x

The opponents open 1 in 4th seat and your vul partner overcalls 1 . They pass and the diamond bidder ( Nick G ) re-opens with a double which gets converted for penalty. Your call ? Partner did not open a weak 2 vul but came in vul ( Bob C ) so partner is not suicidal . You know the spades are 5-1 so passing looks like 500 . This is a hand for the S.O.S. redouble . You have 2 excellent unbid suits and the opponents might be hard pressed to double. Partners hand is ♠KJ10xx KQ10x xx ♣xx . They will not double 2 but more importantly they will realize they do not have a heart stopper so it might keep them out of their cold 3NT. Partner fell from grace so we lost 7 IMPS in 1X for 500.