Wednesday, March 09, 2005 11:30 PM

Penalty Doubles - Rescuing




          Established partnerships need many many understandings re penalty doubles . One of the understandings is the pass when partner gets doubled. If its their auction and partner pre-empts , the other partner may back in with a suit that’s either a lead director or trying to find a cheaper sacrifice. The auction goes 1-3-4-4 P-P-P-X ?      & you have x xx KQJxxxx xxx  . This is a pull to 5 as its their auction so partner probably has a diamond fit . He was groping for a 4 level sacrifice but it did not work. QJxxx x Axxx QJ10 .


          A tormentee held this hand tonight xxx x KQJxxx Qxx  and the auction went 1NT ( 10-12 ) and they bid 2♣ so you bid 2 for a lead. Partner bids 2 and that gets doubled so now what ? . Partner had a chance to overcall 2 but did not . Partner might be making a duplicate correction trying to find a major fit with tolerance for diamonds. Do you pass 2 x ? No , as it conveys the message that our side can play in that contract. Say you had x KJx KQJxxx Qxx  you should not have to redouble to tell partner that he has hit gold as the pass does the job nicely.


          Here is a more subtle auction for rescuing partner. The non vul RHO passes in 1st seat and you hold

KQ Kxx KQxx KQJx and open 1 and you get a 3 non vul pre-empt and everyone passes around to you in the re-opening chair. You probably have a vul game but you do not know where yet. A 3NT balance would describe your hand as you are not very heart rich. Say you choose a double and partner bids 4 and RHO doubles . Partner is not bidding 4 vul with nothing. If he has a scattering of HCP’s he will pass 3 X and take his plus rather than go to the 4 level for a minus vulnerable. He is bidding 4 to make a vul game. Now what does the double mean as a passed hand and partner just pre-empting ? It can only mean two things on this auction. Either a heart  trump stack or a stiff spade expecting a ruff. In either case 4 doubled is not going to make. What about 4NT ? Partner bid 4 to make so he probably has HCP’s . You bid 4NT and that makes for +630 . 4X goes two down for –500 on two ruffs. Use the opponents to your advantage as their penalty doubles are telling you something !!