Escapes by Bob Crosby

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Sometimes a partnership gets into trouble. The opponents have doubled you due to bad trump breaks or… Just sitting there and taking your lumps is not a good idea.

By Ana Roth
On 30 September, 2014 At 13:57

Category : Hand Evaluation, Hand Evaluation I
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Bob Crosby
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Source: The Bob Crosby Memorial Library

Hand Evaluation Escapes

 

Sometimes a partnership gets into trouble. The opponents have doubled you due to bad trump breaks or a preponderance of HCP’s. 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 that’s what is left. The SOS redoubles follows takeout principles. You redouble with Q10xxx xx xx xxxx when1x gets left in . You pull 1x to 1so 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 there 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. DON’T run out shave 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. 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 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 2unless 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 HCP’s. 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

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The auction went 2and around to Lorna in the balancing position. She balanced 3, Lloyda bid 3NT which was doubled. Should Lorn a 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 xxxxQJxxxx 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 Lloyda’s 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. 1by Maurice with xxAJ10xQxxxAQJ ,Tom passes with Q10xxx98xxx 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 HCP’s 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 1x is averted.

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The opponents open 1 in 4th seat and your vul partner overcalls 1. They pass and the diamond bidder ( NickG ) reopens with a double which gets converted for penalty. Your call? Partner did not open a weak 2 vul but came in vul ( BobC ) 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 KJ10xxKQ10xxx xx.They will not double 2but 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.

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