Defensive Bidding: Using the Informative Double by Robertinho


 (07/06/2014) by Roberto Martiniano Figueira de Mello for the Federacion Brasilera de Bridge

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In the recent South American Bridge Championship (May/2014), the players in the South position received the following hand:  K J 8 7 4  Void  Q J 5 K 10 6 5 3

The auction begun:

Oeste Norte Este Sur
1 Doblo Pass ??

The question that arises at this point is what do the reader say with the South hand?

South has a two-colour hand (5-5) with 13 points (10 HCP), with a fine spade suit which ensures a minimum of an 8 cards fit. Surely the answer must be positive.

It’s amazing how many players with this hand blocked the auction saying 4 and leaving their partner (who doubled) with nothing to do. The takeout double requires a minimum strength equivalent to a minimum opening bid (13 points), but has no upper limit, allowing the player who doubles to have a very strong hand. As a result, if you are the partner of the player who performed the double, and you have a positive response, you should, if possible, indicate your strength creating a forcing situation to enable the auction to develop as slowly as possible.

These were the 4 hands:

  A Q 2
10 9 5 3
A Q J 7 2
10 5
A K Q 2
K 9 7 4 2
9 4
  9 7 3
J 8 7 6 4
10 8 6 3
  K J 8 6 4

Q J 5
K 10 6 5 3

Well, 4 is a very modest result because these hands can win 7 easily. Few found the combination of suits. Consider a possible auction to declare the grand slam …

West North East South
1 Double Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5NT
Pass 7 The end  

2 is a completely artificial and positive response, North answer 3 (natural, his long suit) and South’s 4 show support to his partner’s suit, establishing clubs as the trump suit. North begins to show interest in slam showing his diamond control and South shows his heart control. 4NT is ace asking, which features the king of trumps as another ace, with clubs as the trump suit. The surprising answer of 5NT shows 1 ace and a void. North has not difficult to infere that South has the K and a heart void and because of the strength showed with the 2 response he probably also have the K.

A pessimist player would consider his hand as limit:

West North East South
1 Doblo Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 4NT Pass 5NT
Pass 7 The end  

2 is natural and shows a limited hand. North sees the possibility of slam and shows his suit with 3, South’s jump to 4 shows club support and a heart short suit. The last part of the sequence is like the previous auction.

We saw two possible sequences to reach 7 using popular calls used by a large number of partners. The advice to find the grand slam is very simple: With a strong hand go slow…