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Doubling Slams by Bob Crosby


Doubling freely bid slams in IMPS should be lead directly only, never for penalty no matter how badly bid . Why ? The mathematics of the IMP scale dictates that strategy. Years ago the winning pair at a Calcutta bid stupidly up to 7 vul. An opponent had K9xxx of hearts and doubled for penalty. What happened next was the biggest swing of the tournament – the 7 bidders pulled to 7NT and made it for +2240 ! The par result for that board was +1400 for a small slam bid and made. The opponents were about to win +1600 or 17 IMPs instead they lost 13 for a 30 IMP swing !!. If the opponents stayed in 7 doubled they would have received +500 instead of the +200. They would have won +1900 instead of +1600, +1900 is 18 IMPS ! In effect they gambled 30 IMPS to win 1 single IMP. The mathematics of the double makes it a reckless bid.

In this years Calcutta, the opponents bid to a silly 6 slam. You are on lead with xx AKxx Qxxx xxx so you make a penalty double as they are going down right ? Wrong, LHO pulls to 6NT and partner now must find the heart lead. He does not and you lose 13 IMPS as the par is a vul game. You were about to win +750 which is 13 IMPS instead you lost 11

IMPS for switching the lead. Your double of 6 would have netted you +200 or +850 which is still +13 IMPS !! Your double would have gained you ZERO IMPS but you lost a 23 IMP swing. The double was just an atrocious bid.

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