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Retro Edition

Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠K 7 2   K Q J 10 6   —  ♣A 10 6 5 4

West North East South
1
2 Pass Pass ?

What’s your call?

2 2♠ 2NT
3♣ 3 3 3♠ 3NT
4♣ 4 4 4♠ 4NT
5♣ 5 5 5♠ 5NT
6♣ 6 6 6♠ 6NT
7♣ 7 7 7♠ 7NT
Dbl Pass
Click to reveal awards
Bid Award
Dbl 100
3♣ 30
2 0
Panelists
August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, The Coopers, Allan Falk, The Gordons, The Joyces, Betty Ann Kennedy, Mike Lawrence, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Karen Walker, Bridge Buff
The “standout double”

Despite being 5–5 in the rounded suits, and despite the diamond void, nearly all of the experts like a reopening double with this hand. It is an especially flexible call when partner could be sitting behind the 2 bidder with short hearts and a pile of gems himself, sending telepathic images: “Red card, red card, red card.” Falk covers the bases by adding that, in those cases when partner has “a hand with spades that wasn’t suitable for a negative double — say, 5=1=4=3 distribution — this will make an agreeable dummy.”

“Double risks a leave-in compared to 3♣,” says Boehm, “but brings spades into the picture.”

Being the experts that they are, most of the doublers already have the defense mapped out if partner passes the double. “3♣ might be the better bid, but it will likely need North to have four of them to work out,” says Lawrence. “I expect a heart lead against 2 doubled and that is just fine. I will have to apologize for not returning a trump when I get in.”

3♣ doesn’t even occur to Meyers. “Double and hope partner can bid something other than pass. I don’t see any other reasonable choice.”

Ditto Sanborn. “No second choice. Would I pass if partner made a penalty double? Sure.”

“I’d prefer not to double with this hand,” says Cohen, “but after partner’s heart lead, I have decent defense. I’d say it is at least 90% that he is passing for penalties. Put another way: If he made an old-fashioned penalty double, I wouldn’t pull with this hand.”

It’s a good thing Kennedy isn’t playing with Sanborn or Cohen on this hand. “I would not have left a penalty double in, hence my 3♣ bid.”

The diamond void also talked Meckstroth and the Sutherlins out of doubling.

“We’re not reopening with a double when holding a diamond void and only three spades,” say the Sutherlins. “We’ll compete for the partial and not worry about going for a number.”

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