The Control-Showing Redouble

As luck would have it, another hand popped up illustrating yet another meaning of the redouble when I was playing with Peter Shwartz the other day at the club:

As North, I held the following hand with Peter Shwartz being the dealer:

180611_Rbld_Cntrl_N_Only

Peter opened 1♦, my right hand opponent (“RHO”) overcalled 1♠, and, with my decent hand and 5 hearts, I bid 2♥.  (2/1 Learners please note:  a 2/1 bid over an overcall is NOT game forcing, but is forcing for 1 round, and so should only be made with a 10+ point hand.)  My LHO passed, and Peter bid 2♠!

What does Peter’s 2♠ mean?

Since our opponents bid spades naturally, it can not possibly be a natural bid.  In this position, this 2♠ cue-bid sets up a general game force.  It says nothing about Peter’s spade holding nor whether Peter has a spade control; it just commits us to game.  We now can “go slow” and explore slam possibilities as they present themselves.

My response to Peter’s cuebid is pretty much automatic:  most of the time I will bid 2NT as a “waiting bid”.  This does NOT show a spade stopper, but rather gives Peter a chance to describe his hand.  I don’t yet know WHY Peter wants to force to game and the 2NT waiting bid gives him a chance to tell me.  For example, if he has a really good diamond suit, he can bid 3♦; if he had heart support, he can now bid 3♥, setting hearts as trumps and expressing slam interest (with no slam interest, he would have made a direct jump to 4♥).  Peter would be confident that in either case, I could not and would not pass his bid.  (He could also rebid 3♠ to ask for a spade stopper for no-trump).  Occasionally, I might do something else instead of bidding 2NT:  for instance, if I had really long, good hearts and nothing in diamonds, I might just rebid my hearts to get that point of across.

Before I could even settle on my best course of action, my RHO slapped his double card on the table.  Here is the bidding so far:

180611_Rbld_Cntrl_Bddng_to_Dbl

If you were in my shoes, what would your  next bid be?  Would you have just made the default waiting of 2NT here, or is there some other, more informative bid you can now make in this situation?  Click the link below to see the answer.

Continue reading “The Control-Showing Redouble”

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The S.O.S. Redouble

We don’t know why, but our most popular columns have concerned the rarest of bridge bids — the redouble.   Let’s continue our discussion of the topic, picking up where Julie left off last week when she “Stuck it to the Man.”

You are West.  You pick up the following pretty collection of cards:

180505_Redouble_West_Only

With the other side vulnerable, the starts with a pass on your left, then pass by partner and a 3♣ opening preempt on your right.

What is your best bid?

A.  Pass          B.  3♦        C.   3♠
D.  3NT          E.  Dbl

With 16 high-quality high card points, you have to bid something.  But what?  3♦ is out given its only a 4-card suit.  3NT looks tempting — you have a stopper, after all — but you are light on high-card points and there is a serious problem:  on a club lead, holding the singleton Ace, you won’t be able to hold up playing the Ace.  Particularly with partner passing on the first round, it is likely that you will have to give up the lead at least once to establish your long suit (whatever that may be), in which event the opponents will rattle off their long clubs.

So it’s between 3♠ and a double.   Each could work out.  Personally, I have discovered through hard experience that holding 5-3 in the majors, it is better to bid your 5 card major here.  Partner is more likely to have 3 spades than 4.  Responding to a take-out double, he won’t bid your long suit holding only 3.  More likely, he will bid his 4-card heart suit and you will end up in a 4-3 fit instead of a 5-3 fit.  Bidding this particularly weak 5 card suit could be wrong if partner has short spades and long hearts, but it appears to be the least of evils.  So you bid 3♠.

Oops! Wrong choice — your left-hand opponent slams his double card on the table.  Then two passes to you.  What do you do?

Since a preemptive opening shows a weak hand, doubles of overcalls of a preemptive opening are ALWAYS for penalties.    With your terrible 5-card spade suit, you have dug yourself into a hole.   Here is the bidding so far:

180505_Redouble_Bidding_Doubled

Is there any way you can dig yourself out of this mess ?  Click the link below to continue.

Continue reading “The S.O.S. Redouble”

Stick it to the Man (Doubled & Redoubled!)

A couple of weekends ago I traveled to Michigan to visit my best friend, Jonathan, during one of the two annual regionals that take place in the Detroit metro area. We played team games all weekend, which are my favorite, due to the form of scoring and the fact that it allows more down-time with friends between rounds than in a pairs game.

So, we are putzing along on Saturday with a few victorious rounds under our belts, when we wind up playing against a particular Michigan team that we’ve come to know well over the years. One select member of this team is infamous in the community – he tends to act a bit entitled, flashy with his wealth, and generally purports an “above-it-all” attitude. And, at an impressive 6’5″ tall, he tends to be am imposing figure in any room.

We play a few harmless hands in our 7-board match, our opponents endlessly analyzing each previous hand to ensure themselves that they did nothing wrong. Then, around the 5th board, I pick up the following hand:

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 10.29.32 AM

The dealer is Mr. Hotshot to my right, and he opens 1♣. We are non-vulnerable, and I really don’t want to pass this hand. While I hesitate to encourage this bid to aspiring players, I bid 1NT, for better or for worse, showing 15-18 HCP, a club stopper, and (usually) a balanced hand. It was certainly a risk, but I deemed it the “least lie” with this particular hand.

My left hand opponent passes, and to my delight, my partner bids Stayman. Whether or not we have a heart fit, it looks like I will not be punished for my off-shape NT overcall. Now Mr. Moneybags decides to make a Lead-Directing Double, showing clubs. Generally when he opens 1♣, then later doubles an artificial club bid, it tells his partner he actually has a decent club suit and wants partner to lead a club. So, here is the auction thus far:

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 10.42.05 AM.png

The auction is back to you, and the tension in air is palpable — what would you do?

Continue reading “Stick it to the Man (Doubled & Redoubled!)”

An Introduction to the Redouble

(A column of particular interest to newer players)

First things first:  let me say that we are utterly impressed by the dedication of our beginning players to the learning of this very complicated game.  Julie and I have run our Monday limited game for just a few weeks now, and the activity on the 0-49 side of the room is a wonder to behold.  There is a constant discussion and interchange of ideas among the newer players after every hand, and we feel a bit guilty having to interrupt those discussions to move the game along so we don’t get out too far past everyone’s bedtime.

The following hand 14 on Monday evening, Feb. 12 caused a good deal of agida for the player in the North position.  She held the following hand:

Bd14_North_only

The bidding proceeded as follows:

Bd14_Bidding

North, with her 16 count, shortness in diamonds, and at least 3-card length in all the other suits, had made a very nice take-out double. But upon seeing East’s redouble card on the table, our North player had no idea what to do.   She had apparently had not run across a re-double before.  A redouble is, after all, one of the rarest bids in the game of bridge and so it was not surprising that a beginning player would be unfamiliar with the bid.   North had no idea what the redouble meant, or what she could do in reaction to the bid.  Confused and even a bit distraught, she called me, the director.

The only thing I felt comfortable doing as director — and this, frankly, this was pushing it — was to explain the literal meaning of the bid; how it would impact the scoring; and further explain to her that since there were now 3 passes in a row, she had a right to make another bid.  Obviously, I could not advise her what bid to make.  My explanation did nothing to help the situation whatsoever, and, still confused and distraught, she passed.  Two diamonds doubled and redoubled made easily, and the result was a bottom board for North/South, and not a particularly pleasant experience for this new pair to the game.

Three days later I overheard North’s partner discussing with her teacher, Pam Barry, the same hand and the distress it caused.  Hearing the redouble, North’s partner took no action, because she thought that the redouble cancelled the take-out double, so that the double no longer had any impact or consequence.  Pam explained that that was not the case, and attempted to console her student by explaining the bottom board as “that’s just bridge.”

So what exactly does a redouble mean, particularly on the bidding shown.  And what should North (and also South) have done in this particular, somewhat unusual, situation?  Click on the link below to see the answer. Continue reading “An Introduction to the Redouble”