Chuck Arthur


The scene is a quasi-regular match in the club IMP league. You deal as South; both sides vulnerable.














West North East South
pass  2   pass  2  
double  redouble pass ?? 


2 was your only forcing opening; 2 was artificial promising at least a King or 4 HCP.

What do you bid now? Make your decision before opening the comments on this blog entry.

Check back here in a few days when I shall post the North hand.


John CunninghamOctober 25th, 2010 at 1:46 am

Lovely. Assume that the double has no non-diamond connotation, since no alert given. Assume that partner is not babbling. Pass would be forcing, after all. Redouble presumably suggests playing here. I would expect a flattish hand with at least 4 very good diamonds opposite. You have a minimum, and no slam aspirations, now.

I think, if you are going to bid, that SMOLEN applies here. (on the assumption that partner’s hand is not skewed. I would like to consider bidding 3 spades, particularly if partner is untrustworthy. But that inference will escape partner, I expect. And to Hell with the post mortem. This is ugly. I pass.

Peter DeLucaOctober 25th, 2010 at 7:20 am

It seems that partner is happy to play 2dxx if I hold 3 small diamonds. My singleton tells me to run so I would bid my 5 card suit 2h and await partners next bid.

roger allenOctober 25th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I agree with Peter DeLuca. After all, partner’s redouble is only a suggestion to play in 2Dxx. I bid two hearts. If partner continues with 2NT I bid 3S.

Paul D EastOctober 25th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

The redouble is a suggestion to play 2DXX. But it only a suggestion.

I think I need at least a diamond doubleton to consider playing here.

I bid my 5 card suit.

LindaOctober 25th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I think the Smolen idea is interesting but how will partner know it’s smolen? Maybe 3d would get both majors in play and will probably right side things. If partner bids ant I will pass and we might be better in 4h but if partner has really good diamonds as the auction suggests maybe 3nt will work out even if we have a 5-3 diamond fit

NickOctober 25th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Since the double of 2D showed a diamond suit by LHO, partner’s redouble should show a good hand. I would bid 2H, and wait for partner’s bid.

MarionOctober 26th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I was the doubler on this auction and I learned something from it: Do not double for lead directing the conventional 2D bid unless I have a way to stop the 2Dxx contract.

On the other hand, I think there would be very few partners who would pass the 2Dxx with your hand having 2 majors and minimum pointcount.

ross taylorOctober 26th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I dunno – pass seems pretty normal here

David LindopOctober 26th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I’d pass with a trustworthy partner. After all, we can afford to lose five tricks and still make 2D redoubled. We can afford to lose 3 or 4 diamond tricks if West actually has a good diamond suit. More likely, West was simply doubling to suggest a lead. If we make this, maybe they will keep out of our auctions in the future!

Cam FrenchOctober 26th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Partner is key here. Pass should show a balanced probably 2NT rebid.

So redouble should show a strong preference for playing there. I think (and David noted) partnership trust is key here.

I expect to make it on power.

I would pass. Punish them.

If we chalk up -1000 we will discuss system over a beverage after the game. 🙂


Ross AndersonOctober 26th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Chuck , I would bid 2 hearts. I think the redouble asks you to bid. If partner wanted to defend 2 diamonds doubled and redoubled I think he would pass which is forcing expecting you to only bid 5 card suits or redouble. I think partner has a strong roman hand such as AKQx AKxx void AKxxx or balanced hand with diamonds wide open (ie. AKQx AKx xxx AKx). If he had a roman hand with diamonds such as AKx x AJxx AKQxx I think he would pass and hopefully wait for the redouble and if you bid a suit he will bid the appropriate game expecting 5 cards in the suit bid.In fact I think pass suggests that partner definitely has no 5 card major (and maybe no 4 either) and that any major suit game will probably require a 5 card major suit from you. Without a 5 card suit outside of diamonds I think partner is commanding you to redouble.


ChrisOctober 27th, 2010 at 8:53 am

I believe partner wants to play 2Dxx. Who am I to argue? My hand is pretty minimum and slam is not yet on the horizon. The opponents have given us the opportunity to pick up a score that is either better or worse than we would have got on our own and I think the odds in this instance favour better. Either way it’ll be fun to watch. Oh, I have to play it? Er…

Marty DeneroffOctober 27th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

We have no idea what partner’s hand looks like except that he holds a mountain. No reason he can’t have a diamond suit. I believe his xx shows that that is what he has. I would pass and expect to write down a really big number on our side. Of course, it is most unlikely we will play 2DXX – one of the oponents will probably run out, and then the question becomes do we want to double what they bid or play in our own game. But both vul, I think the odds favor a bigger score defending.

Esther GoldmanOctober 27th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I’m going to pass. We have at least 26 HCP; we should be able to take 8 tricks in diamonds. What are they doing in our auction anyway?

Steve UngerOctober 27th, 2010 at 5:00 pm

3 diamonds. This should uncover any major suit fit

Doug DrewOctober 27th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

3 diamonds, looking for a ‘normal’ result. Let partner bid her mountain; she doesn’t want to play here.

Ron 'the Cardinal' BishopOctober 28th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I think posters are missing the main point; at no time so far did opener promise a balanced hand… if he could pass 2Dx to do that, he would … if he had his own suit he would bid it and could also bid 3D as TKO(or 2NT if he wanted a NT type dialogue to take place)… so XX must be diamonds; yes it takes some trust but it’s also bridge logic

Chuck ArthurOctober 31st, 2010 at 4:23 pm

At the table, I bid 2 hearts (much to the dismay of partner), so I guess that I should register that as my vote. However, I am persuaded by the arguments from those who passed. If I had to do it over again, I would pass. For one thing, it will make a great bar story. Here is a summary of the responses:

pass 8

2 hearts 5

3 diamonds 3

abstain 1

Partner’s hand was





I’m not sure that that is a 2 club opening, but there you have it. That’s five tricks in Aces and Kings; I’m sure that I’ll be able to scramble at least 3 trump tricks. Double dummy, 9 tricks are available playing in diamonds.Worse, 3 notrump doesn’t quite fetch..

Debbie BennettNovember 5th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I pass, partner suggests this is playable spot, west’s lead

Mike HamiltonNovember 6th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

The strong bid of a bidding system should be played the same way in any position so no “light” 2C opening bid. A 2C opening shows one of two hand types. The first is a balanced hand of 22+ HCP. The second kind of hand is for suit play and so shows 9+ playing tricks in a suit yet to be named.

Since 2D is an artificial bid, the opponent’s double of that bid is a lead-director. This does not necessarily show diamonds, although I think it should. Given that nobody yet knows what kind of hand the 2C opener has, I would want a double of 2D here to promise a suit and a safe lead in case 2C is showing a balanced 22+.

A redouble of a double of an artificial bid should show something specific. I would play the redouble as a takeout bid, requesting my king. Here, I would jump to 3S to show the king and extra values. As a declaring hand, I have 5 playing points in spades and 6 playing points in hearts. As a supporting hand, I have 8 dummy points in support of either major, 9 in hearts if I count an extra point for the 5th trump.

I don’t interpret the redouble as penalties, to play. Even at this vulnerability, you want down 3, and if we can take 8 tricks on defense with our cards, we should surely be able to take at least 10 declaring our own contract. The vulnerability should dictate that the opponents’ double of 2D is a sound bid which should lessen our chances of earning +800 on defense.

If this is all wrong, it’s a bidding misunderstanding to be discussed over beer at Board #65.

Mike HamiltonNovember 6th, 2010 at 4:25 pm


This is not a 2C opening bid. It lacks the requirement of 9+ playing tricks. When the suit is a minor, the requirement is 10+ playing tricks (one trick short of game-in-hand, or better). The hand has a losing-trick count of 3, less than its 5 quick tricks – that’s good.

This is a button-popping 1D opening bid. The hand has 2 fatal flaws for offense. The first is a weak primary suit. Of your 3 losing tricks, 2 are in your long suit (unless the defense carelessly crashes the top cards). The second flaw is the bare top honours in the short majors which should scream “blocked suits”. After the fact, we can see the problems in communications between a strong hand with bare top honours and a weaker hand, but this shouldn’t be too hard to see when bidding.

On the given auction, after my jump to 3S, you would probably bid 3NT and I would pass, taking your call as a final decision after my show of extra values.

If the defense leads a diamond, that helps. You either get a free finesse for the 10 or RHO wins a top diamond. That gives you time to lead diamonds from hand until you can establish long-card tricks. With luck, you’ll win your 6 top cards and 3 diamonds.

On a club opening lead, you would try the 9 in dummy, hoping to force the queen and develop dummy’s jack as an entry to lead a diamond toward your hand. If the 9 is covered by the 10, you win and immediately return the suit.

On a major-suit lead, you must win in hand perforce and decide whether to repeatedly lead diamonds from hand or try a club to the jack for a diamond return toward your hand. Alternatively, you could consider clearing the top hearts and hope for a 3-3 split which would give you 8 tricks with chances for a 9th in the minors. This is about a 25% play.

This deal is a misfit with blocked suits. Double-dummy, the best result looks to be +110 or +140 in hearts or maybe +110 in clubs. After a 2C opening, you’ll never get there, and my bidding approach left no chance.

Mike Hamilton

Steve MackayNovember 13th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Hi Chuck,

No need to add to the comments of those who would pass. All their observations seem “standard” to me. Yes, I think that most would treat XX as an offer to play there. (I suppose you could agree to some other interpretation.)

But if this seems strange, let me remind you of a cousin. Sometimes, when we encounter what seems like an unfamiliar (and maybe strange) bid and we want to try to unravel its meaning, it may be helpful to ask if the situation resembles other situations we are familiar with.

How about this auction?

1NT (P) 2C (X)


Most would interpret XX by opener as “they may have made a mistake” (i.e. five reasonable clubs or four very good ones). This XX is safer if you do NOT play Crawling Stayman as partner is then usually marked with some values.

You might say that this is more clear when we know opener is not unbalanced; when he opens 2C he could have any shape. Yes but, as Ron (Bishop) says, most play that pass usually shows a balanced NT in this and similar auctions.

There are, by the way, some excellent treatments (in addition to XX) in the above auction starting with 1NT.


Abraham BirenbaumDecember 17th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Oct.25 I would bid 2h and pull the redouble.

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