Bridge: Nov. 5, 2023

“Ever doubled a contract without even looking at your hand?” Unlucky Louie asked me in the club lounge.

“I’ve wanted to,” I said, “when my opponents had an auction that made no sense. Say they bid ‘one spade-1NT, two spades-2NT, three spades-3NT.’ Opener signed off at three spades, responder bid 3NT anyway. That sort of auction begs for a double.”

“I have a theory,” Louie said, “that if an opponent opens 2NT and his partner passes, the next player should double. Dummy will have nothing, and declarer will struggle.”

“I once knew a player who tried that,” I said. “It worked until his opponents got wise, and the 2NT opener’s partner passed with some points — and then redoubled.”

In today’s deal, East’s double of 2NT was speculative at best. When South leaped to four spades, East declined to double that. West led the ten of hearts, and South took dummy’s ace and led the king of trumps. East won, cashed a high heart and led a third heart, and South ruffed and led a trump to dummy’s jack.

Dummy then led a diamond. East rose with his ace and led a fourth heart, and whether South ruffed low or with the queen, West would score his ten of trumps. Down one.

“I should have doubled,” East said.

East would regret doubling four spades if South played with care. After South ruffs the third heart, he should leave the jack of trumps in dummy and lead the queen of diamonds. East wins, but if he leads a fourth heart, South ruffs. He can then take the jack of trumps, reach his hand with a diamond ruff, draw West’s ten of trumps and take the rest.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable



H A 6 5

D K 9 7 4



S 10 4 3

H 10 9 8

D 8 6 5 3 2

C 8 4



H K Q J 7 2

D A J 10

C 10 7 3 2


S Q 9 8 7 6 5 2

H 4 3


C 9 6 5

North East South West
2 NT Dbl(!) 4 S All Pass
Opening lead — H 10

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