2024 Retro Edition – January Week 3

What’s your call?

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
Pass Dbl
Click to reveal awards

August Boehm, Larry Cohen, Mel Colchamiro, Allan Falk, Geoff Hampson, Betty Ann Kennedy, Daniel Korbel, Mike Lawrence, Roger Lee, Jeff Meckstroth, Jill Meyers, Barry Rigal, Steve Robinson, Kerri Sanborn, Don Stack, The Sutherlins, Steve Weinstein
The Thoroughly Modern Double

Weinstein explains that the modern style is to play double here as takeout. “My shape isn’t perfect, but I have extras.”

Boehm uses the more technically correct, “modern, who-knows-exactlywhat-it-means-but-it-transfers-theproblem-to-partner double” to describe his action.

Robinson plays that his double here is for takeout. “I’m showing a very good hand.”

The Sutherlins’ double “shows about an extra ace and is more takeout than penalty.”

Korbel and Cohen advocate an overthrow of the system if double, in this sequence, is penalty. Says Korbel, “Nobody plays it that way anymore. If partner chooses 3 , I’ll be guessing again, but any other call and I’ll be very well placed.”

“Everyone plays double for takeout today,” says Falk, “so if partner passes, we’ll decimate them (the opponents). And if not, we’ll be in a decent contract. If partner bids 3 , he’ll have at least a five-card suit. Bidding 2NT with a half stopper or 3♣ on a weak suit does not appeal. Hopefully partner will make a good decision, and if it is a pass, we will collect at least 300. If partner bids diamonds, we will pass.”

Waiting till problem No. 2 to complain this month (“You’re not being nice.”), Lawrence riffles through the bidding box cards to find 2NT. “If East had passed, I would have bid 2NT. Now my hand is not worth that much. Even passing could be right. Double is poor whether you play it as penalty or takeout. I guess 2NT, but partner won’t realize how big my hand is on this sequence. At least it leaves him some wiggle room and it does allow us to get to 3♠ if he has a weak spade raise.” Then, second-guessing himself, “Passing might be the winner. Perhaps partner can double 2, probably for takeout, and I can bid 3♣ …”

Hampson thinks 2NT is the superior bid. “I don’t want to risk the double, leading us to a silly diamond contract. So I make the value bid short a half a stopper.”

Lee chooses 2NT. “Because making a takeout double leaves me poorly placed if partner bids 3 , I’ll show my general shape and strength. I don’t like 3♣; partner will expect less strength and more shape and, in particular, better clubs.”

Sanborn says 2NT is what she would have bid had it not been for the overcall. “East’s 2 hasn’t changed my mind.”

Kennedy tries 3♣. “I’m too strong to pass, nor do I have the right type of hand to double. All that’s left is to bid my second suit. 2♠ is tempting.”

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