Victorian team playoff

April 28, 2009 at 8:40 am 10 comments

This post has been updated 6 hours after being first published. There is now an additional hand, see below.

Please all drop by tomorrow, I have a question to pose which I hope you find interesting. I’d love everybody’s thoughts.

This board was right near the end of a closely fought contest, so it was enough to swing the whole affair.

Board 28
Dlr West
NS Vul






s 9


s AQ7642

At both tables the auction began:


For the Trials team West now doubled, East had no reason to remove that and now, of course, declarer picked trumps, +790.

Dilks for the Pennant team passed on the West cards and Blakeman decided to take the push now that his shortage was less likely to be opposite values. One down and a good swing to the eventual winners.

Although it looks like Blakeman might also have passed out 4S for one down, I wonder how true that is? Is there any case in 4S undoubled for hooking the spade on the basis that East is likely to have a singleton, irrespective of whether there has been a double by partner?


It seems relevant, given the theme and the discussion of it, to present this hand, which took place earlier in the playoff:

Board 17
Dealer North
Nil Vul









Yes, 4H certainly need not be a singleton:

All Pass. -50

In the other room:

All Pass -690

Double turned out disastrously, but is it such a bad bid? Whatever it means, presumably partner has to pass.


Entry filed under: VBA. Tags: , .

To preempt or not, continued. Your bid. Victorian Playoff continued.

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. phil markey  |  April 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    re the second hand

    “Double turned out disastrously, but is it such a bad bid? Whatever it means, presumably partner has to pass.”

    i think double is plenty bad – it strikes me as a kind of “looking at your own hand” type of bid – ie west is thinking “ohh i have the perfect shape to make a takeout double so thats what i’m going to do” – reality is that west having a perfect takeout double isnt whats important – whats important is that his partner has diamonds and doesnt have a takeout double

    in sartaj speak west is being cooperative for the sake of being cooperative – he should be declarative – the kind of declarative that says “we might make 5 diamonds” – double is a neat answer but he forgot to read the question

    much may depend on what east/west have agreed as a style of overcalling but given that east bid 2 diamonds and didnt double then in my system its long odds that east will have 4 spades and short odds that east has 2/3 hearts – in other words the quoted bit is self fulfilling – maybe thats how i’m supposed to read it ? – ie west “knows” east is virtually always passing when he doubles

    if thats right then as west i dont want to double with my excellent collection of second best cards but i do want to take a shot at making 5 diamonds

    • 2. Khokan Bagchi  |  April 28, 2009 at 6:50 pm

      In my book, a typical hand for a double might be:


      The overcaller is expected to pass with a “normal” overcall, but bid on with extra shape eg a 6-4.

    • 3. cathychua  |  April 28, 2009 at 7:15 pm

      Are you saying, then, that with a 6-4 shape, where I would have thought it would be a popular move to overcall the 6 card suit and then double (or bid the 4 carder, depending on the auction perhaps) actually you would not consider that, but would double first and forget about the 6 card suit? Ie some 4162 sort of shape….

      • 4. Khokan Bagchi  |  April 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm

        No, I would always overcall with a 6-4, unless very strong. With the hand you described, I would overcall and pull partner’s double to 4S. With a 2164, I would overcall and pull partner’s double to 4NT.

        • 5. cathychua  |  April 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

          So does that mean on the given hand you simply play 5D instead of 4S – ie you are overcalling on the 6-4 (hypothetically) and then not negative doubling, but raising on the hand opposite? You are happy to miss 4S if this is the case?

          • 6. Khokan Bagchi  |  April 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm

            Yes, because even opposite an average overcall, it seems that you’ll have at least some play for 5D. The hand in the match is clearly an offensive hand, rather than a flexible hand (a double shows a flexible hand). Of course I’m likely to pay out if partner has 4S, but this seems less likely than partner having an ordinary overcall opposite and passing my double, as on the actual hand. I don’t think you should be doubling with a singleton heart and such good trumps, but it’s not the worst call anyone’s ever made.

  • 7. Khokan Bagchi  |  April 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    On the second hand, whilst I wouldn’t double with the west hand (singleton heart, no aces), I don’t think that it’s a terrible bid. I much prefer the 5D call chosen at the other table, though. Incidentally, I play double here as showing values, but with no clear direction. I think that pass by east is clearcut.

  • 8. khokan  |  April 28, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    There’s no real inference that East has a stiff spade at these colours, especially if east is a religious TNT devotee – he could be 5-3-3-2.

    If the defensive play has shown that east holds the HA, it seems pretty clearcut to finesse the S10.

    I would bid 5H over 4S, too, although it could easily be wrong when you hold an ace.

    I disagree with Phil, though, that west could have any non-minimum to double 4S. To me, a double indicates a desire to defend – unless, of course, EW have an arrangement where the double of 4S shows “convertible values” ie the values but not the shape to bid 5H.

  • 9. sartaj  |  April 28, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    “what normally runs through a players head in such a spot is the frustration of not being able to play a nice comfy vulnerable game – that sense of annoyance often leads to mistakes”

    so true.

  • 10. phil markey  |  April 28, 2009 at 11:49 am

    i dont think you can sensibly take an inference that east has a stiff such that you hook the spade – i really think the suggestion that you might do that is hindsight bias

    i am also a bit surprised that declarer made 4 spades doubled – i suspect i may of gone off – anytime west has something that isnt a minimum he will feel like doubling on that auction – i am not saying that it should be common for west to double just that when he does i think there is plenty of reason for thinking it was an ill-advised “point count” type double – if thats right then losing to the doubleton jack of spades is a disaster

    i think west has a pass over 4 spades – 500 may be possible but if your customer isnt prone to finding an overaggro 4 spade bid then your never getting rich and you should take a 50 or 2 and be happy – what normally runs through a players head in such a spot is the frustration of not being able to play a nice comfy vulnerable game – that sense of annoyance often leads to mistakes – i think east has a pass over 4 spades too but bidding 5 hearts at these colours is not something i could get worked up about – it has lots of upside

    all of the decisions on this hand are ones that i would be much better at sitting at the table – i would definately make different decisions against different opponents or with different histories of the previous hands or just with some seemingly unjustifiable view of whats going on


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