Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠K 7 2 ♥K Q J 10 6 ♦— ♣A 10 6 5 4
What’s your call?
Despite being 5–5 in the rounded suits, and despite the diamond void, nearly all of the experts like a reopening double with this hand. It is an especially flexible call when partner could be sitting behind the 2♦ bidder with short hearts and a pile of gems himself, sending telepathic images: “Red card, red card, red card.” Falk covers the bases by adding that, in those cases when partner has “a hand with spades that wasn’t suitable for a negative double — say, 5=1=4=3 distribution — this will make an agreeable dummy.”
“Double risks a leave-in compared to 3♣,” says Boehm, “but brings spades into the picture.”
Being the experts that they are, most of the doublers already have the defense mapped out if partner passes the double. “3♣ might be the better bid, but it will likely need North to have four of them to work out,” says Lawrence. “I expect a heart lead against 2♦ doubled and that is just fine. I will have to apologize for not returning a trump when I get in.”
3♣ doesn’t even occur to Meyers. “Double and hope partner can bid something other than pass. I don’t see any other reasonable choice.”
Ditto Sanborn. “No second choice. Would I pass if partner made a penalty double? Sure.”
“I’d prefer not to double with this hand,” says Cohen, “but after partner’s heart lead, I have decent defense. I’d say it is at least 90% that he is passing for penalties. Put another way: If he made an old-fashioned penalty double, I wouldn’t pull with this hand.”
It’s a good thing Kennedy isn’t playing with Sanborn or Cohen on this hand. “I would not have left a penalty double in, hence my 3♣ bid.”
The diamond void also talked Meckstroth and the Sutherlins out of doubling.
“We’re not reopening with a double when holding a diamond void and only three spades,” say the Sutherlins. “We’ll compete for the partial and not worry about going for a number.”
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