Monday, December 8, 2008

Bidding After a Negative Double

This was a hand I kibitzed from the Reisinger final in Boston:
Both vul:
Partner opens the bidding with 1 Spade and RHO overcalls 2 Clubs. You make a negative double (right?), LHO passes and partner bids 2 Hearts, passed to you. Pretty simple situation--what do you do?


kennyz said...

I think the choices are 3H or 2NT. 3C seems pointless, because partner doesn't have a club stopper, so why should I give him an impossible problem? I think I like 2NT because it is most flexible. With 4H and short clubs, he should pretty much always convert this back to H. And if he has something like AQXXX AXX QJX JX I'd definitely rather play in NT than the moysian fit. 3H takes NT almost completely out of the picture, which I'm not willing to do with this hand.

Memphis MOJO said...

You can't raise hearts because partner might have been "stuck" and bid a three-card suit. You can't pass, partner could have a stiff club, four hearts and a random hand that might make game.

That leaves 2S or 2NT. I think I'd take the low road and bid 2S. On some auctions that might show a 3-card LR, but that's usually after a third-seat opener. 2S is more likely (than 2NT) to produce a plus score, and that might be all it takes to win the board.

2NT works if he has Qx of clubs and a decent opener (but it's not so hot if pard has a raggy opener).

Over either 2S or 2NT, pard knows I have some invitational hand and can act accordingly.

After others voice their opinion, let us know what you think is right and what happened at the table.

Becker said...

I found this problem very interesting because few people have discussed what goes on after a negative double. In this case, I am strongly in the 2 spades court. I think that opener will have 4 hearts only about half the time--i think any decent opener with 4 hearts should bid 3 right away. After opener rebids 2 hearts, 2 spades is plenty because a negative double of a two level overcall should show a decent hand. two spades gives you a chance to stop low despite a bunch of high card points if the hand is a misfit, which it could well be on the bidding so far. one more comment to come...

Becker said...

At the table I kibitzed, this was opener's hand:
At my table opener actually rebid 2 diamonds and responder bid 2nt and played there. The play didn't go well and after some bad luck and bad guessing, declarer was down 2. At the other table, opener rebid 2 hearts over the negative double and responder bid (gag) 4 hearts. They escaped that debacle for down 1 to win the board.

kennyz said...

you're right that most pairs haven't discussed negative X follow-ups nearly enough. I don't like 2S because I think it really should promise 3 of them - certainly a matter open for discussion. 2S might have worked ok on this hand (though even looking at all hands it's not clear that 2s is a better contract than 2nt), but it will not work out so well when partner has a hand like AXXXX A109 KXX JX. 2NT is cold and 3NT has good chances. 2S, on the other hand, is dicey and almost certainly loses the board.

Memphis MOJO said...

When I began playing bridge in college (when T.Rex ruled the earth), there was no such thing as Swiss Teams. Every Sunday was a team game, BAM! They were fun and the best teams always won.
At IMPs you have to bid your games. At matchpoints, you bid games, but plus scores are golden.

At BAM, you don't think like that. You always ask yourself: What do I have to do to win this board? Remember I said in my comment that a plus score might be enough to win the board you gave us?

Here's an example. You bid a spade slam. You are off the ace of trumps, so you drive that out. Now, you can take a finesse, let's say in hearts. If it wins, you make your slam, and if it's off, you go down. WAIT! You have a side suit of KJx of clubs opposite Axxx. At IMPs, you play the AK and if the queen drops, you don't need the heart finesse. If the queen doesn't drop, then you fall back on the heart finesse -- you've combined all your chances.

At BAM, it's not that simple. Suppose you play A-K of the side suit, the queen doesn't drop, so now you finesse -- but, if you do that, you might be DOWN TWO -- they win the finesse trick and cash the Q of clubs, and you've lost the board. If you think they will be in the slam at the other table, you have a big problem. See how complex BAM is?

Drew, I'm sure you don't remember me, but I took your photo in Nashville for the magazine.

debrose59 said...

Hi Drew, Hi Kenny. I told Drew I'd visit his site sometimes, and here I am.

On the auction being discussed, this from my system notes with MR may be useful:

After 1M, Negative double could be three-card limit raise (after 1H [2m] - X always includes spades).

If opener makes forced new-suit bid at 3-level, and then responder preferences to 3M, this shows 3-card limit raise. E.g.,
1S -(2D) -X -(P), 3C -(P) 3S = 3-card limit raise

If opener bids freely at the 3-level, responder must bid game with 3-card limit raise.

1S -(2m) -X -(P), 2H -(P) -2S = Doubleton spade, invitational hand (usually four hearts, but could be only three – generally “no guarantees” on negative doubles above 1-level).
With three-card limit, responder must jump to 3S.

pez said...

after talking to 2 very good players i was surprised to hear after 1spade 2cl dbl 2diamonds they both forced to game with 3 clubs. i bid 2nt and went 2 down

Memphis MOJO said...

Happy New Year!