What is the meaning of North’s double on the second round? Many players nowadays use it as a Support Double. This shows three-card spade support without giving any clue as to the strength of the hand. Another possible meaning, popular in the Good Old Days, is that the double is for penalties. This deal was played in Austria and North meant his double as ‘strong and for take-out’. How would you play the spade game when West leads his three top hearts? Declarer ruffed the third round low, please to see East follow, and cashed the bare queen of trumps. He then tried to reach his hand by playing on clubs, ruffing the third round. Not the best! West overruffed the third club and exited with a diamond, locking the deal in dummy. Declarer had no safe way to reach his hand, to draw the outstanding trumps. Whether he played on doamonds or clubs, this would promote another trump trick for West. The contract went one down. Did you spot the right line? After playing the spade queen and the two top clubs, declarer should have played two top diamonds too. West could not then end-play the dummy when he took his overruff.

South’s 2NT shows 20-22 points. What, if anything, would you say on the West card?


You can be nearly certain that 2NT will fail on a club lead and the best idea is a penalty double. It’s true that this make it slightly easier for North to escape into Three of a major, but if the opponents are using transfer responses North could have done that anyway. You have no reason to expect to make nine tricks in 3C, so that would not be a good bid.
Awards: Double-10, Pass-7, 3C-3.

David Bird — Knight Features