27 March 2012

Stop Doubling Backwards!

A strange convention has come to my attention. I don't know where it came from but I'd like to send it back.

Consider this auction:

1 Pass 2* 2

*Natural but forcing to game (2/1 style).

If you don't play 2/1 then imagine another GF auction, say:

2 Pass 2 2

Do you do this?
Action Meaning
PassEither penalties or doesn't fit double
BidLots of shape

This is what I call a backwards double. You have to pass when you want to double and double when you want to pass.

A takeout double asks partner to take action because you feel it is right but don't have a suitable bid yourself. Asking partner to bid in an auction that is already forcing makes little sense. I suggest the following system:

Action Meaning
PassNothing to say
DoubleI want to penalise
BidSuits or shape worth bidding

1 comment:

  1. Takeout doubles are much more flexible than penalty doubles. They keep the auction open for a round, meaning that you can double and bid to show a much greater variety of hands: X then bid, pass then bid, bid straight away, pass then pass a double, etc. They just allow for so many more auctions. Similarly, (1NT) X (run) X is so much better treated as takeout than penalty.

    The only benefit I can see of your scheme is the ability to make a penalty double, but this is a false benefit since it is exactly the same as passing a takeout double. "Nothing to say" seems to cater for very few hand types, but with these you can just X with a shortage, or pass then find another bid with some length in the overcaller's suit. It loses all of the nuances and extra options provided by takeout doubles and is therefore inferior, IMHO.