Matchpoints. Both vulnerable.
♠10 9 6 5 ♥Q 5 ♦A 4 ♣Q J 9 6 5
1. Weaker than without takeout double.
What’s your call?
Because game in a major requires only 10 tricks, experts often bid a major in preference to bidding a longer minor. Ten panelists chose 2♠.
“2♠,” said Jeff Meckstroth. “This hand is not worth any more at this point. If we have a game, partner will bid again.”
“What’s the problem?” asked Kitty and Steve Cooper, who voted for 2*S*. “If we have a game, 4*S* is the most likely one. The hand is not strong enough for any other action.”
“Takeout doublers are usually happiest when their partners bid the other major,” said Karen Walker.
“The problem with 3♣, planning to bid 3♠ later, is that there might not be a later,” said Larry Cohen.
Robinson agreed with 2♠. “It would be nice for a double to show four spades, but it shows the minors,” he said.
August Boehm agreed with Robinson. “2♠,” he said. “Double should deny four spades, so it’s now or never.”
“2♠ starts the bidding towards 3♠, our most likely game,” said Kay and Randy Joyce. “Double would work better if partner has only three spades. Bidding 3♣ may bury our spade fit.”
“This hand is worth a bid, but not a jump,” said Don Stack. “An alternate route is to bid 3♣ followed by 3♠ if the opponents compete. I’m rejecting that route.”
“This is a cheery 2♠ bid, but no more,” said Kerri Sanborn. “I don’t like responsive doubles with four in the advertised major, and I don’t like bidding a five-card minor ahead of a four-card major. I realize that it could be more convenient to bid 3♣, then 3♠ if they compete. But what if they don’t compete?”
Jill Meyers was willing to take that chance.
“3♣,” she said. “I think they will compete to 3♥, and then I will bid 3♠. If I bid 2♠ and they compete to 3♥, I don’t want to bid 4♣.”
Six experts doubled.
“Double,” said Linda and Robb Gordon. “We will correct 3*D* to spades. This will imply clubs.”
“Double denies spades or shows a balanced raise to 3♠, suggesting only four spades,” said Barry Rigal. “With spades and competitive values, I bid them.”
“I double and, over the expected 3♦ bid, will try 3♠ to show spades and clubs,” said Mel Colchamiro. “Spades is where the money is.”
“Let’s find a 4–4 spade fit, if it exists, and avoid a 4–3 spade fit,” said Peggy and John Sutherlin.
“There’s no reason to bid 2♠ and risk playing a 4–3 fit when clubs may be better,” said Betty Ann Kennedy. “I’ll keep partner in the picture.”
“Double will be the minority answer,” said Allan Falk. “Most of the panel believe, wrongly, that a responsive double here denies four spades. My spades are lousy and there’s no reason to risk a 4–3 fit.”
The various answers showed disagreement as to what a responsive double promises. The most likely game is in spades.