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Support double: what if opener passes?

#1 User is offline   ceblair 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 05:02

At partner's request, I have agreed to play support doubles. I have been unpleasantly surprised to find that he expects me to use this convention on any hand with three cards in responder's suit. For example, I am expected to double after a one-spade response and a two-heart overcall with S xxx H Jxx D AQx C KQJx. I have been further surprised to learn that this treatment is recommended in mainstream presentations. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea.
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#2 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 05:38

No you are not alone. For example Richard Pavlicek is on your side.

http://www.rpbridge.net/7y16.htm#3
http://www.rpbridge.net/8w24.htm#4

However, I am not.

I think the value of a convention is not only when you employ it, but also when you don't.
If playing support doubles I think it is extremely valuable if you know that any other action denies 3 cards in partner's suit.
For example if partner rebid his suit he will imply 6 cards and he sometimes can double knowing that you have at most two cards in his suit.
Therefor I would not pass with 4333 playing support doubles. I think support doubles are not worth playing if you give up this inference.
I readily admit there may be times when another action could look better than Double. That`s in my opinion one price of this convention.

It seems to me that more people have come around this view in the last years.

Rainer Herrmann
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#3 User is offline   mgoetze 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 05:38

View Postceblair, on 2015-September-04, 05:02, said:

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea.

Probably not, but if you are looking for people to agree with you maybe try the Novice/Beginner forum instead?
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
    -- Bertrand Russell
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#4 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 06:31

If support doubles are agreed I think it is implicit that they are mandatory. Of course you don't make a support double with 8 cards in your own suit, and probably not with 7 either. And you may also make an exception for subminimal 3rd seat openers. But generally, your agreement is that any other call (including pass) denies 3-card support, and partner will make use of that information.

That is not to say that everybody thinks it is a good idea to play it that way. Fred, for example, once wrote that he prefers non-mandatory support doubles.
... I am not at all keen on arriving at the 4 level with no idea of where our fit(s) might be. --- Zelandakh
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#5 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 07:12

View Postceblair, on 2015-September-04, 05:02, said:

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea.

Certainly not but it is a regional thing. In the UK and America it is common to allow the support double with any range or even for it to be mandatory for all hands with 3 card support whereas in France it is normal for it to show extras. In Germany the traditional meaning was taken from the French, showing extras, but they are currently trying to move over to the more relaxed definition.
(-: Zel :-)
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#6 User is online   mikeh 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 12:07

View Postmgoetze, on 2015-September-04, 05:38, said:

Probably not, but if you are looking for people to agree with you maybe try the Novice/Beginner forum instead?

So I have to limit my posts to the Novice/Beginner forum now?

I know I may be in the minority, altho I suspect I have some pretty good company, but to me a pass in a support double situation doesn't deny 3 card support. It does say that 'if I have 3 card support, I have a horrible hand'.

Sometimes the opps' auction has devalued a minimum opening bid. In that case, we may be best off out of the auction unless responder has the values to keep the auction alive.

Here is but one of many obvious situations:

1(P) 1 (2) Jxx Jxxx KQJx Ax

Do I really want to play in 2 opposite a hand with only 4 spades and mediocre values, such that he would pass 2 if I pass? Do I want to suggest playing 3 opposite Kxxx xx xxxx QJx?

Moreover, when I do make a support double, partner can be comfortable that if he tries for or commits to game, dummy won't be underwhelming.

Note that I don't require much in the way of 'full values'. I won't even say 'extra' because there are hands with minimal hcp on which I would double. I happen to think that playing them as 'mandatory' means that one is required to stop thinking at this point in the auction, and I really don't have much time for methods (other than answering relays or puppet/marionette actions by partner) that require me to stop thinking.

FWIW, I would make the double on the posted hand of xxx Jxx AQx KQJx after opening 1. I still have an opening bid if I discount my heart J, and I own 3 controls, a potentially useful Q (accompanied by the A) and good clubs. This would be a minimum double for me. Had I opened xxx Jxx AQx KQxx, I would pass....it is that close.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#7 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 12:11

I think it should show a hand where you actually want to bid.
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#8 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2015-September-04, 12:14

View Postmgoetze, on 2015-September-04, 05:38, said:

Probably not, but if you are looking for people to agree with you maybe try the Novice/Beginner forum instead?


But how could a topic like this really belong anywhere but in the Expert forum?
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#9 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2015-September-05, 15:26

There's a whole continuum between 'mandatory' and 'shows extra values'
I would certainly double both on the original posted hand and on Mikeh's putative xxx Jxx AQx KQxx but that's because I play a style where we open virtually all 11s

But I don't know anyone (other than perhaps rhm?) who genuinely plays it as 'mandatory'. I'd pass on Jxx QJx KJx KJxx. Or Jxx QJxxx Ax KJx (which is a systemic 1C opening for us).
If you don't think any of those hands are opening bids, then there still has to be a hand that was a minimum opening bid to start with and has got worse.
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#10 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2015-September-05, 19:38

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#11 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2015-September-05, 22:20

Rainer's thoughts pretty much echoed my own. I always double (or at least never pass***) with 3 card support. Yes Mike you can have Jxx Jxxx KQJx Ax and doubling can get you to a 4-3 fit, but bad things can happen by passing too. Maybe partner is 5224 with a minimum response and fails to compete with his QTxxx of spades, anticipating we don't have three spades. Maybe partner is 4234 with something extra, reopens double, and doesn't pass our 2 bid since that generally shows a doubleton after we failed to make a support double. If I can't even be sure it's wrong to double on a hand where I have bad offense and length in their suit, then why not make it mandatory and pick up all the inferences that go with it? Like if I open 1 then don't make a support double for partner next round, I must have 4+ clubs never 3. I have long thought they should be mandatory for these reasons, and I think public opinion has shifted a little in this direction recently.

*** If I have another bid to make other than pass, and my hand is very lopsided, then I won't double, like xxx Kx x AKQxxxx I will bid 3 after 1 P 1 2.
Please let me know about any questions or interest or bug reports about GIB.
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