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Snapdragon Double Does it work?

#1 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 00:02

I see the Snapdragon Double displayed on quite a few BBO players cards. But does it really work? 3 players have all showed a suit by the time the bidding gets to you. Now the player sitting in the 4th seat jumps up and says, "Me too! I aslo have a suit," while showing tolerance for partners suit.

Some questions:
1.) What is considered as tolerance? 2 cards if a major? 3 cards if a minor? Something else?
2.) If the opponents steal the contract, have you not roadmapped the hand layout for declarer? Hasn't your eagerness to enter the auction not given away unnecessary information?
3.) How many HCP are required to make a Snapdragon Double?

Would love to know what others think about this bidding gimmick.
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#2 User is offline   peachy 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 01:51

View Post32519, on 2011-December-21, 00:02, said:

I see the Snapdragon Double displayed on quite a few BBO players cards. But does it really work? 3 players have all showed a suit by the time the bidding gets to you. Now the player sitting in the 4th seat jumps up and says, "Me too! I aslo have a suit," while showing tolerance for partners suit.

Some questions:
1.) What is considered as tolerance? 2 cards if a major? 3 cards if a minor? Something else?
2.) If the opponents steal the contract, have you not roadmapped the hand layout for declarer? Hasn't your eagerness to enter the auction not given away unnecessary information?
3.) How many HCP are required to make a Snapdragon Double?

Would love to know what others think about this bidding gimmick.


Nice question, but has nothing to do with 2/1 or SAYC so this should be moved to an appropriate forum.

1. Support is 3+ cards, therefore tolerance is generally considered exactly 2 cards and no-support 0-1 cards.
2. Lead direction is a factor, possible doublefit with partner is a factor. It is not yet determined which side will be declaring, the auction is not over. Overcall does not deny an opening hand so it might well be the overcalling side that will declare.
3. Invitational values. A hand that would show invitational raise if it had support instead of just tolerance.

Other agreements possible, such as the suit quality of the promised suit must be good. Or that 3-card support with no honor is acceptable (or required), or that tolerance doubleton must be honor doubleton. Or that values need not be invitational.

Make your picks and agree with partner how you want to play it.
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#3 User is offline   CSGibson 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 02:19

View Post32519, on 2011-December-21, 00:02, said:

I see the Snapdragon Double displayed on quite a few BBO players cards. But does it really work? 3 players have all showed a suit by the time the bidding gets to you. Now the player sitting in the 4th seat jumps up and says, "Me too! I aslo have a suit," while showing tolerance for partners suit.

Some questions:
1.) What is considered as tolerance? 2 cards if a major? 3 cards if a minor? Something else?
2.) If the opponents steal the contract, have you not roadmapped the hand layout for declarer? Hasn't your eagerness to enter the auction not given away unnecessary information?
3.) How many HCP are required to make a Snapdragon Double?

Would love to know what others think about this bidding gimmick.


1) Two or 3 cards is tolerance. If you have a better or worse fit, you cannot use snapdragon. This is one of the primary benefits of playing snapdragon - the negative inference when partner just bids the 4th suit, saying he either has a very good fit or no fit (With a very good fit, he would bid on later)
2) All bids give information to declarer. That doesn't mean they aren't worth making anyway, because the information is usually more useful to your partner and you in setting the defense.
3) I play that HCP requirements are similar to what would be required for a negative double (I see Peachy and I disagree. I'm of the opinion that this is a powerful tool to diagnose fits after an overcall, and that it should be used aggressively. Waiting for invitational values when one opponent has opened, partner has overcalled, and the other opponent also is in the bidding seems to make this so infrequent of a convention as to be useless.)
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#4 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 13:34

I love it - mostly because a penalty double here seems a little unlikely, so I might as well use it.

Sure, if we end up defending, there's less guessing for declarer; but partner isn't going to go A, out hoping for a ruff when I doubled (and is very likely, given that we play it as honour-doubleton, to try the underlead to the assumed K) - and *will* try it if I bid fourth-suit.

But before we get to defending, partner is much more able to judge the competitive auction "knowing" rather than "hoping" about the state of our fits. This is of course, especially important when our suit(s) outrank(s) responder's, but even without...
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#5 User is offline   Coelacanth 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 13:46

View PostCSGibson, on 2011-December-21, 02:19, said:

3) I play that HCP requirements are similar to what would be required for a negative double (I see Peachy and I disagree. I'm of the opinion that this is a powerful tool to diagnose fits after an overcall, and that it should be used aggressively. Waiting for invitational values when one opponent has opened, partner has overcalled, and the other opponent also is in the bidding seems to make this so infrequent of a convention as to be useless.)


This obviously depends on how soundly you play your overcalls. The Snapdragon double essentially says "partner, I have the 4th suit and some values. If you don't fit the suit I am showing, if you rebid your suit cheaply we will at least be in a playable contract."

Thus, the sounder your overcalls, the lighter your Snapdragon double can be, and vice versa. You don't want to end up in a weak 5-2 fit at the two level with 14 combined HCP.
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#6 User is offline   Siegmund 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 19:39

I found it more useful to use the double to promise Hx in partner's suit and a desire to compete, information he might need on defense as well as to decide what to rebid. Most of the time that meant I had a modest holding in the fourth suit too - and partner was free to bid that suit or find a temporizing call enabling me to bid it, if he didn't fancy rebidding his own suit. Essentially snapdragon but with the uncertainty shifted from the quality of my support to the quality of my holding in the 4th suit.

About negative double strength sounds about right to me.

If you don't have a firm notion of what to expect, then it'd be quite dangerous - especially if you are considering trying to collect a penalty.
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#7 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2011-December-21, 23:41

View Postpeachy, on 2011-December-21, 01:51, said:


2. Lead direction is a factor, possible doublefit with partner is a factor. It is not yet determined which side will be declaring, the auction is not over. Overcall does not deny an opening hand so it might well be the overcalling side that will declare.


If our side has a double suit fit, then the opponents probably have a double suit fit as well. The ensuing gunfight (continued auction) will inevitably be settled by the side holding the boss suit (spades). Have I over simplified this assumption?

I have one final question on the Snapdragon Double.

How many cards does the double promise in the 4th suit? 5-cards or can it be just 4?

Thank you all.
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#8 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2011-December-22, 23:41

View Post32519, on 2011-December-21, 23:41, said:


I have one final question on the Snapdragon Double.

How many cards does the double promise in the 4th suit? 5-cards or can it be just 4?

Thank you all.


I don't know what other people do, but my partner and I are pretty strict -- 2 cards in partner's suit and 5 cards in ours. Neither of us has ever done it with a different shape, but that doesn't mean that the right hand won't someday come up.

About giving information to declarer -- we seem to nearly always end up playing the hand after a Snapdragon double, and the doubler's hand is usually on the table.
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   mycroft 

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Posted 2011-December-27, 12:08

I'm even a little more specific that Stefanie - the double shows honour-doubleton in your suit and 5 cards in mine.

Again, I'm sure we'd violate the agreement with the right hand; but like any violation, if it's wrong, it's 100% the fault of the violator *even if the bad result is also some percentage the fault of partner*.
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#10 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2011-December-28, 07:05

I think that snapdragon is an old term that people would be better off discarding. I suggest replacing it with "competitive", which makes it more clear that these doubles are not so different from doubles in a thousand different early low-level auctions. The hands with which you would make a competitive double vary on the precise auction.

For example, after (1C) - 1D - (1H) you would double with different hands than after (1D) - 1H - (2S weak). The strength requirements are different, and the expected suit lengths are different. The minimal strength for a "snapdragon" double at a higher level is higher, and a higher level snapdragon double is less precise in terms of shape. Actually, a double in the first auction should definitely not be called a snapdragon double as you should just bid 1S with 5 spades and 2 diamonds.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#11 User is offline   JLOGIC 

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Posted 2011-December-28, 07:28

All low level takeout Xs need fancy names imo.
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#12 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2011-December-28, 10:48

View PostJLOGIC, on 2011-December-28, 07:28, said:

All low level takeout Xs need fancy names imo.

Good point ;)

What is the new name for the direct double of (1x), which formerly was called a takeout double because it usually had support for the unbid suits?
"Bidding Spades to show spades can work well." (Kenberg)
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#13 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2011-December-28, 18:22

For years I've thought it was called a takeout double because partner was expected to take it out. Shows how much I know.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

- hrothgar
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#14 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2011-December-29, 03:21

It used to be called an "informatory double" because it showed support for the unbid suits.
... 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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#15 User is offline   aguahombre 

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Posted 2011-December-29, 08:50

View Postgnasher, on 2011-December-29, 03:21, said:

It used to be called an "informatory double" because it showed support for the unbid suits.

Ah, yes. Today, they might call it the "less informatory double".
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#16 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-16, 16:06

Regarding the Snapdragon Double, what is the expert consensus on the following?

1. The minimum number of HCP promised by the fourth hand? (6-7-8-?)
2. The minimum number of cards promised in the fourth suit? I have heard some absolutely insisting a minimum of 6-cards in the fourth suit. Others have been heard to say a 5-card suit is sufficient if it is a reasonable suit e.g. AQJxx. Do you agree or disagree with this?
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#17 User is offline   chasetb 

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Posted 2012-May-17, 12:16

While I don't play Snapdragon, I would go with honor-doubleton in partner's suit, and generally a decent 5-card suit. However, unlike some other people, I would also do it with 3 baby cards in partner's suit if balanced, and/or a weakish 6-card suit. I would say you should have a minimum of 7 HCP, but where the honors are and the spot cards are more important than outright HCP.
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#18 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2012-May-17, 23:54

View Postchasetb, on 2012-May-17, 12:16, said:

While I don't play Snapdragon, I would go with honor-doubleton in partner's suit, and generally a decent 5-card suit. However, unlike some other people, I would also do it with 3 baby cards in partner's suit if balanced, and/or a weakish 6-card suit. I would say you should have a minimum of 7 HCP, but where the honors are and the spot cards are more important than outright HCP.


Chasetb, I doff my hat to you. Thus far you have been the only person to venture a suggestion to my question in post 16 above. I like your suggestion that the double promises either Hx (doubleton) or 3 small cards in partner’s suit. Having upvoted your post, I have borrowed this idea from you and expanded on it below in an attempt to dissect the Snapdragon Double further.

I want to make the following suggestion and then allow others to shoot it down from every conceivable angle. As we later sift through the shrapnel and debris, hopefully something will emerge that can be considered workable.

As a starting point –
1. Once the opponents have opened the bidding, a takeout double by the next player promises an opening hand as well and (normally) support for all unbid suits.
2. A takeout double, later followed up with a bid of one’s own suit would indicate a stronger (and unbalanced) hand. With a strong balanced hand, the player sitting second can overcall 1NT.
3. A simple overcall (normally) shows anything from 8-16 HCP (vulnerability and partnership aggressiveness will both play a role here). The fact that an overcall was made (versus a takeout double), would indicate –
...a. An unbalanced hand not able to support all the unbid suits,
...b. A hand with less than opening values, or
...c. An unbalanced hand without extra values (see 2 above)

Here is the lowest possible hypothetical auction incorporating the Snapdragon Double: 1-1-1-X
What have we already learnt from the auction?
1. Between the first 3 players, a minimum of 26 HCP are already accounted for, 12 with opener, 8 with overcaller and 6 with the player sitting in third seat.
2. The player sitting in third seat is holding a 5-card suit and at most 3X (with at least 4-4 in the majors, a negative double would have been made).
3. The Snapdragon Double indicates a player willing to compete at least to level 2 on a 5-2 fit (could possibly be 5-3 if we allow chasetb’s suggestion), but more importantly on a possible 5-2 (or 5-3) fit as well. So how many HCP do you expect to find in the fourth hand? Before answering, let’s consider some more variables:
...a. If you end up playing in the suit (especially on level 2 or higher) you better have something decent, as the opener, the player with the most HCP, is sitting behind you. If he rates to win more tricks than you in the trump suit, then your Snapdragon Double was made on a hopelessly inadequate suit (strength and/or length).
...b. 2X down 1 can still be a good score. 2X down 2 will inevitably be a bad result.

Therefore, just looking at point 3 above, I would expect the player sitting in the fourth seat to hold a minimum of 8 HCP and, either a 6-card suit or a decent 5-card suit. In line with chasetb’s suggestion, the location of those HCP are more important than outright HCP.

As an afterthought, with a double-fit (or partial double-fit), how does the player sitting in the second seat encourage a mild game try even though the HCP appear to be evenly split? The bidding has given you the HCP distribution and the hand layout. You can now use that to your benefit and (possibly) bid a thin game. The player sitting in fourth seat with 3 small cards in partners suit could easily be persuaded that there is enough potential in a double fit to bid a thin game.

How about this:
A cue bid of the opponent’s lower ranking suit as merely competing for the part score in fourth players suit and a cue bid of the opponents higher ranking suit as a mild game try? Bidding either suit directly second time round is to play and a signoff.

Any thoughts?
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#19 User is offline   dake50 

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Posted 2012-May-18, 18:12

What would you have this double mean?
Support? Cards? Penalty?
Fourth suit with tolerance seems reasonable.
Right you are to clarify its HCP, suit quality.
I'd expect Jx support, KJ10xx suit as minimums
for 2-level Snapdragon. Higher can't ask much more HCP,
(this auction claims most of the HCP) so 6-suit to K10
at 3-level, catch-as-catch-can at 4-level.
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#20 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2012-May-18, 18:40

View Postdake50, on 2012-May-18, 18:12, said:

I'd expect Jx support, KJ10xx suit as minimums
for 2-level Snapdragon.


I think that if you need this you will wait forever to have a Snapdragon double, and might as well not play it.

Besides, I think that having suit-quality requirements mitigates the usefulness of this convention. Most of the time you will end up in two of partner's (usually) major, but if partner has 3+ cards in your suit you may play there. Also you may pass information on the degree of double fit, useful for later rounds of bidding.

Quote


Higher can't ask much more HCP,
(this auction claims most of the HCP) so 6-suit to K10
at 3-level, catch-as-catch-can at 4-level.


If I were to play Snapdragon at the 3-level, I suppose I would require a good 6-card suit. Don't think I would do it though, and the 4-level is out of the question.
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