Monday, June 28, 2010

Are Redoubles Ever Worth It?

Watching a match between 4 International Players on BBO the other day, I saw a hand that had every type of thing a spectator could want, high level decisions, redoubled contracts, some great and some not so great bids, in other words lots of fun for us. Not quite as sure about the fun level for some of the participants, these kinds of things can make your hair go more grey.

Here is the hand in question.

After 2 passes, East started with a normal 1H, and South overcalled with a normal 2C. West got the excitement started with a nice 4H bid, and North had the first problem of the hand, do you bid with this hand and the bad Spade Suit or not. He finally decided to pass, as did East. And now South surprised North with an unexpected 4S bid. This ran around to East, who made a great defensive bid of 5C, which his partner converted back to 5H, so far so good.

This is where North started to lose his mind, in my opinion. You have heard the cue bid of your partners suit on your left, you have 5 card support for your partners second suit that he freely introduced at the 5 level, hos many black suit winners do you really expect on defense on this hand? I think the clear bid here is 5S, this is IMPS, take out the insurance. But our North doubled, based on his hopefully 2 defensive tricks, and whatever partner could contribute.

And now it was East's turn again. He had got to the position he had wanted to be in, and he is also not sure how many losers he has on this hand, but decided to force the issue with the Redouble. I am not sure if he was not happy here and was hoping to pressure the opps into running, or he really thought he had them. If the latter, why the redouble, how much real defence does he have on this auction, and partner promised negative values on defence with the 4H bid.

Anyways, it appears poor South and East are along for the ride at this point, as it swings back to North, now starting to doubt the soundness of that earlier double. So deciding to finally believe West, he retreats to his undisclosed 5 card support finally. Now West, pleased with his earlier 5C call, setting the defence for the only hope to beat this, doubles, hoping he can get a third trick from somewhere. Perhaps 5H doubled was not so bad after all?

And finally, we come back to North. Having voted for defence, then ran, he now decides that maybe he had a superb hand on offence after all, and he Redoubles this, ending the auction. So a simple hand that should have quickly wound up in 5S doubled, where West gathered a bunch of IMPS based on a great 5C call, got pretty convoluted on the way there.

There was nothing to the play, West ruffed the automatic Club lead, cashed the A of Hearts, and waited for the A of trumps.

But earlier, he had options for a nice easy +650, assuming he picks up the Hearts, which he upgraded and downgraded to +200 (instead of -850 if he bids 5D), and finally was gifted with a free extra +200, to almost break even with anyone allowed to play 4H :)

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