It is not usually a good move to pull a penalty double made by your partner in a heated bidding contest. But, as you will see, this was one of those.
After South’s one-heart opening bid, West overcalled one spade. North was certain that the hand belonged to his opponents. North knew he had little to contribute defensively, but his length in his partner’s suit was certain to detract from South’s defensive capabilities.
North came up with a master stroke, a psychic bid of two notrump. His intention was to correct to hearts at the five level if necessary, should the opponents reach a four-spade contract.
North’s tactic worked better than he anticipated. After South duly raised to three notrump, North corrected to four hearts. When this passed around to West, he decided that his hand was better suited for defense than offense, so he doubled.
The consensus after the event was that East should have pulled the double to four spades because of his trump length and scant defensive values. He elected to pass, and the result was disastrous.
The defenders cashed a spade and shifted to a club. Declarer lost only one trick in spades and diamonds. A contract of four spades was cold.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”
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