1

If opener bids, say 1 NT, his partner becomes the team "captain" on further bidding because the NT opener has strictly limited both his point count and "shape" with such a bid. That is, partner can bid 2 clubs (Stayman) or any number of "transfer" bids, and opener has to rebid the appropriate suit.

But suppose the opponents intervene, and the bidding goes:

South 1NT West 2 spades North pass East 3 Spades.

North has (s) Jxxx (h) xxx (d) xxx (c) xxx. Is it North's prerogative (captaincy) as to whether or not to double, knowing that South has at least 15 hcp and (probably) xx in spades? Put another way, should South refrain from doubling on the off chance that North has both a Yarborough and a void in spades, even if South has good spades?

3

This is nonsensical reasoning.

In any sort of team game you would be frequently doubling the opponents in to game (minus 530 or 730) for a long shot at a doubled set (of plus 100 or 200). To make matters worse, the double will just refine the ability of declarer to place defensive cards properly, which is already tuned by the 1NT opening. This is simply losing bridge. Even at match-points, white against red, I cannot conceive of a game situation where I am not better off to try and get a plus by defending better than the field.

Further, captaincy in defense is a separate concern than in bidding. In defense, the captain is the partner who first figures how to maximize defensive tricks, and is most often the defender with the most points. Captain, once that is known, is entitled to lie with defensive signals while non-captain should only make mandatory false cards and otherwise signal honestly.

  • Upvote for "Captain, once that is known, is entitled to lie with defensive signals while non-captain should only make mandatory false cards and otherwise signal honestly." But doesn't NT trumper's partner, with Jxxx know more about the bad trump distribution (declarer's side has only 7), than NT bidder knows about the combined trump holdings (4-0, 4-1, or possibly 4-2)? And I thought of having East bid 4 spades, (alleviating concerns about doubling into game), but decided it was too far fetched for them to go there with only 7 trumps. – Tom Au Aug 4 '15 at 22:31
  • And quite often the only way for Declarer to make the contract is to key him on the bad distribution by doubling. Don't double for a one trick set unless you know where all the defensive tricks are coming from, and the play to collect them all. What are you going to lead from Jxxx-xxx-xxx-xxx to collect your tricks and not give a free trick to declarer? How is partner going to avoid being endplayed? Are you sure partner didn't open 1NT with singleton K of spades? Can Declarer run a side suit to force your last trump out without losing control? – Forget I was ever here Aug 5 '15 at 9:09

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