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In the usual situation, South opens one spade, West doubles for takeout, and North passes. If East wants to "convert" the double, they need a very strong trump holding, in fact one that is likely stronger than South's since East is sitting in front of the declarer.

But here, with nobody vulnerable at matchpoints, North deals and opens one spade. East passes with the following: ♠ QT987 ♡ 82 ♢ AK5 ♣ K76.

South passes, and West "balances" with a takeout double, showing about 11 high card points and shortness in spades.

Can East now pass for penalties sitting behind North? (I would not do this if West doubled South whom I would be setting in front, of as declarer.) Or could it be that the principle regarding needing a weaker holding in this position is right, but the trump holding is still too weak to "convert"?

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  • At the level of 1S, I would bid 2NT. You do have a nasty surprise to declarer, so if they had competed to 2S I would double. May 20, 2023 at 20:18

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Just bid 2 No Trump to describe your hand. Taking "views" in the auction is known as Top-Or-Bottom bridge, and it's a losing game.

A reasonable estimate is that you will take 1 less trick playing Spades than No Trump, due to South getting a ruffing trick. Then the scoring works out as:

  • 7/6 tricks: - 50 in 2 NT and - 80 in Spades;
  • 8/7 tricks: +120 in 2 NT and +100 in Spades;
  • 9/8 tricks: +400 in 3 NT and +300 in Spades
    or +150 in 2 NT and +300 in Spades.

Under this assumption, the only time Pass wins is when Partner is unable to raise to (a makeable) game yet you still manage a 2+ trick set; or somehow you're not making a trick better in No Trump than in Spades.

You will be endplayed on this hand, whether as Declarer or Defender, given those minor suit controls. Would you rather be endplayed at Trick 2 after seeing Dummy? Or on Opening Lead without knowing Partner's hand? I know I'd prefer the former.

The time to pass 1 Spade Doubled is not when you have a hand playable in No Trump - it's when you have a hand that wants to play in Spades, even against the marked 5-something hostile split. That means a hole in some other suit where opponents can set a No Trump contract.

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