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With only them vulnerable at matchpoints, RHO dealt and passed as did I. LHO opened one club in third seat. Partner doubled (takeout) with the following: ♠ KJ5 ♡AKQJ ♢KJ2 ♣ T53.

I bid one spade, my longest suit. (With the benefit of hindsight, I should have jumped to two spades given my eight high card point, but that's another story.)

Opener rebid two clubs. Partner doubled again. I bid my second suit, two diamonds. LHO bid three clubs, buying the contract. Partner thought about bidding three hearts but elected to pass.W e got a bottom for "selling out" so low.

I was puzzled by partner's second double. Shouldn't he have raised to two spades with his hand? I would have put him on 16-18 points and raised him to three, which was the lowest level where we belonged. Alternatively, he could have bid two hearts treating his strong four card sequence as "five" (Marty Bergen recommends this.). He might also have raised my diamonds later.

Was any of these actions better than his last "pass?"

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    Partner surely can't raise to 2 spades with only 3 spades! You've "promised" only 4, and there are some hands where you might have only 3 - e.g. Qxx xxx xxx xxxx Sep 6, 2023 at 20:14
  • I think we can rule out 3 spades; with no 4-card suit outside of opener's I think it is common to bid the cheapest 3-card suit to keep the auction as low as possible.
    – ruds
    Sep 6, 2023 at 21:48
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    I could agree to bidding a 3 card heart suit in preference to spades but surely not a 3 card diamond suit - people these days commonly make takeout doubles of 1C on something like KQJx KQJx Qx xxx (without agreeing to make offshape takeout doubles in general) Sep 6, 2023 at 22:44
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    @TomAu: Your 1S bid only promises 4 - how can partner raise spades with the 3 they already promised by doubling? Especially since, in response to a takeout double, you should bid 1S with 4-4 in the majors (because partner is overwhelmingly likely to have 4 in at least one of them). Sep 7, 2023 at 19:07
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    @TomAu - also, your partner is too strong in high cards for a bid of 2S - in competition that should limit his hand to about 15. Sep 8, 2023 at 4:23

2 Answers 2

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It's one thing to overcall 1H on AKQJ, and another to double and the bid hearts. I'm sympathetic to partner's course of action. Would you like to play at the three level across from Qxxx xx xxxx Qxx, with trumps likely breaking badly? 2S at the second turn might work out, but wouldn't you like to keep the hope of game alive in case partner has eg Qxxx xx xxxx AQx (many would choose to bid 1S rather than jump with a minimum, a terrible 4-card suit, and wastage in clubs). If partner has a bust with 5 spades, they can rebid them.

No, the fact is that partner has a difficult hand to bid with more defense than offense. If your partnership was supposed to compete another level higher, it's your fault for misbidding your hand and putting partner in an impossible situation.

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After (1A)-X-(?)-1B-(P), a raise to 2B does indeed show a king better than a minimum. However, after (1A)-X-(?)-1B-(some bid), a raise to 2B no longer shows such a strong hand; it just shows a hand with 4 B's. That's because letting the opponents play a 2 level contract when you have an 8 card fit is very likely to get you +50 (or -90) instead of +110, a disaster at matchpoints. In the first case, you have a possibility of buying the contract at 1B (and a second chance to come in if the opponents bid again); in the second case you don't.

All direct raises in competition are weak if you can have sufficient undisclosed length.

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