Sunday, 2 January 2011

REBECCA ROOD'S MAILBAG................
Dear Rebecca,
I never know what to do for the best. Why just the other day I was dealt a blizzard , with a 2-5-3-3 distribution and not a single card higher than a nine. My partner's take out double of the opponent's opening 1D was immediately met with a resounding redouble by my RHO.
Not that familiar with my partner's bidding style, I didn't want to bid 1H for fear of it being interpreted as a free bid showing some values. Yet a pass would obviously put pressure on my partner to find a bid, causing me to be fearful of a 1S response based on a less than robust 4 card suit. We were vulnerable, and I thought that the redouble released me from having to bid on such a wretched hand. Moreover, there was every hope that my LHO might bid again. Unfortunately he didn't, and my partner did indeed bid 1S. This of course got whacked for 4 off and minus 1100.
And boy did I get it in the neck, especially when it transpired that 1H might only go two off doubled for a half decent score. What's your take on this ?
Yours forever barking up the wrong tree Elma Birch
Dear Elma,
The most common situation, where it is essential to use the free bid, is when your RHO doubles your partner's one level opening bid. So by having insufficient values to redouble, any free bid by you simply flags up scattered values, and of course the best spot to be in.
In one respect, the redouble could release you from any obligation to bid, and in some bidding systems a pass in your position could be taken as strong ( possibly indicating a penalty pass ). However, if you are playing a bog standard system, a pass is not to be recommended at all. If your partner becomes declarer in any suit other than hearts, your hand is utterly worthless. However, if you bid a heart. which partner should and ought to recognise as weak, then he must remain very disciplined ( and pass throughout ), leaving you in control. Now, if you end up as declarer in a doubled one heart contract, your hand now offers some trick potential. Therefore, in circumstances where you seem to have no partnership agreement or understanding, just use plain old common sense and trust your partner to use his.
Yours hoping I've got to the root of your problem, Rebecca

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