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Andrew’s least favourite conventions (two)

When an opponent opens at the three-level (to show a weak hand with a very long suit), I strongly recommend that you play double as take-out (asking partner to speak) and all bids as natural. There are those who like to play double as penalties and either the next suit up (“Fishbein”) or 3 NT as the take-out bid. They are – unwisely - happy to lose one or other bid so that they can penalise the preempt. Yet playing take-out doubles does not prevent you from penalising the preempt as this week’s hand shows:

South Deals
Both Vul
Q J 10
10 8 7
A J 10 9 8 7
A 5 3
K J 3 2
K 6 5 4
W   E
K 9 8 2
A 9 5 3 2
Q 3 2
7 6 4
A Q 10 9 8 7 6
J 6 4
West North East South
Pass Pass Dbl Pass
Pass Pass
3 × by South

Playing take-out doubles of weak three’s, West passes with his good defensive hand, expecting his partner to reopen the bidding with shortage even with a light hand. East obliges and West converts his take-out double to penalties by passing and leads  K. He follows with  Q, then cashes  A and leads ♠ 5 to East’s ♠ K. East cashes  A on which West discards ♠ 3, then leads ♠ 8 for West to trump. West exits with ♣ 4 and declarer, down to just his seven s, trumps perforce, cashes  A and leads  10. West takes his  J and  K. Declarer is four down and loses 1100 points.

ANDREW’S LEAST FAVOURITE CONVENTIONS: (2) Penalty doubles of Weak Three’s

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