When to Double and When to Bid On

One of your toughest tasks as a bridge player will be to decide when to double the opponents and when to bid on in a highly competitive auction. When both sides have long trump suits, it will often be the side with the higher-ranking suit that wins out.

Those annoying opponents will do their best to make life difficult, especially when the vulnerability is in their favor (you are vulnerable, they are not).

The form of scoring can make a difference in your decision. Say this is your hand:

♠ AKQ106 ♥ AJ105 ♦ 65 ♣ K5

This is the bidding with you as South. You are vulnerable, the opponents are not.

You know you are going to defeat 5 ♦, but to compensate for your vulnerable game you will have to beat it four tricks for plus 800. That might be in the offing, but chances are you won't get 5 ♦ that much. It's probably best to bid on, hoping partner has the ♥ K and a singleton diamond and that the ♣ A is to your right. The fact is that plus 300 or 500 will be a poor score, and if you go down in 5 ♠ the difference between plus 300 and minus 100 won't be much.

In a team game, you can't afford to speculate. If you bid one more for the road and go down, you might lose a vulnerable game swing if your teammates don't find the save at the other table. At teams, you will profit in the long run by just taking the plus score. Double 5 ♦. If partner has an exceptional hand, she can always pull it. Your double is a suggestion, not a command.

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