A Bridge Phantasmagoria




The “double entrendre” is a gambit employed by the sophisticated conversationalist or the smart playwright or even the bawdy comedian, but the point of contention here is not so much the double meaning, but the meaning of the double.

Here is the hand that caused all the trouble.

Game All: West deals


H 84
D AQJ1073
C Q10


S 852
H AQ10
D 952
C 7432


S KJ1093
H J62
D 8
C A865


S 74
H K9753
D K64




















East led the jack of spades and declarer won the queen and played clubs. East won the ace on the second round and persisted with spades. Declarer took ten tricks and gratefully marked up a score of 950 points.

“Darling,” said West. “My double called for a heart lead. I win and return a spade and we put them two down for 500 and a difference of 1450 points.”

“But dear,” replied East, “I assure you that your double categorically requires me to lead my own suit at least according to any text book which I have read.”

The sting in the tail of this remark which carried the inference that West had not had a higher grade education as far as bridge was concerned, did not seem any the less potent by reason of the flashing smile which accompanied it.

Referring the matter to Goren, an accepted authority, we find the point dealt with in his book under the heading “Doubles of 3NT contracts.” I quote. “The double of a 3NT contract by a player not on lead, carries with it certain inferences:

If the doubler had bid a suit his partner must unconditionally lead that suit even although he might have a singleton and a fine suit of his own.

If the opening leader has bid a suit, his partner’s double requests him to lead that suit.

When neither the leader nor the doubler have bid a suit, the double is a suggestion to partner to lead the first suit bid by dummy, unless he has a very fine suit of his own.

Unfortunately Goren does not elaborate on this in any way, apparently considering that this is all that the subject warrants, but West returned to the fray both practically and impressively,

“If I have the hand which you seem to expect, a fit in your suit and some side strength to justify a double of 3NT, then surely I have a raise to Two Spades. I can hardly be expected to refrain from raising in the fond hope that opponents will subsequently bid up to 3NT and I can double them. After all with such a hand, we could have the part score or a good sacrifice and an immediate raise is the best course. I thought it would be clear that I can only have dummy’s suit and can double Four Hearts if 3NT is taken out.”

This argument seemed so loaded with good common sense that it deserves serious consideration. Personally, I am fully persuaded that it comes under the category of the exception that proves the rule. “What say you?”


by Carl Dickel