Sunday, August 2, 2009

More Beauty : Privilege of transfers

East's takeout double may not be a thing of beauty but he does not really have the textbook hand for a 2D overcall either.

At first glance, Bocchi's 3S bid seems a bit too keen. Partner passed over 1S doubled, there doesn't seem to be much upside in competing.

However, such hands show the hidden costs of the fashion of transfers.
Playing transfers over the takeout double, South has to pass with hands that would normally constitute a 1NT bid. In fact, the Italians pass with upto 9-10 HCP in similar situations. Their style is for the opener, even when minimum, to compete aggressively with shape to compensate.

Having already shown invitational-plus hand by bidding 2S, West can complete the message of balanced-game-force by doubling 3S. It is not a penalty double, just a better statement of the nature of his hand than the 4H call chosen. East, with three unexpected trumps (opposite a balanced game-force) and a singleton has an easy pass.

That is how a sophisticated partnership could have made N/S pay for the privelege of transfers. Yet I suspect their post-mortem would focus solely on the beauty of the takeout double of 1S and not the action that really caused the swing.

Previous post : I lied about the auction in the other room. North played 3NT on the same lead. When North crossed to a club, West had to play his lowest club. My guess is that East took that to be a (non) Smith signal and decided partner did not have the spade queen. He switched to a heart, which seems like an error anyways and that is what really caused the swing.


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  2. I'm afraid I don't agree with you regarding this deal Mr Chimp. East's double (without short spades OR support for clubs) seems like a poor choice and caused most of EW's problems. If the auction starts (1S) 2D (P) 3C, EW should have no trouble reaching the normal 4H contract
    (possibly undoubled).

    Trying to suggest that west should double 3S looks like resulting. Double should be reserved for hands with no clear direction. [xxx Axx
    AKJx xxx] perhaps. On this hand bidding 4H in the likely 8c fit seems normal.

    Regarding North's 3S bid: it does seem pretty agressive, even opposite a partner who could have a weak NT. Perhaps "Privilege of playing 1S (x) P (2S) X to suggest not leading a spade" might be a more accurate title!

  3. It depends on what is the core message of "no clear direction". In my partnership, holding a four card major does not constitute knowledge of the right path.
    In the cases 1H X 4H X; 1S X 3S X; 2S X 3S X; 1S X 4S X; responder neither promises nor denies 4 cards in the other Major.

    All that the responsive double shows is a balanced hand.

    According to their 2003 convention card, Bocchi-Duboin played anti LD doubles. That treatment was probably carried over into this partnership. Still, I dont find the case compelling for bidding spades at the three level to ensure a spade lead (when we have already opened the bidding and partner has denied a reasonable long suit).
    Unless we got hold of the man himself, we can only speculate about his motives.

  4. Update on Bocchi-Brenner agreements :
    1S (X) They play transfers but XX = 9+ hcp with spade misfit.
    Double of 2S would have been 15+, artificial.