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Bridge 10/17

From negative comes positive

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Posted: October 16, 2008 4:18 p.m.
Updated: October 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    Think positively and use the negative double, which is made by responder after partner's opening one-bid has been overcalled in a suit by the next player. Its primary aim is to find a fit in an unbid major.
    Yesterday's deal showed how a responder using the negative double makes a penalty double. He must pass, await partner's reopening double, then pass again, converting that takeout double into one for penalty. Of course, it does not always pan out as the responder hopes, but to compensate, occasionally the responder reaps a surprising benefit from using a negative double — as in today's deal.
    East opened one spade, the higher-ranking of two five-card suits first. South overcalled two diamonds, hoping that his partner would have a few goodies and that three no-trump or five diamonds would be makable.
    His bubble soon burst, though. West might have responded two hearts, but he was a tad light with only eight high-card points. Instead, he made a negative double. And now it was East's turn to make a happy pass.
    Against two diamonds doubled, West led the spade nine. East won with his king and shifted to his singleton club. After West won with the ace and gave his partner a club ruff, East cashed the spade ace and gave West a spade ruff. Another club ruff and two more trump tricks resulted in down three for plus 800.
    Note that East-West could not even make game on best defense. And how would a pair not using negative doubles get this penalty?
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