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Bridge 10/31
What do you need to double?
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    Your right-hand opponent opens one no-trump, showing 15-17 points. You double. Assuming that is for penalty, what would your hand look like?
    Many will answer that you need at least as many high-card points as the top of the opener's range: 17-plus points. But points do not always equate to tricks. It is much better to have fewer points and a strong suit that will provide a source of tricks. For example, six to the king-queen-jack and two aces would be great.
    To show that points do not mean winners, this deal occurred during a Chicago game in Naples, Fla., a few years ago. West, with 18 high-card points and a decent diamond suit, thought he was perfectly safe in doubling one no-trump. North, though, having good defensive cards should his opponents run and suspecting that East was destitute, found a well-timed redouble. East, hating the whole enchilada, had nowhere to go.
    West led the diamond queen: three, two (discouraging), king. Declarer played the club jack. West now defended well, winning with his king and shifting to a low heart. South captured East's eight with his ace and led another club, but West won and played another low heart. Although declarer called for dummy's queen, cashed two club tricks, and led a spade, West won with his ace and took two heart tricks.
    What was the outcome? An overtrick, giving North-South plus 1,160. If West had erred slightly, it could have been 1,560.
    Yes, East could have had North's hand, but you should prefer to double with a strong lead, not a balanced collection.
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