Wednesday, February 08, 2006 3:12 AM

Hand Evaluation - Co-operative Doubles




            I feel take out doubles are only defined for auctions up to and including the 3 level. With auctions at the 4 level & above  , a T/O double turns into a co-operative double. This double is not penalty but unlike T/O doubles , it gives partner the option to pass with a bad hand. You do not do that at the one , two and 3 level but you can get away with it at these high levels. Why ? Partner doubling at this level can easily have the contract beat in her own hand on general strength. You with a flat nothing may go for your life at this level if you bid. With distributional weak hands , my partners bail out with 4NT Lebensohl after a 4 level double.


          At this level you have options. If you have a flat nothing , you just pass and hope for the best. If you have a distributional nothing you bid 4NT which is Lebensohl. If you bid , you expect to make this contract. Bidding at the 4 level and above turns on forcing passes with any vulnerability. The weaker hands in these high level auctions are taken away with Lebensohl & passing. You do not have the “Lebensohl” or passing options at lower levels.


          The above is especially so vul vrs nv . On this vulnerability , you can go for your life bidding with a flat nothing. Passing should be an automatic reflex with a horrible hand . Therefore bidding must show values and turn on forcing passes.



          P-5♣-5-P      This is a forcing pass auction on any vulnerability by the Lebensohl inference. Partner did not bid 4NT so she has values. There we own the auction and forcing pass theory kicks in.


          At the 5 level of course , you never pull the double out of a position of weakness. You only bid if you have slam intentions or a game certainty. If they bid again , forcing passes are automatically turned on.



P-P-6♣-P       This pass is of course forcing as we do not pull the double with a weak hand.


          You have the “Lebensohl inference” with many auctions at the 4 level. . 1-X-4-X or bid turns on forcing passes automatically as you did not bid 4NT Lebensohl. This understanding is very helpful in these type of auctions. Forcing pass theory is turned on depending on the context of the bidding. If your side shows enough strength that you “own the auction” , forcing pass theory applies.