Monday, September 20, 2004 11:56 PM

Support Doubles - Snapdragon




          Most modern players play support doubles. Support doubles are a by-product of the law of total tricks. A hand has way more offensive potential when we know partner has  4 trumps rather then 3 trumps. Support doubles are defined when the opponents bid in the sandwich position after partner has responded a major . A support double/redouble shows 3 trump. Are there support doubles defined for the overcalling side ? Yes , and for some obscure reason these are called snapdragon doubles. These doubles make sense as it is a horrible practice to double their forcing 2/1 for penalty or doubling for penalty when they are just announcing a fit.


          1-1-1♠-X    the double shows the unbid suit ( clubs and heart tolerance ) . If you had 4 hearts you would Q bid or jump to 3 depending on the strength of your hand. There is a negative inference in this sequence. If you bid 2♣ directly , you should not hold any heart support !   These support doubles are defined at the 2 level also . 1♣-1-2-X      This double shows diamonds and spade tolerance . Again if partner bids 3 directly it is just a suit and denies spade support.


          The snapdragon double is not a strong bid. It sets up sacrifices and gives partner information that you do have the 4th suit for “double fit”  scenerios. If you had a strong hand with 3 trump  and the 4th suit , a Q bid is probably a better bid . You can use the negative inference of Snapdragon to your advantage. Tom & I had a hand tonight where this inference assisted us in defense.  1♣-1-2-3     I held x Axx KQJxxx xxx and bid 3 directly. In the absence of a snapdragon double , Tom knows I do not have spade support.  LHO bid 3 and that became the final contract with me on lead . I chose the diamond king as my lead and the board hit with K109x QJ10x xxx AJ  and Tom showed out of diamonds discarding a club. Declarer won his Ace and led a small heart. I jumped with the heart Ace and cashed two diamonds. I then switched to a small spade and Tom won his queen . Tom had no trouble playing the spade Ace and giving me a ruff for the magic +200 and all the match points. Without the “snapdragon “ inference ,  he might have thought it too dangerous to continue spades ( if I held Jxx of spades )  and switch to a club .


          Some partnerships play that the snapdragon double just shows “tolerence” for partners suit and may be a doubleton. I prefer the double to show exactly 3 trump as that will help partner  make his competitive decisions. In other words , I have modified snapragon to be “fit showing” in the unbid but with 3 trump.  Snapdragon doubles are defined for the minors also . 1♠-2♣-2-X shows hearts and club support or 1♣-1-1-X shows spades with diamond support. Again if partner just bids spades on these auctions do not expect support for your suit !!


Hers is an explanation of Snapdragon from the net .

Snapdragon Doubles

When partner makes a direct nonjump suit overcall and RHO bids a third suit then a double promises 5 cards in the fourth suit plus tolerance for partner's suit, e.g.,

a) 1♣-1-1♠-* shows 5 hearts and 3+ support for partner's diamonds.

b) 1♣-1-1-* shows 5 diamonds and support for partner's hearts..

c) 1-2♣-2-* shows 5 hearts and 3+ clubs and enough distribution to compete to the 3 level.

d) 1-1-2-* shows 5+ clubs and 3 spades and enough distribution to compete to the 3 level (with 4 spades just  Q bid or bid 3 immediately).

          Snapdragon doubles are just support doubles after you have overcalled. They have some tactical advantages but a partnership must decide between these doubles and a Rozenkranz lead directing double in these situations. These doubles do not contradict D.S.I.P. doubles they are just a subset of D.S.I.P. doubles.  Again a decision for established partnerships .