Friday, April 13, 2007

The 'kiss'

Playing a 1-day pairs event a couple of weeks ago (ended a disappointing 4th; 1 board from 1st), this typical match-point decision came my way.


I opened 1C, prepared (playing 5-5-4-2 and 15-17 in occasional partnership) nonv vs vul, as dealer and raised partner's 1S response (Walsh-style) to 2S, which only is made on 3-cards with unbal/semibal.

When RHO balanced with 3H, in tempo, what would you do?

I think it's clear to double in matchpoints. Opps are vul and you need to protect your implied score in 2S making +110/140. Partner could be very weak with 3H making and 2S going down at least one with all those 'quacks'. Sure. But the odds heavily favors double; partner rates to have some values both from a statistical viewpoint (busts are rare) and from opp's 1st round silence.


3H went one down for +200, the dreaded 'kiss of death' in matchpoints. This proved to be a shared top while +100 (defending undoubled) had been close to average, actually, with 2S just making. The 14-16 NT-range is popular in Sweden which meant that many opened 1NT instead, burying the spade-fit, and scored +90.

Sometimes 'wild' doubles aren't really wild; just mathematically correct matchpoint decisions. Not always the winning decision, though.

1 comment:

Jan said...

I would never consider to balance with 3H in red with that hand unless against weak opponents. I guess that west wasn't very happy to see partner going one down in spite of his two aces, a king and a favouable lay of the cards!!
Matchpoints is a tough game.
Personally, at the club tournament, it often happens to play 10 contracts (of 20) doubled! High tension and great fun.