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I was called to a table during the first round of a bracket 1 knockout. North, who was in third chair, had opened 1 out of turn.  East did not accept, barring South from the auction.  The auction now proceeded:

W
N
E
S
P
P
4
X
P
?

The question here is: what's double? 

I've polled a number of players and the first 7-8 all said takeout: varying your methods here seems like trouble.  The next 5-6 all said penalty! If East truly had a takeout double, why not accept the 1 call and make your normal double?  Not accepting, much of the time, does result in the offender having to make some off-the-wall bid, so double must clearly be penalty. One jokester told me that West's pass should show hearts and a bid of 1 is takeout.

Unfortunately, our West didn't know what his partner's double meant, so he passed.  Dummy hit with 5 hearts and 4 made.  

Let this be a lesson to all you regular partnerships out there: have methods over unaccepted bids!

One more given to me by a colleague:

I'm called over to a table of novices. Play is going on, so I anticipate a lead out of turn, or a revoke. I try to see which hand is dummy..."Here's the thing.", one of them said. "I never put my hand down, and we've played the first three tricks" All right then.

Oddly, on reviewing, they'd actually played double-dummy, although it was technically the exact opposite!

 

The opinions expressed in this article reflect that of the author and not the ACBL, WBF, or any other bridge organization.

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