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LC Standard -- Doubles

Negative doubles are played through infinity. Many players mark their convention card: "through2" or "through3." This is not a good agreement. If you are writing "through3," do you mean to tell me that when the opponents overcall, say,4, that you all of a sudden expect to have a trump stack and want to double 4 for penalties? Pretty silly. I recommendNegative Double"through infinity." In fact,the higher they bid, thelesslikely you are to ever be dealt a penalty double. Doubles on any level should NOT show length/strength in the opponent's suit. They should all be takeout/cards. So, don't limit yourselves by marking through2 or3.

After any overcall, responder cannot make a penalty double (he can pass and hope opener doubles for takeout, and then he can leave it in).

In general, the other major(s) is promised. If responder can't stand a suit that opener selects, he needs to have a backup plan (often tolerance for opener's first suit). If the opening is 1-of-a-major and they overcall the other major, a negative double typically shows both minors.

Responsive doubles are also played through every level. They are used if the opponents bid and raise. It doesn't matter if partner makes a takeout double or an overcall:

W
N
E
S
1
X
2
X
and

W
N
E
S
1
1
2
X

are both responsive, showing the minors.

An important area to discuss is what happens when the opponents bid two suits over partner's double:

W
N
E
S
1
X
1
?

This is a matter for partnership discussion. It is still viable to play South's double as responsive/cards i.e., "not penalty". However, many players prefer the double in this situation (no bid-and-raise) to be penalty. My personal preference is responsive in all situations. When you actually hold the suit responder bids, make a "cue-bid", which is natural. When filling out the convention card, note not only what level you play responsive doubles through, but also if they apply only for bid-and-raised suits or in all situations.

Maximal doubles (game try doubles) are played if we open (or overcall), partner raises our major, and the opponents bid the suit exactly below our suit on the 3 level.

Example:

W
N
E
S
1
P
2
3
?

  • Double = game try, says nothing about wanting to penalize hearts
  • 3 = to play

Support doubles (andredoubles) are played through 2 of our suit. They are on no matter what suit we respond in (on the 1 level). If the opponents overcall 1NT, they are still on. They are on by a passed hand. They are on even if our responder promised a 5-card suit (such as: 1 (1) 1). If the opponents bid 2 of our suit (or higher), the double is just card-showing. If they actually bid our suit (1-(P)-1-(2)), then double just shows extra values.

Card-showing doubles is another way to say "do something intelligent". In general, unless there is a partnership rule stating that a double is for penalties, then it isn't for penalties.

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