Interesting hand 6

Kay Vowles (playing with Geoff) kindly supplied this hand

I opened 1 with 18pts and a very shapely hand, AK108, AK108, A6542, Void. Left hand opponent overcalled 3, having 7 clubs to AKQ and not much else.Geoff and RHO both passed.

I doubled, meaning it for take-out (Geoff and I treat doubles of an opening pre-empt as being for take-out and it seemed to me reasonable to treat an overcall pre-empt the same). Geoff bid 3and I raised to game and made 11 tricks. I didn’t look for slam as Geoff had passed the first round.

Geoff had 7pts, Q97642 Q Q9 , J432.

However we had a conversation after about whether the double is correctly for take-out in these circumstances, over a pre-emptive overcall. What would you play it as? If it is for take-out then logic would suggest that if the overcall was a 4 level pre-empt, then double would also be for take-out. But that would get a bit hairy, suppose it went 1– 4– P – P - Dbl – then partner would have to come into the bidding at the 5 level which is a bit scary. On the other hand I guess you have to trust your partner…

Also Geoff could have left the double and converted it to a penalty double, though hard for him to do that without knowing what a strong hand I have. But actually taking it out was much the better option as it happened.

Hope you don’t mind us asking - what do you think?

The replies

I've just mastered how to access the interesting hand but can't have it in front of me when replying, so this is from memory.
I think that the hand would qualify for one of the 2D we use -8 playing tricks with the expectation of making at least 3 trump tricks, bearing in mind the club void, and 5 outside top tricks in the majors. However, 1D was opened and I would consider the jump overcall in clubs to be 6 clubs and a spattering of points rather than a 7 card pre-empt. Perhaps LHO could have called 4clubs?
However, 3clubs was called so I would think that the double would be for take out, but if feeling adventurous the partner could have overcalled the 3clubs with 3spades. Perhaps not, but I would have been tempted, thinking that I had a 6card suit also.
Almost certainly a slam is on, if not scored in this instance. If LHO’s hand had not much else than AKQ clubs he must have one or two of the missing spades as a spade void IS something else. Thus, a slam is on, the jack would drop, the trumps are otherwise high for cross ruffing (clubs and hearts) and the diamond loser can be disposed of on the second round of hearts.

There is a good discussion of this situation in Laurence`s book "The Contested Auction".

"Whenever you have the shape for a TO double, you should do so , virtually independent of HC strength" , however, with something like xxx in the overcall suit even a strong hand should be cautious of reopening.

Double for TO with the hand shown ,is automatic.

I think that the majority of strong club players would treat a double of the pre-empt at the 3 level for take-out, (but can be left in by opener for penalties, not this hand though). The re-opening double by opener is clearly for take-out

A pre-emptive overcall at the 4 level causes much more of a problem. Again a re-opening double by opener is for take-out (optional). A double of a game bid as overcall at the 4 level I would treat for penalties, but over a 4 of a minor I guess for take-out (again optional). Holding 4 cards to the jack in opponents trump suit is not really good enough to leave a double in for penalties

One further point , on the hand opener could have bid 4 clubs over opponents 3 clubs after the two passes, this is definitely for take-out, and suggesting a very strong 4441 hand or better. 6 spades will make unless spades are 3-0 and diamonds 5-1 against. I’d be happy to settle for 4 spades plus 1 or 2

We are all going to get a lot of these hands wrong

Defending a 3 opening is not the same as defending against the 3 club overcall in this case. My partner suggests a double for takeout and 3NT to play but we need to discuss this. No problem with the double by opener after two passes, that must be for takeout, though I might leave it in if I had 5 good clubs. Am not sure what a bid over the 3 clubs would mean. Probably very encouraging but non forcing!