Source: ABF Bulletins

You might have heard the advice “lead trumps against doubled part-scores”. This is usually sound advice: if you have doubled the opponents at a low-level, your side frequently has the balance of strength, so cutting down the opponents’ ruffing power is a good strategy.

Who do you think should double 3 on the hand shown below?

Dealer South Neither Vul

9 5 2
J 10 8 7 5
K Q J 4
K 7 6 3
A 9 4
8 7 2
A 7 2
J 10 8 4
A 10 6 5
Q 6 3
6 3 2
9 3
K 10 9 8 5 4
West North East South
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Dbl Rdbl 3
Pass Pass Dbl Pass
Pass Rdbl Pass 3
Pass Pass Pass

Between them, East-West have the strength and the trumps to double any three-level contract, but with East and West only able to see thirteen cards each, 3was passed out. Some might find a double based on ‘the sound of the auction’, but this can sometimes lead to disaster.

Playing in her first national teams final, Sophie Ashton realised that perhaps 3should have been doubled. So she heeded the advice above and instead of leading the partnership suit, led a low trump!

After two rounds of trumps, Gosney played a spade through to the Q and K. Ashton cashed the A and played another spade. Declarer could only make two trumps, a spade and two diamonds for down four; +400 and 6 IMPs to SYDNEY 2 when 3 was made by East in the other room. A spade lead would have led to 3going down only one or two tricks.