Be prepared isn't just the Boy Scouts motto. In some auctions, a support double will force your partner to compete to the three-level on a minimum hand. Partner may hold: ♠Qxxx ♥xx ♦Axx ♣xxxx for his 1♠ response. Be prepared! Don't put partner under pressure unless your shape/values compensate for his weakness.
Double is fine. If partner needs to correct to 3♣ holding something like: ♠ xxxx ♥xxx ♦Kx ♣QJxx, 3♣ will be playable.
Double is risky. With a 3-card club suit, you can not tolerate a correction to a likely 4-3 fit in 3♣. How will 3♣ fare opposite: ♠ xxxx ♥xx ♦KQx ♣Qxxx?
Now double is OK. Playing a 4-3 fit at the two-level is a risk you can accept
The support double is far more effective if used with discretion. Bids other than support double should not absolutely deny three-card support. Your most descriptive rebid may conceal your three-card support. For example:
Bid 2♣ . The primary value of your hand is the club suit and you do not have enough high cards to drive to 3♣ on your own. Therefore you must choose between rebidding your clubs and showing your support; the club suit is the more significant feature.
Double. This hand is strong enough to show both features. You will bid 3♣ later to show your clubs. This sequence promises a hand good enough for a jump rebid to 3♣ and shows three-card support.
Pass. Your "courtesy" opening was made in deference to the modern desire to open all 13 counts. There's no reason to encourage partner to bid further.
Bid 1NT. You have a double spade stopper and flat shape. The hand will play well in NT. NT, not heart support, is its primary feature.
Pass or bid 1NT. The worst time to make a support double is with a strong four-card holding in the suit bid by the opponents. If LHO were to raise to 2♠ , would you want partner to compete to 3H?
Andrew Gumperz is a bridge author and bridge pro from Berkeley California.
Check out his other writing below or leave him a message on BBO.
Gumperz Bridge Blog: http://andrew-gumperz.blogspot.com/
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