Aug 082002
 

E/W Vul
IMPs
Dealer: South
Lead: D5

maureen
S 6 4
H A K Q
D A J 7 4 2
C A K 10
Icecarr
S A 3
H 10 7 6
D Q 6 3
C 8 7 6 5 2
[W - E] Maestro
S Q J 9 8 7 2
H J 9 3 2
D 10
C Q 9
martial
S K 10 5
H 8 5 4
D K 9 8 5
C J 4 3
West

Pass
Pass

North

2NT
Pass

East

3 S
Pass

South
Pass
Dbl

 

The Bones Principle, as enumerated by its inventor, runs as follows: “When defending versus Gee, if he is to play the hand, wait until he stops bidding; then, no matter your hand or the auction, double for penalties. It will be the winning action in about 90% of the cases.” However, he also carefully notes that the Principle “is more aptly applied to those hands where, if you were to look at your hand and the auction, you would never double against an advanced declarer.”

With these discriminations in mind, let us consider South’s double of Gee’s 3S bid in today’s auction. (I know it’s my duty to consider the 3S bid itself — red vs. white, six-bagger to the QJ9, South passed making slam unlikely, and hey wait! isn’t that a four-card outside suit? — but I just don’t have the heart today. Sorry.) Is the double an application of the Bones Principle? Yes and no. On the one hand, South waited until Gee was finished bidding, assured himself that Gee would declare, and doubled. On the other hand, with South’s holding, opposite a 2NT opener, he is assured of a good-sized penalty even with Soloway declaring.

To be scrupulous, then, what we have is an application of what I would call Bones’ Lemma: If Gee has finished bidding and is to declare, and you expect to defeat the hand regardless, then double emphatically.

A casual inspection indicates three hearts, a diamond, two clubs and a trump for the defense, for 800. One line, and one line alone, yields Sticks and Wheels. Gee wins a second diamond after the defenders have cashed four red tricks, leads a low trump to the ace, and finesses the 9 on the way back, playing South, the doubler, for a stiff. 1100. It’s on purpose, I just know it is.

  3 Responses to “Bones’ Lemma”

  1.  

    As a matter of note, I would NEVER double “EMPHATICALLY’; it is unethical in any form of the game except ‘party night’ at the local club or at home in a friendly and slightly intoxicated game. I may, however, quietly ask my opponent if he wishes to play for money.:)

  2.  

    3S looks like a death wish to me. But without total disrespect for your opponents, can one ever become a great player? Isn’t megalomania a pre-requisite for greatness? Trust your ability, and let your ego take you to great heights. Who cares if you fall a little along the way, or a lot for that matter.

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