If you look to the right you are seeing more than double, and if you play bridge these days you must sometimes feel that you are hearing more than double, for the double has become a very popular offensive bid. Because the double now serves two purposes—as a takeout to show the strength of your hand and as a way to punish overenthusiastic opponents—it is doubly complex. See how you fare with the following hands. If you score 120 or more you can double for me; between 80 and 120 means nobody will give your bidding a double take. Less than 80? Oh my. Double up on your homework.

In the first 15 hands both sides are vulnerable, dealer's bid is shown first and your position in the auction is indicated by the question mark. What do you bid?


[Ace of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[9 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[7 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[King of Clubs]
[Jack of Clubs]
[9 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[King of Diamonds]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]

—2. Cash two top hearts in any order—minus 2.

The obvious danger is allowing East to gain the lead so that he can play through your king of spades. An immediate finesse against the heart queen loses an unnecessary trick if West holds the blank queen of hearts, but it is far superior to running the totally unnecessary risk of losing a third-round trump trick to East. You don't mind losing a trick to West, since he cannot attack your spade control. Minus 2 is hardly penalty enough for cashing two top hearts.