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The Flexible Double

Playing match point with robots on BBO, you open 1 with

South
K10832
8
A9
KQJ74
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
?

LHO over-calls 2, presumably a maximum passed hand. At the balancing seat, what is your plan?

Your spades are not worth a second bid. Passing does not feel right. 3 is too risky -- you might not have a fit, especially if hearts don't break well for them. What about double?

In the best case scenario, partner has two heart stoppers and some scattered value to make 3NT. If chances for a game are slim, then passing for penalty could be a winner. It gets awkward if partner bids 3, however, partner probably have five or six of them, and you can survive with a ruff by the short trumps -- just be sure to insert your singleton heart between the two diamonds when you put down the dummy.

You double, and the robot across the table bids 2, ending the auction.

West
J94
AKQJ5
1043
83
North
Q5
106432
765
A65
East
A76
97
KQJ82
1092
South
K10832
8
A9
KQJ74
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
2
P
P
X
P
2
P
P
P
?
D

LHO starts with two high hearts. You ruff the second, then play carefully to take nine tricks.

A majority of your peers bid 3 at the second turn, saw 4 across the table, which was followed by a disappointing dummy. A few passed 2, which was made easily. Your 2 making three turned out to be the only plus score, earning all the match points.

Notice how conservative the robots are with the bidding box. At favorable vulnerability, I would open 1 as west, and Bergen will likely approve a 2 opening by east. I am quite sure I can get enough votes to justify both bids. This also explains why sometimes a slight over-bid can get severe punishment from robotic partners. But they will never dump me as a partner even if I make no contract but silly mistakes.

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