LHO Pard RHO You
1 Pass 2 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
4NT Pass 5 ??
Your hand is: A76 7542 KQT 963
Yes, with this hand you would make a lead-directing Double, hoping to set up your Diamond trick before Declarer can draw trumps and pitch away the Diamond losers (presumably on the Heart winners). Of course, you don’t know for sure that the Diamond lead will beat 6, but you do know that it has a better shot than a Club lead.
That Double as a lead-director is a standard treatment when they are in a forcing auction and we double their artificial bid. Now try this one:
LHO Pard RHO You
1 Pass 4 ??
The 4 bid is alerted as a splinter raise … in other words, your RHO has shortness in Diamonds and game-going values with support for Spades. We hold the same hand as before. Do we double for a Diamond lead? No, of course not. In fact, it doesn’t matter what our hand is, it does not seem very useful to demand a lead in a suit where they are known to be short. So, with that in mind, consider adding this useful treatment to your arsenal:
When we double their splinter bid, we are asking for a lead in
the suit below.
So, over that 4 splinter, a Double would ask for a Club lead. And, over a 4; splinter? The suit below is actually Hearts (not Spades, of course, that is the trump suit).
That hand we gave at the beginning of this article is a perfect lead-directing Double if they splinter in Hearts.
Try this one: 5 986 9853 87542
The opponents get into a power auction, and you take a quick nap. When you awake, you see that it is your lead after the following:
LHO You RHO Pard
1 Pass 4; Pass
4NT Pass 5 Pass
6 Pass Pass Pass
Yes, of course, it’s another case of the dog that did not bark in the night. If Partner had really wanted a Heart lead, he would have doubled the 4 splinter. If he really wanted a Diamond lead, he had no way of asking for it. It’s a small inference, but a real one. So, lead a Diamond, maybe Partner holds that hand that we started with.
After Their Splinter Double
You open 1, and Partner makes a splinter bid of 4. Let’s assume that, in your methods, this shortness-showing bid can be either a singleton or a void. Next, there is a double. Leaving aside what they actually mean by this splinter double, let’s look at our counter-measures.
That Double has given us two extra bids … Pass and Redouble. Let’s use them wisely, here’s one way:
Pass Denies the Ace of the splinter suit, and invites Partner to Redouble if his splinter bid was made with a void. If the splinterer fails to redouble (he might cue-bid 4 or 4, or bid 4, for example), he denies the void.
Redouble Shows the Ace of the splinter suit. Actually, a cue-bid of 4 or 4 should also show the splinter Ace (as well as something in the cue-bid suit). How so? Well, if we really wanted to find out about a 1st round Club control from our splintering Partner, we would simply have passed the double of the splinter.