Bridge teacher and writer Larry Cohen tells his readers and students not to let opponents play contracts at the two level. I’m pretty much on board with this, though I’ll usually concede a 2♠️ contract and I’ll always consider vulnerability and opponents.

Two instructive boards tested me in an afternoon of OK Bridge Internet competition.

On the first, sitting North, with East dealing with North-South vulnerable, I held these cards:

♠️ A K 8 7
♥️ Q 10 7 3
♦️ J 5
♣️ J 3 2

The bidding proceeded as follows:

East            South          West          North
1♦️             Pass             1NT            Pass
2♦️            All Pass

Opening lead: ♠️5

East-West made four for +130. Now let’s look at all four hands (I’ve made one change for teaching purposes):

                        NORTH
                       ♠️ A K 8 7
                       ♥️ Q 10 7 3
                       ♦️ J 5
                       ♣️ J 3 2


WEST                                        EAST
♠️ 10 2                                    ♠️ J 4 3
♥️ K 8 6                                  ♥️ A 9 5
♦️ 6 4 3                                   ♦️ A K Q 8 7
♣️ K Q 9 7 6                           ♣️ 10 4


                      SOUTH
                     ♠️ Q 9 6 5
                     ♥️ J 4 2
                     ♦️ 10 9 2
                     ♣️ A 8 5

I allowed East to take the contract because of unfavorable vulnerability. Come on! Do you really let opponents play in two of a minor? If I’d doubled 2♦️, we could have competed with 2♠️. We should go down one for -100. (Be wary of competing if you’re playing against strong opponents who might double you.)

Next, I was sitting East, with West dealing and both sides vulnerable. My cards:

♠️ A K J 10
♥️ 7 6 5 3
♦️ A K Q 8
♣️ 9

The bidding proceeded as follows:

West          North          East           South
Pass           Pass            1♦️           Pass
Pass           DBL            Pass          2♣️  
Pass           Pass             DBL         Pass
Pass!         Pass

Opening lead: ♦️3

North-South went down three, netting us a cool +800. With my powerhouse hand and support for every suit but their bid one, I could afford to double reasonably even if partner had little if anything. Lo and behold, partner converted the takeout double into penalties with great clubs and we got a top.

The hands:

                  NORTH
                 ♠️ 9 7 4 2
                 ♥️ A Q 8
                 ♦️ J 10 9
                 ♣️ K 6 4


WEST                          EAST
♠️ 8 6 3                      ♠️ A K J 10
♥️ K 9 4                     ♥️ 7 6 5 3
♦️ 3 2                         ♦️ A K Q 8
♣️ Q 10 8 5 2             ♣️ 9


                  SOUTH
                 ♠️ Q 5
                 ♥️ J 10 2
                 ♦️ 7 6 5 4
                 ♣️ A J 7 3