1. Opening bid is 1 heart. You hold:
This is the early example shown by Robert Ewen in 1973. He suggested you try for a spade contract by making a t/o x, since if partner bids clubs you could “convert” to 2 diamonds. Note: When one heart is opened we use ELC with a major minor holding, with the minor having 5+ cards and the major 4 cards. If you had one more club and one less diamond you would bid the same way. If you make an ELC double it also implies shortness in the opening bid suit.
2. If the hand is xx, KJxx, AQJxxx, x (hearts and spades reversed from ex. 1) we could use ELC if the opening bid was one spade, since we could convert to diamonds at the 2 level over 2 clubs. If the opening was one club we could not double on this hand since if Advancer bids 1 spade we could not convert to diamonds at the one level. A “double and bid” with a club opening would mean the big 17+ hcp hand.
3. Opening bid is 1 diamond. You hold:
Do you really want to overcall a heart? Do you want to use Michaels on a 5-4 hand? I hope not to both questions. Perfect for an ELC t/o x. It neatly solves a problem hand. If Advancer bids clubs we convert to the better major hearts. Advancer surely doesn’t have a 4 card major or we would have heard about it. He may well have a 3 card heart suit. Think positive, on a better day Advancer bids 1 spade! We may be the only pair not to lose the spade suit. If RHO opens 1 club, it’s the same story. Note: If the heart suit were better quality you could overcall 1 heart, but you still risk losing the spade suit if Advancer’s holding is 2 hearts and 4 spades. If the major suit holding is 5-3, it is always better to make the overcall since that holding is not suitable for the ELC double.
4. Opening bid is heart. You hold:
You make a t/o double; responder bids 2 hearts, Advancer bids 3 clubs (maybe 8+ hcps and 5 clubs), pass by opener: Doubler coverts to 3 diamonds. Diamonds will be the best suit we have. If Advancer had 4 spades he would (hopefully) have shown the spades at the 2 level rather than bid the 5 card club suit.
5. Opening bid is 1 club. You hold:
Double. If Advancer doesn’t respond in hearts, we bid spades to convert Advancer’s diamond response. Despite the popular belief that you can show both suits by overcalling spades and bidding hearts next, it is surprising how often the heart suit gets lost in traffic. If the opening bid is one diamond instead of a club, it is the same story.
6. Opening bid is 1 spade. You hold:
Double and convert to Diamonds if Advancer bids clubs. Again, we preserve our chance to find the 4-4 heart fit.
7. Here is one for real men (and ladies too!)! Opening bid is 1 club. You hold:
Double of course! If partner shows diamonds you convert to hearts. ELC. If Advancer has more spades than he does hearts, he should take a preference to spades. If you trap on these hands you might lose game in one of the majors.
Here are some Balancing Examples:
8. Opponent opens one spade and there are three passes to you. In the balancing seat you hold:
With the club single 1NT is not attractive. Certainly a re-opening bid of 2 diamonds will get votes, but isn’t double the best choice if you play ELC doubles in the balancing seat? If partner bids the expected 2 clubs, we convert to 2 diamonds. If partner bids hearts, we are happy whether he has 4 or 5 card suit. Given the bidding and balancer’s holding, it seems likely that we will find partner with some diamond help.
9. South opens 1 heart and North raises to 2 hearts. All pass to you in the balancing seat. As West you hold:
The question is not whether to balance, but how best to do so. If you bid 2 diamonds, you will surely lose any spade fit. Better to make an ELC double. Suppose balancer’s partner holds Q10xx,xxxx,xxx,Ax. Then the hand makes an equal number of spades or diamonds.
10. South opens one heart, responder bid 1NT(F). You hold:
Here you are in the pre-balancing seat. You have 21/2 quick tricks and 11 hcps, and 5-4 distribution in suits that have not been bid. A pre-balance is a command performance. If you bid 2 diamonds, you just know that partner will have 4 spades. Make the pre-balance with an ELC double. If partner bids clubs, just convert to 2 diamonds. It's at the same level so you haven’t shown extras
General Reminder: When you have the big 17+ hand, you can’t make a Double and ELC conversion. You have to make a cue bid or jump in the converting suit. Also, if your “double and bid” action is not ELC, (1s/x/ p/2h/3c) then you do have the big hand.