The origin of the Snap Dragon Double is unknown as is the origin of the designation. The designation can also be written as one word snapdragon double. The relationship to the concept of the double and the designation remains unknown since there seems to be no connection.

Note: The word snapdragon derives from antirrhinum, which is a genus of plants commonly known as snapdragons from the flowers' fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed, which as a result produces a snap-like sound.

Note: The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the word in the following manner: any herbaceous plant of the genus Antirrhinum (order Lamiales, family Plantaginacea; formerly in the family Scrophulariaceae), of which there are about 20 species native to western North America and the western Mediterranean region. The flowers are tubular, bilaterally symmetrical, and usually large with a closed, lip-like mouth that excludes most insects but can be forced open by strong bees, the main pollinators. The photograph below shows a typical snapdragon flower.

Note: Attention has been brought to the fact that the specific form of writing snap-dragon refers to parlour game played from the 16th century to the 19th century. As such the designations, in different written forms, snap-dragon, snapdragon, flap-dragon, and flapdragon are also applicable.

Rules of the Game: It was played during the winter, particularly on Christmas Eve. Brandy was heated and placed in a wide shallow bowl; raisins were placed in the brandy which was then set alight. Typically, lights were extinguished or dimmed to increase the eerie effect of the blue flames playing across the liquor. The aim of the game was to pluck the raisins out of the burning brandy and eat them, at the risk of being burnt. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language from the year 1755 describes it as a play in which they catch raisins out of burning brandy and, extinguishing them by closing the mouth, eat them". According to an eighteenth-century article in Richard Steele's Tatler magazine, the wantonness of the thing was to see each other look like a demon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit. Snap-dragon was played in England, Canada, and the United States, but there seems to be insufficient evidence of the practice in Scotland, or other countries.

With these two different definitions of the word, and possibly others as well, it remains inevitable that the reason for this particular designation by the originator(s) for this double continues to remain unknown.

     
     

Development

During its course of development and/or employment this concept it has also acquired the designation of Fourth Suit Double. The reason for this designation is that the Snap Dragon Double can only be triggered by the player in the fourth seat after the three previous players have each bid a suit.

The employment of the Snap Dragon Double is triggered in bidding sequences, whereby the Snap Dragon Doubler is the last to bid and is not a passed hand. The Snap Dragon Double promises a 5-card suit in the unbid suit and insufficient values to compete directly on the two level. The Snap Dragon Double also denies adequate support for the suit of partner.

The following bidding sequences should clarify the concept and the intention of this particular double.

Bidding Sequence 1
North   East   South   West   Meaning
1 1 Heart               An opening bid generally promising a 5-card Heart suit.
    2 Two Clubds          

An overcall, also generally promising a 5-card Club suit. Playing Five Card Majors East would have initiated the Takeout Double with 4 cards in Spades and at least 3-card support in the other two unbid suits.

        2 Two Diamonds       A response by partner on the two level in a new suit (forcing) showing sufficient values to compete on the two level. This response does not deny support for Hearts, the suit of partner.
            Double   The Snap Dragon Double. West promises a 5-card Spade suit and insufficient values to bid on the two level. West does not deny insufficient support for Clubs, the suit bid by partner.
                 
Bidding Sequence 2
North   East   South   West   Meaning
1 1 Heart               An opening bid generally promising a 5-card Heart suit.
    1 Two Clubds           An overcall, also generally promising a 5-card Spade suit.
        2 Two Clubds       A response by partner on the two level in a new suit (forcing) showing sufficient values to compete on the two level. This response does not deny support for Hearts, the suit of partner.
            Double   The Snap Dragon Double. West promises a 5-card Diamond suit and insufficient values to bid on the two level. West also shows insufficient support for Spades, the suit bid by partner.

Agreement

Before using Snap Dragon, both partners should agree:

1. at which level the Snap Dragon Double still applies. The generally accepted guideline is not to employ Snap Dragon Doubles on the three level.
2. upon the strength at which this double can be applied at which level.
3. to make it part of their partnership agreement.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.

 


     
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