Mike's Bidding Quiz


What do you need to double and then raise your partner?

What about when the opener bids again?

When you make a takeout double, your job has just begun. Your double often starts a bidding frenzy in which all four players participate. This means that you will often be called on to bid again, and that means more problems.

After you double, you might pass for the rest of the auction, raise your partner, bid a new suit, bid notrump or make another double. I have written chapters about each of these topics. They can be found in my book, Takeout Doubles.

To get started, here is a typical auction:

West North East South
1 Dbl
Pass 1♠ Pass ?

What would you do as South with each of the following hands in this auction?

1. ♠ A K J 4   4 3   Q 8 3   ♣ K 8 7 3

See Mike's Advice

Pass. Your double forced partner to bid. His 1♠ bid promised nothing. He could have up to 8 support points, but he also could have a horrible hand. When opener passes, a raise by you promises extra values, and you do not have them..

2. ♠ K Q J 2   8 2   A 9 2   ♣ A Q 9 8

See Mike's Advice

Raise to 2♠. This hand is worth around 17 points and it is tempting to bid 3♠, but that would be an overbid. Remember, partner does not have to have anything. When you open the bidding and partner responds at the one level, you expect at least 6 high-card points. When you double and partner makes a minimum bid, you cannot count on 6 HCP. Partner does not have to have a zero-point hand, but 3 or 4 points is quite likely.

Important: When you double and raise, you promise four-card support. You have obliged partner to bid, and often he will have a four-card suit. Partner is also likely to be weak, so you need the protection of four-card support to make your raise safe.

3. ♠ A K J   7 2   A 8 7 2   ♣ K J 8 2

See Mike's Advice

Just pass. You have 16 HCP, but you are facing a partner who bid just 1♠. Raising to 2♠ would be a pretty big error with only three trumps. Imagine your partner with ♠7 5 4 3. Your ♠A K J may be inadequate. If your partner had bid two of a minor, raising would be okay because you have four trumps and a good hand.

4. ♠ A Q 9 3   2   A J 7 6 2   ♣ K Q 7
See Mike's Advice

You have around 18 support points and you have four-card support. This is enough to jump to 3♠. You need in the range of 18–19 support points when you double and then make a jump raise. At the risk of being repetitious, I remind you that partner may have something like:
♠ 10 6 4 2   Q 9 7 4   8 5   ♣ 9 5 3
in which case making nine tricks will take some modest miracles.

5. ♠ A J 10 7   6 2   A K J 7   ♣ A K 9
See Mike's Advice

You can risk 4♠ with this hand. The chances are that partner is weak but he does not always have a total wreck. He may have four spades to the queen. He may have five low spades. He might have 5 or 6 HCP. Many of his weaker hands will be enough for game. You have about 21 support points, so going to game is acceptable.

Rule: It does not pay to be overly optimistic, but you can say the same about being overly pessimistic. Assume partner has a little something.

6. ♠ A Q 8   7 2   A K J 2   ♣ K Q 8 2
See Mike's Advice

This is a fine double of 1, and when partner bids 1♠, you should feel like you have a big enough hand for a second bid. Here’s a bidding trick you may wish to think about: When you have a big double with only three-card support, cuebid opener’s suit. A 2 bid by you says you have at least 18 HCP points with only three-card spade support.

Do not try this, however, unless you and partner have discussed it. In the meantime, be aware that as good as this hand is, it has only three spades, so it is not proper to bid 2♠.