Mike's Bidding Quiz


1. Should I worry when my partner makes a takeout double and the next player redoubles?

2. Do my bids have different meanings in those cases?

There are different forms of competitive bidding, including the scenario where partner makes a takeout double and partner of the opening bidder redoubles. Here is a quiz to help you deal with that situation.

West North East South
1 Dbl ReDbl ?

East’s redouble normally shows 10 or more high-card points, and that is what is expected of East in the discussion that follows.

When your partner doubles for takeout and the next player redoubles, your hand will usually have 0 to 5 points. Sometimes you have nothing of value, and if you also have a balanced hand, life can be miserable.

What you need is an understanding of what your bids mean. For instance, if you bid 2♣, is it a “free bid,” showing some points, or is it an escape bid trying to get out in 2♣ and having no interest in getting higher?

Here are five hands to show you some important considerations that apply. Take the worst-case scenario: You are vulnerable and they are not.

1. ♠ J 7 6 3   8 7 6 3   8 3  ♣ 10 7 3

See Mike's Advice

Bid 1♠. Your partner asked for spades and you have four of them. There are some important points here: A. 1♠ is not a free bid. You promise nothing. All you are doing is showing a possible home. B. You are bidding a suit at the one level. The opponents are less likely to double you at the one level. C. Partner should be very careful about bidding again (see points A and B). If he has 14 HCP, he should be able to count another 13 for the opening bidder and 11 for the redoubler.Your partner should know you have a very bad hand.

2. ♠ 10 9 3   K J 9 8   8 7 3   ♣ J 9 4

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Pass. The biggest error of all would be to bid 1NT. So what if you have a heart stopper? Your side has a maximum of 17 HCP. They may be able to make 3NT, and here you are playing in 1NT doubled.

Pass tells partner that you have nothing to bid and are leaving it up to him to run. He might bid a four-card spade suit. 1♠ is as good a contract as any and might escape a double. If partner bids two of a minor, he probably has five of them. If so, you will have found your best home, dangerous as it is. Do not confuse a pass here as saying you want to play in 1 redoubled.

3. ♠ 4 2   10 7 6 3   5 3   ♣ Q 9 8 5 3

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Bid 2♣. You have five clubs and some hope of taking a few tricks. There is a big danger in passing. If you pass and partner bids 1♠, you can still bid 2♣. But if your partner bids 2, you are in trouble and can get to clubs only if you go to the three level. In support of clubs, you have some real assets. Imagine that you had one fewer club and one more diamond. It will make you appreciate the hand you have.

4. ♠ 5 3   Q J 10 9 8 7 5   5 2  ♣ 9 2

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This is a made-up hand. I doubt you will ever see it. The point is that if you pass, you are not saying you want to play in 1 redoubled (see problem 2). What will happen is that when you pass, your partner will bid something and it will probably be doubled. If that happens, you now bid 2 and pray that your partner can work out your intentions.

5. ♠ J 9 7 6 5 2   8 5 4   10 7  ♣ Q 2

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This hand shows a magical expert trick. The gut-reaction bid is 1♠. As bad hands go, this one is wonderful. Suppose partner holds:

♠ A K 8 4   10 9   K 9 4 2  ♣ K 7 3

If you bid 1♠, your partner will fear you have a terrible hand and he will not bid again. If you bid 1♠ and your partner does bid again, the two of you should discuss your partner’s overbidding. The winning bid by you is 2♠.

Rule: If your partner doubles and they redouble, a jump by you shows a weak hand with good shape and a long trump suit. Your bid is preemptive.

On the layout presented, they can make four or five hearts. You can make 2♠ or 3♠. Your 2♠ bid can do many good things. It may cause them to miss a game. If the vulnerability is not bad for your side, your bid may help your side find a good save. Between you and your partner, you may be able to push the opponents too high.

The jump bid over a redouble is a trick that you and your partner must discuss in advance. I give lessons around the world (literally) and have found that this rule is a revelation for many. Share these thoughts with your partner, and you will be ready for this situation when it comes up.