Mike's Bidding Quiz


1. What am I supposed to do when the auction takes off after partner’s takeout double?

2. What do experienced players do in these situations?

Here is a common auction with you as South:

West North East South
1 Dbl 3 ?

First question. What do you expect the 3 bidder to have? The correct way to play a jump raise after a takeout double is weak and preemptive. A typical 3 bid should look something like this:

♠ 7 4   K 8 7 3   7 48  ♣ Q 9 8 7 3

This hand has four trumps (a minimum number for a weak jump) and is in the requisite 4-6 high-card-point range with a little distribution. The reason for the jump is to make life harder on the opponents.

If you have a normal limit raise, you can show it in one of two ways. You can redouble and raise at your next turn, or you can bid 2NT, a conventional agreement. If you are using this convention, 2NT after RHO doubles partner’s major shows a limit raise or better with four or more trumps.

It is not my intention to dwell on conventions, however. I want you to know how more experienced players handle this kind of competitive bidding.

Here are five hands for South in the following auction (no one is vulnerable):

West North East South
1 Dbl 3 ?

Reminder: Life will be tougher when your opponents are bidding spades because you have to go up an extra level in the bidding if you wish to compete.

1. ♠ A J 7 3   K 2   7 6 2  ♣ 9 8 6 2

See Mike's Advice

Bid 3♠. A 3♠ bid here shows 7–10 support points. If you would have been happy to bid 2♠ over 2, you are allowed to stretch when you are forced to.

2. ♠ Q 10 6 3   4 2  8 7 2   ♣ A Q J 2

See Mike's Advice

Bid 3♠. This is a maximum for this bid. If you are nervous about bidding with this hand, just ask yourself how happy you will be if 3 is passed out. Your partner won’t dream that you have this fine a hand and will pass it out most of the time.

3. ♠ 7 2   K 10 7 6 3   5 2   ♣ Q 8 7 3

See Mike's Advice

Bid 3. You have a minimum hand. Much of your strength is derived from your nice five-card suit. You can add a point or two in your mind when you have a longer suit than expected.

4. ♠ 6 3   Q 3   10 7 3  ♣ A Q 10 9 8 3

See Mike's Advice

Ugh. This is why RHO jumped to 3. It is possible that your partner can make 3NT, but you can’t get there after this bidding. With six excellent clubs and especially with the hope that partner has just one diamond, bidding 4♣ is fine. Overlooking bids like this one is serious.

5. ♠ Q 7 6 3   Q 7 6   J 3   ♣ K 7 6 3

See Mike's Advice

Pass. I encourage you to bid in a sequences like this one, but somewhere along the way you have to draw a line. This hand has 8 HCP, but one of them is worthless. And the spade suit is only so-so, plus the other high cards are not too powerful. If East had bid 2, this hand would qualify for a 2♠ bid, but East wasn’t that kind to you. You need for partner to have about 17 support points to make 3♠ a good contract. Just pass and hope that partner can double 3 for takeout.