Mike’s Bidding Quiz


With this post, we conclude the discussion of takeout doubles.

Two examples will help bring home the main points.

1.West is the dealer. Both sides are vulnerable.

♠ Q J 7
A Q 6 3
K J 8 2
♣ 9 2
♠ 9 8 5 4 2
K 10 8 2
Q 7
♣ J 7
West North East South
1♣ Dbl Pass 1♠
2♣ Pass Pass 2
3♣ 3 Dbl All Pass

This was a terrible result for North–South. 3 doubled went down two when East had five hearts. West could have made 5♣, but he was not about to bid game.

How do you feel about the bidding?

See Mike's Advice

Start with North’s double: impeccable.

South’s 1♠ bid was also impeccable. There are some players around who bid 2♣ with this hand to tell partner that they have both majors. That’s nonsense. A cuebid promises invitational values or more and may or may not have both majors. Bidding 2♣ with this hand is bad bridge.

When West bid 2♣, North passed. A 2♠ bid by North would not promise a better hand but it would guarantee four-card spade support. Three good bids in a row by North–South.

South got a second chance and he used it. He bid 2. Note that South had limited his hand when he bid 1♠. South cannot have more than 8 high-card points, so when he bid 2, he was not overbidding at all. His 2 bid was not forcing, and it did admit to a few points. Typically, South should have 5 to 7 HCP for this bidding.

When West went to 3♣, North fell from grace. His original double announced support for the majors and at least opening-bid strength. That is what North has. He has nothing extra, and he does not even have extra distribution. North’s 3 bid was not wise because he had nothing that South did not know about.

Full marks to South for competing on slim values. He did not deserve to be in 3.

2. West is the dealer. East-West are vulnerable.

♠ A 9 6 5
A Q 7 2
♣ J 10 7 4
♠ 10
10 2
K 10 8 6 5 3
♣ A 9 8 2
West North East South
1 Dbl 3 4
4 5 Dbl All Pass

This hand shows how much trust your partner should have in your takeout doubles. Do you think that anyone was out of line on this hand?

See Mike's Advice

West opened 1 and North made a light but very acceptable takeout double. Shape is so important that when you have it, you can afford to be aggressive.

East bid 3, described as a weak bid. Does South have enough to bid at the four level? This is where trust in partner comes in. If South trusts North to have at least three diamonds, bidding 4 is a good idea. This is not an overbid at all.

West goes on to 4, and North decides that 4 is likely to make (it will if diamonds are 3–0). Considering that East–West will get 620 if they make it, all South will have to do is go down three tricks for a good save. That will be 500 to East–West, assuming someone doubles.

In fact, the North and South hands fit so well that 5 makes with little effort. All that is required is for East to have a club honor, which he does. After losing one heart and one club, South has the rest.

If you make a habit of making takeout doubles without proper distribution, bids like 4 by South are not safe.