The origin of this double, employed as a conventional defense method, is unknown. This method is used after an opponent opens the auction with 1 No Trump. The range of the No Trump does not affect the effectiveness of this conventional defense method. However, it should be kept in mind that this particular method is mostly employed by those partnerships employing No Trump defenses along the line of and similar to Hamilton, Cappelletti, and/or especially Astro in any form.

The designation is most likely derived from this fact and that the conventional method is generally Major suit-oriented, and therefore the designation is perhaps the derivation of Major-a(e)stro.

Note: Whether or not this particular conventional double can be employed after a 2 No Trump opening by the opponents is a matter of partnership agreement. If the decision is in the affirmative, then the partnership must make certain changes when wishing to compete on the three or higher level.

This particular double of the No Trump opening by an opponent allows the partnership to enter the auction more frequently and tends to convince the opponents that a No Trump contract would not be the optimum contract since the maestro double is suit-oriented, and also permits the partnership to find a possible 4-4 Major suit fit almost immediately, which is advantageous when defending.

Requirements for a Maestro Double

The requirements of the maestro double, which are generally threefold, are as follows:

1. Shows a holding containing 10 plus high card points. Promises a 5-card plus unspecified Minor suit; no singleton and/or void in any suit, especially a Major suit, unless the intended suit is an excellent 6-card plus suit containing sufficient values to rebid on the three level.
 

 

For this type of holding the distribution should not be in the range of 1-3-4-5 or 0-2-5-6, etc., since the opponents could quickly discover their Major suit fit. If this is the distribution, then the player should consider passing first and await the action of both the defenders and partner. If the player discovers that the opponents decide to stop the auction in a two-level auction, then the player can re-enter the auction with a takeout double if so desired. If the holding contains a long Minor suit and fewer than 10 high card points, then the general guideline is that the player has two options: 1. pass, and 2. preempt on the three level.
2. Shows at least 12 plus high card points with a minimum of at least a 4-4 distribution in both Major suits. The holding is considered to be unbalanced.

 

Using the maestro double the partnership can then employ their conventional method to show a 5-5 distributional shape containing fewer than 12 high card points, i.e. Hamilton, Cappelletti, and/or especially Astro in any form. The distinction is that the maestro double shows a certain minimum amount of points whereas the partnership agreed defense suit bid may show fewer points and a generally minimum number of Losing Tricks.
3. Shows a holding containing at least 17 plus high card points and which is suitable for competing.
 

 

The application of the maestro double when holding such values does not prohibit the partner of the No Trump bidder the use of conventional methods such as Stayman and Transfers, but may also cause the player to provide sufficient information to the intervenor and advancer, which then assists in determining more or less the strain and level of a possible contract. This additional information may also provide the source of and the reason for a penalty double if the contract is deemed too high, thereby providing the intervenor and advancer with a perhaps higher score than had they declared.

Continuances

Following a response from the partner of the No Trump bidder after the maestro double, then the partnership must decide upon any and all continuances including pass, double, and any suit bid.

In the case that the partner of the No Trump bidder passes, then the advancer has several options to show his holding:

Response by Advancer

2 : This first response is totally artificial and shows either 5-9 points and no 4-card Major suit or no 6-card or longer suit, either Major or Minor suit, and 0-4 points.

Rebids by the Intervenor

Pass: Promises a 5-card plus Club suit and a range of 10-18 high card points. Note: even if a 4-card Major suit were held, it would not be logical to show it since the advancer has already denied holding any 4-card Major suit establishing a non-fit.
2 : Promises a 5-card plus Diamond suit and a range of 10-18 high card points.
2 : Promises both Major suits, generally each of 4 cards in length although AKQ or AQJ would also qualify (partnership agreement). The point range is normally 12-18 points.
2 : Promises a 4-card plus Spade suit and at least 17, generally 18 high card points. This bid is neither one-round forcing nor game forcing.
2 NT: Denies a 4-card Spade suit and promises at least 17, normally 18 high card points. This bid is neither one-round forcing nor game forcing.
3 : This bid and all higher-ranking bids such as 3, etc. are natural, promise normally 19 plus high card points, and is neither one-round forcing nor game forcing.

Response by Advancer

2 : This first response is totally artificial and shows a holding with 5-9 points and at least one 4-card Major suit. With fewer points the first response should be 2 even though there is a 4-card Major suit. The main difference between a 2 and a 2 response is the ability to show a certain amount of high card points.

Rebids by the Intervenor

Pass: Promises a 5-card plus Diamond suit and a range of 10-18 high card points. This pass guarantees no 4-card Major suit and indicates strongly that game is not a possibility.
2 : Promises a 4-card plus Heart suit, and is game invitational. The point range is normally 12-18 points. If the intervenor bids 2 first and the advancer discovers there is no Heart suit fit, then the advancer must bid 2 as a relay to ask intervenor for additional information and a possible contract in No Trump.
2 : Promises a 4-card plus Spade suit, and is game invitational. The point range is normally 12-18 points. If the intervenor bids 2 first and the advancer discovers that there is no Spade suit fit, then the advancer must bid 2 NT as a relay to ask the intervenor to show a 5-card plus Minor suit.
2 NT: This is an Asking Bid by the intervenor. The advancer is requested to bid his worse Minor suit when holding 5-6 points and to bid his 4-card Major suit if holding 7-9 points. After this information is exchanged, any suit bid by the intervenor below the level of game then becomes natural and is considered absolutely game forcing.
3 : Promises a 5-card plus Club suit. Denies a 4-card Major suit. Game is practically non-existent and should not be pursued unless there is a long running suit in No Trump. The No Trump opener should be optimally seated.
3 : Promises both Major suits and strongly indicates invitational to game values.
3 : Promises a 4-card plus Heart suit and strongly indicates invitational to game values.
3 : Promises a 4-card plus Spade suit and strongly indicates invitational to game values.
4 : This is an idle bid and can be employed by the partnership at its discretion.
4 : After a 2 response, a 4 rebid promises both Major suits and is absolutely game forcing.

Response by Advancer

2 : This first response by the advancer shows either 0-8/9 points and a 6-card plus Heart suit or a 5-card Heart suit with 4-9 points.

Rebids by the Intervenor

2 NT: Game try either in No Trump or Hearts. If the advancer is not interested, then the advancer bids 3.
3 : To play.
3 : To play.

Response by Advancer

2 : This first response by the advancer shows either 0-8/9 points and a 6-card plus Spade suit or a 5-card Spade suit with 4-9 points.

Rebids by the Intervenor

2 NT: Game try either in No Trump or Hearts. If the advancer is not interested, then the advancer bids 3.
3 : To play.
3 : To play.

Responses by Advancer

2 NT: This response by the advancer shows an excellent distributional holding and is considered game forcing. The intervenor is requested to bid either any 5-card plus Minor suit or to bid the better Major suit when holding both Major suits. If the holding of the intervenor does not meet the above requirements, then the intervenor is requested to bid game in No Trump if holding anywhere between a good 17 to 18/20 high card points. Continuances are considered natural.
3 : Promises a 6-card plus suit in Clubs. Denies holding any 4-card Major suit.
3 : Promises a 6-card plus suit in Diamonds. Denies holding any 4-card Major suit.

Defense options in the case that the partner of the No Trump bidder enters the auction:

If the responder to the No Trump bidder redoubles the maestro double, then the above responses remain the same. If the responder bids directly over the maestro double, then the introduction of any new suits becomes non-forcing, a double shows values asking partner to describe his holding but may be passed if partner has length in the suit doubled, and 2 NT promises a holding with values that does not warrant a double since the holding is short in the suit of the opponents.

Note: If the maestro doubler later doubles a second time, the double becomes a takeout double if doubling a Minor suit and the second double becomes a penalty double if doubling a Major suit bid or No Trump.

 

 

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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