Responses To A Takeout Double By Your Partner

These guidelines for a suggested defense method following a Takeout Double by partner after an opponent opens the bidding auction, generally on the one level, are of unknown origin. These guidelines are only one recommended method of response bids for the advancer.

When the opponents open the auction, your partner doubles, and the partner of the opening opponent passes, what do you do? The answer to this question has intrigued each and every bridge player. Using and applying the following guidelines may assist the individual bridge player to decide upon the best course of action.

It is of the utmost importance to remember that the partner of the opener has decided not to bid. His pass could be a Trapping Pass, an Informative Pass awaiting further developments, because he knows that the advancer is being forced to bid something and/or to exchange certain information. The partner of the opener also knows that he will have another chance to bid, unless the advancer decides to pass.

In all of the following examples, assume that the opener has opened the auction with 1 Club, you are not a passed hand, your partner doubles, and the partner of the opener passes.

 

1. Minimum Suit Response after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

987
1086
Q963
432
 
987
10863
Q96
432
 
Q987
1086
965
432
 
9
108
96
Q10976432
1   1   1   Pass (trapping)

Remember, the advancer is forced to respond. The advancer may have absolutely no high card points, but the advancer, per partnership agreement, is forced to bid. The usual partnership agreement states that the minimum could be zero and the maximum should be no more than 8 high card points for a Minimum Suit Response. Applying the Minimum Suit Response, your partner, who has doubled, knows that you are weak, and any further action on his part will show additional strength or a preferred 6-card suit. This action on the part of your partner is not forcing and you may pass.

However, any further action on the part of your partner should, by partnership agreement, show at least 17 high card points. If he raises your suit or bids another suit, this indicates a 6-card suit, or a solid 5-card suit, and 17 plus high card points. A rebid by the doubler of 1 No Trump shows generally a hand too strong to overcall as 1 No Trump, namely a hand that contains 18 to 20 high card points.

 

2. One No Trump Response after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

J87
K86
Q63
Q832
1 No Trump

A 1 No Trump response strongly indicates a balanced holding, and a stopper in the opener's bid suit. The high card point count is a matter of contention even today. Generally, the advancer should have approximately 8 to 10 high card points. If the partnership decides to change this range, then this is per partnership agreement only.

If the agreed range is not 8 to 10 high card points, then the advancer should invent a bid, normally the cheapest possible bid, which can be a 3-card suit. Remember also, that the rank of the opener's suit is important. If the opener bids 1 Spade and the partner does not have a 4-card support in Hearts (the other Major), and the point count is small, the advancer should keep the bidding alive by making the most descriptive and informative bid possible.

 

3. Jump Shift after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

J87
KQ864
Q6
Q83
2

By Jump Shifting, the advancer is encouraging his partner, who has doubled. However, it must be noted that this is not a forcing bid. The advancer is merely showing the partner a 5-card Heart suit (or Diamonds, or Spades) with a high card point range of 9 to 11 high card points. Generally, if the opponent opens with a Major suit and your partner doubles, the advancer may Jump Shift with only 4-card support in the other Major, since the advancer knows that his partner also has 4-card support in that Major suit. If the advancer jump shifts in a Minor Suit, then a 5-card support is necessary.

 

4. Cuebid after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

QJ104
QJ96
96
K83
 
KJ87
KQ98
Q9
Q83
2   2

A cuebid of 2 Clubs will inform partner that game is certain. However, the partner of the Doubler can not be certain of the final contract. As with all cuebids, it informs partner nothing about the cuebid suit, and nothing about the strength. This is a Forcing Bid, and partner must respond.

If a Minor suit opening has been doubled, and the partner of the Doubler has made a cuebid, then, according to many partnership agreements, this signifies that the responder has two 4-card Major suits. This is seen in the above two examples. Responder leaves the decision up to the Doubler to pick the better of the two. Responder will raise the Major suit bid by his partner, but the partner (Doubler) may pass with a minimum, and therefore, it is not a forcing to game bid. If the partner of the Doubler had more strength and/or length in the bid Major suit, then partner would simply bid game, as in the example on the right.

 

5. Two No Trump after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

K98
K86
QJ63
Q83
2 No Trump

A 2 No Trump response shows a balanced hand with a stopper in the bid suit of the opener. This response also informs partner that the strength of the hand lies around 11-12 high card points.

 

6. Three No Trump after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

KJ9
Q86
QJ6
KQ83
3 No Trump

A Three No Trump response shows a balanced hand with normally two stoppers in the opener's bid suit. This response also informs partner that the strength of the hand lies around 13-16 high card points. At this point, it must be noted that if the Doubler's partner has more than 16 high card points, something is wrong. It would strongly indicate that the opener has opened on a very weak hand, more to obstruct the bidding auction than as a constructive bid.

 

7. Higher Suit Responses after: 1 Club - Double - Pass

3 3 3 4
4 4 4 5

After being informed by his partner, the Doubler, of his strength, the responder can re-evaluate his hand, and make a natural limited bid. These bids signify at least a 6-card plus suit in length and enough strength to presumably make the contract with the minimum held by the Doubler. These bids are not forcing, but strongly suggest the placement of the final contract, regardless of the holdings of the Doubler. Instead of an example, we leave it to the discretion of the responder to visualize all the gathered information from the bidding auction, to re-evaluate his hand and then make the appropriate bid.

 

What is the procedure when the partner of the opener bids:

Opener   Doubler   Responder   Advancer
1   Double  
Redouble
1
1
1
2
  ?
             
1   Double  
Redouble
1
1
2
2
  ?
             
1   Double  
Redouble
1
2
2
2
  ?
             
1   Double  
Redouble
2
2
2
2
  ?

 

This is the time when the response becomes a little tricky. Any action by the partner of the opener takes the advancer off the hook. The advancer is no longer obliged or forced to make any bid. After any bid by the partner of the opener, even a redouble, allows your partner to re-enter the bidding auction, and that is why the advancer is allowed to pass and to await further action and information.

However, after three informative and descriptive bids, the advancer is able to make an educated decision as to what action might be taken. If the opener bids a suit and his partner bids another suit, then the decision of the advancer is easier. If the partner of the opener redoubles, then the advancer has to expect that he has support for the suit of the opener, and that leaves three other suits open for the advancer to consider. Even the Minor suit opening redoubled could be the better contract for the advancer and partner. It is a different story if the opener opened a Major suit and it has been redoubled. This places the opponents in game, and the opponents only have to take 7 Tricks.

If it is a Major suit which has been redoubled on the one level, then it seems more prudent to bid the strength and shape of the holding to erase or remove that redouble. The partner, or the doubler, will also be able to take such action. But by bidding, the advancer can take some of the guess-work out of your bidding and the bidding of your partner by passing on some information about the holding.

The ability of the advancer to visualize the holdings of the partner and of the opponents and your power of logic based upon the informative and descriptive bidding thus far are the only clues to deduct the correct decision. As mentioned above, it can get a little tricky. However, whatever the advancer decides will be the bidding procedure, this decision will be based on the communicated and inferred information obtained via the bidding.

The partner of the Doubler also has the possibility to double. In order to see how this works, please click on the Responsive Double below.

Responsive Double - The use of a double for takeout when there has been an immediate raise to the Two or even Three Level over the Takeout Double of your partner.

 

 

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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