Mike’s Bidding Quiz


1. What do you need to double when the opponents have bid two suits?
2. Does it make a difference which suits they bid?

The questions we will deal with involve takeout doubles when the opponents have bid more than one suit.

Suppose you hold:
♠ J 10 4 3  A J 4   A Q 7 4   ♣ 8 4
and your right hand opponent opens 1♣ as dealer.

Most players would be happy to double 1♣ with this hand. They might look at the hearts and object to having only three of them, but in the main a takeout double would be the choice.

The decision to enter the auction becomes less easy when the opponents bid two suits.

What, for instance, should you bid with the example hand in the following auction?

WEst North East South
1♣ Pass 1♠ ?

Would it still be right to double?

One reason to get involved is that you have the equivalent of an opening hand, but there is a bigger reason not to double now. When your RHO opened with 1♣, doubling was okay even with three hearts because you were offering three places to play. The odds that partner would bid hearts are acceptable.

If you double after West bids 1♣ and East bids 1♠, you are now offering only two suits, and having a three-card holding in this circumstance is more objectionable.

There are many factors that make these sequences different. Here are the first three problems in a quiz intended to challenge and enlighten you.

No one is vulnerable and this is the auction.

WEst North East South
1♣ Pass 1 ?

You are South. What is your call with these hands?

1. ♠ Q 9 8 7  A Q 7   J 7 6 2   ♣ K 4

See Mike's Advice

Pass. An opening hand, by itself, is not reason to get into the bidding. In this case, you have decent shape for the unbid suits, but you have a warning sign that tells you your ♣K is of dubious worth.

This hand shows one of the important distinctions that apply when you double after two suits have been bid. If East had opened 1♣, you would double and be happy about it. East usually has most of the missing points and you would expect your ♣K to be useful, and you would expect the heart finesse to win if you need it.

In this case, West opened the bidding, warning you that he is the dangerous opponent. His values are going to be over your values, making your hand worth less it would be if East was the opening bidder.

2. ♠ Q 9 8 7   A Q 7   J 8 7 3   ♣ A 10

See Mike's Advice

Double. This hand is exactly the same as the previous hand except that you now have the ♣A instead of the king. You know you have only one club loser now, not the two losers you suspected you had on the previous layout.

Also, you have four cards in each of the unbid suits. Making a takeout double after two suits have been bid should promise four cards in both unbid suits or extra values. Do not make a takeout double with minimum values after two suits have been bid unless you have proper shape.

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

See Mike's Advice

Double. With four-card support for the unbid suits and with some shape too, this minimum hand is worth a double. Shape cures a lot of ills.