Mike’s Bidding Quiz


1. What do you need to double when one opponent has opened and the other has responded 1NT?
2. Does it make a difference what suit was opened?

Of all the parts of this series on takeout doubles, one of the easiest involves what to do when an opponent opens one of a suit and his partner responds 1NT.

Assume that they are using a natural system: a minor-suit opener promises three cards, a major promises five. Also assume that no one is vulnerable.

First we will deal with a 1♣ opener.

West North East South
1♣ Pass 1NT ?

You should be aware that some partnerships agree that a 1NT response to 1♣ shows 8–10 high-card points. This does not make much difference, although if you have a minimum takeout double, you might choose not to bid.

Here are some hands that South might have. What should South do with these hands in the given auction?.

West, remember, opened 1♣, and East bid 1NT. For purposes of this quiz, assume East has 8–10 points and no four-card major.

1. ♠ Q J 5 4   A J 5 4   K 8 7 4   ♣ 4

See Mike's Advice

On this hand you have a fine takeout double. You have opening-bid values with four-card support for each unbid suit. The only real issue is that your partner recognizes that you are making a takeout double. Given that you have proper support for the unbid suits, you won’t need much from partner to be safe. If he has a four- or five-card suit with just 3 or 4 good HCP, you will be in contention for seven or eight tricks. Here is one layout to show you the wisdom of bidding.

♠ QA 10 7 3 2
9 6
Q 9
♣ 10 8 7 2
♠ Q J 5 4
A J 5 4
K 8 7 4
♣ 4

If your partner plays in a spade contract, he might take 10 or 11 tricks. I do not guarantee this will happen, but your partner can have up to 9 HCP on this bidding, so he could easily have the 6 HCP I gave him in this example.

2. ♠ A K 3   K 3   J 7 3   ♣ A K J 8 6

See Mike's Advice

Pass. This is a trap hand. A double by you is for takeout, and your partner will bid something. There is nothing that you want him to bid. If he bids hearts with four to the jack he will have a miserable time of it. And if you run to 2NT, you will find that you are way too high. This is easy to prove. West has at least 12 HCP, and East has at least 8. This leaves only 1 HCP for your partner, and you will be lucky if he has that.

Learning when to pass is just as important as learning when to bid. This hand has points, but it does not have safety, as did the first example.

3. ♠ 8 2   A K J 4   A J 7 3   ♣ J 8 3

See Mike's Advice

PPass. You do not have spade support. You know East does not have four spades. He has three at most. You know West may have four spades, and that adds up to seven possible spades for them. This leaves your partner with four spades at least. If you double, the odds are that your partner will bid spades, and your side will be in a bad contract. Not all opening bids are worth a bid when their side has opened the bidding.