Mike’s Bidding Quiz


1. Do the parameters for responding to a takeout double change when opener’s partner raises his suit?

2. How can we effectively compete in this situation?

When your partner makes a takeout double and the next player raises opener’s suit, the bidding situation is more dynamic than any other. They have a fit, and if you do, too, the hands may produce a game for both sides. You may be surprised to know that there have been hands where both sides can make all 13 tricks. If your side has the best hands, you want to make the most of it. If it is their side that has the best hands, you want to try to make it hard for them to get the maximum from the hands.

If you ever feel an urgency to bid, this is the time.

Here are five example hands. Assume no one is vulnerable. This is the auction:

West North East South
1 Dbl 2 ?

1. ♠ 8 6 5 3   A 2   A 8 3  ♣ J 8 6 3

See Mike's Advice

Bid 2♠. Your suit is terrible, but in support of spades you have 10 points. In fact, you should demote a little for the bad spades and also for the boring shape, but the hand is still worth a bid.

If you have been playing much in tournaments lately, you surely have noticed that one of the worst results you can get comes when the opponents play in a low-level partscore that they like. In this case, they bid and raised hearts. It is likely that opener will be happy to play in 2. If you let them play in contracts they like, you will not like the result. Way more good things than bad things will come of your 2♠ bid.

Given that your partner will have four spades most of the time, bidding 2♠ makes excellent sense. I hate to mention this, but as 2♠ bids go, this one is pretty good.

Note that you do not have to worry a lot that your bid will get partner off to a bad lead. He has an opening bid and is likely to have a lead that he likes. He might have ♠K 7 4 2 and K Q J 6. If so, he will lead diamonds.

2. ♠ A 6 5 7 2   9 8 2   6 2   ♣ J 9 6

See Mike's Advice

Bid 2♠ for sure. You should be more comfortable with this 2♠ bid than your 2♠ bid on the previous hand. You have five spades, which means your trump suit will be fine. This is not a wild bid. 2♠ with these cards should be routine for you.

Note that you are trusting your partner to have a takeout double hand and not just a random opening bid. This trust is a major factor in your bidding aggressively when partner doubles.

3. ♠ A 10 9 5 3   J 7 3   A 6 5   ♣ 3 2

See Mike's Advice

Bid 3♠. You have about 10 support points and you have a great five-card suit. The five-card suit means you are assured of a good fit. Given that you should bid 2♠ on the previous two hands, it is clear that this one deserves a stronger bid.

Important – Some 10-point hands are better than other 10-point hands.

4. ♠ 5 2   8   Q J 7 6 5 2  ♣ Q 7 6 3

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Bid 3. When you have a four-card suit, you should be willing to compete. When you have a five-card suit, you should bid something unless you have a genuinely awful hand. When you have a six-card suit, you are looking at a rare quality. You won’t have many six-card suits when partner makes a takeout double. The high-card points do not look like much, but they are in your long suits and they will mesh with the high cards that your partner is promising.

5. ♠ Q 6   8 7 2   K 9 8 2   ♣ K J 5 2

See Mike's Advice

Some science. You have 9 HCP, and you should be comfortable playing in three of a minor suit. Your partner should have four cards (perhaps five) in one of the minors, and you would like to play in your side’s best fit.

How can you do that? If you bid 3♣, you might find that diamonds is a better trump suit and conversely, if you bid 3, you might find that clubs is your home.

The way to get to your best contract is to double. This is called a responsive double, and it is a good convention to know. I do not have the pages needed to show it fully, but let me offer this one guideline.

If your partner doubles a major and they raise to the two level, a double by you shows both minors, as is the case here. If your partner doubles a minor and they raise to the two level, a double by you shows both majors.

Don’t try this without reading up on these doubles. You’ll be glad you did.