Mike’s Bidding Quiz


You have written a lot about takeout doubles and how to respond.

Can you provide some examples of the principles at work?

There have been lots of articles on the takeout double in the last couple of months. These final articles will look at some hands showing takeout double principles at work.

1. West is the dealer. No one is vulnerable.

♠ 8 3
Q 8 3
A J 8 3
♣ K Q 9 3
♠ A 7 2
K 10 7 2
K 5 4
♣ 7 6 2
West North East South
1♠ Dbl 2♠ 3
All Pass

3 was down two. Nothing terrible happened, but it was not a good result because 2♠ would have been down one. Comment on the auction. Which bids do you like and which bids do you not like?

See Mike's Advice

The North hand was worth an opening bid, but not a takeout double. It has flaws: 1. Only three hearts. This is hardly fatal, but it is a flaw. 2. The opening bid was 1♠. When you come in over 1♠, your side usually ends up at the two level except when the contract is 1NT. Beware of the spade suit. 3. The North hand is minimum. After they open 1♠, exercise a little more caution than normal.

By comparison, it would be fine to double a 1♣ opening bid with:
♠ Q 8 3   A J 7 4   K Q 9 2  ♣ 8 3

In this case, your partner can bid a suit at the one level. If he bids a suit at the two level, he will have some values.

In the deal under discussion, South is innocent. From his perspective, he has 10 useful high-card points and four nice hearts, a better-than-average 3 bid. He is entitled to be disappointed that North did not have four-card support. In fact, if North did have four hearts and one fewer spade, a 4 contract would have a play.

2. East is the dealer. North–South are vulnerable.

♠ A J 10 9
J 10 4 2
7 6 2
♣ A J
♠ K 7 2
Q 9 8 3
A 3
♣ K Q 10 8
West North East South
1 Dbl
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4
All Pass

4 was easy to make. Comment on the auction. Which bids do you like and which bids do you not like? Would you have bid differently? Do you think either of the following rules applies?

Rule 1 – Just because you bid to a contract and make it does not mean you bid properly. You might have been lucky in the play or perhaps the defense did something silly.

Rule 2 – Just because you bid to a contract and go down 800 does not mean that you bid badly. You might have reached a good contract and run into filthy luck. If you bid game and find trumps dividing 5–0 and three finesses offside, that’s bad luck, not bad judgment.

See Mike's Advice

On this deal, the bidding was fine from both sides of the table. South’s double is routine: A solid 14 HCP with support for the unbid suits. The only slight objection to doubling is that South has only three spades.

North’s 2 cuebid carries a coupleof messages. North promises at leastinvitational values, but he could have more. He will show which on his next bid. On this hand North has both majors and invitational values.

South bids 2 — not 2NT. North is looking for a major. Notrump can wait. If South had both major suits, he would bid hearts first. 2 does not deny spades. A 2♠ bid would deny hearts. South’s 2 is forcing. North’s cuebid promises more bidding. Even if South had 17 points, bidding only 2 would probably be best.

North now bids 3, raising South’s major. South can pass 3, but with 14 HCP, he will bid game.