# Mike’s Bidding Quiz

1. Why can’t you make a takeout double and just bid notrump if partner bids your short suit?
2. Is it always bad to do so?

I will answer both questions with the same statement. You can double and bid notrump, if — and this is a big if — you have the values to do so. What you must avoid is making a takeout double with mere opening-hand values if you do not have at least three-card support for the unbid suits. To repeat the theme from last week: if you double and bid notrump over partner’s response, you are showing a balanced hand that has more strength than if you simply overcalled 1NT. Some examples:

1. ♠ Q J 8 7   K 8   A Q 7 6   ♣ A Q 6

 WEst North East South 1♣ Dbl 1♦ 1♥ Pass 1NT All Pass

Is this auction acceptable?

South has done well. He has a good enough hand to double and then bid notrump. Even though North bid 1 freely, he does not promise a lot of high-card points. If he has bid 1 with 8 HCP, he should keep bidding. If he bid 1 with 4 HCP and some distribution, he will pass 1NT or might bid 2. That would be okay with you because you would know that partner has five or more hearts.

2. ♠ Q 8   A K J   K 8 7   ♣ A J 10 8 7

 WEst North East South 1♥ Dbl Pass 1♠ Pass 2NT Pass 3NT All Pass

How do you expect this to work out?

South is busy overbidding. If South had opened 1♣ and if North responded with 1♠, a jump to 2NT would be correct. The reason it would be correct is that South expects North to have at least 6 HCP for his 1♠ bid.

On the sequence above, North’s 1♠ bid promises zero HCP. He may have up to 7, but he may have a terrible hand. It is sufficient for South to double 1 and then to bid 1NT.

NOTE that if North had bid 2, South could bid 2NT over that, too, but it would not be too safe a bid. If North has zero HCP, 2NT may be down some. Doubling and then bidding 2NT over 2 is a calculated risk.

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

South took three tricks. He could have taken five tricks in hearts. Who is to blame?