Mike’s Bidding Quiz

1. How can you tell if a hand is okay for doubling and bidding notrump?
2. How can you tell how high to bid after doubling?

It is all right to make a takeout double and then bid notrump if you have extra strength and stoppers in opener’s suit. I will give a couple of examples of how to manage these big hands so that you don’t get into a lot of trouble.

1. ♠ Q 7 4  A Q 8   K J 7 6   ♣ A K Q

 WEst North East South 1♦ Dbl Pass 1♠ Pass 3NT All Pass

Did South call correctly?

South made one good call and one horrible bid. The double was fine. South has way too much to bid 1NT, so he doubles with the intention of bidding notrump later.

When North bids 1♠, South gets to bid notrump to tell partner about the extras.

A bid of 1NT shows 18–19 high-card points — occasionally a tiny bit less, occasionally a tiny bit more. The example hand has 21 HCP, so it is a bit heavy for a 1NT bid. Better is 2NT, which shows something resembling an opening 2NT bid. Even 2NT is not entirely safe, however. Here is a possible layout.

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

South will probably take seven tricks, but that is not enough. 2NT will turn out to be too high. 3NT is without hope.

This is a fair approximation of what you can expect. South has a very nice hand, but he should take into account his own strength and the opening bid on his right. Between the two, there is not much left in the way of HCP for partner. There is very little chance that North will produce enough points to make anything.

2. ♠ Q J 8   K J 3   A K J 2   ♣ K J 5

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

What do you think of South’s double? What do you think of South’s 1NT bid? What do you think of South’s pass?