Mike’s Bidding Quiz


1. What to I need for a takeout double if one opponent has opened the bidding and his partner responds at the two level?
2. What kinds of hands are appropriate for getting in there?

In this series of hands on takeout doubles, nearly all of the examples have come after an opening bid on your right or a one-level response on your right. What about the following auction (both sides vulnerable)?

West North East South
1 Pass 2 ?

The auction here is much different from the other sequences you have seen. What is the big difference? Stop here and think about this question.

Once you are a passed hand, the strength requirements for a takeout double are relaxed a bit, as you will see in one of the following quiz hands.

Here are two hands. What should you bid with each of these?

♠ K Q 7 4   Q 8 4   Q 10   ♣ K Q J 8

♠ Q J 7 6 3   K Q 8   K Q 9   ♣ 7 4

The first hand has 15 high-card points. It has four-card support for the unbid suits. But it would be an error to double. Why? Answer these two questions. West opened the bidding. How many HCP does he have? East went to the two level. How many points do you think he has? The answer is that West has an opening bid and East has a good hand. East may have only 10 HCP if he does not play a 2/1 system, but if he is playing 2/1 (a two-level response by an unpassed hand is forcing to game), then he also has an opening bid.

The sum of this is that they have around 25 HCP. You have 15, and your partner has the rest (in other words — zero). There is no reason for you to bid with this hand because your side will never buy the contract. If you take action and are wrong, you are a favorite to be doubled. And if they play the contract, there is a likelihood that declarer will play it especially well because your double told him where the high cards are.

The second hand has similar problems. This time you have 13 HCP, but you know that both opponents have good hands. If you bid 2♠ and find partner with his expected 2 or 3 HCP, he better have spade support. If he has one or two spades and no useful values, the last call in the sequence may be the sound of East or West doubling your 2♠ bid.

The theme here is that when an opponent makes a 2/1 bid, you should pass on all hands that are marginal. Save your bids for hands that have certain tricks. These will be rare.

Here are four hands with which you might consider bidding over East’s 2 bid.

1. ♠ K Q 10 9 7   3 2   2   ♣ K Q 10 6 4

See Mike's Advice

If you absolutely must bid, this is the kind of hand you need. You have two good and long suits. You can double if you wish. Mind you, I do not promise anything good will happen. If your partner is broke, you will end up defending or being doubled. On some hands, your double may help partner with his opening lead but against that, your double will likely help declarer play the contract.

The point is that this hand is not a wonderful hand to bid with after a 2/1 response.

2. ♠ A Q J 10 9 6   4 3   8   ♣ J 10 8 3

See Mike's Advice

Believe it or not, bidding 2♠ is a sane choice. You should be aware that the deal belongs to the opponents (partner, too, should be aware of this). You have a good suit with five likely tricks and you have hopes for another in clubs. In this case, your partner will lead a spade, which you really do prefer.

3. ♠ K Q 8   A Q 7   J 10 9 7   ♣ A J 3

See Mike's Advice

Pass. There is nothing you can bid that makes sense. You have 17 HCP, so you suspect that they cannot make a game. Probably East has a standard 2 bid and has just 10 HCP. Whatever he has, you know your partner is broke. If you bid something, your partner will produce nothing and you will go for quite a few tricks. It is likely you will be recording doubled undertricks. Points are not the ultimate dominant factor in bridge. They help but they do not do the trick all by themselves.

4. ♠ 5 3   3   8 7   ♣ K Q J 10 8 7 5 2

See Mike's Advice

You should bid at least 3♣.

Overcalls after a 2/1 sequence do not promise points. They promise tricks. This hand has seven tricks. Even a 4♣ bid has merit. You can go down three if doubled, but given you have only 6 HCP, there is room for your partner to have one trick. It is a fair gamble to bid 4♣, which will force their side into some difficult guesses.

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