Mike's Bidding Quiz


When partner responds to my takeout double, what do I need to raise?

Does it make a difference if opener bids again?

When you make a takeout double and partner makes a minimum bid, opener frequently bids again. You may bid again also, but things are not quite the same. Last week, you doubled, partner bid and opener passed. This week we consider what happens when opener makes a second bid.

To get started, here is a typical auction:

West North East South
1 Dbl
Pass 1♠ 2 ?

It is generally known that if you double and raise your partner, you need additional strength. Here is a two-part question for you.

Case one. You double 1, partner bids 1♠, opener passes. What do you need to raise to 2♠ ?

Case two. You double 1, partner bids 1♠, opener bids 2. What do you need to raise to 2♠?

Curiously, you need more for a 2♠ bid when opener passes than when opener bids 2. Why?

When opener passes, you can also pass with your normal-strength doubles because you know you are not going anywhere. If you can play 1♠, that is fine with you. When you raise, therefore, you need extra values. When opener rebids something, often his original suit, the takeout doubler bids more aggressively because he needs to confirm that he has good spade support as opposed to lesser spade support. Here are a few hands to make that point (the auction is the same as above). What is your call with each hand?

1. ♠ Q 8 7 3   K 3   K J 7 3   ♣ K 10 6

See Mike's Advice

Pass. You have a minimum. You have four spades, but all in all this is not much of a double. If partner has enough for 2♠ to be a good contract, he will probably bid it himself. He can have from zero to 8 support points. Trust him to know which kind of hand he has. He will bid again with 6 to 8 points and usually pass it out if he has zero to 5.

2. ♠ A Q 8 3   8 3   A 8 7   ♣ K J 8 3

See Mike's Advice

Bid 2♠. You have only a little more than a minimum, but the hand is better than average now that you know of a spade fit. Given that you have four spades (very important) and quality points (aces and kings), you can stretch with a 2♠ bid. If opener had passed, you would have passed as well.

3. ♠ K 10 7   J 7   A K J 3   ♣ Q J 6 3

See Mike's Advice

Pass. Do not bid 2♠. That bid would show a fourth trump and a slightly better hand. Note that if your partner has five spades, he will nearly always bid 2♠. If he has four spades, he may bid 2♠, but he will have a maximum for the bidding.

4. ♠ K 8 2   A J 2   Q 7 3   ♣ A K Q 8
See Mike's Advice

Bid 2NT. This shows about 19 high-card points. It is not a competitive bid — it shows strength. It is a nice hand, but if partner has a real bust, you won’t take many tricks.

5. ♠ Q J 8 4   4   A J 8 7   ♣ A K 9 8
See Mike's Advice

Bid 3♠. You can be pushy with a raise to 2♠ after opener’s 2, so you have to be a little pushy with your 3♠ bids, too. Note that you have four trumps. I cannot remind you enough of how important the fourth trump is when you raise partner after forcing him to bid.

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