Mike's Bidding Quiz


1. Partner has made a takeout double of a one-level bid and I have an opening hand myself. What is my best plan?

2. Does it make a difference if I have only one suit to bid?

It is true that this series has taken a long time, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of knowing how to bid after a takeout double. My last reminder is for interested players to get my book, Takeout Doubles.

The situation in this article is simple. Your partner makes a takeout double, and you have points for game with only one suit. Jumping to game is possible, but it is a lazy bid in general. There might be more than game, and it is possible that there is a better game to play in. Here are some examples of how you should bid when you have one of these good hands.

This is the bidding.

West North East South
1 Dbl Pass ?

On each of these hands, decide what you should bid now and plan on what you will do next.

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

See Mike's Advice

The first thing to notice is that you have points for game. With 14 high-card points facing a takeout double, you should plan to reach game in hearts or notrump. Remember that partner’s double does not promise four hearts, so be open to playing in notrump.

The way to start the bidding is with 2, a cuebid. Your partner will almost always bid a major if he has one, and considering that he made a takeout double, he rates to have one major, probably two. If he bids 2, you know he has four hearts and may have four spades. If he bids 2♠, you know he has four spades and does not have four hearts.

If he bids 2, you go to game. You are interested in a game contract only, and that is what 4 says.

If he bids 2♠, you know he does not have four hearts, so you should bid 2NT. Your partner will know you have game-forcing points, almost certainly with four hearts, and he will continue in one way or another.

2. ♠ A K J 7 6   K 3   8 7 6 3  ♣ J 10

See Mike's Advice

Bid 2. Do not bid 4♠. This hand is good enough that, facing some takeout double hands, you might have a slam. Say these are the two hands:

♠ Q 10 5 3 ♠ A K J 7 6
A J 5 4 K 3
9 8 7 6 2
♣ A Q 7 4 ♣ J 10

If you jump to 4♠, West will probably pass, and you will end up taking 12 tricks after the club finesse wins, as expected.

After cuebidding 2, West will bid 2. East will now bid his spades. This auction does not promise five spades, and if West does something besides raising spades, East will rebid his spades on the next round. A cuebid followed by a new suit is forcing to game, so West will have to continue no matter what he has for his double. Will you reach a slam? I doubt it, but I do want you to see that 12 tricks are likely.

3. ♠ A 7   J 3 2   8 7 3   ♣ A K J 8

See Mike's Advice

East has a hand that does not have a major suit but he has enough that game in notrump or clubs could be worth bidding. He bids 2 first to establish a forcing sequence. Partner will bid a major and now a 3♣ bid will show game values. You may reach a game that does not make, but the odds are that you should get to one.

4. ♠ A Q   Q J 8 7 6 3   3   ♣ A Q 7 2
See Mike's Advice

A marvelous hand. You will seldom have a hand like this after a takeout double from partner. Bid 2 and show the hearts next. You will probably bid to 6or at least will give it serious thought. The big error to avoid with these cards is jumping to 4 immediately. That would be bad bidding.

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