Further Uses of Take-out Doubles in Bridge

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Double is the most underused bid in Bridge as people often forget to use it or don’t use it at the right time.

Previously, we learnt that you needed S.O.S to double:

  • Shortage (in the opponent’s suit)
  • Opening (points)
  • Support (for the other three suits).

However, there are other times when the take-out double is the best bid available.

Responding to a One Level Take-out Double

  • You must bid even with no points and sometimes with a three card suit!
  • Remember to jump a level to show 9 – 12 points
  • Bid the major suit before a minor suit, even if the major has only 4 cards and the minor has 5 cards

Responding to a High Level Double

Double is for take-out when partner either hasn’t bid, or has passed. This is the case even when partner doubles a high level opening bid (ie 3♣ or 4♦).

However, partner is much more prone to pass a 4 level take-out double if he has no long suit and thinks it more likely the opponent’s contract will go down.

The Re-opening double

If the opponents have overcalled (or opened the bidding) and your partner has passed, reopen with a double to get your partner to bid again. Remember the golden rule of doubling: if partner has passed (or not bid yet), double = take-out.

Exception: a double of 1NT shows 16+ points and is for penalties.

Double of an opening suit bid with 19+ points

An overcall shows 5+ cards and 6 – 18 points. So with 19+ points, double, then bid your 5+ card suit. This tells partner that you were too strong to overcall in the first place.

It does not need to have shortage in the opponent’s suit or support for the three other suits. Partner will know this when you have doubled and then bid your own suit – that is the tell tale sign of the 19+ point double.

Lesson tags: bidding, double, takeout double
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