Saturday, May 17, 2014

Takeout Doubles

Takeout doubles on the first call by an unbid hand, with rare exceptions should only be done in the following three instances:

1.  You have 17 HCP and a self-sustaining suit, like

♠ 53
♥ AKQ762
♦ A87
♣ A42

RHO opens 1S. You double and bid hearts no matter what your partner responds.

2.   You have an opening hand, shortness in RHO’s suit and can support anything partner bids. RHO opens 1S and you hold:
♠ 53
♥ AK7
♦ K974
     ♣ K865

    You double. Unless partner jumps in her suit, you will pass anything she bids. If opponents compete and partner has bid one of your 4 card suits, you can then raise once to force opponents up one level to a contract they might not be able to make (if they bid 3, though, don’t go up to the 4 level to compete).
     3. You have a 4 card major and a 5 card minor and an opening hand, like

♠ 53
♥ 9873
♦ AKQ65
♣ KJ

    RHO opens 1S. Instead of overcalling 2D, you double trying to find out if partner holds 4 hearts. If partner bids 2C, you bid 2D. With partnership understanding this does not promise 17 HCP. Rather, it says that you probably have 4 cards in the unbid major, and at least 5 cards in the minor you bid. You might have 17 HCP, but you might just have an opening hand with 4 hearts and 5-6 diamonds. Many people don’t play this but it’s a good understanding to have with your partner because it allows you to find a 4-4, or better, fit in the unbid major so you can play or compete in the major instead of the minor. If you don’t’ double before bidding your minor, you have virtually no chance of finding the 4-4 heart fit. Be sure that your partner understands this, though. If she thinks you’re promising 17 HCP when you might only have 13 HCP, you could get in big trouble.