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Black Arts and Culture

Bridge Corner: December 14, 2017

Hello and welcome to Tidewater Bridge Unit

There are three options when the opponents open the bidding. You can pass, overcall, or double. You already know how to pass. We have learned about overcalls – a good 5+ card suit with at least 8 HCP at the one level and 10+ HCP at the 2 level. The third option is to double (this would be a takeout double. There are several other types of doubles you can use in different situations. We will discuss other doubles in later lessons).

Here’s how the takeout double works. If right hand opponent (RHO) opens 1S, you are far more likely to hold a hand with a (Spade)x (Heart)xxxx (Diamond)xxxx (Club)xxxx type shape than one with a (S)xxxxx (H)xx (D)xxx (C)xxx type shape. In really old bidding theory, 1S – X would have been a penalty double, meaning “You aren’t going to make 1 spade, so I’m doubling to increase your penalty.”

In today’s bidding, the doubler in the sequence 1S – X is saying, “I have about an opening hand. I don’t have many spades, but I can support all of the unbid suits.” A perfect double of 1S would look like (S)x (H)AJxx (D)Kxxx (C)AJxx. With this shape, you could double with as few as 11 or so points because you have 4-card support for any suit partner bids. If the shape is not quite as good as the perfect example above (for instance (S)xx (H)xxxx (D)xxxx (C)xxx), then the 1S doubler should have at least 13 HCP. A takeout double strongly suggests having at least four of the unbid major(s). Remember, if you don’t have perfect shape, you need a full opening bid (13 HCP).

If you don’t have a shape for an overcall, and you don’t have a shape for a takeout double, and you can’t overcall 1NT, you should pass. If you double, you need to be able to tolerate any suit partner bids. If RHO opens 1S and you have (S)Axx (H)Axxx (D)KQxx (C)xx, you should pass.

Responding to Takeout Doubles

When partner doubles, he is NOT inviting you to pass. He doesn’t have many of the opponent’s bid suit. If partner doubles 1C, you expect him to have a hand that looks like
(S)Axxx (H)Axxx (D)Axxx (C)x, or thereabouts. Your options:
• If you have 4 cards in an unbid suit (prefer a major over a minor) and 0-8 hcp, bid it.
• If you have 4 cards in an unbid suit (prefer major over minor), 9-11 hcp, jump in your suit. If the bidding goes 1C-X-P to you and you have (S)Ax (H)KQxx (D)xxx (C)Qxxx, bid 2H.
• With 7-9 points, no four-card major and stoppers in opponent’s suit, bid 1NT.
• With 10-12 hcp, no four-card major and stoppers in opponent’s suit, bid 2NT.
• With 13-15 hcp, no four-card major and stoppers in opponent’s suit, bid 3NT.
Note: Since 1NT promises 7 HCP, occasionally you may find yourself bidding your best 3-card major. You cannot pass a takeout double with a weak hand. You must have a good hand with 5 or more trumps in order to pass.


Tuesday, Dec. 19
Cooke-Suburban game
10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$4 – $5

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Wednesday, Dec. 20
Bon-Ton bridge game
10:45 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$4 – $5

All activities, unless otherwise noted, are located at the Berkley Senior Center, 925 S. Main Street, Norfolk, VA. For additional information on classes, games, or tournaments, please call Jennifer Douglas at (757) 701-0640.

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