~Responding to a Takeout Double


The use of a takeout double is a request for partner to bid an unbid suit. The double a hand worth an opening bid with at least three-card support for all unbid suits. A takeout Double may also be made with less than an opening hand with excellent shape–maybe four cards in each unbid suit or with a void in the opponent’s suit. In addition, hands containing either ideal shape and at least an extra K or with a standalone suit may make a takeout double with the intent to show the strength by raising partner, by cue-bidding at round two, or by bidding a new suit over partner’s response.

Knowing the proper responses after partner doubles is important to partnership success. Of course, you want to find both the right strain and the right level for your partnership. Your priorities remain a major-suit contract, followed by a NT contract, and, lastly, a contract in a minor suit.

Suppose the bidding has gone
West          North          East          South
1C             Dbl              Pass         ?
You  hold
S K984     H Q7     D J965     C 943
Partner has asked you to bid. What do you determine your response?
You will bid at the one-level with 0-8 HCP. You will prefer a 4-card major over a 4-card minor, but with a balanced hand and stoppers in the enemy suit, you would likely bid NT. With the above hand, respond 1S. Replace the diamond J with the K, and you should consider a 2S bid. Change the spade K to the 9 and the diamond J to the 10, and you would still bid 1S.

With  a balanced hand, about 6-9 HCP, and a half-stopper in the enemy suit, bid 1NT. You would bid 1NT after the above auction with
S K97     H Q7     D QT87     C J965
Some partnerships bid 1NT with similar shape to that shown but as few as 5 HCP. Discuss your comfort level with your partner.

Make a jump response in your suit with 9-11 HCP or 8 HCP and some favorable distribution. One method of determining the strength of the hand is to add one point for a 4-card major suit, two points for a fifth trump in a major, and four points for a 6-card major suit.

Bid 2NT with 11-12 Hcp and at least one stopper in the enemy suit. With this hand, you should bid 2NT:

S K3     H Q32     D JT86     C KQT4
The hand is too strong for 1NT and you do not have a 4-card major suit. If partner has a full opener (or slightly better), 3NT is a reasonable contract. With a bit less, partner will pass, or with a good major suit and a strong hand, he will bid game in his suit or 3NT with a long minor. Discribing you approximate shape and strength will help partner make a good decision.

Cue-bid the enemy suit with 12 or more HCP. If you and partner both have opening values, the partnership may well have game values. Once you cue-bid and partner responds, you normally have a clear path to a good contract.

Jump to the three-level with a long suit but limited HCP–something like
S KJT973     H 53     D Q986     C 6
This hand has too much playing strength for a 1S call but is too weak for a single jump. Since partner has shown at least 3-card support for your suit (or else a strong hand with a possible stand-alone suit, he will be better able to evaluate the playing strength of the two hands after your double jump.


2 Responses to “~Responding to a Takeout Double”

  1. Warren Says:

    What about passing the T/O DBL? Does this demand a trump lead? WarrenWolff@aol.com

  2. bridgetips Says:

    Normally, yes.

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