Doubles (Part 2)

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 09/17/2014
Level: Intermediate

Earlier this month, we explored negative doubles. This time we look at :


The most simple (and common) responsive double occurs as follows:

1? X 2? X

South's double is not for penalty. Surely, it isn't likely South would be dealt a hand where he wants to double 2? for penalty. Instead, this "responsive" double shows "cards" but no convenient bid. On this auction, it would show a hand such as:


?A 2
?6 5 3
?Q 10 8 7
?Q 10 8 7
South wouldn't want to guess which minor to bid (possibly landing in a 4-3 instead of a 4-4 fit).

Generally, a responsive doubler won't hold 4 cards in the (lone) unbid major. With the missing major, it is usually best to simply bid the suit.

In the example auction above, the opponents bid and raised. Whether it be hearts or any suit, a double of a bid-and-raised suit should be "responsive" on any level (not just the two level). If they bid (1?) – Dbl – (3?), then double is still card-showing/responsive—not penalty. Even (1?) – Dbl – (4?)—Dbl is responsive, maybe with a hand such as:

?A 2
?6 3
?Q 10 8 7 2
?K J 4 3
 or ?K Q 5
?5 2
?A 7 6 2
?J 7 6 2

On the four level, the initial takeout doubler will often leave in the responsive double (having nowhere to go).

The responsive double is still used even if your side starts with an overcall:

1? 1? 2? X

Again, it makes no sense for double to be for penalties. Instead, it should show "cards" and typically both unbid suits.


What about if the opponents don't bid and raise, such as:

1? X 1? X?


This is a matter for partnership discussion. It is still viable to play South's double as responsive/cards "not penalty". However, many players prefer the double in this situation (no bid-and-raise) to be penalty. My personal preference is responsive in all situations. When filling out the convention card, note not only what level you play responsive doubles through, but also if they apply only for bid-and-raised suits or in all situations.

Next month we will finish up doubles.



Larry's Audio Tour of the Convention Card