6 English Bridge October 2019 www.ebu.co.uk
W N E S
1® Dble Pass ?
Responding to partner's take-out doubles
ACOLytes - Know the Basics by Sarah Bell
ast issue we looked at take-out doubles and
said that doubling your opponent's opening
bid for take-out shows tolerance for all of the
unbid suits and something resembling an opening
hand. This time we will look at the auction from the
point of view of the doubler's partner: what do your
bids mean after partner has made a take-out
double? Let's use this auction as an example. You are
with a four-card suit, so after 1®-Dble-Pass I would
bid at the one level with 0-8 with a four- or fivecard
suit and on 0-9 with a four-card suit.
You might even occasionally have to bid a suit
with only three cards in it: what else can you do in
the example below?
In this example you must bid a three-card suit. I
would bid 1t for a couple of reasons. It conserves
space and partner will not be excited by a major fit.
If you have a hand that would like to invite
partner to game you can make a single jump in
your suit. If you jump in a major this promises a
four-card suit, but if you jump in a minor you
should have five, as partner will often have three
cards and occasionally only two in an unbid minor,
but will always have three and usually four in an
unbid major. Good hands with a four-card minor
will often bid NT. Double jumps don't really exist in
standard methods, so I would not make one unless
I had explicitly agreed its meaning with my partner.
With 8-10 points and a balanced hand and a stop
in opener's suit, you can bid 1NT. Bidding 1NT
does promise these values - with a weaker hand,
just bid a suit at the lowest level. You can't bid 1NT
with a weaker hand because it'll be very easy for
opponents to double you - you probably don't have
the balance of power and have already told them
you don't have a great fit to run to. With a stronger
hand (11-12) you can bid 2NT and on a stronger
hand still you can jump to the game of your choice.
Some books advocate bidding 1NT with 8-9 points
and 2NT with 10-12, which I really dislike: I like my
partner to be able to double with slightly less than
an opening bid if they have a suitable shape and I
do not like playing 2NT with 10 opposite 11 points
and no fit.
Your first option is to pass partner's double.
Partner has said that they have a fair hand with
shortage in clubs and support for the other suits, so
1® is likely to be a fair contract unless you have a
good hand with great clubs. This means that you
can't pass 1® just because you have a bad hand with
nothing to say. Partner has asked you to take the
contract out to something else, so with a bad hand
that is exactly what you should do. Passing the
double says, 'I think we are going to collect a penalty
from this, even though you don't have many clubs,
In practice it is often better to try to bid your own
game, such as 3NT, than to try to collect a penalty
at such a low level. Passing is more commonly seen
when partner doubles a weak 2 or a higher level
pre-empt for take-out than a one level opening. If
you don't pass the double you have to bid
something. Bidding a suit at the lowest level doesn't
promise any values at all, because partner has made
you bid. It is commonly said that these bids show 0-
8 points, but I think that a better way to think of it
is to say that if you bid your suit as cheaply as
possible you are saying 'I am not interested in game
unless you have substantially more than a minimum'.
I would invite with a nine count if I had a five-
card suit (partner has told you they have an
opening hand and a fit for you), but probably not
´ 7 6 3
™ J 8 3
t J 5 4
® 9 6 3 2
W N E S
1® Dble Pass ?