Chuck Arthur


We were sitting around at the pub after the game, telling of our exploits. One of our members posed the question





West North East South
  1 Double ??

Immediately, sides were drawn and a debate ensued. Only two realistic answers were proposed: redouble or 1 heart.

If you redouble and the auction continues


West North East South
  1 double redouble
3 pass pass ??


what next? If you ask about 3 , you’ll be told “Not in the least invitational.” Would 3 be forcing?

If you start with 1 , what do you do after


West North East South
  1 double 1
2 pass   3  ??

what now?

Then somebody called out “Hey Chuck, why don’t you blog it?”

So here it is. What are your thoughts?


mcpheeMarch 7th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I would start with 1H. It would be nice to know a little more information, however I will assume you use support doubles. Double of 3D seems best under these conditions. I hope I have not found pard with some crock of trash to open 1C in first. If he now bids 3H I will move along with 4C. If he repeats C raise to game, and if he passes well I hope he is right as I have about what he should expect.

Bruce StuartMarch 7th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I will respond 1H. After W bids 2D and my P passes and E bids 3D, doubts about my P start to unfold.I am going to X 3D and see what happens.

Harold BabaMarch 7th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I think you meant that the 2 possible bids were XX or 1H not 2H

In the 1st case I think 3H would be forcing which I would not be comfortable with when partner bids 3NT

I prefer to bid 1H immediately.After 3D by opponent I would double.Partner could have made a support double over 2D therefore, he has 2 or less hearts.It sounds like the opponents are on a 9 card diamond fit and partner’s shape is 3235. I hope to get this for down 2 on trump leads

If they make it , tomorrow is another day:))

Blair FedderMarch 7th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Over the auction where I redoubled, 3 hearts is forcing

Over the auction where I bid 1 heart, I would bid 3 spades

Carl HudecekMarch 7th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I accept either redouble or 1H at my first turn. If I redouble first,

and LHO jumps to 3D around to me, I double (NEGATIVE double because

of LHO’s D jump, and because of my position under West’s diamonds).

If I bid 1H first, and LHO bids 2D and RHO bids 3D around to me,

I double (also NEGATIVE double because of E-W’s bidding and my

position under West’s diamonds.)

North can bid a 3-card majorin either situation, orr he can pass for

penalties, with a good defensive hand like T9x Axx AJT AT9x

Ron 'the Cardinal' BishopMarch 7th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I think that “just two realistic answers (choices)” is misguided; perhaps “Pass” is best … you know LHO won’t have enough to make a value jump (to interfere preemptively because a jump after ‘pass’ is not preemptive) and you will be well placed later with a Q-bid so that neither hearts or spade (nor clubs) get lost. How can this space-saving ‘pass’ cost ?? We may still also have the opportunity to defend one of the majors.

Chuck ArthurMarch 7th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Thanks for pointing out the typo Harold, since corrected.

If anybody else (thanks Sharon and Ross Taylor) noticed that there were 2 Kings of spades on MSC 1, I have sisce corrected that problem as well.

Bruce GowdyMarch 7th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I would double-This is not a penalty double-just indicates a desire to compete. Partner probably does not hold 3 hearts-otherwise he would have doubled 2 dia-He may have 4 spades-He may have AQ10 dia in which case he could pass the double-barring all that he should have 5 clubs in which case 4 clubs is a viable contract

David LindopMarch 7th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I don’t like redoubling with a partial fit for partner’s suit, so I would probably bid 1H, giving up on penalizing the opponents. However, there’s nothing wrong with redouble. The auction doesn’t have to continue as it did…and partner might have been able to double 3D.

I consider redouble followed by 3H as 100% forcing. However, I recall being passed in an almost identical situation by an expert partner, so I guess it isn’t unanimous. My agreement with Doug Baxter in this situation is that redouble shows interest in doubling at least two strains. So I can’t double 3D, that would be for penalty. With this agreement, 3H is a bit of an overbid, but should get us to a reasonable spot. Partner will know I don’t have a one-suiter and that I have spades as well (since I didn’t double diamonds, so we should land in a reasonable spot.

If I bid 1H, I would then double 3D as a competitive action. I’d like to have a doubleton diamond for this call, in case partner passes the double, but I’ll trust partner to find us a reasonable place to play.

Blair FedderMarch 7th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Not to distract anyone, but might I suggest that everyone take a minute to answer Judy Wolff’s bidding question. I did, and it is a simple bidding question, to or not to.

Thank you Chuck for allowing me to make this request and I have enjoyed very much your last two columns. Your hands are interesting and it’s fun to see what our readers bid.

Good luck with future hands, as in keep’em comin’….I love playing!

Thank you again.

Debbie BennettMarch 7th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

If I redouble, 3 hearts is 100% forcing! If I bid 1 heart and the auction is at 3 diamonds back to me, I double. I’ve got to get spades into the picture, I have a partial fit with pard’s clubs, I am asking my intelligent partner to make an ‘intelligent’ decision.

Andy RismanMarch 7th, 2010 at 9:37 pm

If I bid 1 heart originally, I am hard pressed to make my partner believe that I have a real hand. I would redouble and then bid 3 hearts. Partner can even bid his four card spade suit if he has it. I

Ross AndersonMarch 8th, 2010 at 9:29 am

I don’t have a problem with either bid (redouble or 1 Heart) however redouble is my preference.After redouble I think partner shows a minimum opener with clubs and probably diamonds and therefore I have 2 choices (double and 4 clubs).With my distribution and position of spades and hearts onside I will choose 4 clubs although double may be the big winner.

After bidding 1 heart which could be weak partner may be stuck for a bid especially if our agreement allows me to do this with 4 heaRTS ( I PREFER 5).In this case I think double is best and should show diamond shortage and 10+POINTS AND GOOD DEFENSIVE VALUES IN THE MAJORS.

David CohenMarch 8th, 2010 at 11:56 am

On an even day of the month I would redouble, and double when 3D comes back to me. This should be showing values. Let partner make the final decision so I can give him shit for it later.

On an odd day of the month I would bid 1H. 5 card majors are meant to be bid. When 3D comes back to me, I would double, again showing values. If partner has a reason to bid, I would expect it (ie, they have 4 Spades). I would not expect partner to have 3 H’s (no support X), but this dbl may get him to bid Ax or Qx or hearts. See point above if partner doesnt get it right.

On a leap year day (Feb 29th), I would bid 2D…fitshowing. Let the opps figure that one out as we play some number of NT.

Ross TaylorMarch 8th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I would bid 1H initially, in which case, double now is clearcut and clearly takeout; though partner is entitled to pass with a suitable hand.

I am a big fan of natural bidding over the opponent’s takeout double. Most of the time I ignore the double – unless I am about to unleash some conventional treatment made possible by the intervening double.

Bidding 1 heart does not deny the high card values for an old fashioned redouble.

Redoubling on these kind of hands just endplays you later in the auction. If you bid XX initially, how can you possibly bid double now and expect partner “to do the right thing”?

A redouble followed by a double, notwithstanding diamonds have been bid and raised, notwithstanding the modern game’s liberal use of catch-all doubles, surely should not be made with a stiff diamond and 4-5 in the majors.

Hazel WolpertMarch 8th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I like 1 heart followed by double over 3 diamonds . I find redouble most times a useless bid that gets our bidding delayed by one round.

Fred GitelmanMarch 8th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

IMO Ross’s answer is right on.

I think that, in the absence of an explicit (and unusual) agreement, those who RDBL and expect their partners to work out that their subsequent DBL is for takeout are dreaming.

PimoMarch 9th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

I am intrigued by the number of Shuman Action Doubles. Any double of three diamonds after a redouble should be done over a long hesitation ( yes, you would have to cheat ), otherwise an alert by partner would be order, as this double is penalty. How this double could be take-out implies partnership agreements that go beyond standard bridge. Imagine sitting down at a rubber bridge table with an unknown partner, and redoubling and then doubling 3 diamonds for take-out. It’s not a real world bid, but a fantasy that in moments will turn into a screaming nightmare.

The same holds true of the double of three diamonds after bidding a heart, which is also penalty. This double is being treated as an action bid, ergo, the S.A.D. becomes so when partner passes because he has xx, xxx, Ax, Kx or even Qxx. Do you really have partnership agreements that make this action double non-penalty? Do you really alert your opponents and explain that it shows a stiff or void in the suit doubled?

Chuck GallowayMarch 9th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I’ve seen so many bad takeout doubles that I rarely redouble and try to tell my partner something about my shape early – hence 1H. After the 3D raise I would X – surely this is an action double and gives partner lots of choices. Chuck Galloway

Mike HamiltonNovember 6th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

There was a time when a redouble showed 10+ HCP, period. The details got sorted out in the later rounds of bidding.

Modern bidding seems more refined. These days, doubles show greater high-card strength and shorter suits, that is, more defense and less offense. They tend to show values without a clear direction and ask partner for help in competing.

I think a redouble should show one of two types of hands. The first is a balanced 10+ with an interest in doubling any run-out for penalties. The second is a stronger hand with a biddable suit. You redouble first to show high-card strength, then bid to show a good suit in a strong hand. If you can bid this way, it’s a lock that advancer will be broke and you can play your cards one trick better half the time because you know where virtually all your missing strength is placed.

Any other hand will have a biddable feature and the modern tendency is to get it into the auction. With 9 major-suit cards, I have more offensive potential, so I would bid 1H over the double. Partner will know I have 5+ hearts and I am just about strong enough to reverse-rebid spades the next round to show the 5-4.

Given the two auctions in this problem, I would double in each case. If I redoubled the first time, this double would definitely be for penalties. If I overcalled 1H, a double now shows tolerance for the unbid suits and the high-card strength to compete. Playing negative doubles, there is a chance that partner is trapping with a decent diamond holding. I have one or two defensive tricks facing an opening bid with the opponents at the 3-level. I am prepared to defend if partner passes.

A bid of 3H after a redouble would have to be showing a good suit in a strong hand. I don’t have that which is why I bid 1H. But if the redouble is forced on me, given that partner opened the bidding, a free call of 3H would definitely be forcing to game. This would be strongly suggestive of no more than a singleton diamond. I have useful club support if partner has a real suit and if not, he has either spades, heart support, or diamond values for no-trump. I’m happy to play game in no-trump or either major.

That said, I wouldn’t balance with 3H on this hand – the suit quality isn’t good enough. If we miss a 5-3 fit with partner holding A-Q-x, that’s the price I pay for the redouble instead of the heart bid. I’ll double and let partner remove it if he can see a clear offensive direction.

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