At the club last night we had two auctions featuring a takeout doubler bidding his/her suit after partner’s response. The first hand was bid by our opponents, who got to the right spot in the wrong manner:
- North opened 1D. East doubled. This is minimal but fine: East has 11 HCP with a singleton small Diamond and at least 3 cards in the other suits. It allows partner to respond at the 1 level and gives her 3 choices. A 2C overcall would be OK but not as good, in my opinion.
- Over to West, with an opening hand herself and a 5 card major. It surely looks to her as if they will be in 4S. She bid….1S? That could be on a 4-card suit and 0 HCP, so it’s a dramatic underbid. Better would be 2D, a cuebid confirming an opening hand opposite the takeout doubler.
- East should pass partners 1S bid. She has a minimum X and only 3 card support. West could have 0 HCP! Instead she bid….2C? That shows 17 to about 21 HCP and a 5 card suit. It’s non-forcing and a big overbid.
- Now West should rein in her enthusiasm about her Spades. Her partner may be short in them in this sequence. Probably the most expeditious bid is 3NT. Instead….2S.
- East should really throw about 3 pass cards on the table at this point, as West is showing a weak hand with 5+ Spades and short in Clubs. Instead….3S.
- West now continues to 4S, where they should be all along. An erratic route to the right destination.
We were the perpetrators on the second hand.
- West opens 1H and North doubles. This is the “too strong to overcall” X, planning to bid his suit next.
- South responds 2C. With 9 HCP and a 6 card suit 3C might be better, but 2C will work better on this auction, saving bidding space.
- North now bids 2S, showing 5 Spades and 17+ HCP. With less North should have overcalled 1S the previous turn.
- After 2S South is in a bit of a bind with her 9 HCP. She knows they have game points but she doesn’t know which game. 3NT seems most likely to be good, but she can’t bid it. I could see bidding either 3D or 3C here. She’s not forced to bid, but should. If she bids North should bid 3NT to play it from his side. Unfortunately, she passed. 2S made 3 on power, but not for a good board.
Just remember: making a takeout double and then bidding a new suit shows 17+HCP. It’s not forcing on your partner, who might have 0 HCP. Don’t bid a new suit with a minimum takeout X just because you’re short in your partner’s response suit; if that’s the case you shouldn’t be doubling.