Negative Doubles: Answers

Negative Doubles

Minimum HCP

Overcall Level Example Points Needed
One Level 1C – (1S)  6+
Two of a minor 1D – (2C)  8+
Two of a major 1D – (2H)  8+
Three Level 1H – (3D)  10+
Four Level 1S – (4C)  12+

The upper limit for a negative double is unlimited.


These Doubles Aren’t Negative

  • When the opponents overcall in NT.
  • When the opponents make a cue bid, like Michaels.


In these cases, double shows general strength, around 10 HCP or greater.


Specific Situations

  • After 1C – (1D), the double promises both major(s).
  • After 1C – (1H), a double shows exactly 4 spades, while a 1S bid shows 5 spades.
  • After 1H – (1S), a double promises both minor(s) .
  • After 1D – (2C), a double promises one major(s).
  • After 1H – (2C), the double promises spades but says nothing about diamonds.

After Partner Makes a Negative Double

  • Answering in the Promised Suit

o   Bidding the indicated suit at the cheapest level shows a minimal opener.  Sometimes when no other call is suitable opener has to bid this with as few as 3 cards in the suit.

o   Jumps in the promised suit invite a game.

  • Rebidding Notrump

o   Rebids in NT at the appropriate level promise a stopper in the overcall suit.

  • Rebidding Opened Suit

o   Minimum rebid in opened suit may be done with as few as 5 cards in the suit.

  • Bidding a New suit

o   Bidding a new lower ranking suit is non-forcing. (But responder shouldn’t pass with 9+ HCP)

o   Bidding a new higher-ranking suit is a reverse. (Example: 1C – (1S) – X – (P) – 2D)

  • Cuebid

o   A cuebid of the overcall suit is forcing (usually to game).

  • Converting the Negative Double to Penalty

o   The lower the level, the more this should be based on trump quality.

o   At higher levels, opener is more likely to convert based on general strength.

Reopening Doubles

  • When you play negative doubles you lose the ability to make a direct penalty double of their overcall.
  • With a hand that wants to penalize their overcall, responder has to pass and wait for his partner to reopen with a double.
  • As opener, if the overcall is passed around to you, you should strive to reopen with shortness in their suit, even with a minimal opener.

o   Example:  Opener: S: AQxx H:x D: KQxxx C:xxx.  After opening 1D, you hear 1H on your left, pass from your partner and pass from your right hand opponent.  Your next call should be double .