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Defensive Bidding - Acol Lesson 15

Doubling and Responding to partners Takeout Double

When your opposition have already opened the bidding you and your partner are now the defence. The bidding rules change again when you are defenders

There are two ways of entering the auction after the opponents have opened a double (also called takeout double) or the second method is an overcall. We have previously covered overcalls.

If your partner doubles, then you must bid, unless your right-hand opponent bids and thus cancels the double. If your partner overcalls then you shouldn’t bid unless you have a fit with your partner. You will only need 3-card support to ensure a fit, because an overcall promises a 5-card suit.


One of the bids available to the defense that describes many aspects of your hand is a takeout double.

  • A takeout double can be made after the opponents have opened the bidding. You show 13+ TP (opening values) and at least 3 cards in all of the suits that have not been bid by your opponents. Strength does matter for a double.
  • If your partner doubles, then you must bid, unless your right-hand opponent bids and thus cancels the double.

  • Double is written by making an “X” on the bidding pad.

Takeout Double

13+ Total Points (TP)

3 Card Support for all Unbid Suits

Shortage in the Opponent's Suit

Examples of Overcalling and Doubling

Your right-hand opponent opens 1. What is your bid?

Hand 1.
K Q 10
K J 6
Q 8 5 3 2
J 7
" X " (Double) You show your partner 13+ TP and at least 3 card support for all unbid suits.and then pass whatever your partner bids.

Hand 2.
Q 9
9 8 4
A Q 9 3 2
You have lots of points, but not enough length in the unbid suits to double. Best to pass and hope your opponents bid on in clubs.

Hand 3.
A Q J 10
A Q J 6
K Q J 5
Wow! Double to force your partner to choose a suit and then leap to game in whatever partner chooses.

Rounded Rectangular Callout: ·	 Overcall with a good suit  ·	 Double with a good hand

Responses to a Double(also referred to as a takeout double)

When your partner bids double in the first round of bidding, this is known as a takeout double (as distinct from a double for penalties).

You must respond to your partners "double" and bid your best suit, the only exception is if the opposition makes an intervening bid. If that occurs then your obligation to bid is cancelled. Remember that partner has promised support for all unbid suits.

Most of the time your partner will not bid again after making a takeout double. Therefore, if you have a reasonable hand yourself, it is your responsibility to show your points. Remember that partner has an opening hand, so you should bid as if you were responding to an opening bid. Some partnerships have an agreement that if the responder to the double has 8+ HCP then they show this by making a jump bid where they bid 1 level higher than a minimum bid.

Examples of Responding to a Takeout Double

The oppositions opening bid is 1. your partner doubles and the next player passes. What do you bid?

Hand 1.
9 7 6 3
6 2
7 6 5 3
6 5 3
Here even with no HCP you must bid and your best suit is 1. Remember the opposition have already bid the diamond suit.

Hand 2.
A 7 6 3
6 2
K 6 5 3
Q 5 3
2 You have 9HCP so jumping the bidding a level of 1 more than your minimum bid indicates to your partner that you have 8 or more points

Hand 3.
6 3
A 7 6 2
6 3
9 5 4 3 2
1 bid at the minimum level indicating to your partner that you have less than 8HCP

Hand 4.
9 7 6
K J 8
Q J 5 3
6 5 3
Bid 1NT this bid shows 6-9HCP and a stopper in the opponents suit (diamonds)

Hand 5.
A 9 7 6 3 2
A 2
K 6 5
Q 5
Bid 4 With your 13HCP and 6 card spade suit and your partners 13TP you have enough to bid game. Your partner has promised at least 3 cards in all unbid suits

Hand 6.
Q 6 3
6 2
A Q 5 3
A J 3 2
Bid 3NT you have a balanced hand 13 HCP and stoppers in the opposition's diamond suit, you know your partner will have at least three cards in all the other suits apart from diamonds

PREVIOUS LESSON - Takeout Double or Overcall                      NEXT LESSON - Opening 2NT 

Learn to Play Bridge Free - Defensive Bidding Acol Lesson 15

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