Advanced Bridge

 

Lesson 13

 

Negative Doubles

 

†††† In a five-card Major suit bidding system, the frequency of a Minor suit opening is, of course, increased.†† As a result, it is easier for the opponents to overcall, and their having done so, may obviate the responderís bid of a 4-card suit that he/she was planning to bid. (Examples: 1, 2 & 3)

Responder may be precluded from making his/her desired call because of either a lack of holding five or more pieces of the desired suit, too few HCPís, or even both.††

†††† The Negative Double is a convention which copes with this situation.A double by Responder at his/her first opportunity, opposite a one-of-a-suit opening bid by partner followed by an interference overcall by Responderís RHO (Right Hand Opponent) is a double for take-out rather than a double for penalties.The HCP count of a Responder who utilizes a negative double is unlimited. (Example: 4)

 

††††††† (Example: 1)†††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

 

†† East Holds:†††††††† †††††††††††††1D††††††††† 1S†††††††† Dbl.†††††††††††††

††††† XXX

††††† AXXX†††† (Eastís Double shows at least four Hearts and at least

††††† XX††††††† enough strength to have responded to openerís 1D bid had

††††† QXXX††††† there been no interference.Responder hopes opener will

††††††††††††††† Be able to bid 2H.Here if instead, opener rebids 2C,

††††††††††††††† Responder will pass.)

 

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†† †††††(Example: 2)†††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

 

†† East Holds:†††††††† †††††††††††††1D††††††††† 1S†††††††† Dbl.†††††††††††††

††††† XXX

††††† KJXX†††† (Absent a 2H call from opener in this case, Responder is

††††† KXXX††††† prepared to correct to 2D.)

††††† XX††

 

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†††††††

 

†††††††

 

††††††† (Example: 3)†††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

 

†† East Holds:†††††††† †††††††††††††1S††††††††† 2H†††††††† Dbl.†††††††††††††

††††† KX

††††† JXX††††† (Once again, the use of the Negative Double allows the

††††† AXXX††††† Responder to describe his/her hand.)

††††† KXXX

 

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†††††††

††††††† (Example: 4)†††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

 

†† East Holds:††††††† †††††††††††††1D††††††††† 1S†††††††† Dbl.†††††††††††††

††††† AX

††††† KQXX†††† (Here, Responder has a very strong hand but still requires

††††† QXXXX†††† the use of the Negative Double in that the overcaller has

††††† AX††††††† made it difficult for East to bid the hand naturally.Once††

††††††††††††††† East finds out whether or not the opener has four Hearts,

East plans to force at least to game thereafter.)

 

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†††††††

Note:††† The use of an immediate double of an overcall as a negative or takeout double means that Responder cannot double the overcall for penalties.†† The fact, therefore, that the use of negative doubles may force the Responder to pass when otherwise he/she would have made a penalty double places a heavy obligation on the opening bidder.As a result, the opener must make every reasonable effort to keep the bidding open if his/her left-hand opponentís overcall is passed around to him/her, especially if he/she be short in the over-callerís suit.

(Example: 5)

 

††††††† (Example: 5)†††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

 

†† West Holds:†††††††† †††††††††††††1S††††††††† 2D††††††† Pass††††††† Pass†††††††

††††† AQXXX††††††††††††††††† ????

††††† KXX††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† East Holds:

††††† X††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† XX

††††† AX†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† AXX

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† KJ10XX

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† XXX

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

†††††††††††††††† (One guideline for the opener as to whether or not to

re-open the bidding is his/her length in the suit of the overcall.The shorter he/she is in that suit the more he/she should strain to keep the bidding open and conversely, the more cards he/she has in the over-callerís suit, the more inclined he/she should be to pass.†† In Example 5 above, if West were to re-open the bidding with a re-opening double, East is prepared to pass the re-opening double thereby converting it to a penalty double.Also, note that East had had the original option of bidding NT, else passing and hoping for a re-opening double from partner which Responder then plans to pass.

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††† A secondary advantage of the use of negative doubles is that the overcaller may have a penalty inflicted upon him from either side as Opener may (having the necessary length in the over-callerís suit) pass the double for penalties instead of bidding onwards.(Example: 6)

 

††††††† (Example: 6)†††††††† West†††††† North†††††† East†††††† South

 

†† West Holds:†††††††† †††††††††††††1S††††††††† 2C†††††††† Dbl.†††††††††††††

††††† AKXXX

††††† XX†††††† (Here, Opener, having a lack of support for Eastís negative

††††† X†††††††† double evidencing a probable Heart-Diamond holding, has the

††††† AKJXX†††† option of passing the negative double thereby converting it

††††††††††††††† to a penalty double.)††

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