Forcing Bids after a Takeout Double

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What below game sequences are forcing after you make a takeout double? RHO opens…

Steve Robinson
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Source: Cantos Forcing después de un Doblo de Saque  (Jun/Jul 2011)

What below game sequences are forcing after you make a takeout double? RHO opens 1, you double, partner bids 1. Other than jumping to 4, how do you make a game-forcing spade bid? In other words, how do you make a forcing spade bid holding  AQ432 AKQ AQ43 x in order to find out if partner has spade support?

As you can see from the following answers, there are different opinions on which sequences are forcing. The object here is to make some rules. Everyone plays that after (1) – Double – (P) – 1 – (P), 1 shows extra values, AKJxx AKx Kxx xx for instance. Since 1 is non-forcing, Advancer can pass 1 with a very bad hand. Doubler could have an extra king and still bid only 1, AKJxx AKJ Kxx Kx for instance. 1 shows 18- 22 HCP. The spade suit could be very strong or could be a weak five-card suit.

Suppose Doubler has a stronger hand. After (1) – double – (P) – 1 – (P), Doubler has two ways to show a stronger hand with spades. A jump to 2 shows a very good six-card or longer suit and is similar to the auction 2 – 2 – 2. A cue bid followed by 2 shows a five-card or weak six-card suit and is also similar to the auction 2 – 2 -2. Both 2 auctions are forcing for at least one round. A cue-bid followed by a jump is 100% forcing to game and shows a strong suit.

If Doubler bids 1 after (1) – Double – (P) – 1 – (P), it could be a minimum hand with five hearts and four spades AKxx AJxxx xx xx for instance. This treatment is called Equal Level Conversion. To make a strong heart bid you have to jump in hearts or cue bid first. Bidding 1 can never be an Equal Level Conversion.

The following experts play that a cue bid or a jump sets up a force. 

Kerri Sanborn—A cue bid followed by a new suit should be forcing. This is not a sequence much discussed among partnerships, because it rarely comes up. With a better suit, the big hand can double then jump, but not with an AQxxx suit. The double and then jump auction should be reserved for six-card or longer suits.

Billy Eisenberg—With a one-suiter, jump to 2 otherwise cue bid, and bid 2.

Ralph Katz—A cue bid followed by a new suit should be a one-round force.

Chip Martel—After a cue bid of 2, a bid of 2 would be a one-round force. I would then raise 3 to 5 or bid 3 over 2NT. After a cue bid of 2, a bid of 3 would be a game-forcing, but not suitable for this hand, except if partner bids 2NT or 3 over 2.

Since opening 2 – 2 – 2 is not 100% game forcing, you can still end up in 3 if Advancer shows nothing and Doubler gives him a chance to get out.

Eddie Kantar—I start with a cue bid of 2 and then all spade bids are forcing. Actually, I’m even more interested in getting diamonds into the picture.

Marty Bergen—Only way to force is to cue bid followed by a new suit.

Larry Mori—I think that if you start with a cue bid and follow with a new suit, that is forcing for the next round, as opposed to bidding 2 the first time. If you then bid another suit after partner’s next bid, that is forcing. If partner bids 3 again after the cue bid and the new suit, it would seem that we have found the strain we should play in and proceed to game in that suit. A double followed by a cue bid, followed by a new suit is forcing and we should know where we stand.

Bart Bramley—To force with my own suit I cue bid first, then I bid my suit. If my bid is at the two-level, it’s forcing for one round only, but I can keep bidding if I’m strong enough. Immediate spade bids are weaker: 1 shows a fifth spade and extra values in a hand that otherwise resembles a takeout double (some support for all unbid suits). 2 is very strong and one-suited, and may not contain support for other suits, but it’s non-forcing. It’s like an old-fashioned strong jump overcall. 3 must mean something, but I’ve never used or seen the bid, so I’m not sure what. The picture changes if partner’s bid is voluntary rather than forced. For example, if the auction were 1 — DBL (by me) – 1 –1 (by partner) – Pass, then 1 by me would be forcing, since it is a new suit over a value-showing (voluntary) action. Logically, 2 by me would therefore be game-forcing.

Jeff Rubens—A cue bid followed by a bid of a new suit is one-round force. This treatment meshes well with simple new-suit bid quite strong–e.g., bidding 1 after doubling with about 18-21 points. Jumping directly to 2 over 1 would show a more-playable spade suit.

Eric Greco—While it might not be best, big hands like the one in the example all start with a cue bid. If you cue bid 2 and partner bids 2, then 2 is forcing for one round, showing a huge hand. That would be the only real option with this hand. Partner might bid 1 with xxxxxxxxxxxxx.  They would be forced to rebid 2 over the cue bid showing the weakest possible hand and then over my 2 bid would certainly rebid 2NT for lack of anything else, although passing 2 could end up being the best option!!  I would then bid 3 and they would bid 3 which I would pass.  Note that after the 1 bid, if partner has values, partner can bid a three-card major since they have denied a four-card major with the 1 bid.

Ron Gerard—The hand you gave is not a game-forcing spade bid or a game-forcing anything bid. Cue bid and then 2 is a one-round force.

Jon Wittes—A cue bid followed by a new suit should be a one-round force, though I don’t think it should be quite game forcing. If you rebid that suit below game after a non-forward going bid by partner, partner should be allowed to pass with a yarborough.

Jill Meyers—Cue bidding and then bidding my own suit is forcing at least one round.

Allen Siebert—Cue bid their suit and then bid yours is forcing for one round.

Bobby Lipsitz—Cue bid and then bid spades is a one-round force.

Doug Doub—I think that since “double” followed by a simple suit bid shows a very strong hand, that it is useful to treat “double” followed by a jump in a new suit as forcing. Not that it’s likely to come up very often, but it makes more sense than invitational.

Marinesa Letizia—Cuebid followed by a new suit is game forcing.

Richard Schwartz—I guess cue bidding and jumping in spades, or cue bidding and bidding game if no room to jump, would describe this type of hand.

Chuck Berger—Cue bid 2, and over partner’s response bid 2 or more, as a new suit following a cue bid is a one-round force as are subsequent new suit bids.

Fred Hamilton—I would have to cue bid 2 and follow with 2 to create a force. Is that what one should do? Perhaps a jump to 2 over 1would do justice to this hand. It is certainly not worth a game force in my judgment.

Mel Colchamiro—If I cue bid 2 and partner bids 2 or 2, then 3 is forcing. Over 2NT showing at least some values, then 3 is forcing. Over 1, a jump to 2 is forcing, but shows more of a spade hand. A cue bid first and then bidding spades shows a more flexible hand. So with this hand, I would consider 2 not a terrible bid but a flawed bid.

Steve Bloom—The only way we can force is to cue bid. A cue bid followed by a new suit is forcing. Still, that doesn’t necessarily resolve the bidding problems: Picture partner with xxxxxxxx xxxxx. 5 has some play, but not 4. Our auction would continue 2 – 2 – 2 – ??. Probably 3. Would we veer back to diamonds? What if partner were 2-3-3-5? I gave that hand to my wife, who sometimes passes forcing bids when it looks right, and she raised to 3. So, when I go for -1100 in 4 doubled, I can blame my wife.

John Carruthers—I play a simple method: After partner’s forced response, a new suit shows a good hand and is constructive but not forcing. A jump shift in a new suit or a cue bid, are forcing – after that, a return to responder’s suit or a simple raise are also non-forcing. On your example auction, responder could have xxx xxx xxxx xxx and raise to 3 – he bids more with any excuse. After a takeout double, a minimum notrump rebid is 19-20 HCP, a jump is 21-22 HCP and with more we get to game one way or another. If responder, on the other hand, volunteers an unforced bid, then a new suit is forcing for one round. We are forced until a suit is either bid twice or raised, e.g., (1) – Dbl – (1) – 1 – (P) –1, 1 would be forcing here because responder has shown values with 1.

If Advancer makes a free bid, then new suits by Doubler are forcing. Advancer shows values when he makes a free bid.

The following experts play that a jump after a takeout double is non-forcing.

Mike Lawrence—If I double and partner makes a minimum bid such as (1) – Double – (P) – 1, a new suit by me is traditional, showing a good hand. A jump by me is strong, but not forcing. A cue bid by me and then a new suit is forcing. If I double and partner makes a free bid, a new suit by me is forcing. A jump in a new suit is forcing to game. A cue bid is expected to be support for partner or a notrump search. If partner makes some other bid which is defined as preemptive, these rules do not apply and I confess I have never tried to set up rules for it.

Barry Rigal—Cue bid, then a spade bid, is forcing one round. A jump in spades without a cue bid is an ACOL TWO BID–eight tricks but not forcing. A cue bid and then a jump is not clear: (1) – Double – (P) – 1 – (P) – 2 – (P) – 2 – (P) – 3. This looks like a 2 bid single-suited, whereas 2 would only be forcing to 3?

Kit Woolsey—I think you have to keep cue-bidding to force to game. Partner can pass a jump to 2 with a yarborough and no support.

Bobby Wolff—Very simply, the takeout doubler needs to, after partner’s initial response, cue bid first and then on the next round either bid a new suit, which is not then absolutely forcing unless a cue bid, followed by a jump, which would be. Somewhat unclear, but IMHO, considerably better than to play after doubling a new suit bid is forcing or even a jump, although highly invitational, which I think cannot be played forcing by or for any intelligent reasoning.

Frank Stewart—I adhered to what I believe is the classical old-fashioned approach. A bid of 1 shows extra strength and is encouraging. A jump to 2 is strong but not quite forcing. To force, the doubler must cue bid opener’s suit before bidding his suit. I don’t contend that this approach is best.

Lynn Deas–I would start with a jump cue bid and then bid 3 over partner’s expected 3 response.

David Berkowitz—I would first start with a cue bid of 2. When I bid a new suit, it is almost forcing, but I guess I would have to cue bid and then jump. 1 = good hand 2 = good hand, great suit 2 then 2 = great hand, good suit 2 then 3 = great, great hand and some people play a jump to 3 says bid game with any excuse.

Danny Gerstman—I don’t think this is a good hand for your question. 3 would be forcing, but you don’t have the spades for that. With this hand, I’d either bid 6 right now, which I think is the most likely slam, or else 2 followed by 2, but that would get you raised on a lot of hands (any doubleton honor for instance) that you don’t want to be raised on. In retrospect, that is the key problem: avoid creating a situation where partner raises when spades aren’t supposed to be trumps.

I think that after partner supports spades, you can bid diamonds giving partner a choice of strains.

Drew Casen—We play a cue bid is game forcing, so to force we have to cue bid and then bid spades. However, a simple 1 over 1 shows about 19-20 HCP, and a jump to 2 over 1 shows about 21-22; both are non-forcing and only promise five pieces. The hand you use in this example is a bad 21 HCP in my opinion, so 2 is enough.

After (1) – Double – (P) – 1 – (P), 1 shows extra values. Advancer passes 1 with support and an extremely bad hand. Kxxxxxxxxxxxx is a minimum raise. With more, Advancer cue bids or jumps. Since 1 can be very strong, Doubler’s jump to 2, or a 2 cue bid followed by 2, is forcing for one round. The only difference is that a jump to 2 shows a very good suit, one that can play opposite a singleton. A cue bid followed by 2 shows a five-card suit.

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