Hand Evaluation: Balancing (Belated Doubles )

Bob Crosby

Robert (Bob) Crosby, who died in 2012, was a bridge player of  Edmonton, as well as being a coach and a prolific bridge writer. In this series of articles we pay our tribute for his fruitful and generous work, in which he shared his knowledge of bridge with everyone.

Belated doubles occur because a take out double could not be made in the first instance due to a “flaw”. The opponents bidding should now expose the “flaw” so the takeout double can now bemade. It is not quite that simple though because some of these belated doubles are for penalty due to an earlier “trap. The key is whether the auction is “live”or a balance. In live auctions,the double is always takeout. This fits in with doubling forcing bids in live auctions (cannot be penalty) . In balancing auctions ,there are some rules so penalty doubles can apply. Partnership understandings again , so here is what I play …

Belated doubles: Assuming partner has not acted:

1.The double of a raised suit, direct or balancing, is for takeout thru 4, unless the opponents have bid all four suits naturally.

2.A double when 2 suits have been bid is for takeout .

3.A balancing double of NT is always for penalty.Misfit auctions are a lucrative source for sets, so use 2 for T/O . A“pre-balance”double( liveauction ) of a NT rebid is always fortakeout.

4.A double when 3 suits have been bid is penalty.


1 NT




TakeoutI would have had a diamond trap in the balancing so the double would be for…

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