It’s important to discuss certain aspects of bidding with your partner. Here’s an example: Your right-hand opponent opens 1 you double for takeout. Third seat passes and partner bids 2. What is partner showing? Obviously, he could have bid 1 after his RHO passed.
What is the significance of the jump? Have you and your partner ever discussed the meanings of takeout double responses?
When I took up bridge, I learned the following scheme for responding to takeout doubles. It remains valid today. With
- 0-8 points, bid at a minimum level.
- 9-11, jump (e.g., 1 – Dbl – Pass – 2).
- 12 points and more than one place to play, cuebid opener’s suit (e.g., 1 – Dbl – Pass – 2), but see note on cuebids below.
- 7-10 HCP, a balanced hand and at least one stopper in opener’s suit, bid 1NT.
- 11-12 HCP, a balanced hand and a stopper, bid 2NT.
- A bid of 3NT usually shows a balanced hand with opening strength or close to it, stopper(s) and a source of tricks. Most notrump responses deny interest in either major suit.
Note on cuebids: With some hands, you know you want to be in game and you know the suit you want to play. In those cases, just bid what you think you can make. For example, say partner doubles a 1 opener for takeout and you hold:
You know you’re going to play 4. No need casino to bother with a cuebid.
Note that in the description of the responses in suits, I use points, not high-card points. Sure, high cards count, but you must consider that in responding you are evaluating your hand in terms of “support” points. Consider this hand after partner doubles 1 for takeout:
The hand has only 7 HCP, but partner promises spade support, so your singleton diamond is a likely asset (you never count distribution points unless you know you have a fit). The four low clubs are not a big worry because partner is likely to be short in that suit, meaning you can use some of partner’s trumps to ruff your club losers. This is a clear-cut 2 response and would be close even with only four spades. In fact, you can evaluate the hand upwards because of the fifth spade.
There will be occasions on which you will cuebid without the 12-pointer. It will occur when you have four cards in each major with invitational values, perhaps
after partner doubles one of a minor for takeout and third hand passes. You don’t want to jump in either major and find that partner has only three-card support (remember: he doesn’t promise four in each suit, just three). Bid two of opener’s minor. Partner is highly likely to have at least one major and will bid it (note that a bid of 2 would deny four hearts). If he hits your major, you can raise to three. If your hand were
you would bid 2 over partner’s 2, which did not deny four spades. I believe these responses are important to discuss because I see too many newer players making minimum responses to takeout doubles with much stronger hands than their bids indicate. This appears to be the product of experience, namely their partners’ off-shape takeout doubles. Responders are fearful of bidding more than the minimum because, too many times, they have seen partner put down doubletons (or worse) as trump support.