Negative Doubles

        A negative double is similar to a takeout double, except that it is bid by the responder in a competitive auction. It shows that you would like to bid a suit, but that you have insufficient length or strength to do so.


         Showing a Major Suit.     If only one major has been bid, a negative double promises the other major. For example:

1 — (1) — Dbl:     Promises 4 hearts and 6 points,
    and denies the ability to bid 2.

Since a bid of 2 requires 5 hearts and 10 points, responder must either have only 4 hearts or have less than 10 points (or both).

        Here is another example:

1 — (1) — Dbl:     Promises 6 points and exactly 4 spades.

Since responder could bid 1 with five spades, the double promises exactly four.


         Which Major?     If there are two unbid majors, a double at the 1-level shows both:

1 — (1) — Dbl:     Promises 6 points with 4 hearts and 4 spades.

However, a double at the 2-level could show one or both:

1 — (2) — Dbl:     Promises 8 points and a 4-card major.


        Required Strength.     You only need about response strength to make a negative double:

Strength Requirements for Negative Double:
        You need 6 points to double at the 1-level.
        You need 8 points to double at the 2-level.
        You need 10 points to double at the 3-level.


        Showing a Minor Suit.     If there are no unbid majors, a negative double must show a minor suit:

1 — (1) — Dbl:     Shows 6 points and a minor suit.
1 — (2) — Dbl: Shows 8 points and a minor suit.

However, you should not double with a single 4-card minor. You really ought to have:

                •    A good 5-card (or longer) minor, or

                •    Four cards in both minors.


        When is a Double Negative?     A double is negative when:

1.    Your partner opened in a suit and was then overcalled.
2.    The overcall was a suit bid at 3 or below.

In particular, a double is not negative if anyone has bid notrump, and a double is not negative after a Michaels Cuebid or Unusual 2NT overcall.