The Takeout Double


         The Basic Takeout Double.      After your opponent opens 1 of a suit, a double is for takeout. Such a bid requests your partner to bid one of the remaining suits.

Requirements for a Takeout Double:
        1.     At least opening strength (13 points).
        2.     At least 3-card support for every unbid suit.

With 4-card support for every unbid suit, you may have slightly less than opening strength.
        EXAMPLE:     After your opponent opens 1, make a takeout double with:

AJ84    K53    62    A643


         After the Double.      When your partner makes a takeout double, he is forcing you to bid. You must not pass the takeout double, no matter how horrible your hand. The usual strategy is to bid your longest suit (other than the suit the opponent bid).
         EXAMPLE:     If your partner doubles a 1 opening, bid 2 with:

94    65432    542    986

After you bid 2, partner is expected to pass. Having already communicated his hand, there is no reason for him to bid any further (especially since you may have 0 points).


         Interference.      If the opponents interfere after the double, you are no longer forced to respond. Only bid with a 4 or 5-card suit and at least 4 points.


         Showing Strength.      Since you are required to bid after the double, you must jump-bid to show any sort of strength:

(1) — Dbl — (Pass) — 2:       4 hearts and 10 or 11 points.

         With even more strength (say, enough for game), you should cuebid the opponents' suit:

(1) — Dbl — (Pass) — 2:       12+ points.


         Bidding Notrump.      You may also respond in notrump with a certain amount of strength and a stopper in the opponent's suit:

(1) — Dbl — (Pass) — 1NT:     6-10 HCP and a diamond stopper.
  2NT: 10-12 HCP and a diamond stopper.
  3NT: 13+ HCP and a diamond stopper.


         Other Takeout Doubles.      You may make a takeout double in a variety of different situations:

A double is takeout if:
        1.     You are doubling a suit bid,
        2.     The suit bid is at the 3-level or lower, and
        3.     Your partner has not yet made any bid.

Also, you may not make a takeout double if you have previously opened or overcalled in notrump (such a double is penalty).
        NOTE:     In particular, a double of a preemptive opening at the 2-level or 3-level is takeout, but a double of a 4-level preempt is penalty.