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West Deals
N-S Vul
10 5 3 2
J 8 6
Q 9 7 6 5
Q 8
K 9 5
J 8 6 5 3
K J 10
A K 7 6 4
Q 4 3
Q 10 2
3 2
J 9
A 10 7 2
A K 9 7
A 8 4
West North East South
Pass Pass 1  Dbl
Rdbl Pass Pass 2 
Dbl All pass    
2 × by South
Lead:  Q

This deal is Board 3 played on May 6 at South Bend Bridge Club as part of The Common Game. The auction above occurred during the last round of the session. Playing in a 4-1 diamond fit doubled instead of finding a 5-3 club fit resulted this time in East-West scoring minus 800 and zero matchpoints. Finding a 2  contract would likely have resulted in an above average score. Even if West doubles 2  with  KJ10 it's not easy to beat it by a trick, and North-South may fail in a 2  or 2 NT contract.


Are you ever forced to bid, or be expected to bid, with an extremely weak hand possibly holding no high card points at all? Absolutely yes! Here are a few cases below where you might bid with no high cards:

1. Partner opens 2  and LHO passes. You MUST not pass.

2. Partner opens 1 NT or 2 NT and you hold a 5-card or longer major. Transfer to the major with your terribly weak hand.

3. Partner bids two different suits, RHO passes, and you prefer his first bid suit. Correct back to his first suit, which doesn't show any high cards in your hand.

4. Partner doubles an opening one-level suit bid and responder (RHO) passes. Unless you have EXTREME length and strength in opener's suit, you need to bid one of the three unbid suits. It might even be a three-card suit!

5. Partner doubles an opening one-level bid and responder (RHO) redoubles. With a clear preference for a suit and not desiring partner to rescue herself, you need to bid your suit now no matter how weak your hand happens to be.

It is this last one that applies on this deal. Of the three unbid suits, North clearly prefers clubs, therefore a 2  bid is clearly indicated after West's redouble.

None of the calls immediately following RHO's redouble show any high cards at all!

Here is a list of possible calls after the redouble:

Pass = no clear preference for a suit. It does NOT indicate a desire to play the redoubled contract! It simply asks partner to rescue herself by bidding a four-card or longer suit.

Bidding an unbid suit = four-card or five-card suit, possibly holding a second suit, and not desiring partner to rescue herself. Suits bid at the two-level frequently are at least five cards long, especially if a minor.

Jumping in an unbid suit = weak with a long suit, attempting to jam the auction causing problems for the opponents. You would usually hold a five-card suit for a two-level jump and six-card suit for a three-level jump. These jump bids are affected by the vulnerability and occur more frequently in the unbid majors since you can trust partner to have that suit.

North held  10532  J86  4  Q9765, but if instead he held  532  865  4  QJ10976 after an auction 1 -Double-Redouble-?, a weak 3  jump bid after the redouble would be a good choice, even when vulnerable against non-vulnerable opponents.


1. When LHO opens the bidding and RHO redoubles partners takeout double, your bids show no high cards at all. Your goal is to find a reasonable trump fit.

2. Passing over the redouble does not indicate a desire to play the redoubled contract. It simply shows no clear preference for a trump suit and asks partner to rescue herself.


1. Responder holding a balanced 11 HCP when RHO doubles partner's opening bid has no reason to jump to 2 NT. Why let the opponents off the hook when you can redouble instead? So the jump to 2 NT is often used artificially to show a good hand (invitational or game forcing) with good (at least four card) trump support.

2. Often it is less important for responder with at least 10 HCP to redouble and more important to start bidding suits, especially with a shapely hand short in an unbid suit making it unlikely to nail the opponents for a big penalty. Playing that responder's new one-level new suit bids are forcing for one round allows responder to start describing her hand before the opponents jam the auction with one of those weak jump bids mentioned earlier!

Bidding a new suit at the one-level does not preclude you from later showing you have a good hand.

3. What does a 1 NT bid show immediately after RHO's redouble? Since the opponents presumably will never let you play either contract undoubled, bidding 1 NT and then redoubling after one opponent doubles is like an "SOS redouble", and typically is used to ask partner to choose between the two lower unbid suits. (Example below: Redouble would show both minors and ask partner to choose between them. You might want to bid this way with a very weak hand with 2-3-4-4 or 2-1-5-5 shape.)

West North East South
    1  Dbl
Rdbl 1 NT Pass Pass
Dbl ?    

Clearly, if you think there is any chance partner will pass your redouble of 1 NT, you will not dare risk using this common expert practice!

Bud Hinckley

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