Passion of The Game of Bridge

Double (X) & Redouble (XX): Special Bid on The Auction

As we can bid the 35 kind of contract in its order during auction, there are 2 important special bids that can be made in addition of those 35 bids: Double (X) and Redouble (XX). And because it’s special bids, they have special requirement and special purpose as well.

This is really happening to me on a supervised session on my club: I open 1 as natural 12-21HCP promising at least 3 cards Diamond. LHO passes and partner bids Double !! Apparently the person opposite me has doubleton Diamond, 4-4 majors and 3 cards club and wanting me to be 2nd suit if any… He is not really beginner’s beginner as has been playing bridge regularly for more than 1 years, but it highlite one simple fact that probably the understanding of this Double bid (and even the rarer Redouble) is not really well explained to the beginner as one of the bridge basic.

Double (X) Bid

Requirement: Only after opponent’s overcall or opening

Purpose/Meaning: There are many purpose/meaning of Double that really depends on the partnership agreement, some of the popular ones:

  1. Double for Penalty: this is the original intention when this bid was introduced to bridge. For example: opponent say bid 3NT (committing to get 9 tricks to fulfill the contract), then if you make the double bid you are saying to the opponent “No, I don’t think you can make 9 tricks! Double X!” And the stake is increased: if the opponent do make 9 tricks he gots additional points, but if not every trick less than 9 will be penalized on double rate as well. In other words, this bid is asking partner to pass as you want to penalize opponent.
  2. Double for Takeout: after opponent bid/overcall a suit, a double means you have short on that suit, but at least has 3 cards on all other suit. For example: opponent bid 1H, then double bid means: short heart (1 or 2 cards only) and promise at least 3 cards on S, D and C. The purpose is for partner to bid any 5 cards and there will be a fit. Well, 4 cards also will do… In other words, this bid is asking partner to bid something else. Partner can pass if he/she have very strong opponent’s suit practically converting takeout double into penalty double.
  3. Double for Negative: after partner bid/overcall which is followed by another overcall by opponent, a double means that you have short on the opponent’s suit but don’t have fit with partner suit either, but you have the other 2 suits. For example: partner open 1C (natural), opponent overcall 1D, then a double will say to your partner that you have 4 cards Heart and 4 cards Spade, asking partner to bid Heart or Spade if he/she also has 4 cards.
  4. Double for Lead Directing: Basically asking partner to lead that particular suit that being doubled. For example: opponent open 1NT, partner pass and RHO bid 2C for stayman (asking major), a double on this 2C means you ask partner to lead Club when the bidding is over.

As when a double is a takeout or penalty that’s entirely up to the partnership agreement to suit the bidding system that you play.

Redouble (XX) Bid

Requirement: can be made only after opponent’s Double(see above). So practically this bid is even less frequent than Double Bid above.

Purpose/Meaning:

  1. ReDouble for Penalty: this is the original intention when this bid was introduced to bridge. For example: you bid 3NT (committing to get 9 tricks to fulfill the contract), then if opponent makes the double bid saying to you “No, I don’t think you can make 9 tricks! Double X!” A redouble bid (XX) is basically a way to get back to opponent “I don’t think so, we will make 9 tricks easy… Redouble (XX)!” And the stake is even more increased: if you do make 9 tricks you will get much more points/score, but if not every trick less than 9 will be penalized on quadruple rate as well.
  2. ReDouble for Asking for Help/Emergency: on this occasion your redouble after opponent’s double is to tell partner that you are in emergency (“Partner, we are in problem, please bid something else”)

Again as when a redouble is S.O.S or penalty that’s entirely up to the partnership agreement to suit the bidding system that you play.

For competitive bidding, Double (X) and Redouble (XX) are very valuable tools if used correctly. All leading players will use this 2 special bids to their very advantage, I don’t see why you are not doing it too….

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