Troubles with Redoubles -- Part V  (January 2004)

Previous articles in this series have focused on the best ways to describe your hand over a takeout double of partnerís opening bid. The decisions on the other side of the table are just as important, so letís look at a typical auction from openerís point of view.

    You       LHO      Partner    RHO    
    1H          DBL       RDBL       Pass

What is your role in this auction? Should you continue describing your hand, or are you supposed to stay out of partnerís way and let him make the next decision?

The answer depends on how suitable your hand is for defense. You can start your evaluation by assuming, for the time being, that partner has two or fewer hearts. He may have redoubled to begin the description of a 3-card limit raise (11-12 playing points), but if so, heíll clarify this later.

On most deals, partner will have a defensive-oriented hand with no fit  Ė 10+ high-card points, relatively balanced, with good holdings in at least two unbid suits. Heís often hoping to double their contract, and youíd like to cooperate whenever possible, especially if the opponents are vulnerable.

Passing the redouble

Pass is your best choice when you hold a balanced hand of any strength or any hand pattern with at least moderate extra values (14-15 or more points). The redouble created a force, so thereís no reason to bid in front of partner with these hands.

By allowing LHO to bid, you tell partner, at least temporarily, that you have decent defense. If partner doubles their runout, heíll expect you to sit if you hold two or more trumps, and thatís what youíll do when you hold a balanced hand.

To show a stronger, more distributional hand, you pass the redouble and bid later. If you pass and then pull partnerís double -- or make any later bid that shows unbalanced distribution -- you promise good high-card strength.

Bidding other weak hands

The pass of partnerís redouble covers three types of openers: minimum and balanced, stronger and balanced, stronger and unbalanced. That leaves the minimum-and-unbalanced variety thatís short on defensive tricks. You can describe this hand by bidding immediately, without waiting for the opponentís runout bid. Here are your options:

A rebid of your suit (2H) shows a 6-card suit and poor defense.

All of these bids, even the jumps, limit your hand to a maximum of 13-14 points. Note that 1NT is not an option. If you have a balanced hand, weak or strong, you pass the redouble.

Test your judgment

In the auction above, whatís your call holding:

S-64   H-AJ10853   D-52   C-KQJ ?

2H. A perfect description Ė extra heart length, only one quick trick outside your suit.

S-KJ95   H-AKQJ86   D-653   C-Void ?

3H.  This hand has good high-card strength, but it screams offense rather than defense. The jump suggests a better suit and more tricks than a 2H bid.

S-AJ104   H-KQ743   D-Void  C-J1093 ?

1S. Even with the takeout double, spades could be your best contract. Your main reason for bidding, though, is to show your pattern and send an early warning about your sparse high-card strength. If partner rebids 1NT, you can complete your description by bidding 2C.

S-J8   H-AK862   D-A1063  C-107 ?

Pass. This is definitely minimum point-count, but you have excellent defense, and this isnít the type of two-suiter partner will expect if you bid 2D. Treat this as a balanced hand and plan to pass partnerís double of 1S or 2C. If the opponents bid 2D, youíll be happy to double.

S-3   H-KQ9864   D-4   C-AQ1075 ?

3C.  Show your great playing strength right away. When you rebid hearts later, partner will know you must be 6-5.

S-4   H-AKJ1093   D-KQ3  C-A52 ?

Pass. You donít plan to pass a double of 1S, but this hand is too strong for an immediate 2H or 3H. To show a long, strong suit and extra values, pass now, then jump to 3H at your next turn.

If RHO bids

You have additional options if your RHO bids. In Part VI, weíll look at these and other decisions opener faces in redouble auctions.

 ©  2006   Karen Walker