Troubles with Redoubles -- Part VIII    (April 2004)

What is partner showing with his redouble in this auction?

    Partner   RHO      You       LHO 
      1D           Pass       Pass       DBL 

Is he telling you he has “real” (long) diamonds? Extra high-card strength? Support for unbid suits?

In standard bidding, this redouble shows a strong hand (18+ points), usually with relatively balanced distribution. Another popular treatment is “good hand, good suit” – extra values (16+ points) and a long, reasonably strong suit. Pairs who prefer this approach rebid 1NT with the  balanced 18-19 points and use the redouble to show a hand like  S-AK2   H-AJ8   D-KQ10743  C-7

Your partnership can decide which meaning you prefer. Whichever you choose, note that the common message is the redouble promises extra strength and suggests penalizing the opponents. Partner won’t want to send that message when he has defense against only one unbid suit. He would choose a 1S rebid with   S-AKJ2   H-A   D-KQ1074   C-742.

This auction guarantees at least 5-4 in his suits, but it doesn’t necessarily promise extra strength.

Suppose partner redoubles and RHO bids 2C. If you know partner has extra values, you can make a penalty double with  S-9754   H-643   D-86  C-KJ83.  Or, if you use the “good hand, good suit” agreement, you can compete with 2D when you hold  S-9754   H-K643   D-865  C-83 ?

Redoubles after we open

In the last issue, we looked at the meanings of redoubles after you and partner had bid and raised a suit. The same principle – that a redouble shows defensive values – also applies in auctions where your side has opened but hasn’t yet established a fit.

         RHO      You       LHO       Partner
      --            2H         DBL       RDBL

(2)      --           1NT        DBL*     RDBL                 * (one-suited hand)

(3)      --            --             --           1C
          Pass       1S          DBL         RDBL

In all of these auctions, partner is showing:

Your next call

Keep in mind that partner is trying to involve you in the doubling decision. If your RHO bids, you should double if you have a good holding in that suit. If RHO passes or bids a suit you cannot double, partner expects you to pass the decision back to him with most hands.

In (1), for example, partner could have passed and doubled later, but he redoubled to show his strength and intentions. Suppose you hold   S-84   H-AJ10643   D-75  C-Q103. If RHO bids 3C, you can double to suggest good defense against clubs. Over any other call, you’ll pass to allow partner to double.

In (2), LHO’s double asks his partner to bid 2C so he can show his suit. Over a non-penalty double like this one, your partner’s redouble should promise invitational or better values. This auction is not forcing to game. If partner’s next bid is 2NT or 2 of a suit, he’s showing the invitational hand, and you can pass with a minimum.

In (3), pairs who play Support Doubles use this redouble to show a 3-card raise. If you don’t play that convention, the default meaning applies. Partner could be very short in your suit, but you shouldn’t worry that you’ll have to declare 1S redoubled. Since your RHO is “under” the spade bidder (you), his pass is non-committal, and if you pass, LHO will bid.

The rest of the auction

Partner’s redouble sets up a force. If your LHO bids and partner passes, you must bid or double. Your choice will often depend on the vulnerability and your judgment about whether your game or partscore will beat your likely score on defense.

In (3), you also have the option of refusing partner’s pass-or-double request. If your hand is unsuitable for defense – extreme length in your suit, shortness in their suits, an undisclosed fit for partner’s suit – you can bid immediately to prevent partner from doubling.

Similar agreements will help you interpret redoubles in auctions where the opponents open the bidding. In the next issue, we’ll look at the meanings of redoubles after your overcalls and takeout doubles.

©  2006   Karen Walker