ACBL02 - Doubles                                Ward Trumbull                

                                                                                                                   Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                   Page 1 of 11


    There are three categories of doubles in bridge: informative, lead directing and

penalty.  The original function of a double was PENALTY only.  However, as you will

see things have changed in the past 80 years.


1. Informative

    A. Takeout Double


          If the opponent has opened the bidding,  a double in the next position should

          indicate that the player has 13+ high card points (HCP) and implies that he/she

          has support for the unbid major(s) (3-4 cards).  Stronger HCP hands may not

          have the support but will have their own long suit.  The partner of the doubler is

          expected to bid unless his right hand opponent (RHO) bids first taking him/her

          off the which case he/she has a “free bid” (not obligated to bid).


               a) Partner’s options without free bid


                        0-8 HCP - bid  4+ card suit (a major if possible) or NT  YOU MUST BID

                        9-11 HCP - skip bid in 4+ card suit or notrump              YOU MUST SKIP

                        12+ HCP* - cue bid the opener’s suit                           We have 25+ HCP.

                        [* or 9+HCP & singleton in opponents suit (rev 8/22/2019)]

               b) Partner’s options with free bid


                        0-5 HCP - pass (except treat any-suit A/J or same suit K/Q is 6 HCP)

                        6+  HCP - with a 4 card unbid major make a Negative Double

-  bid a 5+ card unbid major at the one level

-  or notrump at one level

                        8-11 HCP - if no unbid major, bid a 4+ card minor suit or notrump at the

                                           2 level

                        12+ HCP - cue bid the opener’s suit   [Note that this cue bid can

                                                               mean 9HCP and 4-4-4-1 distribution with the 1 in

                                                               opponents suit.  The partnership should choose one

                                                               or the other or both.  See lesson ACBL10RTO.]


     Item    Free Bid   HCP     Open Bid    Partner    RHO                  Your Bid

   --------   -----------    ------     ------------    ----------    ----------     -------------------------------------

       a           No         0-8      1 heart        double     pass        1 spade, 1 NT or 2 of minor

       a           No         9+       1 heart        double     pass        Skip Bid: to 2 spades, 2 NT

                                                                                                3 of minor

       b          Yes        0-5      1 club          double    1 heart      pass

       b          Yes        6+       1 club          double    1 heart      Neg Dbl with 4 spades

                                                                                                1 spade (with 5+) or 1 NT

       b          Yes        8+       1 club          double    1 heart      2 of a minor or 2 NT



                                          ACBL02 - Doubles                                    Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 2 of 11


1. Informative


    B. Repeat Takeout Double


           Partner repeats the double at his/her next opportunity after you passed the first

           takeout double.....usually before the opponent’s bidding has reached the game

           level.  You should bid now...even if you have no points.  Otherwise, a pass turns

           partner’s takeout double into a penalty which case you should be

           loaded with the opponent’s suit.  Partner has 4+ cards in all unbid suits.



       Open Bid       Partner’s Bid       RHO Bid      Your Bid    

       ------------       -----------------       ------------      --------------------------------------

       1 club            double                 1 heart          pass

       2 hearts         double                 pass             2 spades, 2 NT or 3 of minor

                                                                              * pass


       * You have hearts and/or HCP enough to set 2 hearts.


    C. Reopening Double (or Dying Out Double)    See ACBL02B


           The opponent’s bid is dying out (usually 2 hearts or lower) and your partner

           doubles indicating he/she thinks your pair has half the points.  No need to skip

           bid here.  This is to play the hand or push them one level higher.


          Open Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid

          ------------      -----------------      ------------     -------------------------------

          1 club           pass                   2 clubs         pass

          pass             double                pass             2 of 4+ card suit or 2 NT  


          A reopening double should have 8-11 HCP.


    D. Passed Hand Double


           Partner has passed once and the opponents have bid one or two suits.

           A double by partner at this point indicates he/she can support the unbid suits

           and has 8-11 HCP.


           Typically if it is two unbid suits, partner would have 4/4 or 4/5 in those suits.

           For a 5/5 two suit hand, see the note at the end of this section.



                               ACBL02 - Doubles                                     Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 3 of 11

1. Informative


    D. Passed Hand Double (continued)


           Open Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid

           ------------      -----------------      ------------      --------------------------------------

           pass             pass                   1 club           pass

           1 spade        * double              pass            2 diamonds or 2 hearts (with 4+

                                                                               cards) or 1 NT

                                                                               If 1 NT, partner should not expect

                                                                               stoppers in their suits.


           * Partner has diamond and heart support with 4/4 or 4/5 cards in both suits.


          NOTE: This is an extension of the passed hand Unusual Notrump.

                      In the example above, if partner bid one notrump (unusual) instead of

                      doubling, it would indicate 5/5 in diamonds and hearts.


    E. Negative Double       See ACBL02N


           When partner opens the bidding or makes a takeout double and then your

           RHO makes a bid (overcall or response), a double by you is a Negative

           Double.  It indicates that you have four cards (see * exception below) in the

           unbid major(s).  At least one of the majors for sure.


          Therefore, any major suit bid in lieu of a double guarantees a 5+ card suit.

                0-5 HCP  - Pass

                6+  HCP  - RHO at 1 level: - double for 4 card unbid major or bid 5+ card


               *6-7 HCP  - RHO at 2 level: - double for 4+ unbid card major

                8+  HCP  - RHO at 2 level: - double for 4 card unbid major or bid 5+ card

                                  unbid major


         Partner Opens   RHO Bid     Your HCP      Major Cards             Your Bid

         -------------------    ------------     -------------      ----------------       ------------------------------

         1 diamond          1 heart         0-5                                          pass (A/J & K/Q exc)

         1 diamond          1 heart         6+                 4 spades           double

         1 diamond          1 heart         6+                 5  spades          1 spade

         1 diamond          1 spade       6+                 4 hearts             double

         1 diamond          1 spade       6-7                5 hearts             * double

         1 diamond          1 spade       8+                 5 hearts             2 hearts

         *  Double is lesser of two evils.....want to show the 5 hearts but not enough

            HCP points to bid 2 hearts.

                              ACBL02 - Doubles                                      Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 4 of 11

1. Informative


    E. Negative Double continued)


LHO Bid         Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid     Your HCP      Major Cards      Your Bid

-----------         ------------------     --------------    -------------      ----------------      --------------

1 heart           double                1 NT            0-5                4 spades           pass

1 heart           double                2 clubs        6-7                4+ spades          *  double

1 heart           double                2 hearts       8+                 5+  spades        2 spades

1 spade         double                1NT             0-5                4 hearts             pass

1 spade         double                2 clubs         6-7                4+ hearts          ** double

1 spade         double                2 diamonds  8+                 5+ hearts          2 hearts


         *  Double is lesser of two evils.....may have a 5+ card spade suit but not enough

            points to bid 2 spades.


        ** Same problem.....may have 5+ card heart suit but not enough points to bid

            2 hearts.


    F. Support Double


           A companion to Negative Double is the Support Double.  Where the Negative

           Double is used in response of partner’s opening bid or Takeout Double;

           the Support Double is used by the opening/takeout partner on the next

           rebid to indicate he/she knows their team has at least 7 cards in response

           partner’s suit.




           Partner opens the bidding and you bid a major (4 or more cards).  Note that

           partner only knows of four.  So he/she should also have four to bid and support

           that suit.  However, if there is an intervening bid after the response bid, then

          opening partner now has three options:


                    1. A bid of responder’s suit guarantees four card support.

                    2. A double (Support Double) guarantees three card support,

                        just in case responder has 5+ cards in the suit.

                    3. A bid of pass, notrump or any other suit indicates two-or-less cards in

                        responder’s suit.



        Support doubles must be alerted.


                               ACBL02 - Doubles                                     Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 5 of 11

1. Informative

    F. Support Double (continued)


          Example (3)


                                            S  -  x x x x x                        Responder

                                            H  -  J x x                             9 HCP

                                            D  -  K Q x

                                            C  -  Q J


                                            S  -  A x x                             Opener/Takeout Doubler

                                            H  -  K Q x x                         14 HCP     

                                            D  -  A J x x

                                            C  -  x x

              Case 1                                     Case 2

1. Opener bids 1 diamond.                          2. Opener bids 1 diamond

    LHO bids 1 heart.                                         LHO passes

    Responder bids 1 spade  (5+ spades)         Responder bids 1 spade     (4+ spades)

    RHO bids or passes                                     RHO overcalls 2 clubs

    Opener can support with 3 spades              Opener doubles                   (3 card supt.)


                                            Case 3

        If opener had                3. Opener bids 1 diamond

        only 2 spades                   LHO bids 1 heart

                                                 Responder bids 1 spade          (5+ spades)

                                                 RHO support bids 2 hearts

                                                 Opener doubles.                       (2 card support)


Note: The key to Negative Doubles and Support Doubles is that

          the opponent’s intervening bid triggers the ability to use

          these type doubles if applicable.


Alerting Negative or Support Doubles


      Duplicate:  Negative Double - Alerts are no longer required.

                        Support Double   - In a situation where a Support Double is applicable,

                                                      either the double or failure to double must be alerted.


      Rubber:  Negative Doubles and Support Doubles (or failure to) should be alerted

                     since the opponents probably are not familiar with either.

                                          ACBL02 - Doubles                                    Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 6 of 11

1. Informative  

    G. DOPE or D0P1


        Your partner has invoked an Ace-Asking convention (Gerber or Blackwood)

        and the opponents insert a bid before you can reply.  You can use either of two

        conventions to still indicate your number of aces.


        DOPE - Double Odd or Pass Even

                     With 1 or 3 aces (or kings) you double

                     With 0, 2 or 4 aces (or kings) you pass


        D0P1  - Double Zero or Pass One

                     With 0 or 4 aces (or kings) you double

                     With one ace (or king) you pass


        D0P1  - If you respond the next higher suit, you are indicating 2 aces since 0/4 and

                     1 ace (king) are covered by D0P1.


    NOTE - Your partnership must have a prior agreement on which if either of these

                    two conventions you are using.


       Partner’s Bid      Opponent’s Bid      Convention     Your Bid           Meaning

       -----------------      --------------------      ---------------     ------------       ------------------

       4 clubs                4 diamonds           DOPE              pass             0 or 4 aces

       (Gerber)                                                                    4 hearts       1 ace    

                                                                                        4 spades       2 aces

                                                                                        4 notrump     3 aces


                                                                D0P1               double          0 or 4 aces

                                                                                        pass             1 ace

                                                                                        4 hearts        2 aces (next)

                                                                                        4 spades      3 aces (nxt + 1)


                                  4 hearts                 DOPE              pass             0 or 4 aces

                                                                                        double          1 ace

                                                                                        4 spades      2 aces

                                                                                        4 notrump     3 aces


                                                                D0P1               double          0 or 4 aces

                                                                                        pass             1 ace

                                                                                        4 spades      2 aces (next)

                                                                                        4 notrump     3 aces (nxt + 1)


                               ACBL02 - Doubles                                     Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 7 of 11


1. Informative

    G. DOPE or D0P1 (continued)


       Partner’s Bid      Opponent’s Bid      Convention      Your Bid      Meaning

       -----------------      --------------------      ---------------      ------------      ------------------

       4 clubs                4 spades               DOPE              pass              0, 2 or 4 aces

       (Gerber)                                                                   double           1 ace

                                                                                        4 notrump      3 aces


                                                                D0P1               double           0 or 4 aces

                                                                                        pass              1 ace

                                                                                        4 notrump      2 aces (next)

                                                                                        5 clubs           3 aces (nxt + 1)


           It ain’t easy, but it’s better than nothing.


    H. Notrump - Stolen Bid Double


           Typically this double is used when the opponents interfere over partner’s

           opening 1 notrump bid with an overcall at the 2 level.  Responder’s double

           would have the following meaning:


                                                            Your Notrump

        Partner’s Bid         RHO Bid         Conventions      Your Bid      Meaning

        -----------------     -----------------      -----------------      -----------      ------------------------

        1 notrump          2 clubs                none                  double       penalty

                                  2D,2H or 2S        none                  double       penalty


                                  2 clubs                stayman             double       invoking stayman

                                * 2 diamonds         jacoby trans       double       transfer to 2 hearts

                                * 2 hearts              jacoby trans       double       transfer to 2 spades

                                * 2 spades        **  minor trans         double       transfer to 3 clubs


             * 3 clubs becomes Stayman.

            ** 3 diamonds becomes the transfer bid to 3 hearts.

                The minor transfer is to 3 clubs.  If responder has 6+ diamonds, he will then

                bid 3 diamonds.


            NOTE: All of these convention type doubles must be alerted by saying

                        “Stayman” or  “Transfer”.



                               ACBL02 - Doubles                                     Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                      Page 8 of 11


2. Lead Directing

    A. Notrump - Response Double


           RHO has responded with a suit bid to his/her partner’s opening 1 notrump.

                    Double of 2 clubs          (stayman)             - lead clubs on opening lead

                    Double of 2 diamonds   (jacoby transfer)   - lead diamonds on opening lead

                    Double of 2 hearts        (jacoby transfer)   - lead hearts on opening lead

                    Double of 2 spades      (minor transfer)     - lead spades on opening lead

                    Double of 3 clubs         (minor transfer)     - lead clubs on opening lead


       Opening Bid     Partner’s Bid      Responder’s Bid      Your Bid      Meaning

       ----------------     -----------------      ----------------------      -----------      --------------------

       1 notrump         pass                   2 clubs (stayman)     double        lead clubs

       1 notrump         pass                   2 diamonds (trans)   double        lead diamonds

       1 notrump         pass                   2 hearts (transfer)    double         lead hearts

       1 notrump         pass                   2 spades (transfer)   double        lead spades



    B. Notrump - Our Suit Double


           You and/or your partner have bid a suit and the opponents are going to be in a

           notrump contract.  A double by either of you means to lead your suit.

           Note: See write-up ACBL07 and ACBL07X on opening leads.


       Opponent’s Bid      Partner’s Bid       Responder’s Bid      Your Bid      Meaning

       --------------------      -----------------      -----------------------      -----------      --------------

       1 heart                   1 spade              1 notrump                  pass

       3 notrump               double               pass                           pass           lead spades



    C. Notrump - First Bid Suit of Dummy


           When the opponents open the bidding with a suit or notrump and end up in a

           notrump contract, a double indicates to lead the FIRST BID SUIT of DUMMY.

           Note that your team will not have competed in the auction.


       Opponent’s Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid      Meaning

       --------------------      -----------------      ------------      -----------      ------------------------

       1 club                     pass                   1 heart          pass

       1 spade                  pass                   2 diamonds   pass

       2 notrump              pass                    3 notrump     double       lead hearts (1st bid)

                              ACBL02 - Doubles                                     Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                     Page 9 of 11


2. Lead Directing

    D. Lightner Double


           This one is for the pros.

           A double of a slam contract asks partner to make an UNUSUAL lead.   Usually

           that lead is in the eyes of the beholder.  Note though that it does indicate not to

           lead our suit or trump.  That gives the opening leader a 50/50 chance.


       Opponent’s Bid    Partner’s Bid    RHO Bid    Your Bid                      Meaning

       --------------------    -----------------    ------------    -----------      ----------------------------------

       1 spade                pass                 2 clubs       2 hearts

       3 spades              pass                 4 notrump   pass           4 NT = Blackwood

       5 spades              pass                 6 spades    double *      5 Sp = 3 Aces or

                                                                                                          = 2 Keycard controls

                                                                                                               and spade queen


          * Lightner Double - lead clubs or diamonds....don’t lead my heart suit.


    E. Gerber/Blackwood Response Double


           When the opponents are in the process of slam bidding using either Gerber or

           Blackwood, you should be alert to the possibility of doubling the response for a

           lead indication.




          You have the ace and king of diamonds but never got into the auction.  However,

          when RHO replies 5 diamonds to his partner’s 4 notrump Blackwood query, you

          can double for a diamond lead.


           RHO              You                 LHO                  Partner                     Comment

        -----------          -----------          ----------             --------------         ---------------------------

        1 spade           pass                3 hearts            pass                  19 HCP jump shift

        4 hearts          pass                 4 notrump         pass                   4 NT Blackwood

        5 diamonds     double             6 hearts                                      Double asks partner

                                                                                                           to  lead diamonds


        Suppose instead of the ace/king of diamonds, you are void in diamonds.  The

        same bidding might apply.




                               ACBL02 - Doubles                                   Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                    Page 10 of 11

3. Penalty


    A. Competitive Double

           Both pairs have been competing in the auction and it appears that the

           opponents have overbid or are taking a save.


           LHO Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid      Meaning

           -----------      -----------------      ------------      -----------      ----------------------------

           pass            1 heart               1 spade        3 hearts      3H = limit raise

           3 spades     4 hearts             4 spades       double        penalty double


    B. Opponent’s Passed Hands Double


            Both opponents passed at their first opportunity and now are at the 4 or 5 level

            in the bidding.  Also your pair is not going to game or they’re vulnerable and

            you’re not.


            LHO Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid      Meaning

            -----------      -----------------      ------------      -----------      ------------------------------

           pass            1 heart                pass             1 spade

           2 clubs        2 spades             3 clubs         pass

           pass            3 spades             pass             pass

           4 clubs        double                                                       penalty double


    C. Spiraling Double


           In a competitive auction, partner doubles below game level (usually because

           he/she has their suit), and then RHO pulls it to another suit.  You should also

           double....even if you don’t have stoppers in the second suit.  Typically the LHO

           will panic and return the bid to the first suit which of course partner will double.


           LHO Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid               Meaning

           -----------      -----------------      ------------      -----------      ------------------------------

           pass            1 spade              2 clubs         2 hearts

           3 diamonds  double               4 clubs         double        begin spiral doubles

           4 diamonds  double                                                      end spiral doubles



           The Spiraling Double takes guts by the second of your pair to double.

           Believe me though, it really works.  If you do, make the double quickly - like

           you’ve got 100 honors in that suit.


                               ACBL02 - Doubles                                   Feb 28, 2011

                                                                                                                    Page 11 of 11


3. Penalty


    D. Notrump - Strong Suit Double


           The opponents have reached a notrump contract and you have a strong suit

           which you may or may not have bid.  You also have an outside entry in another

           suit.   A variation of this double is where you have two good suits and have only

           bid one of them.  After the double, you lead the second suit which they are not



           LHO Bid      Partner’s Bid      RHO Bid      Your Bid     Meaning

           -----------      -----------------      ------------      -----------     -----------------------------

          1 club          pass                   1 heart         1 spade

          3 clubs        pass                   3 notrump    double        penalty - then lead



          NOTE: The double might not work if partner is on lead because (of course)

                      he/she wouldn’t know about your diamond suit.