A low-level double in certain circumstances
requesting partner to bid an unbid suit

A low-level double. Doubling on the One-Level and giving it the interpretation as a Penalty Double is certainly neither reasonable logic nor reasonable bridge. Therefore it is a natural, conventional double. It is bridge experience, that in most instances, the caller, who doubles, sits usually to the left of the opener, who has opened one of a suit. What does the double mean?

The Bridge Player who DOUBLES indicates a hand worth an opening bid plus with at least 3-card support in all the other unbid suits.


East South
1 Double

As you can see, South has no appropriate overcall. No Appropriate Overcall is the Key Word. South does not have a 5-card Heart, or a 5-card Spade suit, or a 5-card Club suit, which is essential information for his partner North. If South did have a 5-card Heart, Spade or Club suit, then South would simply have bid 1 Heart or 1 Spade or 2 Clubs over the opening bid.

There are three things which one has to calculate in the decision to make a Takeout Double.

1. The respective vulnerability
2. The rank of the suit of the opener
3. The position at the table
4. Shape and distribution

A Takeout Double of a Minor suit does not indicate a 4-card suit in the Major suits, but a Takeout Double of a Major suit does strongly indicate a 4-card suit in the other Major suit. The modern theory is that if the other Major suit holds at least two of the top five honers and only three cards, then this is sufficient for a Takeout Double.

A Takeout Double at favorable vulnerability can show as little as 10 high card points. A Takeout Double at unfavorable vulnerability must show at least two Quick Tricks and a hand worth an opening. If this is not the case, then the hand is more suitable as a defensive hand.

A Takeout Double of the Spade suit forces partner to bid at the Two Level.

As a general guideline, the required high card points by vulnerable doubles of 1 Heart increase as the shortness of the holdings of the suit of the opener increases. A few hands should illustrate this guideline:

When the Doubler is vulnerable, he can double on any of these hands.


The Doubler can remove a Jack from each hand above and double when not vulnerable.

The player who decides to make a Takeout Double should never ignore the requirement of having three cards in all of the unbid suits, unless the hand of the player contains at least 17 plus high card points. Review the following example, and this point will become clear.


After the auction has been opened with either 1 Club, 1 Diamond or 1 Heart, the player holding the above hand would be better advised to double, instead of bidding 1 Spade. Bidding 1 Spade would indicate only an opening hand, but in this case the hand is too strong and game could be missed. Even though the high card points are present, a bid of 1 No Trump is also not appropriate. Therefore, double and then bid Spades. This action shows more values than needed for a maximum 1 No Trump range and generally less than needed for a 2 No Trump opening.

This, in essence, covers the original concept of the Takeout Double, its requirements and its use.

Modern bidding theory has reduced the amount of values normally necessary by a King, in order to execute a Takeout Double. This reduction has lead to many more doubled bidding sequences and has resulted in the level of agressiveness of the bridge player being raised considerably. For example, in the following illustration, the player would / could execute a Takeout Double:

East South
1 Double

But, what does the partner of the Doubler do? How does he respond with weakness, with strength, with length, with balanced distribution? Click on the following, and read about the possibilities for the partner of the Doubler.

Responses - Responses after the Takeout Double of partner.

The Takeout Double can be used in many different and individual bidding auctions and is not confined to the one level. Many individual partnership understandings may vary according to the individual agreements, but this is a feature of the individual partnership agreement.

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.