Mike's Bidding Quiz


This week, we continue with hands showing takeout double principles. Do you agree with the bidding shown and if not, what would you do to improve it?

♠ A 6 2
7 3 2
♣ 7 2
♠ K 9 8 3
A Q 9 5
A 4
♣ K 9 8
West North East South
1♣ Dbl
Pass 1 2♣ 2NT
Pass 3NT All Pass

West led the ♣J, and South got in eventually with the ♣K. The diamonds divided 4–2, so there were nine top tricks. South decided he was happy with nine tricks so he took them. Two spades, one heart, five diamonds, and one club were enough to make 3NT.

How do you feel about all this?

See Mike's Advice

This auction is easy to evaluate. South made a good double. The bidding fell off after that.

North’s 1 bid was terrible. When your partner doubles, you must bid something even if you have zero high-card points. When you have 9 or more HCP, you should find a bid that tells your partner you are not broke. North has a nice 2 bid available that would be invitational, showing about 10 HCP, probably with five diamonds.

On the sequence given, North bid just 1. He could have nothing at all. When East bid 2♣, South now bid 2NT. North could have been broke, so South needs a fat 18 HCP, and 19 or 20 would be okay, too. South’s 2NT was a big overbid.

North finally woke up and realized that he had a nice hand. The 3NT bid was perfect. Considering that North had bid only 1 on the first round, he was lucky he got a second chance.

An aside: In the play, South knew East had an opening bid. South was missing 14 HCP, and West had just shown up with the ♣J. If West had the K as well, that would leave East with a 10-point opening bid. Not likely. South could have finessed in hearts and taken one more trick if he had thought about the facts.

♠ K Q 10 6
A K 8 3
7 3
♣ Q 7 4
♠ A 7 5 4 2
J 7
K J 8
♣ 8 5 3
West North East South
1♣ Pass
1 Dbl Pass 1♠
Pass 3♠ All Pass

When they got around to the play, West led the ♣2 and East took the first three tricks with the ♣A K J. West followed three times. East led the A next, and South managed the rest of the tricks. If East had led a low diamond instead of the ace, South would have needed a winning guess.

Aside from the play, what to you think of the bidding?

See Mike's Advice

South’s pass over 1♣ was fine. The hand is too marginal for a 1♠ overcall.

North’s double of 1 was also fine. Two good bids in a row.

South responded to the takeout double with 1♠. The good bidding stopped for awhile. South has plenty enough to bid 2♠. He has 9 HCP and a good five-card major. South later lamented that he did not like his K J, but East was the opening bidder, so it was conservative for South to think his diamonds were worthless.

Now North raised to 3♠. Doubling and raising partner to the two level shows a better than minimum double — remember, 1♠ can be bid on zero HCP — so the raise to 3♠ was a gross overbid. Just terrible.

South’s pass was, if possible, even worse than North’s 3♠. South has a hand that is better than anything North can imagine. He should have bid 4♠. There is no room to waffle on this. South should go on.