The meaning of Double – as the name suggest – is to raise the stakes.
If you Double an opposing contract, you win more Points if they fail,
but you concede more points if they succeed.
When Bridge began over a 100 years ago, double was limited to those occasions
where you expected the opponents to fail in their bid.
However, it was realised that you would be most unlikely to be confident enough
to double a low-level suit bid, when partner had not yet spoken.
And that if the opponents happened to have bid, a suit in which you were very strong,
it was far better not to tip them off: rather to keep quiet and wait for them to get into deeper trouble.
In 1912 New Yorker Major Charles Patten and Bryant McCambell
independently invented an alternative meaning for the “Double” – the “take-out double”.
It is believed that this was the first convention in the game
(although it is now so universal that it is rarely thought of as such).
The take-out double – “partner, please take out my double into another suit”
shows an opening hand or better with no other convenient bid: no suit to overcall,
and an inability to bid notrumps.
To learn more on doubling contact your local Bridge Teacher or Coach,
or get a copy of Bridge Lessons (Double) by ANDREW ROBSON,
(www.arobson.co.uk) The above extract is from this book.