POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN BIDDING A NEGATIVE DOUBLE
1. Doubler is the responder to a one-level opening bid by partner which is followed by an overcall in another suit by opener’s LHO. Ex: N=1D; E=1H; S=Dbl (negative).
2. The negative double is a form of takeout double (not a penalty double). It is “forcing” and is to be “taken-out” by opener’s rebid. Ex: N=1D; E=1H; S=Dbl; W=P; N’s rebid = 1S (takes out or voids responder’s negative double)
3. Doubler is showing support for both of the unbid suits. Ex: N=1C; E=1S; S=Dbl (shows support for hearts and diamonds—the two unbid suits).
4. The support being shown should always promise four-card support for an unbid major. Support can be three cards for an unbid minor, but four cards are ideal.
5. At the one level, at least 6HCP (high card points) are being promised.
6. At the two level, at least 8HCP are being promised.
7. The level through which negative doubles are used is decided through partnership agreement. Standard American Yellow Card, however, suggests through 2S, meaning a double of any 3C or higher bid is for penalty. Many partnerships prefer to increase this to “through 3S”.
8. Since a negative double is forcing upon opener demanding he rebid (unless opener’s RHO interferes), a double at the two level could force opener to rebid at the three level. Ex: N=1S, E=2H, S=Dbl (showing 4x4 in minors, the unbid suits), W=P, then N (forced to bid and desiring to support one of partner’s minors) must bid either 3C or 3D). (NOTE: Doubler should take the partnership’s combined point-level into consideration and double when that level is appropriate for the rebid opener is forced to make: perhaps 19 – 20 points at the two level and 21- 22 at the three level).
POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN RESPONDING TO A NEGATIVE DOUBLE
1. The doubler is looking for a fit (a Golden Fit of an 8-card trump suit) hopefully in a major but does not have the 5-cards required to overcall in a new suit. Ex: N=1C; E=1H; S=Dbl promises four spades as well as support (hopefully four) in diamonds. S is hoping N also has four spades (a Golden Fit in a major). NOTE: with five spades S would simply respond 1S (a one-level, new-suit, forcing overcall to E’s 1H bid).
2. However, N=1C; E=1D, S=Double promises four spades AND four hearts (the unbid major suits). NOTE: with either 5 Spades or 5 Hearts S would respond 1S or 1H with 6+Total Points.
3. Further, N=1H; E=1D; S=Dbl promises at least four diamonds and four clubs (the unbid minor suits). NOTE: with either 5 Clubs or 5 Diamonds S would respond 2C or 2D with 11+Total Points.
4. If responder is too weak to introduce a five-card suit, responder uses a negative double on the first round (forcing) and bids the suit on the second round.
POINTS TO CONSIDER FOR OPENER’S REBID
1. With a minimum opening hand (13 – 15TP), opener rebids a natural suit or notrump at a low level. Always show four-card support for the suit (especially a major suit) indicated in responder’s double. Ex: N=1C; E=1D; S=Dbl (showing 4x4 in the majors); W=P; then N=either 1S or 1H with four- card support or 1NT with no four-card major.
2. With a medium-strength, invitational, opening hand (15 – 17TP), jump one level to show extra strength. Ex: N=1C; E-1D; S=Dbl (4x4 in the majors); W=P; then N=jumps to 2S or 2H with four-card support).
3. With a maximum-strength, forcing-to-game, opening hand (18+TP), jump to game OR cuebid opponent’s suit if in doubt of the best contract. Ex1:
N=1C; E=1D; S=Dbl (4x4 in the majors); W=P; then N=jumps to game at 4S or 4H with 4-card support.
Ex2: N=1C; E=1D; S=Dbl (4x4 in the majors); W=P; then N=2D (cuebid of E’s 1D overcall asking doubler’s
help in finding their best contract).
4. “Balancing takeout (negative?) double: Ex: N=1D; E=1H; S=P; W=P; then N=Dbl (a “balancing” double) showing shortness in hearts (the opponent’s suit). This is forcing upon responder who rebids her best suit. Should responder pass, she is allowing opener’s double to convert to a penalty double, because she has strength in opponent’s heart suit.
POINTS TO CONSIDER FOR RESPONDER’S REBID
1. With a minimum hand (6 – 9TP)
a. Pass opener’s minimum rebid: Ex: N=1D; E=1H; S=Dbl, supporting spades and clubs; W=P
then N=1S (minimum rebid at a low level showing four spades), E=P; S=P (a part-score contract; N’s minimum rebid tells responder, also with
minimum count, to Pass).
b. Give a simple preference to opener’s original suit: S=2D in the above sequence.
c. Bid a new suit without a jump: S=2C in the above sequence.
2. With an invitational-strength hand (10 or 11TP), bid again to invite opener to game. Ex: N=1D;
E=1H; S=Dbl (support in spades and clubs), W=P; then N=1S; E=P; S=3S (inviting N to
bid 4S if she has around 15 points).
3. With a maximum-strength hand (12 or more points), bid game. Ex: N=1D; E=1H; S=Dbl; W=P;
Then N=1S; E=P; S=4S (knowing N holds four spades and has around 13 – 14 points as an opening hand).
Compiled and edited using various sources, mainly ACBL’s “Defense in the 21st Century”; Lesson 9.