Suppose South opens with 1 NT (15-17). After two passes, East doubles, showing possession of most of the remaining 23-25 high card points not held by South.

1NT P P Dbl

South has a flat 4-3-3-3 distribution, with no real suit preference (incidentally, I wouldn't open 1NT with a bare 15, preferring a short minor, with a flat distribution). Can he "redouble" for rescue"?

A NT bid severely limits the bidder's strength and shape. In this case, South is asking North to bid his longest (hopefully 5-card) suit as a form of "damage control." If North has a Yarborough (no high card points) will s/he likely interpret South's redouble as such?

Or is there too much of a danger (between reasonably good players) that North will pass out South?

Put another way, does a "redouble" in this context work like a takeout double, where partner has to answer unless he plans to play to punish the opponents) with a strong hand?

  • It's my sense that it's pretty rare to treat this double as penalty these days. The doubler, holding strength under declarer, is likely to give up a trick on the opening lead, and to give up another trick every time they get in. In most conventional agreements, doubling a strong 1NT opening shows some sort of major-suit holding, or a single-suited hand.
    – ruds
    Sep 9 '13 at 22:48
  • @ruds: That is beside the point I guess.
    – Aryabhata
    Sep 9 '13 at 23:06

There are nigh as many ways to play this as there are bridge partnerships in the world. What is correct at any given time is the system you agreed to play when you completed your convention card with this partner.

Along with redoubling for takeout, another common defense to the double is to pass forcing opener to redouble, which may then either be passed for penalty by responder or converted as part of a run-out strategy. Key advantages of this scheme include: - Distinguishing between one-suited and two-suited escapes by bidding one shape immediately, and the other delayed. - Putting additional pressure on the doubler after the forced redouble.

  • Note that the question asks about an indirect X -- responder can't pass to force opener to redouble :)
    – ruds
    Sep 11 '13 at 7:23
  • @ruds: Thank you; I missed that first time around. Sep 11 '13 at 7:38

Yes, if you want to, you can play it that way and does indeed make sense to play that way. But make sure you agree with your partner before springing it on them.

If you agree to play the XX as SOS, the 1NT bidder's balancing redouble must promise a 4-3-3-3 hand, otherwise you might land in 4-2 fits. Of course, the 1NT bidder, could also gamble on an 'imperfect' 4-4-3-2 hand, hoping to land a 7+ fit (the penalty double changes the odds of partners longest suit being your 2 card suit etc).

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