With a part score of 60 to 0 (neither side vulnerable), I dealt and bid a "strong" 1NT with:
♠ QT3
♥ KQJ8
♦ KJ93
♣ K5

  • "West," to my left, overcalled 2 clubs.
  • Our respective partners passed to me.
  • I doubled (for takeout).
  • West rebid 2 diamonds.
  • All passed, and we set them 3 undoubled.

My partner had something like:
♠ xxxx
♥ xxxx
♦ xx
♣ Qxx
and might have bid (2 clubs) "garbage Stayman" if West hadn't.

My takeout double was meant to produce this effect, and probably a two hearts contract, except that West took me out.

Did West effectively "rescue" me by overcalling, meaning that I should have kept silent?
Or was it right to double to try to force partner to bid in this situation, risking a downed contract, to deprive the opponents of their (likely) 40 point part score?

4 Answers 4


There's no one correct answer for a situation like this. It's a judgement call. I would have passed, for two reasons. One is that the club overcall means my CK is less likely to be useful. The other is that I was understrength for 1NT to begin with. The hand counts to 15 HCP, but it's worth somewhat less due to the lack of aces and the unprotected SQ. This evaluation method makes it 14.05:


It looks as though no part score will make on this deal, do there doesn't seem to have been a lot at stake in your decision.


If you and your partner agree that this double is takeout (which is a normal agreement), this is the sort of hand that should make that call.


You have absolutely no business reopening this hand - the point of a 1NT opener is to make it so descriptive that partner is now Captain, and partner should be making a cooperative double when your side has the balance of the points. If he makes no move, neither do you.

West definitely rescued you when he bid 2C with his balanced 23 count. You rescued him back by doubling, and he reiterated the favour with a 2D rebid.

You were not going to have fun in 1NT if you didn't recognize early on which end plays were on. You were very lucky to get a plus score on this hand - were your opponents Rueful Rabbit and Secretary Bird?

  • I feel that you are overstating your case. Certainly it is not unusual to play takeout by opener in this situation. Perhaps that is only reasonable in conjunction with good methods. For example, playing lebensohl with negative doubles, I think you should double with this hand to protect partner's ability to penalize with a club stack, or to play a reasonable partscore when partner was unable to act with a weak hand and 4=1=4=4 shape. Playing lebensohl with penalty doubles, this hand should double to play a reasonable partscore when partner can't act with two 4-card suits without a game force.
    – ruds
    Jul 18, 2014 at 0:27
  • FWIW, the opponents' 23 points were divided something like 12 and 11, not 23-0. I think I inferred from East's pass that my partner had a few points.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 19, 2014 at 23:31
  • @TomAu: What was the agreed upon meaning of a double by partner in this scenario? If take-out of Clubs, then East's denial of game interest and your shortness indicated that partner had less than 8 points and you should pass. If penalty then your shortness an then your partner either has club length with weakness, or just weakness, and you should still pass. After you open 1NT partner is Captain - respect his denial of points.. Jul 20, 2014 at 2:25

No. This is a very bad (takeout) double.

You said everything you needed to say with your 1NT bid. It basically advertised "takeout double" values (12 hcps in the three unbid suits), plus an extra stopper (a king) in the opponents' club suit.

Your partner knows everything s/he needs to know about your hand, and you know nothing about partner's. As Forget pointed out, your partner now has superior knowledge about your combined holdings, is the "captain" of the team, and should make all bidding decisions going forward. You should not bid again, except to "speak when spoken to."

You are lucky that your RHO did not redouble with his 11 hcps. Barring misplays or unusual distribution, your opponents are favorites to make almost any two level contract with an 8, or even 7 card fit, given their combined 23 points, probably with overtricks. A more competent partnership would have bid and made such a contract, and you do not want to raise the stakes.

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