Suppose opener bids one spade. Second seat doubles (takeout). Responder redoubles. Then fourth seat "bids" one club and the opener declines to let it stand.

That is an easy fix. Fourth seat has mentioned clubs, and is now forced to say "two clubs" to make the bid sufficient.

But suppose fourth seat (a newbie) says something like "double," or "double the redouble." You can't play one spade for eightfold stakes. But the bidder has presumably given away unauthorized information. So in a tournament, what would be the penalty and how would it be assessed?

  • 1
    In your first hypothetical, it's actually not the case that fourth seat must bid two clubs. However, if they bid anything else, they will incur penalties for their side in the rest of the auction. See Law 27, which deals with insufficient bids.
    – ruds
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 0:09
  • @ruds: In theory, you are correct. But in practice, it's hard for me to imagine a pair taking administered penalties instead of the natural "penalty" of having to bid two clubs instead of one.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 3:30
  • 2
    They might be forced to do so if e.g. their 1C opening bid is artificial or if their 2C advance of a takeout double is.
    – ruds
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 3:32
  • 1
    @ruds: If "one club" artificially meant something other than a desire to play in clubs, then the "misbid" (intentional or not) would convey unauthorized information to partner and itself be subject to sanctions.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 12:20
  • Yes, under Law 27, mentioned above.
    – ruds
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


The Laws of Contract Bridge's Law 36 deals with inadmissible doubles. If the player in first seat takes a call before somebody realizes that the double was inadmissible, the double and all subsequent calls are cancelled, it becomes fourth seat's turn to call, and everything proceeds as normal.

If, on the other hand, the irregularity is called out immediately, the double is cancelled and the player may substitute any call. Their partner (in second seat) is forced to pass every time they make a call for the rest of the auction. In addition, there will be lead restrictions:

Declarer may prohibit offender’s partner from leading any one suit at his first turn to lead, including the opening lead, such prohibition to continue for as long as offender’s partner retains the lead.

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