South opened one diamond. West doubled for takeout with the following hand:

s) Axxx (H) Kxx (D) Kxx (C) Qxx

North redoubled. This took me (East) off the hook with something like s) xxx (H) xxx (D) xxx (C) xxxx. I could pass, because the redouble allowed West to bid again. She bid one spade, we were doubled, vulnerable, and went down four (-1100).

Could she have left in the redouble by passing? One diamond redoubled does not make game, although it makes a ton of overtricks. Even so, would the likely loss have been less than -1100 or even -800?

Or was the problem with the takeout double in the first place.

3 Answers 3


1D redoubled making 4 is 830 non-vul and 1430 vul according to this (excellent) calculator: http://www.rpbridge.net/xsc1.htm.

Redoubled overtricks count!

Partner should bid 1S. 1S double going down 4 with a probable 4-3 or better fit (LHO or RHO both didn't mention spades) and two Kings seems quite unlikely, and that is against opponents for whom double of 1S will be for penalties. It is probably more useful to play 1S double (by LHO) in this situation for something else (LHO cannot have a trump stack), in which case, you have even more reason to bid 1S.

In this case I would say the problem is with making the takeout double in the first place. (Of course it depends on partnership style and form of scoring, but the below can probably found in most textbooks).

There is a rule of thumb regarding takeout doubles: With a 12-14 hand balanced hand, you should avoid making a takeout double.

In this case you have a really flat hand, 4-3-3-3, with three cards in the takeout suit. Your hand is defensively oriented with likely 3 defensive tricks in your own hand.

If you make a takeout double and partner jumps to the three level in your 3 card suit you will likely go down.

Another reason to pass with 12-14 defensive oriented flat hands is that if you have a game, LHO will likely pass and partner will get a chance to reopen.

And to answer the question in the title, sure, a redoubled contract by the takeout doubler can be passed, but it is probably a bad bid.

  • Can't argue with this good analysis, +1! Aug 23, 2012 at 11:17
  • Vulnerability affects overtricks as well as "going down?" I didn't know that. Or is it just overtricks when doubled and redoubled? Is this a relatively modern change? I didn't get any of that when learning bridge in the 1960s.
    – Tom Au
    Aug 23, 2012 at 13:09
  • @TomAu: I believe it is one of those modern changes.
    – Aryabhata
    Aug 23, 2012 at 14:13
  • I think I "downvoted" you by mistake! (Clicked on the wrong button while accepting you). Could you edit your answer so I can correct and upvote you?
    – Tom Au
    Aug 23, 2012 at 14:18
  • @TomAu: Coincidence! I was just editing the answer to mention that form of scoring might matter :-)
    – Aryabhata
    Aug 23, 2012 at 14:19

I don't think there's anything wrong with attempting to bid one's "best" (least worst in this cae) suit after one's takeout double is redoubled. It was unfortunate that this resulted in a terrible contract, but this is Bridge, bad breaks can and do happen.

I suppose the question is whether West was sensible to opt for a takeout double at unfavourable vulnerability. Again, I'd say that while the risks are obvious if East turns out to be holding nothing, 12 points including an ace is not obviously a terrible hand to try one's luck with.

As long as West was aware of the risks, just accept that things went tragically wrong and move on. After all, the alternative is to risk an irate partner (in a parallel universe, holding much better cards) demanding in the autopsy "why on earth didn't you make a takeout double on that textbook hand?!"

  • If partner has a much better hand, and it gets passed out. West should be the irate one: "Why not reopen partner?". FWIW, it is a textbook hand alright, but as an example of when not to make a takeout double.
    – Aryabhata
    Aug 23, 2012 at 5:46
  • (Of course, we are probably reading different textbooks :-))
    – Aryabhata
    Aug 23, 2012 at 6:01
  • Yeah, it's a good point that this takeout double is not ideal. Having fewer than 3 diamonds would make it a lot better. Maybe I should have called it a "textbook highly marginal takeout double hand" ;) Aug 23, 2012 at 11:15

The takeout double looks reasonable - enough points and support for the other 3 suits. It does of course depend on what you've agreed in your bidding system, some systems would require a shortage of the doubled suit (2 or less).

As far as leaving it in one diamond redoubled vs bidding one spade, with the information your partner has to go on it's impossible to say for certain which will lose you more points. I'd definitely go with one spade if your opponents are vulnerable and probably pass if they're not.

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