Quick summary

You have <8 points.

Partner bid 1NT, enemy doubled.

With a 5-card suit, 7-card fit is guaranteed for your team:

With two 4-card suits, "wriggle" to find a 7-card fit

Always end up with a 7-card match at the 2 level. Sometimes 8 or 9-card.

Partner's view of a "pass" from you:

. . worth a game-winning redouble?


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Bridge Venue

Example Deal
spade K Q J 3
heart 10
diamond A Q 9 4
club A 10 5 2
Example Deal
Dealer: South
Vuln: All

Doubling 1NT and its consequences
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«  0032  »

After 1NT, Getting out of "double" trouble

"We'd better wriggle out of this"

You're very weak. AND the enemy have doubled your partner's opening 1NT. Time to panic if vulnerable?

"Two off" is going to cost you 500 points. (Don't even think about 3-off or 4-off).

Partner opened a weak 1NT, promising 12-14 HCP. If you have fewer than 0-8 points, then your team is only guaranteed from 12 to fewer than 19 points. Staying in a 1NT contract will be especially painful if the enemy have a suit with 8 cards or more - you've got no trumps to stop them. The enemy will have you for dinner, especially if you are vulnerable. So, if you have an unbalanced hand, it's time to get out of NT.

But how do you find a long suit between you for your trumps? Your partner has given you no long-suit clues in the 1NT opening, and the bidding must now start to investigate suits at the 2-club level at the lowest.

So, here's a method of guaranteeing to find a suit, at the 2-level contract, with at least a 7-card fit.

  • If you have a 5-card suit, this is the one you should be in. So, bid "redoubled". Partner must reply 2 Clubs, and you'll correct this to the right suit, if that's required.
  • With two 4-card suits, bid the lowest one. Having opened 1NT, partner has no more than one suit with 2-cards: the method below shows you how to put one of the three other suits against your 4-card suit.
  • If you're happy to be in 1NT, or you have a 4333 hand weak or strong, just pass.

5-card suit

When you have a 5-card suit, you don't care any more. You see, your team is assured of 7 trump cards, because all partner's suits have at least 2 cards (he's balanced, remember).

  • Bid "re-double". (That's the signal to your partner that you have a suit for a 7-card fit - partner will not pass your "re-double" unless the enemy bid!);
  • partner will simply reply 2 Clubs;
    • if that happens to be the right suit, you can pass;
    • if it's not the right suit, you can now just bid your 5-card suit; thereafter partner will pass.

Job done. Very simple.

Two 4-card suits

You can't ever be certain of finding an 8-card match, but there will always be at least a 7-card match.

This system works because not only do you have two 4-card suits, but your partner has at least three suits with 3-cards or more. So that one of your two 4-card suits will correspond to at least one suit of hers that has 3-cards or more. (She's balanced, remember. In other words she has no more than one doubleton).

Your actions are:

  • bid the lowest ranking of your two 4-card suits; (That's the signal to your partner to start looking for a 7-card fit - partner will not pass unless the enemy bid!)
  • if partner passes, then this must be a 3-card suit for her, and the job is done;
  • if partner bids a new suit, and you've got 4 of this new one, then you've found your 7-card fit, so pass! (partner will choose a suit, if the enemy are silent),
  • if you don't have 4 of them, then carry on "up the line", bidding your next highest 4-card suit, until partner responds positively, by passing.

1NT Opening bidder's view of the your actions:

  • having bid the opening 1NT that caused the trouble, and hearing his responder's proposed suit, Opener can pass if this suit is a 3+ card suit in his hand;
  • if, on the other hand, it's a 2-card suit, he should bid the next highest ranking suit (which must at least be a 3-card suit);
  • if partner passes, then great, you've found a 7-card fit;
  • if instead partner then bids a new suit and Opener has 3 of them (which he surely will), then great, pass. You've found a 7-card fit.

You always end up with at least a 7-card match, and you don't have to go beyond the 2 level. You'll also find 8 or even 9-card matches too.

Stayman and Transfer bidding

Whether or not you normally use Stayman and Transfer bidding, it doesn't matter: after the enemy's "double" these systems can be ignored if that's what you choose, so that your partner will interpret your bidding differently. (Beware: there are some people, not many, who still use Stayman and Transfers in replying to a 1NT bid that has been doubled by the enemy).

What is you (the responder) are happy to be in 1NT doubled?

Just pass. Some openers take this as a hint to "RE-double" if they are at the top of their 12-14 point range.

If 1NT doubled and redoubled vulnerable does make 7 of the 13 tricks, the score is very very very high. Altogether you get 760. Plain, good old 1NT would have got you only 90.

The largest possible score you can achieve in bridge is not for a Slam, it's actually 3160 points for a 1NT contract! 1NT redoubled with six vulnerable over-tricks: 160 for 1NT redoubled, 500 game bonus, 100 redouble bonus and 6 lovely overt-ricks worth 400 each.

What if they bid ?

Shut up! Let them play their contract. You've got out of the disastrous "1NT doubled and vulnerable".

Other stuff about Dealing with the pre-emptive 1NT opening

They open 1NT:

  1. 0115. Defence after enemy opens 1NT
  2. 0102. Overcalling a suit after enemy opens 1NT
  3. 0172. Bidding two Majors after enemy opens 1NT ("Landy")
  4. 0120. When to penalty double an enemy opening bid of 1NT
  5. 0162. Bidding when enemy opens 1NT ("Dont")

We open 1NT:

  1. 0111. Response after the enemy overcalls your partner's 1NT ("Lebensohl")
  2. 0125. When to Double for penalties after enemy overcalls your partner's 1NT
  3. 0032. What to do when the enemy penalty doubles your 1NT opening bid




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