Quick summary

if you can choose either

double for takeout is better:

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Bridge Venue

Example Deal


«  0110  »

To overcall, or to double ?

Doubling is twice as good !

Your enemy to your right has opened with a suit, and your hand is one of those that allows you to choose between bidding either

For example, you have a 5431 or 5332 distribution, with one very weak short suit, honours in 3 suits, and 12+ HCP.

My advice is generally to double for takeout, for three reasons:

  • it gives your partner a clearer idea of your strenth, promising an opening hand rather than 8 or 10HCP
  • it's more descriptive, promising 3 suits, rather than just one
  • it keeps the bidding lower.

What if I've got 3 suits and 16+ ?

The choice between doubling and overcalling 1NT is of course much different.

  • Both are strong. A double does not deny having 16+ but a 1NT overcall clearly promises it.
  • Both are also balanced in a way, but the NT overcall promises a stopper in the bid suit. The latter point in sharp contrast to a double for takeout, which will usually not have such a stopper.
  • And finally, a double for takeout is forcing.

Now try the quiz

Can you put all this into action ? Try the quiz for this subject by clicking on the link at the top left of the page, just below the main menu.
(You can try quizzes for any other subjects too while you're there. Look out for the thin red line).

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