Quiz on Support Doubles
(Page of 7)

A Support Double is narrowly defined. It is made by the opening bidder, who has opened with one of a suit.

West North East South

1 P 1 2

X The X is a Support Double. It shows a heart raise usually (but not necessarily restricted to) 12-15 points and exactly 3 hearts. You (West) do not promise a rebid. You may have extra points (and plan to bid again). You may have xxx in hearts.

[With only xxx in hearts you may withhold the dbl and pass, or make an entirely different bid. This requires agreement of partners.]

Comment: an important and explicit purpose of the support dbl is to help responder decide what to do if the opponents, those dirty rats, compete viciously to the 3-level. An immediate raise of East's hearts would promise 4 cards.

Examples: in the auction given above, what do you rebid as West after 2 by South in the hands below?

1. KxQxx AQTxx Qxx

2. KxQxxx Axxx KJx

3. ATx xxx Axxx KJx

4. ATx Qxx AQxx AQx

5. x xxx AQJxx KQTx

6. AJxxx AQJxxx xx

1. KxQxxAQTxxQxx Classic Support Double.

2. KxQxxxAxxxKJx Bid 2 (guarantees 4-cards in hearts)

3. ATxxxxAxxxKJx Bid Pass if “allowed”, else bid Dbl. Partners must agree if one “must” bid a dbl on xxx. I suggest some simple rules. “With a balanced 12-13 points, a Support Double may be withheld - (opener passes) holding only xxx. With 14+, he doubles or withQxxor better he doubles. With a singleton and xxx, opener makes a support double even with 11-13.”

For example, double with AxxxxxxAQJxxx or Q xxx AKxxxKxxx.

4. ATxQxxAQxxAQx Bid Dbl (2NT 18-19 points if immediately bid would deny 3 hearts – here you plan on bidding 3NT after partner’s 2).

5. xxxxAQJxxKQTx Bid Dbl – you have heart support and a singleton. If you try to reach 2Xby passing now, partner may not choose to balance with a dbl – or somebody will bid spades, and the opponents may have a great spade contract. Show the heart support before they bid 3 or higher.

6. AJxxx AQJxxxxx Are 2doubletonsworth one singleton? Dbl now and bid 3 later if they compete to 3. Bidding 2 hurts in the important hands in which partner has five hearts and less than 10 points. Your 2 call may end the auction, and you may have a comfortable (or better) heart contract.

New Auctions:

West North East South

1 1 1 2

In this interesting situation, partner East is known to hold 5+ in spades. Should you bid a Support Double to show a 3-card raise, or should you just bid 2 at once topre-emptNorth and not play Support Doubles here?

First Argument - since 2 by you or East seems to be the same 2, why not clarify the count with a Support Dbl? Partner may need to know the trump count in order to compete wisely at the 3 or 4-level. [Advanced question: is 2NT by opener a form of Good-Bad 2NT?]

Second Argument - My friend Tallahassee Red says you can show an 8-card spade fit at once by 2 (and thus a Support Dbl is not necessary), but if you want to dbl 2 (with for example 7 KJ87 AQJ6 AT85, a 1NT opening except for the spade singleton), you must bid Dbl now or lose the opportunity.

So, partners must agree if, in this setting where partner has shown a 5-card spade suit, whether the dbl is penalty or support. It is reasonable to play either way.

West North East South

1 1 1 2 Since 1 only guaranteed a 4-card suit, a dbl here should be a Support Double, essentially as if East had overcalled.

A Point of Discussion - Follow up auctions after partner makes a simple raise or a Support Double:

Part You

1 1 1 2

2 P ??

What are Your rebids, besides a pass?

2NT - “Please describe your hand further, I have game invitational values or better.”

3 - cue bid for spades (with heart shortness or A), game forcing

3 - distributionalweakishraise, 6+ cards in spades, not constructive

3 - diamond support, a game try in spades (or better)

3 - natural game try.

3NT - natural with surprisingly good hearts (likely 5-4-1-3).

Auctions With 1NT

West North East South

1 P 1 1NT There are two cases. The firstis Sandwich NT (this is an Unusual NT bid at the 1-level showing a weak hand in the 2 unbid suits). The other is a normal 1NT overcall showing 15+ to 17+.

After the Strong NT: I believe there should be no Support Double if South has a strong NT. It seems wrong to give up a penalty dbl.

(7) Example of a good penalty dbl: xKQxAQJxxKQxx(you have a lot of points and a great suit)

(8) With great 3-card support, I would rather bid at once since the opponents will play ‘Systems On’ if you double, and they might be able to find a great contract if left room to bid. For example bid 2 with AxxxxAQJxxKxx or AxxxAQJxxQxxx.

(9) Finally, I do not want to make a Support Dbl with anything like shaky values since partner may beweakishand it may be their hand. And if you pass, partner can sometimes surprise with a dbl of his own, which is always for penalties.

After Sandwich NT: The situationwith Sandwich NTis also dangerous for both sides. Here the support Dbl makes better sense because the opponents are most certainly headed for a 2-level contract already. Best to tell partner about trumps (spades). I think a Support Double is not mandatory, however.

Warning: a natural use of the dbl is ‘for business’ or ‘I can double one of the unbid suits, partner’. You need an agreement before you make any double.

(10) With xxxQJxAQJxKJxyou should pass 1NT.

With AJxQxxKQxxxxx you should make a Support Dbl. Partner will know whether to compete past 2.

(11) With AxxQxxxKQJxxxmake a Support Double (easy decision here because of the singleton).

New Auctions - (12) After 1-P-1-1M. M = any Major, and here a Dbl is a support double, but it is not mandatory.

(13) After 1-P-1-1 bid 1 with AJxxxxKxxAJTx. You might be able to bid 2 later.

(14) xxxKJxAxxKQxx Better to call 1NT. The apparent Double Stopper in hearts stops the Support Double.

(15) AxxxJxxAQJxxx Bid 2. Simple and descriptive. Better not to waste time with diamonds. Where is this hand going? If North is about to bid, nothing will stop him. If there is a game (3NT?), partner will have to have opening strength himself, and bidding 2 is the best call you can make.

After

1 Pass 1 1

??

(16) AT9x T98 QxAQJx bid 1NT not Dbl.

(17) AxxKQxxxAQJxxx bid a splinter 4 or cue bid 2.

The Support REDOUBLE

After

North East South West

1D P 1H X

XX

The XX is a “Support Redouble” showing 3-card heart support. It is appropriate when no other bid is better, as in earlier cases for the Support Dbl.

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