Poll #32, Negative Double refinements in Contract Bridge – Part 2, 01/26/2011

Negative Double Refinements – Contract Bridge

Negative Doubles – Refinements video – Polling You #32, Part 1

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Under some circumstances the responder is bound by precise guidelines when making a Negative Double, while in other situations the responder is granted some flexibility in the shape of their side suit assets.  Generally, additional restrictions are put in place to demonstrate to easily show opener the good news before the advancing LHO launches an unexpected preemptive bid.

Then there’s the matter of responder first Doubling and then bidding a new suit.  Is that similar to the “Type 2” Takeout Double or are all bets off considering the responder is making a Negative Double?  Hmm, perhaps there are different strokes for different folks?

Let’s begin by looking at some details on responder’s strength requirements to make a Negative Double.  Recall the basics from our prior session:
1 level = 6+ points
2 level minor = 8+ points
2 level major = 9+ points
3 level = 10+ points

1C – (1H) – ?  Double with Kxxx  xx  Kxxx  xxx    Responder enjoys 2 cover cards.

1C – (2H) – ?  Pass with Kxxx  xx  Kxxx  xxx         Try to have 9 distribution points at 2 major level.

1C – (2H) – ?  Pass with Kxxx  Qx  Kxxx  xxx        8 HCP but questionable valuation on Heart Queen.

1C – (2H) – ?  Double with Kxxx  xx  Kxxx  Qxx   With 8+ points and good Queen placement, close enough.

1C – (2H) – ?  Double with Kxxx  Kx  Kxxx  xxx    With 3 primary honors, well placed Heart King, double.

1C – (3H) – ?  Double with Kxxx  Kx  Kxxx  xxx    Count as 10 distribution points, again double for Spade fit.

1C – (4H) – ?  Double with Kxxx  x  Kxx  Kxxxx    Count as 12 distribution points, again double for Spade fit.

1C – (2H) – ?  Double with Kxxx  Ax  Kxxx  Qxx   Definitely game values, rebid 3N if partner rebids 3 Clubs.

Here are some fine points on Negative Doubles, not easily recognized by newer players: 

1C – (1D) – Promises exactly 4 Hearts and 4 Spades.

1C – (1D) – 1H or 1S shows a 4+ card suit, denies 4-4 in the majors.


1D – (2C) – X does not guarantee both unbid suits.  Since RHO has shown a full opening hand and the bidding is now at the 2 level, the opener/responder are allowed some latitude to find a partscore fit.


1D – (1S) – X does not guarantee both unbid suits.  Responder may have 8 points and 5+ Hearts.

1H – (1S) – X does not guarantee both unbid suits.  Responder may have 8 points and 6 Diamonds.

Responder Doubles and rebids a new suit:

1D – (1S) – X – (P)

2C – (P) – 2H   to play with 1=6=2=4 and Hearts AQxxxx and King or Queen in Diamonds


1D – (1S) – X – (P)

2D – (P) – maybe pass with 1=6=2=4 and Hearts AQxxxx and King or Queen in Diamonds


1D – (1S) – X – (P)

2D – (P) – 2H   to play with 2=6=2=3 and Hearts Kxxxxx and Spade King


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Stay tuned – in our final lesson on Negative Doubles we will explore bidding continuations after Negative Doubles.

Happy Bridge Trails,<



  1. abestenberg says:

    Michael, I wonder if its possible to be able to go back on your videos when one is watching them, so as not to have to replay the whole video if one missed a comment?

    • BridgeHands says:
      Hi Abe,
      Yes, absolutely! BridgeHands videos and audios are all progressive streams. That means:
      1. You can begin watching/listening media content as the files are being delivered from the internet to your PC.
      2. At the bottom of the player window (widget), you will notice a horizontal bar that shows the play progress as the media play progresses. To move the play position:
      2.a. Move your mouse over the “Play Head” – the current position of the play indicator
      2.b. Select the play head with your left mouse button, holding down the button
      2.c. Drag your mouse to the left or right to rewind or advance the play head. You will notice the current time indicator on the lower right side of the screen changes as you drag to the left or right
      3. Release the left mouse button and press the play button (right pointing arrow)
      By the way, another method is to simply move your mouse along the horizontal bar to another point of interest and simply left-click at another point or points. The playhead will jump to the new location (provided that portion of the progressive media stream has been downloaded to your PC).
      Warm Regards,
  2. BridgeHands says:
    After tallying your polling votes, we have a clear majority:
    58 percent say “All of the above,” meaning they agree with all of the following:
    1C – (1D) – ? Doubling promises 4-4 in the majors
    1D – (2C) – ? Doubling does not guarantee 4-4 in the majors
    1H – (1S) – X – (P);
    .2C – (P) – 2H is signoff
    Perhaps the last item was the most tricky, first doubling and then bidding a new suit. However, if the responder had to initially make a bid at the 2 level, that would promise 10+ points and 5+ Hearts. So how can a responder with 6 Hearts and 7-8 HCP or 9 HCP and a poor Heart suit effectively bid? Ah, that’s where the Negative Double can come to the rescue – first double and then bid the lower ranking suit (beneath RHO’s suit rank) However, let us caution you that this treatment should not be used in every situation For instance if responder holds a 5 card suit and opener rebids a suit, it’s probably best to pass – even with a singleton and a so-so hand. In most situations, opener promises a 6 card suit when rebidding a suit (just as you do as responder). So if you only hold a 5 card suit and a singleton in partner’s 6 card suit, consider simply passing and let partner play with a 6-1 fit. Worse could happen, ESPECIALLY if you insist on rebidding, right?
    Happy Bridge Trails, Michael
  3. Simon says:

    The hand in part #1 at 5:00 is extra good, the fourteenth card is usually worth an extra trick. 😉

    • BridgeHands says:
      (blush) Good eye Simon. Yes, look closely and from time to time you’ll find the dealer isn’t always playing with a full deck!
      Good catch, Michael
      • drphil says:

        Such mistakes happens so easily. 🙂
        Thanks a lot for making these videos, and extra thanks for making some of them available for everyone.
        I’m not speaking English natively, but it’s really easy to hear and understand when you speak. 🙂

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