Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rebidding after a double

Let's look at a few auctions that involve rebids after a takeout double:
  1. (1S) x (p) 2D (p) 2H
  2. (1S) x (p) 3D (p) 3H
  3. (1S) x (p) 2D (p) 3H
Which of these show a good one-suited hand?  I think it's clear that #3 must show a good hand with very good hearts.  What about the other hands?  If you play that doubles can be two-suited, as opposed to three-suited, that's to say an extension of the principle of equal-level conversion, then #1 simply shows a hand that wants partner to choose between hearts and clubs.  Clearly, this is not a minimum hand because we might be forcing a Yarborough to declare at the three level.  But it's a different hand from that in auction #3. 

However, it seems to me that in auction #2, where partner has shown substantial values, 3H would simply confirm four hearts and a relatively minimum double.  Presumably, in order for partner to bid 3D, he's either got sufficient values to play 4D if he has no heart support, or 3NT, or 4H if he has four hearts.

But I admit this is an area I'm not sure about.  And I doubt if there's anything in the books about this.



  1. Wouldn't each of the three auctions show a good one-suiter in hearts ... too good to overcall?

    If you changed the auction slightly, so that advancer was bidding 2C, then, for a pair who plays equal level conversion, intervenor's next bid of 2D would typically show six (or maybe more) diamonds and four hearts. For non ELC pairs, this auction would instead show a diamond one-suiter that is too strong to overcall.

    If second hand has a two-suiter in clubs and hearts, wouldn't second hand just bid 2S Michaels?

    I think that #1 and #2 could be the same too-strong-to-overcall hand with excellent hearts; #3 is akin to the other two, but stronger yet.

  2. ... second paragraph should read "five (or maybe more) diamonds", rather than "six (or maybe more) diamonds" ...

  3. These are all reasonable interpretations. So much depends on partnership discussion, particularly whether or not ELC is on and if so can it extend to the next level (i.e. non-equal level conversion)? In my two-suited scenario, doubler would likely be 4-5 or 4-6 in hearts/clubs rather than 5-5 else as you say he'd use Michaels.

  4. My general understanding is that ELC applies only to "diamonds over clubs" -- that is, to auctions that begin with (1M)- Dbl - (P) - XC - (P) - XD. With four cards in the other major and clubs, intervenor either has to overcall in one of the two suits or use some conventional treatment, such as Raptor 1NT.

    If the opened M were hearts, making a 1S overcall on four good spades, even when holding longer clubs, would be the choice of many. Of course, that option would not apply if the opening M were spades, since a 2H overcall on a four-card suit would be hard for advancer to handle. With four hearts and longer clubs over a 1S opening, I think intervenor is pretty much faced with the options of passing or overcalling clubs (or making a dangerous Michaels call); giving up the double-then-hearts showing a heart hand that is too big to overcall seems too much to sacrifice to me.