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How to Redouble in Bridge

Some bridge opponents don’t like to be doubled — and they can respond by redoubling, telling you that they think you’ve made a colossal mistake by making a penalty double (the nerve of you). One of your opponents can redouble. If three passes follow the redouble, the deal is sealed — the side that made the last bid is playing a redoubled contract.

If the redoubled contract is defeated, the doubling side scores four times their normal score; if the contract is made, the redoubling side gets at least four times their normal score. As a result, redoubled contracts tend to be played very slowly.

The following bidding sequence shows a redouble in action:

South (You) West North (Your Partner) East
1♠ 2♥ 4♠ 5♥
Double Redouble Pass Pass
Pass

Oh, boy! The final contract is 5♥, redoubled. To get to this point, each player’s bid has broadcast some pretty clear messages.

  • When you doubled, you said, “I don’t think you guys can make 5♥.”

  • West’s redouble said, “Oh, yeah? Well, I think that we can, and you are going to pay big time for your double!”

  • Your partner then passed, which told West, “I trust my partner. Go ahead. We want to see you make 5♥.”

  • East is content, in effect saying, “I trust my partner.”

  • Your final pass said, “Okay, bring it on — let’s see who has made the last mistake.”

In addition to the rare redouble that follows a penalty double, bridge features a far more common use of the redouble. It occurs after your partner opens the bidding, the next hand makes a takeout double, and you have 11 HCP or more. This usually spells big trouble for your opponents. An example of this form of redouble appears in this figure.

image0.jpg

The bidding for this hand may go something like this:

North (Your Partner) East South (You) West
1♥ Double Redouble

What exactly does this bidding sequence say so far?

  • North’s bid says, “I have 12 or more HCP with at least five hearts.”

  • East chimes in with a takeout double, saying, “I also have 11 or more HCP, plus support for the other suits.”

  • You counter with a redouble, saying, “Partner, don’t worry about their takeout double. I have 11 or more HCP, and we have the opponents outgunned point-wise. They could be in heaps of trouble if they don’t have an eight-card fit. After all, they have to bid something, or let you play 1♥ redoubled, which you should make easily. You have hearts, and I have everything else. They may not have a home. Maybe we can lash them with a penalty double when they try to squirm out of this.”

A start like this usually winds up with a happy ending for the opener’s side.

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