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Action over a double

edited December 2010 in All Things Bridge
I was told today that 1C-dbl-1S shows a 5 card suit. Is this correct? I was always told that a change of suit was the same as if the double had not been made.


    edited 7:47AM
    In traditional methods 1C-P-1S will be a 5 card suit 75% of the time. When there is a double, you can pass or redouble on some balanced hands; so it is possible to agree that 1C-X-1S shows a 5 card suit. But you have to agree what a hands with only 4 spades will respond.
  • edited 7:47AM
    I would bid 1S whenever I have 4333 or 4x4x or 4xx4 or a 5+ card suit.
    I would think it was at least 50% of the time that I would have a four card suit
  • edited 7:47AM
    As played in tournament play, the auction 1C - X - 1D/H/S/NT promises, in both length and strength, the same hand as 1C - P - 1D/H/S/NT. Granted in some vulnerability situations, a penalty double might be pursued, starting with a redouble, but these days, redoubles are made with far less frequency than had been the case in the heyday of bridge. Therefore, 1S in the auction you gave promises 4 (or more) spades, not 5. It also tends to deny 4 hearts. The only auction where the responder's bid does promise 1S involves negative doubles:

    If you play negative doubles and partner opens 1C/D and 2nd seat bids 1H, then a negative double shows 4 spades and a bid of 1S shows 5. Perhaps this is the situation and you advisor was confused.

    One of the other people said that 1S shows 5 cards 75% of the time. In modern style, many people will skip over a minor to bid a major, unless their hand is strong enough for 2 bids. Bidding up the line, if one skips every suit to bid 1S, then it sure is more likely to be a 5-card suit. But (as in the modern style), if you tend to skip over a minor to try to bid a major when your hand is not strong, then the length of the spade suit is much more often 4 than if you bid up the line. Here is a surprise statistic. I read in the Encyclopedia of Bridge that 65% of all bridge hands have a suit of length 5 or longer. That one surprises most people.

    Finally, here's why I rarely redouble these days. Fifty years ago, I redoubled with 10 points. These days, I don't remember when I last made a redouble at the 1-level. Redoubling to show 10 points can be the kiss of death to your side in an auction. Unless you fully intend to double for penalties, a redouble removes your side from the bidding for 1 round, lets the opponents bid without much cost for 1 round, and then, worst of all, when your side returns to the auction, it is at a higher level. Your own redouble has robbed you of a round of bidding and rewarded the opponents with that round of bidding. Such a redouble serves no purpose. It's better to make a normal bid 1-level bid and ignore the double. When partner opens a major, it's useful to have special support responses over takeout doubles. When partner opens a minor, your side may not be able to afford the luxury of losing 1 round of the auction Unless I know what I plan to do over each of their possible bids, I don't redouble. Over a takeout double, I play that a new suit at the 1-level is forcing, but a new suit at the 2-level is sound, but not forcing.
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