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Overcall v Take-out double

edited March 2012 in All Things Bridge
Right hand opponent opens 1S, you are second to bid, what factors would make you choose to overcall rather than double or vice versa?


  • edited 5:00AM
    My opinion:

    I have a long suit and am really only interested in playing in that suit
    I want to know if partner has any points and know that a double would force him to bid whether or not he has points

    Double (take-out)
    I do not have a long suit or a five card major.
    I want to know what partners longest suit is.
    I have opening points (opening HCP) and want partner to know the point count.
  • edited 5:00AM
    Doesn't strength come int the argument too as well as shape. You can mak a 1 level suit overcall on 8-15 but I wouldn't want to double on the 8 end. also with more than 15 double first and bid later. You can't have an overcall range fron 8 to 17 or 18 surely. I was taught with opening ish points and a shortage in oponet's suit to double and pass subsequetly. With 16 /17 double and bid later and with more double and jump later. The stronger you are the less you need the ideal shape.

  • edited 5:00AM
    The best answer to your question appeared in the previous issue of MrBridge, written by Julian Pottage. It's title was something like "Doubling and Bidding Your Own Suit Shows a Very Strong Hand." He'll give you the reason why sometimes your ONLY choice is to overcall, sometimes your only choice is to double, and sometimes you have to make a choice. When does each apply. Read last month's issue and you will learn a lot.
  • edited 5:00AM
    I would say the range of an overcall can be from as little as 6hcp NV up to about 18hcp, so this is a wider range than JackC quotes above. These days partner will support you with a fit regardless of points and will bid the opponent's suit to show a fit with 11+hcp. So it usually works out.

    Double is normally a standard 'shape suitable' double (Shortage in opponent's suit/Opening level points/Support for the unbid suits). Ocasionally it can be a balanced hand too strong for a NT overcall (i.e 18+hcp) or a shapely hand too strong for a suit overcall (again typically 18+).

    With a choice of doubling or bidding a 5-card suit, bid the suit if it is a major; double if is a minor (eg with 5-4-1-3 bid 1S over 1D; with 4-1-3-5 double over 1H).

    With a weak NT hand you may have no 5-card suit to overcall; you are too weak to bid 1NT; and you can be the wrong shape to double. So just pass. Partner will enter the auction later if the opponents stop at a low level.
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