'The most interesting questions from visitors to the Dutch sister site bridgevaria.nl'
Dear Peter and Ed,
When doubling an opening bid for take-out: should I always have at least 13HCP? Or could I apply the Rule of 20, like I do when opening myself, in which case I may have a little fewer HCP?
Reply Ed Hoogenkamp (South)
Let's first explain the Rule of 20 for other visitors:
The Rule of 20 is a tool for hand evaluation that helps you on deciding: to open or not to open? It says: add your point count to the combined length of your two longest suits. If the sum is 20 or higher, you should open.
The same applies (more or less) when you consider doubling for take-out second in hand. Of course, you will usually not have very long suits then (unless you are very strong). By doubling you show at least three cards in the other three suits, so a really long suit is not to be expected.
I would pay attention to other features of your hand. For instance: if you have the ideal distribution for a take-out double, you may double on a bit less.
|♠||K 10 5 4|| |
|♦||A 7 4 3 2|| |
|♣||K 10 5 4|| |
I would double a 1♥ opening with this hand, though adding up the point strength and the two longest suits only comes up to 19.
Of course also the vulnerability plays an important part. Not vulnerable you can enter the bidding by doubling on slightly more modest values.
I'll leave some space for Peter to have his say, so I'll finish and start looking for a terrace.
Saludos desde Barcelona
Reply Peter van der Linden (North)
Dear Henny,En hils fra Orkanger
I have little to add (the reason is that I have already contributed ton Ed's reply above).
I have to say that I have never thought about this (good question, therefore). I have done so now and it looks like the Rule applies more or less automatically for the most balanced hand possible for a take-out double: a 4-4-3-2 distribution with the doubleton in the opponents' opening suit. In that case 12 HCP will suffice for a take-out double. Which is more or less the standard nowadays (for many years already minimum requirements for all kinds of bids suffer from inflation; so you don't need 13 HCP anymore for a standard take-out double). If you consider doubling with a 4-3-3-3 hand, 13 would be the required minimum.
Following the Rule, 11 HCP would suffice for a double on a 5-4-3-1 hand (singleton in the opponents' suit, five-card suit in a minor). Many players would indeed double (I would!), but I wouldn't call it standard.
My advice: don't hesitate in applying the Rule but don't make a principle out of it. When evaluating a hand, you should pay attention to intermediates (tens, nines). I have found that I let my decision be influenced more by intermediates when considering 'take-out double or not', than when considering 'opening or not'. Also the feeling a hand gives me, plays a bigger part in the 'double or not' case. The reason? Opening is less risky: the opponents haven't got a clue yet about each other's hand. That doesn't mean you should be afraid to double, that would push things too far. If your distribution is good and you have many intermediates, you can double on fewer points than normal, sometimes far fewer.