26. Special Doubles

These three special doubles have their own area on your convention card. Be sure to mark it appropriately. You have to decide at what level the double stops being conventional and turns to penalty. The usual agreement is conventional through 2♠.

Support Doubles and Redoubles

Some times opponents interfere after the responder has shown a new suit, and the opener does not know if this is a four-card or five-card suit. Support Doubles give us a way to show exactly 3 card support. If RHO makes a takeout double, we can use Redouble for the same purpose. For example:

  • 1♦ (P) 1♥ (1♠) X Shows 3 hearts exactly.

  • 1♣ (P) 1♠ (2♦) X Shows 3 spades exactly.

  • 1♣ (P) 1♠ (X) XX Shows 3 spades exactly.

These doubles used to be alertable but no longer are.

With four or more in partner’s suit, opener raises.


Only the opener can make a support double. When you first start to play support doubles, you will see them behind every tree. Realizing that only the opener makes this bid helped me sort them out.

Responsive Doubles

When partner makes a takeout double of an opener and RHO raises his partner, a double shows scattered values with at least 6 points and interest in locating a fit.

  • If the opponents are bidding a minor suit, a responsive double asks partner to pick a major suit. We know partner has at least 4-3 in the majors so with equally good majors ourselves we want partner to choose.

  • If the opponents are bidding a major suit, a responsive double requests partner to choose a minor suit, because if we had the other major we would bid it as partner has promised it with his takeout double.


If the opponents bid two different suits, a double is not a responsive double. The opponents have to have raised.


  • (1♠) X (2♠) X! Has both minors, partner to choose.

  • (1♦) X (2♦) X! Has both majors, partner to choose.

Maximal Doubles

If interventor overcalls our major, partner makes a simple raise, and the advancer raises his partner, the opener has a dilemma if their suit is one below our suit. For example, 1♠ - (2♥) - 2♠ - (3♥) -? or 1♥ - (2♦) - 2♥ - (3♦) - ?.

If opener now bids 3M, is he inviting or just competing? A “maximal double” means that we agree opener doubles to show the invitational hand, while just bidding the suit to compete.

Note that if we cue-bid here there is no room to stop in 3M. If their suit was not the one just under ours (or “the maximal suit”) we’d have room to bid the suit below ours as a convention to invite.