Alerting of doubles

From the blue book....
'Suit bids that do not show the suit bid'
Alert, unless the double shows the suit bid.

The number of players(ranging up to European champions) that do not understand this apparently simple 'rule' is astonishing - I think it may be helpful to reiterate it in a future ebu magazine with some examples(eg double of pass/correct 2H to multi showing t/out of hearts)


  • You must not overlook the text at the top of page 15 of the Blue Book

    In 4B2(a) and (d) the word ‘show’ is defined as follows:
    ‘it is natural, or shows willingness, in the context of the auction, to play in the suit, or it has been followed by two passes’.

    There is an example in Blue Book 4H5(c)

    4 H 5 The following doubles must not be alerted:
    (c) A take-out double of a ‘pass-or-correct’ bid such as 2D [Multi] – pass – 2S – dbl since this is deemed to show the suit bid.

  • Now I'm extra confused - I'd been informed by the directors at a national event that that particular double should be alerted. How can a takeout double of spades be deemed to show Spades?
    What about the other main culprit - artificial intervention(say 2C) over 1NT, doubled to show T/O of clubs.

  • Bill, it's not the T/O double of spades that is deemed to show spades. It is the 2S bid that is deemed to show willingness to play in spades.

  • Alan, I could ‘get it’ if we were talking about the completion of a transfer but in this scenario no one has shown any suit at all.

  • I agree with you, Bill, that this bid does not show spades; in fact, if anything, it denies spades by showing willingness to play in hearts at a higher level. However, I think the Laws and Ethics Committee (whoever writes the stuff that ends up in the Blue Book) bend the meaning slightly in order to avoid needing lots of examples and exceptions. Effectively, the 2!s response to 2!d shows a willingness to play there if that is partner's suit, as would a 3!c response to a Michaels cue bid. At least this is given as a specific example in the regulations, so we know what to do, even if the concept does take some getting used to.

  • I think the important point is that the call could well end the auction and this is what matters in the context of making a takeout double - you have no expectation of getting another chance!

  • Gordon - I will reluctantly accept the EBU position re pass/correct scenarios, but I assume this is not the case for the other situation I mentioned ie artificial intervention over 1NT(unless you take the view that 2C showing the majors is an offer to play there opposite long clubs and a weak hand!)

  • The Blue Book says in this context that "shows" means:

    ‘it is natural, or shows willingness, in the context of the auction, to play in the suit, or it has
    been followed by two passes’.

    So a double of 2C showing the majors would be expected to show clubs, unless it had already been followed by two passes in which case it would be expected to be takeout.

  • To be honest, it is not at all clear whether (2D) - (2S) X should be alerted since you can argue it either way. There are still some quite reasonable players who play double as penalties. While I have little sympathy for people who cannot follow the rules on the third round of the auction (including one extremely senior international player) I think this is just a position where logic is insufficient so it is important to state what happens.

    As for 1NT (2C) X I cannot see the difficulty. It is an artificial bid, not a willingness to play there.

  • bluejak - I agree, it seems straight forward yet I've had one of our European champions tell me(they having doubled 2C for take in this exact scenario) that 'I'm doubling a suit for t/out so it's not alertable'.

  • You seriously believe international players know the rules? Come on!

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