The Next Step: Penalty Doubles

Quick Tips

  • If partner has not bid and you double at a low level bid, that is for take-out, not penalty, and you are asking to hear about partner’s longest suit

  • But if partner has bid, and you double later, it could be for penalty (by partnership agreement)

  • With a shortage in partner’s suit, and strong cards in the opponents’ suit, try a penalty double (it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work!)

  • Prefer to show a fit for partner first, rather than doubling for penalties

  • If partner makes a take-out double and you leave it in for penalties at a low level, you need at least five (good) trumps of the opponent’s suit and high cards in other suits

  • If your partner preempts and the next hand bids, a double by you is for penalty

  • If the opponents open 1NT and you double, it’s for penalty

  • Be cautious doubling the opponents’ partscore contracts for penalty because if they make they score the game bonus as well

  • Doubling a freely bid slam is a “Lightner” double and asks for the lead of an unusual suit (it suggests a void)

  • If you are defending a low level contract that’s been doubled for penalty, lead a trump

  • You need an understanding partner if you’re going to practise penalty doubles, because sometimes the opponents make their doubled contracts!

Here’s a video from an earlier lesson if you would like to do more revision on Penalty Doubles.


Test your knowledge

The quiz below may not work properly on some mobile devices. If you are having trouble using it, please click here to open the quiz in its own window.