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A Support Double is used by opener to show exactly 3-card support for responder's suit.  

Convention

Context

Problem Solved

Description

Support Doubles & Redoubles

Used by opener after responder bids a suit and RHO doubles or overcalls or  below 2 of responder’s suit

In a competitive auction, responder often needs to distinguish between 3-card or 4+ card support.

Opener’s double (or redouble) of their LHO’s bid shows exactly 3-card support for responder’s suit.

 

South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ 2
2♠      

Playing Support Doubles, opener's raise of responder's suit shows 4+ card support.  On the auction to the right, opener's raise to 2♠ shows a minimum opening hand with 4+ spades. 

South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ 2
X      

If opener to show 3-card spade support, opener would use a Support Double as shown in the auction to the right.  

 

South West North East
1 Pass 1♠ X
XX      

Support Redoubles are used to show exactly 3-card support for responder's suit when opener's right-hand-opponent doubles as shown in the auction to the right.  

Support Doubles are typically played when the auction is below 2 of responder's suit.  We don't recommend making a Support Double mandatory.  Sometimes opener wants to emphasize another feature of their hand, like a good long minor suit. Making a Support Double (or Redouble) shows a preference for competing rather than defending.  When opener's hand is more oriented towards defending, passing may be preferable to showing 3-card support.  A minimum opener, especially an opener that has gotten worse during the auction, will want to slow down the auction by passing rather than showing their 3-card support for responder's suit.  Andrew Gumperz addresses this topic well in his "Support Doubles 2" article.

So opener's failure to Double or Redouble doesn't deny 3-card support.  Opener may have other priorities.  For example on the above auction, we would rebid 2♦ as opener with a hand like ♠964 A5 AQJ973 ♣Q5 to emphasize the length and strength of opener's diamonds and to limit opener's hand.

Playing Support Doubles, opener's raise of responder's suit shows 4+ card support.  On the auction to the right, opener's raise to 2♠ shows a minimum opening hand with 4+ spades. 

Playing Support Doubles, opener's raise of responder's suit shows 4+ card support.  On the auction to the right, opener's raise to 2♠ shows a minimum opening hand with 4+ spades.  

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