An SOS redouble occurs after your side's contract has been doubled for penalty. A redouble is "SOS", named for the distress calls made by ships at sea. It has the following characteristics:

  • Support for at least two of the unbid suits (4+ cards each).
  • Lack of support for partner's suit, if he has bid. This typically means a singleton or void.

The redouble demands that partner bid a new suit, as in the following examples.


Examples

East
5432
H--
DJT987
CJ753
  

West
1
Pass

North
Pass
Pass (2)

East
Pass
Redbl (3)

South
Double (1)


1. Takeout double
2. Converting the double to penalties
3. SOS redouble, asking partner to bid another suit


East
6
HT8753
DJT752
C54
  

West
1
Pass

North
Pass
Pass (2)

East
Pass
Redbl (3)

South
Double (1)


1. Takeout double
2. Converting to penalties
3. SOS, planning to correct to 2D if partner bids 2C


East
72
HT9732
D2
CJ8654
  

West

2D
Pass

North

Pass
Pass (2)

East

Pass
Redbl (3)

South
1S
Double (1)


1. Takeout double
2. Uh-oh
3. SOS


The following example illustrates how opener can make an SOS redouble herself:

East
AQ2
HJ976
DAQJ
CT83
  

West

Pass

North

Pass (2)

East
1C
Redbl (3)

South
Double (1)


1. Takeout double
2. Doh
3. A redouble is compelling despite imperfect shape


Other Considerations

How high to play SOS redoubles depends on partnership agreement. The SAYC bidding system advises playing SOS redoubles through the 3-level.

Of bigger concern is when to play SOS redoubles. One of the worst things that can happen in an auction is hearing partner pass your SOS redouble. For instance, how about these redoubles?


West
2D (1)
Pass

North
2H
Redbl (3)

East
Double (2)


South
Pass


1. Weak two
2. For penalty
3. SOS with 5-4-1-3 or 5-4-0-4 shape? Or for business?



West
1C
Redbl (1)

North
1S


East
2C


South
Double


1. SOS? Or showing extra strength or club length?


Whatever you decide, it's a good subject for partnership discussion. Some possible conditions when SOS redoubles are "off":

  • You've been doubled in a known 8-card fit or longer. For example, the auction has begun 1S : 3S.

  • You've been doubled in a no-trump contract. Redouble may be a conventional runout (example: Touching Escapes), or it may simply be for business.

Happy hunting!

See also

  • Lightner Double
    A lead-directing double of an enemy slam contract.

  • Negative Double
    A conventional double used by responder after opener starts the bidding with one-of-a-suit and the next player makes a suit overcall.

  • Optional Double
    A conventional double made after an opponent has opened the bidding with a preempt.

  • Responsive Double
    A conventional double used when partner makes a takeout double and the next player raises his partner's suit.

  • Snapdragon Double
    A conventional double by fourth seat after the first three players bid three different suits.

  • Stripe-Tailed Ape Double
    A double of an enemy game contract, in hopes of stopping the opponents from continuing on to slam.

  • Support Double
    A conventional double used by opener after partner makes a suit response and the next player overcalls.

  • Takeout Double
    A conventional double that asks partner to bid one of the unbid suits.

  • Thrump Double
    A double of a 3-level preempt asking partner to bid 3NT with a stopper.

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