The concept behind the perhaps most innovative double, especially in competitive events, was conceived in games preceding the game of duplicate bridge. To be more exact the concept was devised during the period of Auction Bridge, which was a form of bridge evolving from the game of Whist, whereby the highest bidder was allowed to play trumps, with trumps being the last suit bid. This feature was totally different from Whist and all other forms of Whist, whereby the declarer, or the highest bidder, was allowed to name the trump suit.

Although not substantiated the development is attributed to not only Mr. Bryant McCampbell of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, but also to Major Charles Patton of New York City, New York, United States, both of whom, as is the claim, developed the concept independently in the years 1912 and 1913 until its final version. Major Charles Patton of the United States Army married Virginia Lee Stoval.

Note: The concept of high card points being evaluated on the 4-3-2-1 scale, which was eventually adopted by the majority of the sponsoring bridge organizations was co-developed in the year 1915 by Major Bryant McCampbell, who died ca. 1930, and Mr. Milton Work. It was Mr. Milton Work, who published the results and for whom the evaluation scale was named and designated.

Note: Mr. Bryant McCampbell authored his publication Auction Tactics in the year 1916 and was conceived as a tutorial on the art of bidding in the card game Auction Bridge. Mr. Bryant McCampbell was considered the most successful Auction Bridge personality of his time and the author of perhaps the very first known publication to describe in detail the strategy necessary to become an advanced rubber bridge player.

Note: Any contribution of any additional information, especially photographic material, about either Mr. Bryant McCampbell or Major Charles Patton would be greatly appreciated.

Definition of a Takeout Double

A takeout double is the employment of a low-level double in certain circumstances requesting partner to bid an unbid suit. Doubling on the one-level and giving it the interpretation of a penalty double is certainly neither reasonable logic nor reasonable bridge. Therefore it is a natural, conventional double. It is bridge experience, that in most instances, the caller, who doubles, sits usually to the right of the opener, who has opened one of a suit.

Note: The written form of the concept is either takeout double or take out double. Both written forms are correct.

The bridge player who doubles indicates a hand worth an opening bid plus with at least 3-card support in all the other unbid suits.


East   South
1   Double

As you can see, South has no appropriate overcall. The magic key for the bridge player is to remember that there is no other appropriate overcall. South does not have a 5-card Heart, or a 5-card Spade suit, or a 5-card Club suit, which is essential information for his partner North. If South would hold a 5-card Heart, Spade, or Club suit, then South would simply have bid a competitive 1 Heart or 1 Spade or 2 Clubs over the opening bid.

There are four principles which the bridge player has to calculate in the decision to make a takeout double.

1. The respective vulnerability.
2. The rank of the suit of the opener.
3. The position at the table.
4. Shape and distribution.


A takeout double of a Minor suit does not always indicate a 4-card suit in both Major suits, but a takeout double of a Major suit does strongly indicate a 4-card suit in the other Major suit. The modern theory is that if the other Major suit holds at least two of the top five honers and only three cards (AKJ or KQJ), then this is sufficient for a takeout double. This holding should be equal to a minimum of 1.5 winning tricks, preferably 2 winning tricks.

A takeout double at favorable vulnerability can show as few as 10 high card points. A takeout double at unfavorable vulnerability must show at least two winning tricks and a hand worth an opening. If this is not the case, then the hand is more suitable as a defensive hand.

Note: A takeout double of the Spade suit forces the advancer to bid at the two level. Note that if the responder bids over the takeout double, then the advancer is not required to bid, but the player can rather await further and additional information from the his partner, who doubled.

As a general guideline, the required high card points by vulnerable doubles of 1 Heart increase as the shortness of the holdings of the suit of the opener increases. A few hands should illustrate this guideline:

When the Doubler is vulnerable, he can double on any of these hands.


The Doubler can remove a Jack from each hand above and double when not vulnerable.

The player who decides to make a takeout double should never ignore the requirement of having three cards in all of the unbid suits, unless the hand of the player contains at least 17 plus high card points. Review the following example, and this point will become clear.


After the auction has been opened with either 1 Club, 1 Diamond or 1 Heart, the player holding the above hand would be better advised to double, instead of bidding 1 Spade. Bidding 1 Spade would indicate only an opening hand, but in this case the hand is too strong (4 winning tricks and 5 losing tricks), and game could be missed. Even though the high card points are present, a bid of 1 No Trump is also not appropriate. Therefore, double and then bid Spades. This action shows more values than needed for a maximum 1 No Trump range and generally less than needed for a 2 No Trump opening.

This, in essence, covers the original concept of the Takeout Double, its requirements and its use.

Modern bidding theory has reduced the amount of values normally necessary by a King, in order to execute a competitive takeout double. This reduction has resulted in many more doubled bidding sequences and has resulted in the level of aggressiveness of the bridge player being raised considerably. For example, in the following illustration, the player would / could execute a Takeout Double:

East   South
1   Double

Minimum Off Shape Take Out Double: This is a variation of the standard and generally accepted concept of the takeout double. It is a takeout double with fewer than 3 cards in any unbid suit. It does not imply shortage in the suit of the opponent, over which the double is employed. This variation of the takeout double does not need to be alerted.

The takeout double can be used in many different and individual bidding auctions and is not confined to the one level. Many individual partnership understandings may vary according to the individual agreements, but this is a feature of the individual partnership agreement.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.