Many Bridge players think that the Negative Double is an advanced level Convention and that it is too difficult for them to use. They are wrong. Think of it as a Takeout Double for Responder.

The Negative Double got started from this situation:
Partner opens 1♣, (for example), and you have 8 or 9 points and a suit. You were just getting ready to respond 1 when the guy in front of you Overcalls 1♠. Uh oh. You can no longer say 1 and you don't have the 11 points needed to bid a new suit at the 2-level. You are stuck - UNLESS YOU PLAY NEGATIVE DOUBLES.

But if you do play Negative Doubles then all you have to do is double. This says: "Partner, I was planning to bid 1, but that intervening bid prevented me from doing so."

Although the Negative Double can be used to indicate minor suits, it is mostly used to show Majors:
  • 1♣/1 - (1♠) - Dbl : shows 4 or more s
  • 1♣/1 - (1) - Dbl : shows exactly 4 ♠s
  • 1♣/1 - (1) -  1♠ : shows 5 or more ♠s
The Negative Double is a really worthwhile Convention. But there is a downside. If you add the Negative Double to your partnership Convention list you will no longer have the ability for Opener's partner to make a Penalty Double of an intervening Overcall. You have to choose one or the other.

Lesson available.