Redoubles?

What does a redouble mean in modern bidding and how can it be used?

Here was a hand at a past Trumps congress that caused some discussion:

Dealer West, nil vul.

          NORTH
          ♠ AK6
          KQJT973
          8
          T9
EAST                WEST
 JT                 9732
 A8652              —
 AJT3               K654
 Q4                 87632
          SOUTH
          
 Q854
          
 4
          
 Q972
          
 AKJ5

West opens 1H, stealing North’s suit and forcing a pass, followed by a pass from East. South reopens with a double, which North is happy to leave in, passing to convert it to penalties. East redoubles. What does this mean?

When redouble cannot possibly be genuine (here, for example, East has already shown a hand too weak to even respond, so cannot now have a hand so strong as to want to up the ante with a redouble), it is used as “SOS”, asking partner to bid another suit. This allows West to escape to 2D. Over that, it is reasonable for North to bid 4H, because the suit quality is so good that West’s five cards in hearts should not cause grief.

From the same event, intermediate pair Imelda Hull and Bill Hall had a shock win against a team that included two leading internationals. At one stage, Imelda was doubled by one of the internationals, who berated his partner when the contract made. “Are you two married?” asked Imelda. “At this stage, yes,” the lady replied dryly.

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