Advanced Bridge


Lesson 25




     “Negative-Freebids” have become a popular addition to many partnerships.   Negative-Freebids are classified as a bidding treatment or agreement wherein you and your partner agree to lower the point requirements for some of Responder’s bids in competitive auctions.   The use of these bids increases Responder’s ability to show a long suit after an Opponent overcalls, subsequent to Partner’s opening the bidding, and generally improves one’s chances of finding a fit.


A. Problem:   Consider these typical scenarios:  Partner opens 1D, your RHO overcalls 1S, and you hold the following hands:


     Example 1:   XX   KJXXXX   XX   KXX (With standard bidding, a new-

                                           suit bid at the 2-Level would promise at least 11 HCP’s.  Here, the usual solution is to bid the Negative Double.   Since Partner will seldom be kind enough to bid Hearts, you plan to bid 2H yourself over an anticipated 1NT, 2C, or 2D rebid by Opener.   But what if LHO raises Partner’s Spades?  When the auction is passed back to you, you’ll have another dilemma-pass and lose a possible Heart part-score, or, even worse, risk a 3H bid which might be a disaster.


     Example 2:   XXX   XXX   QX   KQJ10X (Here, the Negative Double is

                                            not even an option.  You, more or less, have to Pass and hope to show your hand at a later bidding opportunity.  Even if Opener were to reopen with a Double, you have no good way to describe your hand.  A jump to 3C would show some values but would promise a 6-card suit; and 2C would be an underbid since you have more values than Partner could reasonably expect.


B. The Negative-Freebid Solution:  This system allows Responder, under circumstances as shown above, to make a natural response at the 2-Level, without promising game-invitational values or catapulting the auction too high.   A Negative-Freebid is used when an Opponent overcalls subsequent to Partner opening bid where Responder has a long suit that cannot be shown at the 1-Level.   In the examples shown above, one would make a Negative-Freebid (NFB) of 2H with hand #1, and 2C with hand #2.  Negative-Freebids are called “negative” because they are non-forcing. (See Examples 1-3)



        Partner   RHO   You

          1D       1S    ?


  1. XXXX   QXXXXX   AX   X (Bid 2H – A Negative Freebid)

  2. JXX   KXXXX   XXX   AX (Bid a Negative Double – Hand too weak for a NFB)

  3. X   AKJXX   XXXXX   XX (Bid 2H – A Negative Freebid)



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          A Negative-Freebid is always a non-jump to a new suit between 2C and 3D.   It is alertable and shows the following:


1.      A good 6+card suit or a strong 5-carder

2.      5-11 HCP’s

3.      If Partner opened 1H or 1S, no 3-card or longer support for Opener’s Major


Responder’s new-suit response is not a NFB if the bid is made:


1.      At the level of 3H or higher.  If Partner opens 1S and your RHO overcalls 3D, no Negative-Freebid is available.   Any new suit bid of 3H or 4C is forcing.

2.      At the 1-Level, Responder’s new suit bid carries the standard meaning; i.e., 6 or more HCP’s and a 5-card suit, since Responder would have, alternatively, made a negative double if he/she held only 4 pieces.


C. Adjustments to Handle Stronger Hands:  Since so many of Responder’s new-suit bids are non-forcing when using Negative-Freebids, two (2) adjustments to handle stronger hands are, therefore, necessary.


                       1.  Negative Double Auctions:   Since Responders Freebids through 3D are not forcing, one needs a way to show a new suit with game-forcing values.  To accomplish this, Responder first makes a “normal” Negative Double.  The meaning of this action will then be amended if Responder then makes a rebid of a new suit later, which then denotes game values.  Doubles” by Responder are, therefore, alertable, since they have a two-way meaning. 


        Partner   RHO   You

          1D       1S    ?


  1. AJX   KXXX   XX   AJXX (Bid “Normal” Negative Double)

  2. X   AQ   KXX   AKJXXXX (Double and then bid Clubs)

  3. AQ   QXXXX   AXX   QXX (Double and then bid Hearts)

  4. X   AKJXXX   KXXX   XX (Double and then bid 4H)


                   2.  Jump-Shifts in Competition:   Shows an invitational hand (10-11 HCP’s), and a strong 6-card suit.  


        Partner   RHO   You

          1D       1S    ?


  1. JX   KQJXXX   XX   KJX (Jump to 3H)

  2. XX   QXX   QX   AQJXXX (Jump to 3C)