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OPENING NO TRUMP BIDDING!
Requirements: (Things to consider)
a. Count only high card points (do not count distribution)
b. Must have an evenly balanced hand; i.e., no voids, no singletons, and not more than one
doubleton. Examples: 4‑3‑3‑3, 4‑4‑3‑2, 5-3-3-2
c. If the distribution is 5‑3‑3‑2, the 5-card suit must not be a Major suit (Hearts or Spades)
d. The entire system is based upon 26 HCP's = Game, 33 HCP's = Small Slam,
and 37 HCP's = Grand Slam
Point count: (High Card Points Only)
a. 0-10 HCP’s - Pass
b. 11-14 HCP’s - Bid one of a Minor and rebid 1NT
c. 15-17 HCP’s - Bid 1NT
d. 18-20 HCP’s - Open one of a minor and jump to 2NT with 18 or 19 HCP’s --- 3NT with 20 HCP’s
e. 21-22 HCP’s - Bid 2NT
f. 23-24 HCP’s - Open “2C” and rebid 2NT
g. 25-27 HCP’s - Open “2C” and jump to 3NT on your rebid
Special Circumstances: - GAMBLING 3NT - A gambling pre-emptive game try.
a. Requirement - a >7-card self‑sufficient (AKQXXXX) Minor suit (Clubs or Diamonds)
b. Response by partner - If partner has stoppers in both Majors and two (2) quick
tricks or better, he (she) passes. Alternatively partner bids 4C and opener either passes or corrects to 4D (his/her preferred 7-card Minor) in order to escape the doomed 3NT contract.
Responses to Opening 1 No Trump: (Only HCP’s count)
a. 0- 8 HCP’s - Pass
b. 9-10 HCP’s - Bid 2NT (Invites opener to game - Opening 1NT bidder passes with a
minimum of 15 HCP’s and goes to 3NT with a maximum of 16-17 HCP’s)
c. 11-15 HCP’s - Bid 3NT
d. 16-17 HCP’s - Bid 4NT (Invites opener to 6NT - Opening 1NT bidder passes with a
minimum of 15 HCP’s and goes to 6NT with a maximum of 16-17 HCP’s)
Note: - 4NT in this scenario is not the Blackwood Convention asking for Aces; rather it is a
quantitative bid seeking Slam. If partner desires to ask for Aces, the Gerber (“4C”)
Convention must be used.
e. 18-19 HCP’s - Bid 6NT
f. 20-21 HCP’s - Bid 5NT (Invites partner to Small or Grand Slam - Opening 1NT bidder bids
6NT with a minimum of 15 HCP’s and bids 7NT with a maximum of
g. 22-23 HCP’s - Bid 7NT
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OPENING BIDS WITH UNBALANCED HANDS
Considerations: - These hands are unbalanced; i.e., they contain at least one or more voids, one or more
Singletons, and/or more than one doubleton. Note that in this instance, since a
No Trump contract is not being considered, distributional points do count; i.e., 2
Points for a singleton, 1 Point for a doubleton, and 3 Points for a void. Remember, if, and
when, a Golden Fit is found, a Singleton advances to a worth of 3 Points, a Doubleton
remains at a value of 1 Point, and a Void advances to a worth of 5 Points.
General Bidding Ranges:
a. 0-12 HCP’s Points - Pass (Exception: if the Rule of 20 is satisfied, one may and probably
should open a 10-12 HCP hand in the first or second position)
b. 13 HCP’s Points - Must open 1 of a suit with either a good 5-card Major or else a preferred
Minor (Note: In this instance Rule of 20 will always be satisfied)
c. 14-15 HCP’s Points - Must open 1 of a suit and rebid any of the following:
(1) Rebid 1 No Trump
(2) Rebid one’s own suit evidencing a 6-card Major or a 5-card Minor
(3) Raise partner one level in his/her responding suit
(4) Pass only if responding partner has made a limited bid of either 2 of opener’s suit or 1 NT
(5) Pass if opponent to opener’s right (RHO) has made an intervening overcall, said bid affording opener’s responder another opportunity to bid if he/she so chooses
e. 16-18 Points - Open 1 of a suit and rebid:
(1) Jump in opener’s suit if holding 6 or more cards in opener’s suit
(2) Jump in partner’s suit if support for partner is present
(3) Present a reverse bid (Ex: 1H 2D) or (Ex: 1S 2H)
f. 19 Points or More - Open 1 of a suit and Jump Shift into a second suit
g. 21 Points (With a 7-card suit)
23 Points (With a 6-card suit) = Open “2C” (These are Minimum Requirements)
25 Points (With a 5-card suit)
If opener has more than one good long suit to show, it is usually beneficial to open one of a suit and jump-shift into the second suit as opposed to opening “2C” which, in effect, cuts out one-level of bidding space for the opening team. Also note: the “2C” artificial, strong, opening is also forcing, and can never be passed by responder, no matter how weak he/she may be, even with 0-7 HCP’s a response of “2D” (Negative) must be given.
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Definition: - Any Opening suit bid at the 2 Diamond level or beyond. (NOTE: 2 Clubs is reserved for
a strong, artificial, and forcing bid.)
Purpose: - To preclude or, at the very least, inhibit the opponents from finding their presumed suit
fit, as well as their ability to find the proper level of play; a partial score, game or slam.
Restriction: - Usually denies having four or more cards in either Major suit if the pre‑empt is in a
Minor suit, or four cards in the other Major suit if the pre‑empt is in a Major suit.
Requirements: - Several prerequisites must be met in ordeer for the hand to qualify for a valid pre-empt.
1. The Vulnerability - Usually signifies an anticipated going down two tricks if one is vulnerable, or three tricks if one is not vulnerable. (To be later further qualified as in the Rule of 2-3-4)
2. Requires an understanding of the scoring process in that one does not desire to give up more points under a sacrificing scenario than the opponents would normally have gleaned had they, unobstructed, gotten to their rightful contract, be it in a partial, game or slam contract.
3. At the two (2) Level - Evidences:
a. At least a six (6) card suit
b. Usually a suit quality evidencing at least two of the top three honors if the
partnership understanding is that pre-emptive bids are "sound" as opposed to "light".
c. A strength of 5‑11 HCP's (MUST NOT BE MORE)
d. The high-card strength is confined mostly to the bid suit; i.e., no outside Ace.
At the three (3) Level or beyond - Evidences:
a. At least a seven (7) card suit or longer
b. "sound" or "light" as above dependent upon partnership understanding
c. Usually 8‑11 HCP's
d. a high card strength as in "d" above
"RONF" (Raise‑Only‑Non‑Force) ‑ Partner may choose to increase the pre‑empt for all the same
purposes as listed above. Any other bid than a raise in partner’s pre-emptive suit is forcing.
Example 1: 2NT asks for "outside feature" (an Ace or King in other than the suit bid)
The Pre‑empter returns to bid suit with no feature.
Example 2: A new suit asks for specific responses discussed in a later lesson.
Example 3: "2NT” (Ogust Convention) (1‑2‑1‑2‑3 Series) asking for both the strength of
the hand as well as the honor holding within the pre-emptive suit bid.
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THE DRURY CONVENTION
Definition: - A convention that uses an ARTIFICIAL “2C” response by a PREVIOUSLY PASSED HAND
in response to a third-hand or fourth-hand opening of a Major suit by partner. The responder must have
11-12 HCP’s; i.e., very nearly an opening bid, as well as primary support for partner’s Major suit.
Examples: P P lS(lH) P P P P lH(lS)
“2C” P “2C”
Purpose: - To ask the opening bidder to clarify the strength of his/her opening bid; i.e., whether it be a
full (13-14 Points or better) or a sub‑minimum opening strength (11-12 Points) so as to seek the
possibility of game WITHOUT OVER‑BIDDING. The artificial “2C” bid GUARANTEES support;
i.e., at least 3 cards for the opening bidder's Major suit. ‑
Example Hand: Q852 P P 1S P
Responses By The Opening Bidder:
a. If opener had a sub‑minimum opening hand (11-12 HCPoints), the opener then rebids an artificial “2D” which signals less than a full opening HCP count.
Example: P P 1H P
“2C” P “2D”
Note: The “2D” artificial response may never be passed by the Drury bidder. If opener exhibits a sub-minimum hand by responding the artificial “2D” bid, responded can then return to 2 of the Major.
b. If a full opening (13 or more) hand, opener rebids his/her major suit at the two (2) level if a
full opening hand (13‑14 points) ‑ or go directly the four (4) level if more than a full opening
hand; i.e., 15 HCpoints or more.
Examples: P P 1H P (or) P P 1S P
“2C” P 2H “2C” P 4S
Rebids By The Drury Bidder:
a. If opener has signaled a full opening hand, the Drury bidder may then invite to game, or go
directly to the four (4) level if more than a minimum full opening hand.
Examples: P P 1S P (or) P P 1S P
“2C” P 2S P “2C” P 2S P
3S P P P 4S P P P
b. If opener has signaled a sub‑minimum opening hand, the Drury bidder can then return to the
agreed-upon suit at the two level or compete to the three level, if so desired.
Examples: P P 1H P P P 1S P
“2C” P “2D” P (or) “2C” P “2D” P
2H P P P 2S 3H P P
3S P P P
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THE PENALTY OR BUSINESS DOUBLE
Defining Circumstances: (Any of the following conditions may apply)
a. The bidding is at or above a pre-emptive 4S level. Example: 1S P 4S Dbl. (or) 5C Dbl.
b. The double is subsequent to a 1NT overcall by the opponents. Example: 1D 1NT Dbl.
c. The doubler's partner has already bid. Example: 1H 1S 3H 3S
THE TAKE-OUT OR INFORMATIVE DOUBLE
Defining Circumstances: (Any of the following conditions may apply)
a. The double of a suit bid below the 4S level under conditions where partner has not bid.
Example: 1H P 4H Dbl. (or) P P 1C Dbl.
b. The immediate double of an opening 1 NT. Example: 1NT Dbl.
Note: The following conditions, circumstances and limitations exist with a Take-out double:
(1) Over a suit bid by the opponents, the take‑out double indicates a hand of opening count strength or better, plus at least a 4-card holding in all unbid Major suits.
(2) Over a 1NT opening by the opponents, the take-out double indicates an opening 1NT evenly balanced hand; equivalent to that of the opener.
(3) The doubler’s partner must bid, even with as few as 0 HCP’s, unless he/she wishes to convert the bid, by virtue of his/her Pass, to a penalty condition.
(4) The doubler's partner must Jump the bidding with 10 HCP's or better in order to show the partnership has the predominate number of HCP’s and the partnership is close to that necessary for game.
(5) If the doubler takes further action in yet another suit then has been bid by the responder to the take‑out double, then the doubler guarantees at least 16 HCP's.
(6) If a Take-out double of a 4S bid by the opponents is desired, 4NT is the take-out call.
1. Responsive Double ‑ A Double (showing two other un-bid suits or points but lacking presumed 4-card fit for partner’s
presumed suit) in response to partner’s take-out double or partner’s overcall after an intervening bid by the opponents.
(Ex. 1D Dbl. 2D Dbl.) or (Ex. 1D 1H 2D Dbl.)
2. Negative Double - The double by a responder to an opening suit bid, following an intervening overcall by the
opponents, where the responder does not meet BOTH requirements as to the necessary points or the suit length for a response to opener's bid (free-bid), but yet responder would like to show his/her 6 HCP’s or more. (Ex. 1C 1S Dbl. )
3. Balancing Double - An re-opening double made in the close-out seat by a player whose opposition has dropped the
bidding at a low level. (Ex. 1H P 1NT P, P P Dbl.)
4. Support Double - A double by opener (Thru 1S) (showing 3-card support) for responders 1-level response following a
1-Level over-call by RHO. (Ex. 1C P 1H 2S, Dbl.)
5 Lightner Double ‑ A lead directing double asking for an unusual lead against a slam bid; i.e., the lead of the first suit bid by Dummy. (Ex. 1H P 3S P, 6S Dbl. P P, P)
6. Rosenkrantz Double - A double showing at least 3-card support (with an A or K) for partner’s overcall following an
intermediate overcall by opponents. (As opposed to a raise which shows support without an A or K)
(Ex. 1C 1D 1S Dbl.) or (1H 1S Dbl. ReDbl.)
7. Negative/Negative Double - A double by opener (showing a better than minimum opening bid) following a negative
double by partner and a competitive raise by opener’s RHO. The negative doubler then has choice whether to convert to a penalty situation. (Ex. 1H 1S Dbl. 2S Dbl.)
8. Lead-Directing Double – A double by would-be defenders demanding a lead of that suit, subsequent to an artificial bid
by the opposition on their way to their final contract (Ex. 1NT P “2D” Dbl.) or (Ex. 4NT P “5H” Dbl.)
9. Maximal Overcall Double – A competitive double used to invite game when the auction is too crowded for any other approach; i.e., when the opposition’s suit is higher-ranking. (Ex. 1S 2H 2S Dbl.)
Doubles - 5a -
You Opponent #1 Partner Opponent #2
1. Negative 1C 1S,2S, or 3S X (Hearts and Diamonds)
2. Take-Out P 1H X (Opening Count without suit or 16+ with own)
3. Penalty 1H P 2C 3S
4. Re-Opening 1H 1S P P
5. Balancing P 1D P P
6. Optional 3H X P
??? (Any Take-out Double May Be Optionally Converted to Penalty)
7. Support 1H P 1S 2C
X (3-Pieces S)
8. Responsive 1H X 2H
X (Points but NO Suit)
9. Rosenkrantz P 1C 1H 1S
X (A,K,or Q +2 or More Pieces H) (2H would mean 3 or More Without Honor)
10. Lead-Directing P 1NT P “2H” (Transfer)
X (For Heart Lead)
11. Lightner 1H P 1S 2C
2S P 4NT P
“5D” P 6S X (For H Lead)
12. “DONT” P 1NT X (One-Suited - Unspecified)
13. ACE-Showing (DOPI) 1H P “ 4NT “ 5D
X (No Aces)
14. Balance of Power (BOP) P 1C 1NT 2S
15. Maximal 1D 1S X 2S
X (One K Better than a Minimum Opening Bid)
16. Capeletti P 1NT X (Equivalent or Better)
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THE TAKE-OUT (INFORMATIVE) DOUBLE
A double under the circumstances listed below is for take‑out and asks partner to bid his/her longest suit. It guarantees an equivalence or better in HCP’s relative to the opponent’s opening bid; i.e., 13 or more points subsequent to a 1B opening bid, and 15 or more subsequent to a 1NT opening bid.
a. It is made at a level at, or below, a 4H bid by the opponents
b. The partner of the doubler has not yet bid
c. It is usually made, although not necessarily so, at the player's first opportunity to double (Exception: if in a balancing position in order to keep the bidding alive)
d. If made at a player’s later opportunity; i.e., made after the “doubler” has previously passed, it may be weaker than an equivalent bid in comparison to opener’s strength, that is to say, a bid made as a competitive balancing attempt.
Conditions (a) and (b) above must be met else any “double” occurring is not a take-out double.
RESPONSES TO THE "TAKE‑OUT" DOUBLE
A take‑out double is a demand one round force on partner unless there is an intervening bid. If no intervening bid occurs, the partner of the doubler must bid even though he/she has as little as 0 HCP's.
a. 0‑5 HCP's ‑ Must bid if there is no intervening bid. Pass if RHO (Opener’s Partner) bids.
b. 6‑8 HCP's ‑ bid longest suit, whether an intervening bid made by opener's partner or not.
c. 9 HCP's or more ‑ jump the bidding to show game is possible:
(1) jump in longest suit available (Doubler has fit implied)
(2) jump in No Trump if holding substantial strength in opponent suit(s)
(3) if both Major Suits are equally long and opponent has opened with a Minor 1C or 1D
opening bid, cue-bid the opponents suit show equivalence in the Major suits.
Examples: AXXX KXXX X KJXX ( 1D Dbl. P “2D” )
REBIDS BY THE DOUBLER
If partner of the doubler has jumped the bidding, evidencing 10 or more HCP’s, then the doubler must decide as to whether to go directly to game of to invite. If, however, the doubler's partner has bid at the cheapest level then:
a. 12‑15 HCP's ‑ Pass (Have already shown opening bid by way of take-out double).
b. 16‑18 HCP's ‑ Raise partner's suit, bid your own suit, or bid No Trump if holding a stopper in
c. 19 HCP's or more ‑ Jump the bidding or cue-bid opener’s suit
RESPONSES BY OPENER’S PARTNER AFTER AN INTERVENING TAKE-OUT DOUBLE
a. 0‑ 5 HCP's ‑ Pass or Bid a pre-emptive raise in partner’s suit if holding support.
b. 6‑ 9 HCP's
(1) with adequate trump support ‑ raise partner in his/her suit
(2) with at least a 4‑card suit of your own ‑ bid that suit
(3) with a balanced hand ‑ bid one no trump
(4) with 5 or more of partner's suit ‑ jump in partner's suit
c. 10 HCP's or more - “Re-Double” ‑ in order to set up possible penalty double situation.
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OPENING SUIT BIDS
PROPER OPENING WHEN HOLDING MORE THAN ONE BIDDABLE SUIT
With an unbalanced hand; i.e., when holding one or more singletons, more than one doubleton, and/or one or more voids, an opening bid of 1 of a suit may be made with as few as 11-12 HCP’s with a good 5-card suit. With14 or more HCP’s the bidding must be initiated. Conditions can exist, however, when the opener holds more than one biddable suit. Under these conditions:
a. With two 4‑Card Suits ‑ When holding one Minor and one Major, bid the Minor and then (if
possible) the Major; if holding both Minors, bid the Diamonds first and then the Clubs.
b. With three 4-card Suits ‑ Open with the Minor suit if holding one Minor and two Majors, and with
Diamonds if holding both Minors.
c. With one 5‑Card suit and one 4‑Card suit ‑ Open with the 5‑Card suit and rebid the 4‑Card suit if
bidding and point count allows (Careful not to reverse unless point count permits).
d. With two 5‑Card or two 6‑Card suits ‑ bid the higher ranking suit first and then the lower ranking
e. With one 5‑Card suit and one 6‑Card suit ‑ Open the 6‑Card suit, rebid the 5‑Card suit, and then re-rebid the 5‑Card suit a second time (6-5-5).
f. With One 6-Card Suit and one 4-Card suit - Open the 6-Card suit, bid next the 4-Card suit, and then rebid the 6-card suit a second time (6-4-6).
BIDDING RANGES FOR UNBALANCED HANDS
a. 0-11 Points - Pass
b. 12 Points - May open 1 of a suit with a good 5-card suit
c. 13 Points - May open 1 of a suit with a good 4-card suit
d. 14-15 Points - Must open 1 of a suit (Any 5-card Major or, alternatively, a preferred Minor suit and
(1) 1No Trump
(2) Rebid ones own suit evidencing a 6-card Major or a 5-card Minor
(3) Raise partner one level in his/her suit
(4) Pass only if responding partner has made a limited bid of either 2 of opener’s suit or else 1 NT
(5) Pass if opponent to opener’s right (RHO) has made an intervening overcall, said bid affording opener’s responder another opportunity to bid if he/she so chooses
(Use the Rule of 20 to further clarify (a-d) above in 1st and 2nd Positions)
e. 16-18 Points - Open 1 of a suit (A Major or a Preferred Minor) and then rebid:
(1) Jump in opener’s suit if holding 6 or more cards in opener’s suit
(2) Jump in partner’s suit if support for partner is present
f. 19 Points or More - Open 1 of a suit and Jump Shift into a second suit
g. 21 Points (With a 7-card suit)
23 Points (With a 6-card suit) = Open “2C” then rebid longest suit
25 Points (With a 5-card suit)
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GERBER AND BLACKWOOD CONVENTIONS
Both Conventions are Ace‑asking conventions which are used when it be desirous of asking for the number of Aces held by partner when there is a presumption of a possible or evident Small or Grand Slam Contract. These Conventions should not be used when the would-be invoking partner has either a worthless doubleton, or a void. Under such circumstances the knowledge of the number of Aces held by partner may be useless. Cue‑bids are the constructive alternative under these conditions in order to ascertain which specific Aces the partnership holds, not the number they hold.
The Gerber Convention: ‑ A “4C” artificial bid asking partner how many Aces he/she holds.
Responses: (All artificial)
1. “4D” = none (0) or four (4) Aces
2. “4H” = one (1) Ace
3. “4S” = two (2) Aces
4. “4NT” = three (3) Aces
1. Recognition as to its use is by partnership understanding.. The easiest understood as being
conventional when used exclusively over a beginning or ending No Trump bid. Other
partnership understandings are available however.
2. The asking for Kings can be either "5‑Clubs" or else by the next available suit (exclusive of the
agreed‑upon suit) Again this is by partnership agreement. Responses are then similarly
3. The escape mechanism into a No Trump contract is achieved by a direct bid of the cheapest
NT bid by the Gerber invoking partner.
4. Responses when holding a void or when there is interference need be discussed by agreement
The Blackwood Convention: ‑ Another Ace‑asking convention in which “4‑NT” is the artificial conventional bid. “5‑NT” then asks for Kings in a similar manner. Since the “5‑NT” bid is usually an attempt to reach a grand slam, it guarantees that the partnership holds all four Aces.
Responses: (All artificial)
1. “5C” = none (0) or four (4) Aces
2. “5D” = one (1) Ace
3. “5H” = two (2) Aces
4. “5S” = three (3) Aces
1. a 1NT/4NT sequence is quantitative, not conventional.
2. The escape mechanism to a final “5NT” contract is achieved by the invoking partner bidding a
new non‑agreed-upon suit which demands partner to bid “5NT”
3. Responses when the responding partner is holding a void are:
a) With one Ace and a void = 6 of the void suit if it be a suit below the agreed trump suit
or 6 of the agreed-upon trump suit to show a void in an unspecified higher ranking suit.
b) "5NT" = 2 Aces and an unspecified void.
4. Management of an interference bid by the opponents is by either:
a) “D” "O” "P” “E” Convention = “Double” = an Odd #, “Pass” = an Even # of Aces.
b) “D” “O” “P” “I” Convention = "Double" = No Aces, “Pass” = one Ace, and then up the ladder, thereafter, to show two and three Aces sequentially.
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The use of an “ALERT” call by any player is a method of drawing the opponent's attention to the fact that a particular bid by partner has a conventional or unusual meaning. The word "alert" is said immediately after the conventional bid by partner and before the right hand opponent bids. No explanation of the meaning of the conventional bid is then given unless requested by either opponents, each in turn, and only before their turn to bid. If the explanation is incorrect it is improper for the bidder to correct the error or indicate in any manner that a mistake has been made.
Examples of Appropriate “Alert” Bidding Sequences
1. Jacoby Transfers ‑ Transfer bidding over a NT opening by partner
Example: 1NT P “2D” (ALERT) The newest ACBL rulings have converted this particular
communication to utilization of the word "TRANSFER" instead of "ALERT''
2. The Drury Convention ‑ Utilization of an artificial “2C” bid by a passed partner to determine the strength
of a third or fourth position opening bid by his partner; i.e., whether it be a sub‑minimum opening hand or a
normal full opening hand:
Example: P P 1H P
Then: P P 1H P (or) P P 1H P
“2C” P “2D” “2C” P 2H
3. If a partnership has the understanding that an opening bid of 1D guarantees at least four diamonds, than the opening bid of one diamond must be alerted as to the understood guarantee of at least four diamonds. If alternatively an opening bid of 1C can be as few as two pieces it, likewise, must be alerted as to the possibility of being short.
4. Negative Doubles no longer need to be alerted. The newest ACBL rulings have converted this particular communication to utilization of the word "NEGATIVE" instead of "ALERT".
5. All bids associated with the "DOPE" or the "DOP1" Conventions, Blackwood responses subsequent to interference bids by the opponents, also need to be alerted as well.
6. Many other artificial bids and Conventions need be alerted such as, but not limited to, the Lebensohl Convention, Puppet Stayman, Gambling 3NT, New Minor Force, 4th Suit Force, Jordan Convention, Splinter Bids, and the Ogust Convention.
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Definition: ‑ An attempt to gain power for lower ranking cards by taking advantage of the assumed favorable position of higher‑ranking cards held by the opposition. NOTE: ‑ In all cases, the burden of finessing is eliminated, or at the very least reduced if the opponents lead the suit instead.
Purposes and Types:
1. To Avoid Losing a Trick: ‑ In (a), South would lead towards the Q hoping the K would be held by West, thereby finessing against the K, hopefully winning the Q and avoiding losing a trick in the suit (A Simple Finesse). In (b), when West leads the 3, South plays the 9 from Dummy hoping to force the King thereby promoting the Q in Dummy and thus avoiding losing any tricks in that suit (A Deep Finesse).
A Q Q 10 9 2
(a) (b) J 6 3 K 8 7 5
X X A 4
2. To Gain a Trick With Law‑Ranking Cards: ‑ In (a), Needing two tricks in the suit, South would cash the A
and then lead towards the Q hoping that the K is held by East. In (b), Needing one trick, South would lead
towards the Q twice, hoping both the A and K are held by West.
Q X X Q X X
A X X X X X
3. To Prepare For a Second Finesse in the Same Suit: ‑ In (a), South would lead towards the 10, losing trick (1)
to the Q or K in the East, and then towards the J hopefully winning trick (2) with the alternate missing honor
being held by West. In (b), South leads towards the 9 hoping West started with either the Q 10, or the K
10, thereby promoting the J in the North hand on a second finesse towards the J.
A J 10 A J 9
X X X X X X
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4. The Double or Deep Finesse: ‑ A finesse against two outstanding honors. The only serious chance of making three tricks is to finesse the 10. At least two tricks will be gleaned if the honors are split between East and West.
A Q 10
X X X
The easiest way to remember when to take a simple finesse, and when to take a deep or double finesse is as follows: Divide the outstanding cards as equally as possible between the defenders. If one of the opponents must have at least three cards or more, finesse deep; if one of the opponents may have only as few as two, use a simple finesse.
Examples: (a) AQ1092 (b) AQ1092
In (a) with 5 pieces out against declarer, the split is probably 3‑2 and a deep finesse of the 9 is indicated. In (b) with only 4 pieces out against declarer, the split is probably 2-2 and a simple finesse is indicated.
5. The Ruffing Finesse: ‑ A play in a suit contract which is successful if the missing honor lies behind the finesse holding; i.e., to the right of the Void. In the example shown, Play the Ace, then the Queen letting it ride.
6. The Backward Finesse: ‑ Used either because 1) a belief that the missing card is off‑sides, or 2) an avoidance play so as to keep 0ne defender from leading, or 3) to gain a needed top score. In the example below, one would lead the Jack towards the Ace, instead of playing the Ace first and then finessing through the KJ.
7. The Continuing Finesse: ‑The play of the cards such that the finesse, once begun, can be continued repeatedly from the same hand without the need to return to that first hand to repeat the process. It is used when no further re‑entry cards are available to return to the origin of the finesse, or when one does not wish to use up additional entries in order to continue the finesse. In the example shown one would play the Jack towards the AQ103 and then continue by playing the 9 towards the AQ10 if the finesse wins.
Example: J92 AQ103
8. The Chinese Finesse: ‑ An attempt to win a trick by leading an unsupported honor. In the example shown, needing to avoid any loser in the suit South leads the Q hoping West will duck in fear that South has the Q J 10.
K 8 6 2 J 10 7
Q 9 4 3
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Definition: ‑ Any positive action; i.e., a bid other than a Pass, by a member of the opposite team to the left or
right of the opening bidder.
Influencing Factors: ‑ (In descending order of importance)
1. LENGTH ‑ Almost always based upon at least a 5‑card suit or better. Exception: A potential
overcaller in the balancing position who, in desperation might overcall with a 4-card suit.
2. STRENGTH ‑ An overcall usually has a minimum of at least 8 HCP's at the 1-level and at least
10 HCP's at the 2‑level. Vulnerable overcalls usually imply an even stronger hand.
3. VULNERABILITY ‑ A non‑vulnerable player can better afford to make an "unsound" overcall for
the opponents are less eager to double for penalties.
4. LEVEL ‑ One‑level overcalls can be made more freely than two‑level ones, etc..
5. QUALITY ‑ The texture of the suit may have lead‑directing implications.
6. OBSTRUCTION ‑ The overcall has the effect of consuming the opponent's bidding space. This
value is minimized, however, by the negative double available to the opponents.
7. OPPONENT'S VULNERABILITY ‑ The relative vulnerabilities make overcalls more or less
attractive. At favorable vulnerabilities freer overcalls can be exercised;
at unfavorable vulnerabilities, greater discretion must be exercised. 8. OPPONENT'S METHODS ‑ Overcalls can be made with greater impunity against opponents who
utilize the negative double for access to the penalty double is made impossible.
Types of Overcalls:
1. Simple overcalls ‑ At least 8‑HCP's at the one‑level and 10 HCP'S at the two‑level PLUS at least a 5‑card
Suit or better.
Examples: 1H 1S (or) 1H P P 1S (or) 1H 2C (or) 1H P P 2C
2. A take‑out double – A holding, equivalent or better, in comparison with opener’s hand.
Examples: 1H Dbl. (or) 1NT Dbl.
3. Weak jump overcalls ‑ a pre‑emptive bid with less than an opening HCP value and at least a 6‑card suit.
(Similar to a weak 2‑bid) The HCP's are usually concentrated in the bid suit and is,
therefore, a hand of little defensive strength.
Examples: 1C 2D (or) 1NT 3H (or) 1S 3C (or) 1H 2S
4. 1NT overcall ‑ an equivalent hand to a 1NT opening with the additional guarantee of at least one stopper in
the opponent's bid suit. Examples: 1H 1NT (or) 1C 1NT
5. The Unusual NT overcall ‑ An overcall of “2NT” after a Major‑suit opening used to show two 5‑card
or better Minor suits Is in essence, an artificial bid to be construed as a
take‑out double for the Minors; i.e., evidences a 5-5 or longer holding in the Minor
Examples: 1H “2NT” (or) 1S P 2S “2NT”
6. The Michael’s Convention ‑ An advanced two‑suit take‑out conventional bid which will be presented in detail later. Such bids evidence 5-5 or better in two suits as follows:
Examples: 1C “2C” (Both Majors) (or) 1D “2D” (Both Majors)
1H “2H” (Spades + One Minor) (or) 1S “2S” (Hearts + One Minor)
1NT “2NT” (Both Minors – The 2 Lower-Unbid Suits) (or) 1D “2NT” (Clubs & Hearts – 2 Lower-Unbid Suits)
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RESPONSES TO SIMPLE OVERCALLS
General Thoughts: ‑ Do not rush to rescue your partner who has overcalled in a suit to your disliking, especially when you have nothing of any real value of your own. Do not, without good reason, rush to rescue a partner who has been doubled for penalties. Better to pass quickly without consternation thereby avoiding conveying the idea to your adversaries that you are in trouble. Rescue a doubled partner only if you can be reasonably certain that your suit may be better than his/hers, and that you have considered that your rescue bid may take your team to the next bidding level thereby increasing your trick commitment. It is sometimes better to swallow the bitter pill and let your overcalling partner go down in a contract of his/her choosing, than to go flying off in a rescuing venture which is, potentially, even more disastrous.
Types of Responsive Actions to Overcalls
1. RAISES ‑ A simple raise of partner's overcalled suit shows:
a. At least a 3‑card support (Partner has overcalled with at least a five‑card suit).
b. a HCP count of less than an opening bid (implied is that under no circumstances can this combination
produce a game if overcaller has no more than a simple overcall).
Examples: 1H 1S P 2S (or) 1H 1S 2C 2S
2. NO TRUMP RESPONSES ‑ Constructive in nature showing:
a. Little interest for partner's overcalled suit
b. At least one stopper in opponent's bid suit(s)
c. 8‑12 HCP's at the one‑level, and 13‑14 HCP's at the two‑level
d. A necessary variance to the above with both the vulnerability and the level of the response.
Example: 1H 1S P 1NT
3. SUIT TAKE -OUTS (a change of partner's overcalled suit) ‑ Is usually non‑forcing upon partner and shows a good 5‑card suit of his/her own at the one‑level and a 6‑card suit at the two level.
Examples: 1C 1H P 1S (or) 1D 1S 2D 2H
Note: ‑ When there is a choice between showing your own suit and supporting your partner's overcall, if your
partner has bid a Major suit, by all means support him/her rather than search for a fit in a Minor suit
of your own. If, on the other hand, your partner has bid a Minor suit, then try your own Major suit if
your hand is sufficiently strong as to have had an independent overcall of your own.
4. CUE‑BID ‑ An artificial bid of the opponents first bid suit showing:
a. Trump support for partner's overcalled suit
b. At least an opening bid such that partnership has game likelihood if overcaller also has an opening bid.
Examples: 1D 1H P 2D (or) 1C 1H 1S 2C
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OPENING LEADS AGAINST NO TRUMP CONTRACTS
Defense is regarded as the most difficult aspect of bridge. Since the opening lead is the only defensive play made while the dummy is yet concealed, it requires a kind of "detective" reasoning and considerable analysis. The opening lead is frequently the source for either a plus or a minus score, and is, therefore, very important. The essential purpose is to develop tricks out of the small cards in the defense's largest suits. Timing is, therefore, essential.
1. THE LEAD OF PARTNER’S BID SUIT: The usual choice when possible, but NOT obligatory.
a) Lead the highest card if:
(1) only two cards are held in the suit ( KX ar 10X or 32 )
(2) holding consists, in part, of two honors in sequence ( QJX or J108X or KQXX )
b) Lead the lowest card if:
(1) three cards are held to an honor ( Q42 ar J73 ar K64 )
(2) four or more cards are held without two honors in sequence ( K532 )
c) Must lead fourth from the highest if more than four cards are held ‑ ( 98643 or K9872 )
d) Lead (MUD) Middle-Up-Down from three unimportant cards ( 963 or 842 )
e) Lead Top of an Internal Sequence ( AQJX or KJ10X)
2. LEADING WHEN PARTNER HAS NOT BID A SUIT: Several options are available:
a) Lead of the fourth from the highest of a 5‑Card or longer unbid suit ‑ Is an excellent lead
provided the opening leader has at leant one probable entry. Ex. AQXXX ar KXXX or QXXXX
b) Lead the top of a sequence of a solid or nearly solid 4‑card suit ‑ Such a lead will
rarely give up a trick. Ex. QJ109 or J109X
c) Lead of an unbid Major suit ‑ NT bidders are usually more likely to conceal a long Minor suit.
d) The lead of a short suit ‑ holding is otherwise useless and hope to find partner with an unbid long
suit. Ex. 109X 10XXXX XX XXX
e) The lead of a short suit (A passive lead) ‑ where one fears any other lead may lose a trick.
Ex. K1OX JXXX AQXX 109
f) Against a GANBLING 3NT attempt ‑ Lead an Ace ‑ Declarer is trying to score nine fast tricks
with the aid of a solid minor suit, so losing the lead even once may be fatal to the defenders.
g) Against a 2NT opening bid ‑ Lead a passive lead ‑ Declarer's hand contains most of his
side's strength, so he may have entry problems if left to his own devices and one is not
desirous of leading into declarer's tenaces.
h) Against NT partials ‑ Lead a passive lead ‑ The relative strengths between the two sides
is more evenly divided and so there is no hurry to develop tricks.
3. LEAD TO BE AVOIDED:
a) Leading away from a 4‑card "Tenace" (Two cards in the same 4-card suit of which one ranks two
degrees lower than the other). Ex. AQXX or KJXX (Note: leads from a 5‑card tenace are fine)
4.LEADS AGAINST DOUBLED NT CONTRACTS WHEN PARTNER HAS DOUBLED THE
a) If the doubler has bid a suit, the leader must absolutely lead that suit, even if it is a singleton and/or
he/she has another good suit of his/her own.
b) If the opening leader has bid a suit in the absence of partner making any bid, partner's double
requests that the suit of the bidding partner on lead is to be led.
c) If both partners have bid, use one's judgment.
d) When neither the doubler nor the leader has bid, the doubler is suggesting, not demanding,
the first bid suit of the opponents unless the leader has a better lead of his/her own.
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OPENING LEADS AGAINST SUIT CONTRACTS
General Thoughts: ‑ Against a NT contract, one can sometimes best lead fourth best from an Ace or King such as KQXXX or AKXXX. Leading away from an Ace or King against a suit contract, however, is not usually advisable, because the suit could be trumped on subsequent leads and the trick value of said Aces and Kings would never be realized. If for some reason one did lead away from such holdings, the following would be the proper card to lead: KQXXX or AKXXX or AXXX, but never from KXXX unless partner has bid the suit.
Usually Productive Leads
a) The lead of partner's bid suit ‑ As in NT defense, the lead of partner's bid suit is
usually given top priority, but is less mandatory than with NT defense. When leading partner's
bid suit, one leads the same card within the suit that one would have lead against NT contracts.
Ex: KX or QJX or Q83 or KXXX Exception: AXXX
b) The lead from a solid or nearly solid honor sequence ‑ Ex. AKJX or KQJXx or QJ9X
c) The lead from an internal sequence - Ex. Q109X or AQJXX or 1087X
d) The lead of a singleton ‑ usually ideal only under the following circumstances; and not a good
lead under circumstances other than those listed:
(1) If one holds a sure trump trick such that if declarer attempts to draw trumps, you may take the
trump trick, hopefully then proceed to partner's hand and obtain a ruffing trick in return
Ex. (Trump) AX X XXXXX XXXXX
(2) If one holds surplus trumps such that the small ones would be useless. Ex. AXX or KXX or
AX of trumps. Note: KX of trumps would not be a surplus of trumps since the X is needed
to guard the King which is then a natural trump trick.
(3) If partner has entered the bidding such that it is likely you can reach his/her hand in order to
have him/her lead the suit from which you have led the singleton.
(4) The lead of a singleton in partner's bid suit. Note: The lead of a singleton K should never be
led for it may take a trick on its own merit. The exception to this would be if partner has bid
e) The lead of trumps ‑ An excellent lead especially when one expects from the bidding that the dummy
will be short in one or more suits and one, therefore wishes to reduce the trumping ability of the
dummy. Ex. 1H P 2H P (or) 1S P 2D P
4H P P P 2H P 4H P
Note: The converse is true; i.e., the lead of trumps is bad when one suspects that declarer can run a second
long suit subsequent to trumps being drawn. Also never lead from JXX, JX, QXX, or QX of trumps.
f) The lead of a doubleton (HIGH-LOW SEQUENCE) ‑ made with the hopes of getting a third round
ruff. All the requirements regarding the lead of a singleton apply; namely, a quick trump trick, some
otherwise useless trumps, and the anticipated ability to enter partner's hand if a ruff is to be obtained
on the third round play of the led suit.
g) The lead from a long suit is especially good when holding four or more trumps since declarer may be
forced to trump and lose control of the hand.
Leads Against a Doubled Slam Contract ‑ The double of a slam contract demands the lead of dummy's first bid suit other than trump. This is a mandatory lead regardless of whether or not the doubler has bid a suit.
Excellent Leads Good Leads
(1) The King from an AK combination (1) The top of any two‑card (KQXX) sequence
(2) The top of any three‑card (J109X) sequence (2) The top of a worthless doubleton (93)
(3) A singleton in a side suit (3) 4th from the highest in a long suit
(4) Partner's suit
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THE RULES OF 1 TO 40
The Rule of 1: ‑ When there is just 1 trump out higher than yours, it is normally best to leave it out. To eliminate their top trump costs you two trumps and gives up the initiative, possibly neither of which you can afford.
The Rule of 2: ‑ When you are missing 2 non‑touching honors, and fewer than 9 pieces of the suit, it is usually superior to deep finesse; i.e., to first finesse for the lower missing one and then again for the higher. With 9 pieces, you should only use the simple finesse.
Example: AQ10X (or) KJ1OX
The Rule of 3: ‑ On a competitive part score deal, with the HCP's roughly evenly split between the opponents and your side, once the bidding has reached the 3‑level, tend to defend rather than to bid on; unless your side has 9 trumps, in which case you can compete to the 3-level.
The Rule of 4: ‑ Avoid giving partner 3-card support for his 5‑card Major suit if a likely 4‑4 fit is available in the other Major. The 5-3 Major side suit can later be used to throw off a losing trick and you usually will make one more trick with the 4-4 suit as Trump than you would have with the 5-3 suit as Trump in that hand.
The Rule of 5: ‑ When the bidding has reached the 5‑level in a competitive auction, tend to defend rather than to bid on. “The 5-Level belongs to the opponents”. In wildly distributed hands the opposite is true.
The Rule of 6: ‑ A 6‑card suit is revealed when responder bids 1NT and later follows with a change of suit.
Example: 1S P 1NT P
2H P 3C
The Rule of 7: ‑ In No Trump Contracts, when having only one stopper in the enemy’s led suit, add the number of cards held by both you and the dummy hand in that suit and deduct that number from 7. The answer is the number of times you must duck or hold up before taking the trick in order to sever the communication between the opponents so as to lessen the chances they can run the suit later.
Example: with five cards, duck twice; six cards, once.
The Rule of 8: ‑ With 8 cards in a suit, including the Ace, King, and Jack, it is normally best to finesse for the queen on the second round after playing the Ace. Similarly for the Jack if holding the King and Queen and ten, after playing the King. This is to eliminate the loss to a possible singleton honor.
The Rule of 9: ‑ With 9 cards including the Ace, King and Jack, it is normally better to play the two top honors hoping to drop the Queen; i.e., do not finesse on the second round. Similarly for the Jack when holding the King, Queen and ten of the suit. “Nine never, Eight ever”.
The Rule of 10: ‑ When contemplating a penalty double of a suit contract below game, in a deal where the HCP’s are evenly split between the sides (17-23), add your expected trump tricks to the number of tricks the opponent’s are committed to win based upon their stated contract. If the answer is 10 or more, the double is sound (When coupled with the Rule of 12), if below 10, the double is not sound; i.e., the Rule is not satisfied.
Partner opens 1S. You have the following hand: ( 7 Q103 AJ863 K952 ) Assuming the final contracts of the opponents to be: (a)2C (b)2D (c)2H, which contracts satisfy the Rule of 10? ( Ans. Only (b) should be doubled.)
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The Rule of 11: ‑ In a No Trump Contract, if the opening lead is assumed to be the fourth‑highest, deduct the numerical number of the card led from 11. The answer is the number of cards in the three remaining hands, yours, Dummy’s and the second opponent’s, that can beat the card led. This rule can be utilized both by Declarer as well as the partner of the opponent who led.
Example: (1) West leads the 7, the 9 is the card to play. (Use by declarer) ???
Example: (2) West leads the 7, North's 6 is played, East should play the 9 (Use by the defense)
The Rule of 12: ‑ When contemplating a penalty double below game, on a deal where the HCP’s are approximately split between the two teams (17-23), add the number of trumps you hold to the number of tricks the opponents have contracted to win based upon their stated contract. If the answer is 12 or more, and the Rule of 10 is also satisfied, one can double for penalties with some reasonable likelihood that the opponent’s contract will not make. If the answer is below 12, you do not have a sound double. Thus:
Doubles at the 1‑level : 12‑7 tricks = 5 trumps needed
Doubles at the 2‑level : 12‑8 tricks = 4 trumps needed
Doubles at the 3‑level : 12‑9 tricks = 3 trumps needed
The Rule of 12: - In order to execute a simple two-suit squeeze, one should subtract the number of sure tricks one has from the number 12. That number tells you how many tricks you must duck (“Rectification”) and lose before you run off all your winners in a squeeze attempt.
The Rule of 13: ‑ If you have a strong trump fit (or a self‑sufficient trump suit) with no losers in the first three rounds of any suit, you are likely to win all 13 tricks. If you are unable to account for the first three rounds of every suit, be content to try for a sound Small Slam; the Grand Slam will not likely be there.
The Rule of 15: ‑ When considering opening the bidding in fourth position after three previous consecutive passes, statistically speaking, you will end the hand with a plus score for your team if you can count 15 or more (HCP's, plus one point for each physical Spade you hold); and a negative score for your team if the summation of the above two items is less than 15. If the Rule is not satisfied (15 or more) Pass out the hand and do not open the bidding.
The Rule of 20: - When considering opening the bidding in first or second position, statistically speaking, your hand is strong enough to open if you can count 20 or more (HCP’s , plus one point for every card you hold in the two longest suits); and is not strong enough to open if the count is less than 20.
The Rule of 30: ‑ When partner reveals a void and you have a strong trump fit (or self-sufficient suit), there are only 30 relevant points, not 40 in the deal in question. A Small Slam may then be bid on 23‑24 points, while a Grand Slam is feasible around the 26 point mark.
The Rule of 40: ‑ There are always 40 HCP's in the pack. When Dummy become visible, count Dummy's high-card points. Then add your own plus any shown on the lead, and any evidenced from the bidding. When you deduct this total from 40, you will have a good idea where the missing points are likely to be placed.
- 18 -
Signaling is the language of defensive play. It is the method by which the defenders legitimately exchange information about the make‑up of their hands. It is critical to the defense making the greatest number of tricks to which they are entitled; to limit Declarer’s tricks and to potentially set the contract at hand. Many signaling techniques are available to the defense with the major ones consisting of:
1.The High-Card Come-On: ‑ The play of an unnecessarily high card on either the opponent's or partner's trick is a come‑on signal showing a preference for that suit and probable next round control. It asks partner to lead that suit again at his/her next opportunity. (EX. Play the 8 on the Ace holding K862) One should never use a potential trick‑taking card for such a signal (EX. KJ72 not KJ72). Once given the come‑on, partner may, of course, refuse to lead the suit if he/she thinks there is a better one, or if the lead of that suit may be trumped, and therefore a continuance be worthless. Such a signal could also be the start of a high‑low signal to be discussed later.
2. Low Card Discouragement: ‑ The opposite of the high card come‑on . It is the play of the lowest possible card when following suit thereby denying next round control, the ability to trump, or any other valid reason for partner to continue that suit or to play it at his/her next opportunity (Ex. 972). It might also be the start of a low‑high signal which shows an odd number of cards (1,3, or 5) held within that suit, thereby giving a count of the suit for partner’s information on that hand.
3. High-Low Signal: ‑ The purposeful leading, following suit, or discarding of first a high and then a low card. This is a come‑on signal asking for the continuance of that suit at partner's next opportunity for any one of the following reasons:
a) one may wish to trump the third round of that suit.
b) one may wish to signal the ability to take a third round trick in that same suit (Ex. QXX).
c) one may wish to force declarer to trump.
d) give an signal of an even number of cards (2,4, or 6) held within that suit in order to give the
count as to the distribution of the hand.
4. The Trump Echo Signal: ‑ The high‑low signaling in the Trump suit to show that that defender has at least one more piece of trump card and a ruffing capacity within his/her hand; i.e., shortness in a side suit. It is a signal to the partner that there is a real prospect of a ruffing trick for the defenders and that if the partner gets on lead for him/her to lead the suit that it is presumed can be trumped.
5. Giving Count or Attitude: ‑ (a) When your partner leads a suit, one should give an Attitude signal evidencing either a preference or dislike for continuance of the play of that suit by signaling partner either with a high-card encouragement signal or a low-card discouragement signal. The leader of the suit is thus given information as to his partners desire for either a continuance of the suit or a switch to the play of an alternate suit. (b) When the opponents lead a suit, however, one should give partner Count as to the number of cards one possesses by evidencing an even number of cards (2,4,6, etc.) with a High-Low signal; and an odd number of cards (1,3,5, etc.) with a Low-High signal. In this manner, partner is given information possibly important in the management of that suit in the later play of the hand.
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6. The Play of Cards Held In Sequence: ‑ When following to a suit played, one should play the lowest of the cards held in sequence (Ex. J109). When leading a suit with a sequential holding , one should lead the highest card in the sequence (Ex. J109).
7. Primary Suit Discards For Signaling Suit Preference: ‑ The play of any unnecessarily high card as one's first discard asks for the lead of that suit at partner's first opportunity for any of the following reasons:
a) The ability to trump that suit.
b) The holding of a high honor in that suit (A or K).
c) The desire to have the lead go through your right hand opponent in that suit (Ex. KJXX
sitting behind AQ10).
8. Secondary Suit Discards For Signaling Suit Preference: ‑ The play of the first discard such that an unusually low card signifies the desire to have the lead the lower of the other two suits exclusive of trump and the suit used for the discard). Similarly, the play of the first discard of an unusually high card signifies the desire of the higher of the other two suits. (Ex. the play of the 2H as the first discard to a spade trick would ask for a club lead. The play of a 9H as the first discard to a spade trick would ask for a diamond trick.)
NOTE: The play of Primary and Secondary suit discards are mutually exclusive. By partnership
understanding, one must play either one or the other, never both simultaneously.
9. Signaling Partner With The Card You Are Leading Knowing It To Be Ruffed By Partner: ‑ You are leading a card in suit #1 that you are reasonably certain will be trumped with suit #2. The lead of an unnecessarily low or high card gives direction as to the lower or higher, respectively, of suits #3 and #4, for partner to be capable of returning to your hand after trumping for yet another ruffing opportunity.
(Ex.) Spades are trump and you are lead the 3 of clubs. You hold: 95 A76 KJ4 AQ1052
Since you hold the 2 of clubs and the lead of the three by partner, therefore, could not be the start of a high‑low doubleton signal, and since your holding of the AQ of clubs would by elimination , presume that partner has not led away from the K of clubs; it is, therefore, by elimination, a lead of a singleton in hopes for the ability of ruffing trick two when clubs is again next led. After taking the A of clubs, you must return the 10 of clubs for partner to ruff signaling the desire of partner to get back to you with a heart switch for you to gain entry again for the lead of another club for partner to then ruff once more. The return of the 2 of clubs would have signaled the desire for a diamond return by partner for re-entry into your hand for an additional ruffing opportunity.
- 20 -
THE STAYMAN CONVENTION
Review of Responses to 1NT Opening Bids When Holding a Balanced Hand: (Count only HCP’s)
The following is based upon a 15‑17 HCP opening bid by partner and 26,33, & 37 point plateaus.
a. 0‑ 8 HCP's = Pass
b. 9-10 HCP's = Bid 2NT inviting partner to pass with a minimum (15 HCP's) and to proceed to game with a
maximum (16‑17 HCP's)
c. 11‑15 HCP's = Bid 3NT (Sign‑off)
d. 16‑17 HCP's = Bid 4NT inviting partner to pass with a minimum (15 HCP's) and to proceed to 6NT with a
maximum (16‑17 HCP's) ‑ Note: 6NT will rarely make even with 33 HCP's unless one member of the team
has a 5‑card suit.
e. 18‑19 HCP's = Bid 6NT (Sign‑off)
f. 20‑21 HCP's = Bid 5NT demanding partner bid 6NT with a minimum (15 HCP's) and to proceed to 7NT
with a maximum (16‑17 HCP's)
g. 22‑23 HCP's = Bid 7NT
Review of Responses to 1NT Opening Bids When Holding an Unbalanced Hand:
(Count Distributional and HCP’s)
a. 0‑ 8 Points = Pass (Unless hand is terribly distributional and then the fewer the HCP's the better it be to bid
two of a suit (Sign-off) requesting pass by partner
b. 9-15 Points = Bid 3 of any suit forcing partner to bid to game either in your bid suit or into 3NT. (Could
also bid 4H or 4S directly if holding a 6‑card suit since opening 1NT hand promises at least 2 of any suit.
c. 16 Points or more = Consider the possibility of slam.
THE STAYMAN CONVENTION
Definition: ‑ The Artificial bid of “2C” over partner's opening bid of 1NT (or alternatively “3C” over partner’s opening of 2NT) asks the NT opener for a 4‑card major suit.
1. The Stayman Convention is used only with a 4-Card Major suit looking for a 4‑Card Major suit fit. Jacoby Transfer bids are used with a 5‑Card suit looking for a 3‑Card fit.
2. If the Combined hands have 26‑28 HCP's the hand plays better in 4 of the Major. If the Combined hands have 29-32 HCP's the hand plays better in 3NT not‑with‑standing the potential 8‑Card Major suit fit.
3. The artificial bids of “2C’ over a 1NT opening bid, or of “3C” over a 2NT opening bid, both signifying the Stayman Convention, do not need to be alerted despite the artificial nature of the call. This is due to the fact that the Convention is almost universally accepted as the norm.
4. The opening bidder responds “2D” over “2C” or “3D” over “3C” to signify “NO 4-CARD MAJOR” or alternatively 2H or 2S (3H or 3S), up the ladder, to signify a 4-Card Heart or Spade holding.
- 21 -
THE STAYMAN CONVENTION
OPENER RESPONDER MEANING OF RESPONDER’S LAST BID
“2D” 2H/2S A sign-off promising a 5-card suit
1NT “2C An invitational bid showing 9-10 HCP’s. with a
“2D”/2H/2S 2NT 4-card alternative Major holding. Partner can correct to
1NT “2C” An invitational bid showing support for partner’s
2H/2S 3H/3S 4-card Major. Invites opener to game with a maximum
holding of 16-17 HCP’s
1NT “2C” A sign-off acceptance of partner’s Major suit with no
2H/2S 4H/4S interest in Slam
1NT “2C” A sign-off unable to find a 4-4 fit in the desired Major suit
“2D”/2H/2S 3NT Partner can correct to four of the alternate Major
1NT “2C” A sign-off showing a 5- or 6-card Minor suit with no game
“2D”/2H/2S 3C/3D interest and no Major suit interest
1NT “2C” The Gerber Convention asking for Aces
1NT “2C” A natural quantitative bid requiring opener to pass with a
“2D”/2H/2S 4NT minimum of 15 HCP’s and to proceed to 6NT with a maximum
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There are nine (9) scenarios that are likely to produce slam conditions. Before slam bidding is attempted, however, the partnership must first determine that it has both sufficient assets to win 12 or 13 tricks in its best designated suit, and side suit controls such that the opponents cannot run two quick tricks. The partnership can accomplish this either through cue-bidding showing their Ace and King controls, or else via either the Gerber or Blackwood Ace-asking Conventions. The nine scenarios likely to produce Slam (assuming that a misfit is not present) are as follows:
1. An opening hand of 13 points or more held by responder who faces an opener who has jump-shifted on
his/her first re-bid evidencing 19 or more Points.
Example: 1H P 1S P (or) 1C P 1H P
2. A first round jump-shift by responder (19 Points or more) facing an opening bid by partner.
Example: 1D P 2S P (or) 1H P 3C P
3. An opening hand by responder facing an opening bid which has been followed by a jump into No Trump
evidencing 18-19 HCP’s.
Example: 1H P 1S P (or) 1H P 2D P
4. A 4NT or 5NT response to an opening 1NT bid.
Ex: 1NT P 4NT P = Asks opener to pass with 15 and to bid 6NT with 17‑18.
1NT P 5NT P = Demands 6NT with 15 and 7NT with 17‑18 by opener.
5. A response of 3NT (16‑18 HCP's) opposite a greater than minimum (16 points or more) opening bid.
EX. 1H (16 points or more) 3NT (16‑18 HCP's)
6. A Cue‑bid of the opponents suit after agreement as to trump has been reached, guarantees game and invites
partnership to explore for slam.
EX. 1H 1S 2S
7. A Cue‑bid of a new suit after game level has been reached in an agreed‑upon suit.
EX. 1H P 1S P
4S P 5C
8. A jump-shift response (10 or more HCP’s) to an opening 2C bid.
Example: “2C” P 3H P
9. A Bid of 5NT (Grand Slam Force) forces 6 of the agreed-upon suit with less than two of the top three
honors, and 7 of the agreed-upon suit with two of the top three honors.
Example: 1D P 1S P
4S P 5NT
- 23 -
PLAY OF THE HAND IN NO TRUMP
You are declarer of a No Trump contract. The opening lead has been made and your partner puts down the dummy hand. What should you as declarer do even before making a single play?
1. Take Note of the Opening Lead: ‑ The suit that is led as well as the number of the actual card can both give important information to the declarer. Example: The lead against a No Trump contract is usually fourth best from the opponent’s longest suit. Thus, if a "2" is led, the opponent has only four of the suit and declarer can then deduce how many cards of the suit are held the partner of the opponent who has led.
2. Use the Rule of Eleven: ‑ A method of rapid calculation that enables one to count the number of cards (higher than the one led) which are held within the three remaining hands after the presumed lead of fourth best from longest and best suit by the opponent on lead. Rule is helpful to both the defenders and to declarer.
Ex. ???(5) K107(Defender) (or) ???(7) (E)
3. Count Your Winners: ‑ Do this instead of counting your losers as in the case of a suit contract. See how many tricks can be taken before relinquishing the lead, which opponent you can best afford to have lead against you in case there are two ways against which to finesse, and how many tricks can be established by giving the lead away. Don't run to take your winners unless you fear a suit being led against you or until you no longer have stoppers in all four suits.
Example: The contract is 3 NT and the four of Spades is led.
YOUR HAND DUMMY
Spades ‑ AK XX
Hearts ‑ KQX AXX
Diamonds ‑ KQJ10 XXX
Clubs ‑ XXXX KQlOXX
You pause to count your quick winners ‑ two in Spades and three in Hearts. By leading Diamonds and forcing out the Ace, three more tricks can be established. The ninth trick can assuredly be available in Clubs. However, timing is all important when playing a NT contract. When the opponents win the Ace of Diamonds, a second Spade will almost assuredly be led thereby eliminating declarer's second and last stopper in the Spade suit. Before declarer can get the ninth trick in Clubs, the opponents will take at least three Spade tricks, the Ace of Diamonds and the Ace of Clubs, setting the contract one trick.
The solution here is that declarer must go after the Club suit first not the diamond suit. True the Diamonds are more solid, but the Clubs may yield four tricks after the Ace has been knocked out. Declarer, having only five sure quick tricks, (two in Spades and three in Hearts), will fair best by trying to establish the four other needed tricks in Clubs before his/her Spade stoppers are used up. The Club play may not succeed, but at least it will give declarer a fighting chance to make the contract whereas playing the Diamond suit first will not.
- 24 -
PLAY OF THE HAND IN SUIT CONTRACTS
You are declarer at a Suit contract. The opening lead has been made and your partner has put down the dummy hand. What should you as declarer do before even making a single play?
1. Take Note of the Opening Lead: ‑ Declarer should memorize both the suit and numerical number of the suit led. The opening leader has taken the time for his/her choice and so, just perhaps, it may have some meaningful significance as to the play of the hand to declarer as well as to the partner of the lead. It may for example be:
a. the lead of a singleton, defender attempting to set up a ruff.
b. the start of a doubleton high‑low signal.
c. low from an honor.
d. the top of a sequence.
e. the start of a middle-up-down triplet.
f. forth best from a long suit.
Declarer has a right to ask the partner of the opening leader as to what significance can be inferred from the lead and what are their agreed‑upon understandings as to its implied meaning.
2. Do Not Make a Single Play Until You Have First Counted Your Losing Tricks: ‑ One must first formulate some plan as to how to eliminate the losing tricks through one of the following methods:
a. Trump them in dummy ‑ if dummy is shorter in that suit than is declarer
b. Throw them away ‑ if an outside long suit can be developed where losers can be discarded
c. Finesse them away ‑ by hoping for a favorable location of the opponent's cards which will
convert declarer’s losers into winners.
Example: (The contract is 4S) Your Hand Dummy
Spades - AKQXX JlOXX
Hearts - JXX X
Diamonds - X AKXX
Clubs ‑ KXXX XXXX
The six of Diamonds is led. You count the losers: none in Spades, three in Hearts, none in Diamonds, and four in Clubs. That makes seven losers in all, and you can only afford to lose only three of them if you are to make the contract. In other words, at least four of the probable losers must be converted into winning tricks. Dummy has only a singleton Heart, so two of the Heart losers can be trumped in dummy. There go two of the losers. After dummy's King wins the first Diamond trick, declarer has no more Diamonds and can therefore discard one of the losing Clubs on the Ace of Diamonds. A forth loser may possibly by converted into a winner by leading a Club from the dummy towards the King for a finesse.
So, your plan is formed. Win the first trick with the King of Diamonds in the dummy and lead the singleton Heart so that the losing Hearts can be trumped before trumps are drawn. The opponents will obviously win the first Heart and return a trump so as to reduce the ruffing power of dummy. Win the trump trick in your hand and then trump a Heart in dummy. Return to declarer's hand with a second round of trumps and than trump another round of Hearts. Then play the Ace of Diamonds, discarding a small Club from your hand. At last play a small Club from dummy towards your King. If the Ace is to the right of declarer, the contract will be made.
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1. RESPONSES TO PARTNER’S 1NT WHEN THE OPPONENTS HAVE MADE AN
INTERVENING BID - Partner opens one No Trump, and your RHO (Right-hand Opponent) overcalls 2
of any suit:
a. A double is always for penalties, and is never a negative double in this circumstance.
Ex. 1NT 2H Dbl.(Penalty) (or) 1NT 2D Dbl.(Penalty)
b. A cue‑bid of their suit is Stayman seeking a 4-card Major. If the opponent’s overcall had been a Major suit, the cue-bid seeks a Golden fit in the alternate Major. If the opponent’s overcall had been a Minor suit, the cue-bid seeks a Golden fit in either Major. In either instance, a game-force scenario is in place and the partnership must continue until game lever has been achieved in either the sought-after Major suit, else in NT. Thus, opener’s partner guarantees at least 11 HCP’s.
Ex. 1NT 2H “3H” (Game-Forcing - Seeking Spades)
1NT 2D “3D” (Game Forcing - Seeking Hearts or Spades)
c. A bid of 2NT is invitational (9‑10 HCP's) as if the overcall had never been made, and 3NT is to
play, thus evidencing at least 11 HCP’s. Both imply a stopper in the overcalled suit.
Ex. 1NT 2H 2NT (Invitational to 3NT)
1NT 2D 3NT (To Play)
d. A bid of any suit other than the overcalled suit is to play (“drop dead”) and is not Stayman even if it happens to be Clubs.
Ex. 1NT 2H 2S (To Play)
1NT 2D 3C (Natural, to Play, Not Stayman)
2. RESPONSES TO PARTNER’S 1NT OVERCALL - Your LHO (Left-hand Opponent) has opened 1 of
a suit, and partner has overcalled 1NT.
a. A Cue-bid of Opener’s suit is Stayman seeking a 4-card fit in one or both of the Major Suits.
Ex. 1D 1NT P “2D” (Stayman for Both Majors)
1H 1NT P “2H” (Stayman for Spades)
b. Any suit bid, other than the opener’s suit, is natural and to play.
Ex. 1H 1NT P 2S (To Play)
1H 1NT P 2C (Natural, To Play, Not Stayman)
c. A bid of 2NT is invitational (9‑10 HCP's) as if the opening bid had not been made, and 3NT is to
play, thus evidencing at least 11 HCP’s. Both imply a stopper in opener’s suit.
Ex. 1H 1NT P 2NT (Invitational with a Heart Stopper implied)
1H 1NT P 3NT (To Play, with a Heart Stopper implied)
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“2C” OPENING BIDS
A “2C” opening bid is the only strong opening 2-Bid. All others, 2D, 2H and 2S, are weak and
pre-emptive (Refer to Lesson 3). The “2C” opening bid is strong, Artificially Conventional, and is Forcing.
A. Requirements: Either: 1. With a Balanced Hand: (22‑24 HCP's) (Ex. AKQX AQX AXX KJX)
(Refer to Lesson 1) (25‑27 HCP’s ) (Ex. AKJX AKX AJX AQX)
2. With an Unbalanced Hand: (Refer to Lessons 2 & 7)
25 HCP's with a good 5‑Card suit (Ex. AKQXX AKXX AKQ X)
23 HCP’s with a good 6‑Card suit (Ex. AKJXXX AKX KJX A)
21 HCP's with a good 7‑Card suit (Ex. AQJXXXX KQX AKQ)
Either of the two types of above-listed hands are opened "2C”. Partner may not Pass. The differentiation as to which of the above‑listed, two types of hands is disclosed to the responding partner by opener’s rebid.
B. Rebids By Opener:
1. With a Balanced Hand: Rebid NT at cheapest available level.
2. With an Unbalanced Hand: Rebid the preferred 5‑, 6‑, or 7‑Card suit at the cheapest level.
C. Responses of Partner To "2C” Opening Bid ‑ Responder may not pass. The "2C" opening bid is forcing
upon the partnership to either 2NT or 3 of a suit.
1. 0‑7 HCP's ‑ Bid "2D" - (FIRST NEGATIVE RESPONSE ) - Is Artificial; i.e., says nothing about
the Diamond suit. (Remember, bidding is forced at least to 2NT)
2. 8-9 HCP"s ‑ Bid either: (1) 2H, 2S, or 3C (POSITIVE RESPONSE) - evidences a 5‑Card suit.
(Game guaranteed) Opening bidder will then disclose his/her hand as to
either a suit (unbalanced) or NT (balanced) orientation and the bidding
is then kept open by both partners until game is reached.
(2) 2NT (POSITIVE RESPONSE ) - A default bid in the absence of
5‑Card Heart, Spade or Club holding. The opening "2C” bidder then
takes control until game is reached.
3. 9+ or more HCP's ‑ Jump the bidding into preferred suit or NT revealing Slam probabilities.
Opening "2C” bidder then takes control.
D. The Second Response (Rebid) by The Responder to a "2C" Opening Bid ‑ Remember, the bidding must be
kept open until at least the 2NT level.
a. 0‑4 HCP's ‑ Rebid "2NT" over openers 2H or 2S rebid DOUBLE NEGATIVE RESPONSE or Pass if opener rebids 2NT. (Remember, Opening "2C”forces to "2NT".) Opening “2C" bidder then takes control.
b. 5-7 HCP's ‑ Rebid anything other than "2NT” (Double negative) to show point count. Game is probable. Either support partner's suit or bid your own best suit; i.e., whichever is your longest. Opening "2C” bidder then takes control. (Game is usually likely)
- 27 -
The “CAPELETTI” CONVENTION
Many methods can be employed when an opponent has opened the bidding with a 1NT call and you, as the opposition, are interested in interfering with the bidding, or competing, by placing an overcall in either the direct or balancing positions. Among others, these methods include Natural Bids, as well as the Brozel, Landy, Twerb, Capeletti and the D.O.N.T. Conventions.
Definition: ‑ A defense system used to overcall against an opening 1 NT bid by the opponents. It may be
used in either the direct or in the balancing position dependent upon partnership agreement.
Many partnerships play it only in the direct position.
Ex. 1NT ??? (or) 1NT P P ???
A. “DOUBLE” - A take‑out double evidencing an equivalent or better hand as to both points and
distribution; i.e., usually a balanced hand with 15‑17 HCP's. Partner may opt to:
(a) pass and convert the double to a penalty double, or
(b) bid a preference suit to play (partnerships can have an understanding that all bids are natural, or they can play front of card; i.e., Stayman and transfers be on, by mutual consent.
Responder’s decision. as to (a), or (b) above depends upon Responder’s HCP’s,
distribution, and the vulnerability. The less HCP's responder has, the more imperative
it be that responder must not pass, else the double stand as a penalty double.
B. "2 C" ‑ A conventional artificial bid evidencing an unspecified one‑suited hand. Responder
must bid a "puppet" bid of "2D" allowing originating partner to then rebid his/her suit
of choice (usually 6 pieces or more in length), 2H, 2S, 3C or Pass (for Diamond
selection) to play.
C. "2 D" ‑ A conventional artificial bid evidencing both majors, each one at least a 5‑card suit in
length. Responder then chooses between the two by bidding either 2H or 2S.
Originator may then. either pass, invite to game, or bid game directly once responder
has made his/her preferential selection.
D. "2 H" ‑ A conventional bid evidencing both a 5‑card or better heart suit and a 5‑card or
better unspecified Minor suit. Partner passes if he/she likes the Heart suit, or bids an
artificial "2NT" to ask originating partner to bid his/her Minor suit of preference.
E. "2 S" ‑ A conventional bid evidencing both a 5‑card or better spade suit and a 5‑card or
better unspecified Minor suit. Responses by the partner are as in D above.
F. "2 NT" ‑ A conventional artificial bid showing two 5‑card or better Minor suits (So-Called
"UNUSUAL NO TRUMP”). Responder then chooses between Clubs or Diamonds
based upon his/her preference.
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RESPONSES TO PARTNER’S OPENING WEAK 2-BID
1. RAISES IN PARTNER’S SUIT:
a. A Single Raise in Partner's Suit ‑ "RONF" ("Raise Only Non‑Force") A further defensive blocking
bid especially effective when used after an opponent’s intervening take‑out double. Such a bid is never
invitational to game; rather, alternatively, it is a furtherance of what is assumed to be a pre-emptive
interference with the opponent’s hand. It is rarely made with the intention of the contract being made,
rather, alternatively, with the presumption that the hand really belongs to the opponents.
Ex. 2S Dbl. 3S (or) 3D P 4D (or) 3H P 5H
b. A Jump Raise to Game ‑ Made either pre‑emptively (Same as in a. above) to further the pre-emptive block or with game‑going values and a presumption that the contract is to be made.
Ex. 2H Dbl. 4H (or) 3C P 5C
In both (a) and (b) above, when used pre‑emptively, the responding partner is likely to have multiple cards, (3 or more), in partner's pre‑emptive suit and little additional outside strength. When used as a game‑going bid, however, the strength necessary is obvious as it must be coupled with partner's stated 6‑card suit and 5‑11 HCP's. It would, therefore, represent a better than opening HCP count since pre-emptive opener has shown less than a full opening hand.
2. BIDS OTHER THAN RAISES IN PARTNER'S SUIT: ALL ARE FORCING
a. A 3NT or Game Bid in a New Suit ‑ Either are Siqn‑offs spoken to play as stated.
Ex. 2S P 3NT (or) 2H P 4S (or) 2D P 4H
b. Any Switch in Suit Below Game Level (Remember "RONF") ‑ Absolutely Forcing. Asks partner for further information as listed herein: Responses are mandatory as shown:
(1) With 3‑cards in new suit stated by responder = Raise responder one level in responder's suit.
(2) With 2‑cards in new suit stated by responder = Bid cheapest NT.
(3) With 1 card or void in new suit stated by responder = rebid opener's suit.
Based upon opener's response as in (1), (2), or (3) above, responder will then place the contract.
- 28a -
RESPONSES TO PARTNER’S OPENING WEAK 2-BID
c. “2NT” ‑ "OGUST CONVENTION" ‑ An artificial Conventional bid requesting a further description of opener's hand as follows: This format is used when using a point count system of bidding.
(1) With 5‑7 HCP's and 1 of the top three honors in opener's suit = bid “3C” (artificial)
(2) With 5‑7 HCP's and 2 of the top three honors in opener's suit = bid “3D” (artificial)
(3) With 8‑11 HCP's and 1 of the top three honors in opener's suit = bid “3H” (artificial)
(4) With 8‑11 HCP's and 2 of the top three honors in opener's suit = bid “3S” (artificial)
(5) With 8‑11 HCP's and 3 of the top three honors in opener's suit = bid “3NT” (artificial)
Based upon opener's response as in (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) above, responder will place the final contract.
- 29 -
JACOBY TRANSFER BIDS
There are four (4) circumstances that exist wherein it is advantageous to playing Jacoby transfer bids. They are as follows:
(1) Transfer bids are used to insure the circumstance such that the player with the strong hand; i.e., the opening NT bidder, will be the declarer and, thus, the player whose hand remains concealed to the opponents. This has an added benefit such that the opponent’s opening lead will come towards any tenace, not through existing ones. Natural auctions such as: 1NT-P-2S, INT-P‑3H , or, 1NT-P‑4S, auctions which do not utilize Jacoby transfers, often result in contracts being played from the "wrong side" of the table. With Transfer bidding, however, the lead by the opponents comes into the high card holding of the NT opener instead of piercing his/her high card strength; and, with the strong hand concealed, the defense for the opponents is, thus, made that much more difficult.
(2) Transfer bids facilitate responder's task of describing two‑suited hands. Consider the following two scenarios both of which would clearly present problems absent Jacoby transfers:
(A) XX KQJXX AQXXX X
Playing Stayman without transfers, responder would be forced to bid “2C” and over a statistically
probable response of 2S would then bid 3H showing 5-pieces and forcing to game. But now, what does
he/she do if opener bids 3NT? Responder has not yet shown the Diamond holding and must guess
whether to pass 3NT or first introduce his/her second suit. Playing transfer bids, however, Responder
first transfers to Hearts by bidding “2D”, and then shows the Diamond suit at the three level. If opener
then bids 3NT, it is most probably the best contract since all of Responders information has been
shared with opener being able to process this information.
. (B) KQXXX AQXXX XX X
With two five‑card Major suit holdings and game-going values Responder can first transfer to spades,
and then jump to 4‑hearts seeking the best fit with what, at the very worst case scenario, must be at
least a 5‑3 fit in one of the Majors since the opening NT bidder can have no fewer than one doubleton.
Pass or 4S
- 30 -
(3) Transfers also solve the problems created by many hands with invitational strength and five‑card or six‑card Major suit holdings. Examples:
(A) AQX QXXXXX XX XX Playing transfers, responder would bid “2D” and then raise
opener’s forced 2H to 3H, inviting opener to continue to 4H with a
1NT “2D” maximum holding of 16-17 HCP’s else to pass with a minimum of
2H 3H 15 HCP's.
4H or Pass
(B) KQJXX XXX XX KXX Playing transfers, responder can bid “2H”, and then invite to game
in either NT or spades by rebidding 2NT over partner's forced
1NT “2H” response of 2S.
(4) With a five‑card Major suit holding and, game‑going values, Responder can utilize a combination of transfer bidding coupled with a NT "CHECK BACK" to confirm whether the original NT bidder had two or three cards in the forced Major suit of Responder’s choice.
KXX AQXXX KX XXX 1NT “2D”
The opening INT bidder then either passes the 3NT bid holding only 2 Hearts else corrects to 4H holding
three or four Hearts.
Jacoby transfer bidding is equally applicable over 2NT opening bids.
EX. 2NT “3H” (or) 2NT “3D” (or) 2NT “3D”
3S 4S 3H Pass 3H 3NT
One may choose to utilize "Two‑way Jacoby Transfers", "Three‑way Jacoby Transfers" or "Four-way Jacoby Transfers". It is simply by partnership understanding and mutual agreement.
a) 2‑Way Jacoby Transfers b) 3‑Way Jacoby Transfers c) 4‑Way Jacoby Transfers
"2D" = Hearts "2D" = Hearts "2D" = Hearts
"2H" = Spades "2H" = Spades "2H" = Spades
"2S" = “Minor Suit "2S" = Clubs
Stayman”(Preference) "3C" = Diamonds
NOTES: 1. The way to handle a 6‑4 Major suit holding using both Stayman and Jacoby Transfers:
AXXXXX KQXX AX X INT “2C” AXXX AQXXXX X XX 1NT “2C”
“2D” 4S “2D” 4H
2. The way to handle a 5‑4 Major suit holding using both Stayman and Jacoby Transfers:
AXXXX AKXX XXX X INT ”2C” AKXX KQXXX XX XX INT “2C”
“2D” 3S “2D” 3H
- 31 -
NON-FORCING AUCTION SEQUENCES
Recognition as to the non‑forcing nature of any sequence of bidding is vital in partnership communication and understanding. Many bidding sequences exist which permit one or the other of the partners to drop the bidding. Before passing in such a non‑forcing auction sequence, however, a player should be satisfied that a game contract is unlikely. He/she should also be sure that there not be a safer superior part‑score. The following are examples of many such sequences which do not force the partnership into further bidding:
1. 4S Dbl. P ?? Any double of a pre‑emptive bid at a level of 4S or above is for penalties (lesson #5)
and is, therefore, not a take‑out double. (See Lesson 27 #1, #2)
2. 1H P 1S P The opening Heart bidder has limited his hand to 13‑15 HCP's and has denoted a
2H P 2S P holding of six Hearts. The Spade responder, knowing same, has opted to over-ride
?? the Hearts speculating that his Spades are the better spot. The 2S bid is a "drop-
dead" demand. (See Lesson 27 #3)
3. 1S Dbl. 2S ?? Responder to the take-out double would normally have been forced to bid if the 2S
bidder had not made a bid other than a Pass, even with as few as 0 HCP’s. In this
situation, however, where subsequent to the Double, there was an intervening bid, doubler’s partner is no
longer under such a mandatory obligation. If he/she does now bid freely over the 2S bid, he/she is taking
what is referred to as a “Free-Bid” and is showing at least 6HCP’s. (See Lesson 27 #4)
4. 1D P 1NT P The "INT" response to an opening bid of one of any suit limits the responder to 6-10
?? HCP's. Under these circumstances the opener, who would otherwise be under the
obligation to make a rebid, may pass if he/she computes that no game is possible.
(See Lesson 27 #5)
5. 1C P 1H 1S The opener is normally obligated to present a rebid if responder bids any bid
?? evidencing 6‑18 HCP’s; i.e., anything other than a "1NT" or a simple raise in
opener’s suit, both of which would evidence a limited 6‑10 HCP’s. Here, however, since player #4 has interjected an overcall, the opener, if having only a minimum of 13‑15 HCP's may elect to pass since player #3 has an opportunity to rebid should he/she so choose made possible by the 1S call by player #4. If, however, the opener does elect to rebid, under these circumstances, he/she is showing a “Free-Bid” which evidences at least 16 HCP's. (See Lesson 27 #6)
6. 1H 1NT P 2S The responder to the 1NT overcall (15‑17 HCP's) has computed that game
P ?? is not feasible and has, therefore, placed the contract. (lesson 21 #2) Player #4
may have as few as 0 HCP's. His/her 2S bid is, therefore, a "drop dead" bid.
(See Lesson 27 #7, #8)
7. 1NT P 4NT P Over a 1NT opening, a "4NT" response is a quantitative bid asking partner to “Pass”
?? with a minimum 15 HCP's, and to bid "6NT" with a maximum 16‑17 HCP's
(Lesson #1). (See Lesson 27 #9)
8. 2H P 3H P A raise of a pre‑emptive bid is not invitational. It is, rather, a furtherance of the
?? pre‑empt. It is not forcing (Lesson #3). (See Lesson 27 #10, #11)
- 32 -
9. 1C 1H 1S 2D Any new suit bid by responder to an overcall is not forcing (lesson #12).
P ?? It is merely a competitive bid and a denial of support for the original overcall.
The only forcing bid that responder to an overcall can make is a cue-bid of the first
bid suit by the opponents. (See Lesson 27 #12)
10. 1H P INT P The NT bidder has limited his hand to 6‑10 HCP's and the opener shows a limited
2D P ?? minimum of 13‑15 points by bidding a new lower-ranking suit at the cheapest
level. Game is not likely and so opener is simply asking responder to choose
either Diamonds by passing or else to correct to 2H if Hearts are preferred.
11. 1NT P “2C” P The NT opener, in response to the "2C" Stayman search has denied a 4-card
“2D” P 2H/2S P Major by virtue of the "2D" bid. The responder is then placing a sign-off
?? "drop dead" bid of 2H or 2S with what must be a maximum of 8 HCP's (No
game feasible, and either a 4‑card Spade/5‑card Heart suit in the first instance, or a 4‑card Heart/5‑card Spade suit in the second instance.)
12. 1NT P “2D” P Responder has a 5‑card heart suit (By virtue of his Jacoby “2D”transfer) and has
2H P 2NT P 9‑10 HCP's by virtue of his 2NT rebid. Opener will either (a) Pass with only two
?? hearts and a minimum 15 HCP's, or bid 3NT with a maximum 16‑17 HCP's;
else go to 3H if he/she has a 3‑card heart. support for responder's five Hearts
with 15 HCP's or bid 4H with 3‑card support and a maximum of 16‑17 HCP's (Lesson #25)
(See Lesson 27 #13)
13. 1H 1NT Dbl. P Any Double over a direct 1NT overcall is for penalties and requires a Pass from
?? Partner. It is never a negative double requiring a response. (Lesson #5)
(See Lesson 27 #14)
14. 1H P 2H P A single level raise of partner's opening suit bid guarantees both support and a
?? limited 6‑10 HCP's. As in (#4.) above, if opener has a minimum 13‑15 HCP
opening hand, game is not probable and so opener may pass.
15 1S P 2S P Responder initially evidenced 6-10 HCP’s. He/she may pass this invitation to
3S P ?? game with only 6‑7 HCP's but must accept the invitation and will correct to 4S if
holding a maximum of 8‑10 HCP's.
16. 1D P 1S P Opener has limited his/her hand to a 13‑15 HCP minimum opening and if
2D P ?? Responder is willing to accept the suit and if no game is probable he/she may pass.
17. 1C P 1H P Opener has limited his/her hand to a 13‑15 HCP minimum opening and has
2H P ?? accepted responder's suit. If responder feels no game be feasible, he/she may pass.
18. 1NT P 2NT P Responder has invited opener to bid 3NT if 16‑17 HCP's are held by opener. If,
?? however, opener has a minimum (15 HCP's) he/she passes the invitation
19. 1NT P “2C” P Responder has invoked Stayman and has found a favorable response of Hearts.
2H P 3H P The 3H bid is now an invitation to the 4 level. If the opener has a maximum of
16‑17 HCP's he/she bids 4H. If, alternatively, he/she holds only 15 HCP's,
he/she passes (lesson #17).
- 33 -
20. 1H P 4H P The 4H bid is a pre‑emptive bid usually made with at least a 5‑card support for
?? partner’s opening suit along with about 8‑10 HCP's. Opener must pass unless
there is a potential slam.
21. 1H P 3NT P Responder shows a 16‑18 HCP hand without support for opener's suit. Unless
?? opener feels there is slam in the hand, or chooses to correct to 4H without counting
upon any Heart support from partner, opener will pass.
22. “2C” P “2D” P Responder has bid both a first ("2D") negative (0‑7 HCP's) and a second
2H P “2NT” P ("2NT") negative (0‑4 HCP's) which opener may choose to pass. (Lesson #22)
23. 1H P 1NT P Opener has evidenced a 16‑18 HCP's with a 6-card Heart holding. If responder has
3H P ?? lower limit (6‑7 HCP's) of his original 6‑10 1NT response, game is not likely and so
responder may pass.
24. P P 1H P The 1S bidder has previously passed showing less than an opening bid. The 1S
1S P ?? bidder has also denied support for Hearts. If the original 1H bidder has merely a
minimum 13 Point or less opening hand there is not likely to be game and so he/she
may accept the 1S contract.
25. P P 1C P The 2NT responder, being a previously passed hand, shows no 4‑card
2NT P ?? Major and 11‑12 HCP's. The 1C opener possibly having a sub‑minimum
opening hand, and realizing game is, thus, not likely, may pass. If he/she has a full
opening count he/she has the option to then proceed to 3NT.
26. 1D P 3NT P The "4C” bid immediately following a NT bid is Gerber asking for Aces. A “4NT”
“4C” P “4H” P bid by the Gerber‑invoking partner is a sign‑off NT escape having determined that
4NT slam is not feasible (Lesson #8).
27. “2C” P “2D” P Opener has shown 22‑23 HCP's and an evenly balanced hand. (See Lesson 1)
2NT P ?? If responder has 0‑3 HCP's game is not likely and so responder may pass.
28. 1D P 1NT P The 1NT responder has already evidenced 6‑10 HCP’s. The opener, by virtue of
2D P 3C P the rebid of Diamonds at the 2‑level has shown a minimum 13‑15 HCP hand.
Game is not feasible, the NT bidder has no tolerance for the Diamond suit, is
probably void in same, and is escaping to his/her 6‑card Club suit. Opener must pass.
29. 1NT P “2H” P In this bidding scenario, the responder has game values and a 5-5 distribution in the
2S P 4H P Majors along with game-going values. Knowing the 1NT opener to have at least
?? three, if not four, of one of the Majors, the 1NT bidder is given the choice of
passing 4H or correcting to 4S if he/she so chooses as the preferred game contract.
30. 1NT P “2C” P Responder has game values plus a 4‑card suit in one Major and a 6‑card suit in the
“2D” P 4H/4S P other. Having failed to find a 4‑card Major suit in opener’s hand, Responder bids
?? four of the 6-card Major suit knowing that the opener has at least two of them.
Partner who opened 1NT must pass the 4H or 4S choice of the responder.
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FORCING AUCTION SEQUENCES
Recognition as to the forcing nature of any bidding sequence is just as vital in partnership communication and understanding as were the non-forcing bidding sequences presented in lesson 26. Many such forcing bidding sequences exist. All such sequences do not permit one or the other of the partners to drop the bidding. Such forcing bids by partner need to be recognized as either requiring at least one further bid from partner or else as being forcing to game. The following are examples of many such sequences which force the partnership and cannot be passed.
1. 4H Dbl. P ??? Any double of a pre‑emptive bid of 4H or below is for the purpose of a take‑out,
and is not for penalties. (Lesson 5). Partner may, of course, selectively choose to pass and, thereby, convert the take‑out to a penalty scenario. Devoid of this desire, however, partner must not pass, rather must bid. (See Lesson 26 #1)
2. 4S “4NT” P ??? Since a double of a pre‑emptive bid of 4S is for penalties (see Lesson 26 #1),
"4NT" is the conventional bid used to denote an intent of a take‑out double which is
a demand that partner bid his/her longest suit.
3. 1H P 1S P Responder is forcing to game. His/her 1S bid shows four Spades, so his
2H P 3S P 3S bid evidences six Spades. Responder could have chosen to bid 2S which
??? would have been a “drop dead” scenario. The opener must thus choose to either bid
4S having two Spades, or alternatively, 3NT. (See Lesson 26 #2)
4. 1D Dbl. P ??? This take‑out double is forcing upon player #4 since there was no intervening bid
by player #3. Responder to the double must bid with as few as 0 HCP's.
(Lesson 6, See Lesson 26 #3)
5. 1B P 2NT P Responder’s 2NT jump has shown 13‑15 HCP's and the partnership is forced to bid
??? until the game level is reached. (See Lesson 26 #4)
6. 1C P IH P The opening bidder guarantees a rebid if responder makes any response other than
??? a limiting bid of 1NT or 2 of opener’s suit. Any new suit mentioned evidences 6‑18
HCP's. Responder may indeed intend to force the bidding to game and therefore requires the opportunity to do so. Opener must rebid to guarantee this possibility. (See Lesson 26 #5)
7. 1H 1NT P 3S Responder to the 1NT (15‑17 HCP's) has jumped the bidding evidencing a desired
P ??? game for their partnership. He/she has shown five Spades and is looking for a 4S
bid if the 1NT bidder has three Spades in support, else 3NT. (See Lesson 26 #6)
8. 1H 1NT P 2H Bidding opener's suit, responder to the 1NT overcall is bidding Stayman showing a 4‑card Spade suit (implied). Any other suit would have been natural, including
Clubs. Partner is forced to bid either 2S with a matching 4‑card Spade suit, else
2NT with 15 HCP's or 3NT with 16‑17 HCP's.
9. INT P “5NT” P The “5NT” response to a 1NT opening bid is a slam force quantitative bid. It asks
the opener to bid 6NT with a minimum of 15 HCP's and to bid 7NT with a maximum opening of 16‑17 HCP's. (See Lesson 26 #7)
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10. 2H P “2NT” P A response of "2NT" over a pre‑emptive 2‑bid is forcing for one round asking
??? opener to bid any outside feature (An Ace or a King) or alternatively to bid 3 of
his/her opening suit without any outside feature (lesson #24). (See Lesson 26 #8)
11. 2H P 2S P Any suit bid over partner's pre‑emptive 2‑bid is forcing. (See Lesson 26 #8)
??? Opener may support responder's suit with 3-pieces, bid NT with 2-pieces, or go
back to his/her opening suit with 0-1 pieces of responder’s suit. (Lesson #24).
12. 1C 1H 1S 2C The only forcing response to an overcall is a cue‑bid of the first bid suit by the
P ??? opponents (Lesson #12). Such a cue‑bid is a confirmation of support for the
overcaller's suit and is an invitation to game if the overcaller has overcalled with an
equivalent opening 13 HCP's or better. If the responder, in this circumstance, had not wanted to invite to game he/she could just have responded 2H. and simply competed without having invited to game as such.
13. 1NT P “2D” P The "2D" Jacoby transfer promises five Hearts, and the jump to 3NT promises
2H P 3NT P game with at least 11 HCP's opposite the 1NT opening. The 1NT opener either
?? passes the 3NT with only two Hearts, or else corrects to 4H if holding a 3‑card or
4‑card support of Hearts (Lesson #25). (See Lesson 26 #12)
14. 1D 1S Dbl. P Any double after a suit overcall, opposite an suit bid by the opener, is a negative
?? double demanding a rebid by the opener (Lesson #5). It guarantees at least a 4‑card
suit in the other Major (if the overcall were one of the Majors), or a 4‑card suit in
both Majors (if the opening bid and the overcall suits were both Minors).
15. 1NT/2NT P “4C” P The “4C” response to a 1NT or a 2NT opening bid is Gerber and asks
?? for a response as to the number of Aces held by the opener (Lesson #8).
16. 3NT P “4C” P The "4C" response after a Gambling 3NT attempt asks partner to pass if Clubs
?? were opener's long minor suit or to correct to 4D if that were opener's suit.
Responder is escaping into opener's Minor suit at the 4-level since he/she does not
have both Major suits stopped to compliment opener's stated 7‑card self‑sufficient Minor suit headed by the
A-K-Q which was guaranteed by the gambling "3NT" original opening call.
17. IH 2C P P Opening partner has made a re‑opening double usually meant as a take-out double.
Dbl. P ?? Responding partner must either pass, thereby converting it to a penalty double, or
else bid his/her longest suit if penalties are not possible.
18. 1NT P “2C” P Responder has game-going values plus a 4‑card Spade suit and a 5‑card Heart
“2D” P 3H P suit. Opener must either correct to 3NT having only 2‑Hearts or 4H holding
?? three or more Hearts (Lesson #17).
19. “2C” P ”2D” P The “2C” strong, artificial and forcing 2‑bid is always forcing upon the responder
2S P ?? until the bidding reaches at least 2NT or 3 of a suit. The first negative "2D" bid by
the responder evidences 0‑7 HCP's. Even if the responder has the lower limit of this 0‑7 HCP range; i.e., 0‑4 HCP's, he/she must bid once more. The correct second negative would be "2NT" (Lesson #22).
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20. ID P 2S P The opening bidder is obligated to respond to any call given by the responder with
?? the exception of the limited responses of either 1NT or else a raise by one level of
opener's suit, 2D in this instance; or if the forth hand chooses to overcall thereby relieving opener of this obligation. In this instance, however, not only does this rule apply such that the
opener must bid again, but we have here a jump shift by the responder evidencing 19 HCP’s or more which
shows the likelihood of slam in this hand (Lesson #18).
21. INT “2D” P ?? This is a Capeletti Convention overcall over the opening 1NT opening bid. All
such Capeletti bids are artificial and require action by the partner, in this instance
a choice of Major suits; i.e., 2H or 2S. (See Lesson #23)
22. 1H P 3H P When the opponents have taken an obvious sacrifice, a so‑called "Pass" by
4H 4S "P" P partner is deemed a "FORCTNG PASS" and obligates partner to either bid on
?? (to "5H" in this instance) or to "Double" for penalties.
23. 1H P 2C P The opening bidder has shown at least 16 Points by virtue of his/her reverse bid.
2S P ?? Responder, on the other hand, has shown at least 11 HCP’s by virtue of his/her
having originally responded at the 2‑level. The partnership is, thus, irrevocably forced to continue the bidding until game is finally reached in a mutually-agreeable contract.
24. 1H P 1NT P The opening bidder has shown at least 19 Points by virtue of his/her jump-shift.
3C P ?? The responder, in addition, has shown 6‑10 HCP's with the original 1NT call.
The partnership is, thus, committed to game with at least 26 HCP’s having been evidenced, and the bidding must continue by both partners until game is reached (Lesson #18).
25. 1C P 1H P Any new suit mentioned by responder is forcing upon the opener. The opener must,
1S P 2D P therefore, bid once more. He/she could bid 2H with three pieces, or could rebid
??? Clubs with five pieces, could rebid Spades if holding six Clubs and five Spades, or
2NT in the absence of any of the previously-mentioned possibilities; but under no circumstance, is opener allowed to pass this new suit call by responder.
26. 1H P “4D” P A double jump by responder to an opening one of a suit bid is called a
?? “SPLITNTER” bid. It shows support for partner's opening suit, 13‑15 HCP's
(Game) and a singleton or void in the bid suit; i.e., first or second round control of the suit mentioned. Opener may sign-off at game in the agreed-upon suit or else attempt to bid on to a possible slam with this additional information.
27. 1D P 2H P A jump shift (19 HCP's) opposite an opening bid is forcing to a probable likely
??? slam. (Lesson #18)
28. 1H P “4NT” P This is an obvious Blackwood Convention call obligating opener to answer as to
?? the number of Aces held by opener. This request by responder may not be passed.
29. 1C P 1H P The bidding is forced in this sequence not only by virtue of the new suit bid by the
2C P 2S P responder, but additionally by the fact that the responder has reversed. In this
??? instance, the bidding is forced to game when responder reverses opposite an
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30. 1D 1S Dbl. P This double is a negative double and unless player #4 bids, opener is obligated
??? to take another bid.
31. 1H P 2H “2NT” The "2NT" overcall is a so‑called “UNUSUAL NO TRUMP” bid. It denotes
P ?? a double Minor suit holding of at least a 5‑5 length or longer. Partner must
choose between Clubs or Diamonds as long as there is no intervening bid which would automatically relieve him/her of this obligation.
32. 1H P 3H P Any new suit presented by the Blackwood invoking partner at the 5‑level asks
“4NT” P “5D” P the responder to bid 5NT. It is the escape mechanism used in the Blackwood
“5S” P ??? Convention system enabling the partnership to return to a No Trump contract
when the slam attempt is aborted and a No Trump final contract is desired. (See Lesson #8)
33. P P 1H/1S P If the partnership agrees to play the Drury Convention (Lesson #4), the third‑hand
“2C” P ?? Major suit opener must answer the artificial “2C” bid with "2D" if the hand was a
sub‑minimum third-hand position opening hand, or else 2H/2S if holding a full 13 Point or more opener.
34. 1S P 2H P Once a suit has been established, (Hearts in this instance), the bid of any new suit is
3H P 4D P mention of the cheapest Ace (Cue-bidding) to be continued, in kind, by the partner.
??? This is an example of an alternate Ace‑asking device other than the Gerber or
Blackwood Conventions and is usually used when the Ace-asking partner has a void or a worthless doubleton holding thereby diminishing the value of the Gerber and Blackwood Ace-asking conventions since the answer received would, in most instances be useless relative to the void or worthless doubleton held by the inquiring partner.