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General Considerations:


a.      Strength ‑ High cards points only (never distribution) are counted. The presence of a

                        5­-card suit is worth one point, and the presence of tens can also be taken into

                        account.   The system is based upon 26 HCP's = Game, 34 HCP's =  Small

                        Slam, and 37 HCP's = Grand Slam.

     b.   Distribution ‑ Only balanced hands; i.e., no voids, no singletons, and not more than one

                                doubleton, qualify. (Examples: 4‑3‑3‑3, 4‑4‑3‑2, 5‑3‑3‑2)

                 (1) The 5‑card suit is rarely a Major suit.

(2)   Distributional exception: (5‑4‑2‑2) Where the two doubletons are Major suits   

      headed by an Ace or a King (Example: KX  AX  KJXX  AQXXX).

c.      Location Of Strength ‑ The concentration of honors, presence of any tenaces (AQ, KJ, etc.),     

                                          or the holding of a worthless doubleton are rarely considered.




a.   0‑12 HCP’s      Pass

b. 13‑14 HCP's      Bid one of a preferred 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      Open 2NT

f. 23‑24 HCP’s      Open “2C”(Strong, Artificial, and Forcing) and rebid 2NT

q. 25‑27 HCP's      Open "2C" (Strong, Artificial, and Forcing) and jump to 3NT

h. Gambling "3NT" ‑ Holding a 7‑Card self‑sufficient Minor suit (Example: AKQXXXX )

                                        If partner has stoppers in both Majors and two (2) quick tricks or better, 

                                        he/she passes.   Alternatively, he/she) bids "4C" (The pre‑arranged

                                        escape) and opener either passes or bids "4D" to escape the doomed

                                        3NT gamble.





a    0‑8  HCP's ‑   Pass

b.  9‑10 HCP's ‑   Bid 2NT ‑ Invites Partner to Pass with a minimum (15 HCP's) or to bid

                            3NT with a maximum (16 or 17 HCP's)

c. 11‑15 HCP's ‑   Bid 3NT

d. 16‑17 HCP's ‑   Bid "4NT" (Quantitative) Invites partner to Pass with a minimum (15

                             HCP's), or to bid 6NT with a maximum (16‑17 HCP's)   Note: "4NT" is not 

                             Blackwood in this sequence.   Must use Gerber ("4C") to ask for Aces.

e. 18‑19 HCP's    Bid 6NT

f.  20‑21 HCP’s ‑  Bid "5NT" (Quantitative) Requesting partner to bid 6NT with a minimum

 of (15 HCP's) and to bid 7NT with a maximum of (16‑17 HCP's)

g.      22‑23 HCP's ‑  Bid 7NT 

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a. “2C”    Stayman Convention asking for a 4‑Card Major. (“3C”over a 2NT opening)

b. “2D”, “2H”, “2S”, or “3C” ‑ Jacoby Transfer (Alertable) bids.(“3D”, etc. over a 2NT opening)

c. “3D”  -  An invitational bid (Seeking 3NT) with a 6‑Card Minor suit headed by two of the 

                   top three honors and fewer points than would normally elicit game.

d. 3H or 3S ‑ A game force bid holding a 5‑Card Heart or Spade suit, respectively.

e. “4C”    The Gerber Convention, an artificial system,  asking for Aces.

f. 4H or 4S ‑ A close‑out bid with a 6‑Card suit. (Opener can have no fewer than two)

g. 5C or 5D ‑ A close‑out bid with a freak hand holding a long broken Minor suit, probably

                    seven or eight cards in length, with little additional outside honor strength.




(1)   In the direct position. (2nd position relative to the opponent's opening bid of one of a suit) ‑  

      Shows an equivalent hand to a 1NT opening bid with the added feature of at least one, and

      preferably two, stoppers in the opponent's opening previously bid suit.

(2)  In the balancing position (4th position relative to opponent's opening bid of one of a suit) -Shows about 10‑13 HCP's  with at least one stopper in the opponent's opening suit.




(1)   Over a 1H, 1S, or 1NT opening bid ‑ Shows a Minor two‑suited hand with at least a 5‑5      

      distribution ("UNUSUAL NT").   The minimum strength may vary according to

      the vulnerability.   At favorable vulnerability, a 7‑8 HCP hand would be considered adequate.

      At unfavorable vulnerability, both the hand and the suits should be distinctly stronger.

(2)  Over a pre‑emptive opening 2‑Bid ‑ Shows an opening 1NT (15‑17 HCP) hand with at least one, and preferably two, stoppers in opener's pre‑emptive bid suit.




6‑10 HCP's ‑  No support for partner's suit and no 4‑Card Major suit having been by‑passed.  This bid is of great pre‑emptive value by prohibiting the fourth player from bidding at the one‑level.




(1)   Over a Minor suit opening bid ‑ Shows 11‑12 HCP's ‑ An invitational bid which can be passed.    It denies holding a 4‑card or better suit in either Major.

(2)  Over a Major suit opening bid ‑ Shows 13‑15 HCP's ‑ Denies support for partner's suit.




(1)  Over a Minor suit opening bid ‑ Shows 13 ‑15 HCP’s  which denies a 4‑Card or better suit in either Major.

(2)   Over a Major suit opening hid ‑ Shows 16‑18 HCP's and denies support for partner's suit.


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     (Unlike No Trump Bidding, Does Include Distributional Points)





0‑12 HCP’s Pts. = Pass unless Rule of 20 Satisfied in 1st and 2nd positions

   13 HCP’s Pts. = Should open since Rule of 20 will always be satisfied

   14‑15 HCP’s Pts. = Must open 1 of a suit and then rebid:


       (a)  1 No Trump

(b)   2 of one's own suit (if a 5-card or better Minor or a 6-card or better Major)

(c)   Raise partner l level in his/her responding suit

(d)   Pass, but ONLY if there occurs an intervening bid by opener’s RHO (Right-hand opponent)

       (e)  Pass ONLY if partner has limited the combined partnership potential via one of only 

             two limiting bids; i.e., either 1NT or 2 of opener’s bid suit


16‑18 Pts. = Must open 1 of a suit and then rebid:


          (a)  Jump in opener’s own suit

(b)   Jump in Partners suit; i.e., raise him/her two levels of bidding

(c)   Utilize a reverse bid (Ex:  1D   1S)  or  (1H   2D)

                                              2H                 3C


19 Pts. or more = Open 1 of a suit and jump-shift into a second suit




B.    OPENING 2 OF A SUIT:  (“2C”= strong, artificial and forcing)

                                                     when weak two’s (2D,2H,2S) are otherwise used)


25 or more Pts. with a 5‑card suit

23 or more Pts. with a 6‑card suit

21 or more Pts. with a 7‑card suit










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C. OPENER"S REBID:    The second bid (the so‑called "rebid") by the opener, subsequent to his/her opening of one of a suit, is frequently the crucial point in any auction.   It is the first opportunity for opener to more finitely describe his/her hand and becomes the basis by which responder can then proceed.





                                            Examples:        1C    P    1D     P    (or)   1D    P    1H     P

                                                                      ??                                     ??             


(A) A Rebid of 1NT [1D - 1H - 1NT] =  (11-14 HCP’s and a balanced hand)


(B) A Rebid of opener's original suit [1H ‑ 1S‑ 2H] = (11‑15 Points and a 6‑Card suit)


(C)   A Rebid at the one‑level [1C ‑ 1H ‑ 1S] (The most unrevealing of rebids) = 

                Promises 11‑18 Points)


(D)   A Rebid of a lower ranking suit at the 2‑level [1H ‑ 1S ‑ 2C] = (Since 1NT was    

                 by-passed, this usually shows a 2‑suited hand)


(E)    A Reverse; i.e., a rebid of a higher ranking suit at the 2-level [1C ‑ 1H ‑ 2D] = 

                 Usually 16‑18 Points and is encouraging but not forcing)


(F)   A Single raise in responder's suit [1H ‑ 1S ‑ 2S] = (11‑15 Points and at least a        

                 4‑Card support for responder’s bid suit)


(G) A Rebid of 2NT [1H ‑ 1S ‑ 2NT] = (18‑19 HCP's and a balanced hand)


(H)   A Jump rebid in opener's suit [1D ‑ 1H ‑ 3D] = (At least a 6‑card suit and at least 

                16‑18 HCP’s)


(I)    A Jump raise in responder's suit [1D ‑ 1H ‑ 3H] = (16‑18 points and at least a 

                4‑card support for responder’s bid suit)


(J)    A Rebid of 3NT [1H ‑ 1S ‑ 3NT] = (20 HCP's and a balanced hand)


(K)   A Jump‑shift rebid [1D ‑ 1H ‑ 3C] = (An unbalanced hand with at least 19 Points            

                and is game-forcing)


(L)   A jump to game in responder's Major suit [1H ‑ 1S ‑ 4S] = (A 4‑Card support and 

                game values)


(M)  A jump to game in opener's Major suit [1H1S ‑ 4H] = (At least a 7‑Card suit 

                and game values)


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                                            Examples:        1H    P    2D     P    (or)   1D    P    2C     P

                                                                      ??                                     ??


(M)    A Rebid of 2NT [1H ‑ 2C ‑ 2NT] = (An unbalanced hand with 11-14 Points – Is

                 Invitational to GAme


(N)    A Rebid in opener's suit [1D ‑ 2C ‑ 2D] = (A minimum opening bid with a 6‑Card 

                or a very good 5‑Card suit)


(O) A Rebid in a lower ranking suit [1S ‑ 2C ‑ 2D] = (13‑15 Points and is not forcing)


(P)  A Single raise in responder's suit [1H ‑ 2D ‑ 3D] = (A minimum non-forcing rebid)


(Q)    A reverse at the 2‑level [1H ‑ 2C ‑ 2S] = (A game-forcing bid with the first bid   

                suit equal or longer than the second bid suit)


(R)    The rebid of a second suit at the 3‑level ("A HIGH REVERSE") [1H ‑ 2D ‑ 3C]    

              (A game forcing bid evidencing at least 16 HCP’s)


(S)    A jump shift to the three level [1S ‑ 2C ‑ 3D] = (A game-forcing bid approaching



(T)     A jump rebid in opener's suit [1S ‑ 2D ‑ 3S] = (Shows a 6‑Card suit and 16‑18



(U)   A jump raise in responder's suit [1S ‑ 2C ‑ 4C] = (Forcing and presumably a

            4‑card or 5‑card support) [1S ‑ 2H ‑ 4S] = (Shows a hand slightly too good for

                             a 3H rebid and may be as little as a 3‑card support since responder has        

                             promised a 5‑card suit)


(V)   A jump to game in opener's suit [1S ‑ 2D ‑ 4S] = (A strong 6‑Card or better suit

            and no interest in no Trump or responder’s suit)


(W)  A 3NT rebid [1D ‑ 2C ‑ 3NT] = (Equivalent to a 2NT rebid over a one‑over‑one

            level response; i.e., a 18‑19 HCP opening with a balanced hand)











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A.  DEFTNITION:   An opening bid of two or more with a hand containing both a long suit and

                                   a sub‑minimum high-card strength  (5-11 HCP’s)   The bid is usually

                                   defensive in purpose. The pre‑emptive bidder hopes that the hand belongs to

                                   the opponents with the stronger hands and that they find it difficult to bid

                                   accurately when the auction has started at a higher level with one or more

                                   bidding levels have been previously consumed by the pre-emptive bid.




 The third player seat in the auction is in the best position to make an opening pre‑empt.  He/she knows that such a bid cannot pre-empt the first position player since that partner has already limited his/her hand by passing.    The fourth player is almost sure to have the best hand at the table.    Since partner's initial pass makes game unlikely, a sub‑minimum pre‑empt is often very effective.


Next to third chair, pre‑emptive bids by the dealer are the most attractive.   Although they may present difficulty to partner, there are two opponents who may have good hands, and the odds favor that the hand belongs to the opponents.


Second chair is least desirable for opening a pre‑emptive bid.   One opponent has already passed; therefore, the odds are no longer two to one in favor of the opponents having a good hand.   Hence, marginal pre‑empts should always be avoided in second position; i.e., they should be slightly stronger than pre‑empts by the dealer and by the third positioned player.


When opening a pre‑empt in fourth chair, one obviously expects to get a plus score, otherwise one would simply pass the deal out for no score  to either side.   Therefore, fourth chair "pre‑empts" generally suggest the values of a minimum opening one‑bid both offensively and defensively.




(1) LENGTH OF SUIT ‑ A pre‑emptive or weak 2‑bid is usually with a 6‑card suit, a weak 3-

             3-bid is with a 7‑card suit, and an opening 4‑bid is usually with an 8‑card suit.


(2) POSITION AT THE TABLE ‑ Already discussed.


(3)   STRENGTH OF SUIT ‑ The best pre‑empts have a concentration of honor strength in the

            bid suit.   This automatically increases his/her playing strength, decreases the

            danger of suffering a substantial penalty, and decreases the chance of a successful

            defense against an the opponent’s presumed contract.    Weak 2‑Bids usually have 5‑11 

            HCP’s in strength; weak 3‑Bids have about 6‑10 HCP's.



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(4)   VULNERABTLTTY ‑ With favorable vulnerability; i.e., when not vulnerable against 

              vulnerable, the pre‑emptive bid should be within three tricks of the bid within one's

              hand.   With equal or unfavorable vulnerability, the bid should be within two tricks of

              the call. The best way to count winners in pre‑emptive type hands is by counting

              losers and subtracting them from thirteen.




(1) "RONF": (“Raise‑Only‑Non‑Force”) ‑ A raise of partner's pre‑empt bid by one or more

            levels.  Such a bid is not forcing, but rather an attempt to further the obstruction of the 

            opponents who are seen to have the preponderance of points.   It obviously guarantees

            two or more pieces in partner's pre‑empt suit.

(2) “2NT”:  (An artificial and forcing convention asking for a further description of partner's

                hand.) The invoking 2‑NT bidder must have better than an opening hand since the

                pre-empting partner has evidenced a weaker than opening strength.   The responses to

                same are all artificial are declare the following in their responses:


a. "3C" = 5‑7 HCP's and l of the top three honors.

b. "3D" = 5‑7 HCP's and 2 of the top three honors.


c. "3H" = 8‑11HCP's and 1 of the top three honors.

d. "3S" = 8‑11HCP's and 2 of the top three honors.

e. "3NT"= 8‑11HCP's and 3 of the top three honors.


(3)   The Bid Of Any New Suit:   (A strong forcing bid of a better than opening hand with at

          least a 5-card suit in the newly-mentioned suit )   Such a bid asks for one of the 

          following three responses, and no other response


a. Raise the responder's suit one level with three pieces.

b. Bid cheapest NT with two of responder’s suit.

c. Re‑bid opener's suit with one or none of responder's suit.


Responder will then place the contract based upon opener's answers to either (2) or (3) above.


E.    RESPONSES TO A WEAK 3‑BID: ‑ Responder should bend over backwards to play in

            opener's suit, for if one elects to play the contract elsewhere, the dummy is unlikely to be 

            very useful.


(1) 3NT: ‑ A Sign-off. (Opener MUST pass)

(2) A Raise To Game in the pre-empt suit is either pre‑emptive in of itself, or made with game-

                       going values.

(3) Game Bids In a New Suit are a Sign-off. (Opener MUST pass)

(4) Jumps to Five of Opener's Suit (Majors only) are slam tries asking about the quality

                       of opener's trump suit. (With no more than one likely loser in trumps, opener 

                       accepts and proceeds to Slam, else passes.



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A. BACKGROUND:   After two previous passes at the table, the third player may sometimes opt to open the bidding relatively freely; i.e., with several HCP's less than that normally required.  This is partly because of the negation of the responsibility of a rebid (partner has already passed), partly because the bid made may inconvenience the forth player who has yet to have the opportunity to open the bidding (the player who is likely to have the best hand at the table), and partly because partner may utilize the information for lead directing significance should that team ultimately become defenders of an eventual contract by the opponents.


In third seat, after two successive passes, one may open with any holding which would otherwise be good enough to be a sound overcall (even as low as 8‑9 HCP's).   If the answer to the question, "IF MY RIGHT‑HAND OPPONENT WOULD HAVE OPENED 1‑CLUB, USING THE  SUIT  QUALITY  TEST, WITH THIS HOLDING, WOULD I HAVE WANTED TO OVERCALL?", is yes, one should open the hand in third seat.


SUIT QUALITY TEST ‑ A suit is strong enough for an overcall if‑ THE LENGTH IN THE SUIT + THE NUMBER OF HONORS IN THAT SUIT (THE JACK AND TEN ARE COUNTED AS HONORS IF HIGHER HONORS ARE ALSO HELD) = THE NUMBER OF TRICKS TO BE BID.    Thus, if the suit quality = seven (7), the hand would qualify for a super‑light third seat opening bid at the one‑level.


                XX             AQXXX           AKQX

EXAMPLES:      AKlOXX         KIOX            XXX

           (a) QXX       (b)  XX        (c)   XXX

 XXX            QXX             QXXX


       In third seat, players who use a 5‑card major system are likely to open 1H with (a), and 1S with (b & c).   Their reasons are simple.   They want to direct the lead if they become defenders, and their opening pre‑empts most of the bids at the 1‑level from their opponents.   In addition, they are not afraid of being raised on 3‑card support with the 5-card holding as in (a) or (b) above, or even such a fine 4‑card suit as in (c).


In forth seat, after three successive passes, the same principal of opening with a less than sound opening also applies, especially, when the RULE OF 15 (Lesson 15), is employed.




B. PURPOSE:    After passing, the responder to a third or fourth‑chair opening bid faces two special problem in describing his/her hand:

(1) A simple change of suit is no longer forcing (opener knows responder has less than

opening values), so responder cannot make a temporizing bid; opener my pass.

(2)   The opener may well have opened the bidding on a sub‑minimum hand so that a jump       

       response by responder could easily get the partnership too high.


- 9 -


Suppose you pick up (JXX   AXX   KQXXX   JX) and after passing, partner opens 1S in third or forth chair.   What response do you make?   Does partner have a full opening count or perhaps a third-position sub-minimum 10-12 HCP’s?   If you just raise to 2S it is an underbid, and if partner has a 14‑15 point true opening bid, opener would pass and you could be playing in a final inferior part‑score contract.   If , on the other hand, you bid 3S, and opener has a hand as in (b) or (c) above (a sub‑minimum opening), 3S is likely to be too high.   In short, responder does not have a good bid available which will describe the maximum previously-passed hand with support for opener's suit.   Determining the nature (full or sub‑minimum) of partner's third or forth seat opening is crucial in finding the best level of the final contract.   Utilizing the Drury Convention enables responder to show his/her fit and values WITHOUT jumping to the 3‑level.


C. REQUIREMENTS:   To use the Drury Convention, the responder must have both:


a. A previously passing 10‑12 point hand (one just short of the values needed for a minimum

             opening bid) and:

b. Either:          (1) A fit for opener's Major suit third or forth‑seat opening bid or,

                       (2) A good 6‑card Club suit that responder expects to rebid irrespective

of opener's response to the Drury Convention.


D. INVOKING THE CONVENTION:   Responder bids an Artificial "2C" in response to a third or forth chair opening bid.  This 2‑Club response does NOT say anything about responder's Club holding (unless Clubs are subsequently rebid by responder); but simply asks opener whether or not he/she has a full opening bid.


E. RESPONSE BY OPENER:   Opener's primary obligation is to inform responder as to whether or not a full opening bid is present.   The Rebids by the responder are as follows:

1.    "2D" ‑ An Artificial response denying a full opening bid thus evidencing a sub‑minimum

opener.   This bid, being artificial, says nothing about opener's Diamond suit.

2.    2H or 2S ‑ A repeat of opener’s suit evidencing a full opening count.

3.    3C or 3D ‑ A natural rebid with more than full values for the original 1H or IS opening.

4.    3H or 3S ‑ A game-force and slam-interest opening hand with.


F. RESPONSE BY RESPONDER:   Responder, knowing the sub‑minimum, normal, or slam interest value of opener's hand, now takes control and either bids:

1.    2H or 2S ‑ in response to the artificial "2D" response by opener denying a full


2.    3C ‑ A drop dead 6‑card Club suit with no support for partner's stated Major suit.

3.    3H or 3S ‑ Invitational to game

4.    4H or 4S ‑ A sign‑off in response to opener's full opening bid.


G.  SIGNIFICANCE OF RESPONDER’S BID OTHER THAN "2D”:   Since responder is a previously-passed hand, his/her bid is not forcing and can be passed. opener is, therefore, relieved of his/her normal obligation of an opening bidder to keep the bidding open by rebidding something.


H.   OPENER'S RESPONSE TO "2C" AFTER INTERFERENCE BY THE OPPONENTS: A pass should signify a sub-minimum opening and anything else signifies a full normal opening bid.

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A.    BACKGROUND:   Two‑suited hands are generally difficult to describe after the bidding has 

      been opened by the opponents, especially if the hand is very weak.   Often, the opponents bid

      too much too soon for both of the suits to be safely shown, or the bidding dies too soon for

      both suits to be introduced.   The Michael's Cue-Bid describes such a two‑suited hand by

      means of a simple artificial cue‑bid overcall.   It is both a defensive obstructive call, either in

      an attempt to pre-empt the opponent's bidding space, or to lead to a profitable sacrifice against

      their eventual contract, or else an offensive weapon used to seek the best suit for a sought-after

      makeable contract by the invoking partnership.   The Michael’s Cue-bid Convention serves as

      a valuable weapon in one's competitive bidding arsenal.



B.    DEFINITION:   The Michael's Cue‑bid uses a direct cue‑bid of the opponent's suit as a  two-

      suited take-out bid.   It promises at least a 5‑5 or better distribution in each of two suits (With

      a 6‑4 distribution, one is best advised against invoking Michael’s).


1.      1C   “2C”       =     BOTH MAJORS  (At least 5-H and 5-S, or better)


2.      1D   “2D”       =    BOTH MAJORS  (At least 5-H and 5-S, or better)


3.      1H   “2H”       =    THE OTHER MAJOR + AN UNSPECIFIED MINOR  (Either 5-S 

                                    and 5-C, or 5-S and 5-D, or better)


4.   1S    “2S”        =    THE OTHER MAJOR + AN UNSPECIFIED MINOR (Either 5-H 

                                    and 5-C, or 5-H and 5-D, or better)


5.   1H  “2NT”      =    BOTH MINORS (At least 5C‑5D, or better) (The “Unusual NT"

                                   Convention; i.e., the two lower un-bid suits)


6.   1S  “2NT”      =    BOTH MINORS (At least 5C‑5D, or better) (The “Unusual NT"

                                   Convention, i.e., the two lower un-bid suits)



7.   1C  “2NT”      =   THE TWO LOWER UN-BID SUITS, in this case Diamonds and

                                   Hearts, 5-5 or better)


8.   1D  “2NT”      =   THE TWO LOWER UN-BID SUITS, in this case Clubs and 

                                   Hearts, 5-5 or better)





C:  REQUIREMENTS:                                                                                                      - 11 -


1.      Distribution: ‑ At least a 5‑card or better holding in each of two unbid suits.


2.   Strength       ‑ The strength of the hand when Michael’s cue-bid is used falls into one of    

                            two types.  Either one that is very weak, 0-10 HCP’s; else one that is very

                            strong, 16 HCP’s or more.   When the hand is of moderate value, 11-15

                            HCP’s, one should bid the higher-ranking suit first, followed by a rebid of

                            the lower-ranking suit on the next bidding turn.   In this way, responder 

                            can  differentiate the point count of the invoking Michael’s cue-bid user.       

                                        (   See (E.) Below   )


     Examples:   The opponents have opened 1C and you hold the following:


QJ109X   KXXXX   XX   X (bid “2C”and then pass partner’s 2H or

                         2S response)

AK109X   AKJXX   KX   X (bid “2C”and then “3C” over partner’s 2H

                         or 2S response)

AQ109X   KJXXX   AX   X (bid 1S and then rebid 2H at your next   

                         bidding opportunity)


3.      Vulnerability and Level ‑ The more adverse these conditions, the more desirable are either a

                                              greater strength and/or a longer distributional holding.


D. RESPONSES TO MICHAEL’S CUE‑BID:   The partner of the Michael's Cue‑bid should, if

     at all possible, when the bidding permits, take a preference for one of the suits shown by the

     cue‑bidder.   Since partner will have as few as five in each of his/her suits, a 3‑card support is

     more than adequate.   A preference on a doubleton, however, will sometimes be necessary,

     unless responding partner has a 6-card or better fourth suit.



          (a)  1C   “2C”  P   2H    (A preference for Hearts)


  (b)  1D   “2D”  P    2S    (A preference for Spades)


  (c)  1H   “2H”  P    2S    (A preference for Spades)


              (d)  1S   “2S”  P    3H    (A preference for Hearts)


  (e)  1H  “2H”  P  “2NT”  (A preference for the

                     as‑yet-unspecified Minor as opposed

                     to the alternate Major)

  P   3C/3D           (The unspecified Minor is revealed)


(f) 1S  “2NT” P  3C/3D  (A Minor suit preference is chosen)


(g) 1S  “2NT” P  3H (Responder denies request to choose Clubs or Diamonds and, instead chooses his/her 6-card Heart suit.




(a)        (With 0-10 HCP’s) – Pass Chosen Suit by Responder

(b)        (With 16+ HCP’s)  - Cue-Bid Opponent’s Suit Once Again!


- 12 -







(Refer to Lesson 6 ‑ Last Year)            

(For Collateral Information)




A.  CIRCUMSTANCE:   The opponents have opened with one (1) of a suit.  Your partner says:

"DOUBLE".   Your partner thereby evidences an equivalent or better hand in comparison to the opening bidder.   Since you have not yet made a call, your partner’s double is for a take-out.   The partner of the opener passes, and it is your turn to bid.   What are the appropriate bids in response to your partner's take‑out double and what do they signify to the doubler?   Can the responder to the doubler pass, and if so, under what conditions?   What if there is an intervening bid by the partner of the opening bidder?   Does this mitigate the need for doubler’s partner to act?






C.  TYPES OF RESPONSE:  There are basically three (3) types of responses to take‑out doubles:  1) NEGATIVE (weak);  (2) POSITIVE (constructive);  and (3) GAME‑FORCING or GAME‑INVTTATIONAL (strong).


(1) NEGATIVE (WEAK):   (0‑8 HCP's)  ‑ Mention one's best (usually longest) suit amongst those requested with preference given to the unbid Major(s).


                     (a) 0‑5 HCP's ‑ Responder must bid in the absence of an intervening bid

                                              by the partner of the opening bidder, else may pass.


                      AXXX      XXX       XXXX       XXX (2D)  XX

                    XXX (IS)          XXX        X (1S)     JXXX      JXXXX

(1H  Dbl.  P  ???)   XXX       XX (2C)   XX         KXXXX     AXX

                    XXX       QXXX      QJXXXX     XX       XXX (2C)


     (b) 6‑8 HCP's ‑ Responder should bid even if there is an intervening bid by the



       If there is an intervening bid by doubler’s partner’s RHO (opener’s partner), and if responder to the double has 0‑5 HCP's, it removes the obligation of doubler's partner to respond.  Therefore, if, in the presence of an intervening response by opener's partner, doubler's partner DOES bid, it is because he/she WANTS TO,  not because he/she MUST do so.    In bridge terminology, this is called a "free bid".


- 13 -


                                             XXXX          XX  (1H)     XXXX

(1C Dbl. 1D ???)  AQX (1S)      KJXXX        XXXX  (Pass)

                    XXX           QJXX         AXX

                    XXX           XX           XX





(2)  POSITIVE (CONSTRUCTIVE):   (9‑12 HCP’s): ‑ A Jump bid into one's best (usually longest) suit amongst those requested with preference given to the unbid Major(s).


                                           1H    Dbl.    P     ???



                    (a) A single jump bid (9‑12 HCP's) in either Major.           KXX      (2S)




      (b) A single jump bid (9‑12 HCP's) in either Minor (Denies the alternate Major suit).



X         (3D)




(c)   A 1NT response (8‑10 HCP's) ‑ Evidences a relatively balanced hand, a stopper   

      in the opponent's bid suit, and denies four cards in the unbid Major(s).


                1S  Dbl.  P   ???        KXXX

                                         XX     (INT)









    (a)   A Jump shift in an unbid suit (9‑11 HCP's) ‑ Game invitational


                         AKXX   (2S)

            X                1H    Dbl.   P    ???




                    (b)   A Jump to 2NT (11‑12 HCP's) ‑ Evidences at least one stopper in the opponent's

bid suit, and besides denying four cards in the unbid Major suit(s), it invites to game.



XXX    (2NT)       1S  Dbl. P ???




- 14 -


                                                                                   XXXX   (4H)

(c) A Jump to game in a suit (13 or more HCP's)           AKXX               


            1S   Dbl.  P   ???                       XX


               (d) A Jump to 3NT (13‑16 HCP's) ‑ Usually a double stopper in opponent's suit or a

single stopper with a long running Minor second suit.                    



1S  Dbl.  P   ???                     X

                                       AKXXXX (3NT)


               (e) A Cue‑bid (Forcing to Game) ‑ Denies both four cards in the unbid Major(s), as

well as a stopper in the opponent's bid suit(s).                




1H   Dbl.   P   ???             AKXX   (2H)



(f) "PASS" (The exception noted above) ‑ Equivalent to a penalty double in that it

converts the take‑out to a penalty mode  . It demands a trump lead.   It is only made with a very

strong trump holding, and obvious favorable vulnerability with respect to the anticipated mutually available scores.


                           XX    (PASS)

1S  Dbl.   P   ???        AKX
























- 15 -






A.    CIRCUMSTANCE:   Your partner has opened the bidding with one (1) of a suit and    

                                           your right hand opponent (RHO) has bid a take‑out double.   What

                                           should be your response, and what are the various meanings of that 

                                           which you might call?


B.  TYPES OF RESPONSES:    Basically there are three types of responses necessary under 

                                          these circumstances; i.e., the ability to show (1) a weak pre-emptive

                                          holding, (2) a mildly constructive competitive holding, and (3) a

                                          strong, invitational or better holding.


C.  CONDITIONS:   Two conditions need be examined under which the three previous responses (weak, mildly competitive, and strong) need be exercised; (1) with trump support for partner, and (2) without trump support for partner.  


With Trump Support


(1)   WEAK OR PRE‑EMPTIVE: ‑ (0-5 HCP’s)



                  (A).   A Single Raise of Partner's Suit with slightly weaker values necessary

                                     without the opponent’s intervening double; i.e., 0‑5 HCP's.

                    (Note: Minimum Primary Support; i.e. three pieces of a Major or five of a Minor


                                              KJX        1S   Dbl.   2S







                  QXXXX      1D   Dbl.   2D



                  (B).   A Double Raise (or greater) of Partner's Suit  showing longer than primary      

                                     support for partner’s suit – This bid is pre-emptive and should comply

                                     with the “LAW OF TOTAL TRICKS” in terms of the total number of.

                                     trumps held cumulatively by the partnership.



                       XXX        1S   Dbl.   3S (Nine Trumps)





          JXXXX      1H   Dbl.    4H (Ten Trumps)



- 16 -




     An Initial Pass followed by a Bid on the subsequent round.  Shows a hand with

                                   good defensive strength and stronger values than an immediate support of                

                                   partner's suit as above.



                     QXXX         1S   Dbl.   P    2H

                     QXXX         P      P    2S



(3)   STRONG:  (10 or More HCP’s – A Limit Raise or Better)


            A Immediate Conventional Bid of “2NT” (“JORDAN”) is employed here to

                                show primary support or longer of partner’s suit with at least invitational            

                                strength (Eight Losers or fewer).


                                                KJXX      1S   Dbl.  “2NT”











Without Trump Support



(1)   WEAK OR PRE‑EMPTIVE: ‑ (0-9 HCP’s)


       (A)   A Suit Responsea non‑forcing response with a 5‑card suit at the one (1)

                     level or a 6‑card suit at the two (2) level.




                  KQXXX   1C   Dbl.  1D              






             AXXXXX  1S   Dbl.   2C



             AQXXX   1D   Dbl.   1H (Is especially important to

             XXX                     evidence a 5-card Major)



- 16a -


       (B)   A Jump-Shift Response pre‑emptive with (0-5 HCP’s), no support for    

                    partner, but holding a 6‑card suit or better, and is a "drop dead"      




                       XXX        1S   Dbl.  3D





       (C)  A 1NT Response - A lack of support for partner's bid suit, no particular        

                   suit of one's own, and 7-9 HCP’s.                .




    QXXX         1C   Dbl.  1NT





 (2) STRONG:  (10 or More HCP’s)


A Redouble By Respondershows any strong hand with a point count of 10 HCP's or greater.   Opener, unless he/she has a distributional hand unsuitable for defense, will pass on the next round of bidding thereby allowing the re-doubler to have the opportunity to double for penalties, else to bid on.  Responder will make that subjective decision based upon whether the vulnerability is suitable to allow scoring to exceed that which would have been achieved if, alternatively, the hand were to be played by their partnership instead.




1S     Dbl.   RDbl.   P     A

P     2H      Dbl.          AJXX   (Note: Hand satisfies 

                            KXX      rules of 10 & 12)






1H     Dbl.   RDbl.   P     AJX

P      1S     2NT           XX    












- 16b -






Comparison of Responses to Partner’s Opening Bid of One of A Suit


Holding Trump Support for Partner


(All Principles Below Are for Minor or Major Suit Openings by Partner)


          Without Interference  After Intervening Overcall  After Intervening Take-out Double


             1H                   1H                         1H

                Pass                 1S                          Double

            ????                 ????                       ????




PRE-EMPTIVE      4H                3H or 4H                2H or 3H or 4H


            Shows 4-8 HCP’s           Shows 3-6 HCP’s                   Shows 4-6 HCP’s

           And 5-Card or Greater      and 4-Card or 5-Card         and a 3-Card, 4-Card, or 5-Card

                  Support             Support Respectively              Support Respectively

            (A Distributional)   Losing Trick Count 10 or More     Losing Trick Count 10 or More

            (Pre-Emptive  Bid)




Constructive                                            Pass on First Bidding 


   (or)          2H                   2H                  Opportunity, Then                     


Competetive                                              Bid 2H on Second Bid


             Shows 6-10 HCP’s            Shows 6-10 HCP’s               7-9 HCP’s with Support

        With Support for Partner’s      Support for Partner               for Partner’s Suit

       Suit (At Least 3 Pieces)       Losing Trick Count = 9

       (Losing Trick Count = 8½-9) 






    (or)        3H                   “2S”                      “2NT”




            Shows 11-12 HCP’s         Shows 11 HCP’s or More             Shows 10 HCP’s or More

           Support for Partner         Support for Partner                Support for Partner

          Losing Trick Count = 8   Losing Trick Count = 8 or Fewer        and A Losing Trick

                                      (Is NOT Alertable)                 Count of 8 or Fewer

                                                                          (Called “JORDAN”)

                                                                           (IS Alertable)




- 17 -








A.  DEFINITION:  The bidding of partner's cards in the reopening position, (The so‑called

                                  "PASS-OUT SEAT”, or 4th seat relative to the last previous call or bid      

                                  other than a pass) is commonly called "BALANCING".   It is called this

                                  because the bidding presumes that the partner has the balance of strength.

                                  This presumption is based upon the the opponent's bidding (or, in this case,

                                  the lack thereof) and the points the player in the forth chair is NOT looking      

                                  at in his/her own hand.


Example     (1C/1D/1H/1S)   P   P   ???


                                The use of balancing bids will be a source of considerable profit to a

          partnership when used properly in situations in which the opposing bidding has stopped at

          a low level and where the bidding would otherwise cease.   In order to balance effectively,

          however, it is extremely necessary to make and understand adjustments in the meaning of        

          such competitive tools such as doubles, overcalls, no‑trump bids. cue‑bids, and jump-

          overcalls.  Such tools all have altered meanings when used in the balancing position.




B.  BALANCING DOUBLES:    A balancing double does not promise the same strength and distribution as does a direct take‑out double.  One may make a balancing double with as few as 8‑9 HCP's along with any reasonable holding and support for the unbid suits.


         Suppose, for example, a 1H bid is passed around to you in the fourth seat (balancing chair), and you hold any of the following hands: In all three examples, one should "DOUBLE".


                                                         NOTE: ‑ If 1H were bid to your immediate right, one

(a)  KJIOX  X KlOXX  AQXX        would have doubled with (a), overcalled 2D with (b),

(b)  KX  XX  AKQJX JlOXX       and passed with example (c).  In the balancing seat,

(c) AXX   X  KlOXXX    QlOXX      however, one should double with (a),(b),and (c), and

                                                           then clarifying exactly which of the three one holds   

                                                                     via the rebid.   Thus, if partner does not convert your double to a penalty double by passing; i.e., if partner had previously "TRAP-PASSED", but instead, for example, alternatively bids 1S, you would respond as follows: With


(a)  you will raise to 2S suggesting values for any direct take‑out double.

(b)  you will rebid 2D indicating that you had had a good 2D overcall but elected to double in case partner was "TRAPPING".

(c)  Pass since you have a minimum balancing double.




- 18 -


C.  RESPONSES TO BALANCING DOUBLES: ‑ The response to a balancing double requires better judgment than does bidding over partner's direct take‑out double.   Remember, partner may have made a balancing double on a much wider range of hands; i.e., he/she may not have good support for ail of the unbid suits, and the strength of his/her hand may be considerably below the values required for a direct take‑out double.


(1) A bid of any unbid suit at the cheapest level = 7‑11 HCP's.

(2) Any jump response = a hand with opening strength, previously passed.

(3) A jump to 2NT = A good opening bid with opener's suit well‑stopped.

(4) A jump to 3NT = values for a strong 1NT opening with opener's suit under





D.    BALANCING OVERCALLS: ‑ A constructive alternative to the balancing double is a    

                                                           balancing overcall.   As with a balancing double, a balancing overcall does not require the same strength and suit quality that is necessary for a direct overcall.


1H    P      P       ???


Examples:      (a) JXXXX  XX  AJ10X  Q10      Note: None of these hands meet

                               (b) J10  XXX  KXXXXX  A10      the standard requirements for a

                              (c)  X  XX  Q10XX  AQXXXX                      direct (2D) overcall, but all are

                                                                                      appropriate balancing overcalls              



Frequently, one, will be forced to balance at the one‑level even with a 4‑card suit.


1D  P   P ???


Examples:    (a) KJXX  QX  XXX  QXXX    (1S)

             (b) X  AXXX  JXXX  AXXX   (1H)


       When one balances with an overcall, partner should not get overly enthusiastic. Balancing overcalls are usually the weakest of the actions one may exercise in the balancing chair, and, as noted above, can even be done with a weak hand, a poor suit quality, and even with a 4‑card suit. Even if the previously-passed partner holds a good hand, game is highly unlikely unless in addition to his/her good hand, he/she holds a fit for the balancing partner's suit.



E.    BALANCING JUMP OVERCALLS: ‑ Weak jump overcalls designed to consume enemy   

                                                                       bidding space are no longer needed, since one could simply pass to accomplish this same objective. Thus, a balancing jump-overcall should show usually a one‑suited hand, with at least a 6‑card suit, and the approximate strength of a sound opening bid.



1H    P      P   ???  AKJXXX  XX  AXX  KX   (2S)

- 19 -


F.     BALANCTNG NO TRUMPS: ‑ The requirements for a balancing no trump bid differ from a   

                                                           direct no trump overcall as do all other balancing bids.  A balancing no trump bid should have the following conditions:


1. 8‑10 HCP's (or more) (Subject to a Flexible Partnership Understanding)

2. A balanced or semi‑balanced distribution (Two doubletons allowed)

3. Usually a stopper in the enemy's bid suit, but not guaranteed

4. denial of distributional requirements for a good take‑out double


1D   P   P  ???        (a) KX  QIOX  Q10M  QXXX   (1NT)

(b) AX  AQX   XXXX  KXXX   (1NT)




G.    BALANCING CUE‑BIDS: ‑ Shows a highly distributional hand, usually 2‑suited.   The 

                                                      strength shown is somewhat ambiguous and may vary.  The cue‑bidder may hold a strong offensive hand unsuitable for a take‑out double; or a weak distributional hand that has little or no defensive values and thus cannot stand to have partner pass a take‑out double should partner have “trap‑passed”.   Examples:   1C  P   P  ???


(a) KQJXXX AQJXX ‑ KX  ("2C")     (b) QXXXX JXXXXX X X  ("2C")



    H.   PASSING IN THE BALANCING CHAIR: ‑ There are only two (2) reasons one should pass in the balancing chair. They include:


1. You have both length and strength in the enemy suit, making it most unlikely that partner has trap-passed.   Thus, permitting your opponents to play the contract that has been passed around to you might well result in your side's optimum score on that deal.


2. You have such a weak hand, that any bid you might make is likely to produce an unmakeable contact, even in the unlikely possibility of finding partner with a reasonable strength. The hand probably belongs to the enemy anyhow, and, if partner had trap‑passed, the opponents are likely to have a much better contract than the one they are forced to play should you have passed.


Examples:   1H   P  P   ???    (a) XX AJIOXX QJX JXX (Pass) (#l‑above)

                                  (b) QXX JXX XXXX QXX (Pass) (#2‑above)


I.      SUMMATION: ‑ Infrequently, and usually against inexperienced or poor bidders, balancing 

                                    will infrequently allow your opponents to bid and make game er achieve a better part‑score either of which they might never have reached if balancing had not occurred. On still other infrequent occasions one may get doubled and go for a considerable set because partner does not hold the necessary values that the auction suggests, or your side does not have a good fit despite your opponent's fit.   ACCEPT THESE LOSSES.   They will be rare and they will be more than compensated by the points earned by balancing.   The use of balancing bids should, in general, be a source of considerable profit and gratification.


- 20 -









A deduction is a conclusion based upon known fact.   For example, when a defender

shows out in a suit, declarer can count the holding in that suit in the hand of the partner who

exhibits the void.   An inference is a conclusion based upon an assumed fact.   For example, when an opponent passes his partner's opening one bid, you can infer that he/she has fewer than 6 HCP's.

Inferences and deductions about the opponents' high cards and distribution can both be made from the auction and the play of the hand.




1.      A player who has passed the opportunity of opening the bidding in first or second positions cannot have 13 HCP's, for, indeed, all 13 HCP hands satisfy the Rule of 20 and would have opened the bidding   Therefore, if such a passed hand has already evidenced 2 Aces and

      1 King, in the play of the hand, he/she cannot hold a missing King or Queen.


2.  A player who passes in response to his/her partner's opening hand cannot have 6 HCP's.   If   

     he/she has, in the play of the hand, already evidence a King and a Jack, he/she cannot have 

     a Queen for which you might like to finesse against.


3.  An opening 1NT bidder has the HCP's defined by his opening no trump stipulated

     range, usually 15-17 HCP’s.


4.  A responder who has bid 1NT in response to his/her partner’s opening one Heart, holds 6‑10 HCP's, no 4‑card Spade Major holding, and lacks primary support for his/her partner's Heart suit.


5.  A 1NT (2NT) opening bidder who responds "2D" ("3D") to his partner's "2C" ("3C") Conventional Stayman bid lacks a 4‑card suit in either Major suit.


6.  The partner of an opening 1 NT bidder who receives a 2S bid from his/her partner in response to a "2C" Stayman conventional bid, and who then bids 3NT had a 4‑card Heart suit, otherwise he/she would have never sought a Major suit fit.


7.  A responder who has bid a new suit at the 1‑level has at least 6 HCP's.


8.  A responder who has bid a new suit at the 2‑level has at least 10 HCP's.


9.  An player who makes an overcall has at least 5‑cards in his/her bid suit, in addition to 8 or more HCP's at the l-level, and 10 or more HCP's at the 2‑level.


10 An opening no trump bidder does not have a singleton, a void, a 5-card Major suit holding,  

     nor a 6‑card suit.

- 21 -


11 A responder who raises a Minor does not have a 4‑card Major suit holding.


12 A opening weak two‑bid probably evidences a 6‑card suit, and a three‑bid a 7‑card suit.


13 An opening bidder of 1H or 1S has at least a 5‑card or longer Major suit holding.


14 If the opponents have opened and raised a Major suit and you have 5 cards in that suit, your partner has a void in that suit.


15.  A responder who responds 1S to a 1C or 1D opening bid by partner does not likely have a 4-card Heart suit.


16.  An opening bid of 1C or 1D probably denies a 5-card Major suit holding.






1.  If the opening leader against a no trump contract leads a deuce, then he/she does not have a 5‑card suit, since he has, by partnership and conventional understanding, led fourth from his/her longest suit.


2.  lf the opening leader leads a low card, he/she does not have an honor sequence in that suit, again, by partnership and conventional understanding.


3.  If the opening leader leads a low card, he/she either has a singleton, or else three, or more cards in that suit headed by an honor.


4.  If, as declarer, you are missing the ace and the king in any suit, and the opening leader does not lead that suit, he/she does not have both the ace and king.


5.  If the partner of the opening leader has bid a suit and the opening leader does not lead the suit bid by his/her partner, he/she probably has a good reason for not doing so.  The most common reasons are: (a) that he/she has an honor sequence in some other suit that appears more likely to be fruitful (apparent from the opening lead), (b) that he/she has the ace of the bid suit or (c) he/she is void in that suit, or (d) does not listen to the bidding and/or wants to frustrate his/her partner.


       Realize that the abundance of information available about high cards and distribution of the opponents' hands is voluminous.   Additional inferences may be based upon attitude (low card = a "discouragement" or high card = a "come-on encouragement"), distributional signals like (High‑Low = an "even" or Low‑High = an "odd" number of cards in the signalled suit), the lead of low from an honor, the lead of top of a presumed sequence, and/or the line of play.   Counting, deductive reasoning, and assumed inferences are all important tools towards better bridge and a confident, assured, and productive defense by the opponents; or a more successful offense by declarer.


- 22 -







A.    DEFINITION: ‑ The Stayman Convention is used by the partner of a 1NT or 2NT opening 

                                   bid in order to seek the possibility of a 4‑card Major suit fit.   When used in combination with Jacoby transfer bids it becomes a very useful tool in one's bidding arsenal.   It is initiated and invoked by the responder and partner of the opening NT bid by utilizing an artificial “2D” forcing call.   Stayman should not be invoked unless responder has at least an invitational strength hand; i.e., 9-10 HCP's or more. (Exception: Any hand where responder to the opening NT bid anticipates passing any feasible response by opener    Example: XXXX  XXXX  XXXX X


Examples:  1NT   P   “2C”    (or)    2NT  P “3C”







    1NT           “2C”                        A Non‑Forcing Request for a 4‑card Major suit


  1NT           “2C”            An INVITATIONAL non-forcing holding of a

  “2D”          2H/2S                      5-card suit in the responder’s mentioned Major 

                                                                  suit mentioned and a 4-card suit in the

                                                                  unmentioned alternate Major.


  1NT           “2C”            INVITATIONAL showing the strength for a

"2D"/2H/2S       2NT                        direct raise to 2NT  with either one (or both) 4-

                                                                  card Majors unable to find a Major suit fit.


    1NT           “2C”            INVITATIONAL ‑ Shows support; and asks

 2H/2S          3H/3S                      opener to carry on to game with a maximum  

                                                                  (16‑17 HCP's)


    1NT           “2C”            SIGN‑OFF ‑ Shows a fit, game going values, and

 2H/2S          4H/4S                      no interest in slam.


    1NT            “2C”           SIGN‑OFF ‑ Unable to find a 4‑4 Major fit and

"2D"/2H/2S        3NT                       denies holding a 5‑card major suit.


    1NT            “2C”           SIGN‑OFF ‑ A very weak hand wanting to play in

"2D"/2H/2S       3C/3D                    a likely 6‑card minor suit specified.






- 23 -



  1NT         “2C”            FORCING ‑ Promises a 5‑card suit with game

      “2D”        3H/3S                        values and a 5‑card suit in the bid Major suit along 

                                                                        with a 4-card holding in the unmentioned alternate

                                                                        Major suit.


     1NT          “2C”

"2D"/2H/2S      “4C”                       FORCING ‑ Gerber Convention asking for Aces


     1NT          “2C”            NATURAL ‑ Invites 6NT if partner has a

“2D”/2H/2S     “4NT”                      maximum of 16‑17 HCP's else opener passes.


  1NT          “2C”            NATURAL ‑ Invites 7NT if partner has a

    “2D”/2H/2S     “5NT”                      maximum of 16‑17 HCP's else opener bids 6NT.






1NT          3C/3D                    INVITATIONAL ‑ Shows a 6‑card suit headed by 

                                                           two of the top three honors.   Partner will proceed                     

                                                           to game if he/she holds the missing honor in the 

                                                           Minor suit bid and stoppers in the other three suits,

                                                           else passes.


1NT           “4C”                     FORCING ‑ The Gerber Convention asking for 



1NT          3H/3S                    FORCING  ‑ A 5‑card suit forcing to 4H/4S/3NT


1NT          4H/4S                    SIGN‑OFF ‑ A 6‑card or longer suit with game



1NT           2NT                      INVITATIONAL to 3NT. Opener passes with 15

                                                           HCP’s, else 3NT with 16-17 HCP’s.


1NT           3NT                      SIGN‑OFF


1NT           4NT                      FORCING ‑ (Not Blackwood) ‑ Is  a quantitative

                                                           bid asking opener to pass with 15 HCP's and to bid

                                                           6NT with 16‑17 HCP’s.


1NT           5NT                      FORCING ‑ Opener bids 6NT with a minimum of 

                                                           15 HCP s and 7NT with a maximum of 16‑17

                                                           HCP ' s.



- 24 -








A. PROBLEM:  ‑ Suppose the bidding has gone.­


Partner          RHO      You           You hold either:      (a) XX  XX  KJ10XXX  XXX

  1NT       2H    ???                    Or                   (b) AJX  XX  AQ10XXX  XX


In (a) you would wish to bid 3D as a sign‑off; in (b) you would wish to bid 3D to push towards either 3NT or else 5D.   Obviously you cannot bid 3D with both (a) and (b) while, at the same time, having partner being capable of discerning the difference between the two types on circumstances.


Often an overcall by the opponents over your partner’s opening 1NT will prevent you from making the response you would have otherwise made in a non‑competitive auction; i.e., one without interference.   For example, one may be precluded from bidding Stayman (“2C”) due to the intervening overcall, and yet you might otherwise be interested in opener's Major suit holdings. Even natural bids, jumps, and NT raises become ambiguous after an overcall to partner's 1NT bid.


Obviously, several questions arise after such an overcall over your sides 1NT opening bid. Which bids by you are forcing and which are not?    Which bids are invitational?   Which bids are natural and which artificial?   How do you bid Stayman and how do you affirm or deny a stopper in the enemy suit if you are seeking a NT final contract?


All of these questions and ambiguities are handled by the Lebensohl Convention.




     (a)   A double is for penalties (NOT NEGATIVE)


            Examples:   1NT  2S  DBL.    1NT  2C  DBL.     1NT  3H   DBL.



(b)   ANY 2‑level suit bid is natural and a sign‑off


      Examples:   1NT  2D  2H      1NT  2C  2S       1NT  2H   2S



(c)  ANY 3‑level. suit bid is natural and game forcing and shows at least a 5‑card suit


Examples:  (lNT  2H  3C) (1NT  2S  3H) (lNT  2C  3D) (lNT  2D  3S)






- 25 -


(d)   An ARTFICIAL “2NT” response is forcing and demands opener to puppet “3C”.    

      Responder can pass if he has a weak hand in Clubs, or he can rebid as follows:  If he bids a suit    

      below the rank of the suit of the overcall, it is a sign‑off; if he/she bids a suit above the rank of the   

      enemy suit, it is invitational.  In either last case scenarios, responder has at  least a 5‑card suit.


               Examples:   1NT  2H  “2NT”  P                 

                   “3C”   P    P (A weak hand in Clubs))


                    1NT  2H  “2NT”  P             

 “3C”    P   3D (Sign‑off)       


                                        1NT  2S  “2NT”  P

                   “3C”  P    3H  (Sign-off)


                   1NT  2D  “2NT”  P

                  “3C”  P   3H/3S  (Invitational)


 (e)  A  3NT response achieved via:


(1)  A direct jump to 3NT over an enemy overcall shows the values for game, but denies a stopper in the opponent's suit.


(2)  "2NT" followed by a 3NT over partner's puppet “3C” bid shows value for game, plus a stopper in the opponent's suit.


(f) Stayman Convention is achieved in either of the following 2 ways:


(1)  A Direct cue‑bid of the opponent's overcall suit is Stayman without a stopper in the enemy’s bid suit.   It is forcing to game unless the partnership fails to find a Major suit fit and additionally lacks a stopper for 3NT.   In that rare case, opener bids 4 of his better Minor suit.


(2)  A “2NT” response followed by a cue‑bid of the opponent's suit over partner's forced “3C” is also Stayman, but this time with a promised stopper in the enemy suit.  Lacking a Major fit, a contract of 3NT is finalized.


C.  THE  DISADVANTAGE  OF  THE  LEBENSOHL  CONVENTION: ‑ The machinery of the Lebensohl convention makes it easy to avoid a NT contract when neither side has a stopper in the enemy suit.   Yet it in no way hinders the search for Major suit fits.   In addition, it clearly defines which responses are non‑forcing, and which are invitational or forcing.   To gain all this the only thing you give up is the natural meaning of the 2NT bid by responder; i.e., it precludes the ability of responder to the 1NT opening bidder to invite to 3NT by responding 2NT.   In this situation, when playing Lebensohl and, therefore, without the ability to invite, it is best to go directly to 3NT when holding invitational values.


Example:    1NT  2S  “2NT”   P        (AQX  KXX  JXXX  XXX)

           “3C”   P   3NT                (Showing a Spade Stopper)


            1NT  2S   3NT             (XXX  AQX  KJXX XXX)        

                            Showing game values with NO Spade Stopper)


          - 25a -









     Previously we presented the use of The Lebensohl Convention, used by responder, responding to a 1 NT opening bid, following an interference by responder’s RHO as seen in examples a-g.



a)            2H


        2S          (To Play)

Examples:          -----------------------------------



b)            2S


         3H         (Game Force Showing 5 Pieces)




c)            2H


        3NT         (To Play evidencing 9 or more HCP’s)




d)           2S


       “3S”         (Game Force - Stayman for Hearts and 

                     without a Spade Stopper)




e)            2H/P


        “2NT”/3D    (Artificial - Forces “3C” - 3D to Play)




f)           2S/P


      “2NT”/”3S”    (Game Force - Stayman for Hearts but 

                     with a Spade Stopper)




g)           2D


         Dbl.    (For Penalties)



- 25b -








     Note: In the above-referenced use of The Lebensohl Convention, Responder is responding with partner having evidenced 15-17 HCP’s with a subsequent interference.  An almost exact circumstance evolves, with the only exception being that the order of the events taking place are reversed, occurs as follows:  West’s partner has doubled in the direct position subsequent to a pre-emptive interfering opening weak 2-Bid.


      Example:                2(B)


     ???        Dbl. (Take-out)




     All of the same meanings become available to this responding partner, responding to a strong Take-out Double by partner, subsequent to a weak-2 opening pre-emptive bid by the opponent.


          Examples:                                   2B


 a. (Pass = Penalties)      ???         Dbl. (Take-out)






 b. (2H = To Play)          ???         Dbl. (Take-out)






 c. (3S = Game Force)       ???         Dbl. (Take-out)

     (with 5 Spades)





 d. (3H = Stayman Game)     ???         Dbl. (Take-out)

   (Force with 4 Spades)





 e. (2NT = Forces 3C)     ???         Dbl. (Take-out)




     There are, therefore, two instances, of almost identical circumstances, for Lebensohl usage.

- 25c -










     Modification Of Lebensohl Subsequent To A “2C” Overcall By Responder’s RHO


     Normally, the methodology of bidding Stayman, with a stopper in the overcall suit bid by Responder’s RHO, is to puppet through 2NT and then for Responder to bid the same suit as the overcaller, as seen in the Example to follow:




 P/               2S/P


      “2NT”/”3S”    (Game Force - Stayman for Hearts but 

                        with a Spade Stopper)


    Note, however, that this technique is stifled when the overcall suit is Clubs.




 P/               2C/P


      “2NT”/”4C    (Game Force - Stayman with a Club Stopper

                     but in this instance the partnership is already past 3NT should responder not find opener with a 4-card matching Major suit.)


     In this specific singular instance, therefore, the partnership using Lebensohl must have ready the following deviation from the norm so as to specifically cope with a Stayman attempt, game forcing bid with a Club stopper by Responder.  In this instance the bidding must proceed as follows:



 P/               2C/P


                        “2NT”/”3D    (Game Force - Stayman with a Club  

                                        Stopper (Not an invitational try in 









- 25d -









Handling of Responses to NT or Stronger Bids By Partner

Subsequent to Interferences Both Before and After Partner’s Bid


                       N                                     N


           1NT                                   Dbl.


    W      (1)       E                   W       (2)        E                     

  Dealer                               Dealer             

    P                2B                  2B                 P

                       S                                     S


           ???                                   ???

       (Lebensohl)                           (Lebensohl)



                       N                                     N


           1NT                                   1NT



    W      (3)       E                   W       (4)       E                     

  Dealer                               Dealer             

  1C/1D              P                 1H/1S               P

                       S                                     S


           ???                                   ???

     (“Front of Card”)                   (All Bids are Natural)     

     (“2C” is Stayman)      (Opener’s Suit is Stayman & Transfers are Off)

    (& Transfers are On)



                       N                                     N


           2NT                                   2NT


    W      (5)       E                   W       (6)       E                     

  Dealer                               Dealer             

    2D               P                 2H/2S               P

                       S                                     S


           ???                                   ???

             (“Front of Card”)                   (All Bids are Natural)     

     (“3C” is Stayman)      (Opener’s Suit is Stayman & Transfers are Off)

    (& Transfers are On) 





- 26 -









A. CIRCUMSTANCE: ‑ Your partner has opened the bidding with 1NT (15‑17 HCP's).   Your right‑hand opponent (RHO) has overcalled with a "Take‑out Double" evidencing an equivalent or better hand.    How do you offer a response and under what circumstances?    When is it desirable to act and when is it not?    Which bids are natural and which are artificial?    Are transfers still in effect; and lastly, how do you invoke the Stayman Convention looking for a 4‑card Major suit fit if you desire to do so, while at the same time being able to bid Clubs as a natural alternative bid?


Partner has shown (on average) 16 HCP's as has the opponent's overcall which evidences an equivalent or better holding.    Thus, the combination of opener plus your RHO is equivalent to approximately 32 HCP's leaving, at most, 8 HCP's available between you and your left‑hand opponent (LHO), the partner to the doubler.    Therefore, it is possible, but surely highly unlikely, in all but the most unusually distributed scenarios, that game is possible with your team's combined, at most, 24 HCP's.


The responder must also realize that if he/she does not have the majority of the missing  approximate 8 HCP's, then the Doubler's partner does, and Doubler's responder is likely to pass the Take-out Double thereby converting it to a penalty scenario.    Responder to the opening 1NT must, therefore, assume a posture that the less he/she has, the more he/she must attempt to save the opener from a probable impending disaster by steering the bidding to any 5‑card suit if it is available.   Otherwise he/she must pass.    That's the way the cookie crumbles!!!! 




(1) ‑ All of the reason's that validate the worthiness for both the Stayman Convention and Transfer scenarios are still fully valid not‑with‑standing the intervening Take‑out Double. Therefore, most players play what is called "FRONT OF CARD" understandings; namely, that:


(a)    “2C”  = Stayman asking for a 4‑card Major suit.


(b)    "2D"  = A transfer to Hearts


(c)    "2H"  = A transfer to Spades


(d)     "2S"  = A request for a Minor suit preference; namely, a rebid by opener of 3C if his/her Club suit is equal or longer that his/her Diamonds, or "2NT" if opener's Diamonds are longer than his/her Clubs.   This third leg of a 3‑way transfer scenario is called "MINOR SUIT STAYMEN".


(e)   "2NT" = An unlikely bid, since (1) the 1NT is already doubled, and (2) not enough HCP's exist for an invitation to game and is thus highly unlikely anyway.


- 27 -


(2)  Suppose, however, that the responder wishes to play the contract in 2C or 2D.  He/she cannot bid 2C to play at 2C  (for it will be rightfully construed by opener as Stayman), and cannot bid 2D to play at 2D (for it will be rightfully construed by opener as a transfer to Hearts). Not to worry !!!!!


             (a) Responder simply says "REDOUBLE".            This is a conventional response which, in this

particular singular scenario of:   (1NT  Dbl.  ReDbl.)  requests of opener to "puppet “2C” which can be either passed by responder if Clubs were the intended destination, or else responder will correct to 2D which must be passed by opener.   Under no circumstances is this "Redouble" for added bonus points.


Examples:   XX XXX  XX   AXXXXX         1NT   Dbl. "ReDbl."   P

                                       “2C”   P     P


            XX KX  XXXXXXX  XX         1NT   Dbl. "ReDbl."  P

                                       “2C”   P      2D



(3) Suppose, however, that most, or all, of the missing 8‑10 HCP's are held within the hand of the partner to the opening 1NT bid, especially if his/her hand is balanced absent a predominance of any particular suit.   In that scenario, the responder may elect to simply "PASS", awaiting the required mandated desperation bid of the Doubler's partner.   The opening 1NT bidder will naturally pass, allowing the responder to the opening bid of 1NT to "Double" whatever bid player #4 makes in order not to let the doubled 1NT contract to stand.


Example:    INT  Dbl. P 2B              Note:   In such instance it is usually best for

P    P  Dbl.                  the defense to continue to lead trumps

                                                                           whenever possible in order to eliminate them from play thereby converting the play of the hand back to NT where the defenses high card

domination will most likely prevail.


Alternatively, if all the points are held within player #4's hand, player #4 may pass trapping the 1NT bidder into a Doubled 1NT non‑makeable contract, especially since 15‑17 HCP's are located behind the opening 1NT bidder, diminishing his values while, at the same time, enhancing the value of the 15‑17 HCP's in the hand of the Doubler who sits behind the opener's 1NT position.


Example:        lNT  Dbl.  P   P


In such instances, since the partner of the opener took no defensive action (obviously devoid of any 5‑card suit to go along with his 0‑1 HCP's), the opener is oft times better to bid his/her 5‑card Minor suit if it be present. within his/her 1NT distribution.   If not, watch the slaughter.








- 28 -







Many duplicate players pre‑empt the bidding with a weak 2‑, 3‑, 4‑, or 5‑level bid with the enthusiasm of a suicidal maniac playing a game of Russian Roulette, oft times with a pistol loaded only with "blanks".   For the duplicate player, "blank cylinders" represent probable zeros on the score recap sheet totals; and their use denies added enjoyment to the game for both the user and his/her partner, while enriching the opposition.

        Accordingly, it is with a degree of appropriateness that definitive methods of some fashion

and logic must be employed so as to determine which suits are appropriate for a weak pre‑emptive

bid, and what level should be considered as a reasonable one to place the pre‑emptive call.

Obviously, vulnerability, sizing‑up of the opponents, fortitude or lack thereof, whether partner

has previously passed or not, position at the table, outside Major suit holdings, and many other

factors have some relevance in this matter; but in general, two methods are suggested as the

main considerations which should guide one's decision in this matter     They are: (1) suit quality, and (2) The Rule of 2‑3‑4.    If these two guiding factors offer a variant preference, one should perhaps consider some compromise (*) between their differing guidance.


A.  SUIT QUALITY:  ‑ The level of any pre‑empt should not exceed the level equivalent to the suit quality of the pre‑emptive suit holding; i.e., a bidding level equal to the summation of the number of cards held within that suit + the number of honors held within that same pre‑emptive suit (only Jack or above are considered).


EXAMPLES:     AKXXXX = 6 + 2 = 8  (Pre‑emptive 2‑bid is appropriate)

AQXXXXX = 7 + 2 = 9  (Pre‑emptive 3‑bid is appropriate) 

AKJXXXX = 7 + 3 = 10 (Pre‑emptive 4‑bid is appropriate) 

KXXXXXX = 7 + 1 = 8  (Pre‑emptive 2‑bid is appropriate)

             10XXXXXXX = 8 + 0 = 8  (Pre‑emptive 2‑bid is appropriate) 

 AKQXXX = 6 + 3 = 9  (Pre‑emptive 3‑bid is appropriate)


       The suit quality test can be utilized singularly as a general rule in establishing a guideline as to the level of reasonableness of any contemplated pre-emptive bid, and is especially useful if one desires a rigid partnership understanding so as to only allow for “structured” or “disciplined pre-empts”.    Some players desiring to have an even more structured framework to their pre-emptive calls insist on having two of the top three honors in any suit holding given a pre-emptive consideration.


B.    THE RULE OF 2-3-4:  -  When opting to pre-empt the bidding, either by an opening pre-emptive bid or by a pre-emptive jump overcall, it may become important for your partner to know exactly how strong or weak your pre-empt bid was.   If the hand truly belonged to the opponents, then your partner has little interest other than to experience, with you, the outcome of your blockage attempt upon the opponents.    If, on the other hand, your pre-empt bid finds your partner with the balance of the missing high cards, then it would be convenient, and indeed, extremely valuable for your partner to know the exact strength of your pre-emptive call  without first seeking further information.   By such means, the partner of the pre-emptive call can gauge whether or not a game try is even justified in exploration before the attempt is even begun.


- 29 -


          Some superficial attempts to identify the quality of pre-emptive bids based upon the number of cards held within the suit that is bid (at least 6 for a pre-empt at the 2-level, 7 or more at the 3-level; etc.), a high card strength of 5-11 HCP’s for a pre-emptive 2-bid and 7-11 HCP’s for a 3-bid, or the suit-quality test as described above, are, at best, too vague in their attempt to qualify the strength of the bid and virtually incapable of ease of further clarification to a partner interested in pursuing a furtherance of the pre-emptive call or a possible game attempt.   Conventions like a forcing 2NT bid asking for a feature (Ace or King) outside the pre-emptive suit, or the Ogust Convention (1-2, 1-2-3), and its variations are better than having no standardization at all, but notice, they are mostly effective over a pre-emptive 2-bid and not one made at a higher bidding level; i.e., at the 3-level and beyond.


          The Rule of 2-3-4 serves to present a standardization, yet aggressive unstructured method upon which to base all pre-emptive calls, at the 3-level or higher, and is rooted upon losing trick count coupled with a variance based upon the relative vulnerabilities of the teams at play.  It allows the partnership a standardization basis upon which partner, who happens to have a strong hand opposite the pre-empt by partner, can recover and better estimate the value of the combined partnership holdings in an evaluation as to whether or not to proceed toward a potential game or slam contract.  When contemplating a pre-emptive call, holding at least 7 pieces in the suit in which one is prepared to pre-empt, the would-be pre-empter computes a 2-step process in order to determine the level of his pre-empt and once computed, the pre-emptive call can be understood by the partner as to how strong or how weak the hand chosen for the pre-emptive bid was in all actuality; i.e., just how many tricks the pre-emptive bidder anticipates going down in his/her sacrifice attempt.  The two steps are as follows:


1. The number of presumed winning tricks is computed by the bidder by subtracting his losing trick  

    count from 13.

2. To this number of winning trick count, the would-be pre-empter adds either 2-3-or 4                

    additional tricks he/she is willing to go down based upon the relative vulnerabilities as follows:     

                   Notice: This technic is fairly aggressive in that it presumes that one trick will be found in

                   partner’s hand for the sacrifice to give up fewer points than would be given up by simply

                   allowing the opponents to secure their rightfully-presumed game contract.


a.      Unfavorable vulnerability - Red (V) vs. White (NV) = An anticipated 2-Trick Set

b.      Equal vulnerability - Red (V) vs. Red (V) or White (NV) vs. White (NV)

= A 3-Trick Set

c.      Favorable vulnerability - White (NV) vs. Red (V) = A 4-Trick Set




      AJXXXXX  X  KXX  XX (Vul. vs. Vul.) = Pre‑empt a 3-Bid

      KJXXXXXX  XX  AX  X  (Not Vul. vs. Vul.) = Pre‑empt a 4-Bid

      AXXXXX  XXX KXX  A   (Vul. vs. Not Vul.) = Pre‑empt a 2-Bid


    Note:   Once a partnership has agreed to utilize this method of determination for the pre‑emptive level decision‑making process, then the partner of the pre‑emptive bid can use this information to either (a) calculate how much additionally to further the pre‑emptive attempt, or (b) whether or not to try for game or slam based upon his/her losing trick count when combined with that of the pre‑emptive bidder's presumed hand and its concomitant losing tricks based upon the Rule of 2-3-4.



- 30 -







1. Most bridge players utilize high-card point count (HCP) plus distributional count to necessarily total an approximate 13‑14 cumulative count in order to qualify for a safe, valid, disciplined and productive opening bid.






2. Some utilize the suit quality test (SQT), (The summation of the number of cards within the projected suit to be bid added to the number of honors within the suit) the numerical summation of which must be equivalent to or exceed the number of winning tricks to which one is committed by their proposed projected bid.    Most recognize that the suit quality test is best utilized when deciding if a suit qualifies for an overcall, or when considering a weak pre‑emptive opening call.




(a) AKXXX  QXX  X  KXXX  (Open 1S)  

(b) KQXX  QXXX  KX  QXX  (Do Not Open)



(c) XX  AQXXX  AXXX  XX  (Overcall 1H)

(d) JXXXX  KXX  X  AXXX  (Do Not Overcall 1S)



(e) AQXXXX  XX  X  XXXX  (Pre‑Empt 2S) 

(f) JXXXXX  XX  AOX  XX  (Do Not Pre‑Empt 2S)




3. Some look towards loosing trick count (LTC) which by rights is not fully valid until a suit fit between. the partners has been achieved and is of little value and relatively meaningless in No Trump contracts.   Using this technic, one looks for any hand with 7 or fewer losing tricks to qualify for an opening one of a suit.






4. Still others, in borderline situations, stay clear of opening any suit which would be an embarrassment should the partnership wind up on defense and partner were to hypothetically lead towards that holding; i.e., only open a suit which can justifiably be lead into on defense.







- 31 -


     All of the above indicators are helpful, and when used in combination of two or more criteria towards the decision as to whether or not to open any particular hand, assist the would‑be opener in making a winning decision.   NO SINGLE INDTCATOR GUARANTEES THE VALIDITY OF ANY BORDERLTNE OPENING SCENARIO.   In addition, those factors governing whether or not one should open, no matter what single or multiple criteria are used, must be altered dependent upon which of the four seats about the table one occupies.  The best criteria, seats one through four, are next presented. 



1st (Dealer) or 2nd Position Opening Criteria


The RULE OF 20:    This rule states that a hand qualifies for an opening bid of one of a suit, in the first or second position, if the summation of HCP's plus the total number of cards in the two longest suits equals or exceeds the number 20.    This Rule of 20 is applicable only for use in the first or second seat.    It should not be used in third or fourth seat decision-making process regarding opening the bidding under any circumstances.


   EXAMPLES:     KXXXX QXX AQXX X    (20) (Open 1 S)

XX AXXXXX AKXX X    (21) (Open 1 H)


KXXX AXX QXXX QX    (19) (Do not open)


Remember, however, the weaker a partnership allows itself to open, the more on guard opener must be to offset his/her partner's responsive actions, and, likewise, the more cautious responder must be in responding.    Should opening partner decide to double for penalties in a competitive auction, for example, opener might decide to pull partner's double by bidding one level higher in the agreed‑upon suit rather than sit for the questionable penalty double based, in part, on the pre-supposed undervalued opening bid.   In a similar context, if invited to game, opener must turn down the invitation evidencing his/her holding which, in reality, is weaker than pre-supposed by partner.




1.     All Hands having 13 HCP’s or more will automatically satisfy the Rule of twenty since 

       they can have no fewer than 7 additional points resulting from seven (7) cards in two of the

       suits held if the hand (worst case scenario) is evenly divided 4-3-3-3.


2.      Most hands holding 12 HCP’s (exclusive of a 4-3-3-3 distribution) with also qualify under the Rule of twenty, for exclusive of the 4-3-3-3 scenario they will hold no fewer than 8 additional points resulting from the count of the cards in the two longest held suits.


3.      All 11 HCP hands (see the example below) which have a 6-card suit will satisfy both the ability to open under the rule of twenty calculation, but, they will also qualify as to the credentials necessary to open a weak 2-bid.  In this instance it is recommended that if the 6-card suit be Spades, one would fare best, since it be the controlling suit, to open 1 Spade.  If the suit is Clubs, one cannot open a weak 2C bid because it would be perceived as a

- 31a -


strong call, and should not open 3C since the suit is only a 6-card and not a 7-card suit.  One should, therefore, open 1C with intent to rebid 2C at opener’s turn to rebid.  If the suit is either Hearts or Diamonds, however, it is calculated to statistically be best to open a weak 2H or 2D opening call.

                                AKXXXX AXX XX XX   (Open 1 Spade)

                 XX KJX XX AKXXXX   (Open 1C with intent to rebid 2C)

                 XX AQXXXX KQX XX   (Open 2H)

                 XXX KJX AKXXXX X   (Open 2D)



4th Position Opening Criteria


The Rule of 15:   In 4th position relative to the dealer; i.e., there has already been three successive passes by the dealer and the next two players, this player holds a unique distinction in that he/she holds singular power as to whether the hand gets passed out or not, and whether or not any score, plus or minus, by either side is created.  In this seat alone, one should use The Rule of 15.   This rule states that a hand qualifies for an opening bid of one of a suit, in the fourth (last) position, if the summation of HCP's plus the total number of cards in the Spade suit equals or exceeds the number 15.   Since Spades is the controlling suit, the more physical Spades one owns, the less likely the opponents can enter the same auction competitively at the same level opener would be willing to bid.  The Rule of 15 is applicable only for use in the last seat.   It should not be used in the first, second, or third seat decision-making process as to whether or not to open the bidding.


   EXAMPLES:      XX QXXX AQXX AXX    (14) (Do not Open)


                XXX QXX AQXX AXX    (15) (Open 1D)



3rd Position Opening Criteria


     Third seat opening criteria, like the other three seats, is unique unto itself.  One must remember that it is generally, universally, considered feasible to lower the point count requirements for 3rd seat openings of one of a suit.  Accordingly, it is important for the partner of the 3rd seat would-be opener (the previously passing 2nd seat player) to be able to ascertain whether or not the 3rd seat opener has a full opening count, else a lighter than full count, especially if the 2nd seated player has a near opening count himself/herself.   It is, therefore, recommended that if one does indeed choose to open light in the 3rd seat, one must only open with a hand that can be passed by any bid made by Responder, and that if the 3rd seat opener has a full opening count, that he/she promises a rebid to verify same.


   EXAMPLES:      X JXXX AQXX AXX  (Do not Open – One cannot afford to         

                                  pass a likely Spade Response from partner, yet if opener were to rebid 1NT, he/she would evidence a full opening count by this rule, therefore pass and do not open.)


                XXX JXX AQX AXX   (Open 1C – With this holding, one can      

                                  clearly afford to pass 1D, 1H, 1S, 1NT

                                  or even a 2C response from partner.          

- 32 -







       Accurate bidding is one of the secrets to success in the game of bridge.  The Losing Trick Count (LTC) method of hand evaluation greatly increases one’s ability to more accurately place any contract.   The LTC is a totally different method which augments the HCP count method of assessing the number of tricks a partnership is likely to win.   Take the following as an example:   Most players, following a 4 Spade rebid by opening partner would pass out this cold 6S, 25 HCP hand.


            Opener (Partner)           Responder (You)

              1D                           1S

              4S                           ??



             AQJX                        K10XXXX

             XX                          X

             AKJXX                       XX

             KX                          AXXX



       One must not envisage the LTC as replacing point count.  It is used in coordination with point count in order to elicit a more accurate guide as to the potential of the partnership’s combined holding.  When considering using the LTC, one must consider the following constraints:


1)     It is not applicable when considering a No Trump Contract.

2)     It is to be used only after a trump fit has been established.

3)     It is quite unsuitable for misfit hands where no fit exists.



The LTC Formula


1)     Count your losers

2)     Add Partner’s losers

3)     Deduct this total from 24

4)     The answer is the number of tricks a partnership can expect to win


     Opener(Partner)   Opponent #2       Responder(You)     Opponent #1

                                             P                  P

       1S                 1NT                P                  P

       2H                  P                 3H                 P



             AKXXX                          X

             AKXX   (6 Losers)              JXXXXX  (8 Losers)

             XX                             QXXXX

             XX                             X

- 33 -     


       The LTC does not guarantee that one will, in fact, make the number of anticipated tricks.   It represents the number of tricks one will win most of the time assuming the suits break normally, and half of one’s potential finesses work.  Calculations within the LTC require two (2) stages.  They are as follows:




1)     Count losers only in the first three cards of each suit.  The 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. cards in any suit are taken as winners.

2)     With three or more cards in any suit, count the A,K, and Q as a winners; anything lower as a loser.

3)     With two cards in any suit, count the A and K as winners; anything lower is a loser.

4)     With one card in any suit, count the A as a winner; anything lower is a loser.

5)     There are never more than three losers in any suit.  There are never more losers in a suit than the number of cards held within that suit.

6)     An unguarded Q (Ex: QXX) is considered as one-half a loser; a guarded or supported Q (Ex: QJX or AQX  or KQX) is not counted as a loser; i.e., any Queen should be counted as a winner if it is supported by another honor.

7)     As ones HCP’s increase, the losers decrease.  As ones HCP’s decrease, the losers increase.

8)     The more unbalanced the hand, the fewer the losers.  The more balanced the hand, the more the losers.





1)     Partner’s losers may be determined through knowledge of  partner’s strength as revealed through the bidding.

If you can tell how strong partner’s hand is, one can calculate his/her losers.  

The basis is that  a minimum opening hand is equivalent to seven (7) losers.


2)     A simple enumeration of partner’s losers based upon strength would be:

a)     Well below a sound opening bid,  support for your opening bid with

6-10 HCP’s,  a constructive raise with 8-9 HCP’s  = 9 Losers.

b)     Just below a normal opening with10-12 HCP’s,  a limit raise with

      10-11 HCP’s,  A weak 2-bid  = 8 Losers.

c)     A sound minimum opening bid with 13-15 HCP’s,  a take-out double

= 7 Losers.

d)     A strong opening bid with16-18 HCP’s,  An opening 1NT with 15-17 HCP’s = 6 Losers.

e)     A very strong opening bid evidenced by a jump-shift rebid holding 19-21 HCP’s = 5 Losers.

f)       An opening strong “2C” holding 22+ HCP’s = 4 Losers.

- 34 -

Why deduct the total losers between both hands from 24?   Since the maximum

number of losers you count in any one suit is three (3); and since there are as many as four (4) suits in each hand, partner’s and yours; 3x4x2=24.   The LTC operates by deducting the actual loses from the maximum possible total.   Therefore:


   LTC = The maximum possible losers (24) - Actual losers = Tricks Expected.


    If partner opens and your hand has seven (7) losers, game is likely if a fit can be found.   If partner opens and you have five (5) losers, slam potential exists if a trump fit is found.


       The above is a broad overlook at the LTC.  It is based upon a generalized raw count as indicated in the above-listed reference examples.   Adjustments must be made in order to be even more accurate; such as adjustments and refinements to super-trump fits,  the quality of trump support, presence or absence of controls and cover-cards, just to name a few.   A furtherance of understanding of the LTC can be achieved by reading Ron Klinger’s “the Modern Losing Trick Count”, and Marty Bergen’s “Points Schmoints”.



Sample Hands



        (1)                         (2)                     (3)

 K108643      AQ75           AQ876       K952        AQ876        K952

 7            106                       73          8642        973          Q86

 43           AKJ62          AQJ42       76          AQJ          K76

 A842         K9             6           A93         65           KJ4


   1D,1S,4S,6S                  1S,2S,4S                 1S,2S,P





        (4)                         (5)                     (6)

 AQ852        K7643          K864        AQ973       AXXXXX       KQX      

 AQ2          8              K4          A6          XX           AKXX

 865          72             AJ83        2           X            AXXX

 98           A7432          754         AK62        XXXX         XX


       1S,4S                    P,1S,3S,6S           1NT,”2H”,2S,3S,4S






                             KJ72         A865          

                             K7           J54

                             Q103         J72

                             A983         KQ2