- 0 -







     The “Tips For Tops” that we are about to discuss are not meant for beginners.   Neither are they intended for experts.   They are meant for the intermediate player in an attempt to substantially improve his or her game.  


     As you might well imagine, it is virtually impossible to cover the infinite number of variables that might exist in the almost infinite number of possible card combinations.   Furthermore, although most of the offensive and defensive tips covered are considered standard and basic by most, occasionally they will require a mutual partnership understanding in order to be put them into proper usage.   Partner’s level of skill as well as the level of play of the opponents, and the use of playing and bidding Conventions,  all factor into the possible variables effecting the tips discussed as well as how and when they are to be utilized.


     If some of the tips, at first, seem too difficult to absorb, patience please!!!    No memorization is necessary.   My experience is that by doing nothing more than participating in the discussions that will accompany the presentation of the Tips to follow,  you cannot help but begin to have a greater, deeper, and more thorough understanding of the game, and the logic behind the tips will become increasingly more familiar.   In the final analysis, your ability to play the fascinating and challenging game of bridge cannot help but improve.   Over the months ahead you will, without much effort, discover the realization of a perceptibly increased acumen at the game.   Your understanding, appreciation, and pleasure of the game cannot help but improve over the next several years.   Yes, it will take that long to cover the more than 600 tips that I expect to accumulate for presentation.


     Finally, one “must”.   Please be aware of the title of each series of Tips.  They will be presented by topic and you must mentally add the title to the tip for them to make any sense.   For example, if the Lesson be entitled, “When You Are A Passed Hand,” the words will not appear before each Tip.   You must mentally incorporate the title as to the circumstance accompanying the Tips presented so as to complete the understanding of each item  presented.

If you play a different Convention or system, are comfortable with it, and it works, by all means disregard the tip.   Remember the old adage, “If it isn’t broken, don’t attempt to fix it!”.   


     The Tips that are to follow will be in three broad categories; (1) Bidding Tips, (2) Declarer Tips, and (3) Defensive Tips.   Some ideas that will be presented will expand upon that which you already have been taught, while others will necessitate your unlearning that which you previously considered as “the law”.   But, by all means, have fun, expand your mind, and improve your Bridge.





- 1 -









1.      Before opening the bidding, prepare your potential rebid.   Remember, unless partner makes a 1NT or a simple 2-level raise in your opening suit (both of which show a limited 6-10 HCP count), you, as opener, are obligated to make a  rebid (the only other exception being if your RHO makes an overcall thereby giving responding partner another opportunity to bid).    Assume partner will respond in your shortest suit - he/she usually does.   If you are prepared with a reasonable rebid under the worst response scenario from partner, you will surely be prepared under better than adverse circumstances should your worst case scenario not occur.    Absent this aforementioned preparation, you might be backed into a corner having to lie, err, or mislead on your rebid.


      Ex: (a) AQ  XX  QXXXX AJXX  (Open 1D)-If partner bids 1H or 1S,rebid 2C

 (b) KX  XX  AXXX  AQXXX (Open 1C)-If partner bids 1H or 1S rebid 2C

(c) XXX  A  AKXX  QJXXX (Open 1D)-If partner bids 1H or 1S rebid 2C

(d) AXX  X  AQJX  AQXXX (Open 1C) - You are strong enough to reverse




2.   Never open the bidding 1C holding a singleton or doubleton Club - ever!




3.   With two 5-card suits, open up the higher ranking suit first, regardless of the strength of the hand or of the relative suit strengths.   However, with specifically five Clubs and five Spades, open IC if the Spades are weak and/or the hand is of a minimum point count; i.e., less than 16 HCP’s. 


          Ex: (a) AX  XXXXX  AKJXX  X  (Open 1H, Prepared to rebid 2D)

         (b) AKXXX  AQXXX  XX  X  (Open 1S, Prepared to rebid 2H)

         (c) JXXXX  AX  X  AKXXX  (Open 1C, Prepared to rebid 1S)

(d) AQXXX  XX  A  AQXXX  (Open 1 S, Prepared to rebid 3C if needed)




4.      With a  4-4-3-2 hand pattern, open the preferred 1D if the hand is too strong or too weak to open NT.  In the same vein, with a  4-3-3-3  or  3-4-3-3  distribution, open the hand 1C if the hand be too strong or too weak for a NT opening.  Always use the preferred Minor opening rather than lie about the point count.


    Ex:  (a) AQXX  AKXX  AXX  QX  (Open 1D) - Too Strong for a 1NT opening

         (b) AQXX  AQXX  QXX  XX  (Open 1D) - Too Weak for a 1NT opening

         (c) AQXX  AQXX  AXX  XX  (Open 1NT) 

         (d) AXXX  AXX  XXX  AQX  (Open 1C) - Too Weak for a 1NT opening

(e) AXX  KQXX  AJX  QXX  (Open 1NT)




- 2 -



5.      With a hand strong enough to open 1NT but holding either (1) four Clubs and four Spades but no stopper in either red suit, or (2) four Diamonds and four Spades but no stopper in either alternate suit,  open the preferred Minor suit rather than 1NT.


    Ex:  (a) AKJX  XX  XXX  AKJX  (Open 1C)

         (b) AKQX  XXX  AQJX  XX  (Open 1D) If partner responds 1H, rebid 1S)

                                                                                            If partner responds 2C, rebid 2S)




6.      With three 4-card suits plus a singleton open 1D, unless the singleton is in Diamonds, then open 1C. 


      Ex:  (a) AKJX  QXXX  KXXX  X  (Open 1D)

(b) AKQX  X  KXXX  XXXX  (Open 1D)

(c) X  KQXX  KQXX  KJXX  (Open 1D)

(d) AXXX  AXXX  X  AQXX  (Open 1C)





7.      With a broken 6-card Minor (Clubs or Diamonds) and 15HCP’s, open 1NT if you have stoppers in the other three suits.  Live a little!


      Ex:  (a) KX  KX  KJX  AJXXXX  (Open 1NT)

(b) AX  KX  KQXXXX  KXX  (Open 1NT)





8.      With a balanced hand containing specifically five Hearts and 15-16 HCP’s, open 1NT not 1H.  This hand usually has no convenient rebid if partner goes to the 2-level in another suit.  Most rebids are usually misleading at best.   (Note: The use of the Puppet Stayman Convention will eliminate this problem.)    With 17 HCP’s, however,  open 1H.  


      Ex:  (a) AX  KJXXX  AJX  QXX  (Open 1NT) If you had chosen to open 1H

                                       and partner had responded either 1S, 2C

                                       or 2D, you have a tough rebid problem.


(b) AX  KJXXX  AQX  KXX  (Open 1H)

           If partner responds 1S, jump to 2NT. 

           If partner responds 1NT, raise to 2NT.

           If partner responds either 2C or 2D, jump to 3NT.









- 3 -









9.      With 4-4 in the Majors, respond in the lower ranking suit (Hearts) first to a Minor Suit (Club or Diamond) opening bid.    With 5-5, respond in the higher ranking (Spades) first.


      Ex:  (a) AJXX  QXXX  XX  QXX  (Partner opens 1C, respond 1H)

(b) KXXXX  AKJXX  XX  X  (Partner opens 1D, respond 1S)




10.  With a 5-card Major suit and 5 HCP’s or a 6-card Major suit with 4 HCP’s, do not pass a Minor suit opening bid by partner if your RHO (the second hand) passes. 


      Ex:  (a) QXXXX  KXX  XXX  XX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1S (audibly!!)

(b) QXX  KXXXX  XX  XXX  (Partner opens 1D, Respond 1H)




11.  Partner has opened the bidding with 1C.   With a 4-card or 5-card Diamond suit and a 4-card Major suit, respond in Diamonds if you have 11 HCP’s or more, respond in the Major if you have  6-10 HCP’s.    With fewer than 11 HCP’s it is possible that you will only have the opportunity of only one bid and it is, therefore, more important to mention the Major suit than the Minor.  With 11 or more HCP’s, you are strong enough for a second bid, and you can, thus, bid the Minor suit first and other suit later, if necessary.   


            Ex:  (a) AXXX  XX  KQXX  XXX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1S, not 1D)

(b) XX  AKXX  JXXXX  XX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1H, not 1D)

(c) AXXX  XX  AKJX  XXX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1D)

(d) QX  AKXX  AXXXX  XX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1D)




12.  With game going responding hands, respond in your longer or stronger suit first.   There may be a  Slam and you could wind up in the wrong suit.  Reread, reread, reread this one!


      Ex:  (a) AKQX  XXXX  AJX  JX  (Partner opens 1D, Respond 1S)

(b) XXXX  AKQX  XX  AJX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1H)

(c) AKXXX  AXXX  XX  XX  (Partner opens 1D, Respond 1S)

(d) AXXX  AKXXX  XX  XX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1H)




13.  In some systems a two-over-one response is a game force.   In others, it promises one more bid.   In still others, it does not promise another bid if partner makes a minimum rebid.    It is essential for a partnership to know which one of these methods, forcing or not, you and your partner are playing.


- 4 -



14.  A direct natural response of either 2NT or 3NT denies a singleton.   A 1NT response may contain a singleton - yes, even a void. 


      Ex:  (a) X  AKXX  KJXX  AXXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 2C) Do not even

                                     think about bidding 2NT, you can always 

                                     bid NT later, if necessary.

(b) AX  KXXX  AXXX  XXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 2NT)

(c) AKX  AXX  KXXX  XXX  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 3NT)

(d) - KXXX  QXXXX  QXXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 1NT)




15.  With a 4-3-3-3 distribution and 6-7 HCP’s plus 3-card support for partner’s Major suit opening, respond 1NT rather than supporting partner.   With the same distribution and 8-10 HCP’s raise partner to the 2-level.   However, if all of your points are in partner’s suit, raise regardless.


      Ex:  (a) QXX  JXXX  QXX  QXX   (Partner opens 1H, Respond 1NT in order

                                      to slow the auction down with this piece

                                      of cheese.)

(b) AQX  XXXX  XXX  XXX   (Partner opens 1S, Raise to 2S, all of 

                        your strength is in partner’s suit.)

(c) XXX  KQX  AXXX  XXX   (Partner opens 1S, Raise to 2S, is more

                           encouraging than 1NT.)



16.  A 2-level Club or Diamond response to a 1 Spade opening bid by partner can be made on as few as four pieces.   A 2H response to a 1 Spade opening bid by partner, however, promises five or more pieces and cannot be made on as few as four pieces.


      Ex:  (a) QX  AXX  XXXX  AKXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 2C)

(b) AX  XXX  AKXXX  XXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 2D)

(c) AX  KXXXX  XX  KQXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 2H)

(d) AX  AXXX  XXX  AXXX  (Partner opens 1S, Respond 2C, not 2H)



17.  In competition, any response by opener’s partner promises at least a 5-card suit due to the presence of an overcall by responder’s RHO.    In addition, in order to respond with a new suit at the 2-level, responder must have at least 11 HCP’s.   With only a 4-card suit and/or less than 11 HCP’s, responder must use the “Negative Double” in lieu of an inadequate response with either a 4-card suit, or fewer than 11 HCP’s, or both.   In the following examples, partner has opened 1S and your RHO has overcalled 2D:


       Ex:  (a) XX  AQXXX  XX  KQXX  (Respond 2H, You have a 5-card suit and  

                                     the requisite 11 or more HCP’s.)

(b) XX  KQXX  XXX  AKXX  (“Double” (negative) - You have the  

                          requisite 11 or more HCP’s but only a 4-

                          card Heart suit.)

(b) XX  KQXXX  XXX  AKX  (“Double” (negative) - You have the  

                          requisite 5-card suit but not the 

                          required 11 or more HCP’s.)



- 4A -


17A.         Under usual circumstances, when partner opens a Minor suit (Clubs or Diamonds), and you, as 

          Responder, are faced with an overcall of a Major suit (Hearts or Spades) by your RHO, a double

          (Negative) by you as Responder evidences a 4-card holding in the alternate Major suit.


            Ex.  Bidding has proceeded: a)   1C  1H  Dbl. (Shows 4 Spades)


                                                     (AQXX  XX  XXXX  KXX)



                              or: b)   1D  1S  Dbl. (Shows 4 Hearts)


                                                     (XXX  KQXX  XX  AKXX)


         Previously we had spoken about circumstances when partner opens 1C, and you, as 

          Responder, are faced with an overcall of 1D by your RHO, that a double (Negative) by you, as

          Responder evidences a 4-card holding in both Major suits, or at the very least, 4 of one and 3; i.e., 

          tolerance, for the other.


      Ex.  Bidding has proceeded: c)   1C  1D  Dbl.


                                                     (AQXX  XXXX  XX  JXX)


                                                 or: (XXXX  AQX  XX  QXXX)

                                                 or: (QXX  AXXX  KXX  XXX)


     In the specific circumstance when partner opens 1C, and you, as Responder are faced with a 1D overcall by your RHO, a double (Negative), by you as Responder, evidences a holding of  4 cards in both Majors, or at least 4 of one and 3; i.e., tolerance, for the other.    Absent that holding, a bid of  1H or 1S by you, as Responder,  can be made with as few as a 4-card holding in only one of the Majors;  5 cards in the bid suit are not needed.     


      Ex.  Bidding has proceeded: d)   1C  1D  ??


                   With:   AXXX  KXXX  X  XXXX  (Double [Negative] )


                           X  AXXX  XXXXX  AXX  (Bid 1H [Note: previously you

                                                 would have had no other choice

                                                 but to pass] )



                           KXXX  XX  XXXXX  AX  (Bid 1S [Note: previously you

                                                 would have had no other choice

                                                 but to pass] )


Remember, this is only used when Responder if faced with a 1D overcall by his/her RHO subsequent to partner having opened 1C.


      Note:  If you and partner subscribe to this understanding, Opener must presume that Responder has only a 4-card Major suit, just as if there had not been any previous overcall by Responder’s RHO, until proven otherwise to the contrary.

- 5 -









18.  After any 2-level response from partner, a new suit by the opener is forcing.   After a 1NT response from responder, a new suit is not forcing.


      Ex:  (a) AKJXX  X  KXXX  AXX  (You open 1 Spade, partner responds 2C.  

                                     What is your Rebid?  [2D] Forcing )

(b) J  AXX  KQXXX  AXXX  (You open 1 Diamond, partner responds 1S

                          What is your Rebid?  [2C] Not Forcing )                                



19.  After partner raises opener’s first bid suit, any new suit bid by opener is forcing.   Bidding on in a secondary suit after partner raises you does not mean you are running from the agreed-upon suit, but rather that you are either seeking a no trump contract with a holding of 16 or more HCP’s, else are cue-bidding Aces exploring for Slam.


           Ex:   (a) XX  AQX  AX  AKXXXX  (You open 1 Club. Partner raises to 2C. 

                                     Bid 2H forcing.  If partner bids 2S

                                     evidencing a Spade stopper, you can bid 

                                     3NT else return to 3C.  If partner

                                     alternatively rebids 3C you can pass.)

(b) AKQXX  AXXX  XX  AK  (You open 1 Spade.  Partner raises to 3S.

                          Bid 4C showing first round control of   

                                                                             Clubs.  If partner bids 4D you can go to 

                                     6S. If partner returns to 4S denying     

                                     first round control of Diamonds, you can      




20.  Avoid re-bidding weak 5-card suits.   Look for something else as an alternative.


     Ex:   (a) KX  AKX  XXX  KXXXX  (You open 1C.  Partner responds 1D/1H/1S.  

                                Rebid 1NT, not 2C, your Club suit is too weak.)

(b) XX  AXX  XXX  AKQXX  (You open 1C.  Over partner’s 1D/1H/1S 

                          rebid 2C, your 5-card Club suit is strong.)



21.  With a minimum hand and a 2-2-5-4 distribution, open 1D and rebid 2C over a Major suit response.   

      However, if  the Major suit doubletons are strong, rebid 1NT.



     Ex:   (a) XX  KX  AJXXX  KQXX  (Open 1D. Over partner’s 1H/1S, rebid 2C.)

(b) AQ  KX  QXXXX  KXXX  (Open 1D. Over partner’s 1H/1S, rebid 1NT.)



22.  With a 3-1-5-4 or a 1-3-5-4, open 1D.  If partner responds in your singleton suit, rebid 2C, not 1NT.

     Ex:   (a) Q  AXX  QXXXX  AKXX  (Open 1D. Over partner’s 1S, rebid 2C.)

- 6 -

23.  A jump shift followed by a simple return to partner’s original suit shows 3-card support, not four.                    

      Ex:  (a) AQX  X  AQXXX  AKXX      North (You)               1D   3C   3S           

                                                                                   South (Partner)   1S   3D


24.  Anytime you skip over two suits, including No Trump, to rebid your original suit, you show a 6-card suit.

           Ex:   (a) AX  XX  QXX  AKXXXX      North (You)               1C    2C

                                        South (Partner)   1D 

25.  Rebidding a suit three times tends to show a 7-card suit, or, at the very least, a strong 6-carder.  Such a bid is non-forcing and implies a 7-card suit with a weak opening bid.

          Ex:    (a) X  AJXXXXX  QJX  QX     North (You)        1H   2H   3H

                                        South (Partner)    1S   2NT


26.  With three 4-card suits and a singleton Diamond, open 1C and rebid 1H over a 1D response from partner.   If you rebid 1S, you erroneously deny having four Hearts.  If partner has four Spades, you’ll hear about it momentarily.

         Ex:   AJXX  XXXX  X AKJX  (Open 1C, and rebid 1H over a response of 1D.)


27.  With a 5-4-4-0 distribution, open 1 Spade.  If partner responds 2C, your void suit, rebid 2H, not 2D.   If  you respond 2D, you deny four Hearts.

    Ex:   AJXXX  KXXX AKXX  - (Open 1S, over partner’s 2C response, rebid 2H.)


28.  Holding a 5-5 Major suit distribution, having partnership game values, open the higher ranking suit first, then rebid the lower ranking suit twice - even after partner gives you a preference to your first suit.  Ex:     Opener (You)    Responder         Opener   Responder

                          KXXXX           AJ                1S        2NT

                                                      AKXXX           QXX               3H        3S

                          AX              KQXX              4H        Pass

                          X               JXXX

        Responder is allowed to prefer Spades with a strong doubleton rather than rebid 3NT with weak Clubs or Diamonds.  Responder does not know whether opener’s Hearts are four or five pieces.  However, when opener rebids the Hearts, showing five, responder accepts the 4-Heart contract with responder’s 2-3 Spade-Heart holding.

- 7 -


29.  In a similar vein, holding a 5-4 Major suit distribution, having possible partnership game values, do not insist upon your 5-card suit even after a preference.  Partner already knows you have 5 Spades, and should he/she have only 2 Spades, 2NT or 3NT are better contracts. 

         Ex:     Opener (You)    Responder         Opener   Responder

                   KQXXX          AJ                1S        1NT

                                       AXXX           QXX               2H        2S

                   AK             KXXX              2NT       3NT

                   JX             XXXX


            After hearing 2H, responder returns to a 5-2 fit rather than to accept a possible 4-3 Heart fit, initially believing opener to have a minimum 13 HCP hand.  Opener knows, absent an initial support of Spades, that responder does not have 3 Spades, and ,thus, with a better than a minimum hand, opener corrects to 2NT.   Now knowing there is game, Responder continues to 3NT.



30.  Now that you are getting the hang of this, consider this.  Holding a 5-4-3-1 distribution, and assuming you to be strong enough, consider the possibility of bidding in order you 5-card, 4-card, and then even your 3-card suit.  What fun!

      Ex:     Opener (You)    Responder         Opener   Responder

                 AQXXX          KX                1S        1NT

                                   AJX            XXXXX             2D        2S

                 AKXX           XX                3H        4H

                 X              AJXX


         By first rebidding 2D, opener denies having 4 Hearts (see Tip # 27).  By next rebidding Hearts at the 3-level, you complete the picture of your hand; i.e., a maximum 17-18 HCP and a 5-3-4 holding.  Partner gets the message, raises to 4H and you are in the right contract.



31.  Bidding twice opposite a silent partner shows extra values (15-17 HCP minimum).   Bidding three times opposite a silent partner shows a hand in the 18-20 HCP range.   Bidding four times opposite a silent partner hints strongly of a death wish. 



31A.  The normal procedure for bidding a 6-4 distribution is 6,4,6.

             Ex:  KQXX  AX  X  KQXXXX  - (Open 1C, over partner’s probable 1D or 1H,                                   

                                                                                Rebid 1S with intent to bid Clubs once              

                                   more at the next opportunity, unless, of

                                   course, partner supports your Spades.)







- 8 -










32.  Return preference to a Major suit after an initial 1NT response usually shows a doubleton.


           Ex:     South (You)     North (Partner)

                       1H               1NT

                       2D               2H (Showing a doubleton)





33.  If a 1-level responder wishes to sign-off thereby showing a weak hand (6-9 HCP’s), the weak bids to evidence this are, pass, rebidding responder’s original suit, returning to opener’s original suit at the cheapest level, or 1NT.


                       Ex:     South (You)     North (Partner)

                       1D               1H

                       1S               ? ?


(a) XX  KQXXXX  JX  QXX  (Rebid 2H showing a 6-card suit, or at 

                       the very least a strong 5-carder.)

(b) XX  KXXXX  XX  QJXX  (Rebid 1NT.  Do not even think of  

                       rebidding those lousy Hearts.)

(c) X  AXXXX  QXXX  XXX  (Return to 2D.)

(d) QXX  KJXXX  X  XXXX  (Pass)





34.  One level responding hands in the 11-12 HCP range are expected to make invitational rebids after opener makes a minimum rebid.  These invitational rebids include: 2NT or at the 3-level and suit that has already been bid.


                       Opener  Responder


         (a)  1D       1H

              1S       2NT (11-12 HCP’s, not forcing)


         (b)  1D       1H

              1S       3H  (10-12 HCP’s, a 6-card suit, not forcing)


         (c)  1D       1H

              1S       3D  (11-12 support points, invitational)


         (d)  1D       1H

              1S       3S  (11-12 support points, invitational)



- 9 -


35.  After a one-level response. Holding game-going values, rebid game if a major suit fit has been uncovered, game in an independent Major suit, or 3NT.   Do not bid 2NT with such a hand since, as in # 34 above, 2NT would be invitational and not forcing.


              Ex:     South (You)     North (Partner)

                       1D               1H

                       1S               ? ?

(a) XX  AKJXXXX  KX  XX  (Rebid 4H; 3H is not forcing)

(b) AQXX  AQXXX  XX  XX  (Rebid 4S; 3S is not forcing)

(c) XXX  AKXX  XX  AQJX  (rebid 3NT; 2NT is not forcing)


36.  When a one-level responder wants to be in game, but does not know which game, a new suit should be bid in order to continue to force the bidding.  If this new suit is the fourth suit, the bid may be completely artificial, and usually evidences a 5-card first-bid suit.  FOURTH-SUIT FORCING BIDS ARE ALERTABLE. 

             Ex:  AX  AKJXX  JXXX  XX         North (Partner)  South (You)

                                           1D              1H

                                           1S             “2C”

        After partner’s 1S bid, you are sure that game is likely, although you are uncertain whether this hand belongs in Hearts, Diamonds, or even NT.  “2C” is fourth-suit, alertable, and forcing.  It enables responder to find out more about opener’s hand.  Partner will now support Hearts with 3-pieces, will bid NT with a Club stopper, or will return to Diamonds holding 5 pieces. (Note: a 3-level jump to 3D or 3H by responder would not have been forcing (Tip #34).


37.  After fourth suit, any subsequent rebid by the responder at the 3-level is game forcing, and any subsequent rebid at the 2-level is invitational.


      Opener    Responder                Opener     Responder

        1D         1H                      1D           1H

        1S        “2C”                     1S          “2C”

        2NT        3C/D/H/S (Forcing)      2D          2H/S/NT (Invitational)


38.  Raising a second suit promises 4-card support.


           Opener    Responder    If opener does not have four Clubs he/she          

             1H         1S      better have a pretty good reason to not; like:              

             2C         3C      “Sorry partner, I had one of my Spades mixed

                                up in my Clubs!”


39.  A direct response of 2NT (following a Major suit opening ) not only shows 13-15 HCP’s, but specifically denies a singleton, as opposed to a 2NT rebid, which evidences 11-12 HCP’s and does not deny a singleton.


       Ex:  (a) KQX  KX  AXXX  QXXX   North (Partner)  South (You)

                                          1H               2NT

                    (13-15 HCP’S & denying a singleton)


            (b) KQX  KXXXX  X  KXXX   North (Partner)  South (You)

                                          1D               1H

                                          1S               2NT

                    (11-12 HCP’S & a possible, not guaranteed, singleton)

- 10 -


40.  A direct response (following a Major suit opening ) of 3NT shows 16-17 HCP’s and specifically denies a singleton.   A rebid of 3NT shows 13-15 HCP’s, but does not deny a singleton. 


       Ex:  (a) KX  AQXX  KQX  QXXX   North (Partner)  South (You)

                                          1S             3NT

                    (16-17 HCP’S & denying a singleton)


            (b) KQX  KQXXX  X  KJXX   North (Partner)  South (You)

                                          1D               1H

                                          1S               3NT

                    (13-15 HCP’S & a possible, not guaranteed, singleton)


40A. A direct response of 2NT or 3NT following a Minor suit opening by partner evidences 11-12

        HCP’s in the first instance, and 13-15 HCP’s in the second instance with a tendency to deny a 4-

        card Heart or Spade suit in both instances.


       Ex:  (a) QXX  QXX  KQX  QXXX   North (Partner)  South (You)

                                             1C            3NT

                (11-12 HCP’S, denying a singleton and 4-cards in either Major)


            (b) QXX  KQX  KQX  QXXX   North (Partner)  South (You)

                                             1D            3NT

                (13-15 HCP’S, denying a singleton and 4-cards in either Major)





41.  Responding in a lower ranking suit and then rebidding a higher ranking suit:  (1),  shows a  6-5 distribution, and (2),  is forcing (new suit by responder).


     Ex: (a) AJXXX  AKXXXX  X  X   North  South(You)

                                    1D      ? (Respond 1H planning to then bid         

                                                and rebid Spades.)



42.  Do not bid a new suit at the 2-level with fewer than 11 HCP’s .


    Ex: (a) XX  AJXXX  QXXXX  X    North  (South(You)

                                   1C       1H

                                   1S       ?? (Rebid 1NT, 2D would show 11+)


        (b) AX  AJXXX  QXXXX  X    North  (South(You)

                                   1C      1H

                                   1S      ?? (Rebid 2D, at least 11 HCP’s, and 

                                        is forcing as a new suit by responder.)



43.  After partner rebids 1NT, a new lower ranking suit is not forcing.


       Ex:   XX  AJXXX  QXXXX  X    North  (South(You)

                                      1C      1H

                                      1NT     ?? Rebid 2D, (6-10 HCP’s, and the 

                  only sequence wherein a new suit by responder is not-forcing)

Contrast this sequence with # 42.

- 11 -









44.  Think of a Jump Shift by Responder as a Slam invitation.  Having 19 or more HCP’s opposite an opening bid, Slam is probable, and it is up to the Responder to push towards that goal.


45.  With Responder having 19 or more HCP’s opposite an opening bid, Slam is likely unless:

(1)  The hand is misfitted.

(2)  Two cashable Aces are missing; i.e., no voids are present nullifying a missing Ace.

(3)  You have a worthless doubleton; i.e., two quick losers in one side suit.

(4)  You are missing one Ace plus the King of Trumps.

(5)  You have an 8-card Trump fit and are missing one Ace plus the Trump Queen.

(6)  You have seen partner’s play before and must mentally subtract one trick.



46.  A Jump Shift by Responder evidences 19 or more HCP’s plus one of the following types of hands:


(1)  A one-suited hand with 6 or more cards in the suit.  ( AQJXXX  AX  AQX  KX )

     ( Partner opens 1H, Respond 2S, intending to rebid the suit.)

(2)  A hand with 4 or more cards in partner’s suit.    ( AKXX  AQXXX  KX  KX )

     ( Partner opens 1S, Respond 3H, intending to return to Spades.)

(3)  A balanced hand with a 5-card suit.   ( AKJXX  AX  AJX  KXX )

          ( Partner opens 1H, Respond 2S, intending to rebid No Trump.)



47.  Do not jump shift with a 2- or a 3-suited hand ( unless one of the suits is partner’s ) regardless of the strength of the hand.    By keeping the bidding space open you have the timing and the room to find the best spot in which to play; and the bidding will remain open simply by your continuing to force the by means of bidding a new suit until the denomination (suit or No Trump) of the final contract has been  established.


         Ex:  (a) AKXX AQXX  X  AQXX  ( Partner opens 1D, Respond 1H.  You do not

                                   have any of the three types of hands 

                                   partner will be expecting if you jump 

                                   shift. Discipline !!!)

(b) AKXX  AKXXX  AJX  X  (Partner opens 1C, Respond 1H. Patience !!!)



48.  A Jump Shift can be made on a 4-card, yes even on a 3-card suit providing responder has strong support for opener’s first suit and manifests the responsibility of later taking control of the hand.


    Ex:  (a) AX  X  AKQX  AQXXXX  (Partner opens 1C, Jump to 2D.  This hand 

                                   would otherwise be difficult to describe if     

                                   you begin by responding 1D.)


         (b) AKX  QJXXX  AQX  KX  (Partner opens 1H, Jump to 2S.      


- 12 -








49.  Regardless of the strength of your opening bid, it generally pays to make a minimum rebid allowing partner to describe his/her hand as to which of the three types of jump shift it be; i.e., a single suited 6-card or better hand, support for you, or a balanced hand. 


          You hold: AX  XX  KJX  AQJXXX   South(You)  North (Partner)

                                       1C             2H

                                       ?? (Although there is a certain Slam or 

                                          even a Grand Slam, bide your time

                                          with a 3C rebid.  Give as much room

                                          as is possible for partner to

                                          describe which of the three types of

                                          jump shifts he/she holds.)


50.  If you do Jump in your opening suit, it does not show extra values, it shows solidarity.


          You hold: X  AKQJXX  QXX  XXX  South(You)   North (Partner)

                                       1H             2S

                                       ?? (Jump to 4H to show a solid suit.)


51.  Do not rebid any suit that does not have an Ace or a King.  Partner, by virtue of his/her jump shift, does not have a second suit (see Tip # 47).  Partner is more interested in where your strength is located.


    You hold: KXXXX  AKX  QXXX  X   South(You)   North (Partner)

                                       1S             3C

                                       ?? (Rebid 3H rather than 3D.  Partner   

                                          cannot have 4 Hearts, so there is no

                                          chance for a mix-up.)


52.  Before leaping into 4NT (Blackwood) it pays for the partnership to set the Trump suit, if at all possible.


     You hold: KJXX  X  AKXXX  KXX   South(You)   North (Partner)

                                        1D             2S

                                       ?? (Rebid 3S thereby setting the suit 

                                           before either player plunges into 



53.  Whichever partner takes control of the hand on the way to Slam,  the controlling partner should NEVER utilize any Ace-asking Convention (Blackwood or Gerber) when holding a void and/or a worthless doubleton.  To do so may result in the answers received from Gerber or Blackwood, worthless.   Alternatively, cue-bidding should be used by the controlling partner, and even then, only after the Trump suit is set (See Tip # 52).





- 13 -








54.  A reasonable minimum for a one-level overcall is a 5-card suit and at least 8 HCP’s.   If you are timid and desire greater security as to the validity of your overcall; i.e., a self-imposed structured rigidity, then the suit with which you overcall should have a suit quality of  7 (One point for every card in the overcall suit + one point for every card 10 or above).   In the following, 1D has been bid by the dealer, your RHO.


     Ex:  (a) XX  AQXXX  XXX  QXX  (Overcall 1 Heart)

(b) XX  AXXXX  QXX  QJX  (Pass)


55.  A reasonable minimum for a two-level overcall is at least 10 HCP’s with a 5-card or longer suit.  If the hand does not have at least one Ace or one King outside of the main suit, chances are you have a weak jump (pre-emptive) overcall instead.   In the following, 1C has been bid by the dealer, your RHO.


     Ex:  (a) AX  XX  AQJXXX  XXX  (Overcall 1D) - An outside Ace is present.

(b) XX  JXX  AQJXXX  QX  (Overcall 2D) - no outside Ace or King.



56.  Fourth seat overcalls frequently depend upon the strength of your RHO’s response when there 

      has been a previous opening bid by your LHO.  If your RHO has made a two over one response,

      BEWARE!   The opponents are in a power auction scenario, and your bid should only be made with a

      strong suit to help direct a lead from partner and/or to suggest a sacrifice.  Forget points, you are

      outgunned.  The opponents figure to have at least 23 or more HCP’s between them.


                      West        North        East        South (You)

            1S           P           2C            ???


            Ex:  (a) KJX  AQXXX  AXX  JX  (Pass - Your suit is seedy, you have

                                    losers galore, remember Spades were bid by 

                                    your LHO, and besides, partner figures to

                                    have 2-3 HCP’s, at most.)

(b) X  KQJXXX  QXXX  XX  (Bid 2H - After a two over one start by

                                    your opponents, a fourth seat overcall

                                    should be thought of as a weak jump

                                    overcall pointing towards a possible

                                    sacrifice or else lead directing.)


57.  Conversely, if responder makes a weak response. Particularly a single raise in opener’s suit, loosen up.  Your overcall can be made, even at the 2-level, with as few as 9 HCP’s.


            West        North        East        South (You)

            1H           P           2H            ???


            Ex:  AKQXX  XX  XXX  XXX  (If opener passes, partner can place the      

                                opponents with 18-21 HCP’s at best, and will 

                                know your strength within a point or two.)

- 14 -   


58.  A Jump Overcall of “2NT” is “unusual”, showing 5-5 or longer in the two lower-ranking suits.  The range is anywhere from 6-11 HCP’s.    With greater strength one could, alternatively, bid both suits (the higher ranking suit first); i.e., giving partner a choice.



    Ex:  (a)  Your RHO opens with 1H/1S and you hold:  X  X  AXXXX  KXXXXX

        (Overcall “2NT”, “Unusual” for the Minors (two lower-ranking unbid.)


         (b)  Your RHO opens with 1C and you hold:     X  KJXXX  AJXXXX  X

        (Overcall “2NT”, “Unusual” for D/H (the two lower-ranking unbid.)


(c) Your RHO opens with 1D and you hold:      X  AKXXX  XX  KQXXX

        (Overcall 1H, intending to rebid Clubs later.)



59.  A vulnerable two-level overcall should approximate an opening bid.   A non-vulnerable two-level overcall need not be as strong.    One Heart has been bid by the dealer, your RHO.



      Ex:  (a) AX  XX  KJXXXX  QXX  (Pass vulnerable, overcall 2D non-


(b) AX  XX  AQXXXX  QXX  (Overcall 2D at any vulnerability.)




60.  Michael’s (either 2-way or 4-way) Cue-bid overcalls are used to describe a 5-5 or longer distribution with as suit specificity as follows:


          1C     “2C”  =   Hearts and Spades

          1D     “2D”  =    Hearts and Spades    (2-way)


          1H    “2H”  =    Spades and an Unspecified Minor

          1S     “2S”   =    Hearts and an Unspecified Minor   (4-way)


The conventional wisdom is that such cue-bid overcalls should be used with either very weak (0-10 HCP’s) or very strong (16 or more HCP’s) two-suiters.   With an intermediate HCP range (11-15 HCP’s) it is recommended to bid both suits yourself, the higher ranking suit first.


Ex:  (a)  Your RHO opens with 1C and you hold:  QXXXXX  KXXXX  X  X

        (Overcall “2C”, “Michael’s” for the Majors accepting partner’s choice  

         of the two without any further bidding by you (WEAK).)


(b) Your RHO opens with 1D and you hold:   AKXXXX  AKQXX  X  X

      (Overcall “2D”, “Michael’s” for the Majors.  After partner’s choice of

    H/S, you would cue-bid Diamonds once more to evidence (VERY STRONG).)


(c) Your RHO opens with 1C and you hold:   AKXXX  AXXXXX  XX  -

                 (Overcall 1S with intent of rebidding 2H giving partner a choice of

         H/S (INTERMEDIATE).)




           - 15 -










61.  A single raise of partner’s overcall is equivalent to a single raise of an opening bid; i.e., 6-10 HCP’s and at least three pieces for partner’s (5-card) bid suit.


           West        North(Partner)        East        South (You)

            1H              1S                2H            ???


       Ex:  AXX  XX  KXXX  XXXX  (Raise partner by responding 2S.)(9 Losers)





62.  Jump raises in partner’s overcall suit are preemptive.  They promise at least 4 pieces of partner’s overcall suit with fewer points (3-5 HCP’S) than would otherwise have been evidenced by a simple raise as in Tip #61.


                       West        North(Partner)        East        South (You)

            1H              1S                2H            ???


      Ex:  AXXX  XX  JXXX  XXX  (Jump-Raise partner by responding 3S.)(10 Losers)

        AJXXX  XX  XXX  XXX   Do not make the sissy bid of 2S.  Your team is 

                              never going to buy the contract for 2S anyway,

                              and so you might as well attempt to pre-empt the

                              opponents, while, at the same time, informing 

                              partner of the situation.)





63.  With primary (4 Pieces) support for partner’s overcall suit and a hand too strong for a single raise, cue-bid the first bid suit of the opponents inviting partner to game.   A CUE-BID IS THE ONLY FORCING  BID THAT CAN BE MADE BY A RESPONDER TO AN OVERCALL.  No other bid is forcing.    A cue-bid, therefore, is a stronger raise in partner’s overcall suit than a simple raise would be. 


                        West        North(Partner)        East        South (You)

            1D              1H                 1S            ???


      Ex:  X  KJXX  JXX  AQXXX (Cue-bid “2D”,the first bid suit by the opponents, 

                             evidencing 11-12 HCP’s (8 Losers) inviting 

                             partner to game.)







- 16 -



64.  If partner overcalls with a Major suit, do not change suits if you have support for that Major.  A change to any other suit, Minor or Major, would evidence lack of support for partner’s suit and is not forcing.  

                  West        North(Partner)        East        South (You)

                  1C              1H                2C            ???


      Ex:  (a) XX  JXX  AKXXX  XXX  (Bid 2H, 2D would deny support for Hearts.)

(b) AKXXX  QXX  XXX  XX  (Bid 2H, 2S would deny support for Hearts.)

        (c) AQXXX  X  KXXX  XXX  (Bid 2S, denying support for Hearts.)





65.  If partner overcalls with a Minor suit, a change to a Major suit by partner does not deny support for the overcall suit.  It does, however, guarantee at least a 5-card, or better, Major suit.


                       West        North(Partner)        East        South (You)

            1C              1D                2C            ???


      Ex:  (a) XX  AJXXX  XXX  KXX  (Bid 2H, does not deny Diamond support.)

(b) AKXXX  QXX  X  XXXX  (Bid 2S)





66.  Know your HCP ranges when it comes to bidding no trump in response to a 1-level overcall by partner.          A  1NT response = 8-11 HCP’s;         a  2NT response = 12-14 HCP’s;                             

      and a  3NT response = 15-18 HCP’s.   All, of course, evidence a stopper in the opener’s bid suit 

      as well as lack of primary support for partner’s overcall suit


            West        North(Partner)        East        South (You)

             1C              1S               Pass            ???


      Ex:  (a) XX  AQX  JXXX  KXXX  (Bid 1NT.) 

(b) XX  AQX  KXXX  AXXX  (Bid 2NT.) Is not forcing.

(c) JQ  AQX  KQJX  KXXX  (Bid 3NT.)


















- 17 -








67.  The STAYMAN CONVENTION is only used over partner’s NT opening when the responder

      has  one or two 4-card Majors and is seeking a 4-card match from opener.   Stayman is never

      used to seek a 3-card match for an existing 5-card suit. 

Stayman & Jacoby Transfer Bids are not interchangeable

      JACOBY TRANSFERS are used over partner’s NT opening under very different       

     circumstances.   Such transfers are only used:   (1), when responder is seeking 3-card support for 

     his/her  5-card Major suit;  (2), when responder has 5 or more pieces of any suit, Major or Minor, 

     and is transferring into a suit for which he/she knows opener has no fewer than 2 pieces but is

     desirous of  having the stronger hand concealed and/or the lead coming into the stronger holding;  

     (3), when responder is desirous of escaping into a suit contract under circumstances in which

     he/she feels that a NT contract is untenable;  (4), assuming the partnership is playing 3-way 

     transfers, the responder may be seeking a Minor suit preference (“Minor Suit Stayman”) on the 

     way to a possible Slam in one of the Minors.    Jacoby Transfers are never used to seek a 4-card 

     match for an existing 4-card suit.


68.  There are times when partner opens 1NT, or even 2NT, and responder is not capable of 

      extricating the partnership from the a NT scenario.   Never  attempt to utilize either the Stayman

     Convention or Jacoby Transfers if conditions are not favorable for their usage.


               Ex. (a)  XXXX  QXX  XXX  JXXX  (Partner opens 1NT, You must Pass)


69.  The Stayman Convention must never be utilized seeking a 4-4 Major suit fit under conditions

      when responder has too few HCP’s such that he/she cannot tolerate the worst case scenario

      response from opener.   Thus, assuming the partnership is playing a 15-17 HCP 1NT opening,

      and unless under circumstances as seen below in Tip #70(a-f), responder  must have no fewer

      than 9 HCP’s to invoke the Stayman Convention.


      Ex:  (a) AXXX  KX  XXXX  XXX  (Over a 1NT opening bid by partner,

                                    responder with this holding must pass and 

                                    not seek a 4-4 Spade fit with Stayman, 

                                    for if opener were to respond “2D”, or 2H

                                    over “2C”, responder would have to rebid

                                    2NT which would appear to opener as if it

                                    were an invitation to 3NT which, if

                                    accepted, would place the Contract in

                                    game with no greater than a 24 HCP count

                                    for the combined partnership.)


(b) XXX  AQXX  QXXXX  X (Pass. If Stayman were to be used and 

                         opener were to give a 2S response opposite 

                         this holding, responder would have no 

                         place to run.  In addition, the hand has 

                         too many points to needlessly run into a 

                         Diamond contract in lieu of a potentially

                         better scoring NT contract.)

- 18 -

70.  “DROP DEAD” SCENARIOS:   There are some circumstances where responder has too few HCP’s  to seek game or even to invite to game; but where responder may believe it advantageous to escape to a suit contract rather than remain in what responder believes to be an untenable NT contract for the partnership.   The Stayman and Jacoby Transfer Conventions can both be utilized under the following circumstances for the purpose of pursuing a “drop dead” best suit alternative following a NT opening by partner.


(1)  “Drop Dead” Stayman Scenarios with a 3-Suited S,H,D, Holding 


Ex: (a) XXXX  XXXX  AXXX  X  (Bid “2C” with intent to pass “2D”, 2H, 2S.)

(b) JXXX  QXXX  XXXXX -  (Again, Invoke Stayman and pass any 


(c) JXXXX  KXXX  XXXX -  (Again, Invoke Stayman and pass any 


(d) AXXX  XXXXX  XXXX -  (Again, Invoke Stayman and pass any 



(2)  “Drop Dead” Stayman Scenarios with either a 5-4 or 4-5 in the Majors


Ex. (e) KXXXX  XXXX  XX  XX  (Bid “2C”.  If partner bids 2H or 2S you 

                          will pass, if opener responds “2D” you will

                          bid 2S and play in, worst case scenario, a

                          5-2 fit.)

(f) XXXX  KXXXX  XX  XX  (Bid “2C”.  If partner bids 2H or 2S you 

                          will pass, if opener responds “2D” you will

                          bid 2H and play in, worst case scenario, a

                          5-2 fit.)

Note:  In examples (e) and (f), when a 4-card and a 5-card Major are both 

       present, the Stayman Convention takes precedence over Jacoby transfers

 so as not to miss a possible 4-4 fit.


(3)   “Drop Dead” Jacoby Transfer Scenarios Holding a 5-Card or Longer Suit


  Ex.  (g) XXXXX  XXX  XX  XXX  (Bid “2H” transferring to Spades.)

          (h) XXX  JXXXXX  XX  XX  (Bid “2D” transferring to Hearts.)

(i) XX  X  KXXXX  JXXXX  (Bid “2S”, “Minor Suit Stayman”, requiring 

                          opener to choose his/her best Minor.)


(4)   “Drop Dead” Specialized Scenario Holding 5-5 or Better In The Majors


     Ex.  (j) XXXXX  XXXXX  XX  X  (Bid “3H”.  This tells partner to either 

                          pass or correct to 3S dependent upon

                          opener’s better Major suit holding.)


(5)  “Drop Dead” Exit Into Clubs or Diamonds


     Ex.  (k) XX  XXX  XX  QXXXXX  (Bid “2S”. Partner will bid 3C showing

                          a Club preference which responder may           

                          then Pass; else opener will bid “2NT”

                          showing a Diamond preference and         

                          responder may then correct to 3C.)


Note:  When playing Stayman and Jacoby Transfer bids, there is no way to play in a final 2C or 2D contract. The 3-level is the earliest escape into a Minor.

- 19 -



71.  INVITATIONAL SCENARIOS:   There are circumstances in which responder has enough 

      HCP’s (9-10) such that he/she wishes to explore for a 4-4 or a 5-3 Major suit fit while at the same

      time, inviting to game.    The Stayman and Jacoby Transfer Conventions can both be utilized

      under the following circumstances for the purpose of pursuing a possible Major suit fit following

      a NT opening by partner while, simultaneously inviting to game.


(1)  Invitational Stayman Scenarios


            Ex: (a) KXXX  AXX  QJX  XXX  (Bid “2C”.  If opener bids “2D” or 2H you 

                                    can rebid 2NT allowing opener to pass with

                                    a minimum 15 and to go to 3NT holding a 

                                    maximum of 16-17 HCP’s.  If opener

                                    responds 2S, responder can invite to game

                                    by bidding 3S, wherein opener passes with

                                    15 HCP’s or continues to 4S with 16-17


          (b) XX  AXXX  AXXX  QXX  (Bid “2C”.  If opener bids “2D” or 2S you 

                                    can rebid 2NT allowing opener to pass with

                                    a minimum 15 and to go to 3NT holding a 

                                    maximum of 16-17 HCP’s.) If opener         

                                    responds 2H, responder can invite to game

                                    by bidding 3H, wherein opener passes with

                                    15 HCP’s or continues to 4H with 16-17




(2)  Invitational Jacoby Transfer Scenarios


           Ex: (c) KXXXX  AXX  QXX  XX  (Bid “2H” and rebid 2NT after opener

                                   responds 2S.  Opener will either pass 2NT,

                                   or else correct to 3S, 3NT, or 4S.)

         (d) XX  AXXXX  KXX  KXX  (Bid “2D” and rebid 2NT after opener

                                   responds 2H.  Opener will either pass 2NT,

                                   or else correct to 3H, 3NT, or 4H.)

(e) AX  QXX  KXXXX  XXX  (Bid 2NT. Note: Never use Jacoby Transfers in

                          an invitational 9-10 HCP scenario when

                          holding a 5-card or longer Minor Suit,

                          rather invite with 2NT directly.)



(3)  Invitational Bids Seeking 3NT When Holding a 6-card or Better Minor Suit

Containing Two of the Three Top Honors


Ex: (f) XX  JXX  XX  AQXXXX  (Bid “3C” evidencing a 6-card or better Club

                              suit headed by two of the top three honors

                              and fewer HCP’s than would normally be

                              necessary for a 3NT contract.  Partner either

                              passes or alternatively if holding the

                              missing honor and stoppers in the other three

                              suits bids a gambling 3NT response.)

(g) X  XX  KQXXXXX  XXX  (Bid “3D”. Opener either passes or as in (a)    

                          above, corrects to a gambling 3NT.)


- 20 -



72.  GAME-FORCING AUCTION SCENARIOS:   There are circumstances in which responder has 11 HCP’s or more and  will therefore force to game no matter whether opener has even as few as 15 HCP’s.    The Stayman and Jacoby Transfer Conventions can be utilized under the following conditions  in order to seek a preferred Suit contract in lieu of NT.



(1)  Game-Forcing Stayman Auctions


Holding One  4-Card Major Suit


     Ex. (a) AXXX  XX  AXX  KXXX  (Bid “2C”.  If opener responds 2S you can

                                   go to 4S.  If opener responds 2H you can

                                   go to 3NT and opener can correct to 4S

                                   holding four Spades knowing responder has

                                   four Spades else he/she would not have 

                                   invoked Stayman. If opener responds “2D”

                                   you can go to 3NT.)

         (b) XX  AXXX  KX  KQXXX  (Bid “2C”.  If opener responds 2H you can

                                   go to 4H.  If opener responds “2D” or 2S you 

                                   can go directly to 3NT.)


Holding Two 4-Card Major Suits


(c) AXXX  KXXX  KQX  XX  (Bid “2C”.  If opener responds either 2H or 2S 

                          you can go to 4H or 4S respectively.  If

                          opener responds “2D’ you can bid 3NT.)


Holding One 5-Card, and One 4-Card Major Suit


(d) AXXXX  KXXX  AX  XX  (Bid “2C”.  If opener responds “2D” you can

                          go to 3S evidencing four Hearts and five

                          Spades, demanding partner continue to 4S

     DO NOT USE JACOBY    holding three Spades, else 3NT with only two  

                          Spades.  If opener responds either 2H or 2S 

                          you can continue to 4H or 4S respectively.)

(e) AXXX  AQXXX  XXX  A  (Bid “2C”.  If opener responds “2D” you can

                          go to 3H evidencing four Spades and five

                          Hearts, forcing partner to continue to 4H

     DO NOT USE JACOBY    holding three Hearts, else 3NT with only two  

                          Hearts.  If opener responds either 2H or 2S 

                          you can continue to 4H or 4S respectively.)


Holding One 6-Card or Better, and One 4-Card Major Suit


(f) QXXXXX  AXXX  AQ  X  (Bid “2C”.  If partner bids 2H or 2S you can

                          go to 4H or 4S respectively.  If partner

     DO NOT USE JACOBY    bids “2D” you can go to 4S knowing opener

                          holds no fewer than two Spades.)

(g) AXXX  AQXXXX  X  JX  (Bid “2C”. If partner bids 2H or 2S you can  

                          go to 4H or 4S respectively.  If partner

     DO NOT USE JACOBY    bids “2D” you can go to 4H knowing opener

                          holds no fewer than two Hearts.)



- 21 -


(2)  Game-Forcing Jacoby Transfer “Check-Back Stayman” Scenarios


Holding One 5-Card Major Suit


Ex.  (h) AXXXX  XX  AKX  XXX  (Bid “2H”.  After partner responds 2S,

                               rebid 3NT (“Check-Back Stayman”) asking

                               opener to correct to 3NT holding only

                               two Spades.)

     (i) XXX  AKXXX  AX  XXX  (Bid “2D”.  After partner responds 2H,

                               rebid 3NT (“Check-Back Stayman”) asking

                               opener to correct to 3NT holding only

                               two Hearts.)



(3)  Game-Forcing Jacoby Transfer Scenarios


Holding One 6-Card or Longer Major Suit


Ex.  (j) AKXXXX  XX  AXX  XX  (Bid “2H”.  After partner bids 2S you can

                          continue to 4S making the stronger hand

                          the concealed declarer.)

(k) AX  XXXXXX  AQ  QXX  (Bid “2D”.  After opener bids 2H you can 

                          continue to 4H.)



(4)  Game-Forcing Specialized Scenario Holding 5-5 or Better In The Majors



Ex.  (l) XXXXX  XXXXX  XX  X  (Bid “3S”.  This tells partner to bid 

                               either 4H or 4S dependent upon which

                               Major suit he/she prefers, else 3NT if

                               holding an unlikely 2-2 in the Majors.)




73.  MINOR SUIT SLAM   There are very infrequent but possible times when responder, opposite a 1NT or 2NT opening from partner, wishes to seek which Minor suit Opener prefers before proceeding to a Small Slam or a Grand Slam one of the Minors.   Jacoby “2S” Minor Suit Stayman is excellent for determining which is the better Minor for the Slam attempt.



Ex.  (a) AK  X  AXXXX  AKXXX  (Bid “2S” requesting partner’s Minor suit

                               preference.  Partner will show equal or

                               longer Clubs by bidding “3C” or longer

                               Diamonds by responding “2NT”.  Responder

                               may then proceed with either Blackwood,

                               Gerber, or Cue-bidding in a Slam attempt.









 - 21A -




     In the following first grouping of test exercises, you are Responder with your partner having opened  1 NT.   Your holdings are as follows:   Remember, as responder you are the Captain since you know more about partner’s hand than partner knows about yours.   Ask yourself whether you are in a passing, a salvaging- “drop-dead”, an invitational, or a game-forcing scenario.   Then ask yourself what additional information, if any,  you need to have from partner so as to best place the hand in the proper level and denomination; i.e., what piece or pieces of the puzzle need you determine so as to effectively Captain your team, and what are the pertinent questions you need to ask?     Remember that The Stayman Convention is utilized when you have four pieces and are looking for a matching four;  Jacoby Transfers are utilized to effect a transfer or to attempt to find three pieces to match your holding of five.










e.  QJ10  XX  KQXXX  Q10X

































- 21B -


     In the following grouping of test exercises you are the opening 1NT bidder faced with the following sequence of bids from your responding partner.   What information is responder seeking and what should be your reply, and why?    Is partner in a “drop-dead”, invitational, or game-forcing scenario?

a.  AXX  AXX  AJXX  KXX   (1NT   P  “3C”   P) 



b.  AQX  KJXX  XX  AJXX   (1NT   P  “3D”   P)



c.  QJX  KXXX  AKXX  AX   (1NT   P   “2C”  P

                            2H   P    3H   P



d.  KJXX  QJXX  AQX  AX   (1NT   P   “2C”  P

                            2H   P    3NT  P



e.  XX  AKX  QJX  AXXXX   (1NT   P   “2H”  P



f.  AXX  XX  KQJX  KQJX   (1NT   P   “2C”  P

                           “2D”  P    3S   P



g.  AXX  AXX  AX  QJXXXX     (1NT   P   “2C”   P

                              “2D”  P    2NT   P



h.  AQX  QX  KQX  KXXXX      (1NT   P   “2C”   P

                              “2D”  P    3H    P



i.  AX  KXXX  KQXX  AXX      (1NT   P   “2S”   P



j.  AXXX  AXX  AQ  QXXX      (1NT   P   “3C”   P



k.  AQX  QX  AQX  QJXXX      (1NT   P   “2H”   P

                              2S    P    4H    P



l.  QJX  KQX  AXX  AXXX      (1NT   P   “2C”   P

                              “2D”  P    2H    P



m.  KX  AXX  AXXX  AJXX      (1NT   P   “2H”   P

                               2S   P   3NT    P



n.  KXX  AX  AXXX  KJXX      (1NT   P   “2D”   P

                               2H   P   2NT    P



o.  AQXX  KXX  KQX  KXX      (1NT   P   “2H”   P


 - 21C -

SERIES 1 -  (Answers)


a.    Bid 3NT.  (Game-Forcing) - In this hand you have enough HCP’s which when

              added to partner’s 15-17 will, almost always, produce game. 

              Your hand is balanced with little ruffing necessity and so

              rather than give the opponents possible valuable defensive

              information your intent is to abandon the attempt to find a

              Spade fit which is statistically likely to fail in almost 60%

              of the time anyway.


b.    Bid “2C”. (“Drop-Dead” scenario) - You realize that 1NT is a likely

              disaster for partner with the near bust hand you hold.  The 5-4

              Major suit holding, however, allows you to bid “2C”.  If

              partner bids a hoped-for 2H or 2S, you plan to pass.  If

              opener bids “2D” denying a 4-card Major, you will bid a

              “drop-dead” 2S planning to play the hand in a Spade contract

              with no fewer than a combined total 7 or 8 trumps.


c.    Bid “3D”. (Invitational) - This is an invitational bid looking towards a 

              3NT contract if partner has the missing honor for your 6-card 

              Minor suit which you have stated houses 2 of the top 3 honors.  

              Alternatively, absent this missing honor, opener is expected to 

              pass your “3D” invitation independent as to whether he/she

              holds 2, 3 or 4 of your suit; 15, 16, or 17 HCP’s.


d.    Bid “2C”. (Game-forcing) - With a 4-6 or 6-4 in the Majors, use Stayman

              and if partner denies a 4-card Major, you can go to 4 of your

              6-card Major suit, confident both that you have enough combined

              HCP’s for game and that opener can have no fewer than 2 of your

              6-card Major owing to the original 1NT balanced declaration.


e.    Bid 3NT.  (Game-forcing) - Live a bit on the edge!  You have an otherwise 

              invitational hand .  However, it holds a 5-card suit, as well

              as several 10’s.  (Disregard the 5-card Minor suit with respect

              to seeking a possible alternative Diamond contract.)


f.    Bid 3NT.  (Game-forcing) - Your hand has enough HCP’s to force to game.

              Additionally, you are strong enough so as to disregard the

              6-card Club suit which with the combined HCP count between  

              opener and yourself can surely offer more scoring potential in

              NT at 40 and 30 points per trick than the 20 points per trick

              should you have alternatively decided upon a Club contract.


g.    Bid “2H”. (Game-forcing) - Following this transfer to Spades your intent

              is to go directly to 4S.  Opener can have no fewer than 2

              Spades for his/her original 1NT opening bid and you desire to

              maintain concealment of the stronger hand by allowing the 1NT

              hand to remain hidden as Declarer.


h.    Bid “2D”. (“Drop-Dead Scenario”) - Your intent is to pass opener’s

              compliant 2H bid in this drop-dead rescue scenario.)


i.    Bid “2C”. (Game-forcing) - You have enough HCP’s so as to ultimately head

              towards a game contract.   Because your hand is unbalanced,

              however, you would like to find either a Heart or Spade Golden

              fit so as to increase your hand’s potential via its ruffing

              value.   With a 5-4 Major suit distribution, you first bid

              Stayman.  If partner responds 2H or 2S you continue to the 4-

              level.  If partner bids “2D” denying any 4-card Major, you

              still need to determine if partner holds a 3-card Spade

              holding.  Your next bid of 3S forces opener to either continue

              to 4S holding a 3-card Spade suit, else to exit with a 3NT bid.



- 21D - 


j. Bid “2S”. (“Drop-dead” rescue scenario) - “Minor Suit Stayman” requesting

              opener to select a Minor suit preference by bidding “3C” if

              his/her Clubs are equal of longer than Diamonds, else “2NT if

              his/her Diamonds are longer.  If opener bids “3C’ you will

              pass, if opener bids “2NT” preferring Diamonds, you will bid

              “3D” and opener will pass.


k. Pass.     (You cannot use Stayman here looking for a matching 4-card Heart 

           suit because you do not have enough HCP’s to tolerate and     

              respond to a likely 2S response from opener.   As much as you

              would like to rescue opener, you have no guarantee as to

              finding that which you would like, and so you must Pass.)


l. Bid”2H”.  (Game-forcing) - You surely have enough HCP’s to force to game

              but you need to know which Major opener prefers.  Because

              a NT opener can have no more than one doubleton, opener surely

              has at least one 3- or 4-card Major suit.  You, therefore,

              first bid “2H” transferring into the higher Major.  Following

              partner’s 2S bid you then rebid 4H.  Opener now knows you have

              two 5-card Majors and either passes 4H or corrects to 4S.


m. Bid “2C”. (“Drop-dead” scenario) - Responder’s intent is to pass any of

              the only three possible answers from opener; “2D”, 2H or 2S. 

              Surely this has got to be a welcomed rescue from an almost

              certain disaster should the hand have been played in 1NT.


n. Pass.     (You would surely be pleased if opener holds one or two 4-card

              Majors, but have no come-back (too few points) to a potential

              “2D” response from opener should he/she have no 4-card Major.  

              Smile, Pass, and wish your partner the best of luck!)


o. “2C”.     (Game-forcing) - Knowing that game is assured and Slam unlikely,

              Responder need only investigate for a possible Spade fit. 

              Should opener respond 2S, responder can bid 4S.  If opener

              responds 2H, having two 4-card Majors, opener will correct to

              4S after responder bids 3NT.  If opener bids “2D” showing no 4-

              card Major, responder will bid a sign-off at 3NT.


p. “2S”.     (“Drop-dead scenario) - Headed for a hoped-for salvage of 3C,

              responder bids “2S”, “Minor suit Stayman” requesting what

              opener believes to be a request for an answer as to which Minor

              suit opener prefers.  Irrespective of the answer, however, if

              opener bids “3C” (Clubs equal or longer), responder passes; if

              opener bids “2NT”(Diamonds are longer), responder corrects to

              3C and opener passes.


q. “2H”.     (“Drop-dead scenario) - With responder holding so few points, 

              and desirous of winding up in 2S as a constructive alternative

              to 1NT, responder transfers to Spades and then passes.)


r. “2S”.     (Slam) - Desirous of seeking opener’s Minor suit preference on

              the way to a probable 6C or 6D contract responder invokes

              “Minor suit Stayman”.  Over opener’s “2NT” (Diamond preference)

              or “3C” (Club preference) response, responder may then bid “4C”

              (Gerber) investigating a probable Minor suit Slam.


s. 3NT.      (Game-forcing) - Anytime responder has enough HCP’s to total no

              fewer than 29 HCP’s (30 in this instance) the combined holding

              is almost always likely to produce as many potential tricks in

              No Trump as in Hearts or Spades, and so responder does not even

              bother to seek a Major suit fit since its presence or absence

              is, most likely, irrelevant.



- 21E -


SERIES 2  -  (Answers)


a. 3NT.    (Partner is inviting to game holding a 6-card Club suit headed by

            two of the top three honors.) - Holding the missing honor you

            should accept the invitation and bid 3NT.  Absent this holding

            you would have passed.


b. Pass.   (Same scenario, accept this time responder is inviting to 3NT with     

            a similar Diamond holding.) - You cannot accept responder’s

            invitation to 3NT, because you do not have the missing third

            honor in the Diamond suit.  Your HCP count, and number of 

            Diamonds held is irrelevant. 


c. 4H.     (Partner is in an invitational mode having liked your 2H Stayman

            response to his/her Major suit inquiry.) - Responder has invited

            you to 4 if you have a maximum 16-17 HCP opening 1NT count. 

            Responder must hold a 4-card Heart suit with 9-10 HCP’s.


d. 4S.     (Responder has forced to game, refused your 4-card Heart holding,

            but obviously has four Spades else would not have invoked Stayman

            in the first place.) - Opener must, therefore, correct to 4S. 

            Absent the four Spade holding, opener would have passed 3NT.


e. 2S.     (A no-brainer!  You have no other choice other than to bid 2S in 

            compliance with the demand transfer request of your responder

            partner irrespective of your dislike for the worthless doubleton

            Spade you hold.) - Responder has 5 or more Spades and has

            demanded a transfer response.  Responder can then pass, 

            invite to game in Spades,  or go directly to the game level of

            3NT or four Spades;  his/her unilateral choice.


f. 4S.     (Responding partner has forced to game with what must be at least

            10 HCP’s or more with a 4-card Heart suit and a 5-card Spade

            suit.) - Despite your denial of any 4-card Major suit holding

            partner has pushed forward into a game-forcing scenario asking

            now for you to bid 4S holding three to match responder’s 5-card

            suit, else 3NT. 


g. Pass.   (Responder is in an invitational mode.) - Failing to find a 4-card

            Major suit, Responder has invited you to 3NT showing one or more

            4-card Majors with 9-10 HCP’s.  Your 15 HCP’s  fails to meet the

            maximum 16-17 needed to accept responder’s invitation.)


h. 3NT.    (Responder has forced to game with his/her jump into 3H.) - 

            Responder thus has 11 or more HCP’s, a 4-card Spade suit, and a

            5-card Heart suit.   With your three Spades and two Hearts you

            correct to 3NT denying a Golden-fit for either Major suit held by



i. 3C.     (Responder has invoked “Minor suit Stayman” requesting your taking

            a Club/Diamond preference.) -  You must evidence a Diamond

            preference by bidding “2NT” careful not to bypass 3C since

            responder may still wish to present a “drop-dead” Club rebid.

            Responder will then either bid a 3C drop-dead bid not-with-

            standing your Diamond preference, 3D should responder so choose,

            else continue on to possible Slam in your stated Diamond


- 21F -


j. 3NT.     (Responder is in an invitational mode holding a 6-card Club suit    

             headed by two of the top three; the AK in this instance since 

             you can see the Q.) - You accept partner’s invitation since you

             have the third honor with stoppers in the three remaining suits.


k. 4S.      (Responder has forced to game with his jump to 4H. ) - Responder

             must have a game-forcing point count with 5-cards in both

             Major suits.  Responder first transferred to the higher Major

             and then bid the lower Major at game level affording you the

             stated choice of your preference; i.e., that Major in which you

             assuredly hold three or four pieces.  You must correct to Spades

             having a 3-card Spade suit match for partner’s 5 Spades, but

             only 2 Hearts.


l. Pass.    (Responder is in a “drop-dead” scenario mode.) - He/she must have

             4-Spades and 5-Hearts with fewer than 9 HCP’s and is desirous of

             avoiding what responder perceives to be an intolerable 1NT



m. Pass.    (Responder is in a game-forcing auction.) - Responder has

             transferred to Spades with a 5-card suit.  Responder then seeks

             an answer as to whether you hold 2,3 or 4 cards in the Spade

             suit.  Holding only 2 you decline the invitation to 4S by

             passing the 3NT rebid by responder.)


n. Pass     (Responder is in an invitational mode.) - Responder has

             transferred to Hearts via his/her “2D” Jacoby transfer bid.  

             Responder, knowing opener could have as few as 2 Hearts,

             then invites to game via the 2NT bid.  Opener now knows that

             responder has 5 Hearts and 9-10 HCP’s.  With opener having only

             two Hearts and a minimum of 15 HCP’s, opener rejects the

             invitation and simply passes.  With 3 or 4 Hearts and the same

             15 HCP’s opener would have corrected to 3H.   With 3 or 4 Hearts

             and 16-17 HCP’s, opener would have continued to 4H, and with the

             same 16-17 HCP’s and only two Hearts, opener would have

             continued to 3NT.)


o. 3S       (Responder has asked for a transfer to Spades.  You have,

             however, both a maximum 17 HCP holding and a 4-card support for 

             partner’s 5 or more Spades.  You should bid 3S which has the

             effect of either (a) encouraging partner if his/her hand is

             strong so as to possibly invite for Slam, or (b) pre-empt the

             opponents (you and responder have at least 9 Spades between you)

             in case partner was in a drop-dead weak hand rescue mode.)