Main     Lesson 3C by Richard Pavlicek    

Rebids by Opener

The purpose of this lesson is not to teach basic rebids by opener (you should already know them) but to clarify some of the finer points. Opener’s reverse bid, in particular, is notorious for creating many problems and it will be explained here.

I will also offer advice on how to choose the better rebid when faced with alternatives, and when to bend the rules slightly.

The Basic Rebids

The following tables summarize the basic rebidding strategy of the opening bidder. More specifically, it is assumed that the opening bid is one of a suit and the response is a new suit at the one level without enemy interference.

With 4+ card trump support
13-15 pointsraise to 2
16-18 pointsraise to 3
19+ pointsraise to 4

With a balanced hand
12-14* HCPbid 1 NT
18-19* HCPjump to 2 NT

*This assumes a 15-17 1 NT opening. If 1 NT shows 16-18, these ranges would be 13-15 and 19-20, respectively.

With 4+ cards in unbid suit
13-18 pointsbid new suit*
19+ pointsjump shift*

*Overly simplified. See “The Reverse Bid” for exceptions and restrictions.

With 6+ cards in original suit
13-15 pointsbid 2 of suit
16-18 pointsbid 3 of suit
19+ pointsbid 4 of suit*

*This is rare if your suit is a minor. Look for an alternative.

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The Reverse Bid

A reverse bid is a nonjump bid at the two level in a suit that is higher ranking than opener’s first suit after a one-level response. There are four possible sequences after a response of one of a suit:

West
1 C
2 D
East
1 H

West
1 C
2 D
East
1 S

West
1 C
2 H
East
1 S

West
1 D
2 H
East
1 S

In each case opener shows at least five cards in his first suit and usually four cards in his second suit. The first suit is always longer than the second suit because with equal length opener would bid the higher ranking suit first.

Opener’s reverse bid requires 17+ points (or 16 HCP) and it is forcing for one round.

1.
S 4 3
H 3
D A K J 8
C A K J 9 7 4
TableS J 9 5
H K J 9 5 4 2
D 4 3
C 10 2

West
1 C
2 D
3 C
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
2 H
Pass
South
Pass
Pass

The reverse bid of 2 D (forcing) is more descriptive than a jump to 3 C. Opener next bids 3 C to describe his 6-4 pattern.

The reverse bid also applies if the response is 1 NT.

2.
S A Q J 4
H 3
D A K Q 8 3
C J 7 3
TableS 7 5 2
H J 7 6
D 7 2
C A Q 10 8 4

West
1 D
2 S
4 C
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 NT
3 C
5 C
South
Pass
Pass

The reverse bid of 2 S (forcing) allows the partnership to reach a superior minor-suit game instead of a hopeless 3 NT.

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Jump Reverse Bid

Since the reverse bid is forcing, there is little need for a jump reverse bid except to show a specific kind of hand. I recommend the following agreement:

A jump reverse bid shows 19+ points and at least 6-4 shape. It is forcing to game.

3.
S 2
H A K 8 4
D A 2
C A K 10 8 7 3
TableS J 10 8 6 5
H 6 5 2
D Q J 4
C Q 2

West
1 C
3 H
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
3 NT
South
Pass

Your second bid guarantees at least six clubs along with your four hearts; hence you do not need to worry about repeating your clubs.

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Three Notrump Rebid

A rebid not described in the basic tables is the double jump to 3 NT. This does not show a balanced hand (as does 1 NT or 2 NT). Instead it shows a strong desire to play 3 NT based on length in the original suit. Opener will often have a singleton in responder’s bid suit.

Opener’s double jump rebid of 3 NT shows 16-19 HCP, at least six cards in his original suit, and stoppers in both unbid suits.

4.
S K 5
H 4
D A Q 8
C A K J 8 7 4 3
TableS 9 7 4
H K Q 8 6 5
D 5 4
C 9 5 2

West
1 C
3 NT
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
Pass
South
Pass

The most likely final contract is 3 NT, so the practical approach is just to bid it. You have the spades and diamonds stopped, partner should have hearts stopped, and the clubs will provide tricks.

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Three-Card Raise

On some hands the best choice of rebids is to raise responder’s major suit with only three cards. This is especially desirable at matchpoint duplicate, where bidding and making a major-suit contract invariably leads to a good score.

Hands with 5-4-3-1 shape are good candidates for a three-card raise if you are too weak for a reverse bid, or if your four-card suit is a weak minor.

How come you wouldn’t raise me with three trumps?
Come on, Joe. The way you play, I wouldn’t raise you with four trumps.

5.
S K Q 4
H A K 8 7 2
D J 6 5 2
C 3
TableS J 10 8 3
H 3
D Q 10 3
C A 8 7 6 4

West
1 H
2 S
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
Pass
South
Pass

The textbook rebid is 2 D, but the suit quality is so lousy. If you want to be a winner, don’t be afraid to raise with three trumps in a pinch.

Prefer a three-card raise instead of 1 NT if you have a worthless doubleton in an unbid suit.

6.
S 4 3
H A 9 7
D A K 8 7 4
C K 8 2
TableS J 7 2
H J 8 6 4 2
D 10 2
C A J 3

West
1 D
2 H
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
Pass
South
Pass

Opener’s hand is balanced so he is supposed to rebid 1 NT, but the spade holding invites disaster. It is far more sensible to raise to 2 H.

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Five-Card Suit Rebid

Opener usually has six cards when he repeats the same suit, however, there are times when it is necessary to repeat a five-card suit.

With 5-4 shape and insufficient strength to make a reverse bid, it is permissible to rebid a decent five-card suit.

Be sure to understand that rebidding a five-card suit is the exception, not the normal practice.

7.
S 2
H A K 4 2
D 6 5 3
C K Q 10 9 4
TableS Q 10 7 5 3
H 8 3
D A 9 7 4
C J 3

West
1 C
2 C
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
Pass
South
Pass

You are too weak to bid 2 H (a reverse bid) so the only reasonable choice is to repeat the good club suit.

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Off-Shape 1 NT Rebid

Opener’s 1 NT rebid shows a balanced hand, however, this rule can be bent when the alternative forces you to rebid a poor suit.

With an almost balanced hand you may treat it as balanced if your shortest suit* contains an ace, king or queen.

*Holding two doubletons this refers to the unbid suit.

8.
S K
H A Q 4 2
D A 9 7 6 5
C J 6 2
TableS J 10 7 5
H K 8 3
D 4 2
C Q 10 9 3

West
1 D
1 NT
North
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
Pass
South
Pass

The off-shape 1 NT rebid is preferable to 2 D because of the poor suit quality. The fact that your singleton is an honor would compensate if partner rebid his spades.

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Manufactured Rebids

Certain strong rebids, namely the reverse and the jump shift, may be manufactured when the alternatives are unattractive.

A manufactured rebid is not an “artificial bid” — it is a natural bid that you deem more likely to allow your partnership to get to the best final contract. The condition that these bids are forcing ensures you will have a chance to describe your hand further.

Instead of jumping in a poor-quality suit, consider a reverse bid in a good three-card suit.

9.
S A 8 4
H A K 9
D A J 8 6 4 2
C 3
TableS K 7 3 2
H 5 4 3
D Q 3
C K J 10 7

West
1 D
2 H
3 S
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 S
2 NT
3 NT
South
Pass
Pass

Opener’s hand has the strength to jump to 3 D, but the suit is less than substantial. The forcing 2 H bid guides the partnership into the best game. If partner happened to raise hearts, you would correct to spades.

If your hand is too strong for a jump to three in your suit, consider a jump shift (or reverse) in a good three-card suit.

10.
S 4
H A J
D A K J 9 7 6 4
C K Q 8
TableS 9 7 3
H K 7 6 2
D Q 3
C J 10 5 2

West
1 D
3 C
4 D
North
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
1 H
4 C
5 D
South
Pass
Pass

Opener is too strong to rebid 3 D, and jumping to 4 D is poor strategy. The 3 C bid (game forcing) might get you to 3 NT if responder had spades covered. Here it leads to a minor-suit game.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek