Main     System Notes 7G19 by Richard Pavlicek    

Pavlicek System

Obsolete as of February 2015

© 1976-2014 Richard Pavlicek

Contents

Overview

Introduction
Basic Approach

Balanced Notrump Openings

Notrump Structure
Puppet Stayman
Jacoby Transfer
Minor Suit Stayman
Minor Suit Transfers
Splinter Responses
Three Diamonds 5-5 in Majors
Texas Transfer
Enemy Interference

One-Level Suit Openings

One-Over-One Structure
Rebids by Responder
Opener’s Third Bid
Responder’s Third Bid
Rebids after a 1 NT Rebid
Rebids after a 2 NT Jump Rebid
Notrump Responses to Minor
One Notrump Forcing
Two-over-One Response to Major
Two Clubs over One Diamond
Inverted Minor Raises
Direct Major Raises
Weak Jump Shift Responses
Two Notrump Response
Major Suit Game Tries
Opener’s Reverse Bid
Fourth Suit Bids in General
Passed Hand Modifications
Reverse Drury

Competitive after One of a Suit

After a Takeout Double
After a Suit Overcall
Negative Doubles
After a Two-Suited Overcall
Competitive Rebids
Cue-Bids as Rebids
Competitive Doubles
Cooperative Doubles
After a One Notrump Overcall
Actions when Responder Passes

Two-Level and Higher Openings

Two Club Opening
Weak Two Bids
Preemptive Openings
Three Notrump Opening

Defense to One of a Suit

Takeout Doubles
Suit Overcalls
Weak Jump Overcalls
Good Jump Overcalls
Notrump Overcalls
Unusual Notrump Overcall
Michaels Cue-Bid
Three-Level Cue-Bid Overcall
Balancing Actions
After Two Enemy Bids
Additional Agreements

Miscellaneous Defensive Bidding

Defense to One Notrump
Runout Defense
Astro Structure
Standard Defense
Defense to Two and Three Notrump
Defense to Weak Openings
Defense to Four of a Major
Defense to Strong Artificial Openings
Defense to Transfer Bids
Junkyard Defense
Lead-Directing Doubles

Slam Bidding Methods

General Approach
Control-Bids
Blackwood
Super Gerber
Key-Card Responses
Key-Card Continuations
Gerber
Voluntary Bid of Five
Trump Asking Bids
Four Notrump Response for Takeout
Five Notrump Bids
Splinter Raises
Non-Raise Splinter Bids
Splinter Asking Bid
Control Asking Bid

Defensive Carding

Opening Leads at Notrump
Opening Leads at Suits
Leads After Trick One
Count Signals
Suit Preference Signals
The Wakeup Signal
Second Plays in the Same Suit
Splitting Honors
Trump echo
TopMain

Overview

Introduction

This is the classic version of the system created by Richard Pavlicek, and played with his son Rich Pavlicek and formerly with Bill Root. As of February 2015 it is superseded by a more streamlined version designated as “Pavlicek (complete).”

Throughout these notes, strength requirements, unless specifically designated as high-card points (HCP), are presumed to be high-card points for natural notrump bids and total points (distributional values included) for all other bids.

The following abbreviations and notations are used:

Fforcing
NFnonforcing
Iinvitational
GFgame forcing
Mmajor suit
mminor suit
Rred suit (D or H)
umunbid minor
X, Yan unbid suit
Ppass
Dbldouble
Actbid or double
Anypass, bid or double
Rdblredouble
Relrelay
Xfrtransfer
Cuebid in enemy suit
DJdouble jump
JSjump shift
FSfourth suit
unusual treatment

TopMain

Basic Approach

Opening bid structure:












Call
1 C, 1 D
1 H, 1 S
1 NT
2 C
2 D, 2 H, 2 S
2 NT
3 of suit
3 NT
4 of suit
4 NT, 5 NT
5 C, 5 D
Meaning
13-22; 3+ cards
13-22; 5+ cards
15-17; balanced
23+; artificial; F
5-11 HCP; weak two-bid
20-22; balanced
weak
good preempt; any suit; 8 1/2+ tricks; F
weak
minors; extreme shape
weak

TopMain

Balanced Notrump Openings

Notrump Structure

An opening bid of 1 NT shows 15 to 17 HCP and a balanced hand. It is permissible to have a 5 card major suit provided the hand is otherwise suitable for notrump. Off-shape hands (5-4-2-2 or 6-3-2-2) are allowable when each doubleton contains an honor.

West
1 NT
North
P
East
?
South












Call
2 C
2 D, 2 H
2 S
2 NT, 3 C
3 D
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 C
4 D, 4 H
4 S (rare)
4 NT
Meaning
Puppet Stayman
Jacoby transfer
minor-suit Stayman
minor-suit transfer
5-5 in majors; GF
splinter; 3 suited slam try
sign-off
Gerber
Texas transfer
sign-off
quantitative

An opening of 2 NT is similar in nature to 1 NT, but 20 to 22 HCP.

West
2 NT
North
P
East
?
South









Call
3 C
3 D, 3 H
3 S
3 NT
4 C
4 D, 4 H
4 S (rare)
4 NT
Meaning
Puppet Stayman
Jacoby transfer
minor-suit Stayman
sign-off
Gerber
Texas transfer
sign-off
quantitative

TopMain

Puppet Stayman

The 2 C response to 1 NT is a modified version of “puppet” Stayman. Responder must have at least game interest unless he is able to pass opener’s rebid of 2 D, 2 H or 2 S.

West
1 NT
?
North
P
East
2 C
South
P



Call
2 D
2 H, 2 S
Meaning
relay (usually no 5-card major)
5 card suit

West
1 NT
2 D
North
P
P
East
2 C
?
South
P










Call
2 H
2 S
2 NT
3 C
3 D
3 H
3 S
3 NT
4 C
Meaning
exactly 4 spades or no major interest
exactly 4 hearts
4-4 or 5-4 in majors; I
5-4 or 6-4 in majors; GF
4-4 in majors; GF
5+ clubs; no 4 card major; slam try
5+ diamonds; no 4 card major; slam try
sign-off (was looking for 5 card major)
Gerber

Memory aid: After the 2 D relay responder’s next suit bid is always artificial. Note that a 2 H or 2 S bid denies interest in the major bid and denies five cards in the major shown.

West
1 NT
2 D
?
North
P
P
East
2 C
2 M
South
P
P







Call
2 S
2 NT
3 C
3 H
3 S
4 H
Meaning
spade fit*; minimum; NF
no fit; minimum; NF
no fit; maximum
heart fit; minimum; NF
spade fit*; maximum
heart fit; maximum

*if responder has 4 spades

West
1 NT
2 D
?
North
P
P
East
2 C
2 NT
South
P
P







Call
Pass
3 C

3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 H, 4 S
Meaning
no major fit; minimum
relay; maximum; responder bids shorter
 major (Smolen) or 3 NT with 4-4
that fit; minimum
maximum (no interest in 5-3 fit)
that fit; maximum

West
1 NT
2 D
?
North
P
P
East
2 C
3 C
South
P
P






Call
3 D

3 H, 3 S
3 NT
Meaning
relay; responder then bids shorter major
 (Smolen style)
that fit*
no interest in 5-3 fit; if responder bids
 again it is natural

*If responder has slam interest, he may continue with a minor-suit splinter, opposite major (natural) or key-card Blackwood.

West
1 NT
2 D
Fit
North
P
P
P
East
2 C
2 M
?
South
P
P









Call
2 NT, 3 NT
3 C, 3 D
Unfit major
3 S (fit)
4 C, 4 D
4 H over 2 S
4 fit
4 NT
Meaning
corrective*; NF
5+ cards; slam try
ambiguous slam try
trump-quality concern; I
splinter; slam try
splinter; slam try
sign-off
key-card Blackwood (fit suit key)

*denies spade fit; 3 NT offers choice of game after heart fit

West
1 NT
2 D
No Fit
North
P
P
P
East
2 C
2 M
?
South
P
P







Call
3 C, 3 D
3 H*
3 S
3 NT
4 C over 2 NT
4 NT
Meaning
5+ cards; 4 card major; GF
4 clubs; 4 card major; slam try
4 diamonds; 4 card major; slam try
sign-off
Gerber
quantitative

*If 3 C is not available (i.e., if opener bid 3 C) then 3 H shows 5+ clubs and 4 C shows exactly 4 clubs.

After interference:

All doubles or redoubles by either player are for penalty.

If responder’s L-H-O doubles 2 C or bids 2 D, the structure is unchanged (assuming no further enemy bid). Opener should make his normal rebid or pass, double or redouble. If responder rebids 2 D it is to play (he would have passed 2 D).

If either opponent bids 2 H or higher (after the Stayman 2 C bid), the structure is off and the bidding reverts to a natural style. If opener cannot make his normal rebid, he should pass or double. If responder bids a major suit, he shows 4 cards in that suit (3 H could be both majors after a 3 C or 3 D overcall); this is invitational at 2 S or forcing at the 3 level. Opener may raise, return to notrump, or show the other major if appropriate.

West
1 NT
P/D
North
P
P
East
2 C
?
South
2 H up







Call
2 S
2 NT
3 m
3 M
cue
3 NT
Meaning
4 spades; I
invitational (ambiguous over 2 S)
5+ cards; GF
4 cards; GF
asks for stopper
sign-off

After a 2 NT opening:

The use of puppet Stayman after 2 NT is almost identical to after 1 NT, although any bid that commits the partnership past 3 NT with no assured major fit promises slam interest.

West
2 NT
3 D
North
P
P
East
3 C
?
South
P











Call
3 H
3 S
3 NT
4 C

4 D
4 H
4 S
4 NT
5 C
Meaning
exactly 4 spades or no major interest
exactly 4 hearts
4-4 or 5-4 majors; choice of games; NF
5-4 or 6-4 majors*; slam try (4 D relays
 then shape is shown Smolen style)
4-4 in majors; slam try
5+ clubs; no 4 card major; slam try
5+ diamonds; no 4 card major; slam try
quantitative
Gerber

*With 6-4 majors and no slam interest, responder should just use Texas.

West
2 NT
3 D
?
North
P
P
East
3 C
3 M
South
P
P






Call
3 S
3 NT
4 C

4 H
Meaning
spade fit (if responder has 4 spades)
no fit
heart fit; maximum (responder should
 bid 4 D as transfer to play in 4 H)
heart fit; minimum

West
2 NT
3 D
Fit
North
P
P
P
East
3 C
3 M
?
South
P
P





Call
3 NT
Cheapest suit
Other suit
4 NT
Meaning
sign-off (denies spade fit)
ambiguous; slam try in fit
splinter; slam try
key-card Blackwood (fit suit key)

West
2 NT
3 D
3 NT
North
P
P
P
East
3 C
3 M
?
South
P
P






Call
4 C, 4 D
4 H
4 S
4 NT
5 C
Meaning
5+ cards; 4 card major; slam try
4 clubs; 4 card major; slam try
4 diamonds; 4 card major; slam try
quantitative
Gerber

When opener shows a 5 card major:

West
1 NT
2 M

2 NT
3 M
North
P
P
(or)
P
P
East
2 C
?

3 C
?
South
P


P









Call
2 S
2 NT, 3 M
3 NT, 4 M
other M (3+)
nonjump C or D
jump 4 X
4 NT
5 C
Meaning
4 spades (weak minor, no fit for M); I
natural; I
sign-off
raise of M; slam try
5+ cards (does not deny fit); GF
splinter raise; slam try
quantitative
Gerber

TopMain

Jacoby Transfer

The 2 D response to a 1 NT opening shows at least 5 hearts; 2 H shows at least 5 spades. Rebids by opener: (M = major shown)

West
1 NT
?
North
P
East
Xfr
South
any







Call
2 M

Pass enemy act
Rdbl
3 M jump
3 M nonjump
Meaning
nondescript; except over a double shows
 3+ trumps and happy with lead
nondescript; usual action
penalty suggestion
maximum; 4+ trumps
good to max; 3+ trumps

Rebids by responder:

West
1 NT
2 M
North
P
P
East
Xfr
?
South
P











Call
2 S over 2 H
3 C, 3 D
3 M
3 other M, 4 m
4 M

2 NT
3 NT
4 NT
5 NT
Meaning
5-5 majors; I
4+ cards; GF
6+ card major (rare 5); I
6+ card major; splinter
6+ card major; no splinter; slam
 invitation (NF)
5 card major; I
5 card major; choice of game
5 card major; quantitative
choice of slam; F

Opener’s third bid:

West
1 NT
2 M
?
North
P
P
East
Xfr
3 m
South
P
P





Call
Shown suit
Jump shown
Unshown suit
3 NT
Meaning
fit-showing
good fit; prime values
strength; implies minor fit
no fit or “wrong” cards

Responder’s third bid:

West
1 NT
2 M
any
North
P
P
P
East
Xfr
3 m
?
South
P
P







Call
3 M
3 NT, 4 M, 5 m
4 m
Unshown suit
4 NT
Meaning
6+ cards or strong 5
no slam interest; NF
5-5; slam try
splinter; slam try
natural unless opener raised major
 (then Blackwood)

After a 2 NT opening:

The 3 D response to a 2 NT opening shows at least 5 hearts; 3 H shows at least 5 spades. Opener may jump to game (rare) with a maximum and an excellent fit, but generally he will complete the transfer. Rebids by responder:

West
2 NT
3 M
North
P
P
East
Xfr
?
South
P









Call
3 S over 3 H
4 H over 3 S
4 C, 4 D
4 M
Jump shift
3 NT
4 NT
5 NT
Meaning
5-5 majors; slam try
5-5 majors; choice of game
4+ cards; slam try
6+ card major; slam try; NF
6+ card major; splinter
5 card major; choice of game
5 card major; quantitative
choice of slam; F

West
2 NT
3 M
?
North
P
P
East
Xfr
4 m
South
P
P




Call
Shown suit
Unshown suit
4 NT
Meaning
discourages slam; NF
strength-showing; implies minor fit
discourages slam; NF

West
2 NT
3 M
any
North
P
P
P
East
Xfr
4 m
?
South
P
P





Call
4 M, 5 m
Unshown suit
4 NT
Meaning
discourages slam; NF
splinter
natural unless opener raised major
 (then Blackwood)

Transfer bypass:

If opener jumps in responder’s major (bypasses the transfer) to show a maximum hand with an exceptional fit, responder’s rebids are changed:

West
1 NT
3 M
North
P
P
East
Xfr
?
South
P





Call
Pass, 4 M
New suit
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
sign-off
splinter; slam try
no splinter; slam try; F
Blackwood

West
2 NT
4 M
North
P
P
East
Xfr
?
South
P



Call
5 M
Other
Meaning
no splinter; slam try
as previous auction

TopMain

Minor Suit Stayman

The 2 S response to 1 NT promises at least 5-4 in the minor suits (may be 4-4 if slam try) and at least game-invitational strength.

West
1 NT
?
North
P
East
2 S
South
P





Call
2 NT, 3 C, 3 D
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 C, 4 D
Meaning
minimum; NF
strength in suit; max; GF
maximum; NF
pure values; max; GF

West
1 NT
2 NT
North
P
P
East
2 S
?
South
P






Call
3 C, 3 D
3 H, 3 S
4 C, 4 D
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
5+ cards; NF
splinter; slam try
5+ cards; slam try
sign-off
quantitative

West
1 NT
3 m
North
P
P
East
2 S
?
South
P






Call
3 H, 3 S
Other minor
Raise to 4
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
splinter; slam try
5+ cards; GF
freak; I
choice of game
quantitative

West
1 NT
3 NT
North
P
P
East
2 S
?
South
P




Call
4 C, 4 D
4 H, 4 S
4 NT
Meaning
5+ cards; slam try
splinter; slam try
quantitative

West
1 NT
3 M
North
P
P
East
2 S
?
South
P







Call
4 C, 4 D

Major raise
Other major
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
5+ cards; not necessarily
 a slam try; F
3 trumps; choice of game
splinter; slam try
short in bid major; NF
quantitative

After a 2 NT opening:

The 3 S response to 2 NT shows at least 4-4 in the minors and promises slam interest.

West
2 NT
?
North
P
East
3 S
South
P




Call
3 NT
4 C, 4 D
4 NT
Meaning
no fit or “wrong” hand
fit-showing
maximum; no fit; I

West
2 NT
Bid
North
P
P
East
3 S
?
South
P




Call
4 C, 4 D
4 H, 4 S
4 NT
Meaning
5+ cards
splinter
quantitative

TopMain

Minor Suit Transfers

After a 1 NT opening, a response of 2 NT or 3 C shows at least 6 cards in the next higher minor suit. This does not apply over 2 NT.

West
1 NT
3 m
North
P
P
East
Xfr
?
South
P







Call
Pass
New suit
3 NT
4 NT
Raise to 4
Raise to 5
Meaning
bust hand
splinter; slam try
no splinter; mild try; NF
no splinter; quantitative
freak; I
freak; gambling

Note: To invite game in notrump it is necessary to use Puppet Stayman (which does not promise major interest) and then rebid 2 H over the 2 D relay.

TopMain

Splinter Responses

After a 1 NT opening, a response of 3 H or 3 S shows a 3-suited hand (4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0) short in the major bid with interest in slam. This does not apply over 2 NT.

West
1 NT
?
North
P
East
3 M
South
P



Call
Suit bid
3 NT
Meaning
fit-showing
no fit or “wrong” cards

West
1 NT
Suit
North
P
P
East
3 M
?
South
P






Call
Raise
Other suit
4 NT

Meaning
minimal slam interest; NF
control-bid; 4 M = void
natural if minor fit (implies singleton
 A, K or Q); NF
Blackwood if major fit

West
1 NT
3 NT
North
P
P
East
3 M
?
South
P






Call
4 C

4 M
4 other suit
4 NT
Meaning
artificial; opener is urged to show
 any suit fit; F
5 card club suit
5 cards; NF in major
quantitative

West
1 NT
?
North
P
East
3 M
South
Dbl




Call
Rdbl
Pass
Other
Meaning
strong 4-5 cards; to play
no 4+ fit; doubts about 3 NT
as without double

In subsequent bidding 4 NT is Blackwood only if opener has indicated a major-suit fit; otherwise 4 NT is natural.

TopMain

Three Diamonds 5-5 in Majors

The 3 D response to 1 NT shows at least 5-5 in the majors and game-forcing values. This does not apply over 2 NT.

West
1 NT
?
North
P
East
3 D
South
any







Call
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 C, 4 D

4 H, 4 S
Rdbl
Meaning
normal action; indicates better fit
natural; extreme strength in minors
excellent fit (either major); no control
 in other minor
excellent fit; both minor-suit aces
penalty suggestion

West
1 NT
any
North
P
any
East
3 D
?
South
any







Call
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 C, 4 D
4 H, 4 S
4 NT
Meaning
natural (rare)
natural (honors in short suits); NF
splinter; slam interest
game interest only; NF
natural over 3 NT
Blackwood otherwise

TopMain

Texas Transfer

The 4 D response to a 1 NT or 2 NT opening shows at least 6 hearts; 4 H shows at least 6 spades. (M = major shown)

West
1 NT
?
2 NT
?
North
P
(or)
P
East
Xfr

Xfr
South
any

any




Call
4 M
Pass Dbl
5 M over bid
Meaning
routine; happy with lead over double
routine; no desire for lead
natural; good fit; good cards

Rebids by responder:

West
1 NT
4 M

2 NT
4 M
North
P
P
(or)
P
P
East
Xfr
?

Xfr
?
South
P


P






Call
Pass
New suit
4 NT
5 M
5 NT
Meaning
routine sign-off in game
void splinter; slam try
Blackwood
freak; I
trump asking

TopMain

Enemy Interference

West
1 NT
2 NT
North
Dbl
Dbl
East
?
?
South
 




Call
Redouble

Other
Meaning
rescue with one minor suit; opener
 should bid clubs
entire system on

After an enemy suit overcall, a different structure is incorporated as described below. Competitive transfer bids show game interest if suit could be bid naturally at the 2 level; else they may be weak.

West
1 NT
1 NT
2 NT
North
2 X
3 X
3 X
East
?
?
?
South
 
 
















Call
Pass

Double

2 of suit

2 NT thru 3 H


3 S
3 NT
4 C
4 D, 4 H

4 NT
Meaning
forcing after 2 NT opening; opener
 should usually double (optional)
penalty at 2 level
negative at 3 level
takeout if shown by enemy
natural if not shown; NF
transfer to suit above, or “Stayman” if
 next higher suit was naturally bid
 (not implied) by the overcaller
asks for stopper in enemy shown suit
sign-off
Gerber (even if nonjump)
transfer to major above, or splinter slam
 try if next higher suit is enemy suit
quantitative

West
1 NT
North
2 NT*
East
?
South

*minors




Call
Double
3 C
Other
Meaning
creates forcing auction
Stayman (not puppet)
as above

Rebids by opener:

West
1 NT
?
North
Bid
East
Xfr
South
P




Call
Complete Xfr
Jump raise
3 NT
Meaning
normal action
maximum; good fit
maximum; good stopper

West
1 NT
?
North
2 X
East
Sta
South
P




Call
Cue-bid
3 unbid major
3 NT
Meaning
no stopper; no unbid major
4+ cards
stopper; no unbid major

West
1 NT
?
North
Bid
East
3 S
South
P




Call
3 NT
4 of suit
Cue-bid
Meaning
stopper in enemy suit
4+ cards; no stopper; NF
maximum; no stopper; GF

TopMain

One-Level Suit Openings

One-Over-One Structure

A 1-level suit response to an opening bid of 1 C, 1 D or 1 H shows 6+ points and 4+ cards in the suit bid. Respond up-the-line with 4 card suits, except a 4 or 5 card diamond suit may be suppressed if strength is minimal (6-10 points) or if another response is more descriptive.

West
1 X
?
North
P
East
1 Y
South
P


















Call
New suit
Reverse
Jump new suit
Jump reverse
DJ new suit
1 NT
2 NT
3 NT

2 X

3 X
4 X (minor)
4 X (hearts)
2 Y
3 Y
4 Y (major)
Meaning
13-18; 4+ cards
17+; 4+ cards; F
19+; 4+ (rare 3) cards; GF
19+; at least 4-6 shape; GF
19+; splinter raise
12-14; balanced
18-19; balanced; I
16-19; good 6+ cards in X; usually
 singleton in Y
13-15; 6+ cards or 5 cards in minor
 if no alternative
16-18; 6+ cards; I
shape raise (4-6, 4-7); F
19+; 7+ (strong 6); NF
13-15; usually 4 trumps
16-18; 4 trumps; I
19+; 4 trumps; no splinter

TopMain

Rebids by Responder

After a 1-over-1 response and opener’s nonjump, non-reverse suit rebid, the following rebidding structure applies:

West
1 m
1 M
North
P
P
East
1 R
?
South
P








Call
4th suit*
Other nonjump
Jump 4th suit
Other jump
DJ 4th suit
4 opened minor
Game bid
Meaning
11+; artificial; F
6-10; NF
13+; 5-5 or 6-4; GF
13+; GF
16+; splinter raise
16+; splinter raise (of M)
13-15; poor slam values; NF

*1 S may be 6-10 with 4 spades

West
1 R
2 m
North
P
P
East
1 M
?
South
P









Call
4th suit
2 R, 2 M
2 NT
3 m, 3 R, 3 M
3-level JFS
3 NT
4-level JFS
4 M
Meaning
11+; artificial; F
6-10; NF
10-12; I
13+; GF
13+; 5-5 or 6-4; GF
13-16; NF
16+; splinter raise
13-15; poor slam values; NF

West
1 X
2 X
North
P
P
East
1 Y
?
South
P











Call
New suit
2 Y
2 NT
3 X (minor)
3 X (hearts)
3 Y
3-level JS
3 NT
4-level JS
Game in major
Meaning
11+; seminatural; F
6-10; NF
10-12; I
13+; GF
10-12; I
13+; GF
13+; 5-5 or 6-4; GF
13-16; NF
16+; splinter raise
13-15; sign-off attempt

Especially note:

Responder’s raise to three of a minor suit is game forcing (except by a passed hand or if either opponent has bid). If responder wants to invite game, he must bid a third suit (improvising if necessary) after which his next nonjump bid will be invitational.

TopMain

Opener’s Third Bid

After the fourth suit force, opener should describe his hand naturally according to this general structure:

West
1 R
2 m
?
North
P
P
East
1 M
2 X
South
P
P




Call
2 NT or lower
Nonjump 3 lev
Jump
Meaning
bare minimum; NF
any strength; F
15+ (good 14); GF

West
1 m
1 S
?
North
P
P
East
1 R
2 X
South
P
P



Call
2 S
Other
Meaning
at least 4-5 shape; F
as previous auction

These two sequences are unique:

West
1 C
1 H
?
North
P
P
East
1 D
1 S
South
P
P



Call
Nonjump
Jump
Meaning
13-15; NF
16-18; I

West
1 H
2 D
?
North
P
P
East
1 S
3 C
South
P
P





Call
3 S
3 D

Other
Meaning
any strength; 3 spades; F
nondescript; bare minimum without 3
 spades; NF
15+ (good 14); GF

After the third suit force, opener should rebid naturally according to the following two structures:

West
1 m
2 m
?
North
P
P
East
1 X
2 Y
South
P
P





Call
2 X, 2 NT, 3 m
2 S new suit
Other nonjump
Jump
Meaning
bare minimum; NF
any strength; implies ace; F
any strength; F
15 (good 14); GF

West
1 R
2 R
?
North
P
P
East
1 M
3 m
South
P
P






Call
3 M
3 R

3 D new suit
Other
Meaning
any strength; 3 cards; F
bare minimum; nondescript but not
 3 cards in M; NF
any strength; F
15 (good 14); GF

TopMain

Responder’s Third Bid

Responder need not bid again after the third or fourth suit force when opener has shown a bare minimum. If responder does bid again he names the final strain. If this is a nonjump below game, responder shows an invitational-range hand. A jump below game is forcing.

Other notes:

1. Rebidding the fourth suit (or third suit) shows at least 5-5 shape. This is invitational at the 3 level; game forcing at the 4 level.

2. If opener has raised the fourth suit (or third suit) or indicated a 3-card preference for responder’s first suit, this does not constitute suit agreement; it simply describes opener’s hand. It is still up to responder to select the final strain.

3. After a third suit force, if responder bids the fourth suit this is game forcing and implies the ace in that suit.

TopMain

Rebids after a 1 NT Rebid

When opener rebids 1 NT, the following two structures apply:

West
1 C
1 NT
North
P
P
East
1 D
?
South
P







Call
2 C*
2 D
2 H, 2 S
2 NT
3 C, 3 D
3 H, 3 S
Meaning
11+; artificial; F
sign-off
at least 4-5; GF
11-12; I
13+; GF
16+; splinter; GF

*There is no sign-off in clubs on this auction

West
1 X
1 NT
North
P
P
East
1 M
?
South
P









Call
New minor*
2 X, 2 M
2 H new suit
2 S new suit
2 NT
3 X, 3 M
3 m, 3 H JS
3 S JS
Meaning
11+; artificial; F
sign-off
no game interest; NF
at least 4-5; GF
11-12; I
13+; GF
13+; at least 5-5; GF
16+; splinter; GF

*Bid better minor after a 1 H opening

Memory aid: Responder’s 3-level jump-shift rebid is a splinter only if a lower bid in the same suit would be game forcing. Else it is natural (5-5 or 6-4).

Opener’s third bid:

After the artificial 2 C or new minor force, opener should bid in the priority listed below:

West
1 C
1 NT
?
North
P
P
East
1 D
2 C
South
P
P







Call
2 H*, 2 S*
2 NT
3 NT
2 D
3 D
3 C
Meaning
min or max; 4 cards
min; majors stopped
max; majors stopped
min; 3 cards
max; 3 cards
min or max; 5 cards

*Plus other major stopped; else would not rebid 1 NT

West
1 X
1 NT
?
North
P
P
East
1 M
2 m
South
P
P







Call
2 H new suit
2 M
3 M
2 NT
3 NT
Other
Meaning
min or max; 4 cards
min; 3 cards
max; 3 cards
min; unbid suit stopped
max; unbid suit stopped
min or max; natural

Responder’s third bid:

After the artificial 2 C or new minor force, responder is not required to bid again if opener has confirmed a minimum. When responder does bid again, these structures apply:

West
1 C
1 NT
Bid
North
P
P
P
East
1 D
2 C
?
South
P
P





Call
New major
Other nonjump
J new major
Other jump
Meaning
stopper or ace; 5+ D; GF
game I in that strain; NF
splinter; GF
natural; GF

West
1 X
1 NT
Bid
North
P
P
P
East
1 M
2 m
?
South
P
P







Call
New suit
Bid suit
2 NT*
3 NT*
Jump new suit
Jump bid suit
Meaning
natural or stopper; GF
game I in that strain; NF
5 cards in M; I
5 cards in M; NF
splinter; GF
natural; GF

*Opener has option to play notrump with 5-3 major fit

A special case:

West
1 m
1 NT
Bid
North
P
P
P
East
1 S
2 um
?
South
P
P




Call
2 S* over 2 H
New H bid
Other
Meaning
5 spades; F
5-5 in majors; I
as previous auction

*Opener must bid 2 NT or 3 S with a minimum. If 2 NT, responder’s next bid if any follows 3rd-round format

TopMain

Rebids after a 2 NT Jump Rebid

When opener rebids 2 NT (18-19 HCP) after a 1-level suit response, the following structure, similar to that after 1 NT, applies:

West
1 C
2 NT
North
P
P
East
1 D
?
South
P



Call
3 C
3 D, 3 H, 3 S
Meaning
artificial; GF
natural; slam try

West
1 m
2 NT
North
P
P
East
1 M
?
South
P




Call
New minor
3 m
Other suit
Meaning
artificial; GF
natural; GF
natural; slam try

West
1 H
2 NT
North
P
P
East
1 S
?
South
P




Call
3 C, 3 D
3 H
3 S
Meaning
better minor; GF
natural; GF
natural; slam try

Opener’s third bid:

After the artificial 3 C or new minor force, opener should bid in this general priority:

West
1 X
2 NT
?
North
P
P
East
1 Y
3 m
South
P
P






Call
3 new major
3 Y
3 X

3 NT
Meaning
4 cards
3 cards (optional in D)
5 cards (if hearts suggests weakness
 in unbid minor)
none of above or option

Responder’s third bid:

West
1 X
2 NT
Bid
North
P
P
P
East
1 Y
3 m
?
South
P
P







Call
3 Y
New suit
3 NT
4 opened minor
4 m
Game
Meaning
5 good cards
ace or splinter; slam try
5 cards in Y; NF
natural; slam try
5-5 shape; slam try
sign-off

A special case:

West
1 m
2 NT
Bid
North
P
P
P
East
1 S
3 um
?
South
P
P




Call
3 H
4 H over 3 NT
Other
Meaning
5-5 majors; no slam interest
5-5 majors; no slam interest
as previous auction

TopMain

Notrump Responses to Minor

The 1 NT response to 1 C or 1 D shows 6-10 HCP and it denies a 4 card major suit. It is nonforcing.

West
1 m
?
North
P
East
1 NT
South
P








Call
2 C after 1 D
Reverse
3 C after 1 D
Jump reverse
2 NT
2 m
3 m
Meaning
13-18; 4+ cards
17+; 4+ (rare 3) cards; F
19+; 4+ (rare 3) cards; GF
19+; at least 4-6 shape; GF
16-18; I
13-15; 6+ cards
16-18; 6+ cards; I

The 2 NT response to 1 C or 1 D shows 15+ HCP. See separate topic.

The 3 NT response to 1 C or 1 D shows 13-14 HCP and it denies a 4 card major suit. If opener bids again:

West
1 m
?
North
P
East
3 NT
South
P






Call
4 C after 1 D
4 m
Other suit
4 NT
5 m
Meaning
4+ cards; GF
6+ cards; GF
4+ cards; unbalanced; slam try
quantitative
slam I (see Voluntary Bid of Five)

TopMain

One Notrump Forcing

The 1 NT response to 1 H or 1 S shows 6-14 HCP (it may be less with a trump fit) and denies 4 spades after 1 H. It is forcing.

West
1 M
?
North
P
East
1 NT
South
P









Call
2 C, 2 D
2 S after 1 H
3 S after 1 H
4 H after 1 S
4 C, 4 D

4 M
Other
Meaning
13-18; 3+ cards
19+ with 4-5 shape or 16+ with 4-6; F
minimum; 5-6 shape; NF
minimum; 6-5 shape
19+; 3 cards w/honor; 7 cards in M
 (broken); F
19+; excellent suit
standard

Rebids by responder:

West
1 M
2 m
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P














Call
New suit
2 M
2 S after 1 H

2 NT
3 m
JS below 3 M

3 M
JS above 3 M
3 NT
4 m
4 M
Meaning
6-10; 5+ cards (3 C = 6+); NF
6-10 with doubleton or 4-7 with 3+
12+ raise of m (then 2 NT or 3 m by
 opener is NF)
11-12 (good 10); I
9-11; 4+ cards (usually 5); I
13+ value-raise* of m (then 4 m by
 opener is NF)
11-12 (good 10); 3 trumps; I
13+ value-raise* of M
13-14; balanced; NF
freakish; 6+ trumps; I
12-14; 3 trumps; unslammish

*A value-raise shows normal trump support for opener’s suit, usually with the king or queen in the suit bid; further, if just one unbid suit remains, this implies no secondary honors in the unbid suit.

West
1 S
2 H
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P






Call
3 C, 3 D
3 H
4 C, 4 D
4 H
Other
Meaning
6-10; 6+ cards; NF
9-11; 4+ trumps; I
13+ value-raise of H
9-12; usually 5 trumps
as previous auction

West
1 M
2 M
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P







Call
3 M
2 S after 1 H

Jump shift
4 M
Other
Meaning
2+ trumps; I
at least 5-5 in minors; limit bidding
 follows
13+ value-raise of M
sign-off
as previous auction

West
1 H
2 S
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P







Call
2 NT
3 C, 3 D
3 H
3 S
3 NT
4 C, 4 D
Meaning
weakness or waiting; F
5+ cards; GF
10+; 3 trumps; GF
10+; 3 trumps w/honor; GF
10-12; minors stopped
10+; value-raise of H

West
1 M
2 NT
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P






Call
3 C, 3 D, 3 M
3 H after 1 S
3 S after 1 H

Jump shift
Meaning
sign-off attempt
5+ cards; F
at least 5-5 in minors; limit bidding
 follows
13+ value-raise of M

West
1 M
3 m
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P







Call
New suit
3 M
3 S after 1 H
4 m
Jump shift
4 M
Meaning
5+ cards
weak hand (assumed) or 13+
11+ raise of m
weak raise
11+ value-raise of m
10-12; slam invitation

West
1 S
3 H
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P






Call
3 S
4 C, 4 D
4 H
4 S
5 C, 5 D
Meaning
weak hand (assumed) or 13+
6+ cards; F
weak raise
10-12; slam invitation
11+ value-raise of H

West
1 M
3 M
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P






Call
3 S

4 C, 4 D
4 H after 1 S
Jump shift
Meaning
at least 5-5 in minors; limit bidding
 follows
6+ cards; F
6+ cards; NF
11+ value-raise of M

TopMain

Two-over-One Response to Major

The 2-over-1 response to 1 H or 1 S shows at least 13 points with 5+ cards (rarely, a good 4 card minor), or 11-12 points with 6+ cards in the suit bid. This is game forcing unless responder rebids the same suit at his next turn.

West
1 M
?
North
P
East
2 m
South
P










Call
New suit
2 M
2 NT
3 NT
3 m
3 M

Jump shift
4 m
Meaning
natural; reverse does not show extra
6+ or strong 5 cards
12-14 or 18+; natural
15-17; natural
3+ cards (not 3 small)
13+ HCP; 6+ card solid suit or
 K-Q-J-10-x-x
16+; splinter raise
minimum opening; 5-5 shape

West
1 S
?
North
P
East
2 H
South
P




Call
3 H
4 H
Other
Meaning
3+ cards (not 3 small)
16-18; 3+ cards (not 3 small)
as previous auction

Rebids by responder:

West
1 M
Bid
North
P
P
East
2 X
?
South
P











Call
2 NT
3 NT jump
3 NT nonjump
New suit
Rebid X
Raise, pref
Jump shift
Jump X
Other jump
Meaning
13-14 or 18+; natural
15-17; natural
13-17; natural
natural (4th suit is suspect)
6+ cards; I (only non-GF)
13+; natural
16+; splinter raise
13+; 7+ or strong 6 cards; GF
13-15; natural; no control in any
 unbid suit

Opener’s third bid:

West
1 S
2 NT
?
North
P
P
East
2 H
3 NT
South
P
P





Call
4 m

4 H
4 S
Meaning
18+; control-bid; suggests
 heart x-x-x, A-x, K-x or Q-x
12-14; three small trumps
18-19; 6 spades; semibalanced

TopMain

Two Clubs over One Diamond

The 2 C response to 1 D shows 11+ points and 4+ clubs. With a minimum opening opener must make an artificial 2 D rebid; otherwise game must be reached (except for 4 C jump raise).

West
1 D
?
North
P
East
2 C
South
P









Call
2 D
2 H, 2 S
2 NT
3 C
3 D
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 C
Meaning
minimum; nondescript; F
4+ cards; GF
14+; balanced; GF
3+ trumps; GF
6+ cards; GF
16+; splinter raise
18-19; balanced; NF
minimum; 5-5 minors; NF

Rebids by responder:

West
1 D
2 D
North
P
P
East
2 C
?
South
P



Call
2 NT, 3 C
Other
Meaning
11-12; usually end; NF
natural; GF

TopMain

Inverted Minor Raises

A single minor raise shows 10+ unlimited (with exactly 10 prefer 1 NT if balanced), at least 4 trumps (usually 5), and no 4 card major suit. This is forcing for one round.

West
1 m
?
North
P
East
2 m
South
P








Call
3 m
2 NT
New suit

3 NT
Jump shift
4 m
Meaning
minimum; NF
minimum; often 3 card m; NF
4+ cards or stopper; at least a “queen”
 more than a minimum; F
18-19; NF
splinter; slam try
6+ cards; no splinter; slam try

In subsequent bidding, any rebid in the agreed minor by either partner is nonforcing and shows minimal values for his previous bids. Exception: Removal of 3 NT to 4 of a minor is forcing.

The jump minor raise shows 6-9 points and at least 5 trumps (or 4 good trumps). It is basically preemptive. Raises to the 4 and 5 level are also weak, but indicate freakish distribution.

TopMain

Direct Major Raises

The following responses to a major opening show trump support. Single raise shows 3+ trumps; all other raises show 4+ trumps.

West
1 M
North
P
East
?
South








Call
2 M
3 M
3 M + 1 step
3 M + 2 steps
3 M + 3 steps
3 M + 4 steps
4 M
Meaning
7-10
11-12 (good 10); I
13-15; unknown splinter
16-18; non-4th-step splinter
13-15; no splinter
16-18; natural splinter
weak

Special follow-ups:

After a 1-step raise, opener may relay with the cheapest bid to locate the splinter, which is shown naturally except a bid of 4 in the trump suit indicates the unshowable splinter.

After a 2-step raise, opener may relay then the two possible splinters are shown by Astro-like relation: D = S, H = C, S = D.

After a 3-step raise, opener may relay as an all-purpose slam try.

TopMain

Weak Jump Shift Responses

Except for the specialized major raises (3 S thru 4 H), all jump-shift responses are weak. General requirements:

West
1 X
North
P
East
?
South




Call
2-level JS
3-level JS
4-level JS*
Meaning
2-5 HCP; 6 cards or decent 5
2-7 HCP; 7 cards or decent 6
2-7 HCP; 8 cards or decent 7

*Over minor opening or 4 S over 1 H.

Rebids by opener:

West
1 X
?
1 X
?
North
P
(or)
P
East
2 Y

3 Y
South
P

P



Call
2 NT*
Any suit bid
Meaning
same as response to weak two-bid; F
natural; suggests extreme shape; NF

*Responder follows the same rebid structure (3 C = 5 card suit, etc.)

TopMain

Two Notrump Response

The 2 NT response to one of a suit shows 15+ HCP (no upper limit) and usually denies a 4 card major biddable at the 1 level.

West
1 X
?
North
P
East
2 NT
South
P






Call
New suit

3 X
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
4+ cards; unbalanced; reverse does
 not show extra values
6+ cards
to play; no slam if 15-17
quantitative (assuming 15-17)

Rebids by responder:

West
1 X
Suit
North
P
P
East
2 NT
?
South
P






Call
3 NT
4 NT
Raise, pref
New suit
Meaning
15-17
18-19; I
15-17 (assumed)
15+; value-raise of opener’s suit
 (either if two bid)

West
1 X
3 NT
North
P
P
East
2 NT
?
South
P




Call
4 X
New suit
4 NT
Meaning
15-16; good trump support
17+; value-raise of X
18-19; I

TopMain

Major Suit Game Tries

The following structure applies any time a major suit is raised from one to two. This can be a raise of a major-suit opening, a one-level response, a one-level rebid or a one-level overcall. It also applies after a Drury 2 C response, a 2 D rebid and a 2 M rebid by Drury bidder.

It also applies in competition provided there is no enemy bid after the raise to two.

West
1 M
?
1 X
2 M
North
any
(or)
any
P*
(etc.)
East
2 M

1 M
?
South
P*

any

*or Double







Call
Cheapest bid
2 NT over 2 H
3 M
3 other suit*

4 new suit
Meaning
relay; game or slam try
balanced; I
preemptive; no game interest
4+ cards; slam try; alternate strain is
 possible
splinter; slam try

*Note that a jump to 3 S is natural, not a splinter.

After the “cheapest bid” relay:

West
1 M
Rel
North
P
P
East
2 M
?
South
P






Call
2 NT
3 new suit
3 M
4 M
Raise relay
Meaning
secondary values* in spades
secondary values* in suit bid
minimum; scattered values
maximum; scattered values
maximum; 4-3-3-3 shape

*Typically at least 3 cards including the king or queen

When secondary values are shown, it is still unknown whether the raise was minimum or maximum. Continuations:

West
1 M
Rel
?
North
P
P
East
2 M
Val
South
P
P








Call
3 M*
Cheapest suit

3 NT
4 M
Other suit
Jump new suit
Meaning
turned off by values; NF
relay; asks if min or max (return to
 trump suit = min)
choice of games; NF
sign-off
control-bid; slam try
splinter; slam try

*If no relay is available below 3 of major, this is the only available invitation, so responder should continue to game if maximum.

TopMain

Opener’s Reverse Bid

Opener’s reverse after a 1 H, 1 S or 1 NT response to a minor opening shows 17+ points and is forcing. Rebid structures:

West
1 m
Rev
North
P
P
East
1 M
?
South
P







Call
2 M
2 NT
4th suit
Pref, raise
3 M
3 NT
Meaning
6-10; any 5+ cards; F
6-10; no 5 card major; F
10+; natural or waiting; GF
10+; GF
11+; 6+ cards (max 2 losers)
11-13; NF

West
1 m
Rev
North
P
P
East
1 NT
?
South
P






Call
2 NT
3 C new suit
Pref, raise
Other new suit
3 NT
Meaning
weakness or waiting; F
5+ cards; F
8-10; GF
8-10; stopper; GF
8-10; unbids stopped

Opener’s third bid:

West
1 m
Rev
?
North
P
P
East
1 M
2 M
South
P
P






Call
2 NT, 3 m, 3 M
3 Rev
4th suit
4 m
Jump 4th suit
Meaning
minimum; NF
6-5 shape; F
shows the ace; GF
7+ cards; F
splinter raise

West
1 m
Rev
?
North
P
P
East
1 M
2 NT
South
P
P







Call
3 m
3 Rev
3 M
New suit
3 NT
4 m
Meaning
minimum; may be 5 cards; NF
6-5 shape; F
3 good trumps; F
3+ cards; F
19+
7+ cards; F

West
1 m
Rev
?
North
P
P
East
1 NT
2 NT
South
P
P


Call
Same as above (except 3 M does not exist)

Note: Opener’s reverse after a 1 NT response to 1 H is covered under 1 NT forcing. See topic.

TopMain

Fourth Suit Bids in General

Except for the fourth-suit-forcing structure used to invite game after a 1-over-1 response, bids in the fourth suit are usually game forcing. Meanings of fourth-suit bids are outlined below with examples.

1. Responder’s rebid after a 2-over-1 response shows either a natural suit or at least six cards in his first suit. Opener should tend to support responder’s first suit with a doubleton honor or better.

West
1 H
2 D
North
P
P
East
2 C
2 S
South
P

West
1 S
2 H
North
P
P
East
2 D
3 C
South
P

West
1 D
2 S
North
P
P
East
2 C
3 H
South
P

2. Responder’s rebid after opener’s reverse after a 1-over-1 response is a waiting bid and implies five cards in responder’s major suit.

West
1 C
2 D
North
P
P
East
1 S
2 H
South
P

West
1 C
2 D
North
P
P
East
1 H
2 S
South
P

West
1 D
2 H
North
P
P
East
1 S
3 C
South
P

3. Opener’s or responder’s third bid in a 1-over-1 or 2-over-1 auction indicates the ace or a splinter. Partner assumes the ace and may bid notrump without a stopper (if hand is suitable). Fourth-suit bidder should not pass 3 NT if his bid was based on a splinter.

West
1 D
2 D
3 H
North
P
P
East
1 S
3 C
South
P
P

West
1 H
2 C
3 D
North
P
P
East
1 S
3 C
South
P
P

West
1 H
2 H
3 S
North
P
P
East
2 C
3 D
South
P
P

West
1 C
1 S
3 D
North
P
P
P
East
1 D
3 C
3 H
South
P
P

West
1 C
2 C
3 D
North
P
P
P
East
1 H
3 C
3 S
South
P
P

West
1 S
2 D
3 D
North
P
P
P
East
2 C
2 NT
3 H
South
P
P

4. Opener’s fourth bid (below 3 NT) in a 1-over-1 or 2-over-1 auction suggests two or three small cards, essentially a nothing bid to keep the possibility of 3 NT alive. In some cases, this may be a repeat of a fourth-suit-forcing bid if it could not be natural.

West
1 C
2 C
3 D
3 S
North
P
P
P
East
1 H
3 C
3 H
South
P
P
P

West
1 C
1 S
2 S
3 D
North
P
P
P
East
1 H
2 D
3 C
South
P
P
P

West
1 S
2 S
3 C
3 H
North
P
P
P
East
2 C
2 NT
3 D
South
P
P
P

TopMain

Passed Hand Modifications

In third or fourth seat slightly weaker hands may be opened. Further, when opening a subminimum hand, it is permissible to bid a good 4 card major for tactical purposes.

The following changes apply when responder is a passed hand:

1. A 1-over-1 response may be passed if opener has only 13 points, and should be passed if opener has less. When opener does bid again, his rebids retain their normal meaning.

2. The 1 NT response to a major shows 6-12 points and is intended as forcing. Opener may pass with 13 points, and should pass with less. The bidding continues normally if opener bids again.

3. The 2 C response to 1 D shows 9-11 HCP and 5+ clubs. Opener should pass with a subminimum opening and may pass with 13 points. If opener does bid again, the system structure is unchanged.

4. The 2 C response to a major is “reverse Drury.” See topic.

5. A 2 D response to a major (or 2 H over 1 S) shows 9-11 HCP and 5+ cards. Opener should pass with a subminimum opening and may pass with 13 points. If opener does bid again, a rebid of the same suit, raise or 2 NT bid shows minimal values and is nonforcing; a new suit or jump bid is forcing (below game). The same is true of responder’s rebids.

6. The 2 NT response to a minor shows 11-12 points and is invitational to game. Any rebid by opener below game is forcing.

7. The 2 NT response to a major shows a “limit raise” with an unknown splinter. Rebid structure:

West
P
2 NT
North
P
P
East
1 M
?
South
P




Call
3 C
3 D after 1 H
3 M
Meaning
asks for splinter (3 M shows C splinter)
demands 3 H with S splinter; else 4 H
no game interest; sign-off

8. Responder’s rebid after a 1-over-1 response is affected. A jump or raise to the 3 level is invitational instead of forcing.

9. Responder’s rebid in a third suit is no longer an artificial force. This is natural and invitational, showing a two-suited hand.

Note: Fourth suit forcing and new minor forcing still apply as a passed hand.

TopMain

Reverse Drury

The 2 C response to a major by a passed hand is reverse Drury. It shows either 11+ (good 10) points with 3+ cards in opener’s major, or 9-11 HCP with a 6+ card club suit. It is forcing.

West
P
2 C
North
P
P
East
1 M
?
South
P




Call
2 D
2 H after 1 S
2 same major
Meaning
artificial; game interest
4+ hearts; no game interest
no game interest

Responder’s rebids:

West
P
2 C
?
North
P
P
East
1 M
2 D
South
P
P







Call
2 M*
2 NT
3 C
3 M
Other suit
Jump shift
Meaning
10-11; 3+ trumps; NF
11-12; balanced; major fit; I
6+ clubs; no major fit; I
12+; 3+ trumps; GF
4+ cards; major fit; F
splinter raise

*Major-suit game-try structure applies by opener after this bid

Enemy interference:

Reverse Drury does not apply in competition. If the enemy interferes after the 2 C bid, use these structures:

West
P
2 C
North
P
Dbl
East
1 M
?
South
P




Call
Pass
Redouble
Other
Meaning
4+ clubs; weak opening
4+ clubs; full opening
as without double

West
P
2 C
North
P
Bid
East
1 M
?
South
P





Call
Pass
Double
Bid past 2 M
Other
Meaning
weak opening
good defense; full opening
natural; full opening
as without bid

TopMain

Competitive after One of a Suit

After a Takeout Double

If our opening bid of one of a suit is doubled for takeout:

West
1 X
North
Dbl
East
?
South







Call
Redouble

1 of suit*
1 NT
2 over 1
Jump shift
Meaning
10+; implies no fit; creates forcing
 auction
6+; 4+ cards; F
6-9; balanced; NF
6-9; 6+ (good 5) cards; NF
as without double

*Rebid structure is unchanged unless an opponent bids.

After a minor opening:

The following bids show 4+ card trump support:

West
1 m
North
Dbl
East
?
South




Call
All raises
2 NT
3 NT
Meaning
as without double
9-11 HCP; natural; I
12-15 HCP; natural; NF

After a major opening:

The following bids show trump support:

West
1 M
North
Dbl
East
?
South






Call
2 M
2 NT
3 M
Steps 1 to 4
4 M
Meaning
6-9; 3+ trumps
10-12; 4+ (rare 3) trumps
6-9; 4+ trumps
as without double
as without double

TopMain

After a Suit Overcall

If our opening bid of one of a suit is overcalled in a natural unbid suit thru the level of 4 D:

West
1 X
North
Suit
East
?
South

















Call
Double
New suit


1 NT
Jump shift
Cue below 3 NT

Cue by PH
2 NT jump
2 NT nonjump
3 NT nonjump
Jump cue
Cue above 3 NT
DJ raise
4 NT
Meaning
negative (see topic)
6+; 4+ cards at 1 level; F
9+; 5+ cards at 2 level or higher;
 F if below game
7-10; NF
weak (at or below game)
13+; balanced with stopper; opener
 continues as if forcing 2 NT resp
11-13; splinter raise
11-12; I
10-12; I
10-16; NF
13+; splinter raise
13+; fit with control
weak
Blackwood

After a minor opening:

West
1 m
North
Suit
East
?
South










Call
2 m, 3 m jump
3 m nonjump
4 m jump
4 m nonjump
5 m jump
5 m nonjump
3 NT jump or DJ

DJ new suit
Meaning
as without overcall
8-10
11-13; I
9-12
13-16
10-16
10-12; natural but based on 5+ card
 minor fit; NF
natural; weak

After a major opening:

West
1 M
North
Suit
East
?
South










Call
2 M
3 M jump
3 M nonjump
4 M jump
4 M nonjump
3 NT jump or DJ

DJ new suit
Meaning
6-10
11-12 (good 10); I
8-10
11-13
8-13
13+; 4+ trumps; no control in enemy
 suit; F
splinter raise if below 4 M; else
 natural, weak

TopMain

Negative Doubles

After our opening of one of a suit, the double of a suit overcall thru 4 D (or 4 H after a minor opening) is a negative double. The strength shown is 6+ at the 1 level; 7+ at the 2 level; 8+ at the 3 level; 9+ at the 4 level. Suit requirements:

West
1 C
North
1 D
East
?
South



Call
Double
1 H, 1 S
Meaning
4+ cards in each major
4+ cards

West
1 m
1 m
1 m
1 m
1 X
1 X
1 X
North
1 M
2 M
3 M
4 H
2 m
3 m
4 m
East
?
?
?
?
?
?
?
South








Call
Double

New suit
Meaning
4 cards in one major; may be 5+ cards
 if unable to bid
5+ cards

West
1 H
1 H
1 H
1 S
1 S
North
1 S
2 S
3 S
2 H
3 H
East
?
?
?
?
?
South





Call
Double
Minor suit
Meaning
4+ cards in each minor
5+ cards

Negative doubles also apply over a natural overcall in opener’s suit, e.g., 1 CC.

Rebids by opener:

West
1 X
?
North
Suit
East
Dbl
South
any





Call
Nonjump bid

Jump bid
Meaning
13-15 below game; NF
13-18 if game
16-18 below game; I
16+ if game

Rebids by doubler when opener has not shown extra strength:

West
1 X
any
North
Suit
any
East
Dbl
?
South
any










Call
New suit*
Preference
Single raise


2 NT
Jump new suit
Jump raise/pref
3 NT
Meaning
7-10; 6+ (good 5) cards; NF
7-10
7-10 at 2 level
10-12 at 3 level or 4 m; I
10-15 if game
10-12; I
10-12; 6+ cards; I below game
11-12 below game; 13-15 if game
13-15 if J; 11-15 if NJ

*Exceptions: A spade bid after doubling 1 H, or a minor-suit bid when opener bid a major that responder showed, is natural and GF.

TopMain

After a Two-Suited Overcall

After a Michaels cue-bid, unusual 2 NT, Roman jump overcall, or any other bid that shows a two-suited hand, the following structure called “invisible cue-bids” applies:

West
1 X
North
Bid*
East
?
South

*2-suited hand












Call
Double
New suit
Single raise
2 NT
3 NT jump
3 NT nonjump
Jump shift
Jump raise
Cheapest cue*
Higher cue*
Any jump cue*
Meaning
10+; creates forcing auction
6-9; 6+ (good 5) cards; NF
6-9; NF
9-11; natural with fit; I
12-14; natural with fit; NF
9-14; natural with fit; NF
weak
weak
10+; raise of suit opened
10+ HCP; 5+ cards in the 4th suit; F
13+; splinter raise; GF

*A bid is a cue-bid only if the suit was specifically shown. The “higher cue” is available only when two specific suits were shown.

Subsequent bidding:

1. After the “higher cue,” if opener rebids in notrump or his original suit, this confirms a minimum and is nonforcing. A “raise” of responder’s indicated suit is forcing below game.

2. After doubling, if responder next bids a new suit or a suit implied by the enemy, it is natural and forcing below game.

3. If responder passes over the two-suited overcall and later bids a suit implied by the enemy, it is natural and nonforcing.

TopMain

Competitive Rebids

Opener’s competitive rebids after a 1-over-1 response carry the same meaning as those without interference provided a lower bid in the same strain is not eliminated by the interference. If opener is restricted by elimination, the following structure applies:

West
1 X
?
North
any
East
1 Y
South
bid















Call
2 NT nonjump
3 NT jump
3 NT nonjump
3 X nonjump
4 X jump
4 X nonjump
3 Y nonjump
4 Y jump
4 Y nonjump
2 S reverse
3 lower suit
3 reverse
3 S jump reverse
Jump shift
Meaning
17-19
15+; based on 6+ suit
17+ (or 15+ with 6+ suit)
15-17
18-20; I in minor
16-18
14-16
17-20; I if diamonds
16-20; I if diamonds
17+; F (structure off)
15-18; NF
17+; F
19+; 4-6 shape; GF
19+; GF

Responder’s rebids after a 1-over-1 response revert to a “limit” style after any enemy bid. A new suit bid below game is forcing; but raises to the 3 level and jump bids are invitational.

Two-over-one auctions:

After a 2-over-1 (or nonjump 3-over-1) response following an overcall, responder is not required to bid again; no forcing auction is created. If opener repeats his suit, bids 2 NT or raises, he confirms a minimum and it is nonforcing. Jumps and new suit bids are forcing below game. The same is true of responder’s rebids.

TopMain

Cue-Bids as Rebids

After our opening bid of one of a suit and some action by responder, a cue-bid in the enemy suit by opener or responder is game forcing. The meanings are shown below:

West
1 X
?
1 X
any

1 X
any
?
North
any
(or)
any
any
(or)
any
any
(etc.)
East
Act

Act
?

Act
any
South
any

any


any
any




Call
Cue below 3 NT
Cue above 3 NT
Jump Cue
Meaning
nondescript; general GF
ace or splinter; fit assured
splinter raise

If the enemy has shown two suits, the first cue-bid below 3 NT implies a stopper in that suit; hence, partner may bid notrump with a stopper in the other suit.

Special follow-ups:

West
1 X
Cue

1 X
Cue
?
North
any
any
(or)
any
any
(etc.)
East
Act
?

Act
any
South
any


any
any





Call
Pass double
Redouble
Raise cue
Recue by cuer
Meaning
waiting; no clear action
ace
splinter; fit assured
ace; fit assured

Corollary to above: Opener’s double-jump raise to 4 of responder’s major denies control in the enemy suit; else cue twice (ace) or splinter (singleton or void).

TopMain

Competitive Doubles

Certain doubles, while penalty in standard bidding, are best played as competitive meaning, “I want to compete further but I am not sure what to bid.” Certain basic conditions must always exist:

Partner must have acted.
Your side has not established a fit.
Your side has not bid notrump.
You did not pass the doubled suit at your last turn.
A forcing auction does not exist.

Applicable situations:

Assuming the above conditions the following are competitive doubles:

1. All doubles at the 1 level.

West
1 C
Dbl
North
P
East
1 D
South
1 S

West
1 C
P
North
P
P
East
1 H
Dbl
South
1 S

West
1 C
P
North
1 H
P
East
P
Dbl
South
1 S

2. Double of a raised enemy suit thru 3 S, provided the enemy action was direct (doubles of enemy balancing actions are for penalty). This also includes the case of an implied enemy fit, such as an enemy response to a takeout double.

West
1 D
Dbl
North
1 H
East
1 S
South
2 H

West
1 C
P
North
1 S
P
East
Dbl
Dbl
South
2 S

West
1 C
Dbl
North
Dbl
East
1 S
South
3 H

3. The double of an invitational cue-bid, jump cue-bid, or any kind of fit-showing bid at the 2 or 3 level.

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

West
1 D
Dbl
North
1 H
East
1 S
South
3 D

West
1 C
P
North
P
2 H
East
1 H
Dbl
South
1 S

Strength requirements:

The minimum strength for a competitive double at the 1 or 2 level is slightly more than previously shown; at the 3 level, you should have about an ace extra. There is no upper limit; the double might be the first step with a game-going hand.

After a competitive double:

Partner of the competitive doubler should choose the contract from the alternatives suggested by the previous bidding. Any nonjump bid (even a new suit) is nonforcing; jumps below game are invitational. Passing the double is a real possibility, requiring a suitable defensive hand with 4 trumps, or 3 trumps at the 3 level.

TopMain

Cooperative Doubles

A cooperative double is a penalty suggestion. Doubler typically holds 3 or more cards in the suit doubled, all-around values, and no fit for partner’s suit. Cooperative doubles apply in the following situations thru 3 S. (Higher doubles are penalty.)

1. A double by a player who bypassed the opportunity to redouble or to make a strength-showing double.

West
1 S
P
North
Dbl
P
East
P
Dbl
South
2 C

West
1 H
P
North
2 H
P
East
P
Dbl
South
2 S

West
1 C
P
Dbl
North
P
2 H
East
1 S
P
South
Dbl
P

Important: Doubler’s strength is not limited by the failure to act at his previous turn. The above sequences would be ideal with any strong 4-4-3-2 shape (doubleton in partner’s suit).

Corollary: If you redouble or make a strength-showing double, you are unable to make a cooperative double. If you later double, it requires at least 4 good trumps.

2. A double by the partner of the player who just redoubled or made a strength-showing double. This blends well with the corollary above.

3. A double of a suit in which you denied 4 cards.

West
1 D
P
North
P
P
East
1 NT
Dbl
South
2 H

West
1 C
2 C
Dbl
North
P
P
East
1 H
P
South
P
2 S

West
1 S
2 D
Dbl
North
P
P
East
1 NT
P
South
P
2 H

4. A double by a player who made a competitive double.

West
1 C
Dbl
Dbl
North
1 D
P
East
1 S
2 S
South
2 D
3 D

West
1 D
P
P
North
1 H
P
P
East
1 S
Dbl
Dbl
South
2 H
3 H

After a cooperative double:

Partner should remove the double with a singleton or void in the enemy suit or with a hand very unsuited for defense. Limit bidding applies.

TopMain

After a One Notrump Overcall

After an enemy 1 NT overcall of our suit opening bid:

West
1 X
North
1 NT
East
?
South





Call
Double
New suit
2 NT
Jump shift
Meaning
penalty
6-9; 6+ (good 5) cards; NF
artificial; 2-suiter; F to 4 level
6+ cards; I

West
1 M
North
1 NT
East
?
South



Call
2 M
3 M
Meaning
6-9; 3+ trumps
10-12; based on shape; I

West
1 m
North
1 NT
East
?
South



Call
2 m
3 m
Meaning
artificial; weak takeout for majors
weak (no change)

TopMain

Actions when Responder Passes

Point ranges are shown by probable high-card points, however, suit bids may be shaded.

West
1 X
?
North
any
East
P
South
Act












Call
Redouble
1 NT
2 NT
Suit bid
Jump suit bid
Cue-bid
Dbl suit thru 4 D
Dbl 1 NT
Dbl 2 NT, 3 NT
Dbl 4 M
4 NT over 4 M
Meaning
18+; no force created
18-19
16+; natural; trick source
16+; unbalanced
18+; very unbalanced; I
16+; 5-4-4-0 shape
16+; takeout*
18+; optional
penalty
18+; optional ; takeout if raised
18+; takeout

*If artificial suit bid (or cue-bid) double is takeout of enemy suit shown. If enemy has shown no real suit, then double shows extra length in suit doubled.

Balancing actions:

West
1 X
?
North
Suit
East
P
South
P





Call
Pass
Double
Suit bid
Other (rare)
Meaning
Length in enemy suit*
13+; takeout
13+; unsuitable to double
same as direct action

*If the enemy bid is a jump, opener may pass without length in the enemy suit if he feels it is too risky to double or bid.

TopMain

Two-Level and Higher Openings

Two Club Opening

An opening bid of 2 C is strong, artificial and forcing, and typically shows 23+ points or a one-suited hand within a trick of game.

If responder has a 5 card or longer suit headed by at least 2 of the 3 top honors, he should make a suit-showing response. Otherwise, he must define his point count.

West
2 C
North
P
East
?
South









Call
2 D
2 H
2 S
2 NT
3 of suit
3 NT
4 of suit
4 NT
Meaning
0-4 or 8+ (or an ace + king)
5-7 or bad 8 (or an ace)
any 5 card suit; 2 of top 3
any 5 card suit; A-K-Q
6 cards in suit bid; 2 of top 3
any 6 card suit; A-K-Q
7 cards in suit bid; 2 of top 3
any 7 card suit; A-K-Q

Special jump rebid by opener:

After any response, a jump suit rebid by opener (even if game) establishes the trump suit and is forcing. Responder must continue:

West
2 C
JS
North
P
P
East
Bid
?
South
P



Call
Cheapest NT
Suit bid
Meaning
no aces
that ace

Follow-up: Opener may sign off in his suit or notrump or bid any other suit as control asking (see topic).

Rebids by opener after a point-count response:

West
2 C
?
North
P
East
2 D
South
P





Call
2 NT
3 NT
4 NT
Suit bid
Meaning
23-24; balanced; NF
25-28; balanced; NF
29-30; balanced; NF
5+ cards; F

West
2 C
?
North
P
East
2 H
South
P




Call
2 NT
3 NT
Suit bid
Meaning
23+; balanced; F
semibalanced; 6+ minor; NF
5+ cards; F

Rebids by responder after a point-count response:

West
2 C
Suit
North
P
P
East
2 D
?
South
P





Call
Cheapest bid
Other nonjump
Jump raise
Jump shift
Meaning
waiting
natural; suits show 5+ cards
Q-x-x-x or better; no controls
splinter raise

Note: Responder is always presumed to have 0-4 (even if he jumps) unless he voluntarily bids beyond game. The only way to stop below game is when opener rebids the same suit.

West
2 C
Suit
North
P
P
East
2 H
?
South
P




Call
Nonjump bid
Jump raise
Jump shift
Meaning
natural (no waiting bids)
Q-x-x-x or better; no controls
splinter raise

West
2 C
2 NT
North
P
P
East
2 X
?
South
P


Call
Any
Meaning
system on* (as if 2 NT opening)

*If responder tries for slam after a 2 D response, he logically must have 8+.

West
2 C
3 NT
North
P
P
East
2 D
?
South
P






Call
4 C*
4 D*, 4 H*
4 S*
4 NT
5 C
Meaning
Stayman (not puppet)
Jacoby
both minors
8+; balanced; F
Gerber

*If responder next bids a suit, it is natural NF (unless illogical); 5-level bids may be raised. The only way to show 8+ is to rebid 4 NT (F) or 5 NT (F).

West
2 C
4 NT
North
P
P
East
2 D
?
South
P




Call
5 C*
5 D*, 5 H*
5 S*
Meaning
Stayman (not puppet)
Jacoby
both minors

*There is no way to show 8+ here (may as well bid 7 NT). Any rebid by responder below slam is forcing (5 NT asks opener to pick a slam).

Rebids after a suit-showing response:

West
2 C
?
North
P
East
2 S
South
P



Call
2 NT
Suit bid
Meaning
23+ balanced (system on)
5+ cards

West
2 C
Suit
North
P
P
East
2 S
?
South
P




Call
Suit bid
3 NT, Raise
Jump shift
Meaning
real suit; F (even if game)
minimal values; inconvenient to bid suit
splinter raise

After a 2 NT or higher response, opener should know responder’s suit, so there is no need to repeat it. The bidding proceeds naturally. Any game bid is NF, however, if opener bids game (nonjump) in his own suit, responder must bid again if his suit is headed by A-K or A-Q; i.e., he can pass only with K-Q.

Competitive agreements:

West
2 C
North
Dbl
East
?
South




Call
Redouble
Pass
Other
Meaning
5-7; good clubs (Q-10-x-x)
0-4 or 8+; good clubs
as without double

West
2 C
North
Bid
East
?
South







Call
Pass
Double
Cue-bid
Suit bid
2 NT
3 NT nonjump
Meaning
0-4 (or more with no call)
penalty; trump stack
5+; splinter
5+; 5+ cards
5+; balanced; stopper
5-7; balanced; stopper

All doubles by opener or responder are for penalty. All direct passes are forcing.

A cue-bid of the enemy suit by opener, when responder has not acted, shows 5-4-4-0 shape (or 4-4-4-1 in balancing seat).

Any suit bid by opener, whether responder has acted or not, is forcing below game unless opener bids the same suit twice, in which case responder may pass with nothing.

If responder has not shown values and opener makes a natural, forcing suit rebid, the cheapest bid is artificial and waiting. This applies only once; any subsequent bid is natural.

Any jump suit bid by opener (at his second bid) is ace asking, even if this completes game. The structure is unchanged.

TopMain

Weak Two Bids

Opening bids of 2 D, 2 H and 2 S are weak two-bids. Range is 5-11 HCP and style is undisciplined but sensible. Good 5 card suits (usually 3 of top 5 cards) are permissible at all vulnerabilities. Decent 5 card suits are permissible at favorable vulnerability.

West
2 X
North
P
East
?
South






Call
Any raise
New suit
2 NT
4 C jump
Other jump
Meaning
obstructive; preemptive
6+ cards; semiconstructive; NF
game or slam try; F
trump asking (see topic)
6+ cards; I if below game

West
2 X
?
North
P
East
Suit
South
P







Call
Pass
2 NT, 3 NT
Raise
Jump raise
New suit
Same suit
Meaning
minimum or misfit
maximum; doubleton fit
at least Q-x or x-x-x
exceptional fit
4+ cards (6-4, 6-5)
at least K-Q-J-10-x-x

West
2 M
?
North
P
East
2 NT
South
P







Call
3 C
3 D
3 M
3 other major
3 NT
4 C, 4 D
Meaning
5 cards in original suit
6 cards; not worst hand
6 cards; worst hand
natural (4 cards); not worst hand
6 cards; A-K-Q or A-K-J
at least Q-x-x-x (6-4, 6-5)

West
2 D
?
North
P
East
2 NT
South
P






Call
3 C
3 D
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 C
Meaning
5 card diamond suit
6 cards; any minimum
6 cards; stopper
6 cards; no major stopper
at least Q-x-x-x (6-4, 6-5)

Rebids by responder:

West
2 M
3 C
North
P
P
East
2 NT
?
South
P




Call
3 D
3 M, 3 NT
Other suit
Meaning
artif. F; opener bids 3 M if min, else 3 NT
sign-off
5+ cards; F if below game

West
2 M
3 X
North
P
P
East
2 NT
?
South
P




Call
3 M
3 NT
New suit
Meaning
NF; opener may bid if max
NF; opener may correct
5+ cards; F if below game

West
2 D
3 X
North
P
P
East
2 NT
?
South
P




Call
3 D, game
4 D
New suit
Meaning
sign-off
NF; opener may bid 5 D
5+ cards; F if below game

Competitive agreements:

West
2 X
North
Dbl
East
?
South





Call
Pass then Dbl
Redouble
New suit
Other
Meaning
cooperative below 3 NT; penalty above
strong; creates F auction
not constructive; NF
as without double

West
2 X
North
Bid
East
?
South





Call
Double
Cue below 3 NT
Cue above 3 NT
Other
Meaning
penalty
stopper ask (3 NT = yes)
control ask
as without bid

West
2 X
?
North
any
East
2 NT
South
Act


Call
Any
Meaning
standard defense (see topic)

TopMain

Preemptive Openings

Suit openings 3 C thru 5 D are weak, roughly by rule of 2, 3, 4+ according to vulnerability.

West
3 X
4 X
North
P
P
East
?
?
South








Call
5 M over 4 M
Any other raise
3 NT
4 C nonraise
4 D over C
5 X over 4 M
Other suit
Meaning
slam invitation (good trumps?)
obstructive or to make; not invitational
to play; opener may run with no A or K
trump ask
trump ask
control ask
natural; F if below game

Competitive agreements:

West
3 X
4 X
North
Dbl
Dbl
East
?
?
South





Call
Pass then Dbl
Redouble
New suit*
Raise, 3 NT
Meaning
cooperative below 3 NT; penalty above
strong; creates F auction
6+ cards; NF (asking bids are off)
as without double

West
3 X
4 X
North
Bid
Bid
East
?
?
South





Call
Double
New suit*
Cue-bid
Raise, 3 NT
Meaning
penalty
6+ cards; F below game (no asking bids)
control ask
as without bid

*May be tactical lead-director with fit for opener

TopMain

Three Notrump Opening

An opening bid of 3 NT shows a strong preempt in any suit and is forcing. Typically this shows 11-16 HCP and 9+ tricks. If suit is a minor it implies freakish shape, since 3 NT is ruled out as a contract.

West
3 NT
North
P
East
?
South




Call
4 C*
4 D
4 H, 4 S
Meaning
0 or 2+ aces; F
exactly 1 ace; F
7+ (strong 6) cards; 0-1 aces; NF

*opener assumes 0 aces; responder must bid again (even over game) with 2 aces

Rebids by opener:

West
3 NT
?
North
P
East
4 X
South
P





Call
Suit
4 NT over 4m

4 NT over 4M
Meaning
real suit; NF
slam is possible (not off 2 aces)
 then 5 C by responder rejects
Blackwood (key-card)

Rebids by responder:

West
3 NT
Suit
North
P
P
East
4 m
?
South
P




Call
Raise to 5 D
New suit
4 NT
Meaning
to play (no slam interest)
that ace; slam try; F
Blackwood (key-card)

Competitive agreements:

West
3 NT
North
Dbl
East
?
South




Call
Pass
Redouble
Other
Meaning
0 aces (allows 4 C to be played)
1 ace with defensive strength
as without double

West
3 NT
North
Bid
East
?
South








Call
Pass

Double
Cheapest suit
Other suit
4 NT
Cue
Meaning
nondescript; opener must bid suit at
 4 level and may bid 5 if prudent
penalty; trump stack
competitive in opener’s suit
7+ (strong 6) cards; NF
2+ aces; slam try (not BW); F
2+ aces; enemy suit controlled

TopMain

Defense to One of a Suit

Takeout Doubles

A direct takeout double shows opening values (may be shaded with ideal shape) and 3+ cards in each unbid suit, or any hand that is too strong for an overcall.

West
1 X
North
Dbl
East
any
South
?














Call
Double
New suit


1 NT
Cue-bid
Jump in suit

2 NT
Jump cue-bid
DJ in suit

3 NT jump
Meaning
responsive or penalty (see below)
0-9 if forced
6-9 if free below game
8-15 if game
6-9 (poor 10)
10+; F until raise or game
10-12 if below game; I
10-15 if game
10-12; I
13+; splinter; 3-suiter
weak if below game; 6+ cards
weak or 10-15 if game
13-16

Responsive doubles apply:

After a new suit thru 2 S (takeout for two unbid suits).

After a major raise thru 3 S (takeout for minors).

Note that the double of 1 NT or any minor raise is for penalty.

Special over a redouble:

West
1 X
North
Dbl
East
Rdbl
South
?





Call
Pass
Pass then bid
Suit bid
Jump suit
Meaning
no preference (if weak)
9-11; constructive; I
weak; preference
weak; 5+ cards; preemptive

Rebids by takeout doubler:

West
1 X
any
North
Dbl
?
East
any
South
Suit













Call
Double
1 NT
New suit
Cue-bid*
Single raise

2 NT jump
2 NT nonjump
Jump cue*
Jump new suit
Jump raise
3 NT jump
Meaning
18+; no 4 card fit; optional
18-20
18-21; 5+ cards; NF
20+; F; no rebid promised
18-20 if voluntary to 3 level
16-18 otherwise
20-22
19-21
splinter raise; slam try
what you can make
19-20 (good 18)
better than 2 NT or 9 tricks

*Cue must be in opener’s suit (else natural).

Note: If partner bid freely (6-9 points) the ranges above would be 2 points less; except for a new suit, which still shows 18+ and then would be forcing.

After a 1 NT response:

West
1 X
any
North
Dbl
?
East
any
South
1 NT





Call
Double
New suit

Cue-bid
Meaning
penalty
corrective at 2 level; NF
18+ at 3 level; F
18+; splinter; no rebid is promised

TopMain

Suit Overcalls

Direct nonjump suit overcalls typically show 8-17 HCP at the 1 level or 11-17 HCP at the 2 level.

West
1 X
North
Suit
East
any
South
?













Call
Double
New suit

1 NT
Cue-bid
Single raise
Jump new suit
2 NT jump
2 NT nonjump
Jump cue-bid
Jump raise
3 NT jump
Meaning
8+; responsive or penalty (see below)
8+ at 1 level; F
8-12 at 2 level up; NF
8-11
11+ (good 10) with fit or 13+ nonfit; F
6-10
11+; 6+ cards; I
12-14; I
9-11; I
11+ (good 10) with 4+ trumps
weak; about 5-8 below game
better than 2 NT

Responsive doubles apply:

After a raise thru 4 D (takeout for two unbid suits).

After a 1 NT response (takeout for two unbid suits).

After a new suit thru 2 S (4+ cards in unbid suit; 2 cards in partner’s suit).

Special over a negative double:

West
1 X
North
Suit
East
Dbl
South
?





Call
Redouble
Cue-bid
2 NT if major
Other
Meaning
11+; implies no fit
11+ (good 10); promises fit
8-10; 4+ major fit
as without double

Rebids by overcaller:

West
1 X
any
North
Suit
?
East
any
South
P




Call
Double
Suit X
Other
Meaning
takeout thru 4 D
natural (2-suiter)
natural

West
1 X
any
North
Suit
?
East
any
South
Cue




Call
Same suit
2 NT
New suit
Meaning
minimum; nondescript; NF
constructive; NF
natural; F

TopMain

Weak Jump Overcalls

Direct jump suit overcalls are weak at all levels, basically adhering to the rule of 2, 3 and 4+ according to vulnerability.

West
1 X
North
2 Y
East
any
South
?


Call
Any
Meaning
same as response to weak two-bid*

West
1 X
1 X
North
3 Y
4 Y
East
any
any
South
?
?


Call
Any
Meaning
same as response to weak opening*

*Opening bid does not constitute interference although it enables a cue-bid response. Asking bids are still in effect as long as RHO passes.

TopMain

Good Jump Overcalls

A good jump overcall shows a self-sufficient 6+ card suit with about 1 playing trick less than bidder has contracted for.

Situations where this apply are noted later.

Responding agreement:

A new suit response is forcing below game.

TopMain

Notrump Overcalls

Direct notrump overcalls over 1 of a suit:

West
1 X
North
?
East
South





Call
1 NT
2 NT
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
15-18 (system on)
unusual (see topic)
15-20; based on long minor
lowest two suits; freakish

TopMain

Unusual Notrump Overcall

For defensive bidding purposes, two-suited hands will be divided into three groups. Marginal hands may be upgraded or downgraded according to judgment. These will be referred to as weak, good or strong.

Weak = 11 HCP or less
Good = 12-15 HCP
Strong = 16+ HCP

A direct jump overcall of 2 NT shows either the weak or strong hand (not the good hand) with at least 5-5 shape in the two lower unbid suits.

West
1 X
North
2 NT
East
any
South
?








Call
Pass double
Double
Suit shown
Jump shown
Cue-bid
Other suit
3 NT (rare)
Meaning
no preference
penalty
preference
weak; good trump fit
game or slam try; F
6+ cards; NF
to play

Rebids by unusual 2 NT bidder:

West
1 X
any*
North
2 NT
?
East
any
South
Cue

*If RHO acts use standard defense (see topic)






Call
Cheaper real
Raise cue
Notrump
Unshown suit
Other real
Meaning
worst weak hand
not worst; splinter
not worst; other splinter
not worst; 3 cards
not worst; 6+ cards

West
1 X
any
North
2 NT
?
East
any
South
NF*

*Any nonforcing action (suit takeout or pass)









Call
Double
Redouble
Cue-bid
3 NT
4 NT

Unshown suit
Real suit
Meaning
strong; optional
strong; good defense
strong
strong; enemy stopper; NF
strong; Blackwood if pref shown;
 else takeout
strong; 3 cards (5-5-3-0)
weak; extreme shape

TopMain

Michaels Cue-Bid

The direct Michaels cue-bid, like the unusual 2 NT overcall, shows either the weak or strong hand (not the good hand). The cue-bid of a minor opening shows both majors, at least 5-4 shape. The cue-bid of a major opening shows the unbid major plus either minor suit, at least 5-5 shape.

West
1 X
North
2 X
East
any
South
?








Call
Shown suit
Jump shown
2 NT
Cue-bid
3 C, 4 C, 4 NT

Other suit
Meaning
preference
weak; good trump fit
game or slam try; F
game or slam try; F
to play unknown minor after major
 cue-bid only
6+ cards; NF

Special over a double:

West
1 X
North
2 X
East
Dbl
South
?





Call
Pass 2 m
Pass 2 M
3 C
Other
Meaning
no major preference
to play unknown minor
6+ cards; NF
as without double

Rebids by Michaels cue-bidder:

West
1 m
any*
North
2 m
?
East
any
South
2 NT

*If RHO acts use standard defense (see topic)





Call
3 C
3 D
3 H
3 S
Meaning
longer hearts
longer spades
worst weak hand; 5-5
not worst; 5-5; F

West
1 M
any*
North
2 M
?
East
any
South
2 NT

*If RHO acts use standard defense (see topic)




Call
3 C, 3 D
3 H
3 S
Meaning
worst weak hand; that minor
not worst; clubs
not worst; diamonds

West
1 X
any
North
2 X
?
East
any
South
NF*

*Any nonforcing action (suit takeout or pass)







Call
Double
Redouble
Cue-bid
3 NT
Denied suit
Real suit
Meaning
strong; optional
strong; good defense
strong
strong; enemy stopper; NF
strong; 3 cards
weak; extreme shape

TopMain

Three-Level Cue-Bid Overcall

Any 3-level cue-bid as our side’s first action shows a strong one-suited hand (not in the suit cue-bid) provided the enemy has not bid notrump. This may be a jump cue-bid over one of a suit or a nonjump cue-bid over two of a suit, but it must be at the 3 level.

Cue-bidder should have a self-sufficient suit and about 8 1/2 playing tricks or more. If the suit is a major, cue-bidder should have a singleton or void in the cue-bid suit (else double).

West
1 X

1 X
any
North
3 X
(or)
P
?
(etc.)
East
any

2 X
South
?

3 X








Call
Lowest option*
Next option*
Double
New major
3 NT
4 NT
5 NT
Meaning
0-2 controls; no stopper if below 3 NT
3+ controls; no stopper
trump stack; penalty
6+ cards; F if below game
stopper in cue-bid suit
stopper; 3+ outside controls
control stopper; 3+ outside controls

*Options include, in order: pass (if RHO bids or doubles), redouble, cheaper minor, and next minor. Use what is available.

Rebids by cue-bidder:

West
1 X
any
North
3 X
?
(etc.)
East
any
South
any



Call
Suit, pass
4 NT
Meaning
real suit; NF
Blackwood (highest suit key)

TopMain

Balancing Actions

If an enemy opening bid of one of a suit is passed:

West
1 X
North
P
East
P
South
?










Call
Double
1 of suit
1 NT
2 of suit
Cue-bid
Jump suit
2 NT
Jump cue
3 NT
Meaning
10+; takeout
7-14; suit overcall
10-14 (system on)
9-14; suit overcall
Michaels; good or strong
good jump overcall
18-20 (system on)
3-level cue-bid overcall
16-20; based on suit

After a balancing double or suit overcall, respond the same as in direct position except that all point ranges for responder are increased by 2 points. Responsive doubles do not apply. Responses to Michaels and the 3-level cue-bid overcall are similar to direct actions.

TopMain

After Two Enemy Bids

If both opponents have bid, the following agreements apply:

West
1 X
North
P
East
1 Y
South
?










Call
Double
1 NT
2 X
2 Y, new suit
2 NT
3 X, 3 Y
3 NT
4 NT
Other jump
Meaning
takeout
15-18 (system on)
takeout; at least 5-4
natural overcall
takeout; at least 5-5
3-level cue-bid overcall
to play (no systemic responses)
takeout; weak; freak
weak jump overcall

West
1 X
1 X
North
P
P
East
2 Y
3 Y
South
?
?











Call
Double
New suit
2 X
2 NT

3 X, 3 Y
3 NT
4 NT
Other jump
Meaning
takeout
natural; may be shaded
takeout; at least 5-4
weak takeout if Y is F
15-18 if Y is NF (system on)
3-level cue-bid overcall
to play (no systemic responses)
takeout; weak; freak
weak jump overcall if Y is F
good jump overcall if Y is NF

West
1 X
1 X
1 X
North
P
P
P
East
1 NT
2 NT
3 NT
South
?
?
?






Call
Double
2 X, 3 X, 4 X
New suit
Any NT
Jump suit
Meaning
takeout (of suit X)
Michaels
natural; may be shaded
unusual
weak jump overcall

West
1 X
1 X
1 X
North
P
P
P
East
2 X
3 X
4 X
South
?
?
?










Call
Double
New suit
2 NT, 4 NT
3 X
3 NT
Jump 4 m
4 X, 5 X
Other suit jump
Meaning
takeout
natural; may be shaded
unusual
3-level cue-bid overcall
unusual over 3 X if F; otherwise to play
2-suiter; natural + lower unbid M; NF
2-suiter; highest + other
weak jump overcall if F raise
good jump overcall if NF raise

Responses to all actions after two enemy bids are the same as or similar to those to the related topic. An exception: Responsive doubles do not apply. The description “takeout” means that responses should be like those to a takeout double.

TopMain

Additional Agreements

The following topics (defined earlier) also apply to defensive bidding provided the conditions are met:

1. Major-suit game try structure

2. Competitive doubles

3. Cooperative doubles

The following defensive actions are changed if the bidder is a passed hand (for obvious reasons):

1. Direct 1 NT overcall is unusual.

2. Any 3 NT overcall is unusual.

3. The 3-level cue-bid overcall (strong 1-suiter) does not exist. Any such bid is natural if a jump or Michaels (takeout) if a nonjump.

Belated doubles:

Assuming partner has not acted:

1. The double of a raised suit, direct or balancing, is for takeout thru 4 D, unless the opponents have bid all four suits naturally.

2. A direct double after three enemy bids is for takeout thru 2 D even if just one unbid suit exists (in that event the suit opened is a takeout candidate). Examples:

West
1 D
1 NT
North
P
Dbl
East
1 H
South
P

Takeout

West
1 H
2 D
North
P
Dbl
East
1 NT
South
P

Takeout

West
1 H
2 C
North
P
Dbl
East
1 S
South
P

Takeout

3. A balancing double of a suit bid is for takeout thru 2 S, even if just one unbid suit exists.

4. A balancing double of 1 NT is for takeout only if both major suits are unbid. Otherwise it is a penalty suggestion with strength in dummy’s suit. Examples:

West
1 D
P
North
P
Dbl
East
1 NT
South
P

Takeout

West
1 H
P
North
P
Dbl
East
1 NT
South
P

Penalty

West
1 C
1 NT
North
P
P
East
1 S
P
South
P
Dbl

Penalty

TopMain

Miscellaneous Defensive Bidding

Defense to One Notrump

After an opening bid of 1 NT, regardless of its meaning, all overcalls suggest about 9 to 14 HCP. The structure is:

West
1 NT
North
?
East
South







Call
2 C
2 D
2 H, 2 S
2 NT
3 C, 3 D
3 H, 3 S
Meaning
hearts + minor (Astro)
spades + other (Astro)
usually 6+ cards
2-suiter; both minors
6+ cards
good jump overcall

A direct double of a 1 NT opening shows 17+ HCP or 14-16 with a good lead. It is optional (leaning toward penalty).

Balancing position:

West
1 NT
North
P
East
P
South
?


Call
Any bid
Meaning
same as direct but may be weaker

A balancing double shows 14+ HCP, usually with all-around values.

If the opening is a “weak notrump” (maximum 15 HCP), a double of a Stayman 2 C response is not lead-directing. It shows 14+ HCP, similar to a balancing double.

Responses:

West
1 NT
North
2 M
East
any
South
?


Call
Respond as to weak two-bid

West
1 NT
1 NT
North
2 NT
3 m
East
any
any
South
?
?



Call
Suit, 3 NT
Jump suit
Meaning
natural; NF
natural; I below game

West
1 NT
North
Dbl
East
P
South
?





Call
Pass
2 of suit
3 of suit
2 NT
Meaning
normal action (penalty)
5+ cards; weak and unbalanced
6+ cards; I
2-suiter; F until game or raise

Note: Responses to balancing actions would have the same meanings.

TopMain

Runout Defense

The runout defense applies if an opponent is the first to bid over our strength-showing double in the following situations:

1. After a 1 NT opening (direct or balancing)

2. After a Stayman 2 C response to a weak notrump opening

3. Defense to 2 NT and 3 NT opening (see topic)

4. Junkyard defense (see topic)

Actions in direct position:

West
1 NT

1 NT
P
North
Dbl
(or)
P
P
(etc.)
East
2 X

P
2 X
South
?

Dbl
?






Call
Pass
Double
Suit
Jump suit
Cue-bid
Meaning
weak or length in X
takeout*
5+ cards; NF
6+ cards; I
splinter; GF

*Should have 2+ cards (rarely singleton) in suit doubled as partner may convert

Actions in balancing position:

West
1 NT
P
1 NT
P
P
North
Dbl
?
P
P
?
(etc.)
East
2 X
(or)
P
2 X
South
P

Dbl
P





Call
Pass
Double

Other
Meaning
prudent with length in X
takeout (partner can convert if that
 was his intention)
as in direct position

Note: The runout defense applies thru the level of 4 D (e.g., 1 NT Dbl 4 D) and over multiple runouts (e.g., 1 NT Dbl 2 C P; 2 D) provided we have not acted after our initial double and we have not faced the same suit bid twice. In other words, once we act after our initial double, or a player is confronted with the same denomination twice, all doubles are penalty.

TopMain

Astro Structure

In direct or balancing seat after an opening bid of 1 NT, an overcall of 2 C shows hearts and a minor suit; and 2 D shows spades and another suit (which could be hearts). In either case shape should be at least 5-4 in two suits, or 4-4-4-1.

West
1 NT
North
2 m
East
P
South
?







Call
Pass
Cheapest suit
Shown M
Unshown suit
2 NT
Jump shown M
Meaning
6+ cards; misfit expected
relay; suit search; NF
3+ cards
6+ cards; I if raise or jump
game or slam try; F
4+ trumps; mild invitation

West
1 NT
North
2 m
East
Dbl
South
?





Call
Pass
Redouble

Other
Meaning
willing to play if Astro bidder’s minor
5+ cards in next higher suit (enables an
 escape if partner has tolerance)
as without double

West
1 NT
North
2 m
East
Bid
South
?






Call
Double
Cheapest suit*
Cue-bid
4 NT over 4 M
Other
Meaning
penalty
suit search thru 4 H; NF
game or slam try; F
request for minor
as without bid

*Must be an unshown suit that Astro bidder might hold

Rebids by Astro bidder:

West
1 NT
P
North
2 C
?
East
P
South
2 D








Call
Pass
2 H
2 S
2 NT
3 C
3 D
3 H
Meaning
hearts + diamonds
5+ cards (usually with clubs)
3 cards
at least 4-4 minors
5+ cards
5+ cards; I
6+ cards; I

West
1 NT
P
North
2 D
?
East
P
South
2 H







Call
Pass
2 S
2 NT
3 C, 3 D
3 H
3 S
Meaning
spades + hearts
5+ cards (with minor)
at least 4-4 minors
5+ cards
5+ cards; I
6+ cards; I

West
1 NT
any*
North
2 C
?
East
any
South
2 NT

*If RHO acts use standard defense (see topic)





Call
3 C, 3 D
3 H
3 S
3 NT
Meaning
min; NF
max; clubs
max; diamonds
max; diamonds; 3 spades

West
1 NT
any*
North
2 D
?
East
any
South
2 NT

*If RHO acts use standard defense (see topic)





Call
3 C, 3 D, 3 H
3 S
3 NT
4 C, 4 D, 4 H
Meaning
min; NF
max; hearts
max; either minor
max; freak; GF

Further agreements:

West
1 NT
P
North
2 m
2 X
East
P
P
South
Rel
?




Call
2 S
2 NT
3 of suit
Meaning
5 cards (no more)
request for minor
NF; I if raise

West
1 NT
P
North
2 D
?
East
Dbl
South
P



Call
Redouble
Meaning
Suggests 4-3-1-5 shape to allow possible
 rescue to hearts

TopMain

Standard Defense

This defense is a practical method to counter enemy interference over our forcing bids that elicit specific rebids in the following situations:

1. 2 NT response to weak two-bid or analogous structure after our weak jump overcall, weak jump shift response, or 2 H or 2 S overcall of an enemy 1 NT opening

2. 2 NT response to Michaels cue-bid or Astro 2 C or 2 D

3. Cue-bid response to unusual 2 NT overcall

Rebid structure:

After an enemy bid:




Call
All rebids
Pass
Dbl
Meaning
normal meaning
minimum; normal rebid unavailable
maximum; normal rebid unavailable

After an enemy double:




Call
All rebids
Pass
Rdbl
Meaning
normal meaning
minimum; useful defensive values
maximum; useful defensive values

TopMain

Defense to Two and Three Notrump

If the opening bid or immediate response is 2 NT or 3 NT, carrying any meaning (weak or strong) provided no specific suit has been shown, the following structure applies:

West
2 NT
3 NT
2 NT
3 NT
Bid*
Bid*
North
?
?
P
P
P
P
East


P
P
2 NT
3 NT
South


?
?
?
?

*1 NT, 2 NT or a strong artificial 1 C or 2 C.









Call
Double

Pass then Dbl
Cheapest C
Cheapest D
Major
Any NT
Jump minor
Meaning
strength-showing; runout defense
 applies thru 4 D
takeout if suit thru 4 D
hearts + minor (Astro)
spades + other (Astro)
natural
minor-suit takeout
7+ cards

The above defense also applies over Bergen-Cohen 3 S (gambling 3 NT equivalent).

Unusual 2 NT opening:

If an opening bid of 2 NT shows both minor suits, use this structure:

West
2 NT
North
?
East
South









Call
Double

Pass then Dbl
3 C
3 D
3 H, 3 S
3 NT
4 H, 4 S
Meaning
strength-showing; runout defense
 applies thru 4 D
takeout if suit thru 4 D
majors; weak or strong
majors; good
natural
natural
good jump overcall

TopMain

Defense to Weak Openings

This defense applies to natural, nonforcing suit opening bids from 2 C thru 4 D. This includes weak two-bids, intermediate two-bids (such as the 2 C opening in most club systems), and all preemptive bids.

Actions in balancing seat have the same meaning as direct actions, but ranges are reduced slightly (about 2 points); hence responder should compensate accordingly. For example, a balancing 2 NT overcall would show 13-16 points instead of 15-18.

West
2 X
North
?
East
South











Call
Double
New suit
2 NT
Cue-bid
Jump 3 Y
3 NT
4 unbid m
Jump cue
4 unbid M
4 NT
Meaning
takeout
12-18; 6+ (good 5) cards
15-18 (system on)
3-level cue-bid overcall
good jump overcall
19+ or less with running suit
2-suiter; natural + lower unbid M; NF
2-suiter; highest + other
good jump overcall
2-suiter; two lowest

West
3 X
4 m
North
?
?
East
South








Call
Double
New suit
Cue-bid
4 D over 3 C
Other jump suit
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
takeout
12-18; 6+ (good 5) cards
2-suiter; highest + other
2-suiter; hearts + diamonds; NF
good jump overcall
natural; 16+ (no systemic responses)
2-suiter; two lowest

Responding agreements:

West
2 X
3 X
4 m
North
Dbl
Dbl
Dbl
East
any
any
any
South
?
?
?












Call
Double
New suit

2 NT
Cue-bid
Jump suit

3 NT jump
3 NT nonjump
4 NT
Meaning
penalty
0-9 below game (6-9 if free)
0-15 if game (6-15 if free)
8-10
11+; GF
10-11 below game; I
10-15 if game
11-15
8-15
Blackwood unless “4 NT Response
 for Takeout” applies (see topic)

West
2 X
3 X
4 m
North
Suit
Suit
Suit
East
any
any
any
South
?
?
?















Call
Double
Rdbl neg dbl
New suit
2 NT
Cue below 3 NT
Cue above 3 NT
Single raise

Jump suit
3 NT jump
3 NT nonjump
Jump cue
Jump raise
4 NT
Meaning
penalty
10+; creates F auction
8+; F below game BUPH if weak opener
8-10
11+; general force
13+; fit plus control
8-10 if below game
8-15 if game
self-playable; GF; slam I if nonjump F
11-15
8-15
13+; splinter raise
11-15 if game
Blackwood

TopMain

Defense to Four of a Major

The following agreements apply in direct or balancing position if the opening bid is a natural 4 H or 4 S:

West
4 M
4 M
North
?
P
East

P
South

?







Call
Double
New suit
4 NT over 4 H
4 NT over 4 S
Cue-bid
5 NT
Meaning
15+; optional*
6+ cards (5+ spades)
minor-suit takeout
3-suit or red-suit takeout
2-suiter; other M + minor; strong (very)
2-suiter; minors

*Doubler should have 3 1/2+ honor tricks

Responding agreements:

West
4 M

4 M
P
North
Dbl
(or)
P
?
East
P

P
South
?

Dbl






Call
Pass
Suit bid

4 NT over 4 H
4 NT over 4 S
Meaning
normal
6+ cards (or 5 spades) and “good”
 distribution
minor-suit takeout
3-suit or red-suit takeout

TopMain

Defense to Strong Artificial Openings

If the opening is 1 C strong (16+), artificial and forcing, or over an artificial response to same, pass with opening-bid strength or better. On the next round, once a natural bid has been made, you may enter the auction as if all artificial bids never existed.

All initial actions show weak hands:

West
1 C
1 C
North
?
P
East

1 X*
South

?

*Artificial








Call
Double
1 of suit
1 NT
2 NT
2 of suit
3 of suit
4 of suit
Meaning
suit doubled
5+ cards
pointed suits (spades + diamonds)
rounded suits (hearts + clubs)
suit bid plus next higher
6+ cards
7+ cards

Memory aid: The number “1” is pointed and “2” is rounded.

Responses to weak actions:

West
1 C

1 C
any
North
Act
(or)
P
?
East
any

1 X
South
?

Act





Call
1 NT, 2 NT
Raise
Other suit
Jump
Meaning
cue-bid; game try; F
obstructive; blocking
natural; NF
preemptive

Defense to 2 C opening:

If the opening bid is 2 C, strong and artificial, no special structure applies. All bids are presumed to be weak and obstructive.

West
2 C
2 C
North
?
P
East

2 X*
South

?

*Artificial




Call
Double
Suit bid
Any NT
Meaning
suit doubled
6+ (good 5) cards
minor-suit takeout

TopMain

Defense to Transfer Bids

If the opening bid is artificial and shows one specific suit, use the following defense. Examples: Transfer preempts, Namyats 4 C (hearts) or 4 D (spades). The term “cue-bid” refers to a bid in the opponent’s real suit, not the artificial suit.

West
2 X
3 X
4 X
North
?
?
?
East

South











Call
Double
Double twice
Pass then Dbl
Suit bid
Cue (2/4 lev)
2 NT
Cue (3 lev)
Jump suit
3 NT
4 NT
Meaning
11+; takeout of real suit
15+; still takeout
13+; optional
natural; good suit
Michaels; good or strong
15-18 (system on)
3-level cue-bid overcall
good jump overcall
to play (no systemic responses)
takeout (as over natural bid)

If the opening bid does not indicate a specific suit and the response is artificial showing one specific suit, use this defense. Examples: Jacoby and Texas transfers.

West
1 NT
1 NT
2 NT
2 NT
North
P
P
P
P
(etc.)
East
2 X
4 X
3 X
4 X
South
?
?
?
?








Call
Double
Double twice
Pass then Dbl
Cue-bid
Suit bid
Any NT
Jump suit
Meaning
shows suit doubled
takeout thru 4 S
takeout thru 3 S
Michaels
natural; good suit
unusual
good jump overcall

TopMain

Junkyard Defense

This defense applies to opening two-bids that do not show 5+ cards in the suit bid and do not show a specific one-suited hand. The current list includes:

1. Flannery 2 D (5 hearts + 4 spades)
2. Roman 2 C or 2 D (3 unknown suits)
3. Precision 2 D or 2 H (3 known suits)
4. Meckwell 2 H (3 suits, 2 of which are known)
5. Meckwell 2 S (weak preempt in any suit)
6. Multicolor 2 D (unknown 6-card major usually)

General structure:

West
2 X
2 X
North
?
P
East

2 NT
South

?








Call
Double

Pass then Dbl
Suit bid
2 NT
Jump in suit
3 NT
Meaning
strength-showing (about 15+) and our
 runout defense applies (see topic)
takeout (if suit) thru 4 D
natural*; good suit
15-18; natural (system on)
good jump overcall*
natural (no systemic responses)

*Except if opener has shown 5+ cards in suit; then it is a cue-bid, the meaning of which is appropriate to the level.

After a suit response:

West
2 X
North
P
East
Suit
South
?



Call
Double
Other
Meaning
takeout thru 4 D
as above

Clarification notes:

Two-suited two-bids that show the suit bid plus one other suit (known or unknown) will be treated as natural weak two-bids, although an overcall in opener’s known 5+ card second suit is a cue-bid, the meaning of which is appropriate to the level.

If according to the enemy methods a two-suited hand might be 5-4 shape but typically is at least 5-5 shape, this should be ignored. Both suits should be presumed to be 5+ cards for the purpose of determining the meaning of our bids.

TopMain

Lead-Directing Doubles

Doubles of artificial suit bids are lead-directing unless otherwise defined or qualified as one of the two exceptions below:

1. Double by an unpassed hand of an artificial response (thru 3 D) to any natural opening bid is a takeout double of the suit opened. These are takeout doubles:

West
2 C*
North
P
East
2 D
South
Dbl

*Natural suit

West
1 S
North
P
East
3 D*
South
Dbl

*Limit raise

West
2 S
North
P
East
3 C*
South
Dbl

*Inquiry

2. Double by an unpassed hand of a splinter bid as our first action shows length in that suit and suggests a sacrifice bid.

Doubles of notrump:

The double of any notrump bid (not specifically defined elsewhere) is for penalty and requests, in order of priority, the lead of:

1. Leader’s suit if both leader and doubler have shown suits
2. Doubler’s suit
3. Dummy’s suit unless leader can safely lead his own shown suit
4. Leader’s shown suit
5. Leader’s weaker major suit

Doubles of suit slams:

The double of a suit slam by non-leader requests, in order of priority, the lead of:

1. A side suit bid by the enemy
2. Leader’s longest suit not bid by his side

TopMain

Slam Bidding Methods

General Approach

It is essential to have firm rules to determine whether a bid is natural or control-showing.

In a forcing auction, the first bid after suit agreement is natural if the suit was bid naturally earlier. The last bid in each auction is natural:

West
1 C
3 S
North
P
P
East
1 S
4 C
South
P

West
1 S
2 H
4 D
North
P
P
East
2 D
3 H
South
P
P

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

The following bids are recognized as “advance control-bids” and establish suit agreement (partner’s suit, or the lower ranking of his two suits) by inference. These bids are just like a raise of a suit; i.e., they do not initiate a control-showing auction.

1. A new suit bid beyond 3 NT by a player who has bid notrump
2. A bid in the only remaining unbid suit beyond 3 NT
3. A cue-bid in the enemy suit beyond 3 NT

Starting a control-showing auction:

A control-showing auction may be started only after suit agreement by bidding an unshown suit, an enemy suit, or a suit that cannot possibly be natural from your previous bidding. This requires about an ace above minimum if unlimited (wide-ranged) or maximum if narrowly limited — unless partner made an advance control-bid, then just suitable values.

After a control-showing auction has started:

A bid in any prior agreed suit is natural and discourages slam.

A bid in an unagreed suit is a control-bid, even if this suit was naturally bid by you or partner. No further suit agreement is possible.

A control-bid does not require extra strength (only suitable values) unless it forces the partnership beyond game.

Bypassing a particular bid does not deny that control. There are many situations in which it is desirable to show a higher control before a lower one to facilitate subsequent bidding.

A control-bid beyond 5 of the highest agreed suit obviously means that a grand slam is possible. It further implies that no suit remains uncontrolled.

TopMain

Control-Bids

The following guidelines, listed by priority, determine the meaning of control-bids:

1. If a splinter bid, it shows a singleton or void. If splinter bid is beyond 5 of the agreed trump suit, it shows a void.

2. If bid is a suit naturally shown by partner, it implies the ace or king. It should not be a void or small singleton.

3. If bid is the enemy suit or the only unbid suit, it implies the ace or a splinter (if a splinter bid is impractical). Do not bid this way with the king. Partner should presume the ace and may bid 3 NT without a further stopper; if bid was based on a splinter, do not pass 3 NT.

4. If our side has shown only one suit, it implies the ace or king and length (4+ cards). It should not be based on shortness.

5. If our side has shown exactly two suits, it shows first or second round control (ideally, the king) and it implies no king in the remaining suit. For example:

West

P
North
1 S
3 H
East
P
P
South
2 H
4 D

Table
S 4 3
H A Q J 8 5
D K Q 4
C A 6 2

Opener should be encouraged by short clubs and discouraged by short diamonds, not vice versa.

Rules 4 and 5 apply only to slam tries below game so partner can evaluate his hand better. Slam tries beyond game follow the standard practice of showing first-round control.

Second control-bid

A second control-bid in the same suit, or a redouble (if enemy doubles a control-bid), indicates:

1. The ace if partner splintered in that suit or if the previous bid (by either you or partner) implied the ace or a splinter

2. A void if you splintered in that suit

3. The ace or king if a previous bid implied the ace or king

TopMain

Blackwood

Barring specific contrary agreements, 4 NT is Blackwood:

1. If a major suit is agreed

2. If partner has acted, notrump has not been naturally bid (the forcing 1 NT response is not considered natural) and the “4 NT Response for Takeout” (see topic) does not apply.

Note that these 4 NT bids are not Blackwood but quantitative:

West
1 S
3 H
North
P
P
East
2 NT
4 NT
South
P

West
1 S
2 NT
4 NT
North
P
P
East
2 C
3 H
South
P
P

West
1 S
2 H
3 S
North
P
P
P
East
2 D
2 NT
4 NT
South
P
P

Also note that 4 NT as an initial action (opening bid or overcall) is never Blackwood.

Key suit determination:

If 4 NT is Blackwood, there is always a key suit:

1. If one suit is agreed, the agreed suit is the key suit.

2. If two suits are agreed, the higher agreed suit is the key suit.

3. If no suit is agreed, the last shown suit is the key suit.

4. If we have made one bid showing two suits (e.g., unusual notrump or Michaels), or a takeout double implying two or three suits, the highest of those suits is the key suit.

Exclusion Blackwood:

If a player makes a splinter bid and uses Blackwood at his next immediate turn, responses should exclude the ace in the splinter suit. Showing a splinter then taking control makes little sense otherwise, so this implies a void in the splinter suit.

TopMain

Super Gerber

If we have bid notrump naturally (1 NT forcing is not natural), no major is agreed, no opponent has bid (double is not a bid) and we have shown at least one minor suit, a bid of four in the highest unshown major asks for key cards (per agreed or last bid minor). Note that 4 NT is always natural on these auctions, so this is the only way to ask.

Clarifications: A “value raise” (1 S 1 NT; 2 CH) becomes a shown suit. A strength-showing bid by a natural notrump bidder to imply a minor fit does not become a shown suit, so 1 S 2 NT; 3 CH; 4 H is super Gerber. Similarly, after 1 DD; 2 H (natural, shown) a spade suit can never be shown, so if notrump is bid later, 4 S is super Gerber even if 2 S and 3 S were bid along the way.

The rule takes priority over other interpretations, hence 1 D 3 NT; 4 S, or 1 SC; 3 NT 4 H are both Super Gerber. Therefore, with the rare unshowable 5-6 hand you have to settle for the minor trumps, which is usually the case anyway.

TopMain

Key-Card Responses

Responses to Blackwood and Super Gerber are by steps to show the number of key cards (aces + king of key suit) held:

West

North
4 M
4 NT
East
P
P
South
?
?







Call
1 step
2 steps
3 steps
4 steps*
5 steps*
6+ steps*
Meaning
0 or 3 key cards
1 or 4 key cards
2 or 5 key cards
1 key card + void
2 key cards + void
3 key cards + void

*Optional if void seems useful. Bidding 6+ steps shows void suit unless it would be known from previous bidding (e.g., a splinter) then a specific king. Six of key suit indicates void (or specific king) cannot be shown below; 5 NT over Super Gerber 4 H indicates heart void or king.

Responses over interference:

If Super Gerber is doubled, use normal responses if you have any control in the doubled major. Without control in the doubled major pass, then asker can redouble to elicit your normal response, after which the bidding continues as usual.

If Blackwood is doubled, ignore it (too rare to bother with).

If an opponent bids over Super Gerber (rare) or Blackwood, use D-O-P-I:

West

North
4 M
4 NT
East
Bid
Bid
South
?
?




Call
Double
Pass
Cheapest bid
Meaning
0 or 3 key cards
1 or 4 key cards
2 or 5 key cards

Exception: If our bid would commit us to a grand slam, use D-E-P-O:

West

North
4 M
4 NT
East
6 X
6 X
South
?
?



Call
Double
Pass
Meaning
0, 2 or 4 key cards (even)
1, 3 or 5 key cards (odd)

Sign-off bids:

Super Gerber bidder may sign off in 4 NT, 6 NT or any previously shown suit.

Blackwood bidder may sign off in the key suit, any agreed suit, six of any previously shown suit, or 6 NT.

Exception: If the reply showed 1 or 4 (or 2 or 5) and is in fact the higher, any rebid below slam (even the key suit) is forcing.

TopMain

Key-Card Continuations

If Blackwood or Super Gerber bidder repeats the asking bid, it ensures that all 5 key cards are held and there is no concern about the queen of trumps. Responses are:

West

North
5 M
5 NT
East
P
P
South
?
?




Call
Key suit
5 NT
Other suit
Meaning
nothing to show
king in suit M
that king

Trump queen inquiry:

If Blackwood or Super Gerber bidder is concerned about the trump queen or extra length (QOEL) continue instead with the cheapest forcing bid. For Super Gerber bidder this must be an unshown suit or 5 NT, but Blackwood bidder can use any unagreed suit. If below five of the key suit, this only ensures four key cards, but otherwise all five. Responses are:

West

North
5 X
5 NT
East
P
P
South
?
?





Call
Key suit
Cheapest bid*
5 NT, 6 NT
Other suit
Meaning
denial
QOEL
QOEL, king in cheapest-bid suit
QOEL, that king

*Skipping the key suit. For example, if Super Gerber bidder uses 5 NT with clubs the key suit, 6 C is the denial. Holding the club QOEL, 6 D shows nothing else, 6 M shows that king, and 6 NT the diamond king.

Stopping in five notrump:

If Blackwood or Super Gerber bidder makes a forcing bid below 5 NT that is not the cheapest available, it is a relay to sign off in 5 NT.

When a void is shown:

If the response to Blackwood or Super Gerber shows a void, there is no queen ask. The cheapest forcing bid (5 NT or unshown suit) asks for the void suit unless it would be known from previous bidding (e.g., a splinter) then a specific king. Six of key suit indicates void (or specific king) cannot be shown below; 5 NT indicates void or king in ask bid.

Further inquiry:

After asking for a specific king (with or without QOEL involvement) or clarifying a void-showing response, Blackwood or Super Gerber bidder may in some cases probe further by bidding six in an unshown suit below the key suit. Obviously this guarantees all the key cards and trump QOEL, so partner is free to bid seven with appropriate values or a source of tricks; otherwise another king may be shown (6 NT = unshowable king with doubts about seven).

TopMain

Gerber

Barring contrary agreements, the following bids are Gerber. It makes no difference if the enemy has bid.

1. A response of 4 C (jump or not) to partner’s 1 NT or 2 NT opening bid or overcall (if “system on” applies).

2. A jump to 4 C over partner’s last bid of 1 NT or 2 NT.

3. A jump to 4 C after a puppet Stayman response when opener has indicated no real suit.

West
1 NT
2 D
North
P
P
East
2 C
4 C
South
P

West
1 NT
P
North
P
P
East
2 C
4 C
South
2 H

4. A jump to 5 C over a natural 3 NT response or rebid, provided clubs have not been naturally shown by our side. Each 5 C bid is Gerber:

West
1 D
5 C
North
P
East
3 NT
South
P

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

West
2 NT
3 D
3 NT
North
P
P
P
East
3 C
3 S
5 C
South
P
P

5. A jump to 5 C after a puppet Stayman response to 1 NT or 2 NT provided no major is agreed and clubs have not been naturally shown. Each 5 C bid is Gerber:

West
1 NT
2 H
North
P
P
East
2 C
5 C
South
P

West
2 NT
3 D
North
P
P
East
3 C
5 C
South
P

West
2 C
2 NT
3 S
North
P
P
P
East
2 D
3 C
5 C
South
P
P

Responses:

There is no key suit for Gerber (unlike Super Gerber). Standard responses apply (0 or 4 aces, 1 ace, 2 aces, 3 aces). Gerber bidder may sign off in any contract, except the cheapest club continuation, which promises all 4 aces and asks for the number of kings by steps (0, 1, 2, 3, 4).

TopMain

Voluntary Bid of Five

A voluntary bid of 5 in a major is a slam invitation if deal belongs to our side (forcing pass situation); or if our side has not made a weak bid and at most one opponent has acted; or over our 4 M opening if next hand passes. (Otherwise, 5 M is obstructive.)

A jump to 5 in a minor is a slam invitation if a bid of 4 in that minor would be forcing.

In either case, the slam invitation asks for:

1. Control in the unbid suit if we have bid three suits

2. Control in the enemy suit if not already shown

3. Good trumps relative to the bidding if the above do not apply

Responses:

If the bid asks for control:

West
North
5 X
East
P
South
?






Call
Pass
5 NT
6 X
Other suit
Meaning
no control in critical suit
guarded king
control, usually singleton
control-bid; promises first-round
 control in critical suit

If the bid asks for good trumps:

West
North
5 X
East
P
South
?



Call
Pass
Other
Meaning
sorry, pal
use trump-asking steps (see topic)

TopMain

Trump Asking Bids

The following bids are trump asking:

1. A jump to 4 C after our weak two-bid, weak jump overcall, weak jump shift response, or major-suit overcall of 1 NT

2. A bid of 4 C over our 3 D, 3 H or 3 S opening or weak jump overcall with no interference

3. A bid of 4 D over our 3 C or 4 C opening or weak jump overcall with no interference

4. A bid of 5 NT if a major suit is agreed or if a jump over partner’s natural major-suit bid (see “5 NT bids” for a rare exception)

5. A bid of 5 S (when no major is agreed) if a minor suit is agreed or if a jump over partner’s natural minor-suit bid

Responses:

West



North
4 C
4 D
5 S
5 NT
East
P
P
P
P
South
?
?
?
?







Call
Trump suit
1 step
2 steps*
3 steps
4 steps
5 steps
Meaning
worst response
ace or king
queen or extra length
K-Q or A-Q
A-K
A-K-Q or no trump loser

*Eliminate this step if clubs are trump or if responder (to trump ask) has shown 6+ cards (which includes weak two-bids although suspect).

Note: Step responses skip over the trump suit, which always indicates the weakest response.

Continuations:

Trump asker may continue by bidding the cheapest unagreed suit to ask for extra length (or queen if possible): Return to trump suit denies.

If asker continues with 4 NT it is regular Blackwood (not key-card).

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Four Notrump Response for Takeout

After partner has doubled or bid a suit, a response of 4 NT is for takeout (for the unbid suits) only if an opponent has bid 4 H or 4 S, you have not previously acted, partner has not made a weak bid or overcalled an enemy weak bid, and there are at least two unbid suits among C, D and H. Otherwise a 4 NT response is Blackwood.

West
1 H
North
1 S
East
4 H
South
4 NT

Minors

West
4 S
North
Dbl
East
P
South
4 NT

3-suit takeout

West
P
North
1 D
East
4 S
South
4 NT

Clubs + hearts

West
1 H
North
2 S
East
4 H
South
4 NT

Blackwood

West
1 H
North
Dbl
East
4 H
South
4 NT

Minors

West
P
North
1 D
East
4 H
South
4 NT

Blackwood

West
2 H
North
2 S
East
4 H
South
4 NT

Blackwood

West
1 D
North
Dbl
East
4 H
South
4 NT

Blackwood

West
1 C
North
1 D
East
4 S
South
4 NT

Blackwood

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Five Notrump Bids

Provided no major suit is agreed, a bid of 5 NT has one of the following meanings unless part of another agreement.

1. A jump to 5 NT over any balanced notrump bid, provided no real suit has been shown, invites a grand slam. Partner should bid 6 NT with a minimum or 7 NT with a tiptop maximum. A suit bid indicates a good 4+ cards with in-between strength.

2. If a real suit has been shown, a jump to 5 NT over any bid except a natural major-suit bid asks partner to select a slam from the obvious alternatives, with 6 NT being a possibility.

3. A nonjump bid of 5 NT over any bid (including a major) has the same meaning as above, but 6 NT is a possibility only if notrump was previously bid naturally. Otherwise, partner must choose a suit.

4. After a 4 or 5-level enemy preempt, whether partner has bid or not, a bid of 5 NT at your first turn requests partner to choose an unbid suit (cheapest first if there are 3 unbid) with 4 cards (or 3 cards with an honor). Example:

West
4 D
North
4 S
East
P
South
5 NT

Table
S 3 2
H A Q J 4 3
D 2
C A K J 7 2

This bid would normally be interpreted as a grand slam force (trump ask), but the need for an unbid-suit takeout is more important and there is no other way to effect it.

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Splinter Raises

The following bids indicate a singleton or void in the suit bid and at least 4 card support for partner (or 3 cards if partner has rebid his suit) with or without enemy interference. The point count requirement is stated in “dummy points” (distribution included).

Rebids by opening bidder:

1. Double jump shift or jump cue-bid after a 1-over-1 response = 19+

2. Jump shift or jump cue-bid after a 2-over-1 response = 16+

Rebids by responder:

3. Double jump shift, 4-level jump shift, or jump cue-bid
after a 1-over-1 response = 16+

4. Double jump rebid of 4 in opener’s minor after a major suit
rebid at the 1 level = 16+

5. Jump shift or jump cue-bid after a 2-over-1 response = 16+

6. Jump shift to 4 level after a puppet Stayman response to 1 NT
and a major-suit rebid by opener = 13+

7. Jump shift rebid after a 2 D response to 2 C = 6+

8. Jump shift rebid after a 2 H response to 2 C = 8+

A control-showing auction is immediately started with a splinter raise unless the raised suit is a minor and partner next bids a previously shown major suit.

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Non-Raise Splinter Bids

A splinter bid also may be made by the originator of a suit following a raise by partner. Unless otherwise defined, any jump shift after a raise (even in a previously shown minor suit) is a splinter bid. This shows slam interest and a control-showing auction is started.

Another kind of splinter bid is the shape-descriptive variety, usually made by a player who has indicated two suits or one long suit, such as in the Jacoby structure. These bids do not initiate a control-showing auction unless suit agreement has previously occurred.

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Splinter Asking Bid

After a jump major raise to the 3 level as an immediate response or at opener’s rebid, the cheapest bid (3 S or 3 NT) is a relay to ask for a splinter. This is not affected by an enemy takeout double, but it is off if either opponent has bid.

West
1 M
Rel

1 X
3 M
?
North
P
P
(or)
P
P
East
3 M
?

1 M
Rel
South
P


P
P




Call
Cheapest bid
New suit*
Agreed major*
Meaning
no splinter
that splinter
“unshowable” splinter

*On the second auction if opener shows a splinter in his original suit (obviously impossible), it indicates 5-4-2-2 shape with a good 5-card suit.

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Control Asking Bid

These bids ask for control in the suit bid:

1. A 5-level response in a lower suit to partner’s 4 H or 4 S opening bid or weak jump overcall with no interference

2. A 4 or 5-level cue-bid in the enemy suit after partner has made a weak bid

3. A new-suit follow-up by 2 C opener after he has established trumps with a jump suit rebid

Responses:

West

North
4 X
5 X
East
P
P
South
?
?





Call
1 step
2 steps*
3 steps
4 steps
Meaning
no control
queen or doubleton
king or singleton
ace or void

*This response is used only in case (3) above; else there are just 3 steps.

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Defensive Carding

Opening Leads at Notrump

Ace (power lead) from 5+ cards with A-K-Q-10-x, A-K-J-10-x, A-K-J-x-x-x or better.

King from A-K-Q, A-K-J, A-K-10, K-Q-J, K-Q-10, or tripleton A-K-x or K-Q-x.

Queen from A-Q-J, Q-J-10, Q-J-9 or tripleton Q-J-x. Also from K-Q-10-9-x to demand jack unblock.

Jack from A-J-10, K-J-10, J-10-9, J-10-8 or tripleton J-10-x. Also from A-Q-J-x-x or K-Q-J-x-x if count is desired.

Ten from A-Q-10-9, A-10-9, K-10-9, Q-10-9, 10-9-8, 10-9-7 or tripleton 10-9-x. Rarely, A-K-10-9 if king lead is undesirable.

Fourth best from four-card or longer suits. No honor strength is necessarily implied, although a high card may be led from a weak suit if desiring a shift to another suit.

Lowest from A-x-x, K-x-x, Q-x-x, J-x-x or 10-x-x.

Highest from 9-x-x or weaker. Exception: If partner has indicated a 5 card or longer suit (which includes third and fourth-seat major openings, although suspect), lead low from three-small unless you have raised the suit.

Higher from a doubleton.

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Opening Leads at Suits

Ace from A-K through 4 S except in a suit originated by partner. (Beyond 4 S or in a suit originated by partner lead the king.) Reverse of this procedure shows a doubleton.

King from K-Q.

Queen from Q-J.

Jack from K-J-10 or J-10.

Ten from K-10-9, Q-10-9 or 10-9.

Lowest from an odd number of cards.

Third best from an even number of cards. Note that a nine lead could be third best (K-J-9-x) or low (K-J-9) but otherwise must be doubleton or singleton.

Higher from a doubleton.

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Leads After Trick One

At all contracts (trick two or later) leading the 10 shows the ace, king or queen, hence typically A-J-10, K-J-10, A-10-9, K-10-9 or Q-10-9, but may be other holdings for technical purposes provided the ace, king or queen is held. Therefore, leading the nine shows the 10. Exceptions are from a doubleton (always lead high) or in a suit in which partner showed 5+ cards (lead standard).

At all contracts (trick two or later) leading the jack denies a higher honor. Exceptions: If leading thru declarer and dummy holds the 10, the jack implies the ace or king (surrounding play). If leading thru dummy’s A-Q-x or Q-x-x, the jack may be from K-J or A-J holdings (technical purpose) so this situation is ambiguous.

At notrump, when shifting to another suit, lead fourth-best to encourage the return or high to discourage the return. From 9-x-x, lead middle (unless the 10 is in view) to avoid confusion with showing the 10.

At suit contracts, when shifting to another suit, follow the usual spot-card leads (low odd, third-best even). In other words, count takes priority over showing or denying strength. Exception: Do not lead a third-best nine (e.g., K-J-9-x) if there could be confusion about it showing the 10 with nothing higher.

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Count Signals

The general strategy is to show count, both in following suit and discarding, regardless of who led the suit. When discarding, tend to discard from suits you do not wish led and give count in doing so.

In giving count, normally play your second highest (if affordable) from four cards and the highest affordable from six cards. Play the indicated card:

9 8 6 2 10 9 8 2J 10 9 2Q 10 9 2

Q J 10 3 (if intent is to give count)J 10 9 7 4 2

This method is more helpful in distinguishing between two and four, or between four and six, especially in situations in which the ace is led and dummy has the queen with two or three small cards. Note that the highest outstanding card rules out count from four cards.

Modifications and exceptions:

Ace against notrump requests the unblock of the king, queen, or jack; otherwise, give a count signal.

Ace against a 5-level or higher suit contract requests attitude.

When the ace of an unbid suit is led at a suit contract and dummy has exactly three cards without the queen, signal attitude.

Ace subsequent to the opening lead requests attitude.

King against notrump requests attitude.

Queen against notrump asks for unblock of the jack or ace; otherwise, it requests attitude.

At notrump, if dummy wins partner’s opening lead with a singleton ace, king or queen, signal attitude.

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Suit Preference Signals

The following suit-preference situations take priority over any other signals:

Against any contract, if the opening leader leads a suit originated by partner in which partner showed 5+ cards. (Third hand should play a middle card to be neutral.) Note: The suit preference is generally more urgent if leader retains the lead.

Against a suit, if the opening leader leads dummy’s singleton and retains the lead at trick two. Note that when a king is led (thru 4 S), this applies only when third hand has the ace.

When leading or following in a suit that partner is expected to ruff.

Against a suit, when partner’s opening lead is an obvious singleton and you are not trying to win the trick.

When removing declarer’s last stopper at notrump.

When playing from insignificant cards in a suit in which declarer has shown out (or will show out on the current trick). Note that strategic plays (unblocking, playing a known card, etc.) should not be interpreted as suit preference.

When following suit or discarding (but not when leading) from insignificant cards after count has been given. For example, in the following two holdings the first play is required to show count, but the order of the subsequent plays is suit preference:

6 5 44-5-6 suggests lower suit; 4-6-5 suggests higher suit
9 5 4 35-3-4 suggests lower suit; 5-4-3 suggests higher suit

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The Wakeup Signal

At a suit contract, a nonsystemic or unusual lead or play (excluding normal suit preference situations) indicates the ability to ruff something. This is not a suit preference signal in that partner must determine which suit might be ruffed. Examples would be:

1. Underleading an ace on the opening lead. (When underleading an ace it is best to lead a false spot card so that partner is less likely to misplay thinking declarer has the ace.)

2. A nonsystemic lead such as the queen from K-Q or the jack from Q-J.

3. A blatantly wasteful or illogical signal such as dropping the king from K-J-x-x when you cannot be short in the suit.

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Second Plays in the Same Suit

After leading an honor, continuing with your highest card warns partner not to unblock or overtake. Continuing with your lowest card of a sequence invites partner to do so. Your first play is indicated:

K Q xContinue with the queen
K Q J 9Continue with the jack

If your first play in a suit did not indicate count (generally because you led or played an honor), count should be given on the second round when leading, following or discarding. Play the highest card you can spare from an original odd number; lowest from an original even number of cards. Your first play is indicated:

K 9 7 4 2Next play the 9 (or the 7 if you cannot spare the 9)
A 9 8 7 4 2Next play the 2
A J 10 9Next play the 9 (lowest of the sequence)

Second leads from honor sequences follow the usual practice of playing “top-down” from short holdings (warning partner not to overtake or unblock) or leading the lowest of equals from long holdings (suggesting an overtake or unblock). Besides the obvious cases, this principle can solve problems like this at notrump (first trick is indicated):

4
A J 7 5 3TableQ 9 8 2
K 10 6

If West gets in and leads the jack, East should unblock the nine (and later the eight); but if West led the ace first, East should not unblock. The situation might be:

4
A J 6 5TableQ 9 8 2
K 10 7 3

Here West continues with the ace, and East plays the two (present count). The location of the 10, of course, is not known to West, but he knows that declarer started with four (or two if conceivable) and a trick is not blown by a misguided unblock.

When a suit is first led after the opening lead, abnormal honor leads demand an unblock; e.g., the normal mid-hand lead from A-K-J-10-x is the king, so reversing to A-K asks partner to drop the queen.

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Splitting honors

When splitting honors as second hand, assuming intent is to inform partner, play the card you would lead mid-hand; i.e., the 10 shows the ace, king or queen; the jack none higher; nine from 10-9 (if not doubleton), etc. This blends well with the method of showing count; e.g., from 10-9-8-x the nine serves both purposes.

Exception: From K-Q holdings, split with the queen. The reason is that many times it is advantageous to hop with a king as an attempt to gain the lead, so the king is analogous to winning an ace (no special meaning).

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Trump echo

A trump echo is routine to show an odd number of trumps; this does not necessarily suggest the ability to ruff anything. If intention is to enlighten partner, echo with the highest of equals, which is sometimes helpful to distinguish whether you have a promotable trump holding. It also may distract declarer. Play the indicated card:

J 10 910 9 8J 9 89 8 6

Note that any play denies the card immediately above it.

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© 2014 Richard Pavlicek