Structure 7G78   Main


Three-Level Cue-Bid Overcall


  by Richard Pavlicek

In a Nutshell

A common practice is to use a three-level cue-bid overcall (e.g., 1 H 3 H) to ask partner to bid 3 NT with a stopper in the enemy suit. Overcaller implies a long, running minor, needing only a stopper for nine tricks. A reasonable treatment, but too narrow in scope.

I define the bid more generally as any strong one-suiter (excluding the cue-bid suit). My intention could be the same (to reach 3 NT); or I could have a major suit intending to bid it next (thereby distinguishing a good hand versus a direct bid of game); or with extreme distribution, a minor suit with no desire to play in notrump. I also designed specialized responses, not only to show a stopper but to indicate the number of aces (slam is sometimes in reach).

In Detail

After an enemy suit opening bid, a 3-level cue-bid as our side’s first action shows a 1-suited hand (not suit bid) with 9+ playing tricks and at most 1 loser in the long suit. Typically this is to seek a stopper for 3 NT. If overcaller bids 4 H or 4 S next, he confirms a splinter in the cue-bid suit, else start with double.

1 C3 CPass?

3 D
3 H 3 S
3 NT
4 C
4 D
4 H 4 S
4 NT
 •


 •
 •

 •
no ace, no stopper
6+ cards, F
stopper
1 ace, no stopper
2 aces*
7+ cards, NF
king stopper + 1 ace, NF


1 D3 DPass?

4 C
4 D
5 C
Other
 •
 •
 •
no ace, no stopper
1 ace, no stopper
2 aces*
analogous to above


1 H3 HPass?

analogous for 1 S 3 S

Cue
Other
 •
2 aces*
analogous to above

*Showing 2 aces overrides stopper showing, since suit game should be assured, and slam likely.


After interference

1 H3 HDbl?

analogous for any opening

Pass
Rdbl
Other*


no stopper, no values
ace in that suit
unchanged

*except cheapest minor shows at least a king, else pass


1 D3 D3 S?

analogous for any 3-level bid

Pass
Dbl
3 NT
4 C
4 D
Other



 •
 •
weak
penalty (trump stack)
stopper in opener’s suit
1 ace, no stopper
2 aces
unchanged


1 H3 H4 H?

analogous for any 4-level bid

5 C
5 D
Other
 •
 •
1 ace, no stopper
2 aces
analogous to above


Important: These agreements apply to any 3-level cue-bid (jump or not) as our first action. Hence it could occur after both opponents have bid, or over opening two-bids — but it must be at the 3 level.


Structure 7G78   MainTop   Three-Level Cue-Bid Overcall

© 2019 Richard Pavlicek