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BRIDGE LESSONS
LESSONS - STEVE RAY FROM WEDNESDAY CLASSES

  General Defensive Bidding - 2nd in hand

After your right-hand opponent opens 1 of a suit these are normal defensive bidding agreements: -

 TAKEOUT DOUBLES - show an opening hand with shortage in the suit opened and at least 3 cards in any unbid major. Whilst it would be good to have a fit for any unbid minor, a doubleton would be acceptable - especially if it is in diamonds which is the suit that partner is least likely to respond in.

A double is also the first move on hands of about 17+ that are too strong to overcall for fear of missing a game. This includes balanced hands of 19+ points and very strong hands that would have immediately cuebid the  opponent’s suit in yesteryear These hands can double and then cuebid the opponents suit leaving the immediate cuebid for more important use.

1 LEVEL OVERCALLS - Overcalls have two purposes, firstly to try to win the contract and maybe reach a game or find a good sacrifice, and secondly to direct the lead if your side ends up defending. The normal range for an overcall at the 1 level is 8 to 16 points with at least a 5 card suit. When holding a minimum overcall of 8 up to 11, the expectation is to have a good suit that you want led. When holding an opening hand of 11-16 points you are hoping to win the contract so the quality of the suit is less important.

2 LEVEL OVERCALLS - Overcalling at the 2 level is much more dangerous as you are trying for 8 tricks and partner may have nothing. It is normal to have an opening hand with a 6-card suit, although sometimes it may be necessary to overcall on a good 5-card suit. In particular, it may be best to overcall 2 hearts over 1 spade on a dubious suit but a good hand for fear of missing a 5-3 if choosing a takeout double.

1NT- suggests a balanced hand with 15-18 points. If the hand is minimum, it should have a decent stopper and/or a source of tricks. It is very easy for 3rd hand to double for penalty with 9+ points so be wary with a minimum NT overcall without many tricks.

 

JUMP OVERCALLS - These can be very awkward for the opponents to deal with as they steal a whole round of bidding. That is why many players use weak jump overcalls which show less than an opening hand and a 6 card suit at the 2 level and a 7 card suit at the 3 level (although a good 6 card suit may suffice when NV).

Alternatively, you can play intermediate or strong jump overcalls showing at least an opening hand and a good long suit. These have the advantage of limiting the top range of simple overcalls thus reducing the chance of missing a game. The disadvantage is the loss of the preemptive effect of weak jump overcalls.

Conventional Defences – 2nd in hand

2 SUITED OVERCALLS - Michaels/Unusual NT. The advantage of 2 suited bids is to offer partner a choice of suits. This is particularly important when holding both majors as if you overcall in one of the suits, you may miss a good contract in the other. These bids should promise at least 5/5 in the suits.

2NT over 1 any - Shows the lowest 2 unbid suits.

Cuebid over 1 of a minor - Shows both majors.

Cuebid over 1 of a major - Shows the other major and a minor.

 

The range for these bids needs discussion.  Some play weak or strong but I would suggest this is a bad method. I believe that the bids of 2NT and Cuebid of a major should show a hand with opening values or more so 10+ as a minimum. I think showing both majors when holding 5/5 is very important so suggest that the cuebid over 1 of a minor shows 7+ with 5/5 in the majors. If you feel that a range of 7+ is too wide, then you could use a jump cuebid to show the very strong major 2 suiters of perhaps 17+.

3NT OVERCALL - This unusual bid should show a solid suit and a stopper in the opened suit. It is for each partnership to decide if it suggests stops in the other suits but I think not as the hand is then strong enough to double on the first round.

JUMP CUEBID - This is the cousin of the 3NT overcall. It shows a solid suit and asks for a stopper. Again each partnership must decide about values in the unbid suits.

If you choose to play the jump cuebid in a minor as a very strong major 2 suiter then the solid suit use for the jump cuebid only applies to a jump cuebid in a major.

Another possible use for the jump cuebid in a minor is a weak jump overcall in that suit. This is especially useful against those players who play 5 card majors and therefore open 1 of a minor on short suits. You could decide to play this only when your opponents announce that the opening could be short. 

 

 Responding to takeout doubles.

 

Your partner has asked you to bid a suit, so you should do so. If your only 4+ card suit is the suit opened,  you should bid NTs if strong enough, otherwise bid the lowest ranking 3 card suit. Only pass a takeout double with a long and strong trump holding. Partner is asked to lead a trump.

 

Bidding Suits: You will recall that the requirements for making a takeout double were at least 3 cards in any unbid major (unless very strong) but less severe for unbid minors. These constraints affect how to respond. Responder should prefer to bid a 4 card major before a longer minor. Responses in NTs tend to deny a major and show the point count and stoppers.

 

Non-jump Suit Responses:  As it is necessary to respond even with a zero point count,  it is normal to have a top limit of 8 points. These bids are natural,  but could be a 3 card suit at the 1 level. Try to avoid a response at the 2 level in a minor on only 4 cards. After a double of 1 of a minor,  responder with  4/4 in the majors and a few points should bid 1S so as an easy rebid of 2H is available if the auction becomes competitive.

 

Jump Suit Responses: With simple responses limited to 8 points, jump responses show about 8-11. With only 8 you should have a 5 card suit. Jumps to 3 of a minor should show 5 cards. These bids are encouraging but not forcing opposite a minimum double. If the doubler now bids a new suit,  it shows 17+ and is game forcing. In addition I like to play that a double jump response to 3 of a major is very invitational with 10/11 with a 5 card suit.

 

NT Responses : These are standard , 1NT=6-9,  2NT=10-12, 3NT=13+. The higher bids should include a decent stopper in the suit opened. It may be necessary to respond 1NT to a double of 1S on slightly less than the ideal 6-9 if no other sensible bid is available. If doubler bids 2 of a new suit over a 1NT response it is not forcing. In order to force either jump in a good suit or cuebid.

 

Cuebid Response : Sometimes responder has a strong hand with no obvious bid to make. Possible hands are 10+ with both majors after a double of 1 minor,  or any 13+ hand that needs to explore. These hands call for a cuebid of the opponents suit, and is forcing to suit agreement. You could also agree that the partnership could stop in 2NT. It is doubler's responsibility to bid the lowest 4 card suit and keep making sensible bids when the responder bids new suits. If responder raises then doubler can pass with a minimum.

 

 

 

Later Bidding after a Takeout Double: there  are many possible sequences so these are just the basics.

 

Rebids by Doubler:  Remember you have shown opening values with support for  all suits so-

Raising a simple response is 16+ and a jump raise is at least 19.

Rebidding NTs over a simple response shows a hand too strong for a 1NT overcall so 19/20 ish

Rebidding in a new suit is strong, 17+ but not forcing whilst a jump in a new suit is like an Acol 2 with 8 tricks and is very encouraging.

Cuebid - Very strong like a 2C opener. Responder must keep bidding if doubler bids a new suit but not the same suit or 2NT.

2nd Double of same suit is still for takeout promising extra values say 16+.

 

 

Rebids by Responder - Continuations will depend on doublers rebid, if any.

 

Even if the doubler does not bid again in a competitive sequence the responder can compete by rebidding a 5 card major or showing a 2nd suit. If responder bids a major and then a minor the doubler should assume that the minor is equal or longer and not return to the major without 4 card support.

 

 

Responses to 2-suited Bids.

1 minor - 2 minor - 7+ points at least 5/5 in the Majors.

Because the bid does not promise a large point count Responder should only take preference to 2 of a major unless having a strong hand or good fit.

Responding in the other minor - Partner has shown the Majors so bidding the other minor shows a long and strong suit and shortage in the majors. It suggest that partner leaves you there unless very strong.

Responding in NTs - These responses are natural with stoppers and denying interest in the Majors. The minimum for a jump to 3NT would be a 15 count with some help in the Majors so as to establish them. 2NT is only invitational say 12-14.

Responding in a Major. -

2H/S - These deny any interest in game and won't have a big fit. With equal length respond in hearts. It will normally deny opening values unless short in both M.

3H/S - These bids show a good fit and are invitational based on distribution rather than high cards so will have less than 10 points.

Cuebid Response - As always the cuebid shows 10+ with an interest in game if partner has more than a minimum.

 

Responses to the cuebid - define strength and distribution -

3H = Any minimum so 7-10 - now the bidding can stop in 3H or in 3S if that is the rebid by cuebidder.

3S = Some extra values so 11+ - spades equal or longer than hearts.

4H = Some extra values so 11+ - hearts longer than spades.

3NT shows a stopper in the opened suit and 11+ points with 5/5 distribution.

4m = strong hand say 14+ with values in the bid minor.

 

 1Major - 2 Major - shows opening values+ with 5/5+ in the other major and a minor.

 

Responding in partners Major when partner shows spades and a minor -

2S - weak hand - may only have 2 spades.

3S - good fit not a strong hand.

When partner shows hearts and a minor -

3H - heart fit but not a strong hand.

Responding in a minor -

3C - is weak and asks partner to pass or correct to 3D.

3D - is weak and asks partner to pass or correct to at least 4C.

4C/D - are based on a good fit and ask partner to pas or correct.

2NT Response – 10+ with interest in game asking for description.

3C/D to show his second suit and a minimum - say 10-14 ish.

3H/S to show 15+ and 5/5 (H=C, S=D). These are game forcing.

3NT = 15+ with 5/5 distribution and a stopper in the opened suit.

4C/D to show a very distributional hand with some extra values.

 

If opener bids 3C or 3D the sequence is not forcing and responder must jump or cuebid to force. A return to overcallers Major is invitational or why bid 2NT first.

 

 

 

1 of a Major - 2NT - shows opening values+ with 5/5+ in the minors.

 

Responding in the other Major - Shows a long strong suit and is not forcing. I suggest partner is invited to raise a major with good top cards.

 

Responding 3NT - This is to play so opening values with stoppers - remember the lead will come through your hand.

 

Responding in partners suits. -

 

3C/D - weakish hand not forcing. - if overcaller bids on show shape or a stop in the opened suit.

4C/D - more preemptive than strong.

 

Cuebid - game interest - asks stopper and/or range.

 

Responses - 3NT shows a stopper - any range - now removal to 4C/D is invitational in that suit and a cuebid is a slam try in a minor.

4C - a minimum with no stop - now 4D is to play.

4D - extra values could still be 5/5.

5C - extra values longer clubs.

Cuebid in a Major - control in a strong hand. (4NT = strong hand and controls in both Majors).

 

 

 

I of a minor - 2NT - shows opening values with 5/5+ in hearts and the other minor.

 

Responses are very similar with 3 of partners suit not forcing.

 

A cuebid can be used as a game try in hearts as a response of 3H shows a minimum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responding to  Overcalls.

Responses to 1 level Overcalls - Remember that these overcalls have the wide range of 8-16 points. To respond a normal minimum is about 9 points or a fit.

Raises. -  To 2 = 6-9 with usually 3 card support.

 To 3 = 10-12 with 4 card support or perhaps 3 card support and a shortage.

Alternatively a jump raise to 3 is preemptive showing a 4+ card fit, good distribution and less than 10 points. If you play this a game try raise is shown by a jump cuebid response. i.e. 1C-1S-P-3C.

In addition it is totally standard to play unassuming cuebids (UCB) where a cuebid shows 10+ points and  a 2 or 3 card fit for partner’s suit. It acts as an enquiry for range and distribution so as to reach games when there are sufficient values and stay low when the combined hands are too weak.

After UCBs. -

Opener with less than an opening hand rebids his suit  (or a lower suit if held).  Responder will then need at least a good opener to go further than 2 of the suit.

Opener with an opening hand bids above 2 of his suit by bidding NTs with a stopper, a new suit with 4 cards, jumping in his suit with 6 or a strong 5 cards or by making a return cuebid with no stopper or 2nd suit.

When overcaller shows opening values responder should only attempt to stop short of game only with a minimum10 or so. With more game should be reached.

New Suits - are natural at least a 5 card suit at the 1 level and usually 6 cards at the 2 level and are not forcing, about 9-12 and suggests no fit for the overcallers suit. With an opening hand overcaller should bid on to look for game.

Jump in New Suits - are also natural with good suits but are forcing to game and tend to deny a fit for the overcallers suit. Overcaller rebids naturally.

NT Responses.  - deny much of a fit and show stoppers in the opened suit.

1NT = 9-11,  2NT = 12-14,   3NT = 15+.

Responses to 2 level Overcalls. - These bids show opening hands with a decent suit.

Raises to 3 = < 10 with a 3+ fit.  With more raise to game or use UCB.

2NT = 10-12 with a stop - not forcing.     3NT = 12+ natural to play.

UCB = 10+ with 2+ card fit so is a strong game try. Continuations are natural.

New suits -  Are natural with say 10+ points and at least a 5 card suit. It is for partnerships to decided if they are forcing.

Jump in new suits below 3NT - Natural and forcing with a good suit.

Responses to Weak Jump Overcalls.

2 level overcalls - treat like weak 2s with 2NT=Enquiry and new suits  I would suggest not forcing except jumps.

3 level overcalls - treat like pre-empts - so suits are forcing and a cuebid asks for a stopper.

Responses to Jump Cuebids and 3NT Overcalls.

Weak hands that do not believe 3NT is playable bid 4C to ask partner to pass or convert to diamonds.

With good hands cuebid to ask partner to bid his suit or bid your own long suit.