A system focused on being smooth and straight forward.

And agreements for when you have a partscore on.

Simple bidding with 4 or 5-card majors, 1NT 12-14, strong twos, Stayman, Blackwood, Gerber

Evaluating your hand:
High-card points (HCP): A=4, K=3, Q=2, J=1
Long-suit points: Add 1 point for a good 5-card suit, 2 for a 6-card suit, 3 for a 7-card suit.
Short-suit points: If you have a trump fit with partner, add 1 point for a doubleton in a side suit, 2 for a singleton, 3 for a void.


3NT 4H and 4S               25+ points

5C or 5D,                         26+ points.

For small slam,              32+

A magic fit is 8+ trumps between the two hands.

Opening bids: (making the first bid other than a pass)
1NT: Exactly 12-14 or 15-17 HCP, a balanced hand (4-3-3-3, 4-4-3-2, or 5-3-3-2), and no rebiddable 5-card major.
1H or 1S: 13-19 points and 5+ card suit. (With two five-card suits bid the higher-ranking suit.)
1C or 1D: 13-19 points. Longest minor, but it might only be 3 cards. (With 3-3 in minors bid 1C; with 4-4 or higher bid 1D.)
2NT: Exactly 20-22 HCP and balanced distribution. (With 15-16 (or 12-14) open 1 of a suit and rebid 1NT, 17-18, open 1 of a suit and rebid 2NT, 19 HCP balanced, open 1 of a suit and jump to 3NT.)
2 of a suit: A very strong hand (20+ points) with a 5+ card suit. Forcing. (2NT is the negative response, showing 0-5 points.)
3 of a suit: Preemptive: a weak hand (5-9 HCP) with a decent 7-card suit. (A hand that will take 6 tricks.)
4 of a suit: Preemptive: 6-10 HCP with an 8-card suit. Don’t rebid after preempting; you’ve described your hand to partner.

Questions for partner

What does your partnership open & rebid with a five card major and a balanced 12-14?

Responses to partner’s 1NT opening bid: (Responses to a 2NT opening bid are the same, except 2NT 3C is Stayman)
Partner has described their hand, so you’re the captain. Add up your points and guide the partnership to the right contract.
1NT Pass: Normal if game is out of reach, unless 2D 2H or 2S is a safer contract or needed for game.
1NT 2C is Stayman, promising some 4+ card major and asking partner to bid her 4-card major (2H or 2S) if she has one, otherwise to bid 2D. You can subsequently shift to a major to show a 5-card suit and invite game.
1NT 2D, 2H, or 2S is a sign-off; partner must pass.
1NT 2NT is invitational to 3NT; partner will raise if at the high end.
1NT 3-of-a-suit is forcing. Partner will raise with 3+ card support, and otherwise bid 3NT.
1NT 3NT or 4H or 4S is a sign-off in game.
1NT 4C is Gerber, asking for aces. Partner responds 4D with 0 or 4 aces, 4H with 1, 4S with 2, 4NT with 3.
1NT 4NT is invitational to 6NT. (This is quantitative, not Blackwood.)

Responses to partner’s 1-of-a-suit bid:
Pass with 0-5 points.
Simple raise (1H 2H) shows 6-10 points and support in the suit (8+ cards between you)
Jump raise (1H 3H) is forcing to game, showing 13 or more points and support.
Double-jump to game (1H 4H) is a sign-off, indicating a weak hand but with many trumps.
One over one (1H 1S) indicates 6-18 points, and 4+ cards in the suit. Forcing, i.e. don’t let the bidding stop there.
Two over one (non-jump) (1H 2C) 10-18 points, and 4+ cards in the suit. Forcing (except by passed hand).
Jump shift (1H 2S) shows 19+ points. Forcing to game, and slam is likely.
1NT response (1H 1NT): 6-9 points, no fit in partner’s suit, no other suit that can be bid at one level. Not necessarily balanced.
2NT response (1H 2NT) shows 13-15 points and a balanced hand, and usually no 4+ card major suits.
3NT response (1H 3NT) shows 16-18 points and a balanced hand.

Considerations for subsequent bids:
When rebidding your suit or raising partner’s suit or bidding NT, you show a limit on the strength of your hand. E.g. 1H 2C 2H shows a minimum hand (13-15 points). It also shows extra length in hearts, i.e. a 6+ card suit. With a few more points, jump a level instead, e.g. 1H 2C 3H shows 16-18 points. The same principle works for responder, e.g. 1C 1H 1S 3S shows a few more points than the 6+ responder had promised earlier, and is invitational to game. Bidding a new suit is more forcing; e.g. 1S 1NT 2C might be 13-18 points, while 1S 1NT 3C is a jump shift showing 19+ points. 4NT is Blackwood (except in a NT sequence), asking for aces: 5C=0/4, 5D=1, 5H=2, 5S=3.

Overcalling after an opponent opens the bidding (and your partner passed or hasn’t bid yet):
Simple overcall e.g. 1H 1S: A good 5+ card suit and 10-17 points. (With 18+, double then bid your suit.)
Jump (or multiple-jump) overcall e.g. 1H 3S: weak hand with long strong suit (like opening 3S).
1NT overcall: 16-18 HCP balanced hand with strength in opponent’s suit.
Double of a natural suit bid (up to 4D): Takeout, promising 13+ points (including short-suit points) and 3+ card support in each unbid suit. Forcing. Partner normally bids her longest suit, at minimum level with 0-8 HCP, jumping a level with 9-11 HCP, and jumping to game or cue-bidding opponent’s suit with 12+ HCP. (Partner can respond in NT if her best suit is the opponent’s.)

  • Overcalls should promise a better suit, more high-card points and more playing strength than non-vulnerable overcalls. Be sure you have a long, strong suit, especially if you bid at the 2-level or higher.
  • Preempts (opening 3-bids, 4-bids and weak jump overcalls) should be very sound. A good rule to follow is to be within two tricks of your bid — your hand should have enough playing strength that you expect to go down no more than two tricks if partner contributes little or nothing.
  • “Stretch” a little to bid your games. If you think you have the strength for a game contract, go ahead and bid it.

  • Overcalls can be made with weaker hands (as few as 9 points at the 1-level). The better your suit, the fewer points you need to make an overcall.
  • Preempts can be “light” — a hand with playing strength that is within three tricks of your bid (6 playing tricks for an opening 3-bid).
  • If you and your partner have a good trump fit, you should compete aggressively. Don’t make it easy for your opponents to bid their game and win the rubber. The penalties for going down in your contract can be relatively small, but your loss if the opponents bid game are high — 700 points for the rubber bonus, plus the value of their game.
  • This is usually the only time a rubber-bridge player will consider making a sacrifice bid — a contract that you know is going down, but that you hope will cost less than the value of your opponents’ game.

If you have a partscore on:

  • Opening bids can be “light” (10-12 points) if you have a good suit. It may be important to get your suit into the auction before the opponents bid.
  • If you have a good trump fit, “stretch” a little to bid up to the level you need to complete the part score.
  • To be sure you complete your partscore, both responder and opener should be fairly conservative. Keep the auction low if you have a minimum to intermediate hand (12-16 points for opener, 5-12 points for responder). If partner opens the bidding, however, responder may want to stretch a little to get to the minimum level needed for the partscore.
  • If you have a stronger hand, try to show your extra power by bidding up to the level you know is “safe”, even if it’s higher than you need to bid to complete the partscore. This may be important in finding a possible slam.
  • Once you and partner have found a trump fit, any free bid past the level you need to complete the part score shows a hand interested in a slam. A free bid is one made over an opponent’s pass; a competitive bid is one made because the opponent’s bid pushed you a level higher.

Example:   If you have 60 “on” (you need 40 to complete your game) and partner opens 1H, here are some general guidelines responder might follow:

  • A single raise (1H-2H) or a bid of 1NT shows from 5 to 12 points
  • A jump-raise (1H-3H) or a jump to 2NT promises a stronger hand (13-16 “playing points”) that may make slam if partner has extra for his opening bid.
  • A jump to game (1H-4H) shows powerful trumps and a very strong hand that has excellent slam potential, even if opener has a minimum.
  • A jump in a new suit (1H-3C) shows a long, strong suit and a very powerful hand (18-19+ points).