Having discussed how the individual should evaluate his own hand in terms of its trick taking ability, we are now faced
with answering the question, "How do the two partners assess their combined holdings, compete in the bidding and
arrive at a viable contract, assuming there is one to be had?"

1. To understand this, we have to first understand the relationship between the combined partnership Goren High Card Point Count (HCP)
     & the BID LEVELS.

     a. The following table is a rough guideline which relates the partnership combined points to the safest bid-level
         to which they can go, assuming a no-trump contract. But it is only a guideline and does not promise guaranteed results every time.

             21-22 points is good for a 1 level contract. With 1/2 of 40 points, you should take 1/2 of 13 tricks.
             23-24 points is good for a 2 level contract.
             25-26 points is good for a 3 level contract. Missing no more than 3 aces & a king.
             27-28 points is good for a 4 level contract.
             29-32 points is good for a 5 level contract. Missing no more than 2 aces & a king.
             33-36 points is good for a 6 level contract. Missing no more than 1 ace & 1 king .
             37-40 points is good for a 7 level contract. Missing no aces & no more than 1 king.

     Secondly, we need to understand how the total of 0 to 40 total points is divided up into incremental point ranges,
     which depends upon the BIDDING SYSTEM.

     b. For our purposes, we will use Goren's original concept of using 3 point increments starting from 1.
         This can be visualized as follows:
         1-3,  4-6,  7-9,  10-12,  13-15,  16-18,   19-21,  22-24,.. etc
         These point ranges conform to the CLASSICAL STANDARD AMERICAN BIDDING SYSTEM regardless of no-trump
         bidding or trump-suit bidding. And we maintain that this is the best way of dividing up the 40 point spread. Why?
         You have 13 equal increments. It's easy to remember & uncluttered. You dont divide a ruler into unequal parts, do you?
         WHY DO SO WITH BRIDGE HCPs? Look at the HCP scales this way.

         Opener Scale    Responder Scale
             4-6                  1-3
             7-9                  4-6
             10-12               7-9 <==== Responders Maximum plus Openers Maximum = 21 barely enough to make 1.
             13 -15             10-12 <=== Responder's Minimum plus Opener's Maximum = 25 enough for game.
             16-18              13-15 <=== Responder's Max + Openers Max = 33 enough for slam
             19-21              16-18

         You should now be able to make a matrix of responder bids vs opener bids

             OPENER    RESPONDER SCALE ------------------------------------------------------------------------>

         But there are those who insist on redefining these point ranges. Their big problem is what do you do if you are in the middle of a point range?
         The answer to that is to ROUND UP your HCP to the next point if you have 9s or 10s. Remember, I allowed for 1/2 a point for 9s and 10s previously.

     c. The HCP Round-Up Rule.
         There are times when a bidder may be smack in the middle of his point range, yet needs to make a decision as to go on or "pass".
         Then again, a prospective opening bidder might be just 1 point below the required opening point count of 13 points.
         To resolve these issues, we offer the following:
         Because 9's and 10's actually contribute to the value of a hand, it is possible to consider a 12 point hand having 9's & 10's
         as a "GOOD 12 POINTS" which can be rounded up & regarded as 13 points.
         Similiarly, a GOOD 15 points could be considered as 16 points. For responder, a GOOD 9 points could be regarded as 10 points.
        & This extension in counting Goren HCP bid points is the ROUND-UP RULE, wherein one can give 1/2 point to each ten & 1/4 point to each nine.
         However, it should not be applied in making a strong 2C opening or in responding to big openings.

             Example: Having a 1NT opening with 17 points & in the middle of your 16-18 point
                             range, your partner responds 2NT inviting you to 3NT.
                             If you have a GOOD 17 points, ie, 17 1/2 points, then you treat it as 18 points & go 3NT.

2. The question remains, "How does one partner know what the other partner has point-wise in order to know their combined points?".
     The answer to that question is "Through their BIDDING SYSTEM agreements" .
     The purpose of a bidding system is to establish a RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL HAND TRICK TAKING ABILITY (in terms of HCP)
     & RELATIVE BID VALUES, thus making it possible to communicate that trick taking ability to the other partner via the bidding process.
     It is all rather like a foreign money exchange process. The higher the bid value, the higher the points.
     The higher the points, the higher the trick taking ability.

     At this point we want to make clear that a BIDDING SYSTEM is the sum total of all of the CONVENTIONS within it.
     But what is a "CONVENTION"? A CONVENTION is an agreed upon meaning for a bid or set of bids in relation to the sequence of bids that preceed it.
     Not only does it convey the player's HCP range, but it also conveys the player's hand shape.
     One example is the 5-CARD MAJOR CONVENTION which says your first opening bid in a major should promise at least 5 cards in that major.
     We also wish to point out that, although there are some STANDARD CONVENTIONS which are considered universal to the
     bridge playing community at large, a partnership is not prohibited from developing NON-STANDARD CONVENTIONS of their own,
     although such conventions must not be kept secret when playing against opponents. An ALERT SYSTEM is required
     which requires the partner of the non-standard bidder to say "ALERT" when a non-standard bid is made.

     Most players use the Standard American System in one of it's two forms CLASSIC or NEO-CLASSIC.
     Within that system they can choose from any number of common standard conventions such as the 4N BLACKWOOD CONVENTION
     asking for aces, or the 2C STAYMAN CONVENTION asking for a 4-card major fit when partner opens 1N. But they can also
     create their own non-standard conventions as well. Our focus here will be upon the CLASSIC STANDARD AMERICAN SYSTEM
     and the conventions I believe to be the best and most complete.

     No matter the bidding system, the partnership will have an agreed upon OPENING SUB-SYSTEM as distinct from their CONTENTION SUB-SYSTEM.
     The OPENING SYSTEM occurs when one of the partners is the very 1st player at the table to make a bid other than "pass".
     He is called the OPENER and his partner is the RESPONDER. The opponents are automatically called the CONTENDERS or DEFENDERS.
     The CONTENTION SYSTEM occurs when the opponents have made the 1st bid other than "pass".
     In either case, the partnership bidding system to bid or pass (not bid) is usually based upon the individual hand shape and
     Goren point count and employs bids or CONVENTIONS for each set of given circumstances that convey meaning to the other partner.

     a. The Opening Bidders & The Opening BIdding Systems.
         Normally during the first round of bidding, the players will evaluate their hands based solely upon their total high card points (HCP).
         Then in subsequent rounds, they will reevaluate and may add distributional points in their hand appraisal to arrive at a
         total appraisal point (TAP) evaluation.

         In the STANDARD AMERICAN BIDDING SYSTEM it takes a minimum holding of 12 or 13 HCP to make a normal opening bid.
         However, there are exceptions called preempts, which allow the opener to open holding only 5-11 HCP, but with
         a good long suit of 6+ cards. Regardless, the opener's partner automatically becomes known as the responder,
         & his initial bids will be made in reply to his partner, generally based upon his HCP holding.

         Of particular importance regarding a player's bid is the level of his bid, the suit of his bid, & the order or sequence in which
         he makes successive bids. Some bids or bidding sequences are considered to be forcing upon the partner to make another bid.
         Other bids or bidding sequences are considered to be close-outs which require partner to "pass". Still other bids or bidding sequences
         are meant to convey hand shape &/or HCP. Thus, there is a encoded system of communication built into the bidding system.

         Typically, the bidding system will enable the two partners to communicate their points (within a 3 point range) from "ONE" partner
         to the other, thereby enabling the other partner to determine how many tricks their combined hands will take. Notice I said "ONE"
         partner, and not "TWO" partners. Far too often, partners get into trouble with their ineffective bidding, because they both think they
         have to tell each other their point holding. Not true! It is only necessary that "ONE" partner know the combined holding. It is
         not a vote that is being taken. When it comes to bridge, a DICTATORSHIP is far more efficient. Somebody has to be the boss or "CAPTAIN".
         And that means just one person constructs the joint hands mentally to arrive at a final contract. Usually, it is the partner who has not
         limited his hand first. That means the first person who limits their point holding to within 3 points is usually not the CAPTAIN.

         If interested in slam or game, responder should keep the bidding low & take up as little bidding room as possible to hear
         partner's 2nd bid. Otherwise, use pre-emptive jumps to take up the opponent's bidding room. Don’t pre-empt your partner.

     b. The Contending Bidders (Overcallers) & Contention Bidding Systems.
         Thus far, we have been talking about the opening partnership. But what about their opponents? Do they not do any bidding for
         the contract? Upon the opening bid, the opponents of the openers automatically become the Contenders. The first of the
         contenders to bid I call the "primary contender". His partner I call the "secondary contender" or "respondent" to distinguish him
         from the responder. Like the opening bdding system , the contention bidding system will establish a relationship between bid
         values/levels & ranges of appraisal points & sequence of bids on behalf of the contenders. But far to often, a novice contender
         will consider himself to be an opener & believe he should use the same bidding system as the openers. Not true!
         Normally, the contenders will base their bids more upon distributional value & have special conventions to communicate.
         Two suited holdings are particularly useful in contention bidding. There are several conventions in place, such as
         Michaels/Unusual NoTrump/Top&Bottom/Hamilton, to describe two suited hands. And another very useful tool not available initially
         to the openers is the "DOUBLE". Thus, the contenders will be able to compete in the auction, but not in the same manner as openers.

         In evaluating your hand, always keep in mind the various kinds of fits, shapes & matches.

             There are four factors to consider in assessing the combined values of your two hands:
             1) The SHAPE of each individual's hand.
             2) The MATCHING/OVERLAP of suits between the two of you.
                 If you are going to be in a trump contract, you want to be sure of having at least 8 of the 13 trump suit.
                 You do not want the opponents holding a lot of your trump, ie, more than 5 in one hand.
             3) The FIT between the two of you.
                 A good suit fit contract is where you have more than 8 trump between you, & you are both short in different suits.
             4) The STOPPERS you have in each suit.

             A complete and clear understanding of these definitions and the different TYPES OF "SHAPE, MATCHES & FITS" will
             increase the player's awareness of what partner has and allow the player to develop a consistent bidding & playing
             strategy for each type of situation. By categorizing the TYPES of shapes and fits, the player will be better able
             to recognize the early bidding signs indicating a specific type of shape/fit among the players, and therefore
             participate in the bidding more accurately.
             1] A "SELF SUSTAINED SUIT" refers to the holding of at least 7 cards in that suit contained within one player's hand.
             2] The term “SUIT MATCHING" refers to how well the number of cards in each suit of one player's hand Support the
                 number of cards in each suit of his partner's hand.
                 a] A "SUPPORTED SUIT MATCH" means one partner has enough cards in a short suit, which when added to the number of
                      cards in his partner's same suit, results in a sustained suit of at least 8+ cards. The partner with the shorter number of cards is
                      said to have “SUPPORT” for partner’s suit. Further, his cards in that suit are "SUBORDINATE" to partner's "DOMINANT" length.
                 b] A "SUIT MIS-MATCH" means that for a given suit between the two partners, it is not a "SUPPORTED SUIT MATCH".
                 c] "PAIRED", means the partners hold exactly the same number of cards in a specific suit.
             2] The term "FIT" refers to the COMBINED HIGH CARD holdings in a suit of two partners and how well their two respective
                 Types of fits.
                 a] The term "FULL FIT" means that the two partners have all of the high cards in the suits that they hold.
                 b] The term "PARTIAL FIT" means that there is some, but not complete, mutual coverage of each other's losers.
                 c] SUFFICIENT FIT means that they have enough high cards to realize their contract.
                 d] INSUFFICIENT FIT means that they do not have enough high cards to realize their contract.
                 e] The term "MISFIT" refers to absolute lacking of such mutual coverage, wherein the losers in
                      each partner's hand are totally exposed and unprotected, subjected to being taken.
                      Note: Many times a player will say they had a misfit, where what they really mean is a “mis-matched”.
             3] SHAPE MATCHING refers to the matching of shapes between two partner's hands.
                 It can become an important consideration when a supported suit match is found to exist.

4. Do You Have Enough To Open The Bidding?.

         a. Initially, evaluate your hand by counting your losers without counting HCP points. If you have less than 5 losers, then you
             have a very strong hand, needing only one winner from partner to make game.

         b. Evaluate your hand by counting what would be quick tricks & sure winners in no-trump. Use Culberson quick tricks where an ace was
             1 quick trick & a king was 1/2 quick trick. Look for high card sequences. Determine the lowest protectable card in each suit based upon length.

         c. If you have more than four losers, then count your HCP bid points only, ignoring distribution. Identify & give credit for having tens &
             nines according to the ROUND-UP RULE. Many times you will be in the middle or just below the top of your point range & these extra credits
             can be added to increase the value of your hand thereby making it possible for you to treat it as being in the next strata up.
             Also, when given an invitational bid by partner, you can use this as criteria for taking the invite.
             Classifications of Opener's Hand based on High Card Point Range Stratifications.
             1) 5 - 12 points ... WEAK
             2) 13 - 15 points ... MINIMUM Opening
             3) 16 - 18 points .... INTERMEDIATE Opening
             4) 19 - 21 points...... STRONG Opening
             5) 22+ points …… SUPER STRONG

5. Do You Have Enough To Respond To Your Partner's Opening Bid?

         a. In responding to a weak opening, count your high card Culberson quick tricks, not HCP points.
             You should have at least 3 quick-tricks, features or stoppers to respond.

         b. If partner opened one in a suit, evaluate your hand using HCP, but don't count distribution (DP) unless you see an
             immediate suit agreement for trump.
             To respond at the 1-level, you only need 6 points.
             To respond at the 2-level in a new suit, you only need 10+ points.

         c. If partner opened in no-trump, again evaluate using only HCP.
             You should have at least 5 points to respond.

         d. In responding to a strong forcing opening of 2C:
             There are a number of systems including 2D WAITING, STEPS, & others.

6. Do You Have Enough To Contend After Opponent's Have Opened The Bidding?
         To determine the minimum point count required for making a bid:
             Start with 10 points.
             Add 2 points for being unfavorably vulnerable.
             Add another 2 points for each level above the 1 level that you are going to bid or force partner to bid.
             If your partner has already passed, consider adding another 2 points.
             Subtract 2 points if partner of preemptive opener passed.

                 Example #1 - The dealer/opponent on your right opens 2S. You are not vul.
                      Start with 10 points.
                      Add 0 points for not being vul.
                      If you are going to make a simple overcall, add 4 points for having to go to the 3 level
                      Subtract 0 points for preemptive partner not passing yet.
                      Either way, it means you must have at least 14+ points to bid over 2S.

                 Example #2 - Your partner was the dealer & passed. The opponent on your right opens 3C. You are not vul.
                      Start with 10 points.
                      Add 0 points for not being vul.
                      If you are going to double, add 4 points for having to bid at the 3-level bid.
                      If you are going to make a simple overcall, add 4 points for having to go to the 3 level.
                      Subtract 0 points for preemptive partner not passing yet.
                      Either way, it means you must have 14+ points to bid over 3C.

                 Example #3 - The opponent on your left opens 3H. Your partner passed, & so did the opponent on your right. You are not vul.
                      Start with 10 points.
                      Add 0 points for not being vul.
                      If you are going to double, add 4 point for having to bid over a 3-level bid, plus 1 point for possibly forcing partner to the next level..
                      If you are going to make a simple overcall, add 4 points for having to go to the 3 level or add 6 points for bidding at the 4-level.
                      Subtract 2 points for preemptive partner not passing yet.
                      Either way, it means you must have 14+ points to bid over 3H.

7. Do You Have Enough To Advance Your Partner's Contention Bid?

           a. First, evaluate your hand using HCP.

           b. If contender "doubled" consider evaluating your hand using MHCP (below).