THE EVOLUTIONARY SUITE BIDDING SYSTEM. . . . MAR 2022
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0. TABLE OF CONTENTS:

     A. INTRODUCTION

     B-1. NOMENCLATURE & DEFINITIONS/TERMS

     B-2. GENERAL GUIDELINES

     C-1. THE BIDDING SYSTEM - OPENING

     C-2. THE BIDDING SYSTEM - RESPONDING

         C-2a RESPONDING TO 1C

         C-2b RESPONDING TO 1D

         C-2c RESPONDING TO A MAJOR

         C-2d 2ND ROUND REBIDS AFTER SUIT OPENING:

         C-2e RESPONDING TO NO TRUMP

         C-2f RESPONDING TO 2C

         C-2g RESPONDING TO 2D

     C-3. CONTENTION BIDDING

     C-4. OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES

     C-5. ACE ASKING

     C-6. USELESS

A. INTRODUCTION:

This is the culmination of years of work in sorting out the best bridge bidding conventions, while at the same time creating new or modifying old conventions. Many existing bidding conventions are good & provide good information without jeopardizing the entire system. Others are good up to a point, but then fail to take advantage of more efficient bidding. These are the ones that need modification. And then there are those which take up too much bidding room or have the wrong goal in mind. Finally, there are areas in the bidding for which there is no desirable existing convention. With so many conventions and with so many head-strong partners, it has been very difficult to piece these conventions together in a non-conflicting, meaningful manner and test them. Nevertheless, I have been able to do so under live playing conditions.

CLARIFICATION ON TWO-OVER-ONE RESPONSES (aka 2/1):
I am no fan of 2/1 which was introduced in the 1980s as an adjustment to what was otherwise a perfectly good bidding system. There was much done to contort the existing bidding system to make room for 2/1, specifically, the increase in the point range from 6-9 to 6-12 points of the 1NT response and making it a forcing bid, where it had been one of the weakest responses possible. This change is most objectionable for the following reasons.

- 2/1 responses do not apply when there has been interference or when the opening is in 3rd or 4th seat, in which case a 1NT response is not forcing & reverts back to being non-forcing 7-9 points.

- The 2/1 1NT/1D FORCING response denying a 4-card major & showing 6-12 points conflicts with the 2D INVERTED MINOR response which shows 10+ points and is forcing 1 round. The only difference between the two responses is the placement of one minor card, ie, (3-,3-,3-,4+) vs (3-,3-,4+,3-). To play overlapping forcing point counts is a ridiculous proposition.

- There is no point to 2C/1D being game forcing & denying a 4-card major with 13 points, because it takes 29+ points to make game at the 5-level in a minor. "Oh" you say. "You might have a 3NT contract". Hog wash. If you don't have both majors stopped, you are committed to 5 in a minor. with only 26 points. Therefore, 2/1, if played, should only apply to the majors and for less than superior fit responses.
EXAMPLE: Opener (Jx,Qx,AKQJT,xxxx) = 13 points , Responder (Qx,Jx,xxxx,AKQJT) = 13 points
         1D -> 2C Game Forcing -> 3C -> 4C -> 5C DOWN 2.
         Better the bidding go 1D -> 2C Forcing 1 Round -> 3C -> Pass

There has been only one time that I could ever justify playing 2/1 and that was where a strong responder seeking slam needed to EXPLICITLY confirm the suit agreement before asking for key cards. But this is such a rare occurrence it is hardly worth mentioning. Besides, the default suit agreement being the last suit bid is said to fulfill that need.

If there is a real need for a game forcing response I would say let it be 2D/1H or 2D/1S. This returns to the old system of 1NT being a bare response & 2C & 2H being forcing 1 round. No matter, with the exception of the 1C opening, 2/1 & any such game forcing bids are not included herein. But do not misunderstand. Certainly it should be acknowledged that in any bidding system a 1st or 2nd seat "passed" hand has limited their subsequent bids to less than opening points. We just don't need a special game forcing system to remind us of that.
That being said, If you want TWO-OVER-ONE I would refer you to Max Hardy's book.


Meanwhile, I continue to strongly advocate the use of INVERTED MINOR RAISES & INVERTED BERGEN RAISES, in conjunction with 2NT LEBENSOHL WEAK JUMP SHIFTS. In addition, I continue to press the solutions I have for the forcing 1C and 2C opening, eliminating the free-for-all bidding that occurs when 2C is opened.

With regard to the 2C opening, I have made it a limited bid showing 19-24 high card points, ie, no longer 22+ points. This change impacts the point range of the 1D, 1H, or 1S opening now limiting those openings to no more than 18 points. The same holds true for the 1C opening, except for when opener has 25+ points, ie, game in hand. Where before any suit opening followed by a 19+ jump shift (after a non-pass response promising 6+ points) was game forcing because the combine point count was 25 or more, the positive responses are now up to 7+ points, ie, 18 + 7 = 25 points. However, for those old timers we remind them that a "good 6 points" is rounded up to 7 points. Any opener jump rebids, be they raises, shifts, or reverses, are now no more than 18 points, except for the 1C opener making an extraordinary jump. This gives much greater bidding ability to the unbalanced 16-18 point hand.

With regard to strong balanced hand openings, I revert back to the days before Weak-2 Openings were introduced. ie,
1NT = 16-18 (not 15-17).
The 19-21 point range is accommodated by the 2C opening.
2NT = 22-24 (not 20-21).
Note the direct relationship between points and relative bid value.

I believe the reader will eventually see how the pieces fit together like a jig saw puzzle in a most efficient manner & the consistency in logic in how this suite is constructed. To those who do adapt to it, I say "HAPPY BIDDING".

B-1. NOMENCLATURE, DEFINITIONS & TERMS.

a. NOMENCLATURE:

1] SYMBOLS, ABBREVIATIONS & ACRONYMS: "C" = Clubs.
"D" = Diamonds
"H" = Hearts
"S" = Spades
"NT" or "N" = No Trump
"M" = Major
"m" = Minor
"=" = "same" Example: =M means the same or supported major.
"~" or ":" = "not" EXAMPLE: :m means not the same minor.
">" = "greater than"
"->" = "next bid"
"<" = "less than"
"/" = "over" or "after"
"\" = "before"
"#" = any numerical value.
"@" = any word or letter.
"#@" = "some bid"
#"+" = "or more". Example: 10+ means 10 or more.
#"-" = "or less". Example: 7- means 7 or less.
#"-"# = a range. Example: 7-9 means 7 to 9.
@"-"@ = connector of words. Example: LIMIT-RAISE.
"PTS" = points
"QT" = Quick Trick
"VUL" = Vulnerable
"DLR" = Dealer
"RHO-O" = Opener Right Hand Opponent
"LHO-O" = Opener Left Hand Opponent
"RHO-C" = Contender Right Hand Opponent
"LHO-C" = Contender Left Hand Opponent
"RESP" = Responder
"RHO-R" = Responder Right Hand Opponent
"LHO-R" = Responder Left Hand Opponent
"DBL" = "X" = DOUBLE
"RDBL" = "XX" = REDOUBLE
"A" = ACE, "K" = KING , "Q" = QUEEN, "J" = JACK, "T" = TEN, "AK" = ACE KING in same suit.

2] The term "FORCING" means that partner is required to bid if no intervention. "1RF" means "ONE ROUND FORCING" for 1 round.
"NF" means "NOT FORCING" (normally not specified)
"GF" means "GAME FORCING" which requires not passing until game is reached.

3] BIDDING SEQUENCE REPRESENTATION: A bid is shown as "#@" (a number & a letter).

An opener & responder descending sequence without interference is shown as #@ / #@ / #@ / #@ . wherein the "/" means a bid after without intervention.
Example: 2H/1S/1D/1C means the opening was 1C, responder bid 1D, opener rebid 1S, responder rebid 2H.

A double forward slash, "//", means there is an unidentified intervening bid.
Example: 1S//1C means responder overcalled a contender's lesser bid.

An opener & responder ascending sequence without interference is shown as #@ \ #@ \ #@ \ #@ . wherein the "\" means a bid after without intervention.
Example: 1C\1D\1S\2H means the opening was 1C, responder bid 1D, opener rebid 1S, responder rebid 2H.

A double reverse slash, "\\", means there is an unidentified intervening bid.
Example: 1C\\1S means responder overcalled a contender's lesser bid.

Another way of showing a bid sequence is 1C-> p-> 1D,
meaning 1D/pass/1C or 1D//1C or 1C\pass\1D or 1C\\1D.

4] HAND DISTRIBUTION is represented as (S,H,D,C).
         EXAMPLE: (3,5,4,1) means 3 spades, 5 hearts, 4 diamonds & 1 club.
     If not enclosed in parentheses, then no order is indicated.
         EXAMPLE: 4,4,3,2 means "balanced" regardless of specific suits.

5] BIDS will be capitalized. CONVENTION NAMES should be capitalized on 1st occurrence.

b. DEFINITIONS: We assume the reader is familiar with some basic bridge terms. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that even the most expert player review the definitions herein.

1] The "OPENER" is the 1st player to bid, & his partner automatically becomes the "RESPONDER".
2] The "CONTENDER" (aka, "overcaller") is the 1st opener opponent to not "pass". His partner automatically becomes the "ADVANCER" or "SPOILER" or "RESPONDENT".
3] "SEATING POSITIONS" are numbered 1-4 relative to the DEALER.
4] A "TRICK" is the collection of 4 cards played in rotation by each player. There are 13 ticks in a deck of 52 cards.
5] "BID-LEVEL" refers to the number of tricks over the first 6.
6] A "CONTRACT" is the bet made by a partnership that they can take a specified number of tricks in playing the hand. The construct of their contract is the same as the construct of their bids, wherein the number specifies the number of tricks to be taken in excess of a book of 6 tricks, & the suit designated is the indicated trump suit.

A "PARTIAL" contract is a contract less than "GAME", wherein 7 to 9- tricks must be taken.
A "GAME" contract is a contract of 3NT, 4M or 5m, wherein 9 to 11 tricks must be taken.
A "SLAM" contract is a contract at the 6+ level, wherein 12+ tricks must be taken.

7] "HONOR" is one of the top 4 cards in a suit, ie, Ace King Queen Jack.
For the purposes of bidding, a point value is assigned to every honor card in the deck.
A=4, K=3, Q=2, J=1
Each player will compute their total points to determine hand value.

8] A "CONTROL" is an ace or a "protected" king. (aka. FEATURE, STOPPER, etc)
"Protected" means it wont fail if the ace of that suit is led.
For the purpose of bidding a No-trump contract, It becomes a "feature" or "stopper" if it is backed up by 2+ other cards in the same suit.

9] A "QUICK-TRICK" (abbrev-QT) = one ACE or KQ in a suit. It is almost guaranteed to take 1 trick. A King by itself is 1/2 a quick trick.
10] HAND TYPES BASED ON POINTS: "BUST" refers to a hand with less than 4 points.
"SUPER-WEAK" refers to a hand with 4-6 points.
"WEAK" refers to a hand that is 7-9 points.
"WEAK-2" refers to a hand that has a 6+ card suit with 5-11 points.
"INVITATIONAL" refers to a hand that is 10-12 points.
"OPENING" refers to a hand that is 13-15 points.
"STRONG" refers to a hand that is 16-18 points.
"SUPER-STRONG" refers to a hand that is 19-24 points
"GAME" refers to a hand that has 25+ points.

11] SUIT LENGTH CATEGORIES: "LONG SUIT" = 7+ CARDS IN SUIT.
"NOMINAL LENGTH" = 5-6 CARDS IN SUIT.
"SUPPORTIVE LENGTH" = 3-4 CARDS IN SUIT.
"DOUBLETON" = ONLY 2 CARDS IN SUIT.
"SHORT SUIT" = "SINGLETON/VOID" = 0 OR 1 CARDS IN SUIT.

12] HAND TYPES BASED ON SHAPE: "BALANCED" = 4,4,3,2 or 4,3,3,3
"SEMI-BALANCED" = 5,3,3,2
"3-SUITED" = 4,4,4,1 or 5,4,4,0
"2-SUITED" = 5+,5+,3-,3-
"COMPANION-SUITED" = "SEMI-2-SUITED" = 5+,4,2-,2-
"1-SUITED" = 6+,3-,3-,3-
"5+" means 5 or more. "3-" means 3 or less.

13] "INVERTED", "REVERSED" , "UP-SIDE-DOWN" "INVERTED" means a player's bid sequence contrary to the standard, normal or desired sequence.
"INVERTED" & "REVERSED" can be used interchangeably.

When applied to relative suit lengths, it means a lower ranking suit has more cards than a higher ranking suit.
Such a holding can lead to "REVERSE" bidding, where the longer suit is bid first, followed by a bid in the shorter suit. In the past, people have used the term "REVERSE" to mean a much more specific type of individual bidding. No matter, a REVERSED HOLDING leads to REVERSE BIDDING.

When applied to bidding sequence, it can refer to point count. where a smaller point count is bid at a higher level than a stronger point count.
Examples: INVERTED MINOR RAISES, INVERTED BERGEN RAISES.

"UP-SIDE-DOWN" pertains to a defensive playing of cards, wherein a higher card is played before a lower card to show a dislike for the suit led.

14] "DISPARATE INVERTED SUIT LENGTHS or SHAPE" This refers to a COMPANION-SUITED hand when the lower ranking suit is 7+ cards long & the higher ranking suit is only 4-cards long. It is a particularly troubling hand for responder.
(Refer to GENERAL GUIDELINES section- RESPONDER PRIORITIES.)

15] "SPLIT" pertains to the distribution of cards in one suit. Between partners it is described as #1-#2 where #1 is one partners holding in the suit & #2 is his partner's holding.
EXAMPLE: 5-3S says one partner has 5 spades and the other partner has 3 spades.

16] "SUPPORT" pertains to the combined number of cards in a suit held by a partnership wherein one partner has dominance over the subordinate partner who is considered the supporting hand with a supporting number of cards. There are 4 levels of support:

"MARGINAL-SUPPORT" for partner's suit only assures a 7-card trump suit. It is normally typified by 4-3 & 5-2 fits in a suit.
"ADEQUATE-SUPPORT" for partner's suit demands that it assures an 8-card trump suit. To an opening bid that promises a 5+ card suit, 3-card support is nominal. To an opening bid that promises a 4+ card suit, 4-card support is nominal or adequate. To an opening bid that promises as few as 1 card in the suit, 7-card support is nominal.
"EQUAL-SUPPORT" for partner's suit assures an equal number of cards. It is normally typified by 4-4 in a suit.
"SUPERIOR-SUPPORT" for partner's suit assures a 9+ card trump suit. It is typified by 4+ card support for partner's 5+ card suit.

17] A "FIT" pertains to a partnership"s combined holding of at least 7 cards in a suit. If a partnership winds up in a trump suit contract, they want to be sure they have more cards in the trump suit than the opponents. Since there are 13 cards in a suit, having at least 7-cards in the trump suit guarantees having more trump. There are different types of fits corresponding to the tpes of support:

MARGINAL-FITS. 4-3, 5-2, 6-1

ADEQUATE-FITS. 5-3, 6-2.

EQUAL-FITS: 4-4

SUPER-FITS. 5-4+

When it comes to a FIT with partner, 5-4 is the best, 4-4 is next best, no-trump is next & finally the 5-3 fit, albeit the 5-3 fit is more of a semi-fit. The better the fit with your partner, the fewer points you need to make a good contract.

18] A "MISFIT" is where there is no 7+ card suit agreement between partners.
19] A "RAISE" is a bid of partner's suit which may be immediate or delayed.

Standard raises without conventional systems include:
A "SIMPLE-RAISE" is a bid of partner's suit at the next level up, promising 3+ card support & 7-9 points.
A "DELAYED-LIMIT-RAISE" first makes a TEMPORIZING Bid then bids opener's suit at the 3-level promising 3-card support with 10-12 points.
AN "IMMEDIATE LIMIT-RAISE" is an immediate jump bid in opener's suit promising 4+ card support & 10-12 points.

Conventional raises include:
BERGEN-MAJOR-SUIT-RAISES
INVERTED-MINOR-RAISES

20] "BIDDING UP-THE-LINE". This is the opening pair's initial biding at the 1-level trying to find a 4-4 major suit fit.

In the absence of opponent bidding & assuming responder has 7+ points, if the opening is 1C or 1D, then responder must bid 1H having 4+ hearts and no more than 4 spades. But if responder has 5+ spades & 4+ hearts, responder must bid 1S & only bid 2H with 10+ points. Or if he also has 5+ hearts with less than 10 points he can bid 2H. If there was an intervening bid of 1D/1C, responder could safely "DOUBLE" with 5 spades and only 4 hearts, giving opener the chance to take his pick.

If the opening is 1H & responder does not have 4+ card support, but has 4+ spades, then responder must bid 1S.

In either case, if opener has 4 cards in responder's major suit, he must not bid up-the-line & raise opener's suit according to his points. (Refer to GENERAL GUIDELINES for more.)

21] A "BIDDING CALL" is a condition stated by a player during the bidding stage. The following are the different types of calls:

"PASS" is not a bid. It is a No-Bid.

A "BID" is a call made by a player who intends to win the contract specification & make it. The specification is expressed as a combination of bid-level & suit. Example: 3H says "I intend to take 3(+6) or 9 tricks with hearts as trump. However, a "double" is a "call" that might also be considered a "bid", although technically it is not.
"DOUBLE" is a call made by the opponent of the last bidder with the intention of defeating the contract. The bidder says "I can make it". The Doubler says "No way". It should be noted that the "DOUBLE" at low levels is used to convey information to the "DOUBLER'S" partner with no intention of leaving the double in. When used in this manner, it is "FORCING" upon partner to bid should opponent "pass". It should be noted that there are different meanings to the "double" depending upon who says it and at what point in the bidding it occurs.

"TAKEOUT DOUBLE" is a contender's call, usually conveying a hand containing at least 13 points and probably an unbid 4-card major or a 16+ point hand regardless of shape. If a 16+ point hand, the contender will bid again, even if spoiler "passes".
"NEGATIVE DOUBLE" is a responder's call, usually conveying 6+ point hand with 4-cards in the highest unbid suit .
"RESPONSIVE DOUBLE" is an advancer's (or spoiler's) call similar to a NEGATIVE DOUBLE.
"SUPPORT DOUBLE" is an opener's call indicating only 3-card support for responder's 1H or 1S bid.
"REDOUBLE" is made in countering a Double & can take on meaning similar to the NEGATIVE DOUBLE, or showing dislike for partner's suit.

NATURAL BIDS:

"SIMPLE BID" is a bid that does not skip over the same bid available at a lower level.
"JUMP BID" is one that skips over the same bid available at a lower level.
"PREEMPTIVE BID" is an immediate jump bid where the bidder has a long suit, but very few points. It is intended to disrupt the opponents' bidding.
"REBID" This is a player's 2nd bid after in the second round of bidding. It may be a "REPEAT BID" of his previous suit.
"THRESHOLD BID" is a call that passes up a possible NT bid, especially 1NT & 2NT.

ARTIFICIAL BIDS: Are generally forcing 1 round.

"1C & 2C OPENING" A 1C opening (alertable) may be as few as 1 card in the clubs suit.
A 2C opening (alertable) describes a hand containing 19-14 points.

"2C DRURY" (alertable) is a 10-12 point limit-raise in response to a 3rd seat major suit opening.
"CUE BID" is a forcing low-level bid in opponent's bid suit describing a stronger than normal hand with nothing in opponent's suit. Examples of cue-bids include MICHAELS, responses to TAKE-OUT DOUBLES, 3-card LIMIT-RAISES, & WESTERN-CUE asking for a stopper in opponents suit.
"UNUSUAL 2NT BID" is a contender JUMP-OVERCALL describing a 2-suited hand containing 5-5 in the lowest unbid suits.
Do not confuse with responder's LEBENSOHL 2NT.

"STAYMAN" is a responder's bid of 2C/1NT opening or 3C/2NT opening that forces opener to bid a 4+ card major if he has it or deny by bidding diamonds.
"TRANSFER" is a bid in a suit that is directly under the bidder's real suit in which he promises at least 5 cards. Compare to "LEBENSOHL" Relay.
"HAMILTON" (alertable)
is a 2-suited overcall to opponent's 1NT opening.
"INVERTED MINOR RAISES" NORMAL MINOR RAISES are 2C/1C or 2D/1D = 7-0 points & 3m/1m = 10+ points
INVERTED MINOR RAISES (alertable) are 2C/1C or 2D/1D = 10+ points & 3m/1m = 7-9 points

"BERGEN" (alertable) used herein means the INVERTED BERGEN MAJOR SUIT RAISE system.
NORMAL BERGEN RAISES (alertable) are 3C = 7-9 points & 3D = 10-12 points.
INVERTED BERGEN RAISES (alertable) are 3C = 10-12 points & 3D = 7-9 points.

"LEBENSOHL" (alertable) is a responder's bid of 2NT that forces opener to bid 3C. It is a "relay" that promises nothing in clubs. Compare to "TRANSFER".
"TEMPORIZING DELAYED BID" The idea of responder "temporizing" entails making a forcing bid that is lower than where you intend to wind up. It is a delaying bid, the intent usually being to give opener a chance to further describe his hand. Past methods of temporizing include 1S//1H, the 2/1 forcing 1NT, the new suit forcing (1RF), DRURY, & the forcing cue-bid raise.

Example: Not playing 2/1, partner has opened 1S. You have (3,4,3,3). You want to know if partner has 4 hearts. So you "temporize" by bidding 2C forcing even though you don't like clubs.

Example: Playing BERGEN RAISES, partner opens 1S. You have (3,2,4,4) with 11 points & want to show an invitational hand with only 3-card support as opposed to 4+ card support. Your temporizing bid is the LEBENSOHL 2NT RELAY to 3C followed by bidding partner's suit at the 3-level.

"OGUST" (alertable) is a WEAK-2 opener's reply to responder's 2NT forcing response. 3C = weak hand, weak suit
3D = weak hand, strong suit
3H = strong hand, weak suit
3S = strong hand, strong suit

ACE-ASKING BIDS are all artificial.

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


B-2. GENERAL GUIDELINES:

a. INDIVIDUAL HAND EVALUATION:
COUNT YOUR LOSERS: With big hands it is easier to count losers. If you have a 4-loser hand with a 7 card suit, consider opening at the 4-level hoping to catch your partner with just 1 QT.
POINT COUNT ASSIGNMENT TO HONOR CARDS: Ace = 4 points, King = 3, Queen =2, & Jack = 1
Given these card values, each player will compute the total point value of their hand.
It should be noted that on this basis, there are no more than 40 high card points in the entire deck. So the question becomes, "which partnership has 20+ points?". The assumption is if a partnership has 20+ points, then they should take 1/2 the tricks or more.

DELAY COUNTING SHORT SUITS: In first evaluating their point count, players should not count any points for shortness in a suit until they have determined a fit with partner. In a fit with partner, the player can count his singleton/void as a king, ie 3 points. Dounletons are worthless.
POINT COUNT QUALITY. It behooves the partnership to consider the content of their individual point count, especially at the higher bid levels. In the absence of having a quick trick, I suggest deducting 1 point.

b. THE POINT-COUNT SCALE & DIVISION INCREMENTS: For the purposes of partnership communication, the entire range of 40 points must be divided into specific increments no greater than 4-point spreads at levels above 25 points & no greater than 3-point increments at levels below 25 points.

Charles Goren originated the point-count system wherein the entire range of 40 points was more or less uniformly divided. His reasoning went thus:
If a partnership had all the 40 points less a king, ie 37 points, they could take all of the tricks.
With one less ace, ie 33 points, they could take 12 tricks.
With a second less ace. ie, 29 points, they could take 11 tricks.
And with a third less ace, ie, 25 points, they could take 10 tricks.
From this point on, he started deducting kings, ie, 3 points for each king, right on down to zero. And that was it. So from 24 to 0 points, this range is broken into equal 3-point increments.

However, in the last 35 years, the tidiness of Goren's 3-point increments has been completely messed up by arguments over 1-point differences. So we now see players opening 1NT with 15-17 points instead of 16-18 points as Goren originally posited & 2NT with 20-21 points instead of 22-24 points. The apparent reason for this seems to stem from these players not being able to deal with 3-points increments when it comes to invitational bidding. So what they have created is a hodge-poge mix of 3-point increments with 2-points increments. Very messy.
So, here is the answer to their 3-point dilemma.

DEALING WITH 3-POINT SPREADS:
Point ranges being in increments of 3 can present a problem when in the middle or at the top of the range. Players in this situation should check their hand for tens & round up their points if they have one or more tens.

c. COMBINED POINTS TO BID-LEVEL TABLE: Once the partner's have evaluated their individual hand's total point count, they now attempt (through their bidding) to determine their combined strength to see how many actual tricks, & hence bid-level, they might be able to take.
The following equates combined point-count to trick-taking-ability to bid-level.
21-22 points = 7 tricks = 1-level contract
23-24 points = 8 tricks = 2-level contract
25-28 points = = 9-10 tricks = 3-4-level contract = GAME LEVEL if 3NT or higher.
29-32 points = 11 tricks = 5-level contract
33-36 points = 12 tricks = 6-level contract = SLAM LEVEL.
37-40 points = 13 tricks = 7-level contract

d. OPENING BID POSITIONS & HI-CARD POINT REQUIREMENTS: Simple opening bids at the 1-level in 1st or 2nd seat require 13-18 points.
However, a 1C opening may have 25+ points.
Simple openings in 3rd seat may begin at 10+ points with a 5-card suit.
Simple openings in 4th seat may begin at 10+ points with 4+ spades if partner's agree.
But just because 3rd or 4th seat might open light does not negate the upper limits placed on 1st & 2nd seat openings.

1st through 3rd seats may open preemptively.
There is no justification for 4th seat to open preemptively.

e. WEAK PREEMPTIVE BIDS: For the purpose of disrupting the opponents' bidding, any player may preempt the bidding to a higher level, based upon reasonable criteria. Such bids are considered "contention bids" in that they are preliminary sacrifice bids.

An opener may open with a WEAK-2 bid at the 2-level with 5-11 points and a 6 card suit having 3 of the top 5 cards in the suit. With a 7+ card suit he can open at the 3-level. But he must not go any further than the 3-level unless forced by partner. Too many people make the mistake of going to the next higher level just because they have more cards in their suit. The same bid is allowed for the contender, only it is a WEAK-JUMP-OVERCALL.

In playing INVERTED-MINOR-RAISES, responder's jump raise with 7-9 points is a WEAK-JUMP-RAISE & serves as a preempt. By the same token, in playing BERGEN RAISES, responder can give a SUPER-WEAK-JUMP-RAISE with 4-6 points & 4+ card support.
EXAMPLE: 3D//1D = inverted minor jump raise ...... 3S/1S = super-weak jump raise

If not raising partner's suit, a responder can make a SUPER-WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT to the 2-level in a new suit in which he has 6+ cards & 4-6 points.
EXAMPLE: 2S//1H = super-weak jump shift.

f. RESPONDER BIDDING TO PARTNER'S OPENING IN A SUIT AT THE 1-LEVEL:
1] PRIORITIES IN THE ABSENCE OF OPPONENT INTERVENTION:
a] RESPONDING TO 1H OR 1S OPENING WITH 4+ POINTS:
WITH 4+ CARD SUPPORT, RESPONDER MUST RAISE OPENER'S SUIT IMMEDIATELY.
WITH ONLY 3-CARD SUPPORT, RESPONDER MAY CHOOSE TO NOT RAISE THE MAJOR.

Go To RESPONDING TO 1H OR 1S OPENING.


b] RESPONDING TO 1C WITH 0+ POINTS.
WITH LESS THAN 6 POINTS, RESPONDER MUST BID IF PARTNER OPENED 1C.

Go To RESPONDING TO 1C.


c] RESPONDING TO 1D OPENING WITH 7+ POINTS:
In the absence of a 7+ card minor & with a 4+card major,
responder must BID UP-THE-LINE as described in the DEFINITIONS SECTION.
If responder has 5+ spades he must respond 1S disregarding all else.
With 5 spades & 6 hearts, responder should bid 1S, then bid hearts on his 2nd bid.
If responder has 4+ hearts & exactly 4 spades, then he should respond 1H.

Otherwise, with no 4-card major,

Go To RESPONDING TO 1D.


d] DISPARATE INVERTED SUIT LENGTHS. THE 7+CARD MINOR VERSES THE 4-CARD MAJOR:

Opener begins with 1C or 1D.
There should be no question that when responder has a 5+ card major or two 5+ card majors, then responder should first bid the highest ranking major.

"But," you ask. "what if responder has 7+ cards in a minor & a only a 4-card major"?
Well, in the first place, we observe that there can be only 2 cards in the other suits. Secondly, if responder's long minor is the same suit as opener's, the question becomes moot, and responder should just ignore his 4-card major, because obviously their strongly held long suit will be trumped by the opponents if it is not trump.

But if responder's long minor is not the same as opener's minor, then the question becomes whether or not to bid UP-THE-LINE or bid his minor. Certainly, if the partnership has a 4-4 major suit fit & if that major becomes trump, there is a near certain risk of one of the opponents trumping the minor. So a key question becomes, "How good of control does he partnership have over the 4-4 major fit?, Does it have 1st round control" . And another question is, "does the partnership have 1st round control of the long minor?".

These are questions that cannot be answered in the bidding unless responder has the answers in his hand already? So if it appears that responder does have 1st round control in both his minor and major suits, then he can bid the major. Otherwise he should bid his minor as if he has no 4-card major. Assuming the latter case, over 1C responder with 10+ points and 7+ diamonds, responder should bid 1D forcing followed by a rebid in diamonds. Otherwise, he should preempt using LEBENSOHL by bidding 2NT followed by 3D. But over 1D, with 10+ points & 7+ clubs, responder should bid 2C. Otherwise, he should preempt bidding 3C.

Another point to consider is whether or not the partnership can make 3NT. If responder has AK in the minor suit & another quick trick somewhere, it might be possible to make 3NT. If that appears to be the case, then responder should bid his 4-card major, if for no other reason than to show length in the major.


e] OTHER RESPONDER CONSIDERATIONS: :
With less than 7 points, responder must "pass" unless opener began with 1C, in which case responder must be 1D or bid a WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT to a 6+card suit that he has. Otherwise, responder will only bid 1D if he has 6+ diamonds with 10+ points & no 4+ card major. If responder has 7-9 points with 6+ diamonds, he will bid a LEBENSOHL 2NT RELAY TO 3C, followed by bidding 3D.

With 7+ points, any new suit responder bids is forcing upon opener unless opponent intervenes. This includes 1D over 1C, ie, 1D/1C.

If there is an opponent intervening bid in a suit at the 1-level, then responder can "DOUBLE" to show an unbid 4-card major. But if responder has 5+ cards in that major, then he should bid it at the 1-level if not prevented by opponent's bid. Otherwise, with less than 10 points, responder can "DOUBLE" even though it is longer than 5 cards.

With less than 10 points & in the absence of having a major suit & no support for anything opener has bid, responder can bid 1NT assuming he is able.

With 10+ points, responder can bid his 5+card major at the 2-level without jumping over any opponent's lesser bid. Or he is safe to invite opener to game.

With 10-12 points & a balanced hand with no 4-card major, responder can first bid a new minor suit forcing followed by bidding 2NT.

With 13+ points responder should definitely force opener to game by changing suits or by jump rebidding his first bid suit.

2] CONSERVATION OF BIDDING SPACE. RESPONDER AVOID JUMPING IN NEW SUITS:
If your partner opens the bidding with a 1 level suit bid, unless your are raising opener's suit or bidding no-trump, keep the first round of bidding low to enable complete communication. Far too often a new player will jump shift because he has a lot of points. WRONG!
" RESPONDER- DO NOT PREEMPT YOUR PARTNER'S OPENING BID UNLESS YOU ARE SUPER-WEAK & WANT OPENER TO PASS!".
Responder, your first job is to listen, not tell. Unless you are raising opener's suit, giving a jump bid in a new suit disrupts your opener's ability to give a jump on his 2nd bid to show you a 16-18 point hand as opposed to having only 13-15 points. It is sufficient that you give a non-jump bid in a different suit to force your partner to bid again. Bidding UP-THE-LINE at the 1-level to find an immediate 4-4 major suit fit is an absolute must. It makes no difference how big your hand is. There is no excuse for cutting off your opening partner's ability to describe his point count and shape on his 2nd bid. After opener's 2nd bid you are then clear to do whatever you like depending upon what you now know the combined points to be.

3] OBSERVANCE OF THRESHOLD LEVELS:
Aside from the first round of bidding, the partnership should realize that in passing up a NT bid they are going to the next level up making a "threshold bid". And where raising a previously bid suit is not a big concern, for each level they go up in a new suit, they should probably have 3 points (ie, a King) more to do so. But this criteria can be difficult to abide by in going to the 3-level.

4] FAST ARRIVAL:
The principle of FAST ARRIVAL says that once you find a fit with partner, you should not bid other suits & betray your hand, unless there is a better possible major suit fit. Far too often a responder will compete against his partner despite knowing they have a fit already, Once the best fit is found, the only other possible reason for bidding other suits is to force to a higher level.

5] OPENER 2ND BIDS: If opener has 4-card support for responder's major suit, then he MUST support it by giving a SIMPLE-RAISE with 13-15 points or a JUMP-RAISE with 16-18 points. An exception might be made if opener has a 7+ card suit of his own even though he has 4-card support for responder. In the absence of having support for responder, opener will bid 1S over responder's 1H to show having a 4-card spade suit, to which responder will raise if he also has 4 spades.

g. RESPONDING TO A WEAK-2 OPENING:
When responder has a hand with 3+ QTs, game is in site. In such a case, a responder 2NT is a forcing request to opener to further describe his hand. The partnership may agree upon one of two systems in which the opener answers:

1] Responding with "features/stoppers".

2] OGUST responses.

Regardless of their choice, the responder should generally shy away from bidding another suit unless it is 7+ long.

h. RESPONDER BIDDING TO NO-TRUMP & HIGHER LEVEL OPENINGS:
Typical responses to 1NT include:

1] STAYMAN- a #C that promises a 4-card major & ask opener if he has 4-card major.

2] TRANSFER- a bid in the suit under a 5+ card suit which opener must bid.
When responder has 5-4 in the majors, STAYMAN takes priority over TRANSFERS.

3] WEAK MINOR INVITES- a jump bid at the 3-level in a 6+ card minor suit having 2 of the top 3 honors. Opener will bid 3NT if he has the other top honor.

For more info, refer to the TABLE OF CONTENTS & go to the area of interest.

i. RECAP OF FORCING BIDS:
ALL ACE ASKING BIDS
ALL LOW LEVEL (less than 3-level) DOUBLES/REDOUBLES
ALL HI-LEVEL (higher than 3-level) SOS REDOUBLES

OPENER FORCING BIDS:
1C OPENING
2C OPENING
SUPPORT DOUBLE/REDOUBLE
CUE-BID IN OPPONENT'S SUIT

RESPONDER FORCING BIDS:
NEW SUIT FORCING
JUMP REBID OF RESPONDER'S NEW SUIT
SIMPLE INVERTED MINOR RAISE 1C -> 2C ..... 1D -> 2D (alertable)
BERGEN 3C OR 3D RAISE OF MAJOR SUIT OPENING (alertable)
LEBENSOHL 2NT RELAY TO 3C (alertable)
NEGATIVE DOUBLE
TRANSFER BIDS
STAYMAN
CUE-BID IN OPPONENT'S SUIT

NOT FORCING:
Opener bidding NT or a new suit or jumping.
Responder bidding 1NT or 3NT
Any player making a simple non-jump rebid of their suit or partner's suit.

j. Who is the CAPTAIN? A preemptive bidder can never be the captain.
The first partner to limit their hand's point range to within 3 points is the subordinate partner to the captain.
The no-trump opener is NEVER the captain.
The responder who immediately raises the opener's suit or bids NT on his first bid is NEVER captain.
"Stay in your lane Bro"
The CAPTAIN is the partner who determines the max bid level to which the partnership can go. He is the one who ask for aces.

k. In the absence of a fit, either no-trump is the best contract, or being in a trump suit belonging to the weaker hand.

l. Always take pause in passing up 3NT. Quite often a 5-3 fit will make 3NT, but fail to make 4 in the suit. And without any suit length mismatch, a 4-4 fit will most likely fail.

m. The partner who should play the contract is he who can best absorb the opening lead. Usually it is the stronger of the two hands.

n. GENERAL RULE Regarding Opponent's "Double." If you like the double, NEVER REDOUBLE except to tell partner you have a misfit. If given at the very lowest level(s), it promises 10+ points. If given at a higher level, it is an SOS REDOUBLE for partner to pick another suit.

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


C-1. OPENING BIDS & THE POINT COUNT SCALE.

a. In opening the bidding, indeed in making any bid, three things are considered:
SHAPE, LOSERS, & POINTS.

b. The following chart shows how to open the combinations of shape & points. It should be noted that the point count range spreads up to 24 are in increments of 3. The opener's point range spread impacts the responder's invitational point range by virtue of the fact that the responder's invitational point range must be the compliment of the opener's point range relative to 25 points. So, with a minimum opening point range of 13-15, the responder's game invitational point range is 12-10 points. Any bigger point spread makes it impossible for responder to logically invite opener to game with any degree of accuracy.


c. With respect to INDIVIDUAL HAND SHAPES, there are 6 types: BALANCED, SEMI-BALANCED, 3-SUITED, 2-SUITED, COMPANION SUITED, & 1-SUITED.
This matrix outlines how to opening bid the 6 hand shapes vs point count.



Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.

C-2. RESPONDING TO OPENING BIDS AND BASIC BIDDING SEQUENCES.

a. The FORCING 1C OPENING (alertable) is either 12-18 points or 25+ points. It excludes 19-24 range. There is no reason to not treat the 1C opening as forcing & only tending to deny a 5+ card suit. There are at least two advantages. First, the club opener will not be left in a lousy 1C contract. Secondly, the opener can have game in his hand, which means he can open 1C without responder "passing", thereby allowing opener to make a game forcing rebid.

IMPACT:
This makes it possible to limit the 2C opener to 19-24 points. Of course, opener may have a long suit with 25+ points, but how often does that happen? The chances are much greater that opener will have 19-24 points.

OPENER ADVISORY:
The 1D response is a forcing bid that indicates responder may have 0 points. For this reason, opener must proceed with caution and not jump on his next bid, unless he has a 25+ point game forcing hand, in which case he can jump immediately to 3C, 3D, 3H, or 3S GF or 3NT. But without a game forcing hand, opener must bid as he would with only 13 points, ie, bid up-the-line at the 1-level without passing up 1NT or 2C. If responder does not rebid above 2C on his 2nd bid, then opener knows responder is bust, & the bidding must cease at the at any bid at 2C or below.

RESPONSES:
Responder must bid even with 0 points & long clubs.

1] With less than 7 points, responder must give a weak bid via: a] A WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT with 6+ cards to 2D, 2H or 2S.
Or
b] 1D regardless of shape. (alertable)

2] With 7-9 points & 7+ Clubs:
a] With a 5+ CARD MAJOR, responder MUST bid that major at the 1-level.

b] With NO 4-CARD MAJOR, responder should bid 3C INVERTED MINOR RAISE. (alertable) 3C/ 1C

3] With 7-9 points & 7+ Diamonds:
a] With a 5+ CARD MAJOR, responder MUST bid that major at the 1-level.

b] With NO 4-CARD MAJOR, responder should preempt in diamonds via
     the 2NT LEBENSOHL RELAY TO 3C (alertable), followed by bidding 3D. 3D/ 3C/ 2NT/ 1C ..or.. 1C -> 2NT -> 3C -> 3D

4] With 7+ points & a 4-CARD MAJOR &:
a] LESS THAN A 7-CARD MINOR: If responder has 5+ spades, he MUST bid 1S.
Otherwise,
Responder MUST bid the lowest 4-card major at the 1-level.
(Refer to "BIDDING UP-THE-LINE" in DEFINITION section.)

b] WITH A 7+ CARD MINOR:
Go To DISPARATE INVERTED SUIT LENGTHS.

5] With 7-9 points & NO 4-CARD MAJOR OR ADEQUATE SUPPORT OR DIAMOND PREEMPT: Responder can bid 1NT. 1NT/ 1C
6] With 10+ points & NO 4-CARD MAJOR &:
a] WITH ADEQUATE SUPPORT, responder can bid 2C Forcing INVERTED MINOR RAISE. 2C/ 1C ..or.. 1C -> 2C
b] WITH NO ADEQUATE SUPPORT, responder can bid 1D followed by a bid greater than 2C. 2D/ #@/ 1D/ 1C - Shows 6+ Diamonds with 10-12 points
2N/ #@/ 1D/ 1C - Shows balanced hand with 10-12 points. Invite to 3NT.
3D/ #@/ 1D/ 1C - Shows 6+ Diamonds with 13+ points. GF. (Alertable)

7] For Opening Rebids Go To OPENER REBIDS.

8] For Countering Interference Go To OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


b. The 1D OPENING promises a 4+ card diamond suit, if not 5+ diamonds. May people still play CONVENIENT MINOR wherein they cam bid 1D with only 4-cards. I highly recommend against it.

IMPACT UPON 1C OPENING:
If 1D promises 5+ diamonds, then a 1C opening could be as few as 1, ie, 4-4-4-1. And since the 1C opening is forcing, there should be no reason to fret over its minimum card count in clubs when bidding 1C.

Whether opener promises 4 or 5 cards in diamonds, it should be possible to see some similarities to bidding the major suits. Certainly, in promising a 5+ card suit it is easy to see the similarity. However, one difference is that Inverted Minor Raises are used in responding to 1D, where Bergen Raises are used in responding to a major. But even these two response systems are similar. For one thing, the Inverted Bergen Raise of 3D is exactly the same point range as the Inverted Minor Raise of 3D. And there is certainly no reason to not use Splinter Raises in either system. So what about the 3C jump bid? In Inverted Bergen 3C would mean a LIMIT-RAISE. But in Inverted Minor Raises 3C would be a preempt, where in Bergen the LEBENSOHL-2NT-RELAY to 3C is used to preempt. So the question becomes, "Can we use the LEBENSOHL-2NT-RELAY over a 1D opening to free up the 3C/1D bid for something else, like an Inverted Bergen 3C LIMIT-RAISE in diamonds?'. And the answer is "yes"".

CONCERN REGARDING 3D/1D CURRENT BIDDING PRACTICE:
For those playing INVERTED MINOR RAISES today, opener will usually have a 4-card diamonds suit. At the same time, it has been allowed for responder to bid 3D/1D with as few as 6 points & ONLY 4-CARD SUPPORT. In my mind, this is an unsafe bidding practice UNLESS THE RESPONDER Has 8-9 POINTS.

RESPONSES:
"SUPERIOR SUPPORT" means that responder has enough cards in opener's suit to promise a 9+card trump suit. If the partnership allows a 1D opening to promise only 3-cards, then SUPERIOR SUPPORT must be at least 6 diamonds long. Bust most players today promise at least 4 diamonds, which means SUPERIOR SUPPORT must be only 5 diamonds long. And if a partnership treats the 1D opening as a major, then SUPERIOR SUPPORT need be only 4 diamonds long.

Responder must pass with less than 4 points.

1] With 4-6 points, responder should give a weak bid making: a] A WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT with 6+ cards via 2H or 2S. Or
b] A SUPER-WEAK PREEMPTIVE RAISE with SUPERIOR SUPPORT via 3D/ 3C/ 2NT/ 1D (alertable)

2] With 7-9 points & 7+ Clubs & NO SUPERIOR SUPPORT:
a] With a 5+ CARD MAJOR, responder MUST bid that major at the 1-level.

b] With NO 4-CARD SUPPORT ANYWHERE, responder should bid 3C preemptively. 3C/ 1D
Or
Pass/ 3C/ 2NT/ 1D = 6-7 points with 6+ clubs (Weak Preempt) (alertable)

3] With 7-9 points & 5+ Diamonds:
a] With a 5+ CARD MAJOR, responder MUST bid that major at the 1-level.

b] With NO 4-CARD MAJOR, responder should bid 3D/ 1D INVERTED MINOR RAISE. 3D/1D = Non-Forcing INVERTED MINOR RAISE = 7-9 points with 6+ clubs. (alertable)

4] With 7+ points & a 4-CARD MAJOR &:
a] LESS THAN A 7-CARD MINOR: If responder has 5+ spades, he MUST bid 1S.
Otherwise,
Responder MUST bid the lowest 4-card major at the 1-level.
(Refer to "BIDDING UP-THE-LINE" in DEFINITION section.)

b] WITH A 7+ CARD MINOR:
Go To DISPARATE INVERTED SUIT LENGTHS.

5] With 7-9 points & NO 4-CARD MAJOR OR SUPERIOR SUPPORT OR CLUB PREEMPT: Responder can bid 1NT. 1NT/ 1D - Minimum response. (3-,3-,3-,4+)
6] With 10+ points & NO 4-CARD MAJOR &:
a] WITH SUPERIOR SUPPORT, responder can bid INVERTED BERGEN-MINOR RAISES. 2D/ 1D - Shows 10+ points. INVERTED MINOR RAISE. !RF. (3-,3-,4+,3-) (alertable)
3C/1D = Forcing INVITATIONAL LIMIT-RAISE = 10-12 points with SUPERIOR SUPPORT. 1RF. (alertable)

b] WITH NO SUPERIOR SUPPORT, responder can bid 1D followed by a bid greater than 2C. 2C/ 1D - Shows 3+ Clubs with 10+ points. 1RF. (3-,3-,3-,4+)
2NT/ 2@/ 2C/ 1D - Shows balanced hand with 10-12 points. Invite to 3NT.
3C/ 2@/ 2C/ 1D - Shows 6+ Clubs with 10-12 points.
3D/ 1@/ 1D/ 1D - Shows 6+ Diamonds with 13+ points. GF.
3NT/ #@/ 2D/ 1D - Shows 6+ Clubs with 13+ points. GF/ (2D Temporizing. Not Real)

7] For Opening Rebids Go To OPENER REBIDS

8] For Countering Interference Go To OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


c. The 1H OR 1S OPENING promises at least 5 cards in the suit.

RESPONSES:

1] THE IMPORTANCE OF 4+ CARD SUPPORT:
It is important for responder to note what seat opener is in & the length of his support, if any. The LAW OF TOTAL TRICKS makes it imperative for responder to distinguish in his bidding if he has 3 or 4+ card support. That law says that if you have a 9-card trump suit, you are safe to compete to higher levels given a tad fewer combined points than usually required for a trump contract.

2] RESPONDING WITH 4+ CARD SUPPORT TO OPENER IN 1ST OR 2ND SEAT:
The STANDARD AMERICAN LIMIT-RAISE is a jump-raise showing 4-card support with 10-12 points. HOWEVER, using the BERGEN convention in responding to a 1st or 2nd seat opening is a better method of showing 4+ CARD SUPPORT across the complete spectrum of responder points & is described as follows:

With 4-6 points, a JUMP-RAISE is preemptive & no longer the STANDARD LIMIT-RAISE. (alertable)
Example: 1S -> 3S or 3H/1H or 1H\3H

With 7-9 points, a JUMP-SHIFT to 3D is a BERGEN SIMPLE-RAISE & a replacement for the STANDARD SIMPLE-RAISE. It is no longer the STANDARD WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT TO DIAMONDS. 1RF. (alertable)
Example: 1S -> 3D

With 10-12 points, a JUMP-SHIFT to 3C is a BERGEN LIMIT-RAISE serving to replace the STANDARD LIMIT-RAISE. It is no longer the STANDARD 3C-WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT. 1RF. (alertable)
Example: 1S -> 3C

With 13-15 points and a singleton/void is a suit, a DOUBLE-JUMP to the short suit is a SPLINTER RAISE.1RF.
Example: 1S -> 4H with singleton/void in hearts.

With 13-15 points and no singleton/void, ia GAME RAISE to the 4-level in opener's suit s an ACOL GAME RAISE.
Example: 1S -> 4S

At this point, one might ask, "What if I want to bid a WEAK-JUMP-SHIFT to 3C or 3D?". The answer to that is to use the LEBENSOHL-2NT-TO-3C-RELAY (alertable) and either "pass" with long clubs or bid 3D to which opener will "pass". Example: 1S ->2NT -> 3C -> 3D-> pass

3] RESPONDING WITH 3-CARD SUPPORT TO OPENER IN 1ST OR 2ND SEAT:
Before giving a supporting bid, responder should consider the following. With any 3-card supporting bid, it is most desirable that responder have a short suit on which his 3 trumps can be used. Otherwise, he should consider bidding No-Trump rather than supporting opener's suit. In addition, to a 1H opening, with only 3 hearts, but with 4 spades, responder must bid 1S. However, if responder decides to still immediately raise opener's major, here is how.

With 7-9 points, responder can give a direct STANDARD SIMPLE-RAISE of opener's suit to the 2-level
Example: 1H -> 2H

With 10-12 points. responder has a 3-CARD DELAYED-LIMIT-RAISE which he can show by first making a temporizing bid, such as 2C, followed by bidding opener's suit at the 3-level. However, against interference I recommend The LEBENSOHL-2NT-RELAY-TO-3C (alertable) be used as a temporizing bid before bidding the 3-CARD LIMIT-RAISE.
Example: 1S -> 2NT -> 3C -> 3S

4] RESPONDING TO 3RD/4TH SEAT OPENING:
If the opening is in 3rd or 4th seat, then opener may have as few as 10 points, where you have already limited your hand to less than 13 points. So in order to keep the bidding low, you bid as follows:
With less than 6 points, you "pass".

With 6-9 points & 3+ card support responder can bid 2H/1H or 2S/1S.

With 10-12 points, 2-WAY DRURY (alertable) is a "temporizing" response of 2C to show 3-card support, or 2D to show 4+ card support.
REGULAR DRURY (alertable) only uses 2C as a response regardless of 3 vs 4-card support length.

Otherwise, with no support & 6-12 points, you bid 1NT.

5] NON-FIT RESPONSES:

a] 1S/ 1H = Responder has 7+ points and at least 4 spades. 1RF. Or
1NT/ 1S = Responder has 7-9 points & not 4 spades.

b] 2C/ 1M or 2D/ 1M = 10+ points. 1RF.

c] 2H/ 1S = 10+ points & a 5+ card heart suit. 1RF.

d] 2S/ 1H = a WEAK JUMP SHIFT = 4-6 points & a 6+ card spade suit.

e] 2NT/ 1M = a LEBENSOHL RELAY to 3C (alertable). 1RF. The purpose here is to still allow responder to bid a minor suit weak jump where he can have 4-9 points & 6+ cards in a minor. (Requires opener to bid 3C.) If responder has long diamonds instead of long clubs, he can bid 3D and opener will "pass".

6] DETAILED EXPLANATION OF RESPONSES TO MAJOR SUIT OPENINGS AT THE 1-LEVEL.

7] For Opening Rebids Go To OPENER REBIDS.

8] For Countering Interference Go To OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES.

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


d. 2ND ROUND REBIDS AFTER SUIT OPENING AT 1-LEVEL.
1] OPENER REBIDS:
a] Without support, each consecutive rebid of his major suit opening shows an extra card in the suit. The first rebid of his minor suit opening shows a 6+ card suit, with each subsequent rebid showing an extra card.

NECESSARY LIES?:
It is a very old rule of bridge that if opener rebids his suit, then he has an extra card in that suit. But sometimes it is necessary to lie.

A problem can exist with the 13-15 point opening when opener begins in a major at the 1-level & responder makes a forcing bid at the 2-level. Opener, not having stoppers in what could be opponent's suit(s), will not want to bid 2NT. Nor has he enough points to bid to the 3-level. His only safe option is to rebid his 5-card suit at the 2-level.

A similar problem can exist for 16-18 point opening hands playing 2/1 where responder has given a 1NT FORCING bid with 6-12 points. If opener has only a 5-card suit & no lower ranking 4-card suit to jump in, he has a real problem. Having no clue as to the responder's real point range, he must proceed with caution. Something has to to give & it should not be his point range. The only apparent solution is to jump rebid his 5-card suit.

Perhaps we might consider a different solution. Given the opener has been been put in the position of not being able to bid another 4-card suit, might not the opener be allowed to bid a 3-card suit where he has a stopper? Certainly, there should be no problem if the stopper is in a lower ranking suit. But if the stopper is in a higher ranking suit, this could present more of a problem than simply rebidding the original 5-card suit.

b] ALL NON-JUMP & NON-THRESHOLD bids are MINIMUM REBIDS showing 13-15 points.

c] ALL JUMPS & THRESHOLD REVERSES are 16-18 points. Not forcing. Jumping on 2nd bid not allowed when responder has bid 1D over 1C.
d] VOLUNTARY NT THRESHOLD CROSS-OVER BIDS convey extra points. Example: 1S - 2H - 3C should have 16-18 points or equivalent shape value.
e] Opener's change of suits on 2nd bid is not forcing.

f] OPENER REBID MATRIX.

2] RESPONDER REBIDS after opener's rebid in response to 1-level suit opening.
a] VOLUNTARY NT THRESHOLD CROSS-OVER BIDS convey extra points. Example: 1S - 2H - 3C should have 16-18 points or equivalent shape value.
Generally speaking, responder should not crossover a possible bid in No-Trump to bid a new suit at or above the 2-level without at least 10 points. Nor should opener show a new suit at the 3-level without 16 or more points, unless responder has already bid at the 3-level.

b] A simple suit shift bid by responder indicates a stronger hand and is forcing 1 round.

c] NEW MINOR FORCING After opener rebids 1NT says responder has 5-card suit with 10+ points.
d] FOURTH SUIT FORCING generally asks opener to bid NT if he has stopper in that suit.

e] If responder bids a new suit & then jumps in that suit, it is game forcing.

3] Go To OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.

e. NO-TRUMP OPENINGS:
Openings in no-trump require balanced hands of 4-4-3-2 or 4-3-3-3.
They can also include those hands that are semi-balanced with a 5-card minor, ie. 5--3-3-2.

The 1NT OPENING = 16-18 points. SYSTEMS are on, meaning the artificial conventions can be used.
The 2C OPENING followed by 2NT = 19-21 points. SYSTEMS are on.
The 2NT OPENING = 22-24 points. SYSTEMS are on.

Today's players were not around before WEAK-2 openings were introduced & when a 1NT opening was 16-18 points & 2NT was 22-24 points. They are playing a 22-24 balanced hand is openned in a lower bid of 2C rather than 2NT. Meanwhile, the 20-21 point balanced hand is opened in a higher level bid of 2NT. TOTALLY BACKWARDS IN LOGIC.

In addition, they are playing 1NT = 15-17 points, where a sliver of 18-19 points is opened in a minor followed by a SLIVER BID jump to 2NT = 18-19 points. This is a totally useless convention, because opening a strong 18-19 point hand in a minor gives opponents an opportunity to contend. Furthemore, it destroys responder's ability to immediately transfer. Oh yes, they say they can use NEW MINOR FORCING to find their precious 5-3 fit, something more novice players are immediately exposed to & obssessed with to the exclusion of all else. Obviously, they do not care about keeping the strong hand hid & forcing a favorable lead from declarer's LHO. Plus, they ignore the fact that many times a 5-3 will not make 4 of a major, but will make 3NT.

For these reasons & that of uniformity, I require the balanced hand openings to be the old 16-18 points for 1NT and 22-24 points for 2NT. For the 19-21 point range, the 19-24 point 2C opening works.

RESPONSES:

1] BASIC CONVENTIONAL RESPONSES:
a] QUANTITATIVE RESPONSES are immediate jumps over 1NT & 2NT openings to 4NT, 5NT, 6NT or 7NT
based strictly upon the combined point count of the partnership, wherein:
4NT invites to 6NT, 5NT forces to 6NT, 6NT invites to 7NT.
Examples: 4NT/ 1NT, 5NT/ 1NT, 5NT/ 2NT... etc

Over 1NT, responder should have at least 15 points (15+18=33) With 15-16, 4NT/ 1NT = invites to 6NT
With 17-18, 5NT/ 1NT = forces to 6NT
With 19-20, 6NT/ 1NT = invites to 7NT
With 21+, 7NT/ 1NT = to play.

Over 2NT, responder should have at least 9 points (9+24 =33) With 9-10, 4NT/ 2NT = invites to 6NT
With 11-12, 5NT/ 2NT = forces to 6NT
With 13-14, 6NT/ 2NT = invites to 7NT
With 15+, 7NT/ 2NT = to play.

b] REGULAR STAYMAN RESPONSES are 2C over 1NT & 3C over 2NT. Responder must have 7+ points with at least one 4 card major to invite game. Asks opener for a 4-card major. Opener 2D denies. 2H says hearts & maybe spades. Opener 2S denies hearts. With 7-8 points responder can invite game.

Responder with 9+ point can force to game. If opener bids 2D and responder has 9+ points with 5 of one major and 4 of the other major, he can bid the 4-card major at the 3-level to invite opener to bid his 5-card major. (aka. SMOLEN)

c] TRANSFERS TO MAJORS, 2D/ 1NT & 3H/ 2NT transfers to spades. 2H/1NT & 3H/2NT transfers to spades.

2] SOME ADDITIONAL CONVENTIONS:
a] GARBAGE STAYMAN RESPONSES are 2C over 1NT. Responder must have 5-6 points with both 4 card majors. It asks opener for a 4-card major. Opener 2D denies. 2H says hearts & maybe spades. Opener 2S denies hearts. With fit responder can "pass". If opener bids 2D, responder can bid 2H to which opener will "pass" or bid 2S which responder which responder will "pass"
b] 3C or 3D are WEAK MINOR INVITES to 3NT over 1NT. The responder has what would be considered a preemptive minor suit with 2 of the top 3 honors and hopes opener has the other top honor with which opener can bid 3NT. Otherwise opener would "pass".
c] 3H-3S MARCUS MAJORS OVER 1NT shows 5-5 in majors where 3H invites opener to game in either major & 3S is game forcing to either major.
d] POST 2C STAYMAN 3H or 3S GAME FORCING SMOLEN TRANSFER. A "SMOLEN HAND" is one where responder has both majors only one is only 4-cards long & the other is 5 long. Because STAYMAN takes priority over TRANSFERS, responder will still want to show his 5 card major if opener has mo 4-card major & bids 2D. To do so, responder will bid his 4-card major at the 3-level as an after-the-fact transfer to his 5-card major after opener has bid a diamond denial.
Example: 1NT -> 2C -> 2D -> 3S TRANSFER -> 4H
The convention cannot be used when 2NT is opened due to PUPPET STATMAN responses,

e] PUPPET STAYMAN OVER 2NT OPENING. When opener has 22-24 points wuth a semi-balanced hand with a 5-card major,
he will probably still open 2NT.
If responder bids 3C STAYMAN/ 2NT, then opener's 3D bid says he has one 4-card major
3H or 3S bid says he has 5 of that suit.
3NT says he has no 4-card major.
4D says he has both 4-card majors.

f] TEXAS TRANSFER is a 4D transfer to 4H or a 4H transfer to 4S. Promises 6+ card suit.

g] 2S or 3S MINOR SUIT STAYMAN shows responder with a 2-suited hand in the minors.

3] SOME NEW SOLUTIONS:
a] LOW-LEVEL STAYMAN, aka, modified PUPPET STAYMAN. With a 5-card spade suit, opener rebids 2S/ 2C or 3S/ 3C.
With a 5-card heart suit,opener rebids 2NT/ 2C or 3NT/ 3C.
With a 4-card heart suit, opener rebids 2H/ 2C or 3H/ 3C.
With no 4-card heart suit, opener rebids 2D/ 2C or 3D/ 3C.

b] ROLLING TRANSFER TO CLUBS. To transfer to clubs, responder bids 2D/ 1NT or 3D/2 NT followed by 2S/ 2H or 3S/ 3H.
Example: 1NT - 2D (TRANSFER) - 2H - 2S (TRANSFER) - 3C

c] ROLLING TRANSFER TO DIAMONDS. To transfer to diamonds, responder bids 2H/ 1NT or 3H/ 2NT followed by 3C/ 2S or 4C/ 3S.
Example: 1NT - 2H (TRANSFER) - 2S - 3C (TRANSFER) - 3D

4] DETAILED RECAP OF NO TRUMP OPENINGS.


5] For Countering Interference Go To OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


f. The 2C OPENING is reduced to 19-24 points (promises 3 stoppers). For the 2C OPENING there is no reason to not isolate the point count to
19-24 points or a 4.5 loser non-game forcing hand.

IMPACT UPON SUIT OPENINGS AT THE 1-LEVEL: This means all 1-level suit opening bids are no greater than 18 points, with the exception of the 1C bid which may be 25+ points if not 12-18 points. Opener jump rebids, jump shifts, & strong reverse rebids will be limited to 16-18 points.

RESPONSES: At the higher bidding levels, QUICK TRICKS are more important than points. An Ace in one suit with a King in another is certainly more important at higher levels than two Queens and one King. Therefore, responder must give an EFFECTIVE POINT COUNT if he does not have 1.5 QUICK TRICKS as part of his points. Responder is advised to deduct 1 point if he does not have 1.5 QUICK TRICKS.

1] "PASS" response: Responder has 6+ clubs & not 1.5 QTs or 7+ points.

2] 2D response: The 2D WAITING response to 2C is worthless and replaced by one of the following:

a] OPTION 1- 2D NEGATIVE RESPONSE - Means responder has less than 1.5 QTs. The 2H bid shows responder has 3+ spades & 1.5+ QTs or 7+ points.
b] OPTION 2- 2D UP-THE-LINE RESPONSE - Means responder has spades & maybe hearts. The 2H bid shows a real 4+ card heart suit that denies spades.
The LEBENSOHL 2NT RELAY TO 3C is employed.

3] 2S response: Is transfer to 2NT. He does not have a 6-card suit, nor is he 5-5 in the minors.
4] 2NT response is 5-5 in minors.

5] 3C response is transfer to 3D. Responder must have 6 card suit.

6] 3D response is transfer to 3H. Responder must have 6 card suit.

7] 3H response is transfer to 3S. Responder must have 6 card suit.

8] 3S response is transfer to 4C. Responder must have 6 card suit & 1.5+ QT.

OPENER REBIDS: Assuming responder has not gotten in his way with a preemptive bid, if opener has a 6-card suit with 19-21 points, he can immediately bid it at the 3-level. If opener has a good quality 6-card suit with 22-24 points or a 7+ card suit, he can bid it at the 4-level.
OPENER RESTRICTION: Opener must not be allowed to use 4C or 4D as ace asking, because he may have a long minor to be bid at the 4-level.

Example: Opener is (1,2,2,8) with 19 pts. . . . Responder is (3,4,5,1) with 7 pts
2C -> 2H -> 3C -> 3NT -> 4C (Not asking. Responder is Captain)

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


g. The 2D COMBO OPENING 5-11 or 19-24 PTS:
A 19 point hand composed of a 4-4-4-1 holding is not conducive to opening either 2C or 2NT. Some people play 2D weak. Others play it as Mini Roman. Why not both? For the 2D OPENING there is no reason it cannot serve a dual purpose, ie, as a weak-2 opening & a strong 4-4-4-1 MINI-ROMAN hand. And because it must be forcing, the only real concern is opener winding up in 3D if he has a super weak hand. Where typically he could open with as few as 5 points, it is recommended that he be higher and nearer the 10 point limit. Either that, or he should have at least 2 of the top 3 honors with a QT in a side suit. I have developed a set of responses to enable this dual use which is more completely described in the following.

RESPONSES:

1] With a weak hand, RESPONDER MUST KEEP THE BIDDING GOING. A 2H response shows responder with a weak hand of 0-12 points.

OPENER WILL THEN TELL RESPONDER IF HE IS STRONG OR WEAK as follows:

a] If weak, opener will rebid 2NT, after which responder can bid 3D all passing. Example: 2D -> 2H -> 2NT -> 3D- > Pass
b] With a strong hand of 4-4-4-1, opener will rebid the suit just under his short suit or 3NT to show a long diamond suit.
Example: 2D -> 2H -> 2S (SHORT IN CLUBS)
When opener shows a strong hand, if responder has 6-12 points, he can force to game by bidding the opener's indicated short suit.

2] A 2NT response shows responder with a strong hand of 13+ points looking for game.

OPENER WILL THEN TELL RESPONDER IF HE IS STRONG OR WEAK.

a] If weak, opener with rebid according to their convention agreement,ie , showing FEATURES/CONTROLS, or OGUST, etc.
Example: 2D -> 2NT-> 3C (OGUST WEAK-WEAK)

b] With a strong 4-4-4-1 hand, opener must show his shortness as follows: 4C short in spades, 4D short in clubs, 4H short in diamonds & 4S short in hearts.
A 3NT rebid will show a long diamond suit.
Example: 2D -> 2NT -> 4C (SHORT IN SPADES)
The partnership may agree upon a different meaning for the 4-level bids,
as long as they don't bid their shortness.

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


C-3. COMPETITIVE BIDDING, DOUBLES, CONTENTION BIDDING & PREEMPTIVE OPENINGS:

Before getting into contention bidding, the following pertains to all players.

a. INTRODUCTION TO COMPETITIVE BIDDING:
The idea behind competitive bidding is to either win a makeable contract, or to force the opponent's to the next bid level where they might go set, or to make a sacrifice bid that should yield a cheaper score to the opponents than if you left their last bid in.

1] KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER ARE:
a] First of all, know WHO IS WHO. The "opener" is the opener and his partner is the "responder". The opener's opponents are the "contender" & "spoiler". Far too often, a player will say "I opened". No you did not. You overcalled.
b] POINT COUNT & POINT COUNT QUALITY. Who has what ACES & KINGS? The higher the level of your bid, the more you need aces & kings.
c] SHAPE is another big consideration, even against a no-trump contract. Against no trump the question must include "Do they have a long runable suit that enables them to make their bid?". Against a suit contract, the question must include "Do they have a 5-4 fit with mismatched side suits?".
d] SEATING POSITION is another big factor to consider. Is your partnership's strongest hand behind or in front of the opponents' strongest hand? Extra value can be given to the strongest hand that is sitting behind the opponent's strongest hand.
e] RELATIVE VULNERABILITY is a major consideration. Is the vulnerability favorable, unfavorable, or equal?

[1 RELATIVE VULNERABILITY & GAME LEVEL SACRIFICES: GAME SACRIFICES are more reasonable than PARTIAL sacrifices, because the opponents stand to gain 300 bonus points not vul & 500 bonus points vul. When played against the scores for penalty contracts going down, it is possible to effectively deny the opponents those bonus points by bidding a contract you expect to go down in & doubled by the opponents. The question becomes one of how much you can afford to go down doubled. And RELATIVE VULNERABILITY plays a big role in identifying the answer.

As a general guide-line, if the vulnerability is favorable, then you can afford to go down 3. If the vulnerability is unfavorable, then you can only afford to go down 1. If equal, you can go down 2. Without making this distinction in vulnerability, people usually take the average of down 2. But I believe the really good experts will consider the relative vulnerability.

[2 RELATIVE VULNERABILITY & PARTIAL LEVEL SACRIFICES: As with game sacrifices, partial sacrifices require the same logic. Only the bonus to be denied opponents is a mere 50 points. So trying to sacrifice based upon bonus point denial alone is a futile effort. However, a 3-level sacrifice over a 2-level bid expecting to go down no more than 1 doubled & not vul is a reasonable sacrifice. Hence the saying, "1 & 3 let it be...". But a DOUBLE FOR PENALTY of a 2-level bid is PURE FOLLY, said double being better utilized for conveying information to partner.
2] SOME OLD GUIDELINES:
a] "When they bid 1 or 3, let it be. But it will never do to let them be in 2". Do not chase them into a game or slam contract.
b] "Do not double them for penalties into a game contract". Doubles for penalty of 2H or 2S are especially troubling.
Doubles of 3-level contracts must be COOPERATIVE FOR PENALTY.
DO NOT lose sight of the fact that every overtrick they make doubled not vul is worth 100 points, where doubled & vul is worth 200 points against you.
DO NOT lose sight of the fact that down 2 doubled & not vul is worth 300 points, & where down 1 doubled & vul is 200 points against you.

c] Make your sacrifice or penalty COOPERATIVE. Don't cut your partner out. If your partner still has a bid, then give him a chance to decide.
d] "In responding to a take-out double, the weaker your hand, the more you must bid".
e] "If you like the double, don't redouble".

3] Is Partner SACRIFICING, COMPETING, OR INTERESTED IN GAME? When a suit agreement has been reached at the 2-level and then when partner rebids it at the 3-level, more than likely he is not interested in game. If he is interested in game, he will give a MAXIMAL DOUBLE.
4] SOS REDOUBLES: You have a wild partner who has fallen in love with their hand and can't stop bidding. They wind up in a high level bid doubled, & you don't like it. SOS REDOUBLE tells partner to bid something different.

b. INTRODUCTION TO DOUBLES & CONTENDER BIDS:

c. CONTENDER DOUBLES & OVERCALLS: The contender should note in particular:

- His bidding position. Is he behind or in front of the strong opponent hand?

- His hand's strength relative to the current bid-level. Has he points for the bid-level?

- His hand's shape in choosing an overcall. Is he balanced, 1-suited, 2-suited? I should mention that there are several 2-suited contention bids, including:

MICHAELS/ 1@ - shows holding the top two unbid suits.
TOP & BOTTOM/ 1@ - shows holding the top & bottom unbid suits.
UNUSUAL NO TRUMP/ 1@ - shows holding the two bottom unbid suits.
HAMILTON aka CAPPELLETTI/ 1NT - shows holding both majors or a major & minor.
DONT/ 1NT - shows holding the suit that is bid plus one higher ranking.

- Is he contending against a suit or no-trump opening?

- What is the relative vulnerability, favorable, unfavorable, or equal?

These are all questions he should answer before passing or bidding.
If he does choose to bid, here are a few choices:

Many defensive players make the big mistake of thinking themselves as opening. This
cannot be any farther from the truth. The fact is there is a whole contention system.
In the following I enumerate the rich repertoire of defensive bids available to the
non-opening partnership.

1] CONTENDER TAKEOUT-DOUBLE: At the 2-level or below, it is forcing if spoiler's right hand opponent passes. But at the 3-level, it is "COOPERATIVE", meaning spoiler can "pass" if he thinks he can defeat the opponents' contract.

Speaking of bid-level, it is expected that "doubles" of 3-level bids contain at least 16 points. And "Doubles" of 2-level opening bids have already been described. No matter, the contender must be careful of not forcing the spoiler too high.

The Take-Out Double is one of the most common contention bids made. At the 1-level, many people will play it highly disciplined, meaning that the doubler will have 4+cards in the high ranking unbid majors. Others play it "OFF SHAPE", meaning they promise opening hand & say nothing about the high ranking unbid suits. I recommend playing it "semi-disciplined" promising one unbid 4-card major or a strong hand. But in addition, I suggest that the TAKE-OUT DOUBLE FOLLOWED BY A CUE-BID be used to express a 2-suited hand with 5-5 in the highest unbid, thereby allowing the IMMEDIATE CUE-BID in opponent's suit to be a TOP-&-BOTTOM 2 suited hand.

a] With 16+ points, regardless of shape, contender should first "double" then rebid.
b] With 13-15 points & a 4-card major & no 6-card suit, contender should "double".
c] With a 2-suited hand in the highest unbid I suggest a "double" followed by a CUE-BID.
d] Otherwise, refer to the Light 1NT Overcall with 13-15 points & no 4+ card major,

2] LIGHT 1NT OVERCALL of 13-15 points with balanced hand & no unbid 4+card major or 6+card minor.

The intent of this bid is to avoid making an OFF-SHAPE TAKE-OUT DOUBLE. When sitting behind the strong opponent hand, there is an added advantage to be capitalized on.

3] SINGLE-SUIT SIMPLE OVERCALL. A Simple Non-Jump overcall at the 1-level should have a 5+card suit & 10-15 points.
A Simple Non-Jump overcall at the 2-level should have a 5+card suit & 13-15 points.
For stronger hands use the TAKE-OUT DOUBLE.

4] SINGLE-SUIT WEAK-JUMP OVERCALL. (Not the same as a responder WeakJump Shift)
A Weak Jump overcall in a new suit is basically the same as a Weak-2 opening. it should have a 6+ card suit and 5-11 points appropriate to the bid level & relative vulnerability. If at the 3-level, it should have 7+ cards in the suit or be in the higher point range with a 6-card suit. And because it is an early sacrifice bid, with unfavorable vulnerability the point count should be in the higher point range. Additionally, it is preferable to have 2 of the top 3 honors in the long suit.

5] MICHAELS IMMEDIATE TAKE-OUT DOUBLE FOLLOWED BY CUE-BID: (6-11 pts) The contender has a 2-suited hand in the highest ranking unbid suits.
If the bid is passed by opponents, spoiler must bid one of the two suits.

6] TOP & BOTTOM IMMEDIATE CUE-BID IN OPPONENT'S SUIT. The contender is 2-suited in the highest & lowest ranking unbid suits.
7] UNUSUAL 2NT FORCING. (Must be 5-5, not 5-4 ) ( 6-11) (6-6 bid 4NT) The contender is 2-suited in either the minors or the 2 two lowest unbid suits. Normally, it should be the two lowest unbid suits. If the bid is passed by opponents, spoiler must bid one of the two suits.
8] HAMILTON OVERCALL to a 1NT Opening. 2C says contender has just one long suit.
If the bid is passed by opponents, spoiler must bid 2D to let contender bid his suit.
2D says contender has both majors.
If the bid is passed by opponents, spoiler must bid one of the two suits.
2H says contender has hearts & a minor.
2S says contender has spades & a minor.
2NT says contender has both minors.

If the bid is passed by opponents, spoiler must bid one of the two suits.

9] DONT (DISTURB OPPONENT'S NO TRUMP) OVERCALL to a 1NT Opening. What ever suit is bid at the 2-level, contender has that suit and one higher.

d. SPOILER BIDS:
1] SPOILER RESPONSES TO THE TAKE-OUT DOUBLE: The takeout double demands spoiler to bid should his right hand opponent "pass". Spoiler must heed when he is forced to bid as opposed to being "off-the-hook" because his right hand opponent bid. If spoiler bids after his right hand opponent has bid, then spoiler's bid via a "FREE BID" promising at least 6 points at the 1-level & 10+ points at the 2-level. However, if the "double" was of a 2NT bid or higher, then spoiler has the option of leaving the doubled bid in if he thinks he can set the contract. But a general guideline says that the weaker the spoiler's hand, the more he should make a bid.

With respect to bid level, If the "double" is of a 2-level contract, spoiler will treat the bid as if opponents had opened a WEAK-2. (Refer to WEAK-2 OPENINGS).
EXAMPLE: 1H -> pass -> 2H -> DOUBLE -> pass -> LEBENSOHL

Otherwise, over 1-level bids use the following:

a] With 10+ points & no 5+ card suit, spoiler should cue-bid in opponent's suit. But with a 5+ card suit, spoiler should jump in his suit.

b] With under 10 points, if spoiler is forced to bid, he should do so without jumping.

c] LITTLE BIG FOOT (optional). A non-jump, non-cued response is weak showing only 0-9 points. But 0-9 points is a big spread. Therefore, this helps to break up a weak response into 0-5 points as opposed to 7-9 points. If spoiler bids the next suit up, then he is weak. Any suit above that without jumping is 7-9 points

2] SPOILER RESPONSIVE-DOUBLES/REDOUBLES: When spoiler's right hand opponent bids, then spoiler can "double" or "redouble". Typically, the meaning is that spoiler has some points and an unbid 4-card major. So it is very similar to the responder's negative double. Sometimes, contender will give a Take-Out Double, the opponent will bid, and spoiler will "double" to confirm 4-card support for contender's presumed suit. Whether or not this a good practice remains to be seen, because why not just bid contender's indicated suit. But a weaker spoiler's hand might want to assure that contender be declarer.
3] SPOILER RESPONSES TO PARTNER'S SIMPLE OVERCALL: With just 3-card support & 7-9 points, spoiler can simple raise the overcaller's suit to the 2-level. With 3-card support & 10-12 points, spoiler can give a CUE BID in opponent's suit.

But with 4-card support, it can become even more encouraging to try for game, because the partnership is assured of having at least 9 trump. Normally, a LIMIT-RAISE to the 3-level is used. But it might be beneficial to use BERGEN Raises, even though contender may have only 10 points. If the overcall is in a major at the 1-level or 2-level, then the BERGEN 3C LIMIT-RAISE & the 3D SIMPLE RAISE would be the same as if the contender had opened in 1H or 1S.

If the overcall is in diamonds at the 1-level or 2-level, then a spoiler's bid of 3C could still be a LIMIT-RAISE, & 3D would still be 7-9 points, both promising 4+ card support. But if the overcall is 2C, then obviously BERGEN cannot be used. In this event, the CUE BID in opponent's suit at the 2-level would be a LIMIT-RAISE not restricted to just 3-card support, & the bid of 3C would be 7-9 points with preferably 4-card support.

e. WEAK OPENING PREEMPTS.
1] The Weak Opening Preempt is effectively a defensive opening bid & similar in
all respects to the contender Weak-Jump Overcall. For this reason it is grouped
here as a "contention" bid.

2] DETAILED RECAP:

3] CONTENDING AGAINST A WEAK-2 OPENING: To be clear on terminology:
The OVERCALLER or DOUBLER of an opening WEAK-2 bid is called the "CONTENDER".
The partner of the contender is called the "SPOILER" or "ADVANCER".

If the contender is sitting behind the opener, he should have a 16+ point hand. But if he is sitting in front of the opener, then he can have a less points. This point count can be modfied up or down depending upon whether or not his call might force partner to the 3-level. If he doubles 2S, he should have a stronger hand, because he forces partner to the 3-level.

a] SIMPLE OVERCALLS:
[1 Some DO NOTS:
[a Contender should not DOUBLE with a 5+ card suit,
UNLESS HE HAS BOTH UNBID MAJORS.
Or
UNLESS HE HAS 16+ POINTS.

[b Contender should not preempt over a weak-2.

[2 Contender can:
[a SIMPLE OVERCALL at the 2-level to show 13-15 points & a higher ranking 5+ card suit.
EXAMPLES:
2H/2D = 13-15 pts. 5+ hearts. Has not both majors.
2S/2D = 13-15 pts. 5+ spades. No 4-card heart suit.
2S/2H = 13-15 pts. 5+ spades.

[b SIMPLE OVERCALL at the 3-level to show 16-18 points & a lower ranking 5+ card suit
EXAMPLES:
3C/2D = 16-18 pts. 5+ clubs. No 4-card major suit.
3D/2H = 16-18 pts. 5+ diamonds. No 4-card spade suit.
3H/2S = 16-18 pts. 5+ hearts.

[c CUE BID in opponents suit to show 22+ points.
[d 2NT with Systems On to show 16-21 points & a balanced hand with stopper.
[e DOUBLE to show 14+ points with both unbid majors.
16+ points regardless of hand shape.

Contender's double implies that he does not have a 5-card suit to overcall in, although he may have a 5+ card suit with a 16+ point count. Furthermore it implies he does not have openers suit stopped, in which case he might bid 2NT. So generally speaking, he probably is looking for a 4-4 fit in another suit which means STAYMAN and possibly MINOR SUIT STAYMAN should be in spoiler's tool chest.

In response to the DOUBLE, Spoiler will use LEBENSOHL.

b] SPOILER'S LEBENSOHL 2NT RELAY TO 3C IN RESPONDING TO CONTENDER'S "DOUBLE".
LEBENSOHL RESPONSES TO WEAK-2 DOUBLED

Less than 7 pts.
----------------------
.......2H / 2D = 4+ Hearts TO PLAY.
.......2S / 2D = 4+ Spades TO PLAY.
.......2S / 2H = 4+ Spades TO PLAY.

.......RELAY
.......2N / 2D ---.
.......2N / 2H ---.|
.......2N / 2S --- |
. . . . . . . . . . . . .|
. . . . . . . . . . . . .v
. . . . . . . . . . . . .PASS / 3C = 4+ Clubs TO PLAY.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .3D / 2D = STAYMAN Both Majors.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .3D / 2H = 4+ Diamonds TO PLAY.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .3D / 2S = 4+ Diamonds TO PLAY.

7+ pts. INVITE.
----------------------
.......3C / 2D = STAYMAN.
.......3C / 2H = TRANSFER TO 3D
.......3C / 2S = TRANSFER TO 3D

7-10 pts. INVITE.
----------------------

.......3D / 2D = TRANSFER TO 3H
.......3D / 2H = TRANSFER TO 3S
.......3D / 2S = TRANSFER TO 3H

11+ pts. GF.
-----------------------
.......3H / 2D = 5+ Hearts.
.......3H / 2H = STAYMAN.
.......3H / 2S = 5+ Hearts.

.......3S / 2D = 5+ Spades.
.......3S / 2H = 5+ Spades.
.......3S / 2s = STAYMAN.

.......3NT / 2D = Stopper in Diamnds.
.......3NT / 2H = Stopper in Hearts.
.......3NT / 2S = Stopper in Spades.


c] LEAPiNG-MICHAELS is used to counter a WEAK-2 opening in a major. It is a 2-suited hand that jumps to one of the minors at the 4-level & says:
4C = I have clubs & the other major.
4D = I have diamonds & the other major.

Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


C-4. OPENING PAIR COUNTER-MEASURES:

Unless he is 2-suited or has one long suit that he can keep rebidding, there is very little opener can do on his own to bid against opponents without responder's help. Therefore, what immediately follows focuses upon contention before responder has bid. However, the last sub-section (f.) attempts to address opener's countering his right hand opponent's bidding.

a. RESPONDER RAISING OPENER'S MAJOR SUIT:
One of the key principles to effective bidding is that of FAST ARRIVAL. FAST ARRIVAL says that once you have found a fit with partner, do not screw around bidding other suits unless you have interest in NO-TRUMP. Therefore, when partner has opened a major in other than 3rd seat, if you can support that major at all, then raise it regardless of interference. However, when opener is in 3rd seat, for responder with less than 10 points or no 4+ card support, a "pass" is recommended depending on bid level, because opener may have opened light. Yet opener will still have another chance to describe his strength. When ever responder bids over a contender, it is a "FREE BID".

1] Responder BERGEN RAISES are a great defense against interference. Excluding 3-level preempts, they are very resistant to most anything the opponents bid. With 4+card support, any overcall below 2NT will not get in your way of supporting partner immediately . With 7-9 points your bid is 3D. With 10-12 points your bid is 3C. With 4-6 points your bid is 3 of opener's suit.
2] Responder's SIMPLE RAISE shows only 3-card support with 7-9 points.

3] But what about a 3-CARD LIMIT-RAISE with 10-12 points? This is where LEBENSOHL comes in. First you bid 2NT to force opener to bid 3C. Then you bid opener's suit at the 3-level.
EXAMPLE: 1S -> 2H -> 2NT -> P -> 3C -> P -> 3S

Many people will argue that you should give a CUE-BID in opponent's suit to show a 3-card limit-raise. The result is they wind up confusing their bidding with a WESTERN-CUE bid which has an entirely different meaning.

4] WEAK-MINOR-JUMP-SHIFTS. I have found the LEBENSOHL-2NT-RELAY to be very useful for making a 3-level weak jump shift to the minors when playing Bergen Raises. In playing Bergen Raises, responder has no ability to do a weak-jump-shift to a minor, because 3C & 3D are Bergen Raises. So how can we give responder back that ability? The answer is Lebensohl. Lebensohl is useful in preempting to a minor suit at the 3-level over partner's major suit opening, regardless of contention below the 3-level. The 2NT RELAY forces opener to bid 3C. Responder can then "pass" if he has clubs, or he could bid 3D to which opener would "pass". In either case, responder should have a 6+ card suit with 7-9 points.
EXAMPLE: 1S -> 2H -> 2NT RELAY TO 3C -> P -> 3D -> all passing

b. THE GENERAL PURPOSE LEBENSOHL COUNTER-MEASURE. WHAT IS IT?
LEBENSOHL is a bid of 2NT that forces partner to bid 3C, followed by responder's bid to clarify point count. It is a counter-measure that is generally used to reply to partner's double of a weak-2 opening and to compete against opponents who have overcalled partner's 1NT opening. But I have found it to be extremely useful in a variety of other situations, including countering an intervening opponent's bid over partner's major suit opening at the 1-level. So the LEBENSOHL-2NT-RELAY to 3C is a portal to many other bids.

c. OTHER COUNTER-MEASURES TO INTERFERENCE OVER A SUIT OPENING AT THE 1-LEVEL:
1] WHEN CONTENDER HAS GIVEN A TAKE-OUT DOUBLE:
a] Responder's REDOUBLE of opponent's TAKE-OUT DOUBLE: The TAKE-OUT DOUBLE provides the opportunity to REDOUBLE. To do so requires 10+ points & no fit with partner's suit.
b] Responder's RAISE of opener's suit. (Previously discussed)

c] Responder's SIMPLE BID of a NEW SUIT. The take-out double can be ignored & responder's bid is considered normal. If responder has no good support for opener, but has a 5+ card suit of his own:
With only 6+ points, responder can bid it at the 1-level.
But to bid it the 2-level requires 10+ points.
In either case it is forcing. So he should not bid it at the 3-level with less than 12 points.

d] Responder's JUMP BID IN A NEW SUIT. The take-out double can be ignored & responder's bid is considered normal. His bid is considered to be s Weak Jump Shift to be passed by opener.
e] Responder's JUMP BID IN NO-TRUMP. The take-out double can be ignored & responder's bid is considered normal, showing a protected stopper in contender's indicated suit(s).

2] WHEN CONTENDER HAS MADE A SIMPLE OVERCALL IN A SUIT:
a] Responder's NEGATIVE DOUBLE of opponent's suit bid: When the opponent intervenes with a SIMPLE OVERCALL OR WEAK JUMP OVERCALL, then a new bid is afforded the responder, ie, the RESPONDER'S NEGATIVE DOUBLE. The Negative Double is forcing. Because the Negative Double is forcing, responder must not force his partner to above the 1-level unless he has 10+ points.
1S -> 2C -> DOUBLE says responder has 4 hearts & 10+ points.
1H -> 2C -> DOUBLE says responder has 4-5 spades & 10+ points.
Responder's Negative Double of a 1-level overcall should say he has at least 6 points & probably an unbid 4-card major.
1C -> 1H -> DOUBLE says responder has 4 spades & 6+ points.
But with an unbid 5+ card major & no other 4-card major, responder will simply bid it at the 1-level if he can.
1C -> 1H -> 1S says responder has 5+ spades & 6+ points.
With only 6 points & 5 spades & 4 hearts, if the bidding goes 1D/1C, then responder should "DOUBLE", because he cant bid 2H at the 2-level. If both majors have already been bid, as in 1S/1H, then the Negative Double says responder has both minor suits.
1H -> 1S -> DOUBLE says responder has both unbid minors & 6+ points.
1S -> 2H -> DOUBLE says you have both unbid minors & 10+ points.

b] Responder's RAISE of opener's suit. (Previously discussed) However, a cue bid in contender's suit indicates a 10-12 point hand with 3 trump.
c] Responder's SIMPLE BID of a NEW SUIT. Contender's bid can be ignored & responder's bid is considered normal.
d] Responder's JUMP BID IN A NEW SUIT. Contender's bid can be ignored & responder's bid is considered normal. His bid is considered to be s Weak Jump Shift to be passed by opener.
e] Responder's JUMP BID IN NO-TRUMP. Contender's bid can be ignored & responder's bid is considered normal, showing a protected stopper in contender's indicated suit(s).

3] WHEN CONTENDER HAS MADE A WEAK JUMP OVERCALL IN A SUIT: Verses the opponent's 3-level Weak Jump Overcall, there is very little left to counter the obstruction. It should be noted that a 2-level Weak Jump Overcall can still be countered using Bergen & Lebensohl. But a 3C/1D,1H,1S or 3D/1H,1S or 3H/1S Weak Jump Overcall is impossible to counter via Bergen or Lebensohl or a 4-level cue bid. Responder is left with only the basic tools. Any new suit response should contain 10+ points & not exceed partner's suit unless responder has 13+ points. 3NT would have to promise a protected control in opponent's suit. And A Negative Double would normally show 10+ points with holdings in the other unbid suits.

An optional use of the Negative Double might be to use it in support of opener's suit when the intervening bid is at the 3-level. Consider the situation when partner opens 1S & opponent overcalls 3H. If you have 10 points with 4+ spades & you bid 3S, opener with 15 points might "pass" you, thereby missing a game. So the use of a double might come in handy here. Normally a "double" would indicate having 10+ points with holding in the minor suits. Opener would be required to bid 3S or a 4-level minor, depending on points, after which you would either "pass" 3S or correct to 4S. MAXIMAL DOUBLES are usually issued by opener after responder has given a simple raise of his suit & opponents intervene. But this might be considered a RESPONDER MAXIMAL DOUBLE.

4] COUNTERING CONTENDER'S MICHAELS OR UNUSUAL 2NT OVERCALL: These opponent bids are at the 2-level, 2-suited & very specific regarding their suits. Since the bid is forcing upon the spoiler, responder might do well to first "pass" to glean any information about the opponent's hand before proceeding to bid on.

a] MICHAELS is a cue bid in the opener's suit at the 2-level indicating a 2-suited hand in the highest ranking unbid suits. But there are those who play a CUE BID different from normal MICHAELS. So always ask the opponents what their CUE BID means. In countering MICHAELS, the COUNTER-MEASURES described for 1-suited overcalls can be employed, including Lebensohl.
b] The UNUSUAL 2NT overcall shows either 2-suited in the minors or 2-suited in the lowest unbid. Because the UNUSUAL 2NT overcall gets in the way of Lebensohl, a responder "DOUBLE" of 2NT should be a stolen suit bid prompting opener to bid 3C. If you bid a suit explicitly targeted by the contender, then your bid is a WESTERN-CUE bid.

Example: 1S -> 2NT -> 3D asks for a diamond stopper to bid 3NT.

Example: 1H -> 2H -> 2S asks for a spade stopper to bid 2NT.

If you NEGATIVE DOUBLE the opponent's bid, then you should have the other untargeted suits with questionable support for opener.

5] Responder WESTERN-CUE BID. This is a CUE BID in opponent's suit & is FORCING promising 10+ points. The intent is to tell opener that responder has stops in the unbid suits & is asking opener to bid NO-TRUMP if he has a stop in opponent's suit.

d. COUNTER-MEASURES TO NT INTERFERENCE:
The first thing for the partner's to do is ascertain the meaning of the interference, especially the suit overcalls for which there is a vast variety of meanings. The basic question is "IS THE OVERCALL NATURAL OR 2-SUITED?". If it is natural, then your "DOUBLE" will be a STOLEN-SUIT DOUBLE, meaning that it is the suit you would have bid & more than likely as a simple transfer. But if opponent's bid is 2-suited, then your "DOUBLE" may become a stopper in what would otherwise be a suit to transfer to.

1] STOLEN SUIT DOUBLES over natural interference says responder would have bid what opponent had bid.
2] NEGATIVE DOUBLES over 2-suited system interference show the unindicated suits.

3] LEBENSOHL-2NT-RELAY TO 3C COUNTER-MEASURES: (Refer to e.)

e. CONSOLIDATED COUNTER-MEASURES & LEBENSOHL-2NT RELAY TABLE .

f. WHEN CONTENTION COMES FROM OPENER'S RIGHT HAND OPPONENT:
It can be rare that given a bidding sequence where opener's 2nd seat LHO passes & his 4th seat RHO bids over an unpassed responder. But it can happen with the Take Out Double being a common weapon and easy to defend against. And a 4th seat Simple Overcall can also be one of the easier bids to counter. But when it comes to countering a Weak Jump Overcall or one of the 2-suited bids, or 4th seat raises of 2nd seat's bids, things become a lot more difficult.

For this reason. I advance the use of Inverted Bergen Raises and the Lebensohl 2NT Relay To 3C as counter-measures to these more nasty situations. The following tries to cover some of the easier scenarios where responder's LHO has bid.

1] If responder has bid 1D/1C or made a Weak Jump Shift or gave a Weak Jump Bergen Raise (e: 1H -> 1S -> 3H), then opener should "pass" .
2] If responder passed, then if opener has 16-18 points or a 6+ card rebiddable suit or opener has 5 spades with a viable lower ranked suit, then opener should bid no higher than the 2-level.
3] If responder has raised opener's suit without it being preemptive, then opener's "double" or "redouble" forces to game.
4] If responder bid a new suit at the 1-level over 2nd seat's bid, then responder has a 5+ card suit in which case with only 3-card support opener might consider NT rather than showing support. But if 2nd seat did not bid, then responder's suit could be a 4-card suit, in which case the following applies:

[a With 3-card support for partner, opener should "double" or "redouble"

[b With 4+ card support &:
13-15 points, opener should simple raise partner's suit.
16-18 points, opener should jump raise his suit.

[c With no support for partner, but with:
13-15 points & a 6+card suit, opener should rebid it.
13-15 points & 5 spades & a 2nd suit, bid 2nd suit.
16-18 points, opener should bid as cheap as possible.
Otherwise opener should "pass" to let responder rebid.

5] If responder has "doubled" 2nd seat's 1-level suit bid , then opener should be checking his hand for any unbid 4-card major.
6] If responder has bid a Non-Forcing 1NT, opener should only bid again if he has 16-18 points or a long 6+ card suit.
7] If responder bid a Lebensohl 2NT Relay, then opener is obligated to bid 3C if he is able & regardless of any intervention.
8] If opponent made a simple overcall, then:
a] If responder had not bid, opener's "double" is a reopening double demanding a bid from partner.
b] Making an OPENER'S CUE BID in RHO's suit would not happen unless responder had made a positive bid & opener had 16-18 points. The opener's cue bid would be WESTERN-CUE asking responder to bid No-Trump with a stopper.

g. COUNTERING CONTENDER'S 3-LEVEL PREEMPT:

h. COUNTERING OPPONENT'S 4-LEVEL BID:

i. SACRIFICES: (Refer to C-3.a.1].e]) SACRIFICING.
Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


C-5. ACE ASKING CONVENTIONS:

a. REJECTED MINOR (4C OR 4D) ACE ASKING (aka MINOR-WOOD).
These are 4C or 4D ace asking bids using the least desirable minor suit. This makes it possible to keep the bidding lower while targeting slam in a No-Trump or any suit, especially a minor suit. How would you ask for kings in targeting a 7C contract using 4N Blackwood? There is no reason not to use 4C or 4D in asking for aces, which ever is the least desirable by the CAPTAIN and even in pursuing a suit contract. Only the captain should ask for aces. The purpose is to keep the bidding low. Partnership may agree upon any convention to show ace count.

Example: 1NT - 4D (ace asking not liking diamonds) - 4S (1 ace) - 5C (sign off)


Back To TABLE OF CONTENTS.


C-6. USELESS CONVENTIONS:

a. A 15-17 point 1NT opening, a 20-21 point 2NT opening, & a 18-19 point balanced hand 1C opening
followed by a 2NT "SLIVER" bid which destroys the use of SYSTEMS is complete nonsense, due
to unnecessary bickering over 1 point. Return to the original Goren System.
b. JACOBY 2NT with 13-15 points. Who made you captain? You should have 16+ high card points.
Use ACOL GAME LIMIT-RAISE. Let opener decide whether slam is possible.
c. OPENING 4-CARD MAJORS. I guess you just like consuming bidding room before finding a fit.
d. PUPPET STAYMAN over 1NT. Hey, just open your 5-card major as usual then jump to 2NT.
e. FLANERY. Why are you taking up so much bidding room just to avoid a reverse?
What's the matter? You afraid to play 1NT if partner has no fit?
f. 19-21 point JUMP SHIFTS and/or REVERSES. With 19-24 point 2C opening, no need.
g. 2D WAITING response to 2C opening. "Car 54 where are you". "Hellooo".
h. JORDAN. If you play BERGEN over interference, you don't need JORDAN.
i. GAME RAISE PREEMPTS. So if you play BERGEN, Why do you need another preempt?
j. CONVENIENT MINOR & 4-card 1D openings. If you play 5-card openings, you will have better
protection when partner is bust.
k. SPIRAL
l. CRISS-CROSS

These conventions are considered to be unnecessary, confusing & consuming of
bid space that can be better utilized.



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