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Question
I have been overcalling one bids on the following basis:

-with 7-17 points and 5 cards in a suit which contains 2 honours, I overcall at the one level.
-with Opening points and 1 6-card suit, I overcall at 2 level
-with 6-10 points, 6 card suit of 2 honours, I Jump Overcall to 2 level
-with 6-10 points, 7 card suit of 2 honours, I Jump Overcall to 3 level
-with 6-10 points, 8 card suit of 2 honours, I Jump Overcall to 4 level
-with 13-16 points, 5 cards and 2 honours, I would overcall to 1 level
-with 17-18 points, 5 cards and 2 honours, I would overcall to 2 level
-with 19-21 points, 5 cards and 2 honours, I would overcall to 3 level
-with 22-24 points, 5 cards and 2 honours, I would overcall to 4 level

I have been responding to overecalls at the one level by my partner as follows:

I raise by - one with 6-10 points and 3 card support
         - two with 6-10 points, 4 card support
         - three with 6-10 points, 5 card support

If partner overcalls at the two level: -and I have 6-10 points and
3 card support, I raise by one to 3 level
         -and I have 11-12 points and 3 card support, I raise by two to 4 level or bid a new suit at 2 level or bid 2 NT
         -and I have 13 points, I bid to game

I have not experienced some of the above bidding that I say I would do, but I'm trying to lay down a sound basis for overcalling and responding and would appreciate your advice and views.  I find some difference of opinion on what should be done in some overcalls and responses and would like your experience in this regard.  Many thanks.

Stewart Fluney

Answer
Hi,

The first statement is a reasonable criterion for a one level overcall.

The second statement is reasonable although with something like 9 or 10 points you might consider just making a simple one level overcall. Jump overcalls tend to show hands with most of your strength in your long suit and not much else outside. However, if your hand contains an outside Ace or even a king-queen combination a jump overcall might be somewhat misleading and a simple overcall would be preferable.

The third and fourth statements are reasonable.

I have no idea what the next four statements mean. You overcall at the one level with 7-17 points. It is not necessary to have 13-16. To overcall at the two level you should have 12-17 and a good six card suit or, occasionally a very good 5 card suit with 3 of the top 4 honors. With more than 17 points you generally do not overcall but instead begin with a takeout double.

Raising overcalls by partner by one level with 6-10 and three card support is fine. With four card support you can raise by two levels if you have an outside singleton or void but with a balanced hand it might be best just to raise one level. With five card support you can raise a major suit overcall to game.

If you have support for partner and 11 or more points it is usually best to start by making a cue bid. So if the auction proceeds 1D by opponent, 1S by partner and you have 3 card or better support and 11 or more points you should cue bid 2D. Similarly over 1S-2H by partner, with 3 or more hearts and 11 or more points you should cuebid 2S.

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I can answer questions on bidding and on cardplay with the caveat that the former may necessarily involve some subjectivity. I have been playing tournament bridge for over 20 years and I have won several regional tournaments.

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