Bridge & other card games/Bridge

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Question
I understand responder must have 13 points (max. hand) to respond 2 NT (jump bid) to an opening bid of 1 S but does opener only require a medium hand of 17-18 points to jump bid 2 NT after an opening of 1 H and a response of 1 S?

It also appears opener can go up from 1 NT to 2 NT to 3 NT in 2nd round bidding with 13-16, 17-18 and 19-21 points respectively, but responder must go from 1 NT with 6-10 points (min. hand) to 2 NT with 13-16 points (max. hand).  Is there no medium hand for responder in NT; i.e., no occasion where the bidding for responder would be 2 NT with 11-12 points?

I would also appreciate your comment on the web page http://www.bridge7.com/xbric3.aspx wherein sections 3.1.3 and 3.1.4 dealing with responses only require 11-12 points for a 2 NT response.  This appears to refute that 13 points are required but perhaps I have misunderstood.  In any event, I would appreciate your advice and clarification.

Many thanks.

Stewart Fluney

Answer
Hi,

In the Standard American bidding system a 2NT response is considered to be forcing to game. Therefore the responder needs to have at least 13 high card points to force to game in notrump opposite what may be a minimum opening bid.

A rebid of 2NT by opening bidder is only invitational to game. Therefore only 17 high card points are required since responder can pass 2NT.  17 points is the amount that is considered to give declarer a reasonable chance to succeed in a 2NT contract even when the responder has only 6 points. Usually with a balanced 15-17 opener will open 1NT so a 2NT rebid will more often than not show 18 points.

The Standard American bidding system has been around for quite some time and is what is taught to new players. However, over the years, there have been a number of changes suggested to improve the system in order to try to make the bidding more efficient and accurate. One of these changes which has been almost universally used by more advanced players over the last 20 years is to define a 2NT response to a minor suit opening bid as invitational showing 11-12 points rather than game forcing 13-16 points. Opener can pass with a minimum hand (13 points) so 2NT becomes a possible final contract. Therefore responder needs fewer points to bid it. If responder has a stronger 13-16 point hand he responds 3NT instead. This also resolves the issue of the "gap" between the 6-10 point response and the 13-16 point response.

Although Standard American provides a solid foundation to beginning players, there are many other modifications to the original system that are currently popular and widely used. Of course, these are optional. As you become more experienced you will discover others and may or may not decide to adopt them.  

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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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