Bridge & other card games/Bridge


QUESTION: 1.  If an opener bids 1 S, the opponent bids 4 C, how does the opener know whether this 4 C bid is an Overcall or a request for number of aces opener has?  I'm thinking of an overcall of 4 C with 9 points and 8 clubs with 2 top honours.

2.  If an opener with 6 H and 9 points bids 2 H (weak 2 bid) and his partner bids 2 spades, am I correct in saying responder must have 4 S and 10 pts. to make that bid?

3.  Are there times in your opinion where a pree-emptive or overcall bid of 2 would be reasonable with only 5 suit (instead of 6)(say with 2-3 good honours)?  I'm thinking of a 2 overcall and a 2 pre-emptive bid where 6 of a suit is the normal.

4.  Are you of the opinion that nowadays the only strong bid is 2 C (demand bid) and that bids of 2 S, H and D are considered weak unless there is an understanding at the outset of otherwise?

Many thanks for your response.

Stewart Fluney


1. The bid of 4C by an opponent is preemptive. The hand you describe with 8 clubs and about 9 points would be reasonable the jump to 4C. A 4C bid asking for aces is only made by your partner. For an opponent to make a 4C bid to ask you for the number of aces in your hand makes absolutely no sense at all. Each side tries to get to its best contract by consulting with partner...they do not consult with their opponents.

2. If partner opens a weak 2H bid, responder should have at least a good 6 card spade suit and 14 or more points to respond 2S. A very good five card suit and 15 points would also qualify.
Why would you want to respond 2S with 10 points and four spades? Opener shows a maximum of 10 points and a six card heart suit. Chances are that he does not have much support for the other suits (he has seven cards left that are divided among three suits). Also, his hand is probably worth a lot less if hearts (his best suit) do not end up being trump. Furthermore opposite opener's maximum of 10 points, your side is not even close to making a game unless you have at least 14 or 15 points or else very good heart support. You know partner has a 6 card suit...why do you want to introduce a four card suit that partner rates to be short in? If you have a singleton or void in hearts, unless you have 15 or more points, just pass and hope for the best. There is no reason to believe any other suit will be better and you will just be bidding up to higher levels. Only respond with weaker hands if you have good heart support and preferably good distribution.

3. If you are non vulnerable, especially if the opponents are vulnerable then a preemptive bid with a decent five card suit might well be a good tactical move to obstruct the opponents. Doing this if you're vulnerable or with a bad suit is, in my opinion, too dangerous.

4. Currently, almost all players (except those playing Precision Club or a similar system) play that 2C is the only strong bid. This allows you to use 2D, 2H and 2S for other purposes such as weak 2 bids. Years ago, people realized that it was grossly inefficient to use four different bids to describe big hands when the same thing could be done at almost no expense by opening 2C first and further describing you hand on your next turn. Even in the rare instances that the opponents intervene, you will still almost always be able to show your hand.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Question 1.  I apologize for the wording.  I should have said - If an opener bids 1 S, the opponent bids 2 H, the opener's partner bids 4 C, how does the opener know whether this 4 C bid is an Overcall or a request for the number of aces opener has?  I'm thinking of an Overcall of 4 C with 9 points and 8 clubs with 2 top honours.  Please comment.

Question 2.  My reason for asking if partner (responder) could bid 2 spades with only 10 points and 4 S following opener's bid of 2 H with 6 H and 9 points was because if opener with 13 points and 5 H bids 1 H, responder (partner) can bid 2 spades with 10 points and 4 spades.  If I read your answer correctly, the change of suit by responder to 2 S requires 5 spades with 15 points or 6 spades and 14 points.  It's like a normal overcall of an opponent's bid wherein you need 6 of a suit and opening points (13) to make that a 2 bid.  Please comment.

Thanks very much and, again, I apologize for the incorrectness of question 1 and also for my difficulty in understanding the reasoning in question 2.


1. The meaning of the 4C bid must be determined by partnership agreement. Asking opener for aces would be a reasonable treatment that is used by some players. However, in Standard bidding, 4C is only used to ask for aces if it a jump over a natural notrump bid such as 1NT-P-4C or 1D-P-1S-P-2NT-P-4C. You can extend this ace asking meaning to the type of auction that you describe but you have to discuss it with partner.

Since a 3C rebid by opener is natural, forcing and could be from 13 points up, the 4C bid is not needed to show that type of hand.

You could instead define the 4C bid as the 8 club 9 point hand but that also needs to be agreed upon with partner.

There are, in addition, one or two other possible treatments that advanced player use for this bid but basically there is no pre-defined standard. Talk it over with your partner and pick the one you like.

2. If opener bids 1H and responder has 6 points or more and four spades, he responds 1S. Responding 2S is a strong jump shift showing at least 18 points or so.

The purpose of an auction is to determine the best spot for your side to play the contract...whether you belong in a part score, a game or a slam and whether you should play in a suit or in notrump. If partner opens 1H, he could have 13 up to about 21 points. Therefore, the responder should respond with as little as 5 or 6 points since it is unclear what the best level is or what the best suit is. Hopefully, opener will better define his hand on his next turn. If opener rebids 1NT or 2S, showing a minimum, then if responder has 10 points or less he should just pass since game is unlikely. If, on the other hand, opener jumps to show a stronger hand then responder needs less to bid on since game is possible.

If, on the other hand, opener opens 2H showing a maximum of 10 points, it is pretty clear that, unless responder has at least 15 points or so, game is unlikely to make so you should be happy to play in a part score  (unless responder has four or more hearts and a distributional hand). Since opener has shown a good 6 card heart suit, hearts is the overwhelming favorite to be your best trump suit, even if responder has only a singleton. Therefore, unless you have 15 or more points, you have found your best level (a part score) and what is likely to be your best trump suit (hearts) so there is no constructive purpose to take another bid.

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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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