Bridge & other card games/Bridge


QUESTION: I know I've asked this question before but, unfortunately, I cannot find the answer.  I apologize.

I often hear respondents revise a bid from 1 to 2 when they are reminded their first bid is insufficient to overcall.  They appear to do this without much, if any, thought.  I could be missing something here and, if so, could you enlighten me.


Stewart Fluney


According to Law 27

An insufficient bid must be corrected by the substitution of either a sufficient bid (not a double or redouble) or a pass, unless the irregular bid is accepted.

If the call substituted is
(a) the lowest sufficient bid in the same denomination, the auction proceeds as though the irregularity had not occurred.

An additional stipulation is that both the insufficient bid and the corrected sufficient bid must be natural bids. If this is not the case then penalties apply. For example, if partner opens 1NT and you bid 1 club, you cannot make it sufficient by correcting the bid to 2 clubs since a 1 club bid is natural but a 2 club bid in this auction does not show clubs but is rather the Stayman Convention. So in this case there would be a penalty.

Usually an insufficient bid is just an inadvertent error so imposing a penalty would be harsh unless the opponents are actually damaged.

A change to any other bid, other than the lowest sufficient bid, however, results in penalties since partner is now getting extra unauthorized information.

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

QUESTION: Actually, I was concerned that people are overcalling say a bid of 1 heart with say 7 points and a hand of 5 diamonds (A, Q, J, 7, 6) with 1 diamond and, when reminded their bid is insufficient, they just jump to 2 diamonds with same hand.  I believe they need 6 diamonds and 13 points or 6 diamonds (with 2 honours) and 6-10 points in order to go to 2 diamonds.

Do you agree that people should not change their bid with an insufficent bid such as the above?

Many thanks.

Stewart Fluney


When people mistakenly bid 1D after an opponent opens 1H, it is generally not because they want to overcall with a 7 point hand at the one level. They are (or should be) aware that this is an illegal bid and, unless they are inclined to cheat, do not do this intentionally. Rather, it is far more likely that the 1D bidder did not see or hear the 1H opening bid and intended to open the bidding 1D himself. He therefore is likely to have opening bid point values although he may or may not have diamond length. If the misbid were 1H after a 1S opening then the bidder probably intended to open 1H and therefore should have length and strength for a 2H overcall.

In any event the law is clear. The only bid the misbidder may make without incurring a penalty, regardless of his actual hand, is to correct it to 2D. Otherwise, partner will be barred for the rest of the auction. Therefore, in most cases, I believe that the offender should definitely make the bid sufficient and let the chips fall where they may rather than incurring a severe penalty.

In bridge tournaments, the director should be called to ensure that the innocent pair did not suffer any unintended damage as a result of the incorrect bid.

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

QUESTION: I'm sorry; I'm having trouble understanding.  Are you saying it is sufficient to overcall the 1 H opening bid with 2 spades (having only 13 points and 5 spades).  I thought you must have 6 spades. I realize the overcaller must go through with the 2 spades in this case, but you do agree, don't you, that normally the overcall requirement would be 13 points with any 6 spades or 6-9 points with 6 spades (2 of which are honours)?  Possibly I've missed something and, if so, I apologize and thank you for your patience and indulgence with me.

Stewart Fluney


An insufficient bid is a bid that fails to supersede the previous bid. That is it is at the same level but of a lower or equal rank. It is an illegal bid. After opponent opens 1H, the only bids that are insufficient by the next hand are 1C, 1D and 1H. Overcalling a 1H opening bid with 1S is a perfectly legitimate legal bid and is not insufficient. The laws concerning insufficient bids therefore are not relevant or applicable. Whether the 1S overcaller has proper values for his overcall is a different matter entirely. This has nothing to do with proper overcalling requirements. He might only, for example, decide to make a misleading bid, called a psych, having say 3 points and two spades in his hand. This obviously is not even close to the normal overcalling requirement. He may very well mislead his partner and screw up the auction by doing something like this. However, the bid itself is sufficient and legal. Making a bid without proper values is not illegal.

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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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