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1.    ETM Pairs – Simple Version - General

[Opening Bid Framework]

1§:          §s or any GF or balanced (12-14, 18-20, 23+).  Forcing, cannot be passed.

1¨:         ¨s, can have just 3¨s if 12-14 balanced, standard opening values or close to it.

1©,1ª:   five or longer normally, near standard opening values to near GF values.

1NT:       15-17 balanced or a hand that evaluates to it.

2§,2¨:   natural, four or longer in the suit, may have second suit, weak hand.

2©,2ª:   natural weak two, good five card suit or better.

2NT:       21-22 balanced.

3§,3¨:   preemptive but not a semi-solid suit (open 2§ or 2¨ then).

3©,3ª:   preemptive.

3NT:       Gambling, long solid suit, no stopper.

4X, 5X:   preemptive.

4NT:       ace asking.

[Notrump Tree]






1¨ requires 3+¨s, otherwise make natural bid.






All 18-20s can be opened 1§.  They can also open 1¨, 1©, 1ª and rebid a forcing 2NT.








For balanced ranges, the ranges including upgrading the hand for holding a good five card suit, or very good controls or good spot cards.  Thus these can open 1NT, 15-17:

ª QT3 © K2 ¨ AQJ76 § Q92

ª K2 © K87 ¨ A987 § AT76


Likewise these can open, as if 12-14:

ª J73 © K2 ¨ AQJ76  § T92

ª K2 © 873 ¨ A987 § AT76


From a style and system point of view, when holding 12-14 balanced, tend to open 1¨ more and 1§ less, unlike standard.  Thus: ª T76 © ¨ KQ43 ¨A42 §K87 is opened 1¨, not 1§.  Opening 1¨ takes out any 1¨ overcall and forces the opponents to overcall on the two level with clubs.


Preemptive Single Jump Shifts always.

Doubles are takeout always unless otherwise defined.

Fourth Suit Forcing to game.


2.    1§ Opening – Special Bidding

[1§ Responses]

1§:          §s or any GF or balanced (12-14, 18-20, 23+).  Forcing.


                1¨:         a) 0-6 any but prefer a jump shift with a long suit, not §s.

                                b) ¨s & 6/7+, only a four card major if game going values.

                1©, 1ª:  4+ suit, 6/7+. All higher responses deny an outside four card major.

                1NT:       7-10, balanced.

                2§:          limit or better, 9/10+

                2¨, 2©, 2ª:           Preemptive Jump Shift

                2NT:       11-12 balanced.

                3§:          4+§s (often 5+), less than limit values but constructive, about 7-9.

                3NT:       13-15 balanced.

[1§-1¨ Framework]


1©, 1ª, 2§, 2¨:    opener if not balanced and less than a GF rebids naturally without jumping, 1© and 1ª can be 3 card suit if 12-14 balanced since no other rebid.  2¨ shows extras, about 17-22.

                1NT:       18-20.  1NT system on.

2©:          Kokish, GF in ©s or balanced.  Responder bids 2ª if 0-6, then opener bids 2NT if balanced (2NT system on) or 3X with hearts.

2ª, 3§, 3¨:           GF, natural.

2NT:       23-24, 2NT system on.


1§-1¨-1© or 1ª:

                Pass, 1ª, 2§:        natural, 0-6.

                1NT, 2¨:                constructive, NF, 6-10.

                2OM:      2 of the other major is fourth suit forcing (GF) with diamonds

                All other bids:       standard with ¨s.  e.g. 1§-1¨-1ª-2NT:          GI



                Pass:       0-6

                2¨, 3§: constructive, NF, 6-9, raise freely with 2§s, if opener has only 5§s will have ¨ support.

                2©, 2ª:  value showing, 9+, F

                2NT, 3¨:                GI

                3©, 3ª:  splinters

                3NT:       suggestion



                Pass:       0-6

                2©, 2ª:  semi-natural, forcing, 6+

                2NT:       Lebenshol, often to signoff in §s if 0-6 or to show minimum raise to 3¨.

                3§:          forcing, § & ¨ fit

                3¨:         forcing, ¨ fit.

                3©, 3ª:  splinters

                3NT:       suggestion

[1§ Big Hand Bidding]


General approach: After a positive reply (anything but 1¨, 2¨, 2©, or 2ª), the cheapest ¨ bid is a two way bid, either a big hand or clubs & diamonds with extras.  If responder bid 1© or 1ª, the ¨ bid asks if responder has five or longer in the major or extra values.  If responder instead bid 1NT or higher, denying a four card major, the ¨ bid asks for a three card major.  After responder’s reply to the ¨ bid, the cheapest suit bid by opener shows the club & diamond hand, 3NT (or pass of 3NT) shows 18-20 balanced with a five card major.  2NT, if available, establishes a game force and asks again.   All other bids show a hand with a GF or close to GF in own hand; suit bids are natural and 4NT shows 23-24 balanced.


After 1§-1©/1©-2¨:

2M:         exactly four in M, maximum of 10 HCP.

2OM:      five or longer in M, maximum of 10 HCP.

2NT or higher:      natural, 11+ HCP.


Example sequences:

1§-1©-2¨-2©(just 4©s, maximum of 10 HCP)-2NT(GF, asks again)-natural bidding now.

1§-1ª-2¨-2©(5+ªs, maximum of 10 HCP)-3NT(18-20 balanced, 5©s).

1§-1©-2¨-2NT(natural, 11+ HCP)-3§:             §s & ¨s


After 1§-1NT or 2§-2¨:

2©:                          3©s,  may have 3ªs.

2ª:                          3ªs, not 3©s.

3§, 2NT:                neither 3ªs or 3©s.


Example sequences:

1§-1NT-2¨-2©(3©s)-2NT(GF, asks again) - natural bidding now.

1§-2§-2¨-2ª (3ªs, not 3©s)-3NT(18-20 balanced, 5©s).

1§-2§-2¨-3§(not 3 in either major)-3¨: §s & ¨s .


After 1§-2NT or 3§-3¨:

3©:          3©s,  may have 3ªs.

3ª:          3ªs, not 3©s.

3NT:       neither 3ªs or 3©s.


After 1§-3NT-4¨:

4©:          3©s,  may have 3ªs.

4ª:          3ªs, not 3©s.

4NT:       neither 3ªs or 3©s.



1§-2NT-3¨-3ª(3ªs)-4NT:                23-24 balanced.

[18-20 Balanced Bidding]


·         Over a positive response or in competition if responder makes a negative double or bids a suit, opener shows the 18-20 balanced hand by jumping in notrump.

·         Over 1¨ response, or if responder only passes in competition, opener shows the 18-20 balanced hand by rebidding notrump without jumping.

·         Over a preemptive jump shift, opener can bid 2NT to ask, or just places contract.

·         With 18-20 one can open 1¨, 1©, or 1ª instead, and rebid 2NT.  However that 2NT rebid is forcing, allowing opener to first describe the 18-20 balanced hand, then show nature of hand.

3.    Preemptive Jump Shifts


The single jump shift by responder after a one-level suit opening by partner is preemptive, showing a weak hand, and a long suit.  It is more narrowly defined after a 1§ opening, having about 0-6 HCP, while over the other openings its upper range is higher.  In competition, it shows some values, and is more like the strength of a weak two, about 3-9 HCP.


[2NT Asks]

2NT, if available, asks:

3§:  5 card suit or 6 card suit headed by no honour.  3¨ asks graded responses (3© is worst).  All other new suit bids below game are forcing.  So 1§-2©-2NT(asks)-3§-3© is not-forcing, since not new suit.

3X:  Graded responses with six or longer in suit.  3¨ is worst, 3NT is best.  Now new suits below game are forcing.

4X:  a two suiter if second suit bid, or very long suit if X is suit rebid.


[Other Rebids]

After a preemptive jump shift, a new suit by opener is forcing but does not promise a rebid.  A rebid of a suit is not-forcing, but a jump in a suit is forcing.



4.    1§ and 1¨ Opening – General

[Inverted Raises] 

Inverted raises:     2m Limit forcing to 3m, 3m Weak but if 3§ enough for 18-20 bal. to bid again.

The jump raise to 3¨ requires 5 in the suit since 1¨ can be 3 if 12-14 balanced.  The jump raise to 3§ can have just 4 since opener often has 4+ §s if a minimum hand.


[Notrump Responses]

1NT=6 to 10, 2NT=GI, about 10+ to 12-, 3NT=13 to 15 all no 4cM


[1¨-2§ response GF unless suit rebid over 2¨]

1¨-2§:   GF unless responder 3§ rebid over 2¨, so opener bids 2¨ if would not accept GI.
Opener’s 2¨ rebid either long ¨s or not enough to accept a GI.  All other bids GF.


[Other Jump suit bids by responder]

Jumps to game are to play: very long suit, very weak hand.

Double jumps and higher below game are splinters, GF.

1m-1M-4m: long suit, 4+ support for M, game going values. {called No-name}


 [Major Raises & Game Tries]

1m-1M-2M may be three card raise if doubleton or singleton in another suit.

1m-1M-2M-2NT F asks:      opener bids three of a new suit to show shape, 3 only in M.  With four in M, opener bids 3M, 3NT or above (descriptive, 4 of new suit shows values/length).

1m-1M-2M-3M sequences not in competition ask for good trump support.

With 18-20 balanced, after 1§-1M, rebid 2¨ first to ask.  After 1¨-1M rebid 2NT (forcing), then 4M.

Other game tries natural/help suit including 3m (which is forcing).


[Modified Ingberman]

1m-1X-2R, (R=Reverse):     2X shows 5+ suit, F.  It may be weak just showing length, but can be big too.

2NT or fourth suit forcing, whichever is cheaper, is Lebenshol, showing weakness and puppets to cheapest bid, after which responder will pass or show nature of weak hand.  With GF hand opener does not bid cheapest bid.


[2NT Transfers]

Transfers over 1m-1M-2NT jump rebid by opener.  Opener can break the transfer with unusual hand.

3§ for diamonds, 3¨ for hearts, 3© for spades, 3ª for clubs.     Show, not ask.  e.g 1¨-1ª-2NT-3¨: shows 5ªs, 4+©s. Note: 1m-1©-2NT-3©: implies 4-4 in majors, and 1m-1©-2NT-3¨-3©-3ª: at least 5-4.

After transfer is completed, responder continues to show shape.  1¨-1M-2NT is forcing.


[1m-1M-3NT jump rebid singleton showing]

Singleton in M, solid minor suit and stoppers in unbid suits or semi-solid suit and 1 ½ stoppers plus in unbid suits.  Game Forcing so 4m is now slam try, and if responder bids 4m or 4 of a new suit, 4NT is RKCB for m by either player.  4NT directly over 3NT is invite, and 5§ over 3NT is Gerber ace asking.


[1XYZ after opener’s 12-14 1NT rebid]

After 1§-1M-1NT and 1¨-1M-1NT, 1XYZ is used:

·         2©, 2ª, 3§ and 3¨ bids are signoffs, and game bids are to play.

·         2§ asks opener to bid 2¨, then passes or makes any bid to show GI hand.

·         2¨ is GF Stayman, opener bidding with most normal hands 2©, 2ª or 2NT to give responder room to show nature of GF hand.  2¨ still F Stayman by ph, but opener can pass responder’s rebid.

·         2§ followed by 3NT shows 5 in M, gives opener choice of game – gives less info to opponents then using 2¨.

·         3©, 3ª, 4¨ are natural slam tries, 4§ is Gerber.

5.    Major Suit Openings


5+ in major (usually), 1NT response intended as forcing by uph, semi-forcing by ph.

Can have 4 in major in 3rd seat if good suit and planning on passing 1NT response.



1M-2M:  tends to have 3 trumps only or 4-3-3-3, standard raise (does not promise constructive values).

2NT:       Jacoby.
3§:          C with 4 trumps, not 4-3-3-3 (can be 5 trumps and 5-3-3-2).
3¨:         L with 4 trumps, not 4-3-3-3, (can be 5 trumps and 5-3-3-2).
3M:         4 trumps, W, but with one good card (A, K) in hand
3NT:       shows 4-3-3-3, 3 in M, 13-15 HCP, and four card suit is not good enough for 2/1.

1M-1NT-2X-3M:   L with 3 trumps or 4-3-3-3.
Double jumps are splinter raises (limited 10 to 14 – with more use Jacoby).

3§ and 3¨ not on by ph, (use Drury), rest on, including Jacoby.

Natural/help suit game tries, with 2NT forcing game try+ balanced.

1M-2M-3M sequences not in competition ask for good trump support.


[Other jump bids by responder]

5m, 4ª/1©:            To play, long suit, weak hand.


[Passed Hand Bidding - Drury]

2§:          3 in M, constructive or better values, 2¨ asks for bid of 2M if just constructive, 2M is signoff.

2¨:         4+ in M, constructive or better values.  2M says to pass if just constructive.

Drury bids are on in competition.  If only 2¨ bid is available, it may have 3 or 4 in M.


[1XYZ – see minor suit openings]

1XYZ for 1©-1ª-1NT: see 1XYZ in the 1§ and 1¨ section.


[2/1 GF]

-          Opener shows shape, bidding 2NT with hand with no other good bid (or 2¨ with 3¨s).

-          Three level rebids show a bit extra shape (5-5) or values (13+), prefer 2NT otherwise.

-          2M always shows 6+ in suit or great five card suit. 

-          3NT shows a 15-17 hand with 2 in responder’s suit, a hand that did not want to open 1NT.

-          Opener’s jump rebids are splinters: Example: 1ª-2§-3¨: club support, singleton or void in ¨.

-          Opener’s jump rebid of suit shows powerful suit, sets trumps.

-          After 1M-2X-2Y-? 2NT shows 12-14 or 18-+ hand usually (or hand uncertain about strain/level or balanced hand planning on making slam try next), 3NT is 15-17 2 in M or three little, usually 5-3-3-2 or 4-4-3-2 shape with 2 in M.


[1NT Forcing]

INT is forcing by ph, rarely passed.  1NT is semi-forcing by ph and denies 3 in M unless very flat hand.

1M-1NT-2X or 2M-jump new suit: values/length in suit bid, fit for opener’s second bid.

                Examples: 1©-1NT-2§-3¨ (§ fit & ¨ values/length), 1ª-1NT-2©-4§ (© fit & § values/length).

1M-1NT-2X-3M: L with 3 trumps or 4-3-3-3.
1©-1NT-2X-2ª: forcing, shows good raise in X.  3X direct weaker raise.

1M-1NT-3NT: a raise to 3M that thinks notrump should be fine place to play.


[Direct 2NT & Transfers after 1NT-2NT or 1ª-2NT]

1M-1ª or 1NT-2NT: 18 to 20, forcing, all suit transfers on, see minor openings.


[Delayed 2NT by opener]

1M-1ª or 1NT-2X-2Y-2NT: 15++ to 17 (and transfers not on now).

6.    1NT Structure


1NT:       15 to 17.   After 1NT:


2§:          non-forcing Stayman, Smolen @ 3 level, 3m rebid GF (this does not promises 4 in a major since only way to force in a minor is to use Stayman), 2M over 2¨ scrambling, NF.  1NT-2§-2©-2ª shows 4ªs, F.  Impossible major: after major reply to Stayman, other major @ 3 level shows slam try in opener’s major  (e.g. 1NT-2§-2ª-3©: slam try in spades).  Jump new suits otherwise are splinters, and 4NT is quantitative.

If opponents interfere after Stayman used, doubles are for takeout, opener makes normal reply to Stayman if bid still available.  3m by responder is still natural, game forcing, but Smolen is only used when 3© is still a jump bid (e.g. 1NT-Pass-2§-Double-2¨-Pass-3ª still Smolen).


2¨, 2©:  major suit transfers, super accepts (new suits show maximum & values, 2NT general accept, 3M super accept with minimum but good fit ).  Responder can retransfer by rebidding transfer suit.

After transfer, jump new suit rebids by responder shows splinters, slam try.  4NT is quantitative, but not over a super accept (where it is a RKCB).

After 1NT or 2NT bid and major suit transfers, if opener does not complete transfer due to super accept (with or without interference), the retransfer is always on as the cheapest bid in the suit the transfer bid is made in.


2ª:          Minor or minors signoff, or GF minors

                After 2ª: opener bids 3§ with better clubs than diamonds, or 2NT otherwise.  Then:

                                3m:          signoff

3M:         splinter, both minors,

3NT:       mild slam try both minors, no shortness.

4NT:       strong slam try both minors, no shortness.

4m:          shortness in both majors, bidding longest/best minor.

4M:         void in M, strong slam try both minors.


2NT:       natural, GI, no 4cM. 3§ by opener to play in best minor.

3m:          GI, long suit.

3M:         splinter, 5-4 in minors.

3NT:       to play.

4§:          Gerber, see section on Gerber

4¨, 4©:                  Texas, on in competition if still jump.  2 level transfer and bid at 4 level

shows mild slam try, no outside singleton.  4NT is RKCB after Texas.

4ª:          to play, not by notrump opener.


See 4NT Quantitative section on rules and replies in Slam Conventions section.


[Opponents Compete over our 1NT]


Redouble of double of 1NT shows values, forcing to 2NT or to a doubled contract.

Pass of double of 1NT is NF, but opener is to redouble with any two suiter (4-4 or better) or bid a long suit.

Notrump opener can reopen (balance) a suit overcall with double to show shortness

example: 1NT-2¨(whatever)-Pass-Pass-Double shows short ¨, reopen.


[Doubling When They Compete]

1)       Double is always negative of known suit or suits if @ 2 or 3 level. Note the double is negative of known suit(s), not of suit actually bid e.g. 1NT-2¨(transfer to ©s)-Double is negative of ©s, opener may pass this if transfer not completed.

2)       Although initial double is negative of any known suit or suits, any subsequent double by either player is for penalties. 

3)       If 2§ is bid and suit is not known then double is Stayman and systems are on.

4)       If competition is double (including penalty) and no known suit then systems are on.

5)       Other wise, if no known suit, double is negative of the suit actually bid but tends just to imply values. 

6)       Negative doubles are passable, so cuebid or bid a suit if cannot afford a pass.

7)       Double is penalty (card-showing) over notrump bids or @ 4 or higher level.

8)       Pass then double is cooperative e.g. 1NT-2¨(majors)-Pass-2©-Pass-Pass-Double.  This tends to show an intermediate (7+--11-)  balanced hand with values that could not penalize any suits on its own.  Thus, in the example the immediate Double of 2¨ is typically an unbalanced hand with none, one or both majors or a stronger balanced hand.

9)       Double is not lead directional of suit bid.

10)    After responder to 1NT doubles negatively opponents cannot play contract undoubled on two level.



1)       2NT is always Lebenshol in competition except if system is still on.

2)       Lebenshol form is slow shows, direct denies.

3)       Lebenshol then suit NF, but GI if suit could have been bid already at two level.

4)       Delayed Lebenshol by responder, if passed over partner’s 1NT bid before.  Based on known suits shown by opponents.

5)       New “Unknown” Suits NF @ two level, F to 3NT @ 3 level.

6)       If one or more known suits, cuebid in a known suit is Stayman without stopper, bid 2NT then cuebid for Stayman with stopper in that suit.

7)       Jump in a known suit (suit opponents have said they have), shows shortness, takeout for unbid suits, GF.



7.    2NT Opening and Structure


2NT:       21-22 balanced.


                3§:          Puppet Stayman, responses: suit.

3¨:         shows one or both M, now:

3M:         shows 4 cards in OM,

3NT:       to play,

4§:          slam try with both majors,

4¨:         both majors, no slam try values.

3M:         shows five card suit.

3NT:       denies 4cM.


Puppet Stayman replies still on over a double of 3§, with redouble showing §s, and pass denying a four card major.


                3¨,3©:   major suit transfers, new suit rebids by responder natural. 

                                Major suit rebid (e.g. 2NT-3¨-3©-4©) mild slam try.

3NT by opener over transfer shows hand better to play in notrump than in major, often with long minor and no fit for M.

Super accepts in suit showing values, with 4M showing values in transfer suit.  If opener super accepts in a new suit or bids 3NT, responder can retransfer by rebidding transfer suit.                                           


After 2NT bid and major suit transfers, if opener does not complete transfer due to super accept (with or without interference), the retransfer is always on as the cheapest bid in the suit the transfer bid is made in.


Examples: 2NT-3¨-4© shows ¨ values.  2NT-3©-4§ -4© is the retransfer.


3ª:          Minor or minors slam try.  Opener bids above 3NT with interest in both minors.  Over 3NT, responder bids 4m to show single suited slam try, 4M to show shortness and slam try with both minors, and 4NT to show quantitative slam try with both minors (likely 2-2-4-5 or 2-2-5-4).

                4§:          Gerber.

                4¨,4©:   Texas.

                4ª:          Both minors, weak hand.


See 4NT Quantitative section on rules and replies in Slam Conventions section.

[2NT In Competition]


Negative doubles @ 3 level by responder, all other doubles are for penalty.  New suits forcing below game.  System on over double or 3§ interference.  Texas still on if jump.

8.    Notrump Overcalls


[Sandwich NT Note]

Note that the sandwich 1NT, after 1X-Pass-1Y, is takeout.  See the section on competitive bidding.


[Direct 1NT Overcall]

1NT direct overcall is 15 to 18 balanced or almost balanced.  System on.


[Balancing 1NT]

After 1X-Pass-Pass, 1NT shows 11 to 14, but may have a little more or less if no other good bid.  System on.  Note with 15-17 balanced, usually double first, then bid notrump.


[2NT non-jump overcall (direct or balanced)]

15+ to 18 balanced.  2NT structure is used.


[Balancing Jump to 2NT]

18 to 19 balanced.  2NT structure is used.


[Double Jump to 3NT or 3NT overcall of 1NT]

Usually source of tricks to come at least close to contract, stopper.  System not on.


[Jump to 3NT over two bids or bid of 3NT over three level bids]

3NT shows 19+ HCP if 2NT was available, otherwise 16+ HCP.  The 1NT structure is used.

Note then that 3NT-5m is a slam invitational hand.  Use the 4ª bid with a minor signoff.


 [Note on transfers etc. after opponents have bid]

When system is still on, advancer may be able to transfer to the opponent’s suit or otherwise bid it in a natural context.  This is left in the system so fits can be found even if the opponents have attempted to muck up the bidding.  Example 1©-1NT-Pass-2¨: still a transfer to ©s.


9.    Two Level Suit Bids

[DONT NO Two Bids in the Minors]

2§, 2¨:  4 or longer in suit bid, may have a second suit, a weak hand, 3 to 10 HCP in first or second seat, can be a little stronger in 3rd seat, minimum or sub-minimum opening values in fourth.  If no second suit, then suit is good enough to rebid on the three level (a semi-solid six or seven card suit would be appropriate).  Over 2m:

-          Cheapest bid asks to play in second suit, if one, or 3m if no second suit.

-          Except for cheapest suit bid, all suit bids are to play, including a bid of 3m or a jump in the cheapest suit.

-          Game bids and bid of 4m to play.

-          A jump in a new suit below game is forcing and natural, not including a single jump in the cheapest suit.


[2m-2NT asks]

Over 2m, 2NT by responder asks:

-          3m shows a minimum and a two suiter with a higher ranking suit.

-          3X shows a two suiter, and if above 3m shows a maximum.

-          3NT shows a single suited hand.


After 2NT and reply:

-          If opener rebids 3m, cheapest suit is forcing ask for other suit, 3NT reply showing suit bid for the ask.

-          Non-game new suits forcing by responder.

-          A bid of m below game is constructive, but not-forcing.

-          Game bids by responder place contract.

-          4NT is RKCB for opener’s last shown suit unless opener raises responder’s natural suit bid.


[In competition]

Redouble is to play in second suit, all new suits are natural non-forcing, 2NT still asks.

Over suit competition, double is takeout, looking for second suit, new suits not forcing.

[Weak Two in the Majors]

2©, 2ª: weak two bid, five or six card suit, can have outside 4cM but only with decent six card suit. 

                New suit bids NF, but semi-constructive – opener bids again with good fit and maximum.

                4§ is Roman Keycard Blackwood (1430) for suit.


[2M-2NT asks]

2NT is used by responder to ask opener to describe hand.  After 2NT and reply:

-          Non-game new suits forcing by responder.

-          Game bids by responder place contract.

-          4NT is RKCB for opener’s suit unless opener raises responder’s natural suit bid.

In reply to 2NT, opener bids:

-          3§ with a five card suit or six card suit with no honour.  Now 3M is a signoff, while 3¨ asks for a graded reply on how good hand is (3©=bad, 3ª=okay, 3NT=good).

-          3¨ to 3NT as a graded reply with a six card suit, with 3¨=bad and 3NT=semi-solid suit.

-          4X with a decent second suit (at least 6-4) or 4M with a seven card suit.


[In competition]

-          Over double, transfers starting at redouble, 2NT still asks.

-          Over a suit bid, double is penalty, new suits are natural but possibly only lead directional.

10.           3 Level and Higher Opening Bids


3§, 3¨,3©,3ª:      preempts by vulnerable, position.  4§/3X RKCB (1430) except 4¨/3§ is RKCB.  New suits F.  Jump shifts are fit showing in competition, natural without competition, slow bidding stronger than fast bidding.


3NT:       gambling, any solid suit, no outside A or K, 4§ runout, 4¨/3NT asks for outside shortness, 4M to play (may be opener’s or responder’s suit – responder knows!).  4NT asks opener to bid suit, responder wants opener to play to protect tenaces.


4X:          Preemptive.  4NT RKCB.  4© or 4ª over 4m natural, otherwise new suits cuebids for X.


4NT:       Ace asking.

11.           Competitive Bidding


-          Doubles are for takeout unless defined.

-          Doubles are takeout of suit opening bids, even 4ª and higher (but alertable).

-          After a direct takeout double (not fourth seat), if responder does not redouble, a cuebid of opener’s suit is forcing to suit establishment or game.  For example 1¨-Double-Pass-2¨-Pass-2© is forcing, and only 3© by responder is non-forcing now (suit establishment).  However if the double is redoubled or if made by a passed hand, then a cuebid does not promise a rebid, unless the doubler jumps the bidding in reply or cuebids in return.

-          After Something-Double-Redouble, jumps show somewhat less HCP, more length.  So 1¨-Double-Pass-2ª about 8 to 10 with 4+ suit (a bit less as the suit gets longer), but 1¨-Double-Redouble-2ª shows about 6 to 8, 5+ suit.

-          After Something-Double-Redouble, double jumps are weak and preemptive, cuebid instead with good hand.  Based the level to bid to on the LAW if appropriate.

-          Negative all levels, Responsive all levels (including 1X-Y-nX, where Y is anything).

-          Negative doubles:        two places to play, or both unbid suits, or long in an unbid major, or if major suit opening, a 2NT bid having to double first (see use of 2NT as raise).

-          Repeat same suit double by negative doubler for takeout.

-          Support doubles at one and two level.  1§-Pass-1¨-Something-Double is just general takeout.

-          Maximal double only when no room for game try bid.

 [Lead Something Else Directional Double]

If they cuebid our suit at 3 level or higher looking for a stopper or control or showing a stopper or control, then double says don’t lead the suit (reverse from normal).  If only one suit bid by partnership, applies to doubles/passes by both partners.  If two or more suits bid, applies only to suits bid naturally by the player who is doubling or passing the cuebid.  This method applies even after our minor suit opening.


-          Direct redoubles are always value showing unless it is impossible to be, then it shows doubt or SOS.   Redouble is always get out/show doubt/SOS if in balance seat (will play contract if pass instead).

-          Passing an opponent’s redouble of partner’s double is to play there, except when partner has made an initial takeout double of a natural non-weak suit bid at the 1 or 2 level, where pass says pick a suit partner.  So 1©-Double-Redouble-Pass says pick suit, but 1©-1ª-2©-Pass-Pass-Double-Redouble-Pass says lets play there, and 2ª(weak)-Double-Redouble-Pass says we got them.

-          Passing an opponent’s redouble of your own double is just waiting (e.g. 1¨-Double-Pass-Pass-Redouble-Pass).

-          After a double of a cuebid, Redouble by either player shows first round control.  Pass by the non-cuebidder is waiting, but denies first round control. 

-          Direct redouble of a lead directing double where we can have the suit is a strong suggestion to play.

-          Redouble in balance if otherwise undefined is passable takeout.

[Over Double by Opponents of minor suit opening]

2NT is weak raise in minor, 3m is limit, 2m standard single raise, new suits forcing at one level, jump shifts preemptive.

[Over Double by Opponents of major suit opening]

2NT is limit or better, 3M is weak, transfers beginning at 1NT, 1©-Double-1ª forcing, jump shifts preemptive.

[Bidding over a two suiter, general]

Double shows values (10+), implies likely interest in penalty of one or both of their suits.  NT bids are natural, 2NT always a raise (see 2NT raises described later).  With a hand that wants to make a cooperative double (e.g. Hxx in suit doubled), pass first then double next (e.g. 1©-2NT-Pass-3¨-Pass-Pass-Double: cooperative).

e.g. ª 82 © A76 ¨ AQ2 § JT876

After 1ª-2NT responder knows opponents unlikely to play in clubs, so passes 2NT, then doubles 3¨ to show flat hand.  Opener can pass the double if opponents in misfit or no good fit.

[Unusual vs. Unusual when two suits known]

Cheapest to bid known suit is forcing with lower ranking unbid suit, other known suit is forcing with higher ranking unbid suit, jumps in known suits are singleton/void showing, bids in unknown suits are NF, to play, jumps are preemptive in new suits.

[Two suiter but only one suit known ]

Bid in known suit is forcing with in opener’s suit: limit raise or better.  New suits are NF, jump in known suit shows singleton/void + fit, jump in unknown suit preemptive, double with values if need to force and not enough fit for opener’s suit for other bid.

[Two suiter but no known suit]

New suits are NF, jump are preemptive, double with values if need to force and not enough fit for opener’s suit for other bid.

[Sandwich Notrump]

After X-Pass-Y, notrump overcall is sandwich for the other two suits, showing a weak, distributional hand.

[Cuebid Rule After Fourth Seat Intervention]

The last naturally bid suit by the opponents is the only cuebid suit.


                1¨-Pass-1ª-Double-Pass-2¨:          natural, 2ª would be cuebid suit.

                1¨-Pass-1©-1ª-Pass-2©:                  cuebid, 2¨ would be natural.

                1¨-Pass-1©-1ª-2¨-2©:                     natural, 3¨ would be cuebid, last naturally bid suit.

                1§-Pass-1©-2¨-Double-3§:              natural, 2© would be cuebid.


[Non-Jump Suit Overcalls]

6+ @ 1 level, 10+ @2 level etc. (the higher the level, the better the hand).  Flat hands tend to not overcall without a reason, distributional hands attempt to get into the bidding.

One level major suit overcalls do not promise honours in suit, just 5+ length, 6+ points.


[After overcall]

-          Jump raise to three of suit always weak, preemptive.

-          Always two cuebids if both below three of suit, otherwise one cuebid and it is always limit+.

-          If responder does not bid a suit naturally, two cuebids are in opener's suit, the second a jump to three of opener’s suit.

-          If responder bids a suit naturally, the cheapest bids in opener’s and responder's suits are used for the two cuebids; this is like Rosler.

-          Non-jump new suits natural & non-forcing, but constructive, and includes “known suits”  shown by responder’s negative double (so 1¨-1©-Double-1ª is natural, non-forcing, constructive).

-          The cheapest cuebid sometimes (but rarely) has to be used with a hand with no other good bid and values too strong to express otherwise.

-          Redouble of negative double and double of notrump bid shows values.

-          Double of a forcing suit bid by responder shows the unbid suit + partial fit for overcall suit or lead directional values in unbid suit + fit for overcall suit.

-          Double of a non-forcing suit bid is optional with penalty interest, showing the values for a natural 2NT bid or better.

-          Game bids in overcall suit can be to make or as a sacrifice or hoping the opponents bid again with a trap hand.

[Cuebids and Jump Overcalls after their one level opening]

[Direct Cuebid]

Both majors over minor, major + minor over major, wide ranging.  2NT by advancer promises game interest, cuebidder bids accordingly.  § and ¨ bids by advancer opposite major + minor are to play in opener’s minor suit at that level if holding suit bid (e.g. 1©=2©=Pass=3¨ means pass with diamonds, bid 4§ or something else with hearts and clubs).  If the direct cuebidder doubles later without advancer having bid anything, it shows considerable extra values and promises the two higher ranking unbid suits.  Example: 1ª-2ª-4ª-Pass-Pass-Double shows ©s & ¨s. considerable extra values.


[Jump Direct Cuebid in Major]

Asks for stopper for notrump, shows long running suit, no stopper.


[Jump Direct Cuebid in Minor]

Preemptive with the suit bid, so 1§-3§ is preemptive in their suit.


[Double Jump Cuebid in their suit to the four level]

Top & bottom suits, game going hand.  1¨-4¨ or 1©-4© both show ªs & §s (top and bottom), while 1§-4§ shows ªs & ¨s, and 1ª-4ª shows ©s & §s.


[Jump Overcall]   

Preemptive, bidding as over preemptive opening, including transfers if they make a negative double.


12.           Slam Conventions 

[Blackwood & Gerber]

Ordinary Gerber only jump bid to 4§ over natural notrump.  If unavailable as a jump then 5§ is ace asking over natural 3NT.  First reply is 0 or 4 aces, other replies up the line.


If 4NT is a jump bid and the first bid our partnership makes it is ace asking as with Gerber. The first reply is 0 or 4 aces, rest up the line.


Otherwise 4NT and 4§/4¨ when keycard asking always uses 1430 style responses:

Roman Keycard Blackwood (14302525), Roman Keycard Gerber over preempts (1430).


Trump suit rules:

-          If two suits agreed, trump is suit the RKCB bidder raised.

-          If no suit agreed, last suit bid (i.e. shown if transfer etc.) is trump (but if no real suit bid like after fourth suit forcing, then no king of trumps and still 1430).

-          If two possible suits, highest ranking suit is trump (1¨-2¨(Majors)-Pass-4NT is for ªs).

-          If no suit has been bid by partnership 4NT is still 1430, but no king of trumps.


Autowood:            when partner signoffs of in 5 of trump suit after asking via RKCB, bid slam with 3 or 4 keycards automatically, however does not apply when it was completely impossible from the previous bidding to hold 0 or 1 keycards originally.


Queen Ask:           Cheapest non-trump suit bid over 14/30 responses asks for queen; return to trump suit denies it.  (e.g. 1ª-4NT-5§-5¨-5ª would deny queen).  Show specific kings to accept.  5NT can show queen but deny any specific kings if it is possible to bid any specific king under six of trump suit.  Otherwise 5NT shows queen and a specific king that cannot be shown at five level or at six level under six of trump suit.


Void Showing:      Excessive jumps in response to RKCB show useful voids: six level suit bid shows void in suit and 1 or 3 keycards, six of trump suit shows higher ranking void and 1 or 3 keycards.    With one key card use discretion – one can decide to bid 1st step first instead.  5NT shows 2 keycards and useful void.  Free bids at five level (e.g. when 4§ was RKCB) also show 1 keycard and useful void.  Further non-trump bids by the Blackwood bidder ask for the King in the bid suit.


5NT after RKCB:                  is specific King ask, and promises all first round controls.


Six level bids after 4NT:      If partner could have established a fit with a forcing bid, but did not, then six level bids are natural (e.g. 1ª-4NT-5©-6¨ shows long diamonds, to play).  If partner establishes a fit (or had no way to establish a fit), then uses 4NT, six level bids ask for something useful in the suit bid, often looking for a third round control.


After Interference – Always DEPO/REPO – and bids keep their same bidding


If the opponents interfere after 4NT ace/keycard asking, holding a first or second round control in the opponent’s suit shown by the interference make normal response if still available.  Otherwise double or redouble with an even number of keycards, pass with an odd number (DEPO, REPO).  So 1ª-Pass-4NT-5¨-5© shows two keycards, not the spade queen, and a first or second round control in ¨s.  If partner can bid or make DEPO/REPO response, a DEPO/REPO response shows a desire to defend.



[Grand Slam Try and 5NT Pick a Slam]

5NT without RKCB & trumps not known & not a double jump is pick a slam.


5NT without RKCB & trumps can be assumed to be known or it is a double jump is graded Grand Slam Try, asking for honours:







1st step (6§)

Not two of top three honours.

A, K, or Q.

A or K.

A or K plus extra length.

2nd step (6¨)


No honour.

Q or extra length.

A or K, no extra length.

3rd step(6©)



No honour or extra length.

Q or extra length.

4th step(6ª)




No honour or extra length.


With two of the top three honours bid above 6 of trump suit, or 7§.


Jump to suit above 5 of established trump suit: Grand Slam Try with replies like ª are trumps in steps.

                                                For example: 1©-4©-5ª is Grand Slam Try.

[4NT Quantitative]

4NT is a quantitative slam invite when bid over a natural notrump bid or rebid, when partner’s bid showed intent to play in notrump.  It invites partner to go to slam with a maximum.



1NT-4NT, 2NT-4NT, 1¨-1ª-2NT-4NT


It is also on if responder makes any non-jump suit bid after a notrump opening, then rebids 4NT, which includes using Stayman and Jacoby Transfers first.  It is not on once opener shows a fit for responder, including after a super accept of a Jacoby Transfer.  Note: use Texas if want to make RKCB bid directly after transfer.



1NT-2§-2ª-2NT, 1NT-2¨-2©-2NT, 2NT-3©-3ª-4NT: quantitative.

1NT-2¨-3§-4NT, 1NT-4¨-4©-4NT:                                 RKCB for ©s.


[Reply to 4NT Quantitative]

With minimum pass.

With maximum reply to 4NT Quantitative using 1430 responses and 1430 rules for what is trump, if any.


1NT-4NT-5§:        1 or 4 aces, since no suit trumps.

1NT-2¨-2©-4NT-5ª:          2 keycards and heart queen.

1NT-2§-2ª-3¨-3NT-4NT-5¨:          0 or 3 keycards, keycards = four aces + diamonds king.

After 1430 reply, 5NT is a signoff, if there was a trump suit for the 1430 reply then trump suit is signoff, queen ask is cheapest non-trump bid at five level, other bids show length and suggest possible slam spot.

13.           DONT NO


Vs. Their Notrump –            all notrumps, both direct and balance – but if their notrump is relatively weak, the minimum required for each bid goes up a bit.

Modified DONT –                called DONT NO (“what is that?” – “don’t know” etc.), a modified version of MECKWELL over NT and strong 1§ and 2§


Double:  Major(s) 4-4, 5-4, 5-5 etc. general rules: the weaker their notrump the better the hand has to be, and the less distributional the hand the more points necessary.  Can even be 4-3 in majors with a super strong hand needing a bid to make.


2§:          clubs and another OR just clubs with extra values & length

2¨:         diamonds and a major, OR just diamonds or both minors with extra values & length.

2M:         to play.

2NT:       big major/minor two suiter hand.

3X:          preemptive, but the weaker the notrump bid, the better the preempt is.

3NT:       big hand based on long minor.


After majors showing double:

Pass:       lead your best major.

Double:  (if they bid), penalty, but if of minor, partner is to pull with weak 5-5.

2m:          pass if at least partial fit, otherwise bid.

2M:         (or cheapest major suit bid) to play.

2NT:       asks for further description.

3m:          forcing, natural.

3M:         GI, good fit.

3NT:       to play based on longer minor, stopper in other minor.

4m:          4§ transfers to 4©, 4¨ transfers to 4ª.

4M:         to play.


After 2§ or 2¨, cheapest bid is pass or correct, other bids natural NF, 2NT asks, jump bids natural & F below game.  If opponents bid a suit at any level, double is negative, passable if suit is the other one held, but otherwise overcaller to show hand type, bidding cheapest notrump to show no extra values and highest possible second suit that cannot be bid on current level.

Example: 1NT-2§-2ª-Double-Pass – overcaller passes with spades, but bids 2NT with hearts without extras, or 3§ with just clubs (thus extras) or 3¨ with diamonds, or 3© with that suit and extras.

1NT-2§-2©-Double-Pass-2NT would show ¨s, since ªs can be bid on two level.

After 2§ or 2¨, if responder bids 2NT Lebenshol, double by advancer shows interest in overcaller’s second suit.


After 2§ or 2¨, if advancer raises first suit, then overcaller next suit bid is either natural and/or value showing for notrump.  Example: 1NT-2¨-Pass-3¨-Pass-3ª: spades or spade values for notrump.

After 2§ and 2¨ overcall is doubled by opponents, advancer:

Redouble is takeout, but overcaller can pass holding only that suit (since extra values then).

New suits are natural, long.

2NT asks for further description.


After weak notrump (13-15 or weaker), double of Stayman or transfer shows KQxx or better in suit + values.  Pass of Stayman or transfer and then double shows values, the suit responder bid first (for Stayman or Transfer) not good enough to have doubled first time.

Vs. 2NT and 3NT natural, not gambling:          as over 1NT, but suit quality better.


Vs. Forcing Club – same two level bids as openings, double=Majors, 1NT=three suiter short in a major.

14.           Leads & Defensive Carding


3rd and 5th.

If leading trump lead, usually lead low, the ace, or top of touching honors.  High spot trump tends to suggest something unusual about hand, trying to clue partner in.

Against suit or notrump after lead switch to attitude (low from something, high from nothing).

Against suit, with AK without the Q, lead A from even number of cards in suit, K from odd, 1st trick only.

From KQ (missing jack), QJ, JT, lead top honour.

From AKQ or KQJ can lead the lowest first.  From QJT and JT9 lead the top honour.

After lead from three connected honours, play the highest left next to show even number originally, the lowest left to show odd number originally.  For example from KQJ75, lead the jack first, then play the queen to show odd number started with.  Can false card if will help declarer.

Against suit slams, A for attitude, K for count.

Against notrump queen asks for unblock of jack or count (upside down).

Against notrump A leads, shows AKx or AKxx type holding, asks for attitude.

Against notrump K shows strong holding, usually AKJx(x).



Upside down attitude and count.

Roman First discard.

Standard suit preference.  Trump plays usually suit preference unless important otherwise to keep cards.  Weird trump plays (middle-high-low) wake up signal to partner for something weird.

Attitude signals on leads and shifts, until first discard made, unless this count situation:

                Important count case: notrump, and dummy has QJx or JTx and cannot beat dummy.

Attitude on first discard in a suit, then remainder count, may be false if going to help declarer.

Defense with stiff in dummy on lead: suit preference or middle to continue.

Defense on honor lead from likely shortness to partner’s bid long suit (5+) – partner’s card is suit preference or middle if no suit preference.

If partner leads A of your long suit, K says continue, J says unusual preference shift.

If partner leads K of your long suit, Q says continue, T says unusual preference shift.

When playing an honour to force declarer to play a higher one, play second highest first from touching honors.  Thus from QJT play the jack first.

In situations where suit preference does not work because there are three outstanding suits (e.g. partner lead a trump), low first shows preference to obvious shift suit (see below) and high then lower for the other two suits, using second card played to show suit preference if possible.


[ETM Switch Signal]

1)       When following to opponents suit where count is not important – use Switch signal

High not including useful honor = switch recommended - shows a concentration of values in a suit.

Low = neutral.

If High first, next spot card is suit preference if possible.

If Low first, next card is Highest Left to ask for suit led, up-the-line to continue to be neutral.


2)       In count situations:

From even play low, then next card play high if like suit led, otherwise up-the-line.

From odd play high, then next card to indicate best suit preference.


3)       In situations where count or switch signal is uncertain:

If an even number play low, then either next lowest to remain neutral or high to encourage suit led.

If an odd number and want a switch, play highest, then show suit preference.

If an odd number but do not want a switch, play middle then on next card play lower if count still important, and higher if count was not important.


© 1999, 2008 Glen Ashton BridgeMatters

For further information please contact Glen Ashton at mailto:etm@bridgematters.Com