Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Defensive Bidding

Overcalls show 8-16 points (double and bid the long suit with a stronger hand). The only forcing response is a cuebid of opener's suit, asking the overcaller about the quality of his overcall:

(Pass)2♠  Minimum overcall
 other  Extra strength (11 or 12 points minimum)

Responses to a 1 level overcall are as follows:
  • Raise: 3+ trumps, 6-11 points

  • Double Raise: 4+ trumps, 10-12 points

  • Game: Weak distribution hand, 4+ trumps

  • 1NT: 9-12 points

  • 2NT: 11-13 points non-jump, 13-15 jump

  • 3NT: 15-16 points

  • New suit: Not forcing, usually denies fit in overcaller's suit

  • Cue bid: Game forcing.

NOTE: After raising overcall, do not raise again in competitive auction.

An alternative style by the advancer to the overcall is to play a new-suit as forcing and a cue-bid as always at least an invitational raise. This allows a jump raise to be pre-emptive.

A 1NT overcall shows 15-18 points and a balanced hand (preferably a stopper in opener's suit). No artificial responses are used to the 1NT overcall except 2♣, which is Stayman.

It is relatively common for pairs to play system "ON" after a 1NT overcall. This means that we can use Stayman and Jacoby Transfers etc after a 1NT overcall in just the same way that we do over a 1NT opening.

A jump overcall of 2NT is Unusual NT and shows at least 5-5 in the lower two unbid suits. It can also be bid over a strong 2♣ opening, but not over a weak 2-bid, in which case 2NT shows 16-19 points. Responses to it are: Preference bid, jump preference bid (mostly preemptive), cue bid for game or slam try, new suit (not forcing), 3NT, or 4NT which is Blackwood.

Jump overcalls are preemptive, showing the same values as an opening bid at the same level:

(1)2♠a hand that would open a weak two-bid in spades
 3♣A hand that would open 3♣

Weak jump overcalls do not apply when in balancing position (balancing jump overcalls are intermediate - around 11-15), over a non-forcing raise (i.e. 1-P-2-), after a 1NT opening, or after a preemptive bid (over a pre-emptive bid jump overcalls are strong - around 16-18).

After a 1NT opening and after a simple raise it is possible to play weak jump overcalls.

In all cases when making a weak jump overcall consideration should be taken of the vulnerability.

A cuebid overcall when the opponents have bid two suits is natural in either suit.

A cuebid overcall, when the opponents have bid only one suit, is a "Michaels cuebid", showing a 5-5 two-suiter (or more distributional). If the opening is in a minor suit, the cuebid shows the majors; if the opening is in a major, the cuebid shows the other major and an unspecified minor.

(1)2At least 5-5 in the majors, 8 points or more

(1♠)2♠at least 5-5 in hearts and a minor; 10 points or more

Responder can bid 2NT over a major suit cuebid to ask for partner's minor.

(1)2(Pass)2NTAsks for the minor
(Pass)3♣  Club suit
 3  Diamond suit

In a competitive auction, if 2NT is not available responder may bid 4♣ (not forcing) or 4NT (forcing) in order to locate minor. 3NT is always to play.

Reopening bids mean much the same as direct seat bids, though they can be lighter at the minimum end. A reopening 1NT after an opponent has opened and his partner passes, shows 10-15 points. This is a wide range but there will not usually be a game on for you. With a good suit and opening values, jump overcall. X followed by 2NT shows 16-17 points, a direct 2NT 18-20. A cuebid is a takeout double with a void in opener's suit.

Doubles are for takeout over opening partscore bids (4 or lower); penalty over opening game bids (4 or higher). A below-game jump response to a takeout double is invitational. To force, responder cuebids opener's suit.

Versus opening preempts, overcalls in suits or notrump are natural; cuebids are Michaels.

Many partnerships play takeout doubles even higher than 4. However higher level doubles are passed more frequently. Partner is only expected to bid with a distributional hand usually with some values. For this reason a takeout double can be off-shape since partner will only pull with a long suit.