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Bridge Corner: June 25, 2015



Hello and welcome to the Tidewater Bridge Unit’s series of duplicate bridge lessons.

Are you comfortable counting your points, opening and responding to bids, and overcalling? If not, please review lessons #1, #2, and #3. Also, please consider attending the free bridge lessons and playing in the bridge games being offered by the Tidewater Bridge Unit-contact information is at the end of this lesson.

 Responding to partner’s overcall

Your left hand opponent has opened the bidding with 1 club, your partner overcalls with 1 spade, and your right hand opponent passes (remember, your partner’s bid of 1 spade shows at least a five-card spade suit and 8-16 HCP). What is your bid?



1 Club              1 Spade           Pass


1NT = 8-11 HCP, club stopper, not forcing

2Clubs = forcing, shows support for spades with 10+ points


2Diamonds = not forcing

2Hearts = not forcing

2Spades = simple raise, 3 spades, 6=10 RCP

2NT = 12-14 HCP, clubs stopped, an invitation to go to game

3Diam. = good suit, good hand, invitational


3Rearts = good suit, good hand, invitational

3Spades = preemptive -4 spades with 6-9 hcp

3NT =to play, 14+ hcp with clubs stopped

One ofthe hardest parts of this game is learning how to or whether to respond to your partner’s overcall, so don’t feel overwhelmed. With partnership trust and plenty of practice, you will get this.

As you can see, the chart introduces some concepts we have not yet mentioned. After partner overcalls 1C with 1S, both your 2S and 3S bids show weak hands with support. 3 Spades (S) shows a weaker and/or shapelier hand than 2S, while the cue-bid of 2 Clubs shows a good hand with spade support.


The 3S bid is called preempting-jumping the bidding with a weak hand. The idea is to crowd the bidding when you have a long suit to make it more difficult for the opponents to bid. Jumping to 3S would show a hand similar to:

(Spades) Axxx (Hearts) x (Diamonds) xxxx (Clubs) Qxxx

Takeout Doubles

There are three options when the opponents open the bidding. You can pass, overcall, or double. You already know how to pass. We have learned about overcalls-a good 5+ card suit with at least 8 HCP at the one level and 10+ HCP at the 2 level. The third option is to double (this would be a takeout double. There are several other types of doubles you can use in different situations. We will discuss other doubles in later lessons).

Here’s how the takeout double works. If right hand opponent (RHO) opens IS, you are far more likely to hold a hand with a (Spade)x (Heart)xxxx (Diamond)xxxx (Club)xxxx type shape than one with a (S)xxxxx (H)xx (D)xxx (C)xxx type shape. In really old bidding theory, IS-X would have been a penalty double, meaning “You aren’t going to make I spade, so I’m doubling to increase your penalty.”


In today’s bidding, the doubler in the sequence IS-X is saying, “I have about an opening hand. I don’t have many spades, but I can support all ofthe unbid suits.” A perfect double of 1S would look like (S)x (H)AJxx (D)Kxxx (C)AJxx. With this shape, you could double with as few as 11 or so points because you have 4-card support for any suit partner bids. Ifthe shape is not quite as good as the perfect example above (for instance (S)xx (H)xxxx (D)xxxx (C)xxx), then the 1S doubler should have at least 13 HCP. A takeout double strongly suggests having at least four ofthe unbid major(s). Remember, ifyou don’t have perfect shape, you need a full opening bid (13 HCP).

If you don’t have a shape for an overcall, and you don’t have a shape for a takeout double, and you can’t overcall lNT, you should pass. If you double, you need to be able to tolerate any suit partner bids. If RHO opens IS and you have (S)Axx (H)Axxx (D)KQxx (C)xx, you should pass.

Responding to Takeout Doubles

When partner doubles, he is NOT inviting you to pass. He doesn’t have many of the opponent’s bid suit. If partner doubles lC, you expect him to have a hand that looks like (S)Axxx (H)Axxx (D)Axxx (C)x, or thereabouts. Your options: .

* If you have 4 cards in an unbid suit (prefer a major over a minor) and 0-8 hcp, bid it.


* If you have 4 cards in an unbid suit (prefer major over minor), 9-11 hcp, jump in your suit. If the bidding goes lC-X-P to you and you have (S)Ax (H)KQxx (D)xxx (C)Qxxx, bid 2H.

* With 7-9 points, no four-card major and stoppers in opponent’s suit, bid INT.

* With 10-12 hcp, no four-card major and stoppers in opponent’s suit, bid 2NT.

* With 13-15 hcp, no four-card major and stoppers in opponent’s suit, bid 3NT.

Note: Since INT promises 7 HCP, occasionally you may fmd yourself bidding your best 3-card major. You cannot pass a takeout double with a weak hand. You must have a good hand with 5 or more trumps in order to pass.


For additional information on our mentoring sessions, lessons, or games, please call Delores Burney at (757) 321-0825 or Lawrence Owes at (757) 393-1853

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