System 3U75 Main

Popular Conventions

 by Richard Pavlicek

This system of bidding and defensive carding is based on the standard methods taught by Richard Pavlicek, plus a variety of popular conventions. The outline presented here follows the ACBL convention card.

Conventions Included


Jacoby and Texas transfer bids

Minor-suit Stayman

Limit major raises

3 NT forcing major raise

Splinter bids

1 NT forcing

Two-over-one game force

(unless responder rebids suit)

Reverse Drury

Weak jump shift responses

Inverted minor raises

Fourth suit forcing

New minor forcing

Strong artificial 2 C opening

Cheaper minor 2nd negative

Weak two-bids

Negative doubles

Landy or Cappelletti (you choose)

Michaels cue-bid


D-O-P-I over interference


Most conventions are subject to different usage and variations, so an official reference is desirable.
Modern Bridge Conventions by Richard Pavlicek and Bill Root is the authority here, so refer to that book.

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General Approach

Standard with 5 Card Majors

Strong forcing opening: 2 C

Notrump Opening Bids

1 NT = 15-17 HCP

2 C = Stayman; if followed by:

2 H or 2 S = invitational
3 C or 3 D = game forcing

Jacoby transfer (off with any interference)

2 S = minor-suit Stayman (at least invitational)

3 C or 3 D = weak

Texas transfer (also in comp. through 3 C)

After a double:

all suit bids are natural to play

After an overcall:

all doubles are penalty
cue-bid of real suit = Stayman

2 NT = 20-22 HCP

Stayman; Jacoby; Texas
3 S = both minors, slam try

3 NT = 25-26 HCP

Stayman; Jacoby
4 S = both minors, slam try

Major Openings

5+ cards

Double raise = limit (also in competition)

3 NT = balanced forcing raise (off in competition)

Splinter bids (in comp. must be a jump cue)

1 NT = 6-12 (forcing)

2 NT = 13+ unlimited (11-12 in competition)

Two-over-one GF unless responder rebids same suit

Reverse Drury

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Minor Openings

3+ cards

Single raise = 10+; forcing (also in competition)

Double raise = weak (also in competition)

1 NT = 6-10

2 NT = 13-16 (11-12 in competition)

3 NT = 17-18

Two-Club Opening

Strong (typically 23+); artificial

2 D = 0-7 HCP; may be waiting with awkward hand

Other responses = 8+ HCP (suit bids at least Qxxxx)

Cheaper minor (3 C or 3 D) second negative

Weak Two-Bids

5-11 HCP; 6 cards (or strong 5)

2 NT only force; asks for feature if not minimum

Other Conventional Calls

Weak jump shifts (always)

Splinter rebids (3 S or higher jump) over majors only

In competition splinters apply in enemy suit only (other jumps are weak)

Responder’s 2nd round jumps game forcing by unpassed hand

New minor forcing (11+ points)

Fourth suit forcing (11+ points)

Special Doubles

Negative through 4 D

System 3U75 MainTop Popular Conventions

Direct Notrump Overcalls

1 NT = 15-18 HCP (10-15 in passout)

Respond as to 1 NT opening

2 NT nonjump = 16-19 (14-17 in passout)

Respond as to 2 NT opening

2 NT jump = unusual for two lower unbid suits

3 NT = natural; can be long minor

All responses natural (except a cue-bid)

Simple Overcall

Typically 8-17 HCP

Simple response = 8-11

Jump response = invitational

Cue-bid response = game forcing

Vs. All Notrump Openings

Double = 14+ HCP; optional (penalty oriented)

Landy* (all seats):

2 C = majors
2 NT = minors
all other = natural

or Cappelletti* (all seats):

2 C = any 1-suiter
2 D = majors
2 H = hearts + minor
2 S = spades + minor
2 NT = minors

*You can play Landy or Cappelletti but not both. You and partner must decide.

Jump Overcall

Weak (like a weak two-bid or preemptive opening)

Respond as to same opening

Over Opp’s Takeout Double

New suit = nonforcing

Jump raise = 8-10; 4+ trumps

Redouble = 10+ HCP or 11+ support points

System 3U75 MainTop Popular Conventions

Opening Preempts

Light; based on rule of 2, 3 or 4

Vs. Enemy Preempts

Double = takeout through 4 D

Double of 4 H, 4 S, 5 C or 5 D = optional

4 NT over 4 S = all suit takeout

4 NT over any other major bid = minors


Rare (never initial actions)

Direct Cue-bid

Michaels (two suits)

Slam Conventions

Gerber 4 C/5 C (must be a jump after partner bid notrump)

Blackwood 4 NT

D-O-P-I over interference

Opening Leads vs. Suits

Fourth best

Low from three small

King from A-K (except doubleton)

Standard honor leads

Opening Leads vs. Notrump

Fourth best

High from three small

Ace asks for unblock or count

Standard honor leads


Attitude when partner leads

Count when declarer leads

Additional Agreements

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© 2012 Richard Pavlicek