System 7G01 Main


Pavlicek System


 by Richard Pavlicek

Last revision: December 26, 2023

1 General Approach  
Opening Bids
21 Notrump Structure  
StaymanJacoby TransferMinor Suit Stayman
Minor Suit TransfersThree Diamonds Majors
Splinter ResponsesTexas TransferNotrump Interference
141 Opening One of Suit  
Rebids by OpenerRebids by ResponderOpener’s Third Bid
Responder’s Third BidRebids after 1 N Rebid
Rebids after 2 N RebidNotrump Responses to Minor
One Notrump ForcingTwo over One of Major
Two Clubs over One DiamondInverted Minor Raises
Weak Jump ShiftsTwo Notrump ResponseMajor Suit Game Tries
Opener’s Reverse BidFourth Suit Bids
Passed Hand ChangesTwo-Way Reverse Drury
361 Competitive One of Suit  
After Takeout DoubleAfter Suit Overcall
After Jump Suit OvercallAfter Two-Suited Overcall
After One Notrump OvercallCompetitive Doubles
Cooperative DoublesOpener’s Competitive Rebids
Competitive Limit Style
481 Higher Opening Bids  
Two Club OpeningWeak Two BidsPreemptive Openings
Three Notrump Opening
571 Defense to One of Suit  
Takeout DoublesSuit OvercallsWeak Jump Overcalls
Two-Suited OvercallsThree-Level Cue Overcall
Balancing ActionsAfter Two Enemy BidsAdditional Agreements
681 Other Defensive Bidding  
Defense to Notrump OpeningsDefense to Weak Openings
Defense to Artificial OpeningsDefense to Transfer Bids
Junkyard DefenseLead-Directing DoublesRunout Defense
791 Slam Bidding Methods  
General ApproachGerberFour Notrump Meanings
BlackwoodSuper GerberTrump Asking Bid
Voluntary Bid of FiveFive Notrump Meanings
901 Defensive Carding  
Notrump Opening LeadsSuit Opening Leads
Leads After Trick OneHonor SignalsCount Signals
Suit Preference SignalsTrump Signal

General Approach

Strength requirements, unless specifically stated as HCP, are presumed to be HCP for natural notrump bids, or total points (distributional values included) for all other bids. Unusual treatments are denoted with a bullet.

Abbreviations used:1
Fforcing
AFartificial force
DJdouble jump
NFnonforcing
Iinvitational
GFgame forcing
STslam try

Opening Bids

Basic approach is five-card majors, strong notrumps and weak two-bids. When opening a minor with 3-3, bid the stronger unless the difference is close, then 1 C; similarly with 4-4, although rebid considerations may be a factor.

Opening bids:11
1 C 1 D13-22, 3+ cards
1 H 1 S13-22, 5+ cards
1 N15-17, balanced
2 C23+, AF
2 D 2 H 2 S5-10 HCP, weak two-bid
2 N20-22, balanced
3+ suitweak
3 Nace ask, good 1-suiter, 9+ tricks, F
4 N 5 Nminors, extreme shape

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Notrump Structure

An opening bid of 1 N shows 15-17 HCP and balanced distribution. Hands with a 5 card major or off-shape pattern are acceptable if each doubleton contains an ace, king or queen, or per judgment.

1 NP?21

2 CStayman
2 D 2 HJacoby transfer
2 Sminor-suit Stayman
2 N 3 Cminor-suit transfer
3 D5-5 majors
3 H 3 Ssplinter, 3-suited ST
3 N 4 Ssign-off
4 CGerber
4 D 4 HTexas transfer

An opening bid of 2 N shows 20-22 HCP, similar in nature to 1 N.

2 NP?22

3 CStayman
3 D 3 HJacoby transfer
3 Sminor-suit Stayman
Highersame as #21

Stayman

After a 1 N or 2 N opening, cheapest club bid is Stayman. No HCP are promised, nor is the presence of a major suit.

1 N
?
P2 CP31

2 Dno 4+ card major
2 H4+ hearts, may have 4 spades
2 S4+ spades, denies 4 hearts

1 N
2 D
P
P
2 C
?
P32

2 Hweak, at least 4-4 majors or 3=4=1=5
2 Ssign-off
2 Ndoes not imply major, I
3 C 3 D5+ cards, GF
3 H5+ spades, 4 hearts, GF
3 S5+ hearts, 4 spades, GF
Any gamesign-off
4 C 4 Dsplinter, 3-suited ST

Note that Gerber and transfer bids do not apply immediately after Stayman.

2 N
3 D
P
P
3 C
?
P33

3 H5+ spades, 4+ hearts, GF
3 S5+ hearts, 4 spades, GF
Any gamesign-off
4 C 4 D5+ cards, ST

1 N
2 H
P
P
2 C
?
P34

2 S4 spades (checkback), F
2 N 3 Hno interest in spades, I
3 C 3 D5+ cards, 4 spades, GF
3 Sagrees hearts, ST
3 N4 spades, game sign-off
4 C 4 Dsplinter, ST
4 H 5 C 5 Dsign-off

2 N
3 H
P
P
3 C
?
P35

3 Sagrees hearts, ST
3 N4 spades, game sign-off
4 C 4 D5+ cards, ST
4 H 5 C 5 Dsign-off

2 N
3 H
?
P
P
3 C
4 C
P
P
36

4 Dstrength, 3+ clubs
4 H*4-4 majors
4 Ssuper Gerber
4 Nno club fit or wrong cards, NF
5 C3+ clubs, discourages slam

*then 4 S (NF) confirms a 4-4 fit

2 N
3 S
P
P
3 C
?
P37

3 N4 hearts, game sign-off
4 C 4 D5+ cards, ST
4 Hagrees spades, ST
4 S 5 C 5 Dsign-off

Smolen follow-up

1 N
2 D
3 N
P
P
P
2 C
3 H
?
P
P
38

4 C 4 D3 cards, ST
4 Htransfer to 4 S

1 N
2 D
3 N
P
P
P
2 C
3 S
?
P
P
39

4 C3 cards, ST
4 Dtransfer to 4 H

2 N
3 D
3 N
P
P
P
3 C
3 H
?
P
P
40

4 C3 cards, ST
4 Dtransfer to 4 H (5-5 majors)
4 Htransfer to 4 S

2 N
3 D
3 N
P
P
P
3 C
3 S
?
P
P
41

4 C3 cards, ST
4 Dtransfer to 4 H

After interference

1 N
?
P2 CX42

Rdbl4+ strong clubs
Pass4 clubs, no major
2 D4+ diamonds, no major
2 H 2 Sunchanged

After Stayman is doubled, responder may pass, redouble or bid 2 D to play; else rebid normally, except 3 C (GF) shows a stiff or worthless doubleton.

If either opponents bids, all doubles by opener or responder are penalty.

Jacoby Transfer

After a 1 N or 2 N opening the cheapest diamond bid shows at least 5 hearts, and the cheapest heart bid shows at least 5 spades. Opener typically completes the transfer by bidding the shown major.

1 N
2 H
P
P
2 D
?
P51

2 S5-5 majors, I (NF)
2 N5 hearts, I
3 C 3 D4+ cards, GF
3 H6+ hearts (rare 5), I
3 N5 hearts (rare 6), choice of game
3 Sagrees hearts, ST
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees hearts, ST
4 Hagrees hearts, slam I (NF)

1 N
2 S
P
P
2 H
?
P52

3 Hagrees spades, ST
4 C 4 D 4 Hself-splinter, agrees spades, ST
Otheranalogous to #51

2 N
3 H
P
P
3 D
?
P53

3 Sagrees hearts, ST
4 C 4 D4+ cards, ST
4 Hagrees hearts, slam I (NF)
3 N5 hearts (rare 6), choice of game

2 N
3 S
P
P
3 H
?
P54

4 Hagrees spades, ST
Otheranalogous to #53

Note that responder’s rebid of 3 or 4 in the unshown major artificially agrees the major shown, not only after Jacoby but also after Stayman.

Opener’s third bid

1 N
2 H
?
P
P
2 D
3 C
P
P
55

3 D 3 S*strength, implies club fit
3 Hheart fit
3 Nno fit or wrong cards
4 C 4 Hgood fit, right cards
4 Ssuper Gerber

*not a shown suit for super Gerber rule

2 N
3 H
?
P
P
3 D
4 C
P
P
56

4 Dstrength, implies club fit
4 Hheart fit
4 Ssuper Gerber
4 Nno fit or wrong cards

Responder’s third bid

1 N
2 H
3 D
P
P
P
2 D
3 C
?
P
P
57

3 H6+ hearts or strong 5
3 Sace or shortness
3 N 4 H 5 Cno slam interest, NF
4 C5-5, GF
4 Dace or king
4 Ssuper Gerber

Note that if responder bids a suit he has not shown it is super Gerber if 4 of the other major, ace or king if opener showed strength, else ace or shortness.

2 N
3 H
4 D
P
P
P
3 D
4 C
?
P
P
58

4 H 5 Cno slam interest, NF
4 Ssuper Gerber
4 Nnatural, NF

Transfer bypass

Opener may jump in responder’s major to show an exceptional fit and maximum values, typically a hand that revalues to greater than the indicated range. The meaning of responder’s rebids are then changed:

1 N
3 H
P
P
2 D
?
P59

3 S 4 C 4 Dself-splinter, ST
3 Nno splinter, ST (F)
4 Hsign-off
4 NBlackwood

2 N
4 H
P
P
3 D
?
P60

4 S 5 C 5 Dace or void, ST
4 NBlackwood
5 Hno ace or void, slam I

After interference

If an opponent interferes after the transfer, rebids are adjusted to obtain a penalty or put the active opponent on lead. Same principles apply after a 2 N opening.

1 N
?
P2 DX61

Passnormal action
Rdbl4+ strong diamonds, suggests to play
2 Hfit, happy with diamond lead
3 Dnormal bypass
3 Hbypass, happy with diamond lead

1 N
P
P
P
2 D
?
X62

Rdblpenalty suggestion, opener pulls w/fit
2 Hsign-off
3 Dsingleton or worthless doubleton, GF
Otherunchanged

1 N
?
P2 D2 S63

Passnormal action
Dblpenalty
3 Dgood heart fit to put bidder on lead
3 Hgood fit, happy with spade lead

1 N
P
P
P
2 D
?
2 S64

Dbloptional, I+, opener pulls w/fit
3 Sself-splinter, agrees hearts, GF
Otherunchanged

If responder rebids in notrump offering a choice of strain, opener may bid the suit below responder’s major to make responder declarer and put active defender on lead.

Minor Suit Stayman

After a 1 N or 2 N opening the cheapest spade bid shows both minor suits. Only 4-4 is required with slam interest, but otherwise at least 5-4 (either way). Over 1 N strength is game invitational or better; over 2 N it is game forcing.

1 N
?
P2 SP71

2 N 3 C 3 Dminimum, NF
3 H 3 Sstrength in suit, GF
3 Nmaximum, NF
4 C 4 Dmaximum, pure values, GF

1 N
2 N
P
P
2 S
?
P72

3 C 3 D5+ cards, NF
3 H 3 Sshortness, GF
3 Nsign-off
4 C 4 D5+ cards, ST

1 N
3 C
P
P
2 S
?
P73

3 D5+ cards, GF
3 H 3 Sshortness, GF
3 Nchoice of game, NF
4 Cat least 5-5, I

1 N
3 H
P
P
2 S
?
P74

3 Sshortness, ST
3 Nsign-off
4 C 4 D5+ cards, F (may be original I)
4 H3 hearts, suggestion to play, NF

1 N
3 N
P
P
2 S
?
P75

4 C 4 D5+ cards, ST
4 Hat least 5-5, ST

After 2 N opening

2 N
?
P3 SP76

3 Nno fit or wrong values
4 C 4 Dthat minor fit
4 Hno 4 card fit, good values

2 N
3 N
P
P
3 S
?
P77

4 C 4 D5+ cards, ST
4 Hat least 5-5, ST

2 N
4 C
P
P
3 S
?
P78

4 D5+ diamonds, ST
4 Hat least 5-5, ST
5 Cslam remote, NF

Minor Suit Transfers

After a 1 N opening, a response of 2 N shows 5+ clubs, and 3 C shows 5+ diamonds. No strength is promised (may be a bust). Responder should not have a second suit if he plans to bid again. Opener almost always completes the transfer but may gamble 3 N with an exceptional fit and stoppers. This does not apply over 2 N.

1 N
3 C
P
P
2 N
?
P81

3 D 3 H 3 Sself-splinter, agrees clubs, ST
3 Nmild ST (NF)
4 Cshapely, I
5 Cshapely, slam remote, NF

Note that to invite game in notrump it is necessary to use Stayman and rebid 2 N.

1 N
3 D
P
P
3 C
?
P82

3 H 3 S 4 Cself-splinter, agrees diamonds, ST
3 Nmild ST, NF
4 Dshapely, I
5 Dshapely, slam remote, NF

Note that all suit rebids by responder confirm 6+ cards in his minor; notrump rebids can be 5-3-3-2.

Interference after the transfer should be handled like Jacoby transfer interference.

Three Diamonds Majors

After a 1 N opening, a response of 3 D shows at least 5-5 in the majors and GF values. This does not apply over 2 N.

1 N
?
P3 DP91

3 H 3 Sbetter fit, normal action
3 Nextreme minor strength, NF
4 H 4 Sgreat fit, both minor aces

1 N
3 H
P
P
3 D
?
P92

3 Stwo singletons, ST
3 Nhonors in short suits, NF
4 C 4 Dshortness, ST
4 Hsign-off

1 N
3 N
P
P
3 D
?
P93

4 C 4 Dshortness, ST
4 Hno slam interest, NF, correctable
4 Ssign-off

After a double

1 N
?
P3 DX94

Passno diamond control
Rdbl5+ strong diamonds, suggest to play
Otherunchanged

Splinter Responses

After a 1 N opening, a response of 3 H or 3 S shows a 3-suited hand (4-4-4-1 or 5-4-4-0) short in the major bid with interest in slam. This does not apply over 2 N.

1 N
?
P3 HP101

3 S 4 C 4 Dfit-showing
3 Nno fit or wrong values

1 N
?
P3 SP102

3 Nno fit or wrong values
4 C 4 Dfit-showing
4 Hheart fit, discouraging slam
4 Sheart fit, good hand

1 N
3 S
P
P
3 H
?
P103

3 Nblank honor, NF
4 C 4 Dcontrol
4 Hvoid
4 Sminimal ST (NF)

1 N
3 N
P
P
3 H
?
P104

4 C 4 D5 cards
4 Hsuper Gerber
4 S5 spades, NF

1 N
4 C
P
P
3 H
?
P105

4 D 4 Scontrol
4 Hsuper Gerber
5 Cminimal ST (NF)

After a double

1 N
?
P3 HX106

Passno 4+ fit, doubts about 3 N
Rdbl4+ strong hearts, desire to play
Otherunchanged

Texas Transfer

After a 1 N or 2 N opening a jump to 4 D shows 6+ hearts, and a jump to 4 H shows 6+ spades. Opener must complete the transfer, and responder usually passes. If responder does bid again:

1 N
4 H
P
P
4 D
?
P111

4 S 5 C 5 Dvoid, ST
4 NBlackwood
5 Hfreak shape, I

After a double

1 N
?
P4 DX112

Passnormal action to put doubler on lead
Rdbldiamond ace
4 Hhappy with diamond lead

Note that a redouble beyond 3 N is not a suggestion to play but indicates control.

Notrump Interference

If an opponent doubles our 1 N there is one addition:

1 NX?121

Rdblrescue with one minor*
Otherunchanged

*Opener bids 2 C then responder passes or corrects.

If an opponent overcalls 2 C (any meaning) our system is on but with the following modifications:

1 N2 C1?1. natural or artificial122

DblStayman, unless 2 C = majors then 8+ HCP
2 Nnatural invitation if 2 C showed clubs
Otherunchanged

Natural overcalls

If an opponent overcalls 2 D or higher in a natural suit (4+ cards) the general scheme is that responses of 2 N through 3 H are transfers to the next higher suit or Stayman if the next higher suit was bid by the opponent. Texas also applies unless the major above was bid by the opponent, then it shows shortness with slam interest.

1 N2 H?123

Dblpenalty, creates force
2 S5+ spades, weak, NF
2 N5+ clubs
3 C5+ diamonds
3 DStayman
3 H5+ spades, I+
3 Sasks for heart stopper
3 N 4 Ssign-off
4 CGerber
4 Dheart shortness, ST
4 HTexas

If the natural overcall shows a second suit:

1 N2 D1?1. diamonds + hearts124

2 showntakeout, may be just competitive
Otheranalogous to #123

Only the actual bid that you can double for penalty qualifies for the Stayman or shortness treatment above.

1 N3 C?125

Dblnegative
3 D5+ hearts
3 H5+ spades
3 Sasks for club stopper
3 N 4 Ssign-off
4 CGerber
4 D 4 HTexas

1 N3 H?126

Dblnegative
3 Sasks for heart stopper
3 N 4 Ssign-off
4 CGerber
4 Dheart shortness, ST
4 HTexas

To show a minor on the previous two auctions, responder can bid 3 S (stopper ask) then his minor (GF). The stopper information may also be helpful in judging slam prospects.

1 N3 S?127

Dblnegative
3 Nsign-off
4 CGerber
4 DTexas
4 Hspade shortness, ST

1 N4 C?128

Dblnegative
4 Ddiamonds, F
4 H 4 Snatural, NF

Note transfers are off for interference beyond 3 N.

Rebids by opener

1 N
?
2 S3 DP129

3 Hnormal action
3 Nmax, good spade stopper
4 Hmax, good heart fit

1 N
?
2 H3 DP130

3 Hno heart stopper, not 4 spades
3 S4+ spades, min if only unshown major
3 Nheart stopper, not 4 spades
4 S*4+ spades, max

*disallowed if both majors unshown

If opener denies a stopper, followups are natural, and bidding can end in 4 C or 4 D. Cue of enemy suit by either asks choice of minors (or remaining suits).

1 N
?
2 H3 SP131

3 Nheart stopper
4 suit4+ cards, no stopper, NF
Cuemax, no stopper, highest + other suit
4 Nmax, no stopper, two lowest suits

Artificial overcalls

If an opponent overcalls 2 D or higher artificially (not 4+ cards in suit bid) the following structures apply:

1 N2 D1?1. not showing 4+ diamonds132

Dbl8+ HCP, creates force
2 showntakeout, may be just competitive
2 unshown5+ cards, NF
2 N 3 C D H5+ cards in next higher suit
3 Sasks for stopper in shown suit(s)
3 Nsign-off
4 CGerber
4 D 4 HTexas

After an artificial overcall note that transferring to a shown suit is the same as any other.

1 N2 N1?1. minors133

3 CStayman
Othersame as #132

1 N3 D1?1. majors134

3 Hminors, may be just competitive
Othersame as #132

Note that 4 C by responder is always Gerber (jump or not) after interference.

After our 2 N opening, the same structures apply insofar as possible; i.e., 2 level bids are eliminated, and higher bids keep their meaning.

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Opening One of Suit

General strategy is to respond up-the-line with 4-4 majors. A 5 card minor may be suppressed to bid a 4 card major at the 1 level, but with good hands tend to bid in natural order unless greatly biased by strength.

1 CP?141

1 D 1 H 1 S6+, 4+ cards
1 N6-10, no 4 card major
2 C11+, 4+ clubs, F
2 D 2 H 2 Sweak
2 N15+, balanced
3+ any suitweak
3 N13-14, balanced

1 DP?142

2 C11+, 5+ clubs
2 D11+, 4+ diamonds
Othersame as #141

1 HP?143

1 S6+, 4+ spades
1 N6-14, F
2 C 2 D13+, 5+ cards
2 H7-10, 3+ hearts
2 S 3 C 3 Dweak
2 N15+, balanced
3 H11-12, 4+ hearts
3 S 4 C 4 D13+, splinter
3 N13-15, 4+ hearts, no splinter, F
Higher suitweak

1 SP?144

2 H13+, 5+ cards
2 S7-10, 3+ spades
3 Hweak
3 S11-12, 4+ spades
3 N13-15, 4+ spades, no splinter, F
4 H13+, splinter
Othersame as #143

Rebids by Opener

1 C
?
P1 DP151

1 H 1 S13-18, 4+ cards
1 N*12-14, balanced
2 C13-15, 6+ clubs (rare 5)
2 D13-15, 4 diamonds
2 H 2 S19+, 4+ cards (rare 3), GF
2 N*18-19, balanced, I
3 C16-18, 6+ clubs, I
3 D16-18, 4+ diamonds, I
3 H 3 S19+, splinter
3 N16+, 6+ strong clubs
4 C19+, 6+ clubs, 4 diamonds
4 D19+, 6+ clubs, 5 diamonds

*preferable to 1 H or 1 S with both majors stopped

1 C
?
P1 HP152

1 S13-18, 4+ spades
1 N12-14, balanced, not 4 spades
2 C13-15, 6+ clubs (rare 5)
2 D17+, 4+ diamonds (rare 3), F
2 H13-15, 3+ hearts (usually 4)
2 S19+, 4+ cards (rare 3), GF
2 N18-19, balanced, I
3 C16-18, 6+ clubs, I
3 D19+, 6+ clubs, 4+ diamonds, GF
3 H16-18, 4 hearts, I
3 S 4 D19+, splinter
3 N16+, 6+ strong clubs
4 C19+, 6+ clubs, 4 hearts, F
4 H19+, 4 hearts, no splinter

1 H
?
P1 SP153

1 N12-14, balanced
2 C 2 D13-18, 4+ cards
2 H13-15, 6+ hearts
2 S13-15, 3+ spades (usually 4)
2 N18-19, balanced, I
3 C 3 D19, 4+ cards (rare 3), GF
3 H16-18, 6+ hearts, I
3 S16-18, 4 spades, I
3 N16+, 6+ strong hearts
4 C 4 D19+, splinter
4 H19+, 6+ hearts
4 S19+, 4 spades, no splinter

Rebids by Responder

After a 1-level suit response and opener’s nonjump, non-reverse rebid, all jumps and raises to three of a minor are GF. Responder usually must bid a new suit (third or fourth) to effect an invitation.

1 C
1 S
P
P
1 H
?
P161

1 N 2 C H S6-10, NF
2 D11+, AF
2 N 3 C H S13+, GF
3 D5+ diamonds, 5+ hearts, GF
3 N 4 H 4 Ssign-off attempt
4 C 4 Dsplinter, ST

1 C
1 H
P
P
1 D
?
P162

1 S11+, AF
2 S4 spades, 6+ diamonds, GF
3 S 4 Csplinter, ST
Otheranalogous to #161

1 D
2 C
P
P
1 S
?
P163

2 D 2 S6-10, NF
2 H11+, AF
2 N10-12, I
3 C 3 D 3 S13+, GF
3 H5+ hearts, 5+ spades, GF
3 N13-16

1 C
2 C
P
P
1 H
?
P164

2 H6-10, NF
2 D 2 S11+, semi-natural, F
2 N10-12, I
3 C 3 H13+, GF
3 D5+ diamonds, 5+ hearts, GF
3 S4 spades, 6+ hearts, GF
3 N13-16

1 H
2 D
P
P
1 S
?
P165

2 H 2 S6-10, NF
2 N10-12, I
3 C11+, AF
3 D 3 H 3 S13+, GF
3 N13-16

1 H
2 H
P
P
1 S
?
P166

2 S6-10, NF
2 N10-12, I
3 C 3 D11+, semi-natural, F
3 HI
3 S13+, GF
3 N13-16

Opener’s Third Bid

After a third- or fourth-suit force, opener should describe his hand as naturally as possible. Bidding at or below 2 N (except new suit, or 2 S after 1 S rebid) or the same suit three times explicitly rejects an invitation and is NF. Other non-jumps are ambiguous strength (F); jumps are GF.

1 D
1 S
?
P
P
1 H
2 C
P
P
171

2 D 2 H 2 Nreject, NF
2 S*4 good/decent spades, ambiguous, F
3 C4 clubs, ambiguous, F
3 D 3 H 3 Naccept
3 S5 spades, 6+ diamonds, GF

*undesirable to bid notrump; could be 5-6 bare minimum

1 D
2 C
?
P
P
1 H
2 S
P
P
172

2 Nreject, NF
3 C 3 D 3 Hambiguous, F
3 Sace*, GF
3 Naccept

*because 4 spades were denied (else would show 4)

1 C
2 C
?
P
P
1 S
2 D
P
P
173

2 H4 hearts or ace, ambiguous, F
2 S 2 N 3 Creject, NF
3 D4 diamonds, ambiguous, F
3 S 3 Naccept

1 D
2 D
?
P
P
1 H
3 C
P
P
174

3 Dreject, NF
3 H 4 Cambiguous, F
3 Sace, F
3 Naccept

Special cases

1 C
1 H
?
P
P
1 D
1 S
P
P
175

1 N 2 C 2 Dreject, NF
2 H4 strong hearts or 5, ambiguous, F
2 S4 spades, ambiguous, F
2 N 3 C 3 Daccept, GF

1 H
2 D
?
P
P
1 S
3 C
P
P
176

3 D*reject, not 3 spades, NF
3 H 3 N 4 maccept
3 Sambiguous, F

*does not show 5+ diamonds

After 2 N invitation

If opener bids the same suit consecutively, or a third suit below his rebid first suit, it is nonforcing.

1 D
2 D
?
P
P
1 H
2 N
P
P
177

3 C 3 Dnatural, NF
3 Hnatural, F
3 Sstrength (short clubs), F

1 D
2 C
?
P
P
1 H
2 N
P
P
178

3 Cnatural, NF
3 D 3 Hnatural, F
3 SAF, 5-5 minors

1 H
2 H
?
P
P
1 S
2 N
P
P
179

3 C 3 D 3 Hnatural, NF
3 Snatural, F

1 H
2 D
?
P
P
1 S
2 N
P
P
180

3 C 3 H 3 Snatural, F
3 Dnatural, NF

Responder’s Third Bid

After a third- or fourth-suit force, responder need not bid again if opener’s third bid was a rejection. If responder does bid again, he names the final strain; if this is a nonjump below game, he shows invitational values. Any jump bid below game is forcing.

If opener raises the third or fourth suit, or shows a preference for responder’s first suit, this does not determine the final strain but merely describes opener’s hand. It is still responder’s duty to bid the final strain next.

Rebidding the third or fourth suit shows at least 5-5 shape; invitational at 3 level, unless opener showed a preference for responder’s first suit then GF; GF at 4 level.

Rebids after 1 N Rebid

When opener rebids 1 N, responder’s rebids follow a similar structure but substituting “new minor forcing” for the previous third-suit force. All jumps are GF.

1 C
1 N
P
P
1 H
?
P201

2 C 2 H6-10, NF
2 D11+, AF
2 S13+, 4 spades, 5+ hearts, GF
2 N11-12, I
3 C 3 H13+, GF
3 D13+, at least 5-5, GF
3 S 4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees hearts, ST
3 N 4 Hsign-off
4 Ssuper Gerber

1 D
1 N
P
P
1 S
?
P202

2 C11+, AF
2 D 2 H 2 S6-10, NF
2 N11-12, I
3 C 3 H13+, at least 5-5, GF
3 D 3 S13+, GF
3 N 4 Ssign-off
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees spades, ST
4 Hsuper Gerber

1 C
1 N
P
P
1 D
?
P203

2 C*11+, AF
2 D6-10, NF
2 H 2 S4 cards, 5+ diamonds, GF
2 N11-12, I
3 C 3 D13+, GF
3 H 3 S 4 Cself-splinter, agrees diamonds, ST
3 Nsign-off
4 Ssuper Gerber

*no sign-off in clubs on this auction

1 H
1 N
P
P
1 S
?
P204

2 C 2 D11+, seminatural, F
2 H 2 S6-10, NF
2 N11-12, I
3 C 3 D13+, at least 5-5, GF
3 H 3 S13+, GF
3 N 4 H 4 Ssign-off
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees spades, ST

Opener’s third bid

1 C
1 N
?
P
P
1 H
2 D
P
P
205

2 H 2 Nreject
2 Sace*, ambiguous
3 C 3 Dambiguous
3 H 3 Naccept

*because 4 spades denied

1 D
1 N
?
P
P
1 S
2 C
P
P
206

2 D 2 S 2 Nreject
2 H*4 hearts, ambiguous
3 C4 clubs, ambiguous
3 D 3 S 3 Naccept

*priority bid if also holding 3 spades

1 C
1 N
?
P
P
1 D
2 C
P
P
207

2 D 2 Nreject
2 H 2 S4 cards, ambiguous
3 C5 clubs, ambiguous
3 D 3 Naccept

1 H
1 N
?
P
P
1 S
2 D
P
P
208

2 H 2 S 2 Nreject
3 C 3 Dambiguous
3 H 3 S 3 Naccept

In the previous four auctions, bidding a minor suit at the 3 level implies a weak holding in the unbid suit, hence warning against notrump.

Responder’s third bid

After new minor forcing, responder need not bid again if opener’s third bid was a rejection. If responder does bid again, he names the final strain; if this is a nonjump below game, he shows an invitational-range hand. Any jump bid below game is forcing.

If opener raises the new minor or shows a preference for responder’s first suit, this does not determine the final strain but merely describes opener’s hand. It is still responder’s duty to bid the final strain next.

Rebidding the new minor shows at least 5-5 shape; invitational at 3 level; GF at 4 level.

Rebids after 2 N Rebid

When opener jumps to 2 N (18-19) after a 1-level suit response, the only way to stop below game is to pass; i.e., all continuations are GF. General structure is to use “new minor forcing” on game-only hands, so other bids can be used to suggest slam.

1 C
2 N
P
P
1 H
?
P211

3 C 3 H 3 Snatural, ST
3 DAF, checkback
3 N 4 Hsign-off
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees hearts, ST
4 Ssuper Gerber

1 D
2 N
P
P
1 S
?
P212

3 CAF, checkback
3 D 3 H 3 Snatural, ST
3 N 4 Ssign-off
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees spades, ST
4 Hsuper Gerber

1 C
2 N
P
P
1 D
?
P213

3 C*AF, checkback
3 D 3 H 3 Snatural, ST
3 Nsign-off
4 C 4 Hself-splinter, agrees diamonds, ST
4 Ssuper Gerber

*if followed by 4 C is natural ST

1 H
2 N
P
P
1 S
?
P214

3 C 3 D*seminatural, checkback
3 H 3 Snatural, ST
3 N 4 H 4 Ssign-off
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees spades, ST

*if followed by 4 C or 4 D is 5-5 ST

Subsequent bidding

If responder has both majors and no slam interest, he must go through “new minor forcing” even with 5-5 shape.

1 C
2 N
3 N
P
P
P
1 S
3 D
?
P
P
215

4 C 4 Snatural, no slam interest
4 Dat least 5-5, ST
4 H5-5 in majors, no slam interest

Notrump Responses to Minor

After a 1 C or 1 D opening, a 1 N response shows 6-10 HCP, and 3 N shows 13-14 HCP. Both show balanced hands (except 1 N over 1 D necessitated by long clubs) and no 4 card major, but may have one if flat (4-3-3-3) with the other unbid suits stopped.

1 D
?
P1 NP221

Passmost common
2 C13-18, NF
2 D13-15, NF
2 H 2 S17+, 4+ cards (rare 3), F
2 N 3 D16-18, I
3 C19+, 4+ clubs (rare 3), GF
3 H 3 S4+ cards, 6+ diamonds, GF
3 Nsign-off

1 C
?
P3 NP222

Passmost common
4 C 4 D 4 Hnatural, ST, F
4 Ssuper Gerber

See also “Two Notrump Response” which is the same over a minor or major.

One Notrump Forcing

After a 1 H or 1 S opening, a response of 1 N shows 6-14 HCP (rarely less with a fit) and denies 4 spades after 1 H. Obviously it is forcing.

1 H
?
P1 NP231

2 C 2 D13-18, 3+ cards, NF
2 H13-15, 6+ hearts, NF
2 S17+ with 6+ hearts else 19+, F
2 N16-18, I
3 C 3 D19+, 4+ cards (rare 3), GF
3 H16-18, 6+ hearts, I
3 S4+ spades, 6+ hearts, GF
3 N19+, NF
4 C 4 D19+, splinter, 6+ hearts
4 H19+, 6+ hearts

1 S
?
P1 NP232

2 H13-18, 4+ hearts, NF
2 S13-15, 6+ spades, NF
3 H19+, 4+ hearts, GF
3 S16-18, 6+ spades, I
4 H16-18, at least 5-5, NF
Othersame as #231

Rebids by responder

1 H
2 C
P
P
1 N
?
P233

2 D6-10, 6+ diamonds (rare 5), NF
2 H6-10 with 2 hearts or 4-7 w/3+, NF
2 S11+, agrees clubs
2 N11-12, I
3 C10-12, 5+ clubs (rare 4), NF
3 D 3 S13+, club raise, values in bid, F
3 H11-12, 3 hearts, I
3 N13-14, NF
4 C10-12, 6+ clubs, I
4 D13+, heart raise, diamond values
4 H13+, 3 hearts, NF

1 S
2 D
P
P
1 N
?
P234

2 H6-10, 5+ hearts, NF
2 S6-10 with 2 spades or 4-7 w/3+, NF
2 N11-12, I
3 C6-10, 6+ clubs, NF
3 D10-12, 5+ diamonds (rare 4), I
3 H13+, diamond raise, heart values
3 S11-12, 3 spades, I
3 N13-14, NF
4 C 4 H13+, spade raise, values in bid
4 D10-12, 6+ diamonds, I
4 S13+, 3 spades, NF

1 S
2 H
P
P
1 N
?
P235

2 S6-10 with 2 spades or 4-7 w/3+, NF
2 N11-12, I
3 C 3 D6-10, 6+ cards, NF
3 H9-11, 4+ hearts, I
3 S11-12, 3 spades, I
3 N13-14, NF
4 C 4 D13+, heart raise, values in bid
4 H12+, 4+ hearts, NF
4 S13+, 3 spades, NF

Note that responder’s jump shifts always show support for opener’s second suit, unless beyond 3 N when second suit is a minor, then opener’s first suit. Value jumps (not splinters) are used because if responder has a splinter it is almost always in opener’s original major.

1 H
2 H
P
P
1 N
?
P236

2 S*8+, at least 5-5 minors, F
3 S 4 C 4 D13+, heart raise, values in bid, GF
3 H11-12, 2 hearts, I
4 H13+ with 2 hearts or 11+ w/3+
Othersame as #235

*limit bidding follows

When opener shows extras

1 H
2 S
P
P
1 N
?
P237

2 Nweak or waiting, F
3 C 3 D6+ cards, F
3 H 3 S10+, 3 cards, GF
3 N10-12, NF
4 C 4 D11+, heart raise, values in bid
4 H8-10, NF

1 H
2 N
P
P
1 N
?
P238

3 C 3 Dweak, 6+ cards, NF
3 Hweak, sign-off attempt
3 Sat least 5-5 minors, GF
Jump suit11+, heart raise, values in bid

1 S
2 N
P
P
1 N
?
P239

3 H5+ cards, F
Otheranalogous to #238

1 H
3 H
P
P
1 N
?
P240

3 Sat least 5-5 minors, GF
4 C 4 D6+ cards, F

1 S
3 S
P
P
1 N
?
P241

4 C 4 D6+ cards, F
4 H6+ hearts, NF

1 H
3 C
P
P
1 N
?
P242

3 D5+ diamonds
3 Hweak or waiting, 2+ hearts
3 S11+, club raise
4 C6-10, 4+ clubs
4 D11+, heart raise, diamond values
4 H11-12, 3 hearts

1 S
3 D
P
P
1 N
?
P243

3 H5+ hearts
3 Sweak or waiting, 2+ spades
4 C6+ clubs
4 D4+ diamonds
4 H11+, spade raise, heart values
4 S11-12, 3 spades

1 S
3 H
P
P
1 N
?
P244

3 Sweak or waiting, 2+ spades
4 C 4 D6+ cards, F
4 H4+ hearts (rare 3)
4 S11-12, 3 spades

Two over One of Major

After a 1 H or 1 S opening, a 2-over-1 response shows 5+ cards (rarely strong 4 card minor) and 13+ points, or 6+ cards with 11-12 points. This is GF unless responder rebids his suit next, then invitational. Opener rebids naturally, with no extra strength required for any nonjump bid. Jumps in unbid suits are always splinters: raises if below 4 of responder’s suit, self-splinters if above.

1 H
?
P2 CP251

2 D 2 S4+ cards
2 H6+ hearts or strong 5
2 N12-14 or 18+
3 C3+ clubs*
3 D 3 S15+, splinter, club raise
3 H15+, 6+ hearts, solid or K-Q-J-10
3 N15-17, NF
4 C15+, 5-5 shape
4 D15+, self-splinter, agrees hearts
4 H15-17, 7+ hearts, no unbid suit control

1 S
?
P2 HP252

2 S6+ spades or strong 5
2 N12-14 or 18+
3 C 3 D4+ cards
3 H3+ hearts*
3 S15+, 6+ spades, solid or K-Q-J-10
3 N15-17, NF
4 C 4 D15+, splinter, heart raise
4 H15-17, 3+ hearts*, no unbid suit control
4 S15-17, 7+ spades, no unbid suit control

*Opener should not raise immediately with 3 small.

Rebids by responder

1 H
2 D
P
P
2 C
?
P253

2 H13+, 3+ hearts
2 S13+, AF, usually 6+ clubs
2 N13-14 or 18+
3 C11-12, 6+ clubs, NF
3 D13+, 4+ diamonds
3 H15-17, 3+ hearts*
3 S15+, splinter, diamond raise
3 N15-17, NF
4 C15+, 6+ clubs, solid or K-Q-J-10
4 D15-17, 4+ diamonds, no spade control
4 H15-17, 3+ hearts*, no spade control

*not 3 small

1 S
2 S
P
P
2 D
?
P254

2 N13-14 or 18+
3 C 3 H4+ cards (rare 3)
3 D11-12, 6+ diamonds, NF
3 S13+, spades J-x or better
3 N15-17, NF
4 C 4 H15+, splinter, spade raise
4 D15+, 6+ diamonds, solid or K-Q-J-10
4 S15-17, no unbid suit control

1 S
2 N
P
P
2 D
?
P255

3 C 3 H4+ cards (rare 3)
3 D11-12, 6+ diamonds, NF
3 S13+, 3+ spades
3 N13-17, NF
4 C15+, self-splinter, agrees diamonds
4 D15+, 6+ diamonds, solid or K-Q-J-10
4 Hsuper Gerber
4 S15-17, no unbid suit control

Subsequent bidding

If either player has shown a dual range and next bids voluntarily past game, this shows the upper range, except a raise to 4 H or 4 S, which implies x-x-x support.

1 S
2 N
?
P
P
2 H
3 N
P
P
256

4 C 4 D18+, heart raise, values in bid
4 H13-17, 3 small hearts
4 S18-19, 5+ strong spades, NF

1 H
2 D
3 N
P
P
P
2 C
2 N
?
P
P
257

4 C18+, 6+ clubs
4 D18+, 4+ diamonds (rare 3)
4 H13-17, 3 small hearts
4 Ssuper Gerber

Two Clubs over One Diamond

After a 1 D opening, a 2 C response shows 5+ clubs (rarely strong 4) and 11+ points. If opener has a minimum (not enough to force to game) he must rebid 2 D, which is artificial; any other rebid shows 15+ (good 14) and is GF.

1 D
?
P2 CP261

2 Dany minimum, AF
2 H 2 S15+, 4+ cards, 5+ diamonds
2 N15+ (good 14)
3 C15+, 3+ clubs (not 3 small)
3 D15+, 6+ diamonds
3 H 3 S15+, splinter, club raise
3 N18-19, NF
4 C15+, 5-5 minors

Rebids by responder

1 D
2 D
P
P
2 C
?
P262

2 H 2 S 3 D13+, natural, GF
2 N 3 C11-12, natural, NF
3 H 3 S17+, self-splinter*, agrees clubs
3 N13-17, NF
4 C17+, 6+ clubs, solid or K-Q-J-10
4 D17+, 5-5 minors

*based on “last shown suit” principle (2 D was artificial)

Inverted Minor Raises

After a 1 C or 1 D opening, responder’s single raise show 10+ (11+ if balanced), 4+ trumps and no 4 card major; forcing for one round.

1 C
?
P2 CP271

2 D 2 H 2 S15+, natural or stopper, F
2 N12-14, often 3 clubs, NF
3 C12-14, 4+ clubs, NF
3 D 3 H 3 S17+, splinter, GF
3 N18-19, NF
4 C17+, 6+ clubs, no splinter, F

Subsequent bidding

If either player bids 3 or 4 of the agreed minor (nonjump) it shows minimum values for the previous bidding and is NF. Exception: Removing 3 N to 4 of the minor is a slam try (F) unless the same player made a NF bid.

1 D
2 H
P
P
2 D
?
P272

2 S 3 Cstrength, F
2 Nnatural, F
3 Dminimum, NF
3 Hnatural (good 3), F
3 S 4 C13+, splinter, GF
3 N12-14, NF

Weak jump raise

Conversely, jump minor raises are weak, typically 6-9 with 5+ trumps.

1 D
?
P3 DP273

Passmost common
3 H 3 S 4 C4+ cards or strength, F
3 N18-19, NF

Higher minor raises (1 C 4 C or 1 D 5 D) are also weak (6-9) but indicate wilder distribution.

Weak Jump Shifts

After an opening bid of 1 of a suit, all jumps in unbid suits to any level are weak, except for a double jump-shift response to a major, which is defined as a splinter bid. Typical holdings depend on the level.

1 CP?281

2 D 2 H 2 S2-5 HCP, 6 cards or good 5
3 D 3 H 3 S2-7 HCP, 7 cards or good 6
4 D 4 H 4 S2-7 HCP, 8 cards or good 7
5 D 5 H 5 Sschizoid on parole?

When jumping to 3 or 4 in a suit below game, playing tricks are more important than HCP or suit length. Responder should have 4 tricks less than his bid, so opener can judge when to bid game.

Rebids by opener

1 D
?
P2 HP282

Passwell advised
2 S 3 C 3 Dnatural, extreme shape, no fit, NF
2 N*AF, game try
3 Hblocking, NF
3 S 4 C 4 Dnatural, extreme shape, no fit, I
3 N (rare)natural, no fit, based on own hand
4 Hgood fit, may be blocking

*same structure as after weak two-bids

1 S
?
P3 DP283

Passwell advised
3 H 3 S 4 Cnatural, extreme shape, no fit, NF
3 N*natural, D K-x or better, NF
4 Ddiamond fit, I
4 H 4 Snatural, extreme shape, no fit

*responder should pull with no ace or king anywhere

Two Notrump Response

After an opening bid of 1 of a suit, a 2 N response shows a balanced hand of 15+ HCP, usually with no 4 card major biddable at the 1 level, but may contain one if flat (4-3-3-3) with the other unbid suits stopped. This bid neither shows nor denies support for opener’s suit.

1 D
?
P2 NP291

3 C 3 H 3 S4+ cards, usually 5+ diamonds
3 D6+ diamonds
3 N12-14, NF
4 C 4 H15+, self-splinter, agrees diamonds
4 D15+, agrees diamonds
4 Ssuper Gerber

1 S
?
P2 NP292

3 C 3 D 3 H4+ cards
3 S6+ spades
3 N12-14, NF
4 C 4 D 4 H15+, self-splinter, agrees spades*
4 S15-16, agrees spades*

*hence responder’s 4 N is then Blackwood

Rebids by responder

Responder is presumed to have 15-17 HCP, so with 18+ he must bid past 3 N. Bidding an unbid suit shows strength and implies support for opener’s last shown suit, unless opener bid a major that responder bypassed at the 1 level, then opener’s first suit.

1 C
3 H
P
P
2 N
?
P293

3 S 4 Dstrength in suit, club fit
3 N15-17, NF
4 Cworking cards, club fit
4 H15-17, 4 hearts, 4-3-3-3
4 Ssuper Gerber

1 H
3 D
P
P
2 N
?
P294

3 H3+ hearts
3 S 4 Cstrength in suit, diamond fit
3 N15-17, NF
4 Dworking cards, diamond fit
4 H15-17, working cards, 3+ hearts, NF
4 Ssuper Gerber

1 S
3 N
P
P
2 N
?
P295

Pass15-17
4 C 4 D 4 H18+, strength in suit, spade fit
4 S15-17, spade fit

Major Suit Game Tries

If we raise a major from 1 to 2, whether an opening bid, response or rebid, game tries are launched by the cheapest bid (2 S or 2 N) to ask about dummy’s hand. Purpose is to allow effective game tries without revealing information about the closed hand. Other suit bids become slam tries.

1 H
?
P2 HP301

2 SAF, asking
2 Nbalanced, I
3 C 3 D 3 Snatural ST (4+ cards)
3 Hblocking
3 Nchoice of games
4 C 4 Dsplinter, ST

1 S
?
P2 SP302

2 NAF, asking
3 C 3 D 3 Hnatural ST (4+ cards)
Otheranalogous to #301

After the artificial ask, if dummy has a suit with secondary values (3+ cards with king or queen, or both) he should show it; otherwise he defines his strength.

1 H
2 S
P
P
2 H
?
P303

2 Nspade values
3 C 3 Dvalues in suit bid
3 Hminimum
3 Smaximum, flat (4-3-3-3), suggests 3 N
4 Hmaximum

1 S
2 N
P
P
2 S
?
P304

3 C 3 D 3 Hvalues in suit bid
3 Sminimum
3 Nmaximum, flat (4-3-3-3), NF
4 Smaximum

When dummy shows secondary values, asker may base his decision on that or inquire further.

1 H
2 S
?
P
P
2 H
3 C
P
P
305

3 Drelay, asks if min or max
3 Hturned off by club values
3 Nchoice of games

1 S
2 N
?
P
P
2 S
3 H
P
P
306

3 S*asks to pass with min
Otheranalogous to #305

*does not imply heart dislike (no relay available)

Subsequent bidding

If dummy is asked if min or max, he simply bids (or passes) 3 of the major with a minimum.

If asker bids a suit between 3 and 4 of the raised major, it is a slam try with a 1-suited hand.

After interference

If an opponent bids after our raise from 1 to 2, the relay structure is off; game tries are then made in the traditional manner by bidding a different suit. Note that early interference (before our raise to 2) and doubles of any kind change nothing.

Opener’s Reverse Bid

After a 1 C, 1 D or 1 H opening and a non-touching 1-level response, opener’s 2-level bid in a suit between (higher than suit opened but nonjump) shows 17+ points and is forcing. Opener shows 9+ cards in his two suits, typically 5-4, but 6-3 is plausible on awkward hands.

1 C
2 D
P
P
1 H
?
P311

2 H6-10, 5+ hearts, F
2 S11+, nondescript, GF
2 N6-10, not 5 hearts, F
3 C 3 D 3 H11+, natural, GF
3 S11+, splinter, diamond raise
3 N11-12, NF

1 D
2 H
P
P
1 S
?
P312

2 S6-10, 5+ spades, F
2 N6-10, not 5 spades, F
3 C11+, nondescript, GF
3 D 3 H 3 S11+, natural, GF
3 N11-12, NF
4 C11+, splinter, heart raise

1 C
2 H
P
P
1 N
?
P313

2 S 3 D9-10, strength in suit bid, GF
2 N6-10, nondescript, F
3 C 3 H9-10, natural, GF
3 N9-10, NF

1 H
2 S
P
P
1 N
?
P314

2 N6-10, nondescript, F
3 C 3 D6+, 5+ cards, F
3 H11+, 3 hearts, GF
3 S11+, Q-x-x or better, GF
3 N11-12, NF
4 C 4 D11+, values in bid, 3 hearts
4 H11-12, 3 hearts

After Interference

1 D
2 H
P
P
1 S
?
2 C315

2 Nnatural (stopper), F
3 Dweak, NF
Cuenondescript, GF
Otheranalogous to #314

Opener’s next bid

After a reverse, opener must bid again below game (except in competition after a preference or pass). If responder shows a weak range and opener has less than GF values, opener must bid 2 N, 3 of his original suit (even with only 5 cards), or raise responder’s 5+ major to 3.

1 C
2 D
?
P
P
1 H
2 H
P
P
316

2 Sace or shortness, GF
2 N17-18, NF
3 C17-18, 5+ clubs, NF
3 D5 diamonds, 6+ clubs, GF
3 H17-18, at least Q-x, NF
3 Ssplinter, heart raise, ST
3 N 4 Hnatural, NF
4 C7+ clubs, F

1 D
2 H
?
P
P
1 S
2 N
P
P
317

3 Cace or shortness, GF
3 D17-18, 5+ diamonds, NF
3 H5 hearts, 6+ diamonds, GF
3 Sat least Q-x-x, GF*
3 Nnatural, NF
4 Cself-splinter, agrees diamonds, ST
4 Dagrees diamonds, F

*forcing because responder denied 5 spades

1 H
2 S
?
P
P
1 N
2 N
P
P
318

3 C 3 D3-4 cards, GF
3 H17-18, 6 hearts*, NF
3 S5 spades, 6+ hearts, GF
3 N 4 Hnatural, NF
4 C 4 Dself-splinter, agrees hearts, ST

*with 5 hearts opener would not bid 2 S with 17-18

Fourth Suit Bids

Except for the usual “fourth suit forcing” and special cases described, bidding the fourth suit (for the first time) shows the ace or shortness.

1 H
2 C
?
P
P
1 S
3 C
P
P
321

3 Dace or shortness
Othernatural

1 D
2 D
3 D
P
P
P
2 C
2 H
?
P
P
322

3 Sace or shortness
Othernatural

Partner assumes the ace and may bid 3 N with no stopper, which fourth-suit bidder removes if based on shortness.

Passed Hand Changes

If partner is a passed hand, a number of changes apply, most of which are obvious. Opening bids of 1 of a suit may be light (10+) and 1 H or 1 S may be a good 4 card suit.

Normally forcing responses (1-over-1, 1 N response to major, 2 C over 1 D, 2 H over 1 S, inverted minors) are now limited. Opener should pass with 12 or less, and may pass with 13. If opener does bid again, his rebids retain their normal meaning, including F/NF status.

A 2 N response to a minor shows 11-12 HCP, invitational. Any rebid by opener below game (including 3 of his minor) is forcing.

A 3 C response to 1 D, 1 H or 1 S shows 8-11 HCP and 6+ clubs, NF of course, but any rebid by opener below game is forcing. (This only applies in clubs because other suits would have been opened a weak two-bid.)

Cue-bid (P P 1 D 1 S; 2 S) shows stopper but opener’s 2 N or same suit says no game.

Subsequent bidding

Responders second-round jump bids and raises to 3 of a minor (normally forcing) are now invitational.

Fourth suit forcing and new minor forcing still apply; being a passed hand just allows more ways to invite.

Third suit forcing does not apply.

P
1 S
?
P
P
1 D
2 D
P
P
331

2 H9-12, 4+ hearts, NF
2 S6-10, NF
2 N10-12, I
3 C9-12, 5+ clubs, NF
3 D 3 S11-12, I

Two-Way Reverse Drury

After a 1 H or 1 S opening in third or fourth seat, responses of 2 C and 2 D are artificial raises.

P
?
P1 HP341

2 C11+, 3 hearts
2 D11+, 4 hearts
2 H7-10, 3+ hearts
3 H11-12, 5 hearts
4 Hweak, extreme shape

Rebids by opener

P
2 C
P
P
1 H
?
P342

2 Dgame interest
2 Hno game interest
Othergame try structure

P
2 C
P
P
1 S
?
P343

2 Dgame interest
2 H4+ hearts, game interest
2 Sno game interest
Othergame try structure

P
2 D
P
P
1 S
?
P344

2 Hgame interest
2 Sno game interest
Othergame try structure

Follow-up bidding

If opener shows game interest, it may still be possible to stop in 2 of the major.

P
2 C
?
P
P
1 H
2 D
P
P
345

2 Hminimal values, discouraging
Othergame try structure (dummy role)*

P
2 D
?
P
P
1 S
2 H
P
P
346

2 Sminimal values, discouraging
Othergame try structure (dummy role)*

*Except 2 N shows values in last bid suit, and other suits show values naturally.

Opener can also invoke the game try structure when responder returns to 2 of the major.

After interference

The artificial 2 C and 2 D raises do not apply in competition. If an opponent interferes after the bid, the usual countermeasures apply.

P
2 C
P
X
1 H
?
P347

Pass3+ clubs
Rdbl4+ strong clubs
Otherunchanged

P
2 C
P
2 H
1 S
?
P348

Passno game interest
Dblpenalty
2 Sno game interest, competitive
2 Ngame try structure

P
2 C
P
2 S
1 H
?
P349

Passno game interest
Dblpenalty
2 Nnatural, I
3 C 3 Dseminatural game try, F
3 Hcompetitive

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Competitive One of Suit

After Takeout Double

If our opening bid of 1 of a suit is doubled for takeout, the following changes apply.

1 CX?371

Pass0-9, or 10-14*
Rdbl10+ HCP, implies no fit, creates force
Suit bidsunchanged
1 Nunchanged
2 N9-11, natural, based on fit, I
3 N12-15, natural, based on fit, NF

*if intention is to make a cooperative double next

1 DX?372

2 C6-10, 6+ clubs (good 5), NF
Othersame as #371

Note that inverted minor raises and weak jump shifts are unchanged after a double.

1 HX?373

Pass0-9, or 10-14
Rdbl10+ HCP, implies no fit, creates force
1 S 2 Hunchanged
1 N6-10, balanced, NF
2 C 2 D6-10, 6+ cards (good 5), NF
2 N10-12, 4+ fit (rare 3)
3 C 3 Dunchanged
3 H6-9, 4+ fit
Higherunchanged

1 SX?374

2 C 2 D 2 H6-10, 6+ cards (good 5), NF
2 S 3 C D Hunchanged
3 S6-9, 4+ fit
Othersame as #373

Note that 3 N major raise and splinter bids are unchanged.

Subsequent bidding

A takeout double in itself does not affect our rebid structure after any response that is unchanged. If an opponent bids after the double, we revert to a “limit structure.”

After Suit Overcall

If our opening bid of 1 of a suit is overcalled in a natural unbid suit, the following changes apply.

After a minor opening

1 C1 D?381

Dbl6+, at least 4-4 majors
1 N7-10, stopper
Cue13+, balanced, stopper, GF
2 N11-12, stopper, I
Jump cue13+, splinter raise
3 N9-12, natural, based on fit
Otherunchanged

1 C1 H?382

Dbl6+, 4 spades
1 S6+, 5+ spades, F
2 D10+, 5+ diamonds, F
Othersame as #381

1 C1 S?383

Dbl7+, 4+ hearts
2 D 2 H10+, 5+ cards, F
Othersame as #381

1 D2 C?384

Dbl7+, at least 1 major
2 H 2 S10+, 5+ cards, F
2 N10-12, stopper, I
Othersame as #381

Note that inverted minor raises and weak jump shifts are unchanged after a suit overcall.

After a major opening

1 H1 S?385

Dbl7+, at least 4-4 minors
1 N7-10, stopper
2 C 2 D10+, 5+ cards, F
Cue13+, balanced, stopper, GF
2 N11-12, stopper, I
Jump cue13+, splinter raise
3 N13+, 3+ fit, no control in opp’s suit
4 C 4 Dweak, natural
Otherunchanged

1 H2 C?386

Dbl7+, 4+ spades
2 D 2 S10+, 5+ cards, F
2 N10-12, stopper, I
3 S 4 Dweak, natural
Othersame as #385

1 H2 D?387

Dbl7+, 4+ spades
2 S 3 C10+, 5+ cards, F
3 S 4 Cweak, natural
Othersame as #385

1 S2 H?388

Dbl8+, at least 4-4 minors
3 C 3 D10+, 5+ cards, F
Othersame as #385

Note that splinter bids in competition only apply in enemy suits.

Rebids after a negative double

After a negative double it is opener’s duty to select the contract. With no clear bid it is better to bid a 3 card suit that responder might have than to rebid a 5 card suit already shown. Opener should rebid at the cheapest level with 13-15, jump with 16-18 (invitational below game) or cue-bid as the only force (GF). Passing for penalty is also a viable option at the 2 level with 4+ trumps.

1 D
?
1 SXP389

1 N 2 C D H13-15, natural, NF
2 S19+, nondescript, GF
2 N* 3 C D H16-18, I
3 N19+, NF

*may be off-shape hence 16-17 is possible

If responder bids again after a negative double, assuming opener has not shown extras, only a cue-bid is forcing (GF). Preferences and new suit bids are NF; 2 N, raises, and jumps below game are invitational.

1 C
2 C
1 S
P
X
?
P390

2 D 2 H7-9, 5+ cards, NF
2 S13+, nondescript, GF
2 N10-12, stopper, I
3 C10-12, Q-x or better, I
3 D 3 H10-12, 6+ cards, I
3 S13+, splinter raise
3 N13+, stopper, NF

Rebids after a 2-over-1 response

Competitive 2-over-1 responses (10+) are forcing for one round (think Acol). If opener rebids his original suit, bids 2 N or raises responder’s suit, it is NF and confirms minimum values. New suits are forcing for another round. Only a cue-bid or jump below game creates a GF.

1 D
?
1 S2 HP391

2 S16+, nondescript, GF
2 N 3 D 3 Hminimum, NF
3 Cany strength, 4+ clubs, F
3 S16+, splinter raise
3 N15-19, NF
4 C 4 D16+, extreme shape, F
4 H15-17, NF

If responder bids again when opener has not shown extras, similar principles apply. Bidding 2 N or any of our previously bid suits is NF and confirms minimum values. A new suit, cue-bid or jump below game is GF.

1 S
2 H
2 C
P
2 D
?
P392

2 Sminimum, Q-x or better, NF
2 N 3 Dminimum, NF
3 C13+, nondescript, GF
3 Hminimum, Q-x-x or better, NF
3 S13+, 3+ spades, GF
3 N13+, NF
4 C13+, splinter, heart raise
4 D13+, extreme shape, F
4 H 4 S13-15, NF

Note that responder’s preference or raise of a forcing bid does not promise a normal trump fit.

After Jump Suit Overcall

After our opening bid of 1 of a suit, if an opponent jumps in a natural suit, the following changes apply.

Two-level jump overcalls

1 C2 D?401

Dbl7+, at least 1 major
2 H 2 S10+, 5+ cards, F
2 N10-12, stopper, I
3 C8-11, 4+ clubs, NF
Cue13+, balanced, stopper, GF
3 N9-12, based on fit, NF
Jump cue13+, splinter raise
Otherunchanged

1 C2 H?402

Dbl7+, 4+ spades
2 S 3 D10+, 5+ cards, F
Othersame as #401

1 C2 S?403

Dbl8+, 4+ hearts
3 D 3 H10+, 5+ cards, F
Othersame as #401

1 H2 S?404

Dbl8+, at least 4-4 minors
2 N10-12, stopper, I
3 C 3 D10+, 5+ cards, F
3 H7-10, 3+ hearts, NF
Cue13+, balanced, stopper, GF
3 N13+, 3+ hearts, no spade control
4 C 4 Dweak, natural
4 H11-12, 3+ hearts, NF

Subsequent bidding is essentially the same as after a 2-level nonjump overcall, so the previous structures for “Rebids after a negative double” and “Rebids after a 2-over-1 response” would apply.

Three-level jump overcalls

1 D3 C?405

Dbl8+, at least 1 major
3 D8-11, 4+ diamonds, NF
3 H 3 S10+, 5+ cards, F
3 N10-15, stopper
Cue13+, fit, enemy control
4 D 4 H 4 Sweak, natural, NF

1 C3 D?406

4 C10-12, 4+ clubs, NF
Othersame as #405

1 C3 H?407

Dbl8+, 4+ spades
3 S 4 D10+, 5+ cards, F
Othersame as #405

1 C3 S?408

Dbl9+, 4+ hearts
4 D10+, 5+ cards, F
4 H10-15, 5+ cards, NF
Othersame as #405

1 H3 S?409

Dbl9+, at least 4-4 minors
4 C 4 D10+, 5+ cards, F
4 H9-15, 3+ cards, NF
Othersame as #405

Subsequent bidding is mostly common sense.

Four-level jump overcalls

1 D4 C?410

Dbl10+, at least 1 major
4 D10-12, 4+ diamonds, NF
4 H 4 S10-16, 5+ cards, NF
5 C16+, diamond fit, club control
5 D13-16, 5+ diamonds, NF

1 C4 D?411

Dbl10+, at least 1 major
4 H 4 S 5 C10-16, natural, NF

1 C4 H?412

Dbl10+, 4+ spades
4 S 5 C 5 D10-16, natural, NF

1 C4 S?413

Dblpenalty
5 C 5 D 5 H10-16, natural, NF

After Two-Suited Overcall

After our opening bid of 1 of a suit, these structures apply if an opponent makes an overcall that shows two suits, at least one of which is known. Michaels and unusual 2 N are the most common, but many others exist.

1 C2 C1?1. both majors421

Dbl10+ HCP, creates force
2 D7-10, 6+ diamonds (rare 5), NF
2 H11+, club raise
2 S11+, 5+ diamonds
2 N9-11, based on fit, I
3 C7-10, 4+ clubs, NF
3 D 4 Cweak, natural, NF
3 H 3 S13+, splinter raise
3 N12-14, based on fit, NF

1 D2 D1?1. both majors422

2 H11+, diamond raise
2 S11+, 5+ clubs
3 C7-10, 6+ clubs, NF
3 D7-10, 4+ diamonds, NF
Othersame as #421

1 H2 H1?1. spades + minor423

Dbl10+ HCP, creates force
2 S11+, heart raise
2 N9-11, based on fit, I
3 C 3 D7-10, 6+ cards, NF
3 H7-10, 3+ hearts
3 S13+, splinter raise
3 N12-14, based on fit, NF
4 C 4 D 4 Hweak, natural, NF

1 S2 S1?1. hearts + minor424

3 H11+, spade raise
3 S7-10, 3+ spades
4 H13+, splinter raise
4 C 4 D 4 Sweak, natural, NF
Othersame as #423

1 H2 N1?1. both minors425

Dbl10+ HCP, creates force
3 C11+, heart raise
3 D11+, 5+ spades
3 H7-10, 3+ hearts, NF
3 S7-10, 6+ spades (rare 5), NF
3 N10-14, based on fit, NF
4 C 4 D13+, splinter raise
4 H 4 Sweak, natural, NF

1 S2 N1?1. both minors426

3 C11+, spade raise
3 D11+, 5+ hearts
3 H7-10, 6+ hearts (rare 5), NF
3 S7-10, 3+ spades, NF
Othersame as #425

Note that cheaper cue is always a raise of opener, and higher cue (if both suits known) shows the fourth suit.

Subsequent bidding

After the higher cue, if opener rebids in notrump or his original suit, this confirms a minimum and is NF. A “raise” of responder’s indicated suit is forcing below game.

After doubling, if responder next bids a new suit or a suit shown by the enemy, it is natural and forcing below game.

If responder passes the two-suited overcall and later bids a suit shown by the enemy, it is natural and NF.

After One Notrump Overcall

After our opening bid of 1 of a suit and a natural 1 N overcall (regardless of strength) the following changes apply.

1 C1 N?431

Dbl10+ HCP, creates force
2 C6+, both majors
2 D 2 H 2 S6-9, 6+ cards (good 5), NF
2 N10+, any 2-suiter, AF
Higherunchanged

1 D1 N?432

2 C6-9, 6+ clubs (good 5)
2 D6+, both majors
Othersame as #431

Note that majors are shown by a minor “raise” and the unbid minor is natural.

1 H1 N?433

Dbl10+ HCP, creates force
2 C 2 D 2 S6-9, 6+ cards (good 5)
2 H 3 H 4 Hunchanged
3 C 3 Dunchanged
2 N10+, any 2-suiter, AF
3 S 4 C 4 Dweak, natural

Competitive Doubles

Many doubles below 3 N, while traditionally penalty, are better played as competitive to show a desire to compete without clear direction. Unfortunately, these situations can’t be chosen at whim, because penalty doubles are important too. Firm agreements are essential to avoid misunderstandings.

A prerequisite for any competitive double is that we are not in a force, i.e., we have not redoubled or otherwise indicated partnership assets of 23+ HCP where a pass would be forcing.

Given the above, all doubles at the 1 level are competitive unless defined otherwise.

Four conditions must be met for a competitive double at the 2 or 3 level:441
1. All four players have acted (bid or doubled)
2. We have not bid notrump
3. We have not raised a suit
4. No enemy action was in balancing seat

Minimum strength for a competitive double is about 3 points more than previously shown. There is no upper limit, so the double is also useful on game-going hands.

Competitive doubles are often misused. Counter examples may clarify:

1 D
P
P
P
1 S
X
2 Cpenalty (only one opponent acted)

1 D
1 N
P
2 S
1 H
X
1 Spenalty (we bid notrump)

1 H
X
2 C2 H3 Cpenalty (we raised a suit)

1 C
2 C
X
X
P
1 S
P
P
2 H
penalty (opponent balanced)

Subsequent bidding

Partner of competitive doubler should choose the contract from alternatives suggested by the bidding. Any nonjump (even a new suit) is NF; jumps below game are invitational. Passing the double is a viable option with 4 trumps, or three trumps at the 3 level.

Maximal double

An exception to Condition 3 occurs when we have raised a major and cannot make a game try because the enemy bid the touching lower suit. Condition 1, however, is not changed (both opponents must have acted).

1 S
?
X2 S3 H442

Dblgame try
3 Scompetitive

1 H
?
2 C2 H3 C443

Dblpenalty
3 Dartificial game try
3 Hcompetitive

Cooperative Doubles

A cooperative double is a penalty suggestion at the 2 or 3 level. Doubler typically has 3+ cards in the suit doubled but not a trump stack.

The following doubles are cooperative:451
1. After eschewing a redouble or force-double
2. After partner redoubled or made a force-double
3. Balancing seat in front of the opponent who bid
4. Of a suit in which 4 cards were denied
5. After a competitive double at previous turn

1 H
P
X
2 D
P
X
1 Ncooperative

Note that failure to redouble does not limit responder’s strength but rules out a trump stack.

1 S
X
XR2 Hcooperative

1 D
P
P
P
1 S
X
2 Ccooperative

1 C
P
P
2 H
1 N
X
Xcooperative

1 C
X
X
P
P
1 H
2 C
1 S
2 S
cooperative

1 C
P
3 C
X
2 S
3 S
1 H
X
X
1 S
P
cooperative

After a cooperative double

Partner should usually remove a cooperative double with a singleton or void in the enemy suit, or with a shapely hand that is unsuitable for defense. Limit bidding principles apply.

Opener’s Competitive Rebids

After our 1-over-1 response, opener’s competitive rebids retain their usual meaning provided opener is not restricted because a cheaper bid in the same strain is eliminated by the interference. If opener is restricted, a nonjump bid that would otherwise be a jump may be shaded to compete. Jump shifts and cue-bids are GF.

1 H
?
P1 S2 D461

Dblpenalty
2 H 2 Sunchanged
2 N16-17, stopper, I
3 C16-18, 4+ cards, NF
3 D19+, nondescript, GF
3 H 3 Sunchanged
3 N18-19, stopper, NF
4 C19+, at least 5-5, F
4 D19+, splinter raise
4 H 4 Sunchanged

1 C
?
P1 H2 S462

Dblpenalty
2 N18-19, stopper, I
3 C14-18, 6+ clubs, NF
3 D16-18, 4 diamonds, NF
3 H14-16
3 S19+, nondescript, GF
3 Nunchanged
4 C 4 Dnatural, extreme shape, I
4 H17+

When responder has passed

If a nonjump suit overcall is passed around to opener, no additional strength is required to reopen because partner may have trap-passed with a trump stack, hence his strength is not limited.

1 D
?
1 SPP463

Passminimum, 3+ spades
Dbltakeout, usually 1 or 2 spades
1 N18-19, stopper, NF
2 C 2 Dnatural, NF
2 H17+, natural, NF
2 S19+, 6+ strong diamonds, F
2 N16-19, stopper, 6+ diamonds, I
3 C 3 D 3 H19+, natural, I

Any suit bid implies extreme shape or a spade void, else double is preferred.

If the opening bid is passed by partner and RHO balances, opener must tread with caution. All actions show extra strength, and no bids are forcing, except of course a cue-bid for 1 round only.

1 H
?
PPX464

Pass13-18
Rdbl18+, nondescript
1 N18-19
1 S 2 C 2 D16+, at least 6-4 or 5-5
2 H16+, 6+ strong hearts
2 N18-19, 6+ strong hearts
2 S 3 C D H19+, natural, shapely

1 H
?
PP1 S465

Dbl16+, takeout
2 S19+, spade void, 3-suiter, F
Othersame as #464

Competitive Limit Style

After our 1-over-1 response, the system dictates a “forcing style” without interference (or if the only interference is a takeout double) in that responder’s second-round jumps in previously bid suits and raises to 3 of a minor are GF. Once an opponent bids this reverts to a “limit style” where such bids are invitational, and a cue-bid is a general GF.

1 C
2 C
1 H
P
1 S
?
P471

2 D11+, 4+ diamonds (rare 3), F
2 H13+, nondescript, GF
2 S6-10, 6+ spades, NF
2 N10-12, stopper, I
3 C10-12, Q-x or better, I
3 D13+, at least 5-5, GF
3 H15+, splinter raise, GF
3 S11-12, 6+ spades, I
3 N13-16, stopper, NF
4 C10-12, great fit, I

1 D
P
P
P
1 H
?
1 S472

Dbl9+, competitive
1 N7-10, stopper, NF
2 C11+, 4+ clubs (rare 3)
2 D7-10, 3+ diamonds, NF
2 H7-10, 6+ hearts
2 S13+, nondescript, GF
2 N11-12, stopper, I
3 C13+, at least 5-5, GF
3 D11-12, 4+ diamonds, I
3 H11-12, 6+ hearts, I
3 S16+, self-splinter, agrees hearts, GF
3 N13-16, stopper, NF
4 D11-12, great fit, I
4 H13-16, 6+ strong hearts, NF

New minor forcing applies in competition, but alternative rebids follow the limit style.

1 C
1 N
P
P
1 H
?
1 S473

2 C 2 Hnatural, sign-off attempt
2 D11+, AF, checkback
2 S13+, nondescript, GF
2 N 3 C 3 Hnatural, I
3 D13+, at least 5-5, GF
3 S16+, self-splinter, agrees hearts, GF
3 N 4 Hsign-off
4 C11-12, extreme shape, I

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Higher Opening Bids

Two Club Opening

An opening bid of 2 C is strong, artificial and forcing, typically 23+ points or within a trick of game in hand.

Responder must either categorize his HCP range or show a suit headed by K-Q or better.

2 CP?491

2 D0-4 HCP (no ace) or 8+ HCP or A+K
2 H5-8 HCP or an ace (no A+K)
2 Sany 5 card suit, 2 of top 3
2 Nany 5 card suit, A-K-Q
3 suit6 cards, 2 of top 3
3 Nany 6 card suit, A-K-Q
4 suit7 cards, 2 of top 3
4 Nany 7 card suit, A-K-Q

Note that with exactly 8 HCP (lacking A+K) responder may bid 2 D or 2 H per judgment.

After two-diamond response

Responder is presumed to have 0-4 HCP for all rebids. With 8+ HCP (or ace + king) he bids the same as with 0-4 under game but must continue voluntarily past game to show it.

2 C
?
P2 DP492

2 H*5+ hearts or 25+ HCP balanced
2 S 3 C 3 D5+ cards, F
2 N23-24, balanced, NF (system on)
3 N6+ card minor, game in hand, NF

*forces 2 S (Kokish relay)

2 C
2 H
?
P
P
2 D
2 S
P
P
493

2 N25+, balanced, GF (system on)
3 C 3 D 3 S4+ cards, 5+ hearts, F
3 H 4 H6+ hearts, NF
3 N5-6 hearts, balanced or semi, NF

2 C
2 S
P
P
2 D
?
P494

2 Nwaiting
3 C 3 D 3 H5+ cards
3 S3+ spades
4 C 4 D 4 Hsplinter raise
4 S2-4 HCP, 4+ spades, no side-suit control

2 C
2 S
?
P
P
2 D
2 N
P
P
495

3 C 3 D 3 H4+ cards
3 S 4 S6+ spades, NF
3 N5-6 spades, balanced or semi, NF

2 C
3 C
P
P
2 D
?
P496

3 Dwaiting
3 H 3 S5+ cards
3 N5+ diamonds, NF
4 C3+ clubs
4 D 4 H 4 Ssplinter raise

2 C
3 D
P
P
2 D
?
P497

3 Hwaiting
3 S5+ spades
3 N5+ hearts, NF
4 C6+ clubs
4 D3+ diamonds
4 H 4 Ssplinter raise

After two-heart response

2 C
?
P2 HP498

2 S 3 C D H5+ cards, GF
2 N23+ HCP balanced, GF (system on)
3 N6+ card minor, game in hand, NF

2 C
2 S
P
P
2 H
?
P499

2 Nwaiting
3 C 3 D 3 H5+ cards
3 S3+ spades
4 C 4 D 4 Hsplinter raise

2 C
3 C
P
P
2 H
?
P500

3 Dwaiting
3 H 3 S5+ cards
3 N5+ diamonds, NF
4 C3+ clubs
4 D 4 H 4 Ssplinter raise

2 C
3 D
P
P
2 H
?
P501

3 Hwaiting
3 S5+ spades
3 N5+ hearts, NF
4 C6+ clubs
4 D3+ diamonds
4 H 4 S 5 Csplinter raise (must have 1 ace)

2 C
3 H
P
P
2 H
?
P502

3 Swaiting
3 N5+ spades, NF
4 C 4 D6+ cards
4 H3+ hearts, NF
4 S 5 C 5 Dsplinter raise (must have 1 ace)

After suit-showing response

2 C
?
P2 SP503

2 N23+ HCP balanced, GF (system on)
3 suit5+ cards
3 N6+ card minor, game in hand, NF

If opener rebids in a suit, responder bids his suit at the 3 level if possible.

2 C
3 D
P
P
2 S
?
P504

3 H 3 Smy suit
3 Nno fit, my suit is clubs, NF
4 C3+ diamonds, clubs are A-K or A-Q
4 D3+ diamonds, clubs are K-Q

2 C
3 H
P
P
2 S
?
P505

3 Smy suit
3 Nno fit, my suit is a minor, NF
4 C 4 D3+ hearts, suit is A-K or A-Q
4 H3+ hearts, minor suit is K-Q, NF

2 C
3 S
P
P
2 S
?
P506

3 Nno fit, NF
4 C 4 D 4 H3+ spades, suit is A-K or A-Q
4 S3+ spades, suit is K-Q, NF

2 C
?
P3 CP507

Other suit5+ cards, F below game
3 Nmisfit, NF
RaiseF below game

2 C
?
P2 NP508

Any suit*fit or 5+ cards, F
Notrump*natural, F

*Opener is presumed to know responder’s A-K-Q suit, and slam must be reached.

After interference

2 CX?509

Pass3+ clubs
Rdbl4+ clubs (Q-10-x-x or better)
Otherunchanged

2 C2 S?510

Dblpenalty (Q-10-x-x or better)
2 N5+, stopper
3 C 3 D 3 H5+ HCP, 5+ cards
3 S5+ HCP, 3-suiter, short spades

2 C
?
2 SPP511

Dblpenalty
2 N23-24, balanced, NF
3 C 3 D 3 H5+ cards, F
3 S3-suiter, short spades
3 N*25-28, balanced, NF
4 N*29-30, balanced, NF

*if responder bids again, follow opening 2 N structure 1 or 2 levels higher.

All doubles by opener or responder are penalty, and all direct passes are forcing.

If opener bids an enemy shown suit that he could not double for penalty, it is natural (enemy bid was probably a psych).

If responder has not acted, a suit bid by opener below game is forcing, and the cheapest response is an artificial waiting bid.

Opener’s suit jumps

If 2 C opener jumps in a suit at his second turn (including an enemy shown suit that he could not double for penalty) it is natural and sets trumps.

If opener’s suit jump is:512
Below gameF, partner should bid any control
GameNF, no slam opposite expected range

Note that previous use as a “specific ace ask” is now abolished, as any such hand should open 3 N.

Weak Two Bids

An opening bid of 2 D, 2 H or 2 S shows 5-10 HCP. Style is undisciplined but sensible. Good 5 cards suits (typically 3 of top 5 cards) are acceptable at any vulnerability, and decent 5 cards suits when nonvulnerable.

2 DP?521

2 H 2 S12-17, 6+ cards (rare 5), NF
2 N15+, AF
3 C12-17, 6+ cards, NF
3 D 4 D 5 Dblocking, NF
3 H 3 Sself-sufficient suit, I
3 Nnatural, NF
4 Ctrump ask
4 H 4 S 5 Csign-off

2 D
?
P2 NP*522

3 Conly 5 diamonds, AF
3 Dminimum
3 H 3 Sstopper in bid, max
3 Nno major stopper, max
4 C 4 Dnatural, extreme shape

2 H
?
P2 NP*523

3 Conly 5 hearts, AF
3 Daverage or max, AF
3 Hworst hand
3 S4 spades
3 NA-K-J-x-x-x or better
4 C 4 Dnatural, at least 6-4
4 Hself-sufficient suit

2 S
?
P2 NP*524

3 H4 hearts
3 Sworst hand
Otheranalogous to #523

*If opponent doubles: 3 C = 5-carder with 4 clubs; pass (min) or redouble (max) = 5-carder without 4 clubs.

Rebids by responder

2 H
3 C
P
P
2 N
?
P525

3 DAF, asks if min/max*
3 H 3 Nsign-off
3 S 4 D5+ cards, F
4 Ctrump ask
4 H 4 S 5 msign-off

*opener returns to his suit if minimum

2 H
3 D
P
P
2 N
?
P526

3 Hnatural, I*
3 S 4 D5+ cards, F
3 Ngame sign-off, opener may bid 4 H
4 Ctrump ask
4 H 4 S 5 msign-off

*opener passes with average, accepts with max

2 D
3 C
P
P
2 N
?
P527

3 Dsign-off
3 H 3 S5+ cards, F
3 Nsign-off
4 Ctrump ask
4 Dgood fit, I
4 H 4 S 5 msign-off

Competitive agreements

2 DX?528

Pass*0+ (unlimited)
Rdblstrong, creates force
New suitnatural, may be weak, NF
Otherunchanged

*if followed by double below 3 N it is cooperative

2 H2 S?529

Dblpenalty
Cuecontrol, ST
Otherunchanged

2 H
?
P2 N3 D530

Passminimum
Dblreasonable defense
Bidnatural, offense oriented

Preemptive Openings

Opening suit bids of 3 C thru 5 D are weak, generally by the rule of 2, 3 or 4 per vulnerability.

3 CP?541

3 D 3 H 3 S5+ cards, F
3 N*natural, NF
4 Cblocking
4 Dtrump ask
4 H 4 S 5 Csign-off

*opener may pull with no ace or king

3 DP?542

4 Ctrump ask
Otheranalogous to #541

3 HP?543

3 S 4 D5+ cards, F
3 Nsign-off
4 Ctrump ask
4 H 4 S 5 msign-off
5 Hblocking

3 SP?544

4 H6+ hearts, NF
Otheranalogous to #543

4 CP?545

4 Dtrump ask
4 H 4 S 5 msign-off

4 DP?546

Any suit bidnatural, NF

4 HP?547

Any suit bidnatural, NF
5 Hslam I, trump concern

4 SP?548

Any suit bidnatural, NF
5 Sslam I, trump concern

Competitive agreements

3 CX?549

Rdblstrong, creates force
Other*natural, NF

3 C3 H?550

Dblpenalty
Cuecontrol, ST, creates force
Other*natural, NF

*except 4 N and 5 N (see Slam Bidding)

Note that the 4 C or 4 D trump ask is off after any interference. All suit bids are natural.

Three Notrump Opening

An opening bid of 3 N is forcing, showing any self-sufficient suit with 9+ playing tricks. If suit is a minor, shape is usually extreme since 3 N is ruled out as a contract. Strength is typically 11-16 HCP but unlimited; many one-suiters usually opened 2 C are better opened 3 N.

3 NP?561

4 Cexactly 1 ace, F
4 Dno aces (assumed) or 2 aces, F
4 H 4 S7+ cards (strong 6), at most 1 ace, NF
4 N3 aces, F to slam

3 N
?
P4 CP562

4 Dstrength ask (slam possible)
4 H 4 Ssign-off
4 Nasks which ace (responder bids it)
5 C 5 Dsign-off

3 N
4 D
P
P
4 C
?
P563

4 Hnothing extra
4 Ssomething extra
4 Nmuch extra with S A
5 C 5 D 5 Hmuch extra with that ace

Opener then places contract or bids 4 N to ask which ace.

3 N
?
P4 DP564

4 H 4 Sreal suit, NF
4 Nstrength ask* (slam possible if aceless)
5 C 5 Dreal suit, NF

*3 steps: nothing, something, much

If responder has 2 aces, he must continue by bidding a non-ace suit to pinpoint locations. Opener then signs off without control in that suit, bids slam, or uses the cheapest available other bid as a 3-step strength ask.

3 N
?
P4 HP565

4 NBlackwood (bid major key)
Suitreal suit, NF

Competitive agreements

3 NX?566

Pass*no ace, no likely tricks
Rdbl1 ace + defensive strength
Otherunchanged

*allows stopping in 4 C or 4 D if opener bids it

3 N4 H?567

Pass*nondescript
Dbltrump stack, penalty
Cheapest suit1 ace
Other suitnatural, NF
Cheapest NT2 aces, F
5 N jump3 aces, F

*Opener must always compete at 4 level but may elect not to risk 5 level.

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Defense to One of Suit

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit, immediate actions are summarized below.

1 C?571

Dbl13+, takeout
1 D 1 H 1 S10-18, 5+ cards
1 N*15-18, balanced, stopper
Cueboth majors
Jump cuestrong 1-suiter
DJ cueboth majors, extreme shape
Other suit jumpweak
2 Ntwo lowest unbid
3 N15-20, based on long suit
4 Ntwo lowest unbid, extreme shape

*Respond as to 1 N opening, including interference agreements if next opponent acts.

1 D?572

2 C13-18, 5+ cards
Othersame as #571

1 H?573

2 C 2 D13-18, 5+ cards
Cuespades + minor
DJ cuespades + minor, extreme shape
Othersame as #571

1 S?574

2 C 2 D 2 H13-18, 5+ cards
Otheranalogous to #573

Takeout Doubles

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit, a takeout double shows 13-18 points with 3+ cards in each unbid suit, or 19+ points. With major-suit hopes it is permissible to have only a doubleton in an unbid minor.

1 CXP?581

1 D 1 H 1 S0-9, 4+ cards (rare 3)
1 N6-10, stopper
Cue10+, F until raise or game
2 D10-12, 5+ cards, I
2 H 2 S10-12, 4+ cards, I
2 N11-12, stopper, I
Jump cue13+, splinter, 3-suiter, GF
3 D 3 H 3 S6-9, 6+ cards, NF
3 N13-16, stopper
DJ cue10+, 5-5 majors
4 D6-9, 7+ cards
4 H 4 S13-16, 5+ cards
5 D13-16, 7+ cards

1 DXP?582

2 C0-9, 5+ cards (rare 4)
3 C10-12, 5+ cards, I
4 C6-9, 7+ cards
Othersame as #581

1 HXP?583

2 C 2 D0-9, 4+ cards
3 C 3 D10-12, 5+ cards, I
4 C 4 D6-9, 7+ cards
4 H10+, 5-5 minors
Othersame as #581

1 SXP?584

2 H0-9, 4+ cards
3 H10-12, 4+ cards, I
4 S10+, 5-5 minors
Othersame as #581

Rebids by doubler

1 C
P
X
?
P1 H585

1 S 2 D19+, 5+ cards, NF
1 N18-20, stopper
Cue21+, no rebid promised
2 H16-18, 4+ cards
2 S 3 Dself-make, 6+ strong cards, NF
2 N21-22, stopper
Jump cue19+, splinter raise, game try
3 H19-21, 4+ hearts, I
3 S 4 Dself-make, 6+ strong cards, NF
3 Nself-make

1 S
P
X
?
P2 C586

2 D 2 H19+, 5+ cards, NF
Cue21+, no rebid promised
2 N18-20, stopper
3 C18-20, 4+ clubs
3 D 3 H 4 Dself-make, 6+ strong cards, NF
Jump cue19+, splinter raise, game try

1 D
P
X
?
P1 N587

2 C 2 H 2 S5 cards, minimum double (to play)
Cueshortness, I+, no rebid promised
3 C 3 H 3 S5+ cards, GF

After a redouble

1 CXR?588

Passno preference or 10+
Unbid suitweak (any level)
Otherunchanged

Pass followed by a voluntary action shows 10-12 range.

After a bid

If our takeout double is followed by any bid below 2 N, including a new suit, 1 N or raise, the following agreements apply.

1 CX1 S?589

Dblresponsive*
Suit bid6-9
Suit jump10+, I below game

*minor takeout if both minors unbid

Note that bidding RHO’s suit (1 C Dbl 1 H 2 H) is natural like any other. Only opener’s suit is a cue-bid.

After a major raise, responsive doubles are extended thru 3 S, which includes any enemy bid that shows a fit.

Suit Overcalls

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit, a nonjump suit overcall shows 10-18 points (13-18 at 2 level) and a 5+ card suit. A strong 4 card suit may be bid at the 1 level with 13-18 points if no other action is appropriate.

1 C1 HP?601

1 S 2 D8-12, 5+ cards, NF
1 N*8-11, stopper, NF
Cue**11+ if fit, 13+ if not
2 H7-10, 3+ cards
2 S 3 D12-14, 6+ cards, I
2 N12-14, stopper, I
Jump cue11+, 4+ hearts
3 Hweak (4-7), 4+ cards
3 S 4 D12-14, 7+ cards, I
3 N15-18, stopper
DJ cuesplinter, ST

*Subsequent cue is natural and NF (jump invit)
**Re-cue is forcing, natural if minor; major is general force (presumed) or natural (NF) if repeated or game

1 S2 DP?602

2 N9-11, stopper, I
3 D7-10, 3+ cards
Jump suitnatural, F below game
3 N12-15, stopper
4 Dweak (4-7), 4+ cards
Othersame as #601

Rebids by overcaller

Unless forced or invited, overcaller generally should pass with 10-12; may act again with 13-15, and should act again with 16-18.

A second-round bid in opener’s minor is a cue-bid only if partner has acted; else natural showing a 2-suiter.

1 C
P
1 S
?
P2 C603

Same suitminimum, nondescript, NF
Below sameambiguous, natural, F
Above sameaccept, natural, F (below game)

After a negative double

1 C1 HX?604

Rdbl11+, implies no fit, creates force
Cue11+, shows fit
2 N8-10, 4+ card fit
Otherunchanged

1 S2 DX?605

2 Nunchanged
Otheranalogous to #604

After an enemy bid

If our nonjump suit overcall is followed by any bid below 2 N (including 1 N and new suits) the following agreements apply.

1 C1 S2 H?606

Dblresponsive*
Cue11+, shows fit, stopper if choice of cues
Otherunchanged

*implies doubleton support if only 1 unbid suit

After a major raise or any bid showing a major fit:607
Responsive doubles are extended thru 3 S

After a cue-bid of our overcall, double is:608
1. Responsive if unpassed hand and cue is not GF
2. Lead-directing if passed hand or cue is GF

Weak Jump Overcalls

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit, all jumps in unbid suits are weak, generally by the rule of 2, 3 or 4 per vulnerability.

1 C2 HP?611

Cueasks for stopper
Otherweak two-bid structure

Also use weak two-bid structure if RHO acts.

1 H3 DP?612

Cue below 3 Nasks for stopper
Otherpreemptive opening structure

Note that 4 C or 4 D trump ask still applies.

1 S4 HP?613

CueST with control
Otherpreemptive opening structure

Two-Suited Overcalls

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit, a cue-bid (Michaels) shows both majors over a minor, or the unbid major plus either minor over a major; an overcall of 2 N (unusual) shows the two lowest unbid suits. Shape is at least 5-5 (5-4 after cue of minor) and strength is either weak (5-11 HCP) or strong (16+ HCP). With in-between hands (12-15 HCP) overcall in one suit and bid the other.

1 C2 CP?621

2 D6+ cards, NF
2 H 2 Spreference
2 Ngame or ST, F
Cueasks for stopper
3 D6+ cards, I
3 H 3 Sweak, 4+ cards
3 Nnatural, NF
4 H 4 Sweak or to make

1 D2 DP?622

3 C6+ cards, NF
4 C6+ cards, I
Othersame as #621

1 H2 HP?623

2 Spreference
3 Cpass or correct to 3 D
3 D6+ cards, NF
4 C 4 D6+ cards, I
Othersame as #621

Note that only the cheapest club bid is “pass or correct.”

1 S2 SP?624

3 Hpreference
Othersame as #623

1 D2 NP?625

3 C 3 Hpreference
Cueasks for stopper
3 S6+ cards, NF
3 Nnatural, NF
4 C 4 H 5 Cweak or to make

Rebids by two-suited overcaller

1 C
P
2 C
?
P2 N626

3 Clonger hearts
3 Dlonger spades
3 Hworst, 5-5
3 Snot worst, 5-5, F

1 H
P
2 H
?
P2 N627

3 C 3 Dworst, natural, NF
3 Hnot worst, clubs
3 Snot worst, diamonds, F

1 H
P
2 N
?
P3 H628

3 Nstopper (in cue)
Cheapest realworst
Othernot worst

If two-suited overcaller bids again when not forced or invited:

1 D
P
2 D
?
P2 H629

Shown suitweak range, extra shape, I
2 N 3 N16+ HCP, stopper
Cue16+ HCP, splinter
Other suit16+ HCP, 3 cards

1 H
P
2 H
?
3 HP630

Dbl16+ HCP, optional
Otheranalogous to #629

After a double

1 H2 HX?631

Passno clear preference
Rdblstrong, creates force
3 C6+ cards, NF
Otherunchanged

After a bid

1 D2 D3 D?632

Dblpenalty*
Shown suitcompetitive, NF
Other suit6+ cards, NF
Cueasks for stopper (below 3 N)
Cue past 3 Ncontrol, ST
Jump shownI if below game

*lead directing if cue of our suit

1 H2 H3 H?633

Shown majorcompetitive, NF
Cheapest minorcompetitive, pass or correct
Otheranalogous to #632

Three-Level Cue Overcall

After an enemy opening of 1 of a suit, a 3-level cue-bid as our side’s first action shows a 1-suited hand (not suit bid) with 9+ playing tricks and at most 1 loser in the long suit. Typically this is to seek a stopper for 3 N. If overcaller bids 4 H or 4 S next, he confirms a splinter in the cue-bid suit, else start with double.

1 C3 CP?641

3 Dno ace, no stopper
3 H 3 S6+ cards, F
3 Nstopper
4 C1 ace, no stopper
4 D2 aces*
4 H 4 S7+ cards, NF
4 Nking stopper + 1 ace, NF

1 D3 DP?642

4 Cno ace, no stopper
4 D1 ace, no stopper
5 C2 aces*
Othersame as #641

1 H3 HP?643

Cue2 aces*
Otheranalogous to #642

*Showing 2 aces overrides stopper showing, since suit game should be assured, and slam likely.

After interference

1 H3 HX?644

Passno stopper, no values
Rdblace in that suit
Other*unchanged

*except cheapest minor shows at least a king, else pass

1 D3 D3 S?645

Passweak
Dblpenalty (trump stack)
3 Nstopper in opener’s suit
4 C1 ace, no stopper
4 D2 aces
Otherunchanged

1 H3 H4 H?646

5 C1 ace, no stopper
5 D2 aces
Otheranalogous to #645

Balancing Actions

If an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit is passed:

1 DPP?651

Dbl11+, takeout
1 H 1 S8-15, 5+ cards (rare 4)
1 N11-15 (system on)
2 C10-15, 5+ cards
Cuetwo-suited overcall
Jump suit6+ strong cards, 1 trick less than bid
2 N19-21 (system on)
Jump cuethree-level cue overcall
3 N16-21, based on long suit

After a balancing double or nonjump suit bid, respond as directly but increase all strength ranges by 2 points.

If opener bids again, responsive doubles do not apply.

1 D
P
P
?
P2 S652

2 N 3 Snatural, I
3 C 3 Hnatural, F
Cueasks for stopper

After Two Enemy Bids

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit and an enemy response, most actions are the same as immediately over the suit opened, in which case responding structures would be the same too. The following differences apply.

1 CP1 H?661

2 H13-18, 5+ good hearts
2 Nsame as 2 C but more shape
3 Hsame as 3 C but related to hearts

Respond to any of above with related structures.

1 SP2 D?662

2 H 3 C11+, 5+ good cards
Otheranalogous to #661

1 HP2 H?663

Nonjump suit11+, 5+ good cards
Jump 3 suit6+ cards, 8 tricks, I
Jump 4 C 4 Dnatural + lower unbid major
Cue 4 levelhighest + other

Artificial responses

An artificial response is literally ignored. The meaning of our actions is based on the strain it showed.

1 CP1 H1?1. spades664

Dbltakeout of clubs and spades
1 S 2 Hnatural
2 C 2 Nhearts + diamonds
2 Sweak (rare)
3 C 3 S3-level cue overcall
3 D 3 Hweak

Subsequent bidding

After a takeout double with two enemy suits shown:

1 C
P
P
?
1 SX665

Any club bidnatural
Otherunchanged

Responsive doubles do not apply.

If two cue-bids are available, the one chosen shows a stopper.

Additional Agreements

After an enemy opening bid of 1 of a suit, the following structures (defined earlier) apply in full if the conditions are met:671
1. Major suit game tries
2. Competitive doubles
3. Cooperative doubles

Belated doubles

If opponents have made at least two bids but not all four suits and we have not acted, our second-round or later double is:672
Raised suittakeout thru 4 D
Natural suittakeout thru 2 S
1 N directtakeout
1 N passouttakeout if both majors unbid

Otherwise a second-round or later double is penalty (implying previous trap pass) or lead-directing.

Passed hand changes

Any action by a passed hand keeps its normal shape context, but strength is limited by failure to open.

Exception: Direct 1 N overcall shows the two lowest unbid suits (at least 5-4).

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Other Defensive Bidding

Defense to Notrump Openings

After an enemy 1 N opening bid, regardless of strength, a modified version of Astro is used.

1 N?691

Dbl16+ HCP, optional
2 Chearts + any other
2 Dspades + any other
2 H 2 S6+ cards
2 Nboth majors or both minors
3 C 3 D6+ cards
Higher suit6+ strong cards, 1 trick shy of bid

Bids imply 9-15 HCP but flexible per shape and vul.

Two-suiters imply at least 5-4 shape (either way) but may be 4-4-4-1 (three suits).

With both majors bid 2 C with only 4 spades; 2 D with 5+ spades and 4+ hearts; or 2 N with at least 5-5 and decent game prospects.

1 NXP?692

Pass5+ HCP or no 5+ card suit
Suit bidweak, 5+ cards
2 Nany 2-suiter, F until raise or game
Jump suit5-7 HCP, 6+ cards, I

1 N2 CP?693

Pass6+ clubs, misfit expected
2 Dnot 3 hearts
2 H3+ hearts
2 S6+ spades
2 Nonly force, game try
3 C 3 D 3 S6+ cards, I
3 H5-7 HCP, 4+ hearts, I

1 N2 DP?694

2 Hnot 3 spades
2 S3+ spades
3 C6+ clubs
3 D 3 H6+ cards, I
Otheranalogous to #693

1 N2 Hany?695

Anyweak two-bid structure

1 N2 NP?696

3 suitdiscouraging, assuming that genre
3 NAF, asks definition and range*
4 C 4 DI, assuming minors
4 H 4 Sto play, assuming majors

*lower real suit = minimum, higher = extras

If 2 N bidder has unassumed genre he must bid again; suit bids logical; 3 N (forcing) shows extras.

Rebids by Astro bidder

1 N
P
2 C
?
P2 D697

Passdiamonds
2 H5 hearts, 2 Nd suit black
2 S3-4 spades, only 4 hearts, 4+ minor*
2 Nboth minors (3 suits)
3 C5+ clubs
3 D5+ diamonds, I
3 H 4 C 4 D6+ cards, I

*usually clubs but may be good 4=4=4=1

1 N
P
2 D
?
P2 H698

Passhearts
2 S5 spades, either minor
2 Nboth minors (3 suits)
3 C 3 D5+ cards
3 H4 hearts, 5+ spades, I
3 S 4 C 4 D6+ cards, I

1 N
P
2 C
?
P2 N699

3 C 3 Dminimum, natural
3 Hminimum, 4 spades
3 Sextras, 3-4 spades
3 Nextras, clubs or diamonds
4 C 4 Dextras, natural, extreme shape

1 N
P
2 D
?
P2 N700

3 C 3 D 3 Hminimum, natural
3 Sextras, 4 hearts
3 Nextras, clubs or diamonds
4 C 4 Dextras, natural, extreme shape

Rebids by Astro responder

1 N
P
2 C
2 H
P
P
2 D
?
701

2 S3+ spades, seeking other suit
2 Nboth minors, please choose
3 C 3 D6+ cards, NF

1 N
P
2 D
2 S
P
P
2 H
?
702

3 H6+ cards, NF
Othersame as #701

In balancing seat

If an enemy 1 N opening is followed by two passes, Astro structure still applies, but minimum strength is lowered.

1 NPP?703

Dbl14+ HCP, optional
All bids7-15 HCP

After interference

1 N2 CX?704

Passwilling to play if second suit
Relayunwilling to play minor doubled
Rdbl*5+ cards in relay suit
Otherunchanged

*allows Astro bidder a rescue there with 2-3 cards

1 N
P
2 D
?
XP705

Rdbl4315 shape (allows rescue to 2 H)
Otherlogical

1 N2 C2 S?706

Dblpenalty
2 Nunchanged
Known suitcompetitive
Cheapest suitpass or correct
Other suit6+ cards, NF
Cueasks for stopper (below 3 N)
Cue past 3 Ncontrol, ST (known fit)
Jump suit6+ cards, I below game

1 N2 NX?707

Passweak (normal)
Rdblat least 1 ace
3 suit1-suited rescue (misfit expected)
Otherunchanged

1 N2 N3 D?708

Dblpenalty (assumes opposite genre)
3 suitcompetitive, NF, fit exists somewhere
Otherunchanged

Other Astro applications

Astro also applies, direct or balancing, in the following situations provided no specific suit has been shown:709
1. 2 N or 3 N opening
2. 1 N, 2 N or 3 N response to artificial opening
3. 1 N, 2 N or 3 N rebid after two artificial bids

Cases 1 and 2 suggest great shape, few HCP. Case 3 shows full HCP from failure to act previously.

Note that bidding 3 N over 2 N, or 4 N over 3 N, still shows majors or minors, albeit unlikely.

Unusual 2 N opening

2 N1?1. both minors710

Dblstrength-showing
3 Cmajors, weak or strong
3 Dmajors, in-between (12-15 HCP)

Defense to Weak Openings

The following agreements apply when an opponent opens with a natural, nonforcing suit bid from 2 C thru 5 D, regardless of the strength shown by opener.

2 C?721

Dbl13+, takeout
Unbid suit13-18, 6+ (good 5) cards
2 N16-18 (system on)
Cuethree-level cue overcall
3 N*15-20, usually based on long suit
Jump cuespades + other
4 other minornatural + hearts, NF
Jump suitnatural, 1 trick shy of bid
4 Ntwo lowest unbid

*Responses to 3 N are natural (no transfers). Minor suits forcing; majors nonforcing. Cue-bid shows shortness in their suit with slam interest.

2 H?722

4 C 4 Dnatural + unbid major, NF
Jump cueunbid major + minor
Othersame as #721

3 C?723

Dbl14+, takeout
Unbid suit13-18, 6+ (good 5) cards
3 N15-20, varied (natural responses)
Cuespades + other
4 D over 3 Cdiamonds + hearts
4 Ntwo lowest unbid
Jump suitnatural, 1 trick shy of bid

3 H?724

Cueother major + minor
Othersame as #723

4 C?725

Dbl15+, takeout
Cuespades + other, slam I
Othersame as #723

4 H?726

Dbl15+, optional*
Unbid suit13-20, 6+ cards
4 N over 4 Hminors
4 N over 4 Sany 2-suiter, rarely 3-suiter with void
Cuehighest unbid + another, slam I+

*Usually pull with 6+ suit (5+ spades) or 5-5.

Responding agreements

2 HXP?727

2 S0-8
2 NLebensohl, relay to 3 C
3 C 3 D9-11, I
3 H12+, usually no stopper, GF
3 S9-11, 5+ spades, I
3 N10-15, confident stopper
Jump cue12+, splinter, 3-suiter

2 H
P
X
3 C
P
P
2 N
?
728

3 D or pass0-8, respective minor
3 H4 spades, heart stopper, GF
3 S9-11, 4 spades, I
3 N10-15, tentative, not 4 spades
4 C 4 Dshapely, I

2 D2 HP?729

Unbid suit8+, 5+ cards, F below game
2 N8-10, natural
Cue10+, general force (below 3 N)
Raise8-10 below game, 8-15 if game
Cue past 3 N13+, fit + control
Jump suitself-playable, slam I
Jump raise11-15 if game
Jump cue13+, splinter raise

Competitive agreements

2 HX3 H?730

Dblpenalty
Unbid suit6-9 below game, 6-15 if game
Otherunchanged

2 D2 S3 D?731

Dblpenalty
Otherunchanged

Responsive doubles do not apply after weak openings.

2 SP3 C?732

Anyas over opening bid*

*except only cue is opener’s suit. Bidding responder’s suit is natural and may expose a psych.

In balancing seat

2 HPP?733

Anysame but all ranges 2 points less

For example, 2 N would show 14-16 instead of 16-18.

Responding structure is the same (including Lebensohl after double) with ranges upped by 2 points.

Defense to Artificial Openings

Over a strong (16+) artificial 1 C, 1 D, 2 C or 2 D opening, all initial actions show weak hands, typically 5-11 HCP.

1 C1?1. 16+, artificial741

Pass*unlimited
Dblclubs
1 suitnatural
1 Nmajors or minors
2 Chearts + any other
2 Dspades + any other
2 H 2 Snatural
2 Nmajors or minors
3+ suitnatural

*With a good hand, compete next round as if all artificial bids did not exist; e.g., 1 C P 1 D P; 1 N 2 C is Astro.

With both majors follow Astro rules regarding shape.

Choice between 1 N and 2 N is simply a matter of safety vs. preemption.

After a 2 C opening everything is the same but one level higher.

After a strong, artificial 1 D or 2 D, only change is that double = diamonds.

The same structure applies after a response to the forcing opening (thru 2 N) provided no specific suit has been shown; double shows the suit doubled, or both majors if the response is 1 N or 2 N.

Responses

If our bid shows a 2-suiter, follow the Astro structure for all responses and rebids.

Otherwise, all suit responses (including jumps) are natural and NF, usually weak. A response of 1 N or 2 N (cheapest available) is the only force, like an invitational cue-bid; 3 N is always NF to play.

Defense to Transfer Bids

If the enemy opening bid is artificial but shows one specified suit (transfer preempts, Namyats) the following agreements apply.

3 D1?1. hearts751

Passunlimited
Dbl11+, takeout of real suit
Otheras if real suit were bid

Pass and double can be further defined next round:752
Pass then dbl15+, optional
Dbl then dbl15+, takeout

Transfer responses

If the enemy opening is 1 N, 2 N or 3 N, and the response is artificial showing one specified suit (Jacoby, minor-suit transfer, Texas) the following agreements apply.

1 NP2 H1?1. spades753

Pass*unlimited
Dbl*lead-directing
Cue 2 leveltwo-suited overcall
Nonjump suit11+, 5+ good cards
Cue 3 levelthree-level cue overcall
Jump 3 suit6+ cards, 8 tricks, I
Jump 4 C 4 Dnatural + lower unshown major
Cue 4 levelhighest unshown + other

*Subsequent double of enemy real suit is takeout thru 4 D (assuming partner only passed).

Junkyard Defense

This applies to opening two-bids that do not show 5+ cards in the suit bid, nor a specific one-suited hand.

Current list includes:761
1. Flannery 2 D (5+ hearts, 4 spades)
2. Roman 2 C 2 D (3 unknown suits)
3. Precision 2 D 2 H (3 known suits)
4. Meckwell 2 H (3 suits, 2 of which known)
5. Meckwell 2 S (weak preempt any suit)
6. Multi 2 D (unknown major)

Note that Flannery 2 H (not included) would be treated as a natural two-bid.

2 D1?1. on junk list762

Dbl15+ HCP, nondescript
Cue 2 leveltwo-suited overcall
Cue 3 levelthree-level cue overcall
Cue 4 levelhighest + other
Suit13-18, 6+ (good 5) cards
2 N15-18, usually 5+ minor (system on)
Jump suit6+ strong cards, 1 trick shy of bid
3 N15-20, usually long suit (natural responses)

Pass then double a natural suit thru 4 D is takeout.

After enemy response

2 D1P2 N?1. on junk list763

Anysame as #762

2 D1P2 H2?1. on junk list
2. NF
764

Dbltakeout thru 4 D
Othersame as #762

Note: A suit is a “cue-bid” if a nonforcing response (as above) or if opener showed 5+ cards in the suit.

Lead-Directing Doubles

Doubles of artificial suit bids are lead-directing unless otherwise defined or one of the exceptions below.

Double by an unpassed hand of:771
1. 2 C response to weak 1 N* is strength-showing
2. Artificial response (thru 3 D) to a natural suit opening is takeout of the suit opened
3. Splinter bid as our first action shows length and suggests sacrifice

*defined as 15 HCP maximum

Double of notrump

Unless otherwise defined, the double of a notrump bid by non-leader is penalty and requests, in order of priority:772
1. Leader’s suit if both of us have shown suits
2. Dummy’s suit unless leader has strong safe lead
3. Leader’s shown suit
4. Doubler’s shown suit
5. Leader’s weaker major

Double of suit slam

Double of a voluntarily bid suit slam by non-leader requests, in order of priority:773
1. Side suit shown by the opponents
2. Leader’s longest suit not bid by our side

Runout Defense

This applies if an opponent is the first to run after our strength-showing double in the following situations:781
1. Double of any notrump bid where Astro applies
2. Double of 2 C response to weak 1 N opening
3. Double of junkyard bid or 2 N response to it
4. Double of unusual 2 N opening

1 NX2 C1?1. clubs + other782

Passweak or 3+ cards in runout
Doubletakeout of runout, usually doubleton
Suit5+ cards, NF
Jump suit6+ cards, I
Cueshortness in runout

“Runout” is defined as the actual suit bid, unless it showed another specified suit and not 4 cards in the bid suit, then the specified suit.

1 N
P
X
?
2 H1P1. both majors783

Pass3+ cards in runout*
Othersame as #782

*inferring weakness from partner’s pass

1 N
2 D
X
?
PP784

Pass3+ cards in runout
Othersame as #782

1 N
2 D
X
P
P
P
P
?
785

Passweak
Othersame as #782

Runout defense applies thru 4 D and after multiple runouts, provided we have only passed after the first runout and not passed the same suit twice. In other words, if we bid, double for takeout, or one of us meets a suit he passed at a lower level, all doubles are penalty.

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Slam Bidding Methods

General Approach

Most slam auctions begin with suit agreement, which can occur in four ways, all agreeing the suit bid or the last shown suit:801
1. Raise, including artificial fit-showing bids
2. Preference, even if not ensuring an 8+ fit
3. Splinter bid, including self-splinters*
4. Advance control-bid

*but excluding pattern splinters to show a 3-suiter or the remaining shape of a 2-suiter

After suit agreement in a strong auction (game tries nonexistent) our next bid has the following meaning:802
Notrumpnatural (except 4 N if Blackwood)
Shown suitnatural
Enemy suitace or shortness
Unshown suitcontrol-showing*

*except after a preference that did not show normal support, then natural; e.g., 1 S 1 N; 3 H 3 S; 4 C = 3-4 clubs, and 5 C or 6 C is a potential contract.

Note that two suits can be agreed, but that’s the limit if it happens; a bid in either remaining suit is control-showing.

Control-showing auctions

A control-showing auction can be started only after suit agreement. Typically this requires about an ace better than a minimum GF, or suitable values if suit agreement was issued by a splinter or advance control-bid.

Once a control-showing auction is started, bids mean the following:803
Notrump*natural, discouraging
Agreed suitnatural, discouraging
Other suitcontrol-bid (even if shown by our side)

*excluding 4 N if Blackwood and 5 N

A control-bid below game (after control-auction started) does not require extra strength (just suitable values).

Control-bids

Guidelines for the first control-bid in a suit:804
Unshown of 3ace or king, 4+ cards (rare 3)
Unshown of 2ace or king* or shortness
Only unshownace or shortness
Enemy shownace or shortness
Splinter suitace or void
Partner’s shownace or king
Your shownace

*with ace in one suit and king in the other, prefer to show the king below game

Bypassing a suit does not deny that control, i.e., it may be planned to show a more useful control or to save bidding space at next turn.

If beyond the game level of the highest agreed suit, a control-bid shows first-round control.

A control-bid past five of the highest agreed suit confirms all suits are controlled and that a grand slam is possible.

A second control-bid in the same suit (or a redouble if our control-bid is doubled) shows:805
1. Ace or void if prior bid could be shortness
2. Ace or king if prior bid showed ace or king
3. King or shortness if prior bid showed ace

Gerber

A bid of 4 C is Gerber only as an immediate response to 1 N or 2 N when “system on” applies. This holds with or without interference; so if it is possible to respond 4 C, it is Gerber.

Gerber does not apply after Stayman, notrump rebids, or anywhere else.

Responses to Gerber:811
4 D0 or 4 aces
4 H1 ace
4 S2 aces
4 N3 aces

Continuations by Gerber bidder:812
5 Casks for kings*, confirms all 4 aces
Othersign-off

*respond as above but 1 level higher.

Over interference

If Gerber 4 C is doubled:813
Pass*no club control
Otheras usual with club control

*Asker may redouble to ask again for aces.

DOPI if an opponent bids below 5 N:814
Dbl0 or 4 aces
Pass1 ace
Cheapest bid2 aces
Next bid3 aces

DEPO if an opponent bids 5 N or beyond:815
Dbl0, 2 or 4 aces
Pass1 or 3 aces

Four Notrump Meanings

Four notrump is natural if no major suit is agreed and we have bid notrump naturally.

The following notrump bids are not considered natural:821
1. Forcing 1 N response to a major opening
2. Responder’s 2 N rebid after opener’s reverse bid
3. Responder’s 2 N waiting after a 2 C opening

1 S
3 H
P
P
2 N
4 N
Pnatural

Despite both majors bid, neither is agreed.

1 N
2 S
4 D
P
P
P
2 H
3 D
4 N
P
P
natural

Takeout 4 N

If partner has not acted, 4 N is always for takeout.

If partner has acted, 4 N is takeout if all of the following are true:822
1. You have not previously acted
2. Partner has bid or doubled at cheapest level
3. Last bid is 4 H or 4 S by an opponent
4. At least two unbid suits exist not counting spades

1 D4 S4 Ntakeout

But if opponent bid 4 H, it would be Blackwood.

1 H1 S4 H4 Ntakeout

But if partner bid 2 S, it would be Blackwood.

Blackwood

If 4 N does not meet either the natural or takeout conditions, it is Blackwood.

Key suit determination

When 4 N is Blackwood there is always one key suit, per this priority:831
1. Agreed suit, higher if two
2. Last shown suit, higher if simultaneous
3. Highest implied suit

1 H2 NP4 Ndiamonds key (higher of simultaneous)

1 SX3 S4 Nhearts key (highest implied)

Key-card responses

Standard Roman key-card steps:832
5 C0 or 3 key cards
5 D1 or 4 key cards
5 H2 or 5 key cards
5 S*2 or 5 key cards, QOEL

*not allowed with key suit hearts

Continuations

Blackwood bidder may next sign off in 5 of any agreed suit (or shown suit if key suit was inferred without an explicit raise), any shown suit beyond 5 of agreed suit, or 6 N. Exception: If Blackwood responder has 4 or 5 key cards, there are no sign-offs at the 5 level.

Non-sign-off bids by Blackwood bidder:833
Cheapest suitQOEL ask
Other suitrelay to play 5 N (rare)
5 Nking ask, confirms 5 key cards + QOEL

Responses to QOEL ask:834
Key suitdenies QOEL
Other suitQOEL, that king
5 NQOEL, asking suit king*

*or no king if key suit sign-off is at 6 level

Responses to 5 N specific king ask:835
Key suitno king
Other suitthat king
6 Ntwo kings, doubts about seven
7 anynatural, source of tricks, NF

Continuations after QOEL or 5 N ask:836
Unshown suitgrand ST, nonspecific
Othersign-off

Showing a void

A void may be shown (optional) over Blackwood:837
5 N2 key cards + void
6 of suit*1 or 3 key cards + void

*If below key suit shows void (or specific king if void is obvious).

After 5 N asker may continue with 6 C (if not key suit) to inquire similarly.

Exclusion Blackwood

Five of a suit is exclusion Blackwood if and only if:838
1. Jump bid in opponent’s shown suit
2. Jump bid in unshown suit after we’ve shown a fit
3. Repeat of splinter suit by splinter bidder

Normal step responses apply but not counting the ace of the exclusion bid.

Over interference

If an opponent doubles 4 N:839
Rdbl0 or 3 key cards, desire to play 4 N
Pass1 or 4 key cards, desire to play 4 N
Otherunchanged

DOPI if an opponent bids below 6 of key suit:840
Dbl0 or 3 key cards
Pass1 or 4 key cards
Cheapest bid2 or 5 key cards
Next bid*2 or 5 key cards, QOEL

*not allowed if cheapest bid is key suit

DEPO if an opponent bids 6 of key suit or beyond:841
Dbl0, 2 or 4 key cards
Pass1, 3 or 5 key cards

Super Gerber

Super Gerber is a way to ask for key cards with 4 H or 4 S when 4 N would be inconvenient or natural.

Four of the highest unshown major is super Gerber provided all of the following are true:851
1. We opened 1 C, 1 D, 1 H, 1 S, 1 N, 2 C or 2 N
2. We did not make a weak jump shift response
3. No opponent has bid (double is not a bid)
4. We have shown at least one minor suit
5. We have not raised or agreed a major suit

1 D
4 S
P3 NPsuper Gerber

Note the rule prevails over possible natural interpretation.

Corollary: When super Gerber applies, 4 N is natural.

1 S
3 C
P
P
2 D
4 N
Pslam I (4 H would be super Gerber)

“Shown” suits are generally obvious, but some gray areas exist.

The following are considered shown suits:852
1. Value jump after 1 N forcing response
2. Opener’s rebid after inverted minor raise
3. Opener’s major rebid after minor-suit Stayman
4. Fit-implying rebid by notrump bidder unless the only unbid major

1 D
2 S
3 N
P
P
P
2 D
3 H
4 H
P
P
super Gerber (heart suit not shown)

Key suit determination

Super Gerber always has a key minor suit:853
1. Agreed minor, diamonds if both
2. Last shown minor

Key-card responses

Standard Roman key-card steps:854
Step 10 or 3 key cards
Step 21 or 4 key cards
Step 32 or 5 key cards
Step 4*2 or 5 key cards, QOEL

*not allowed if Step 3 is key suit

Super Gerber bidder may then sign off in 4 N, 6 N, or 5-7 of any shown suit.

Continuations by super Gerber bidder:855
Asking majorking ask, confirms 5 KC + QOEL
Unshown suit*QOEL ask
5 Nchoice of slam, F

*If responder holds 4 or 5 key cards, this can be an agreed or shown suit, since asker could not wish to sign off.

Responses to QOEL ask:856
Key suitdenies QOEL
5 NQOEL, no king or opted not to show*
Other suitQOEL, that king

*showing a king beyond 6 of key suit is discretionary

Responses to specific king ask:857
Key suitno king
5 Nking in asking major
Other suitthat king
6 Ntwo kings, doubts about seven
7 anynatural, source of tricks, NF

Continuations after QOEL or specific king ask:858
Unshown suit*grand ST, nonspecific
Othersign-off

*if beyond 6 of key suit rejection is 6 N

Over interference

If super Gerber is doubled:859
Pass*no control in major doubled
Otheras usual with control in major doubled

*Asker may redouble to ask again for key cards.

DOPI if an opponent bids below 6 of key suit:860
Dbl0 or 3 key cards
Pass1 or 4 key cards
Cheapest bid2 or 5 key cards
Next bid*2 or 5 key cards, QOEL

*not allowed if cheapest bid is key suit

DEPO if an opponent bids 6 of key suit or beyond:861
Dbl0, 2 or 4 key cards
Pass1, 3 or 5 key cards

Trump Asking Bid

The following bids are trump asks:871
4 C resp to 2 D, 2 H or 2 S when 2 N is artif force
4 C rebid by 2 N (AF) responder to 2 D, 2 H or 2 S
4 C resp to 3 D, 3 H or 3 S opening or jump overcall
4 D resp to 3 C or 4 C opening or jump overcall

Exception: If RHO doubles or bids over partner’s last bid, trump ask must be a jump (else natural NF).

2 HP4 Ctrump ask

2 D
3 H
P
P
2 N
4 C
Ptrump ask

1 N2 SP4 Ctrump ask

3 CP4 Dtrump ask

3 SX4 Cnatural NF

1 S3 H3 S4 Cnatural NF

Responses and follow-ups

Responses are by steps, skipping the trump suit:872
Trump suitworst
Step 1ace or king
Step 2A-Q or K-Q
Step 3A-K
Step 4A-K-Q

Continuations by asker:873
4 NBlackwood (regular key-card)
Othersign-off

Over interference

3 H
?
P4 CX874

Passace or king, terrible hand
Rdblace or king, splinter in suit doubled
Otherunchanged

3 H
?
P4 C4 S875

Dblworst
Passace or king
Cheapest bidA-Q or K-Q
Next bidA-K
NextA-K-Q

Essentially this DOPI with all bids counted as steps.

Voluntary Bid of Five

A voluntary bid of 5 in a major invites slam:881
1. If we have not made a weak bid, or
2. If we are at 4 H or 4 S with no enemy action, or
3. On the second round of bidding or later

1 S4 H5 Sslam I

4 HP5 Hslam I

Note that 5 H would be blocking if opening were 2 H or 3 H, or if next hand bid or doubled.

A jump to 5 in a minor invites slam:882
only if a bid of 4 would be natural and forcing

1 S
3 C
P
P
2 H
5 C
Pslam I

Continuations

The slam invitation asks for, in order of priority:883
1. Unshown suit control if we have shown 3 suits
2. Enemy suit control if not already shown
3. Good trumps relative to the bidding

If the bid asks for control:884
Passno control
5 Nguarded king
6 trump suitcontrol, usually singleton
Other suitcontrol-bid, ace or void in asked suit

If the bid asks about trumps:885
Passpoor trumps
5 Nsolid trumps (A-K-Q or no loser)
6 trump suitgood trumps
Other suitace or void, good trumps (2 of top 3)

Five Notrump Meanings

Five notrump, when not part of another convention, can have four meanings: takeout, invitation to 7 N, trump ask (GSF) or “pick a slam.” In all cases it is forcing.

Takeout 5 N

Five notrump is for takeout, asking lower suits first:891
1. If partner has not acted, or
2. If a nonjump on the first round of bidding

3 H3 S5 H5 Ntakeout for minors

Invitation to 7 N

Five notrump invites 7 N if:892
we have shown a balanced hand and no specific suit has been shown

2 C
2 N
P
P
2 D
5 N
Pinvitation to 7 N

Opener may bid 6 of a suit (forcing) to suggest 7 in that suit. Bidding cannot end below 6 N.

Trump ask

Five notrump is a trump ask if:893
1. A major suit (and no other suit) is agreed, or
2. Our only shown suit is a 5+ card major by partner*

*excluding the first-round nonjump takeout case

Responses are by steps, skipping the trump suit:894
6 Cace or king
6 DA-Q or K-Q
6 trump suitworst
6 other majorA-K
6 NA-K-Q

Pick a Slam

In all other cases, 5 N asks partner to choose a slam:895
1. If two or more suits shown, between those suits
2. If only one suit shown, show another suit (if any)

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

Defensive Carding

Notrump Opening Leads

Honor leads:911
A K Q 10 x, A K J 10 x, A K J x x x (or better)
A K Q x, A K J x, A K 10 x, K Q J x, K Q 10 x
K Q 10 9 x, A Q J x, Q J 10 x, Q J 9 x
A J 10 x, K J 10 x, J 10 9 x, J 10 8 x
A Q 10 9, A 10 9, K 10 9, Q 10 9, 10 9 8 x, 10 9 7 x
Doubleton or tripleton A K, K Q, Q J, J 10, 10 9

Spot leads:912
A J x x x, K 9 8 7 x, Q J x x, J 10 x x, etc.
x x x x (optional depending on hand)
A x x, K x x, Q x x, J x x, 10 x x
9 x x* (or weaker), x x (any doubleton)

*Lead low if partner showed 5+ cards (including suspect third/fourth major openings) and you have not raised.

Suit Opening Leads

Honor leads:921
A K x* (thru 4 S), A K x (above 4 S), K Q x
Q J 10 x, Q J 9 x, K J 10 x, J 10 9 x, J 10 8 x
K 10 9, Q 10 9, 10 9 8 x, 10 9 7 x
Doubleton or tripleton A K, K Q, Q J, J 10, 10 9

*except in partner’s suit always lead king from A-K

Spot leads (3+ cards):922
Lowest from odd lengths
Second* or third from even lengths

*If affordable, which is always presumed true in partner’s shown suit. For blind leads from four cards, lead second if you have a touching card (J 9 8 2, 8 7 4 2) or if the six or lower (Q 6 4 2); else prefer third (Q 7 4 2).

The purpose of second-best is to allow suit preference on the next round.

Leads After Trick One

Second honor lead in the same suit:931
Short holdingtop card*
4+ cardsbottom of sequence

*warns partner not to overtake or unblock

Second lead in the same suit, spot card:932
Odd residuelowest
Even residuehighest affordable

Exception: At notrump lead original fourth best if there could be any ambiguity.

Honor leads in another suit:933
Acedenies king
Kingunchanged
Queenunchanged
JackJ 10 (denies higher)
TenA J 10, K J 10, A 10 9, K 10 9, Q 10 9
Nine10 9 (except doubleton)

Exceptions occur for technical necessity, such as from K-J-9 thru dummy’s Q-x-x.

Note that a 10 lead promises a top honor unless doubleton.

Spot leads in another suit at notrump:934
Fourth bestencourages return of suit
High or seconddiscourages return of suit

From 9-x-x with the 10 not in view, lead middle to avoid confusion with showing the 10.

Spot leads in another suit at suit contracts are unchanged (low from odd, second or third from even) regardless of strength.

Exception: Do not lead a nine (e.g., K-J-9-x) if it could be confused with showing 10-9-x-(x).

Honor Signals

Honor signals (following or discarding) are strength-showing:941
Ace (discard)solid suit
Kingsolid except ace
QueenA Q J, Q J (usually 10 too)
JackA J 10, K J 10, J 10*
TenA Q 10, A 10 9, K 10 9, Q 10 9, 10 9*

*ambiguous so avoid if partner would expect better

When splitting honors as second hand, play as above if intention is to inform partner.

Exception: Second-hand hop with a king shows nothing in particular (just like winning an ace) because it may be necessary to gain the lead.

Count Signals

General strategy against all contracts is to show count, both in following suit and discarding, regardless of who led the suit. Tend to discard first from the suit(s) you do not want led; hence partner can infer positive attitude from a suit not discarded, or discarded last.

Standard count signals:951
3, 5, 7 cardslowest
4 or 8 cardssecond highest (if affordable)
2 or 6 cardshighest affordable

The distinct plays from even lengths can be helpful, e.g., if partner sees the highest outstanding card he knows you have a doubleton or 6.

Tens and jacks may also be count signals, provided the play is safe and won’t be confused with strength-showing.

Queens and higher are never count signals.

Modifications and exceptions

Notrump opening leads with special requests:952
Aceunblock K, Q or J, else count
Kingattitude
Queenunblock jack, hop ace, else attitude
Jackunblock 10, hop ace or king, else count

Regardless of the lead at notrump, if dummy wins a blank ace, king or queen, signal attitude.

Other leads with special requests:953
Ace not A-K*attitude

*Beyond 4 S, after trick one, or with king in dummy

Residual count

If count is not shown on the first round of a suit, either because an honor had to be played, or because another signal had priority, count is shown on the second round:954
Odd residuelowest
Even residuehighest affordable

Note that an odd residue indicates an original even number of cards, and vice versa.

Suit Preference Signals

Suit preference is routinely shown after count with the next play in the same suit.

Assume the underlined card was played first:961
6 4 26 shows high SP, 4 shows low
10 6 4 34 shows high SP, 3 shows low
Q 9 7 5 29 shows high SP, 5 shows low
9 8 7 6 3 28 shows high SP, 2 shows low

Suit preference may be negligible, since you must go one way or the other with 3-4 cards. Neutral possibilities exist with 5+ cards, but readability is doubtful, so general strategy should be to choose.

Overriding cases

Suit preference applies immediately if:962
1. Opening lead is partner’s shown 5+ card suit*
2. Opening lead is dummy’s singleton at suit bid and leader wins trick
3. Ace lead at suit bid with K-x or K-Q-x in dummy and third hand marked with 3+ cards
4. Opening lead is obvious singleton and third hand has choice of plays
5. Leading or following to suit partner may ruff
6. Removing declarer’s last stopper at notrump
7. Choice of insignificant cards in suit declarer is out of (or will be on trick)

*Suit preference is strong if leader wins the trick, i.e., an immediate shift is usually desired.

A jack is defined as low suit preference if leader could have the queen and need to force second hand to cover.

In the above seven cases a middle card shows no preference but may have other implications:963
Case 1Continue my suit
Case 2-3Continue suit led or shift to trumps
Case 4-5My entry may be in trumps
Case 6-7No preference or nondisclosure

Trump Signal

The only trump signal is traditional to show the number of trumps held. This is routine and does not imply the ability to ruff.

To inform partner of your trump length:971
2 or 4 trumpsup-the-line
3 or 5 trumpshigh-low (if affordable)

Exception: Do not high-low with A-x-x or K-x-x.

When echoing from equal trumps, play the higher card first. This may reveal to partner whether your trump holding is promotable.

System 7G01 MainTop Pavlicek System

© 2023 Richard Pavlicek