Quick summary

Count your HCPs = H

Add up the total number of cards in your longest two suits = T

If H + T = 20 or more, you can open with fewer than 12 HCPs

Note: Your HCP's need to be in the long suits, not the short ones

Or even less than 20! In the 3rd or 4th seat you can reduce the requirement from 20 to 18, if everyone else has passed


Print cribsheet

Bridge Venue

Example Deal

«  0019  »

Hand evaluation. Rule of 20 Opening

Can you open with have fewer than 12 points ?

What if you have a really nice hand, but only 11 points, or even 10 ?  Can you open ?  The answer is yes, if you have some special length to make up for your lack of points.  Add together the length of your two longest suits, add that to your points, and if you get to 20 or more you can open your longest suit.  Note though that your honours should be in the long suit/s, not in the side suits. 

Third seat

You can drop to "rule of 18" at the third seat, where the first two seats have passed.

Bidding in the third seat can be a good idea when you are weaker than usual. That's because the first two seats have both passed, and therefore there is a higher than usual chance that the last player will bid. So, when your bid is a bit risky you will probably be overcalled. Your bid therefore carries all the benefits of an interruptive bid, and may also help your partner when it comes to selecting a lead.

There are other situations when you can sometimes open with even fewer points, as few as 6-10.  E.g. If you are weak but have 7+ cards in a suit (read the notes on 3 level Preemptive bids).  A similar situation arises when you are weak but have a good 6-card suit:  for this situation, intermediate players sometimes adopt a "weak two" opening, which is similar to a pre-emptive 3-level bid in its effect.

Now try the quiz

Can you put all this into action ? Try the quiz for this subject by clicking on the link at the top left of the page, just below the main menu.
(You can try quizzes for any other subjects too while you're there. Look out for the thin red line).


About us   Contact us     Terms & conditions of use      Log in      Comment on current page

© Bid and Made. Nothing on this website may be reproduced without written permission from Bid and Made. Just drop us a line, and we'll almost certainly say yes.