Quick summary

"Fit". You like your partner's suit. He bid one of a suit; you've got 4+ cards in the same suit.

Since you have an 8-card match, tell your partner exactly what you've got, by support at various levels:

You can & should include Distribution Points (DP), because you have a fit.

Advanced players Use Jacoby 2NT and Splinters with game going support for a Major.

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Bridge Venue

Example Deal


«  0040  »

Responder 1st bids. After 1 Suit, With fit

Tell your partner you've got 4 of his suit, and exactly how many points. Here's how:

40. Reply to 1-suit, with fit
Points 6-9 10-12 13+ 16+
Cards 4 (3 if heartspade with shortage) 4 4 4
Bid Raise to 2. A weak bid Raise to 3. "Inviting" opener to bid game - if he has 14 points Raise to 4 Slam is likely. So show strength in various ways
Add to your customised cribsheet

When you raise your partner's opening bid in the same suit, your bid is not "forcing". Your partner is not obliged to continue to bid, but he will do if he can see that "game" could be possible and in that case you might need to bid again too, but only if your partner chooses to carry on bidding.

For example, let's say your partner bids 1heart, and you reply 2heart because you have 4 of them and 6-9 points. If your partner has 16 points, he will say 3heart, in the hope that you actually have 9 points, not 6. If you don't have 9, you simply pass. But if you do have 9, you can then say 4heart. Great ! A game bid, based on a 25 points 8-card fit.

Do you use losing trick count? Another example: if your partner bids 1heart, and you reply 3heart, then you are inviting your partner to game if they have more than the minimum they promised. In other words you probably have 8-losers (or 10-12 HCP). If partner has 6 losers, rather than the 7 losers he promised, he can raise to game.

Special case - when you have 6-9 points only

If your partner opens the bidding he promises 4 cards in the suit bid. But with Spades, spade, you are allowed to assume he has 5 of them, and therefore you can support at the two level with only 3 of them, provided you have no other alternative and provided you have a shortage.

If it turns out he had just 4 of them, that will be because, in fact, he was balanced. So his next bid will be in No Trumps. With 5, he'll be bidding a suit next. The only danger is that with a balanced hand he might take your bid as 4-card support and not bid No Trumps next. However, he's unlikely to get too excited, knowing that you only have 6-9 HCP.

This subject is covered in more depth and as an alternative to the "1NT dustbin response".

(With Hearts heart it's a bit difficult: a 4441 distribution can be opened with Hearts, but not Spades).

Stronger hands, fit, and another suit

If you have a stronger hand, and you also have another suit you can bid, you should bid this other suit first, rather than supporting your partner's suit. You might especially want to do this if your second suit is a Major. Changing the suit in this way does not deny having 4-card support for your partner's suit, but it is a "forcing bid" (obliges the opener to bid again), so you will get another chance to support the suit he bid.

Switching suit also has the advantage of telling your partner more about your point count and shape. Supporting your partner's suit also has weakness connotations. For example, the weakest bid you can make is a simple raise to 2 of your partner's suit, when you have a mere 6 points and 4-card support, or even 3 if it's a Major and you have a shortage. But if you bid 2 of a new suit, then you must have 10 HCP and 5-cards if it's a Major, and you could have a lot of points, potentially more than 15 depending on the shape of your hand.

Very strong

With 16+ points, it's not a good idea to support your partner's suit. You might miss a Slam. Instead, find some other way of showing your strength on your first bid.

More advanced players

With support for partner's Major suit and just sufficient points for game, more advanced responders use Splinters and Jacoby 2NT instead of jumping straight to 4 of the Major. This helps them to find hands with interesting shape - and the Slam which might otherwise be missed.

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