Quick summary

Responder has two biddable suits. Which first ?

"Up the line" means starting with the lowest denomination (club) and working up to the highest (spade). Do not show preference for Majors.

The idea is to help your partner find the longest trump match, so stick to this method.

Don't "reverse" by mistake, showing 12+ HCP, if you don't have 12+.


Print cribsheet

Bridge Venue

Example Deal
spade K J 5
heart A J 7
diamond A K Q 8 4
club 9 6
Example Deal
You: North
Dealer: North
Vuln: none

No Trumps or a suit ? And how to get there ?
Go to quiz (& full page) of deal # 126030

Click the + buttons to peep

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#1+<-- click the + to show/hide one possible Bidding Sequence
- 1D p 1S
p ???

#2+<-- click the + for explanation of relevant Bidding Techniques

#3+<-- click the + for ideas on the Opening Lead

«  0061  »

Responder rebids. Choice of two suits

Did you think ahead ?

What does the 2nd bid imply ?

You goal is to bid your suits in an order that will (1) help your partner understand what you have, and (2) facilitate ending up in a suit with the most trumps.

Equal length suits

Most importantly, with suits of equal length

  • bid "up the line" with two 4-card suits (lowest denomination first), and
  • bid "down the line" with two 5-card or 6-card suits.

"Up the line" means starting with the lowest denomination (club) and working up to the highest (spade).

Unlike the opener's bidding order, which is very slightly different when you have a balanced hand, you should express no preference for Majors. Since your change of suit is forcing, you'll get a chance to bid the other one anyway. For example, after 1club from opener, if you have 4 diamonds and a 4-card Major, bid 1diamond first. That will give your partner an opportunity to bid a 4-card Major if he has one, as well as allowing you to mention your Major on the rebid, while at the same time not misleading your partner on suit lengths and also keeping the bidding at the one level.

Note: if you have a 4-4 distribution and your hand is balanced, you should consider responding in NT.

5-4 distribution

In general of course, bid the long suit first. You bid your longest suit first to help your partner find the longest trump match.

But let's say you have 5 diamonds and 4 Heart cards. After a 1diamond opening from partner, should you bid 2diamond, or 1heart? After all, you have a 9-card diamond match! However, you must not ignore the skip over principle. You might have a hidden 8-card match in Hearts as well. You would much prefer to try for 10 tricks in Hearts compared with trying for 11 tricks in diamonds. So you should not "skip over" the lower bid of 1heart. By the way, since your "change-of-suit" bid of 1heart is forcing, you will have another chance to support the diamonds if your partner does not have four Hearts to go with your four. Right, Mr S ? Remember also that supporting your partner's diamonds would be a weak bid, with no obligation on your partner to continue bidding.

What if you have 4-4 instead of 5-4 in this example just given ? No difference. Bid the lowest you can, which after a 1diamond opening from partner would again be 1heart (the skip over principle).

If you have a 5-4 distribution, you will have noticed that your partner cannot always tell if your first suit is a 5- or a 4-card suit if you had to bid "up the line" because the longer suit has a lower denomination. Don't worry, your partner knows all about "delayed support", and so do you. He'll recognise the uncertainty, and if he only has 3 of them, he'll bid something else first, returning to them on his next bid. That's right, isn't it Mr P ?

Don't "reverse" by mistake (and don't fail to when you should)

Responder's "reverse" shows 12+HCP. It can (only) be made after opener has re-bid his opening suit, or followed the opening suit bid with a NT bid. In this situation, if you the responder "break your barrier" with your second rebid, then you are showing 12+ HCP.


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