ACBL00A – Beginner: Opening Bid Rules           Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                  Jan 25, 2011

                                                                                                                  Page 1 of 3


      This note is a support supplement to the beginner work sheets ACBLWRK1, ACBLWRK2, etc.  You make opening bids, responses, overcalls and doubles based on high card points (HCP) only.  Remember,

the Majors are hearts and spades, and the Minors are clubs and diamonds.                   


      Opening Bid – The first player to make a non-pass bid, such as:

                             1 club, 1 spade, 1 notrump, 3 diamonds, etc.


      Response Bid – Any bid made by the partner of the opener.

                                Any bid made by the partner of a doubler.


      Overcall Bid – A suit or notrump bid by a player of the pair that did

                             not make the opening bid.


      Double Bid – There are many reasons in bridge (17 at last count)

                            to make a bid of double.  The two most common are:


                           Takeout Double - the opponents are bidding and this

                                                       double asks partner to bid.


                            Penalty Double – the doubler thinks that the opponents

                                                        cannot make their bid.  If you double

                                                        and set the opponents, your pair will

                                                        will get higher points than if you didn’t



Opening Bids


      Again, you open based solely on HCP.


             1. One of a suit – a hand with 11+ HCP and any 5+ card suit.


                                         all hands with 12+ HCP:

                                              1 club – could be as few as 2 cards

                                              1 diamond – must be 4+ cards

                                              1 heart/spade – must be 5+ cards

       ACBL00A – Beginner: Opening Bid Rules     Jan 25, 2011

                                                                                                      Page 2 of 3


Opening Bids (continued)


             2. One Notrump – a balanced hand with 15-18 HCP.

                                          Balanced means no voids, no singletons

                                          and no 5+ card majors.


             3. Two Clubs – This is a hand with a lot of HCP.


             4. Weak Two – 2 diamonds, hearts or spades indicates a hand

                                      with 6 cards in that suit and 5-10 HCP.


             5. Two Notrump – a balanced hand with 22-24 HCP.


             6. Three of a suit – a hand with 7 cards in that suit which does

                                           not meet the requirements for an opening hand.


             7. Three Notrump – This is called a Gambling Notrump.  It will

                                             have a 7+ card minor suit headed by at least  

                                             the ace, king and queen; and will have at least

                                             two other aces.


             8. Four of a suit – same as 6 above except with 8+ cards in the





      This can be a variety of bids, too complicated for this write-up.


Overcalls of a Suit


      This is the first non-pass bid made after the opponents have opened  

       the bidding.  You are not asking your partner to bid.  The standard is:


             1. A 5+ card suit

             2. Two or more honors in that suit (A, K, Q or J)

             3. 6-12 HCP at the 1 level and 8-12 at the 2 level.  

         ACBL00A – Beginner: Opening Bid Rules     Jan 25, 2011

                                                                                                         Page 3 of 3


Overcalls of a One Notrump


      This would be the same hand you would open one notrump with.

      However, the opponents have bid first.  So you must have stoppers

      in their bid suit.  If it is a minor, you would need at least one.  If it is

      a major would need two.  If you don’t have the required stoppers, just

      make a Takeout Double.  A stopper is A, Kx, Qxx or Jxxx.


Overcalls of a Two Notrump


      This is called an Unusual Notrump.  It indicates two 5+ card minor

      suits.  The HCP depends on what the partnership has agreed.


Doubles of a Suit


      For now, we’ll only explain the Takeout Double (TOD).  It is made by

      the Left Hand Opponent (LHO) of the opening bidder.  A double by

      opener’s RHO is not defined as a TOD.


      The double indicates 13+ HCP.  Note that overcalls are maxed at 12

      HCP.  The doubler may have a 5+ card suit of his own, but telling the

      13+ HCP is more important.


Doubles of a Notrump


      When the opponents open one notrump (15-17 or 15-18 HCP), a

      Takeout Double now indicates 15+ HCP.  It may or may not be a

      balanced hand.