ACBL01B – Bidding: Basic Support Bids            Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                  Jun 10, 2010

                                                                                                                  Page 1 of 5


Just Starting


      This write-up is the tip of the iceberg.  ACBL01 goes in great detail to

explain what bidding is all about.


Ground Rules


      You open the bidding based solely on High Card Points (HCP).  Do not

count distribution points.  You can/must make an opening one-level suit bid  

when you have:


                1. any 11 HCP hand with a 5+ card suit (major or minor)

                2. all 12+ HCP hands


Bid Categories


      If PASS is not considered a bid, then there are four types of bids:


                1. Opening Bids

                2. Overcalls                    (i.e., the opponents opened the bidding)  

                3. Doubles                      (forget redoubles for now)

                4. Response to

                         a. Opening Bids

                         b. Overcalls

                         c. Doubles


Opening One of a Suit


      When you open at the one-level you must have:


                 Spades     - 5 or more cards in the suit  

                 Hearts      - 5+ cards in suit

                 Diamonds - 4+ cards in suit            (that’s FOUR – got it)

                 Clubs        - could be as few as 2 cards  



              ACBL01B – Bidding: Basic Support Bids           Jun 10, 2010

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What is a Support Bid?


       In the course of the bidding partners should be trying to establish if they have an 8+ cards suit between them, preferably in a major suit.    When one partner bids a suit and then the other partner bids the same suit, the second partner’s bid is called a Support Bid.  That second bid says:


                “We have at least 8 cards in this suit between us.”


It does not say:


                “Maybe we have 8 cards in this suit.”


Too many “enlightened” bridge players use the second approach when supporting their partner’s major suit bid.


Supporting Opening One-Level Bids


      Partner Opens    He/She Has     You Need for a Support Bid

      -------------------    -----------------     --------------------------------------

     1 club                  2+ clubs           5+ clubs

     1 diamond           4+ diamonds    4+ diamonds

     1 heart                5+ hearts          3+ hearts

     1 spades             5+ spades        3+ spades


NOTE: A response of 1 notrump (6-9 HCP) to any of the above opening

           bids says:


          “I do not have enough cards in your suit to support that



           And over 1 club, 1 diamond and 1 heart it also says:


          “I do not have 4+ cards in any unbid major.”




              ACBL01B – Bidding: Basic Support Bids         Jun 10, 2010

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Supporting Partner’s Overcall


      When the opponents open the bidding, any suit or notrump bid by your pair is called an Overcall.  You must have 5+ cards in a suit to overcall that

suit. Normally, you should have at least 2 honors (ace/king/queen/jack) in that suit.  For your partner to support that suit, he/she (of course) must have 3+ cards in that suit.


Supporting Partner’s Suit Response


      When you open the bidding or make a Takeout Double, your partner’s bid is called a RESPONSE. If he/she responds in a suit (other than your suit), it says there are at least 4 cards in that suit.  So if you later support that suit, you must have 4 cards in that suit.


          You do not make a support bid with 3 hoping partner really

          has 5.


This is the pitfall of inexperienced players.  They are so eager to make the support bid that they violate the requirement for the partnership to find 8 cards in a suit.


NOTE: Those of you who are familiar with the Negative Double (advanced

            stuff) know there are exceptions to the response rules.


Point Counts to Support an Opening One-Level Suit Bid


      This is one of the hardest things for bridge players to grasp.  They learned these point counts the old way and will be damned if they’ll change.  As pointed out above, when you support partner’s one-level opening suit bid you guarantee that between you there are 8+ cards in that suit.  You also tell your partner how many HCP you have in your hand.






              ACBL01B – Bidding: Basic Support Bids         Jun 10, 2010

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Point Counts to Support an Opening One-Level Suit Bid


      Partner Opens    You Respond                     Message

      --------------------   ------------------    -----------------------------------------------

      1 heart/spade     2 of that suit       6-9 HCP

                                 3 of that suit       10-11 HCP and distribution points

                                                                      This is a Limit Raise.

                              * 2 of a minor   **  Any 2 level response is 10-18 HCP.

                                                           You make this bid with 16-18 HCP.

                              * 2 notrump      **  12-15 HCP     (forcing to game)          

                                4 clubs                19+ HCP - Gerber slam try

                                                            Preferably Roman Key Card   

                                4 of that suit  ***  6-11 HCP, 4+ card support and a

                                                           singleton or void


*      Since you do have support for partner’s suit, you will make the

        support bid on your next bid.  In this case the HCP count is more



    **       Partner doesn’t know that you have support, and you are

              indicating that you don’t have 4+ cards in the other major.


    ***     This is a direct jump to game in a major suit.  Note that it is not

              an opening hand (i.e., 12+ HCP).  Learn this bid.  It is the type

              that is used in Standard American bidding.  


      Partner Opens    You Respond                       Message

      --------------------   -------------------    ----------------------------------------------

     1 club/diamond    2 of that suit        * 6-9 HCP

                                 3 of that suit        * 10-11 HCP and distribution points.

                                                                         This is a Limit Raise.

                             ** 2 notrump            * 12-15 HCP     (forcing to game)


      *      All these responses deny having a 4+ card major suit.

             Because if you  did, you should have bid it at the one-level.

      **    You don’t need stoppers in all suits.  You do need 12-15 HCP.


              ACBL01B – Bidding: Basic Support Bids          Jun 10, 2010

                                                                                                                   Page 5 of 5


Recap  - By Point Count


      Partner Opens     Your Points       Support Response         

      --------------------    -----------------    -----------------------------------------------

      1 level suit              6 – 9               2 of suit


                       6 – 11             4 of suit   4+ cards with single/void


                      10 – 11            3 of suit    (includes distribution pts)


                      12 – 15            2 notrump


                      16 – 18            2 of a minor


                      19+                  4 clubs Gerber  (preferably RKC)


Two of a Minor (16-18 HCP) Logic


This point count isn’t strong enough to immediately start slam bidding because partner may have opened with an 11-12 HCP hand.  He/she really only counts your hand for the minimum

2-level point count of 10.  However, if partner skips to 3 of his/her

major or bids 3 notrump, your pair should have enough points for

a slam.  Either of those rebids by partner indicates 15+ HCP.


Strong Hand Exception


If you have one of those 19+ hands and a very good suit of your own (lots of honors); instead of Gerber, you can invite a slam in your suit by making a jump-shift bid in your suit.  Note that it promises a 5+ card very strong suit.



     Partner Opens     Your Points        Jump-Shift Slam Invite Response         

      --------------------    -----------------    -----------------------------------------------

      1 heart                     19+                         2 spades