ACBL10A – Bidding: Did I Ask You to Bid? Ward Trumbull

Nov 13, 2011

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Bidding is an adventure between two partners who attempt to

arrive at the best contract for their team. In the bidding, team members may:

1. Pass every time and let the other pair declare the hand.

2. Compete in the bidding as high as their combined

HCP/distribution will permit.

3. Deliberately overbid and go set, i.e., take a save.

4. Preempt at the 2, 3, 4 or 5 level to hinder the

opponent’s bidding.

5. Only make a lead-directing overcall.

The key to partnership bidding is knowing when to pass and when to bid.

Did I Ask You to Bid? (DIAYTB)

When your partner makes a non-passing bid, you must ask yourself

does he/she want/expect me to bid? The answer will either be YES,

NO or OPTIONAL (hopes you’ll bid).

Opening Bid – Before Partner Has Bid

You should open the bidding with the following hands.


1. You have 11+ HCP and a 5+ card suit. yes

2. You have 12+ HCP. yes

3. You have a 15-18 HCP notrump hand. hope

4. You have a19-21 HCP NT hand (Trumbull 2 Clubs) waiting-hope

5. You have a strong distributional hand which should yes

make game or be within one trick of game game forcing

(Trumbull 2 Clubs).

6. You have a 22-24 HCP notrump hand. hope

7. You have a Rule of 20 hand yes

8. You have a weak 2 hand no

9. You have a 3/4/5 level preempt hand no

ACBL10A – Bidding: Did I Ask You to Bid? Nov 13, 2011

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Opening Bid – After Partner Has Passed

Besides the hands above, you may also:


1. Open in third position with only 10 HCP yes

2. Open in fourth position using the Rule of 15 yes


Takeout Double of a Suit yes

An immediate double of an opponent’s opening suit bid

indicates 13+ HCP, and asks partner to bid. The doubler

may have one-or-more 5+ card suits. However, commun-

icating the 13+ HCP is more important than telling about the

5+ card suit.


Takeout Double of a One Notrump yes

An immediate double of an opening one notrump bid indicates

15-18 HCP (maybe more). It may be a balanced hand, or it

may be a distributional hand with that HCP.


Dying Out Double (DOD) yes *

An optional double of the opening bid after two passes is not

a Takeout Double. It is called a Dying Out Double. The HCP

of this hand is unknown to his/her partner. Partner can assume

10+ HCP and go from there.

* Typically, after a DOD of a one notrump bid, partner without

length/strength in the majors may pass, expecting to set

the one notrump contract for extra points.

Note: That pass could also be the strategic “TRAP PASS”. The

passing hand is strong and waits for partner’s DOD. It is used

when the opponents are vulnerable and the defenders are not.

ACBL10A – Bidding: Did I Ask You to Bid? Nov 13, 2011

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Overcall of a Suit


A suit overcall of an opening suit bid indicates a hand with no

a maximum of 12 HCP and a 5+ card suit with 2+ honors

in that suit. Think of partner saying “I wouldn’t mind you

leading this suit.”.

A suit overcall over an opening notrump bid indicates a optional

maximum of 14 HCP (one short of a double) and a 5+

card suit with 2+ honors in that suit.

Overcall of a Notrump


A one notrump overcall should be treated as an opening hope

one notrump bid.

A skip two notrump overcall is an Unusual Notrump yes

showing 5+/5+ in the lower unbid suits, when playing


Review: Responses to Partner’s: DIAYTB

Opening one of a suit yes

one notrump hope

2 clubs (Trumbull) wait – n/y

2 diams, hearts or spades (Weak 2) no

2 notrump hope

3 of a suit no

3 notrump (Gambling) no

4/5 of a suit no

Takeout Double of a suit yes

of one notrump * yes

* Doubler’s hand should have 15+ HCP but may be

distributional or balanced. Try to keep the bid open.

ACBL10A – Bidding: Did I Ask You to Bid? Nov 13, 2011

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Review: Responses to Partner’s: (cont.) DIAYTB

Dying Out Double of a suit yes

of one notrump optional

Overcall a suit over a suit no

one notrump optional

Overcall one notrump hope

Overcall 2 notrump (Unusual Notrump) yes

Response to Partner’s Overcall in a Suit (DIAYTB = NO)

Do not compete with partner in the bidding unless you have

a very good hand. If not, what matters is the number of cards

you have in his/her overcall suit.

3+ cards support optional

2 cards with ace or king support optional

0 or 1 card pass *

* You can indicate shortness in partner’s suit by bidding a

different 5+ card suit. However, partner is not obligated to

bid and may pass with a singleton in your suit.

With a good hand (12+ HCP) you can explore the possib-

ilities of game by jump bidding in his/her overcall suit, in your

5+ card suit or in notrump.


Responses to Partner’s Opening Suit Bids/Doubles yes

When your partner opens with a suit bid OR doubles an

opening suit bid, your response should clarify the status of

the major suits in your hand. That is, a bid of a major indicates

4+ cards in that suit. A bid bypassing hearts and/or spades

indicates that you do not have 4 cards in that major(s).

This is known as “up-the-line” responding.

ACBL10A – Bidding: Did I Ask You to Bid? Nov 13, 2011

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Responses to Partner’s Takeout Doubles (continued)

If RHO bids after that takeout double, you make negative double bids

for the majors. That is ---- double with four and bid them with five.

Otherwise, you pass (0-5 HCP), bid 1 notrump (6-9 HCP) or bid a minor

suit (6+ HCP at 1 level and 8+ HCP at the 2 level).

If RHO passes after that takeout double, you have a free bid. Your bid

should be based on your HCP. YOU CANNOT PASS!!!!!

0-8 HCP make minimum bid, preferably a 4+ card major.

9-11 HCP make a skip bid, preferably in a 4+ card major.

12+ HCP make a cue bid of opener’s suit.

Note: The typical error to up-the-line responding is to respond one or

two notrump to indicate the HCP range when the hand actually

does have a 4 card major that can be bid.

BEWARE the one-or-two notrump response when you could/should

bid a major at the one-or-two level.

Responses to Partner’s Notrump Doubles (DIAYTB = YES)

When your partner doubles an opening one notrump bid, your

response again should clarify the status of the majors in your hand via

Stayman or Jacoby Transfer if possible. This is known as “Systems

On”. If partner’s hand has notrump distribution, he/she should make

the standard convention response. However, if it is a distributional 15+

HCP hand, your convention bid might be ignored.

NOTE1: In this special case, a 2 notrump response does not indicate

8-9 HCP. It indicates 0-7 HCP and can’t do Stayman, Jacoby

Transfer or a Minor Suit Transfer.

NOTE2: Also in this case, a 2 club Stayman response or a major/minor

transfer must be alerted.