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III. Balanced hand Openings
Here is the full range of Opening bids with a balanced hand.
- 13-15 pts = Open 1 in a suit (usually a minor) and bid 1NT at your next turn.
- 16-18 pts = Open 1NT
- 19-21 pts = Open 1 in a suit (usually a minor) and bid 3NT at your next turn.
- 22-24 pts = Open 2NT
- 25-27 pts = Open 3NT
With 13-15 or 19-21 pts you still can explore the possibility of a major suit trump fit by bidding your 4 card suits (if you have any) up the line before bidding NT.
For example : if Responder bids a major suit in which you have 4 card support : single raise that major with 13-15 pts, and raise to Game with 19-21 pts (rather than bidding NT).
In Example 13 you have a balanced hand with 20 points and open the bidding with 1♦.
- If your Partner responds with 1♠ or 2♣, or raises your opening bid to 2♦ ---- you reply : 3NT.
- If your Partner responds with 1♥ ---- you reply : 4♥.
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IV. Responses with 11-12 points
With 11-12 pts you can not immediately respond with a raise of Partner's suit when you have trump support (or with a NT bid when you are balanced).
In these cases always bid a new suit first and raise Opener's suit on your next turn to bid.
In rare instances you may not have a 4 card suit to bid. In such case bid a 3 card minor suit at the 2 level. (Partner will be unlikely to raise that suit unless he has 5 card support.)
For example with :
♠ A 10 4 2
♥ 9 5 4
♦ A 9 8 ♣ K 6 3
- after an Opening of 1♠ : respond with 2♣,
- plan to raise Opener's Spades when it is your next turn to bid.
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BR 7.4 - The Limit Bid Concept
Bids of a new suit (by Opener as well as Responder) are open bids. They have a wide points range and/or a high upper points limit. In either case the possibility of a Game contract can usually not be ruled out.
Bids of a new suit are therefore always forcing for 1 round (but see Bidding by a Passed Hand), and the bidding must continue until a limit bid is reached.
- Most bidding sequences commence with one or more open bids (usually bids of new suits)
- until a limit bid is made. This is the defining point of the auction.
- After the limit bid
- either a final bid is reached quickly,
- or the limit bid is followed by one or more fine tuning bids
(invitation bids, convention bids, give preference bids, etc.) before
the final contract bid is made.
It is most important to recognise the limit bid in the bidding sequence, as (barring opposition bidding) the bidding must continue at least until a limit bid has been made.
There are three types of limit bids.
- the first NT bid in the bidding sequence (unless it is preceded by an earlier limit bid), or
- the second time a suit is bid, either as a rebid or as a raise.
Exception : the jump raise by Responder of 1 in a suit to 3 in the same suit (1♠ - 3♠), which is an open bid promising 13+ pts.
- All Responses by a Passed hand
A player who passes at his turn to open the bidding shows he has 12 points or less. After his Partner opens the bidding, all his responses have an upper limit of 12 points (at the most) and are therefore limit bids. Even his response of a new suit (which in all other cases is forcing for 1 round).
Here are some typical bidding sequence examples.
All bids by the Opener are shown in blue lined boxes.
The fine tuning bids are :
- Example 1 : 2NT = Invitation bid. Opener bids Pass with 16 pts or 3NT with 17-18 pts.
- Example 2 : 3♥ = Forcing to Game. Opener bids 4♥ with three Hearts or 3NT with a Heart doubleton (see Lesson 8).
- Example 3 : 3♠ = Invitation bid. Responder bids Pass with 6-7 pts or 4♠ with 8-10 pts.
- Example 5 : 4NT = Blackwood Convention. Opener's 5♠ reply shows 3 Aces.
- Example 7 : 3♥ = Invitation bid. Responder bids Pass with 6-7 pts or 4♥ with 8-10 pts.