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Contract Bridge
LESSON 11
Bidding by a Passed Hand

  1. When NOT to open the bidding
  2. Responses by a Passed hand
  3. Replies by the Opener
  4. Deals 29 to 32
  5. Quiz - Answers - Review

    Bidding Guide : 9



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BR 11.1 - When NOT to open the bidding

We all of course like to open the bidding, but be very disciplined about it.
In first or 2nd position (as dealer or his clockwise neighbour) open only when you have 13 points or more. In 3rd or 4th position you may open the bidding with a good 12-point hand. (It is also useful to count your losers. With 7 losers or less : open the bidding. With 8 losers or more : do not open the bidding.)

The great advantage of passing with a 11-12 point hand is that your responses (after Partner opens the bidding) can be very aggressive and precise. Opening with a weak hand on the other hand will keep you in a vulnerable and very tentative mood throughout the rest of the auction.


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BR 11.2 - Responses by a Passed hand

When it is your turn (in the first round of the auction) to open the bidding you will normally Pass with less than 13 pts. This Pass immediately puts an upper limit (of 12 pts) on the strength of your hand, and converts all future responses you make to your Partner's Opening bid into limit bids. This means that the Opener can Pass at any time, even after you bid a new suit.
It is therefore important to make an aggressive bid if you hold 11-12 pts (a so-called maximum pass).

The various responses by a Passed hand (Bidding Guide p.16) are listed on the Diagram below.

  • Responses with minimum hands (6-10 pts) are the same as if you had not passed previously.

  • However Responses with maximum pass hands (11-12 pts) are distinctly different.
    1. Jump raise Opener's major suit if you have trump support
    2. jump-shift showing a 5 card (or longer) suit
    3. Bid 2NT with no 5 card suit (or bid a 4 card suit at the 1 level)

  • If you have a trumpfit with Partner's suit and, counting shortage point, now have 13+ points : bid straight to Game.
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Responses to a 1NT opening bid are the same as if you had not passed before (Bidding Guide page 3), but they have of course an upper limit of 12 points.
Here follow some typical examples.


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Hand 1
You have a balanced hand with 8½ points, and passed when it was your turn to open the bidding.

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  1. If your Partner opens with 1♣ or 1♦   Your Response = 1NT
    With a balanced hand and no 4-card major suit bid NT

  2. If your Partner opens with 1♥ (or 1♠)   Your Response = 2♥ (or 2♠)
    Single raise your Partner's major suit.



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Hand 2
You have a balanced hand with 8½ points, and passed when it was your turn to open the bidding.

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  1. If your Partner opens with 1♣ or 1♦ or 1♥  Your Response = 1♠
    With 6+ points and a 4-card major suit : bid new suit at the 1 level

  2. If your Partner opens with 1♠   Your Response = 2♠
    With 6-10 points and trump support single raise Partner's major suit.



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Hand 3
You have a balanced hand with 12½ points, and passed when it was your turn to open the bidding.

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  1. If your Partner opens with 1♣ or 1♦   Your Response = 2NT
    With a balanced hand, 11-12 points and no 4-card major suit jump bid NT

  2. If your Partner opens with 1♥ (or 1♠)   Your Response = 3♥ (or 3♠)
    With 11-12 points and trump support jump raise your Partner's major suit.



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Hand 4
You have a semibalanced hand with 11 points, and passed when it was your turn to open the bidding.

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  1. If your Partner opens with 1♣ or 1♦   Your Response = 2♠
    With 11-12 pts and a 5 card suit : jump-shift

  2. If your Partner opens with 1♥ (or 1♠)   Your Response = 3♥ (or 3♠)
    With 11-12 points and trump support jump raise Partner's major suit.



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Hand 5
You have an unbalanced hand with 11 points, and passed when it was your turn to open the bidding.

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  1. If your Partner opens with 1♣ or 1♦   Your Response = 2♠
    With 11-12 pts and a 5 card suit : jump-shift

  2. If your Partner opens with 1♥ (or 1♠)   Your Response = 4♥ (or 4♠)
    You now have 13 points (including shortage pts) and a trump support : make sure you reach a Game contract (Partner may Pass at any time) and Game raise Partner's major suit.



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Hand 6
You have a balanced hand with 11 points, and passed when it was your turn to open the bidding.

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  1. If your Partner opens with 1♣ or 1♦   Your Response = 1♥
    With 11-12 pts and a 4 card suit : bid that suit at the 1 level

  2. If your Partner opens with 1♥   Your Response = Jump raise to 3♥
    Showing trump support and a maximum pass (now 11 HCP + 1 SP = 12 points).

  3. If your Partner opens with 1♠   Your Response = 2NT
    Showing a maximum pass but with no 5+ card suit.


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BR 11.3 - Replies by the Opener

Normally, after your opening bid, Partner's response of a jump raise, jump shift or 2NT bid are forcing to game.

But when he has passed already Partner's responses of a jump raise, a jump shift or bid of 2NT show 11-12 points and are invitational only ! You should pass with a minimum (12-13 points) but should raise to Game with anything more.

After a new suit bid by Partner you also may pass at any time if you feel a Game contract is out of reach. Be aware however that if you find a trump fit and Partner has an unbalanced hand his strength may increase (through additional shortage points) to 13 points or more.

Here follow two examples.


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Hand 7
Partner has passed when it was his turn to open the bidding.
You have a balanced hand with 15 points, and open (in 3rd position) with 1♣.

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  1. If your Partner responds with 1♦, 1♥ or 1♠   Your reply = 1NT
    With a balanced hand and no 4-card major suit bid NT

  2. If your Partner responds with 1NT   Your reply = Pass
    Your Partner has 6-10 points, not enough for Game.

  3. If your Partner responds with 2NT   Your reply = 3NT
    Your Partner has 11-12 points, enough for a Game contract.

  4. If your Partner responds with a jump shift of 2♥ (or 2♠)   Your reply = 4♥ (or 4♠)
    You have a 5-3 trump fit and enough points for a Game contract.



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Hand 8
Partner has passed when it was his turn to open the bidding.
You have a balanced hand with 12½ points, and open (in 3rd position) with 1♣.

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  1. If your Partner responds with 1♦ or 1♥   Your reply = 1♠
    Always bid your major 4-card suit.

  2. If your Partner responds with 1♠   Your reply = 2♠
    Your Partner has 6-12 points. Your hand has increased to 13 points. If Partner is maximum and unbalanced a Game contract can not be ruled out entirely.

  3. If your Partner responds with 1NT   Your reply = Pass
    Your Partner has 6-10 points only, 7 tricks is probably all you are going to make.

  4. If your Partner responds with 2NT   Your reply = Pass
    Your Partner has 11-12 points and you only 12½, not enough for Game.

  5. If your Partner responds with a jump shift of 2♥   Your reply = Pass
    You have only 5-2 in the trump suit, but further bidding may get you in hot water.

  6. If your Partner responds with a jump shift of 2♠   Your reply = 3♠
    You have a 5-4 trump fit, even with 25 points in the combined hands there is a chance for Game.


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BR 11.4 - Deals 29 to 32

Deals 29 to 32 are examples of bidding by a Passed hand.


BR 11.5 - Quiz 11 - Answers - Review

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Copyright © 2006 Michael Furstner (Jazclass). All rights reserved.