Two, Three, or Four?

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You find yourself with big support for partner’s suit, but otherwise a really bad hand. How high do you bid in a competitive auction? Bidding to the 2-level shows a couple of points, while bidding to the 3-level shows fewer values and is more preemptive. The 4-level is similar to the 3-level, but generally you want a few high card points to bid that high. With almost no high cards at all, the 3-level seems to be the best choice.

39 Comments

  1. tina says:



    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  2. amafyram says:

    But @tina, surely that’s not true for ACOL? I’ve always understood that responder bids to the limit of his/her strength if immediately supporting partner’s suit?
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 2
    2 3 P P
    P

    • tina says:

      @amafyram
      I am not sure what is not true, sorry! You are correct that you bid to the limit of your strength immediately. Use your judgement as to what that limit is. There may be other factors. This hand is so weak that I couldn’t bring myself to bid game which is usually a good idea in competition if you have 10 trumps between you.
      It doesn’t matter whether you play Acol or not. Competitive bidding is a matter for partnership agreement.
      Please let me know if I haven’t answered your question.

      • janemart says:

        @tina I’m not sure if @amafyram ‘s confusion was the same as mine, but I’ll try to explain mine further. I was taught that with 4 card support for partner’s suit your response should be purely based on HCP. (6-9 bid 2, 10-12 bid 3, 13-15 bid 4). Then the waters got muddied a bit by the suggestion that only applied to the majors. ..
        This hand seems to suggest that it might be nothing to do with HCP, but simply based on a count of the trumps between the partnership.
        SBC seems to play a bit of both. Are the rules different depending on whether you’re responding to an opening bid or an overcall?

        • tina says:

          @janemart Good question and you’ve gone to the heart of it. If you’re overcalling, you raise partner according to the number of trumps you have rather than high card points.
          I teach new players that responses to an opening major suit bid are exactly as you describe them. I don’t place the same emphasis on minor suits as they’re usually better in no trumps.

          This may sound confusing so let me summarise.
          1. When overcalling bid as high as you can according to the number of trumps you hold. Look up the lesson on The Law of Total Tricks on the lesson page. That should clarify the point in more detail.
          2. Responding to an opening bid is more about strength and less about shape. So 6-9 etc. Choose the major if you have a fit, bit think about notrumps is your fit is in a minor suit.
          Please let me know if you’re still confused!

  3. annettelarke says:

    Was foolhardy – but lucky – and made the four hearts.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 4
    P P P

  4. pasanaa says:

    So, I went too high and didn’t make it. I thought, with such a lovely 10 card fit and a singleton, maybe I should try. But I’ not a good enough player to pull it off. So, how did YOU do it?


    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 4
    P P P

  5. collar says:

    I made 10 tricks. Played the spades, they underplayed same with the diamonds
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  6. collar says:

    @tina. I did a jump bid having 5 card support and a sngleton
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  7. collar says:

    @tina. I did a jump bid having 5 card support and a sngleton
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  8. gingacrunch says:

    I believe it is a weak freak, 4 hearts is the correct bic and is top score!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 4
    P P P

  9. chess says:

    Kind of a gamble but it paid off-this time.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 2
    2 3 P 4
    P P P

  10. ardbrugh says:

    I blame the turkey!
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 2
    2 3 P 4
    P P P

  11. huntert says:

    i bid 4 hearts with the weak hand–knowing in my heart it wasn’t a good move–at the end with 4 cards to play and with Q and 3 of clubs left in my hand–i led a low club from the board know that the A and K of clubs were out–west played the 8–i played the Q and took the trick(as both high clubs were in west’s hand) which made the bid—why did west not play the A or K???
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 2
    2 3 P 4
    P P P

  12. sallym says:

    Only way I made 10 tricks is due to West tossing the AC and keeping the 9D.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  13. @tina, interesting to see a club lead in the video. My hand was a spade lead. Tried twice and could only make 8 tricks with the spade lead. Good illustration just how the hand plays depending on the lead.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  14. janemart says:

    @marciasikimeti Yep, the success of the game often depends on the opening lead, but the opening lead often depends on the bidding. Playing 4 card majors, @Tina‘s West opened 1, so that’s what East led him. Just lucky for Acol players on this hand I reckon.

  15. jeanneinnyc says:

    It’s a Christmas miracle. I made 11 – after first playing and going down one and then watching the video. I won the Q of D by finessing. Yay!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  16. davstevens says:

    My jump raise is weak; the Law must be adjusted with this weak a hand. When East led a diamond away from the King I did not lose a diamond trick, and when I led a spade to my Jack East ducked so I lost no spades. I lost only the Ace of hearts and only one club when West ducked the AK and my Queen won. So I made 5 when I would have been down one with better defense. If I had bid 4H I would probably been doubled and down two.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  17. fiddles says:

    Tina How do I go through the lessons. As I am a very bad bridge player but I am keen to learn
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 2
    2 3 P P
    P

  18. janetru says:

    Wouldn’t the 3 heart bid mean that you have a good hand (12 points or maybe opening count) — but that a bid of 4 hearts would mean that you have at least five hearts but few points??
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 4
    P P P

  19. dyfed says:

    If i am supporting partner’s H I have 4 HCP plus 3 for a singleton = 7 so I bid 2H
    Only reason I’d go higher is if I think they’ll bid and make game in S and we can get a better score with a sacrificial bid…but don’t think that looks likely here.

    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 2
    2 3 P P
    P

  20. Firstly I played supporting ptns suit at the 2 level. Went down 1. On replay I passed ptns suit but came in & supported at the 3 level, not wanting the opposite to play on spades. This time the lead came from the other side & 3 made.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 P
    2 P P 3
    P P P

  21. delta says:

    3 level made nine
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  22. guyzer says:

    Bid 4, went light 1 first time when led jS at trick 4, made the second time when I led up to the JS at trick 4 from North. Unsure why E didn’t cover it.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 4
    P P P

  23. pne2nw says:

    In a H contract by North – against best defense(club lead), NS lose: AK-clubs, A-heart, A-spade and K-diamond – so making 8 tricks. With a 4441 hand my system is to bid the suit below the singleton if it is a red suit. So here West bids 1D and hence East usually leads a diamond. ANY diamond lead allows North to make 9 tricks.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 3
    P P P

  24. nevillet says:

    Made eleven (11)…..
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – – P P
    1 1 1 4
    P P P

  25. jan2bridge says:

    @tina . I like the way you figure your strategy. Fun and interesting plus informative.

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