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ABC bridge

When it's just you and your partner in the auction you'll be trying to calculate your combined strength so you can decide whether to play in a partscore, game or slam.

High Card Points are the most common way of evaluating the strength of a hand.

points in bridge

Approach Many auctions start with an opening bid of 1 of a suit, a change of suit by responder and maybe even then a second suit by opener. Keep the bidding as low as possible and try to find a trump suit that you and partner both like.

Limit Bids The first person to bid notrumps or bid a suit that has previously makes a limit bid. That simply means the better your hand the higher you bid - no need to keep the bidding low now.

Choosing the final contract After one player has made a limit bid to show their points and shape that persons partner will be in a good position to choose the final contract.

Simple, effective bidding

Whether you're learning how to play bridge or you’re more experienced player, a simple, effective bidding system will help you give the right messages to your partner. The system shown below is how the Sky Bridge Club computer is set up to play.

Opening 1♣, 1, 1, 1♠

Open the bidding at the 1 level with 12-19 points.

5 card majors or 4 card majors? Some players prefer to open 1 or 1♠ only when they have at least 5 cards in that suit. Those players will sometimes need to open 1♣ or 1 with just a 3 card suit. That style of bidding is called "5 card majors". The style of bidding where you can open 1 or 1♠ with a 4 card suit is called "4 card majors".

You can choose 4 card majors or 5 card majors at Sky Bridge Club - see how to select your bidding system.

Responding to 1♣, 1, 1, 1♠

The opener's partner is called the responder. Responder only needs 6 points to bid after an opening bid of 1♣, 1, 1, 1♠

Keep the bidding low when you're changing suit otherwise bid as high as you can!

Opener's Rebids

A change of suit by responder is forcing which means the opener must bid again. Opener can then:

It's always good to show a trump fit so supporting responder's suit is opener's first choice. With a balanced hand but no support for responder the opener should almost always bid notrumps. Bidding a second suit with a balanced hand will often take the auction too high.

The Auction Continues...

...but hopefully not for much longer. By the end of the second round of bidding you'll normally have a good idea of where you want to play.

Opening 1NT

An opening bid of 1NT shows a balanced hand which means no singleton or void and no 6 card suit.

Strong NT or Weak NT

The strength of your opening 1NT bids depends on your partnership agreement and there are two common styles.

The strong NT is normally used by those playing the Standard bidding system. Acol players normally use the weak 1NT

The opener can always show a balanced hand in just two bids

Try playing the hand yourself and let us know how you get on.

ABC bridge in Bridge

Responding to 1NT

Keep it simple! You know how many points the opener has so choose the final contract and be done with it.

2♣ is Stayman after a 1NT opening as is 3♣ after a 2NT opening and after the bidding sequence 2♣ - 2 - 2NT.
You can choose to play transfers. Check your bidding system. If you have selected transfers then they'll work in the same situations as Stayman - after a 1NT opening, after a 2NT opening and after the bidding sequence 2♣ - 2 - 2NT.
The Sky Bridge Club computer does not play Stayman or transfers after a 1NT overcall.
Stayman and transfers are off after any bid or double by the overcaller

Strong Opening Bids

Opening 2♣

An opening bid of 2♣ shows a strong hand. It doesn't say anything about your holding in clubs.

Opening 2NT

20-22 balanced

3♣ is Stayman after a 2NT opening.
If you have transfers selected in your bidding system then 3 is a transfer to hearts, 3 is a transfer to spades and 3♠ is minor suit Stayman
Stayman and transfers are off after any bid or double by the overcaller

Weak Opening Bids

Opening 2 2 2♠

2 2 and 2♠ opening bids are weak showing a good 6 card suit and 6-10 points*

* You can play strong 2 bids if you prefer but make sure to change your bidding settings.

How strong does the suit need to be? A good rule of thumb is that you should have 2 of the top 4 honours. Intermediate cards are also important. KQ10975 is better than KQ5432. Having opened a weak 2, you should not bid again unless partner makes a forcing bid. Partner has enough information to know what to do.

How do I responding to a weak 2 opening bid? A weak 2 opening shows less than an opening hand so responder needs a good hand, or good trump support, to enter the auction. With 3-card trump support it's worthwhile raising partner, even with a weak hand, to make it harder for opponents to know what to do.

Opening 3♣ 3 3 3♠

Preempts. 7 card suit, less than an opening hand.

Opening at the 4 and 5 level

Preempts with an 8 card suit.

Related Hands

Support with 2 trumps - partner isn't crazy.
Responder's second bid - showing strength
Light opening bids - Do you or don't you?
Opener's second bid - your call!


Looking good.
Cushla says:
like the page but unable to find tinas videos
wdwkrwnby says:
Just found this page looking for help with responses as my bidding at my club is :( . love it!
Soose3 says:
This is clear and concise.
victorbox says:
Great help! Easy to follow!
What is the "rule of thumb" when it comes to opening with either 1C or 1D? Thank you in Advance.
Desertdor says:
Bidding better minor, does responder answer with 4 or 5 card major?
The format changes and written instructions are more intuitive and insightful for me. This page is print-and-take-to-bridge-night worthy. Keep up the amazing work.
I tried to do practice hand under the 'openers no trumps bids'. Didn't happen, instead the hand was about playing in 4 H.
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