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Competitive Bidding

When both sides are bidding your focus is no longer bidding game or slam. Most of the time you'll simply be deciding whether to defend against a contract by the opposition or try and play the hand yourself.

How high to bid in a competitive auction

If both sides are bidding then showing your points to partner isn't going to help much because, with the points spread around so much, you're less likely to have the strength for game anyway. In fact, bidding to a making contract is not your only consideration. You can sometimes get a better score by making a sacrifice bid, which means going down on your contract rather than letting the opposition make theirs.

Your trump fit will determine how high to bid in a competitive auction. The better your trump fit the more keen you should be to play the hand. Without a trump fit you'll probably be better off defending.

Overcall

Simple overcall

Good 5 card suit, 10 - 15 points

Unlike an opening bid, points don't matter so much for a simple overcall in bridge. A good 5-card suit is the key and good rule of thumb is two of the top four honours in the suit.

How should I respond to partner's overall? Sometimes you'll want to explore for game and occasionally even slam possibilities but normally you'll simply be looking to compete for the partscore so you'll normally just pass unless you have a trump fit in which case you can support partner's suit. The most important thing to remember is that an overcall is different to an opening bid and so responding to an overcall is also different to responding to an opening bid.

Weak jump overcall

Good 6 card suit, 6 - 10 points

A weak jump overcall is similar to a weak 2 opening bid. You can quickly describe your hand to your partner and at the same time make it hard for the opposition to enter the auction

Preemptive overcall

Good 7 card suit, 6 - 10 points

A preemptive overcall is similar to a preemptive opening bid.

Practice Hands
Overcalls

Double

3+ card support for the unbid suits, 12+ points

If the opener bids a suit and the next player doubles then it normally shows 12+ points and 3 card support for the unbid suits. The important point is the support for the unbid suits! You're telling partner you can support every unbid suit.

A double can have different meanings, depending on what other bids have been made during.

Practice Hands
Takeout Double

1NT

An overcall of 1NT shows 16-18 points, balanced.

Notes
Stayman and transfers are not used at Sky Bridge Club after a 1NT overcall

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