Opener’s Reverse Bids
A reverse is made when the opener’s second suit would force the opener to the 3-level in order to return to opener’s first suit. A reverse shows a strong hand with the first bid suit always being longer than the second.
PLAY LESSON HAND
or watch a video as @Tina coaches @Bajir through a couple reverse hands.
In most auctions if a player shows two suits, the hand should be unbalanced. The first suit will, therefore, always contain at least 5 cards.
This auction promises at least 5 diamonds and at least 4 clubs.
This auction promises at least 5 diamonds and at least 4 hearts, but it also promises a strong hand of 16+ points. Why is this? To answer the question, let us look at the barrier principle.
Imagine that a barrier is created when an opening bid is made. This barrier is a natural raise of the opening suit.
You opened 1♣, so the barrier is 2♣. After a 1♦ opening bid, the barrier is 2♦. After a 1♥ opening bid, the barrier is 2♥ and so on. What is the point of this? The answer is that we use the barrier principle to describe a certain type of hand, which is called a reverse.
If you have a strong balanced hand, depending on your system, you either open 1NT or rebid notrumps. If you have an unbalanced hand, and your second bid is above the barrier, you promise a strong hand. It is forcing for 1 round.
This is not above the barrier, which is 2♦, so does not promise a strong hand.
This is above the barrier of 2♦, so does promise a strong hand.
- unbalanced hand
- forcing for 1 round
Bidding above the barrier promises at least 16+ HCP. It also guarantees at least a 5-card suit, and 4-card suit.
You would like to bid your heart suit wouldn’t you. You can this time as you have more than 16 HCP, so you can afford to show both your suits.
Can you show the heart suit? No, you can’t bid above the barrier. You have to rebid 2♦
which is not forcing. You can’t force partner to bid again, given that she may only have 6 HCP.
Responding to a Reverse
Reverses are forcing! You must bid at least once more.
You can support either of partner’s suit. Remember, partner has shown 5 of the first suit. With no fit for partner you can rebid your suit or 2NT.
This time you have a known we have an 8-card fit in clubs (Partner must have 5 clubs to reverse). It is good that partner has a strong hand, as we are forced to the 3-level.
This time you are stronger and it’s up to you to indicate your extra strength. 3NT seems the best option here. You have spades covered.
After you practice a few lesson hands, watch a video as @Tina coaches @Bajir through a few hands.