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3. RESPONDING
You can practise responding at the Section-10

General Rules for Responder:

1) Search if parthership has 8 card fit in major suits: If your partner opens a major suit, that means that he/she has at least 5 cards in that major suit. If you also have at least 3 cards in that major suit, that means that your partnership reached 8 cards fit. Final level  of the contract depends on your points and distribution.
2) Prefer 3NT contract to 5 of minor suit contract.. 
3) Keep bidding until the game if you determine that your partnership has enough points (25+ points). 
4) Don't respond at the level two, if you have less than 11 points, unless, you are supporting your partner (Players which plays 2/1 system accept responses at two level as game forcing).
5) Respond minor suit opening naturally (no conventions!)
6) If you are responding to a preemptive opening, you'd better count the winning tricks rather than high card points. 

As a responder your minimum point is 6 points. Pass  if  have less than 6 points (be aware of a couple of exceptions)... 

As a responder you must evaluate your hand within below ranges, 

6-10  : Responder's minimum point range.

11-12: Responder's intermediate point range. 

13+   : Responder's maximum point range 

Let us review your responses against a minor, major, notrump and other openings:

3.1 Responding to Minor Suit Opening


3.1.1 Responding with Less Than 6 Points

If you have less than 6 points You must pass.
 
Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A minor Suit  Less than 6 You can pass with less than six points. You can pass with a hand like below:

 

 
3.1.2 Responding with 6-9(10) Points

1) You can bid a new suit or notrump at the one level..
2) You can support your partner at two level.
Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A minor Suit 6-10 If partner opens a minor responder's major priority is  majors.. With four-card our longer major suit we bid majors..

If  both majors are 4-4 declare the low rank major first. If majors are 5-4, bid the longest major first. If majors are 5-5, bid the high ranking major first.

With no four-card or longer major to bid responder's second priority is bidding 1NT.. Because you need only 9 tricks for a notrump game contract while you need 11 tricks for a minor suit game contract..

Here is the range for notrump responses:
1NT=6-10 points

Remember that 1NT response shows no four-card or longer major suit.

Your third priority is to raise opener's minor suit:

If you are holding at least 5 cards of your partner's suit, raise your partner's opening suit one level (Five cards is necessary for minor support, because your partner may have 3+ cards in clubs. Supporting opener's minor with 4-cards diamonds may be acceptable if you don't have any other bid).

Here is the range for raising opener's minor suit:

6-10 points= Raise to the two level

Note: Responder may not use Dummy Points (short suit points) when raising a minor suit. Because the contract usally ends up in NT contract..

 





 

3.1.3 Responding with 11-12 Points

1) You can bid a new suit or jump to 2NT.
2) You can support your partner.
Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A minor Suit 11-12

If partner opens a minor responder's major priority is  majors.. With four-card our longer major suit we bid majors..

If  both majors are 4-4 declare the low rank major first. If majors are 5-4, bid the longest major first. If majors are 5-5, bid the high ranking major first.

With no four-card or longer major to bid responder's second priority is bidding 2NT.. Because you need only 9 tricks for a game contract in NT while you need 11 tricks for a minor suit game contract..

Here is the set of ranges for notrump responses:

1NT=6-10 points
2NT=11-12 points

Note: It is better to use just 11-12 point range for 2NT raise...

Remember that 2NT response shows no four-card or longer major suit.

Your third priority is to raise opener's minor suit:

If you are holding at least 5 cards of your partner's suit, raise your partner's opening suit to the three level (Five cards is necessary for minor support, because your partner may have 3+ cards in clubs. Supporting opener's minor with 4-cards diamonds may be acceptable if you don't have any other bid).

Here is the set of range for raising opener's minor suit:

6-10 points= Raise to the two level.
11-12 points= Raise to the three level.

Note: Responder may not use Dummy Points (short suit points) when raising a minor suit. Because the contract usally end up in NT contract..

 




3.1.4 Responding with 13+ Points

1) You can bid a new suit...
Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A minor Suit 13+

For minor suit openings a new suit is always forcing raise: Don't worry about partner's pass when you show a new suit with so much points...

 

If partner opens a minor responder's major priority is  majors.. With four-card our longer major suit we bid majors.. 

If  both majors are 4-4 declare the low rank major first. If majors are 5-4, bid the longest major first. If majors are 5-5, bid the high ranking major first.

With no four-card or longer major you can use below set of ranges for notrump responses:

1NT=6-10 points
2NT=11-12 points
3NT=13-15 points

If you have no four-card or longer major, if your point range is not between 13-15 bid the other minor and wait partner's rebid: You don't need to hurry to take the partnership to game....



3.2 Responding to Major Suit Opening

3.2.1 Responding with Less Than 6 Points

If you have less than 6 points You must pass.
 
Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A major Suit Less than 6 You can pass with less than six points. You can pass with a hand like below:

 

3.2.2 Responding with 6-10 Points

1) You can raise partner's major.
2) If opening is 1H you can bid 1S with four-card or longer spade.
3) Bid 1NT

Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A major suit

6-10

If you are holding at least three or four cards of your partner's major suit, you can single raise your partner's opening suit one level (Remember that your partner has 5+ cards in that suit).

Note: Responder uses Dummy Points (short suit points) when raising a major suit.

You can use preemptive bids if you have good support...

If you have 5 and more cards of your partner's major suit, with a void or singleton in at least one suit, you can make a double jump raise to the 4-level (1-4). This is a preemptive bid. Since you have very few high cards points, your opponents possibly will find a good contract. By double jumping to the 4 level. You are making a preemptive bid to prevent opponents to find a good contract.

 

If you don't support your partner's suit, you must respond at the 1 level with 6-10 points.. 

 

This bid can be 1S or 1NT.

 

If you are responding to a major opening of 1 you have two choices: 1 with at least 4-cards, and 1 NT with any distribution.  Ex: (1-1)

If you are responding to a major opening of 1 you have one choice:1 NT with any distribution.

Keep in mind that you don't need a balanced hand for 1 NT responses.








3.2.3 Responding with 11-12 Points

1) Limit raise partner's major.
2) Bid a new suit

Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A major suit 11-12

If you are supporting your partner's major suit with at least four cards,  you can jump one level in your partner's suit (1H-3H). For such a limit raise 10 points is acceptable. Raise partner's major suit to the third level with 10-11-12 points

 

 

 

Most partnerships agree about four card support for limit raise. With three-card support it is better to start with a new suit and wait partner's rebid..

 

If you don't have support, you can bid new suit at one or two level: Show your longest suit first for a new suit. This new suit is not necessary to be in major suit. Also, it is standard that a 2H response over 1S opening shows at least five-card suit..

 

If the length of your suits are equal;

 

1- If maximum length of your suits is 4-cards, you must start from the 4-carded suit which will keep the bidding at the lowest level.
2- If you have two 5-card (or 6-card) suits start from higher rank.

We don't have 2NT response with intermediate points.. Because 2NT has a conventional meaning! It is Jacoby 2NT which asks shortness..

Note:A new suit response at the two level is invitational. A popular  two-over-one style uses a new suit response at the two level is forcing to game.



3.2.4 Responding with 13+ Points

1) We have many conventions available for this point range!

Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example
(click on the example)
A major suit 13+ If you have support and need forcing to game you can not jump to four level directly..Because, the standard meaning of a jump to 4 of major is a preemptive raise.

You have 2 options for forcing to game with support:Jacoby 2NT and Splinter..

If you have support and need forcing to game, use Jacoby 2NT response to 1 or 1 openings with 13+ points (see Section 8 for Jacoby 2NT convention)..

If you have support and need forcing to game, you can double jump in your void or singelton suit. Example: If you are void in diamonds an partner opened 1H you can jump to 4D.. This bid is called Splinter.

If you have support also use dummy points (5 points for void, 3 points for singleton and 1 point for doubleton) when you are evaluating your hand..

Note: If you don't know the above two conventions, if you have support and need forcing to game, you may bid your best suit. As you know new suit is always forcing. 

If you don't support your partner's suit, show your longest suit first for a new suit. This new suit is not necessary to be in major suit. 

 

If the length of your suits are equal;

 

1- If maximum length of your suits is 4-cards, you must start from the 4-carded suit which will keep the bidding at the lowest level.

2- If you have two 5-card (or 6-card) suits start from higher rank.

If you have rather balanced hand with 13-15 points 3NT response is available!

If you have 17+ points:

Since any new suit is forcing we don't have to worry about a pass from partner.. So, there is no need to jump.. You can show your extra points later..

Popular concept uses jump shift responses as preemptive.. As a result new suit replaces the strong jump shifts...









3.3 Responding to 1NT Opening

If your partner opens bidding with 1 NT, he describes his hand very well;

  • He has 15-17 points,
  • He doesn't have 5-cards major,
  • There are no voids and singletons in his hand,
  • He does not have more than one doubleton,
  • He supports all of your suits with at least two cards. So, you can be sure about eight cards fit, if you have any six carded suit.
We can divide responses to 1NT openings into two parts:

1- Responses with a balanced hand

2- Responses with an unbalanced hand 

3.3.1 Responding with Balanced Hands

For opening and responses for balanced hands see TOBAHA

Balanced hands are in the shape of 4-3-3-3. If you have a balanced hand and the lenght of your major suits is no more than 3 cards, your preference must be in notrump contract.

Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example(click on the example)
1 NT Less than 8 Sign Off.Pass if you have a balanced hand. Since your partner opens bidding 1 NT, he has maximum 17 points. For a game you need 25 points. Since there is no game possibility, you must stop bidding at the lowest level which is 1 NT. 
1NT 8-9 Inviting. With a balanced minimum responding hand, you may respond 2 NT. If your partner has 15 points he can pass.. If he has 17 points he declares 3 NT. If he has 16 points he decides (for 3 NT)  according to his extra values; like intermediate cards (10, 9)..

Note: Some partners accept 2NT response as a transfer to minors. So be carefull when you are playing with them..

 1NT 10-15 Sign Off.With a balanced hand, you may respond 3 NT. Game is possible even  if partrner has minimum points for 1 NT opening(15 points). Even if you have 6 carded minor suits, your preference must be notrump, if you have stoppers in other suits.

1 NT  16-17 Forcing.With a balanced hand, you may respond 4 NT. If your partner has 15 points he can pass.. If he has 17 points he declares 6 NT. If he has 16 points he decides (for 6 NT) according to his extra values; like intermediate cards (10, 9)
Note:4NT is an inviting bid: opener has two choices: Pass or jump to 6NT.
But, I would like to inform you that some authorities allow to brake this rule if opener has a doubleton with two low cards.. In that case, they allow opener to look for 4-4 or 5-3 fit with a very strong suit, instead of bidding 6NT.. Opener bids his stron suit five level if he is looking for a 4-4 fit.. Responder jumps to 6 of that suit if he has fit. Otherwise he bids 6NT. If opener is looking for 5-3 fit, he bids that suit at the 6 level. Responder can either pass (with 3 cards) or correct to 6NT without fit.
1 NT 18-19 Sign Off.Bid 6 NT directly. 1 NT- 6 NT.       
1 NT 20-21 Forcing.With a balanced hand, you may respond 5 NT. If Opener has 15 points he bids 6NT.. If he has 17 points he declares 7 NT. If he has 16 points he decides (for 7 NT) according to his extra values; like intermediate cards (10, 9)

 

1 NT 22+ Bid grandslam with a balanced strong hand. 1 NT- 7 NT

 


3.3.2 Responding with Unbalanced Hands

There are two important conventions that we must use in responding to 1 NT openings with unbalanced hands: Stayman and Jacoby Transfers..

We will use these conventions in the responses to 1 NT openings. Stayman is a good convention to find best major fit in the case of 1 NT openings. You can be sure that 1 NT opener has no five-card major suit. But he may have four-card major suit: If you have a four-card major, you may search for 4-card major at opener's hand . This is Stayman.. If you have at least a four-card major, apply Stayman to find 8-cards major fit.

Transfer enables that the 1NT opener becomes declarer. 2D transfers 1NT opener to 2H. 2H transfers 1NT opener to to 2S and 2S transfer 1NT opener to minors..

4 response to 1 NT opener is called Gerber ace asking. When you count 33 points in your partnership, you can directly ask your partner's number of aces..
Partner's Opening Your Points Your Response Example(click on the example)
1 NT 0+


Jacoby Transfer Bids
(See Section 8 for details)

 This is a convention used to convert an opener into a declarer. If you bid your long suit to your partner's 1 NT opening, your partner's strong hand will be dummy if you are declarer. In order to hide the stronger hand from the opponents, you are supposed to bid one level lower of your longer suit. So you give the opportunity to bid your longer suit to your partner. When your long suit become trump -when your partner become declarer- your weaker hand will be dummy.  

Your 2 response asks opener to bid to
Your 2 response asks opener to bid to

EXTENDED TRANSFERS

Your 2 response asks opener to bid 3 
Then you can pass to leave the opener to play in 3C.
Your  3 rebid is sign off. 

 



1 NT 8+


Stayman
 
(See Section 8 for details)

Stayman convention is asking if opener has a four card major suit.

Stayman is 2 response to partner's 1 NT opening. If you have at least one 4 cards major suit. In order to find 8-card fit in partnership, you can ask 4+ cards major of your partner by bidding 2 to your partner's 1 NT opening 

In response to Stayman, opener shows four-card major suit. With four cards in both majors opener bids hearts first. Without any 4 cards major opener bids 2D




1NT 8-10 If you have six-card club suit with two top honors bid 3 to invite opener to game..

or,

If you have six- card diamond suit with two top honors bid 3 to to invite opener to game...

1 NT

 
15+ If you have 6+ card heart suit with many points bid 3 to show your desire to play slam..

If you have 6+ card  spade suit with many points bid 3 to show your desire to play slam..

Note: If you have a strong 6+ card minor suit with many points, use Stayman convention first. After opener's rebid you can bid your minor suit.. That is the better way to approach a minor suit slam...

 
1NT 10-15 Your 4 response means you are transferring to 4 to play (Texas). With no slam interest.
Your 4 response means you are transferring to 4 to play (Texas).With no slam interest.

Your 5 response means you want to play 5. With no slam interest.
Your 5 response means  you want to play 5. With no slam interest.


3.4 Responding to the Openings at the 2 Level. 

3.4.1 Responding to a Suit Opening at the 2-Level

3.4.1.1 Responding to Two Clubs Opening

2 opening is a strong opening which shows 22+ points. Responder can never pass a 2 opening. Because,  opener's hand  may be enough for a game without any help from responder. 

You can find detailed 2 opening and responses at Section 5.

Partner's
Weak-two Opening
Your Points Your Response

Example
(click on the example)

2 22+ 2 opening is a strong opening. 2 response is negative or "waiting". See Section-5 for the detailed responses and rebids..

 
3.4.1.2 Responding to Two Diamonds, Two Hearts and Two Spade Openings

2 opening and any suit opening above 2 is preemptive. You must be agreed with your partner about this. Weak-two openings promise a 6-cards strong suit and less than 13 points. Don't take partnership's combined total points into account for a game: When responding a preemptive opening take account of  tricks you will be able to win.  So, give attention to the aces and kings at the hand. Please keep in mind the below table when counting the tricks: 
A   = 1 trick
AK  = 2 trick
KQ  = 1 trick
AKQ= 3 tricks For a suit game contract you need at least 10 tricks. As a responder you may think that your partner (opener) has a  6-cards strong suit and less than 13 points if he opened 2, 2 or 2. Your aces and kings in the other suits, will help you to win tricks. Keep also in mind that  your responses at the game level to any preemptive opening, is signoff.: Opener must pass..

Partner's
Weak-two Opening
Your Points Your Response

Example
(click on the example)

 2, 2, or  2,

Count the tricks you can make. 

Suit openings (except 2) at the 2-level are preemptive bids: Promises strong 6-cards hand with less than 13 points. So, put your points aside and pay attention the tricks you may win. Your partner may win all 6 trump tricks. The other suits may be very poor. He may not win any tricks in side suits.  If you are holding aces and kings in other suits, you have chances to win tricks. Take also account  your vulnerability when you are responding a partner who makes a preemptive opening:Since partner has 6 cards, 2 cards are enough for a trump fit. With 4+ of partner's weak  2 or 2 bid, you can bid game. 
With 16+ points you may bid 2NT which asks partner to bid a feature (Ace or King). Holding 


AQ8765  K5 7643 

open 2 and if partner bids 2NT respond 3 telling partner you have the Ace or King. 
Without a side Ace or King, return to your bid suit. 
With AKQ985 bid 3NT which promises a solid suit. 


- With an excellent 5+ card suit of your own (preferably 6) and better than an opening bid, you may bid a new suit. This is forcing for one round. The Weak 2'er may raise with three small cards or better, or Ax, Kx, Qx or Jx, or retreat to the original suit, or bid a "fragment" in another suit (QJx or KQx.) 
- With a terrific 6+ card suit and better than an opening bid you may jump to game in a major. 
-  With a fit for partner's  's, think of game in NT. Partner opens 2 . You hold 

K876  AQ7 QJ3  A98. 

 

Bid 3NT.
                                                                           (From Dee)

 

 


3.4.2 Responding to a Notrump Opening at the 2-Level


2 NT openings promises 20-21 points. A few points (4+ points) may be enough for a game contract. You must respond to a 2 NT opener, as you would respond to a 1 NT opener except one level higher. So, your 3 response is Stayman: Partner will show his 4-cards major. If you have long suit you can apply Jacoby Transfer.

 

3.4.2.1 Responding with Balanced Hands

 

Partner's
 Opening
Your Points Your Response

Example
(click on the example)

2 NT 0-3 Pass. You can pass with a balanced (4-3-3-3) hand..  
2 NT 4-11 You can bid 3 NT with a balanced hand.  
2 NT 11+ Slam.. Use Gerber 4 ace asking convention to ask the number of aces that partner holds.. 

 

3.4.2.2 Responding with Unbalanced Hands

 

Partner's
 Opening
Your Points Your Response

Example
(click on the example)

2 NT 0-3 With a 5 card or longer major, make a Jacoby Transfer (See Section 8 for details) to your long suit and then pass after partner bids your suit. 

2 NT 4-11 With at least one 4-card major bid  Stayman (See Section 8 for details). With a long major suit start with a Jacoby Transfer (See Section 8 for details). 
2 NT 11+ 11+ points means you have slam hand..

With at least one 4-card major start with  Stayman (See Section 8 for details)

With a long major suit start with a Jacoby Transfer (See Section 8 for details).

With a long (6+ card) minor you can use 3 transfer to minors..

 

 

 

3.5 Responses to the Openings at the 3 Level

 

3.5.1 Responding to Suit Openings at the 3-Level:

Partner's Opening

Your Points

Your Response

Example
(click on the example)

 

 

3, 3, 3 or  3

?

Openings at the 3-level promises strong 7-cards hand with less than 13 points. So, put your points aside and pay attention the tricks you may win. Your partner may win all 7 trump tricks. The other suits may be very poor. He may not win any tricks in side suits.  If you are holding aces and kings in other suits, you have chances to win tricks. Take also account  your vulnerability when you are responding a partner who makes a preemptive opening: 1-card is enough for a trump fit. Because partner has 6-cards.

1) You may  raise your partner suits if you have few aces and kings. Your partner made a preemptive opening for preventing opponents' good contract. Raising the partner's suit is defensive. So, partner must pass.

 You may jump to game  in your partner' suit with aces and kings in side suits (count the tricks again). Your responses at the game level to any preemptive opening, is signoff: Opener must pass..

 

3) If you have a strong suit, if you also have stoppers in other suits, you may respond 3 NT. You are planning to make tricks in your partner's suit ore in your own strong suit.

4) If you have a stronger hand, with a strong long major suit, you may bid your suit. A new suit is always forcing: partner must keep bidding. If partner shows support your major, you can bid game. If partner (opener) does not support your suit, he will bid his suit again. So you may bid a game in partner's suit.

 



3.5.2 Responding to Notrump Openings at the 3- Level

Partner's Opening

Your Points

Your Response

Example
(click on the example)

3 NT

Not important

2 opening is always available for strong openings. So, 3NT strong opening is wasting space.. 

So, Gambling 3NT is replaced strong 3NT as,

3NT openings  show strong minor with less than 13 points if you are using "Gambling 3NT" convention (see Section10 for conventions).

Your Choice!


3.6 Responses to the Openings at the 4 Level

Any major opening at the game level (4 or 4) is signoff: Your response is pass. 

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