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6. Overcalls

Overcall is a  bid following an opposing bid. 
Of course, you must overcall for a good contract. But you can also overcall for,
- Preventing opponents having better idea about their hands.
- Preventing your opponents to get higher scores.

You can use preemptive bids in a competitive auction if you have good support (4+ card)

Takeout doubles and redoubles and cuebids are important aspects of a competitive auction..


When explaining the overcalls, your right hand opponent will be abbreviated as (RHO), and left hand opponent will be abbreviated as (LHO).
Advancer is the partner of the overcaller.

We can collect overcall bids in three main groups:

1) Overcalls and takeout doubles when the opponents opened.
2) Overcalls and takeout doubles when the opponents have overcalled
3) Other Overcalls and Doubles

These materials are used in competitive auction..

6.1 Overcalls and Takeout Doubles When the Opponents Opened.

When an opponent opened the biding, you can make a simple overcall with 7+ high-card points and a five card suit: If your overcall have to be at the two level you'd better have 13+ points. Jump overcalls are preemptive. If you have a balanced hand you can make notrump overcall with 15-18 points. If you have strong hand with shortness in opponents' suit you can make takeout double.

Overcalls when the opponents opened can be made in different ways:

1-Suit Overcalls
   Simple Suit Overcall
   Jump Suit Overcall

2-Notrump Overcalls
   Simple Notrump Overcall
   Unusual (Jump) Overcall

3-Direct Cuebid Overcalls

4-Notrump Interference Overcalls

5
-Takeout Doubles 

6.1.1 Suit Overcalls and Advances

6.1.1.1 Simple Suit Overcalls

Type of Overcall

Overcaller's
 Points

Description of Simple Overcall

Example
(click on the example)

Simple Overcall at the one level 

7-17

Your suit must have at least 5+ cards. Non Forcing (Constructive)

Simple Overcall at the two level 

13-17

Your suit must be strong. Your hand must be at least an opening hand.. Non Forcing (Constructive)

 Advances of Suit Overcalls


Partner's
Overcall

Advancing 

Example
(click on the example)

Simple

Overcall

If your opponent opens the bidding and your partner overcalls with a suit, you can pass with  0-5 points if you don't have support for partner's (overcaller) suit. A new suit also allowed at the one level with 6-9 points. A new suit allowed at the 2 level if you have 10+ points..

 A cuebid in opponents' suit shows 10+ points and your interest in game contract.. Cuebidding is forcing in competitive auction...

Note: Advancer's cuebids are indirect cuebids. They are not direct cuebids...





If you have support for your partner's (overvcaller's) suit, and less than 10 points, you can make jump raises. Level of jump  increases with the number of cards you hold in partner's suit.. 

Since jump raises are preemptive in competitive auction, if you have support and 10+ points you can cuebid opponents' suit.. As you know cuebidding is forcing in competitive auctions..

Note: Advancer's cuebids are indirect cuebids. They are not direct cuebids ..





6.1.1.2 Jump Suit Overcalls

Type of Overcall

Overcaller's
 Points

Description of Overcall 

Example
(click on the example)

Weak Jump Overcall

5-12

Preemptive: Shows a weak hand with 5-12 points. Your suit must be strong and long. A preemptive overcall is same as an preemptive opening. Weak.



 Advances of Jump Suit Overcalls

Partner's Overcall

Advancing 

Example
(click on the example)

Weak Jump Overcall

If your partner overcalls with a jump, he shows a weak hand, but his suit must be strong and long. If you have aces and kings in other suits, if you have at least three card support for partner's suit, you can raise your partner's suit. If you have a strong hand, it is your choice to bid a game, since you almost know your partner's hand. 

6.1.2 Notrump Overcalls

We can replace  Notrump overcalls into two categories:

  • Simple 1NT overcals
  • Unusual (Jump) 2NT overcalls

6.1.2.1 Simple 1NT Overcalls

The level of
 overcall

Overcaller's
 Points 

Rules for overcall and advancing

Example
(click on the example)

Notrump overcall at the one level.

15/16-17/18

Your hand must be suitable for 1 NT opening: 15-18 points and balanced hand. You must also have controls in opponents suit.

Note: If you don't have some length or stoppers in opponent's suit you would think of to make an takeout double with 15-18 HCP..

Advancer can pass if he has less then 8 points and a balanced hand. Advancing of a simple 1NT depends on the opponent's suit.. If opponents opened in a minor suit, Stayman and transfers are on.. If opponents opened in a major, Stayman is useless.. but you can use transfers.









6.1.2.2 Unusual (Jump) 2NT Overcalls

The level of
  overcall

Overcaller's
 Points 

Rules for overcall and advancing

Example
(click on the example)

Notrump overcall at the two level.

Suitable for an Overcall

This convention is called UNUSAL 2NT. It is used to show two suited (usually minors) hands and also prevent opponents having reach a good contract.. 
When a suit was previously bid by opponent, a jump to 2NT by you is called "Unusual 2NT, promising 5-5 in lowest two unbid suits:

When opponent bids 1 or 1, both minors are the lowest two unbid suits. Accordingly,

1- An 2NT overcall by you after opponent's 1 opening, you show 5-5 in hearts and diamonds.
2- An 2NT overcall by you after opponent's 1 opening, you show 5-5 in hearts and clubs.
3- An 2NT overcall by you after opponent's 1 opening, you show 5-5 in  diamonds and clubs.
4- An 2NT overcall by you after opponent's 1 opening, you show 5-5 in  diamonds and clubs.

Advancer bids one of partner's suit (bids the longer one ofcourse). Responder's 3NT bid is for playing..

A 9 7
K 10 8 4 
4 3 
K 10 6 2 

K Q 5 3 2 
6
9 5 2
J 9 7 5

10 8 6 
Q 7 5
A Q 7
A Q 4 3

 
J 4
A J 9 3 2
K J 10 8 6
8

When East opens 1, South  bids 2NT showing  5-5 distribution in hearts and diamonds.  Advancer (North)  bids 3.

Note: If opponent opens the bid and you have a balanced hand with 20-21 points, you can not jump to 2NT.. Because jumping to 2NT has above meaning. In that case first make a takeout double, then you can bid your 2NT...





6.1.3 Direct Cuebid Overcalls

Bidding the same suit as your is called Cuebid. Direct Cuebids are   Michael's Cuebid which is invented to show two suited hands. It is a direct cuebid of the opponent's opened suit .

Type of Overcall

Overcaller's
 Points 

Rules for overcall and advancing

Example
(click on the example)

Michael's 
Cuebid

Suitable for an Overcall

A direct cue bid when the opponents have bid only one suit is Micheals Cue-bid which describe two suited hand to your partner. If an opponent opens the bidding, you may not find the opportunity to describe your two suited hand. If you learn Michaels cuebid, you can describe your two suited hand with one bid: If you simply bid opponent's opening bid this is Michaels cuebid. If opponents opens with a minor, your Michaels cuebid shows you have length in both majors.. If opponents opens with a major, your Michels cuebid shows you have length in other major and one of the minors..

Cue bids of preemptive openings are also Michaels. 

Advances to Michaels:

Advancing Meaning of Advancer's bid 
One of partner's two suits Prefer one of partner's suit.. A jump in partner's preference suit is preemptive.
Opponent's suit A cue bid of opner's suit is game or slam try..
2NT Asks partner's minor suit. 
3NT To Play

Here is an example of Michael's Cuebid:

A 9 3 2
  9 8 2
4 3
K 10 9 5

7 5
K 6 3 
8 7 2
Q J 7 6 4

Q 6 
10 7 
A Q J 10 9 5
A 8 3

 
K J 10 9 8
A Q J  5 4
K 6  

When East opens 1,  South's 2 bid is Michaels cuebid showing both majors. Advancer (North) must bid 2S..

 





6.1.4 Notrump Interference Overcalls

If opponents opened 1NT, you may want to show your very unbalanced (mostly two suited) hand with some values. Natural calls don't allow you to show your two suited hands. Because, the bidding goes higher levels when you are ready to bid your second suit.. Cappelletti convention shows two suited hands...

Cappelletti conventions is notrump interference bid:

Cappelletti convention used for competing against opponents opening NT bid. 

6.1.4.1  Cappelletti Convention Overcalls 

Opening Bid

Overcall (CAPP)

Meaning of  Overcall

Example
(click on the example)

1NT

Double

Balanced hand with 16-18 points. 

2

Promises 1 suited hand.  Responder responds with 2D as a relay.

2

Promises both majors. 
Responder bids major of preference..

2

Promises hearts and an unspecified minor. 
If responder likes hearts he can pass, otherwise bid 2NT to ask partner to bid her minor .

2

 

Promises spades and an unspecified minor. 
If responder likes spades he can pass, otherwise bid 2NT to ask partner to bid her minor .

Click here to learn Cappelletti to compete better if opponents open 1NT

6.1.5 Takeout Doubles

Doubles of suit bids are for takeout over opening partscore bids and penalty over opening bids at the game level. Direct doubles of 1NT are penalty oriented. 

Takeout double is a bid that can be made over an opponent's bid. If an opponent opens, you can double if you also have enough points for opening (13+ points).  A takeout double requests  partner to declare his longest unbid suit. Takeout double describes your hand to your partner as: At least 3 cards length at every unbid suit, shortness in opponent's suit. 

A double of 1NT is not a takeout double: It is penalty double. So, advancer can pass doubled opponent's notrump bid.  But,

It is mandatory to advance partner's takeout double.

6.1.5.1 Making Takeout Doubles

Opponents oppening bid

Your bid

Your point

Conditions for takeout doubles

Example
(click on the example)

Any suit Takeout
Double

10+

Opponent's suit in your hand must be short (singleton or doubleton). You must support the other suits (other than your opponent's suit) with at least three cards, so as to find a fit, if partner bids one of these suits.

Make a takeout double in below cases:

1) If you have 10+ points and support for the unbid suits..

2)If you have 17+ points and a strong suit and you are afraid of advancer's "pass" call when you overcalled in your strong suit.. Your rebid of course will be your strong suit.

3) If you have a balanced hand with 19+ points which is too strong for 1NT overcall..You rebid can be 2NT...



6.1.5.2 Advancing to Takeout Doubles

You can not pass your partner's takeout double.

If your left hand opponent (LHO) opens in a suit, and your partner doubles (takeout double) advancer must bid his longest suit..

Doubler already informded advancer that she has support for any of advancer's suits other than opponent's suit.. Advancer must revalute her hand by dummy points (shortness points). Because the suit chosen by advancer usually becomes the trump suit. 

Partner's Bid

Advancer's
Points

Advancer's Bids

Example
(click on the example)

Takeout double

Any

Pass!

Advancer can pass if right hand opponents bids after Doubler's takeout double,

If opponent's suit is very long in your hand, and you want to convert your partner's takeout double into penalty double you are allowed to pass..

Takeout double 0-9    Bid your longest suit (preferably your major) in cheapest way.  If you have two suits with same length, bid the higher ranked one.

If opponent’s suit is well stopped without a 4-card major suit you can bid 1NT with 7-9 points..

Takeout double 10-12 Bid your longest suit by jumping one level. If you have two suits with same length, bid the higher ranked one. A jump response is not forcing.

If opponent’s suit is well stopped without a 4-card major suit you can bid 2NT..
 
Takeout double 13+ You can bid a game in your longest suit.
Cuebidding is forcing. Use it when you have 13+ points

If opponent’s suit is strong (if you have stoppers) without a 4-card major suit you can bid 3NT..
 

6.1.5.3 Doubler's Rebids

Advancer's Bid

Doubler's Rebids

Example
(click on the example)

A suit without Jump A new suit by doubler is not forcing. 

Doubler's single jump in a new suit is forcing. 

Doubler double jump to the four level means acceptance of the suit as trump and showing her singleton or void (controls for slam)..

A suit with Jump A new suit by doubler  is forcing to game.   
Cuebid of the opponent's suit Advancer has 13+ points..  


6.2 Overcalls and Takeout Doubles When the Opponents Have Overcalled

If opponent's make an overcall after your partner's opening bid your responses may carry some different meanining according to your partner's opening bid and overcaller's bid.

6.2.1 If Opponents Intervene Over Partner's Suit Opening

6.2.1.1 Handling Opponent's Takeout Doubles

Partner

RHO

Responder

Example
(click on the example)

Opening
Bid
Double

If RHO doubled your partner's opening bid a redouble by you shows a good hand with 10+ points.. 





6.2.1.2 Handling Opponent's  Suit Overcalls

6.2.1.2.1 Negative Double

If your partner opens in a suit and the opponents overcall in an another suit, your double is negative double: Negative double shows the unbid suits
Negative Doubles are employed through 3

        You need 6+ points to double at the 1-level
        You need 8+ points to double at the 2-level
Partner

RHO

Responder

Example
(click on the example)

Opening
Bid
A suit

If there is 1 unbid major, negative double promises 4-card in that major suit. The length of the unbid minor is not very important.

If there are 2 unbid majors, negative double promises 4-card in one of the major.
If there are 2 unbid minors, negative double promises 4-card in each minor suit.

Lets say your partner bids 1 and right hand opponent bids 1. And you have 4 cards heart suit.. You can't bid 2 because you need 5 cards for that.. You can not bid 1NT, in order to bid NT you must have stoper in opener suit. In such a case you have a choice: You can Double. Negative double: Shows 4 cards in unbid major and some strength..

If your partner opens 1 of a minor and opponent bids 1 Heart, your double is negative and shows 4 cards in spades.. If you had 5 cards spade you would bid 1 Spade...

If your partner opens 1 Spade and opponent bids 2 Clubs, your double is negative and shows 4 cards in Hearts..
If your partner opens 1 Club and opponent bids 3 Hearts, your double is negative and shows 4 card Spade suit..  

7
A K J 3
A K Q 10 7 
Q 8 4 

A 6 5 3 
10 6 
9
  KJ 9 7 5 3

K Q J 10 4 2
7 4 2
8 5 3
10 

 
 9 8
Q 9 8 5
J 8 4 2
A 6 2

North opens 1 diamond, RHO bids 1 Spade. Your  double is Negative double: Shows 4 cards in unbid major and some strength...

 







Rebids by Opener:

13-15 Points: Any bid at possible lowest level, Non-forcing
16-18 Points: Any jump bid, invitational
19+ Cue bid,

If opener passes that means he wants to convert negative double into penalty

Rebids by Negative Doubler:

Up to 10 points: 1NT or new suit, non forcing
11-12 Ponits: 2NT or raising partner's suit, invitational
13+ Points: Cue-bid, forcing


If negative doubler bids a game, it is sign-off

6.2.1.2.2 Cuebidding

Partner

RHO

Responder

Example
(click on the example)

Opening
Bid
A suit

If you bid opponents suit at a higher level, your bid is called cue-bid..
Cue-bids are also used to show support, strength and distribution..If opponents bid after your partner, your cue-bid  shows support for partenr's suit and some values.. 





6.2.2 If Opponents Intervene Over Partner's NT Opening

Stayman and transfers are on over opponents double. After interference of 2D and higher cuebids take the place of Stayman. 

Partner's bid RHO  Responder Meaning of your response

1NT

Double 2C Stayman
2D Jacoby
2H Jacoby
2S Transfer to 3C
2C Double Stayman
2D Jacoby
2H Jacoby
2S Transfer to 3C
2D 3D Stayman
Other Bids are natural
2H 3H Stayman
Other bids are natural
2S 3S Stayman
Other bids are natural
Other bids are natural.

Natural bids at the two level are not forcing. NAtural bids at the three level are forcing. 

Also, 1NT-2H-3S is forcing. Responder asks 1NT opener to choose between 3NT and 4S..


6.3 Other Overcalls, Doubles and Redoubles

6.3.1 Reopening Double 

Reopening double can be made by opener with 18-21 Points.. Let us start with an example:

W N E S Example
Opener Overcaller Responder Advancer
1H 1S Pass Pass
Double ... ... ...

Above table shows an example of reopening by West.. West has very strong hand and wants responder to find a suit.

6.3.2 SOS Redouble 

In our system you can open1C or 1D as low as three cards. When oppenents double for penalty your opening bid, you may request partner to bid her best suit outside of your opening bid.

W N E S Example
Opener Overcaller Responder Advancer
1C Dble Pass Pass
Redble ... ... ...

Above table shows an example of SOS Redouble.. West has few clubs, North doubles as takeout, partnerr passs and South converts TO double to Penalty..Now, A Redouble from opener is SOS double, ask partner select a new suit..

6.3.3 Penalty Doubles

Takeout double presents one of three unbid suits..
Negative double presents one of two unbid  suits
Penalty double presents nothing...

In order to make a penalty double you must be sure that opponents can not make their contract: For example, your double after your partner describes the shape of his hand is a penalty double..

Doubles are takeout through the game (except, your direct double to a 1NT opening bid is a penalty double)
Negative Doubles are employed through 3S..

W N E S Example
Opener Overcaller Responder Advancer
1C 4S Dble All Pass

Above table shows an example of penalty Double.. Responder's double can not be negative double because 4S is above 3S...

6.3.4 Lightner Slam Double

You can make a  double for opponents slam (Lightner Slam Double) to ask partner to make a lead for your void. If your partner can not guess in which suit you are void, he leads in dummy's first bid suit.

here is a Lightner slam double from 1996 World Bridge Team Championship, Rhodes, Greece, bul.3, P.9:

A J 10 9 6 5 3
-
3 2 
A K J 9 

A 2 
A Q J 7 3 2 
K 7 6 4
 
7

K 4
K 10 4
A J 10 9 8
10 6 3

 
 9 8 7
9 8 6 5
Q 5
Q 8 5 4 2
W N E S
    1 D Pass
2 H 4 S Pass Pass
6 D Double!    

North's double to West's 6D is lightner slam double: Asks partner to lead Dummy's first bid suit: Heart!

6.3.5 Lead Directing Double 

Lead-directing doubl is a double of opponents' conventional bid which shows strength in that suit. 

W N E S Example
Opener Partner Responder You
1NT Pass 2C Dble

In above table 2C is Stayman. It is an artificial bid. 2C is neither opponents' suit, nor you want to play in clubs. You just inform partner that club suit in your hand is strong and long.. If opponents play for a NT contract, partner will lead clubs for you...

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