Lesson 4

Opening Bids - Part 2 Including the Rule of 20

So, at the start of lesson 3 we mentioned that some of the rules you learnt there will be tweaked and superceded. Well, welcome to Part 2 where we take the opening bidding process to the next stage.

The first thing we need to deal with is suit priority. In the previous lesson we said to bid the suits in the order of Club, Diamond, Hearts and Spades. That works for a simple bidding process, but in reality we need to change things about a little.

It's all about how we score in bridge, but we won't go into the detail just now. All you need to know is that we need to break the suits into two groups, the MINOR suits, which are the Clubs and Diamonds and the MAJOR suits, comprising of the Hearts and Spades.

When scoring in bridge you get more points when making a contract in a major suit than in a minor suit. Therefore, it you have a choice of suits to chose from then we would tend to favour the Major suits.

Also, within the major and minor groupings there are priorties and we can add some simple rules to show this.

If you have 4 Clubs and 4 Diamonds, then your preference is Clubs.

If you have 4 Hearts and 4 Spades, then your preference is Hearts.

If you have 4 Clubs or Diamonds and 4 Hearts or Spades, then your preference is for the Major suit

Things are a little different if you have 2 five card suits.

If you have 5 Clubs and 5 Diamonds, then your preference is Diamonds

If you have 5 Hearts and 5 Spades, then your preference is Spades.

If you have 5 Clubs or Diamonds and 5 Hearts or Spade, then your preference is for the Major suit

We've only made a couple of small tweaks to our convention, but those tweaks will help us getting into better contracts.

The final tweak we are going to make is something called "The Rule of 20".

This is another time that you can open with fewer than 12 points.

Check out this hand.

A quick tot up of the points shows that we have 9 points, so too few to open. However if we look at out two longest suits, which clearly are Spades and Diamonds, we can count up 11 cards.

If we add this to our HCP of 9, we get 20. At this point, we then open with our longest suit, so we bid 1 Spade.

If HCP plus the count of your 2 longest suits equals 20 or more, then you can open with your longest @ 1

You can see a summary of our tweaked convention here.

You can use the button below to practise our tweaked openings or move onto the next stage where we start to add a few more elements to the opening bids.