Lesson 7

Basic Responses

OK, so you've been playing with opening bids and now you're ready to learn about responding to your partners opening bid.

The following lessons all assume the following scenario. Your partner in North has opened the bidding. Your opposition in East has PASSED and it's now up to you to respond to your partner's bid.

Note: If East had made a bid, then your response may well differ from what you are about to learn...but that's a whole other lesson, so we're going to keep it simple.

To start, we are going to look at a simple 1 level suit opening. So, you partner will open at 1, 1, 1 or 1.

Let's start with our first example:

Your partner has opened with 1 and this is your hand.

You can see that we have a balanced hand, but only 4 points and only 3 Hearts.

This hand isn't strong enough to support our partner's opening bid as we need 4 hearts ideally and so we have our first rule for responding to an opening of 1 of a suit.

If you have 5 or less points, then PASS.

Let's see if the next hand is any better! Again, your partner had opened with the 1.

This time you have more points with the addition of the Queen of Hearts and the Jack of Diamonds, bringing our point count to 7.

We still can't support our partners hearts and we need to let our partner know how many points we have. Enter Rule 2.

If you have 6-9 points and less that 4 of the bid suit, then respond with 1NT.

This is simply saying to our partner "I don't have 4 of your suit and I have 6-9 points. Over to you!"

Next hand please! Your partner has opened 1

Counting our honours, we can see we have 12 points, but we still can't support our partners bid as we only have 3 Spade cards. With these points then, it's best to show our partner were we are strong.

With 10-15 points and less than 4 of the bid suit, bid your longest suit at the lowest level.

In this instance, we would bid 2 as this is lowest we can bid our clubs. If our partner had opened say 1 and we were unable to support the bid, but had 10-15 points and a load of Hearts, then we would bid 1 as that would be the lowest level we could bid at.

The next hand our partner has opened with 1

Again, we don't have 4 of our partners suit, but look at our points! We have 16 points. Now, we know that for our partner to open they MUST have at least 12 points if not more. That gives us 28 points as a minimum between us and that is 3NT territory!

If we have 16+ points but can't support our partners suit, bid 3NT.

So, those last few hands have looked at us NOT being able to support out partner's suit, but what if we can...

Let's see. Our partner has opened 1

Great! We have 4 Diamonds! However, we also have only 4 points in our hand. That's not enough to support our partner.

Less than 5 points - regardless of supporting suit, PASS.

In our next hand our partner has opened 1

So, here we have 4 Spades and 9 points. With our partner having at least 12 points, this looks good for at least raising to the 2 level and let our partner decide if they want to go any further.

With 4 card+ support and 6-9 points, raise the bid to the 2 Level.

And onto the next hand where our friendly partner has opened 1

OK, we've 12 points in this hand, which is good, plus a nice selection of Hearts, so we can take this up a level!

With 10-12 points and at least 4 supporting cards in the suit, bid at the 3 level.

This tells our partner we have at least 4 of their bid suit and 10-12 points in the hand overall.

But what if we have more that 12 points? Onto the next hand where partner has opened 1 again.

A quick point count shows us 14 points and we also have 5 hearts. With our partner holding at least 12 points we have 25+ points between us and that is back to 3NT territory.

With 13+ points and at least 4 supporting cards in our partners suit, bid 3NT

This completes our basic training on responding to 1 of a suit. You can practice your responses by clicking the link, or move onto the next lesson where we develop our 1 suit responses a little more.