~2/1 Principles & Associated Conventions

1-level openers: Seldom open a 4-card major; instead open the longest minor suit. If holding an equal number of cards in the minors, open clubs if 3-3 and diamonds if 4-4. Generally, 13+ points are required for a 1st, 2nd, or 4th seat opening, of which 12 should be HCP– unless holding two 5-card suits or a 6-card suit. These very distributional hands may be opened using the Rule of Twenty. Open in 3rd seat with a good 10 HCP-hand. In 4th seat, opening with less than a full opener requires length or defense in the boss suit–spades.

1 NT-15-17 HCP, and no void or singleton. Seldom open with 2 doubletons, although 1NT may be opened with 2 doubletons with strong holdings such as AQ, AQ or AK, Qx.


~With 12-21 HCP, bid 1 of a suit then jump-shift to a new suit with 19-21 points or bid 2NT to show a semi-balanced hand and 18-19 HCP. Opener may also reverse to show 16+ HCP and the shape for a reverse bid. Opener’s hand is not yet limited; for this reason, the reverse bid is forcing for one round.


~To a 1-level suit bid:
~~Pass: < 6 pts., with exceptions such as length in partner’s major suit opener.
~~An overcall of partner’s opener at the 1-level shows 6-12 points and no 4-card fit with partner exception: 1C-2C requires 5+clubs.
~~1 NT: a one-round force (over a major) to find a fit in another suit and/or to better define partner’s opening bid. About 6-12 points. Opener bids (prioritized):
~~~2 of the same suit holding 6+ cards in the suit.
~~~Second suit: denies a 6-card suit, shows a second suit of 4+ length. With 4 cards in hearts and a minor, always bid the 4-card heart suit.
~~~2 clubs: denies the two options above (Announce: “May be short.”
Note: With 6-4 distribution where the 4-card suit is the lower-ranking suit, opener may bid the 4-card suit at the 2-lvl instead of rebidding the 6-card suit if the 4-card suit contains as many or more HCP than the 6-card suit.
~Raise to 2 in partner’s major: 8-10 points and 3-4 card support.
~2 NT (Jacoby 2 NT): 13+ HCP, 4+-card support (of a major), balanced hand (no splinter nor good 5-card side suit), GAME FORCE. See responses below.
~2 of a lower-ranking suit: GAME FORCE; shows 12+ HCP (Recommend playing 2C over 1D as a strong invitational bid of 10+ HCP.

~1D-2C (Treat as a strong invitational bid). The best suit of each partner is a minor. Unless the hand can be played in 3NT or a secondary 4-3 fit can be found in a major suit, game is probably out of reach with two minimum openers.
~4 of any suit below partner’s suit (or 3S over 1H): Shows 4-card trump support and 16+ points with a splinter in the suit bid. Opener may bid 4 of the major as close-out, ask for aces, or cue-bid controls if the splinter appears sufficiently beneficial (no wasted honors in opener’s hand opposite the splinter).
~4 NT: Used by opener or responder when previous bids indicate good SLAM potential.

With proper distribution, Slam is routinely possible with as few as 26 HCP. Typically, there is a 5/4 fit (or better) in a major with a fit in a secondary suit or a splinter opposite a weak suit. In these circumstances, none of the honors are “wasted.” Either responder or opener can hold the long secondary suit or the splinter. Here are the priorities for responder holding 4 trumps and 13+ HCP:
~Show the secondary suit containing 5 cards with two of the top four honors. With both a qualifying secondary suit and a splinter, bid the secondary suit first.
~Show a splinter and 16+ points by making a double jump shift in the splinter suit.
~Lacking one of the distributions above, responder holds a balanced or semi-balanced hand and will bid Jacoby 2NT. 2 NT RESPONSE TO ONE OF A MAJOR: shows 13+ HCP and 4-card support and a balanced or semi-balanced hand. Opener’s Responses:
~Show a good secondary 5-card suit by bidding that suit at the 4-level.
~3 of any suit other than trumps shows a splinter. If a splinter is shown, a single raise of the splinter asks for clarification:
~First suit: a singleton; not the Ace.
~Second suit: a void.
~Third suit: the singleton Ace.
~3 of the trump suit: Denies a splinter but shows 18+ HCP (alternately, some play that the bid shows at least 15 HCP with good strength in the trump suit–at least 2 of the top 3 or 3 of the top five honors).
~3NT: Denies a splinter but shows 15-17 HCP (alternately, some play that the bid shows at least 15 HCP with the majority of the HCP outside the trump suit).
~4 of the trump suit: Denies a splinter and shows a minimum opener.

Note: If partner responds to a major suit opener by bidding 2NT, opener may have a qualifying secondary suit. If so, opener also has a splinter. Opener’s first responsibility after the 2NT bid is to bid the secondary suit at the 4-lvl. If the second suit is spades, that means that hearts, the first-bid major, is the longer suit and must be 6+ cards in length.

Remember that opener may have more than a minimum and will show the extra strength by bidding 3 of the major or 3NT if not holding a splinter. Responder may also hold some extras–extra points and/or a strong 3 or 4-card secondary suit. Since we are exploring for distributional anomalies that might produce a slam, it would be unwise not to show these strong suits merely because they aren’t 5 cards long. Here is how both opener and responder can proceed after 2NT: First, these 3-card or 4-card secondary suits are described by the Rule of Nine (the number of cards in the suit added to the number of HCP in the suit must equal nine or more).

~4 NT may be used by either party as RKC 0314/RKC 1430/ Blackwood.

3NT RESPONSE TO ONE OF A MAJOR: shows 13+ HCP, 3-card support for opener’s major, and exactly 3-3-3-4 shape. Partner may pass or bid four of the major.

INVERTED MINORS: Strongly recommended convention.
~A RAISE TO 2 OF A MINOR: shows 10+ HCP and 5+ clubs or 4+ diamonds and denies a 4-card major. See the Inverted Minors text for details.
~A JUMP TO 3 OF A MINOR: shows 3-5 HCP and 5+ clubs or 4+ good diamonds; denies a 4-card major. With 6-9 HCP and 4 diamonds, responder may elect to bid 1NT if that bid best describes the hand.

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