# Opener's Rebids

By Ralph Welton

When we open one-of-a-suit, our possible point range is quite wide (12-21). We then clarify both the strength of our hand and the length of our suits through specific sequences of rebids.

Perhaps the most important concept for rebids is this:

- Some sequences are complete descriptions of strength and distribution, allowing partner to pass.
- Other sequences are incomplete desriptions, which include the message, "Don't pass yet, Partner. I'm not finished describing what I've got."

We call these two types of bids non-forcing bids (NF) and forcing bids (F). Every bid fits into one category or the other. When one partner makes a forcing bid, the other partner must keep the bidding open regardless of how rotten he thinks his hand is.

When Partner raises our 1♥ or 1♠ opening, we know we will play in that suit.

But we still have to determine how high to bid based on the combined strength of the two hands. We do this by adding the exact points we know for our own hand to the point range Partner shows with her bid.

For example, when Partner raises 1♠ to 3♠, she will have 10-11 points with spade support. We add Partner's points to our own and we get a two-point range for the total points in the partnership.

If the partnership total is...

23-24 = Pass

24-25 = Bid 4♠

25-26 = Bid 4♠

#### How many points for a 4♥ or 4♠ game?

With only 23 points, you don't want to bid to the four level.

24 points gives about a 50-50 chance of making game. It doesn't matter if you bid game or a partial on 24. Either way, you'll only be in the best contract about half the time.

With 25+ you don't want to miss the chance for a 4♥ or 4♠ game bonus.

What do we do after Partner has made only a single raise and her point range is wider (1♠ - 2♠ = 6-9 points with spade support)?

We still bid game when the partnership total is 24+. That means we need at least 18 points to jump to game.

(18 + Partner's 6-9 = 24-27)

And we pass with 12-15 because the total cannot exceed 24.

(our 12-15 + Partner's 6-9 = 18-24)

But with the in-between 16-17, we don't have enough information to make the game-or-partial decision ourselves. So we raise Partner's 2♠ bid to 3♠, inviting game and giving Partner the final decision.

If she has 6-7 she passes because the total cannot exceed 24.

(our 16-17 + Partner's 6 = 22-23)

(our 16-17 + Partner's 7 = 23-24)

And with 8-9, she continues on to 4♠ because the total cannot be less than 24.

(our 16-17 + Partner's 8 = 24-25)

(our 16-17 + Partner's 9 = 25-26)

Summary for after Partner raises to 2♥ or 2♠ (4-point range)...

21-24 = Pass

22-25 = invite

23-26 = invite

24-27 (or better) = bid game

## Practice

Before looking at these hands you may want to review how to count points.

♠Q9
♥KQJ63
♦A87
♣J52

After 1♥ - 2♥ your rebid is...?

♠Q9
♥KQJ63
♦A87
♣J52

After 1♥ - 3♥ your rebid is...?

♠AJ952
♥AK3
♦KQ4
♣32

After 1♠ - 2♠ your rebid is...?

♠QJ
♥KQ863
♦954
♣AK7

After 1♥ - 3♥ your rebid is...?

## After a minor suit opening

When we open in a minor suit, we may still find an 8 card major suit fit.

Both partners will bid 4 card suits up-the-line (lowest ranking first), and if we uncover a 4-4 major suit fit, we use the same 24 total point chart to decide how high to raise.

♠Q973
♥K64
♦AQ87
♣K2

After 1♦ - 1♠ your rebid is...?

♠K9
♥AK63
♦Q5
♣KJ752

After 1♣ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

♠8
♥QT73
♦AKQ4
♣KJ32

After 1♦ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

♠QT54
♥AJ3
♦KT5
♣AJ6

After 1♣ - 1♠ your rebid is...?

♠KJ54
♥A3
♦KT5
♣Q865

After 1♣ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

## Extra length in your major

When you have 6+ cards in a major, Partner's failure to raise does not rule out the possibility of a major suit fit.

With extra length, bid your suit an extra time. Maybe Partner will have a doubleton to go with your six cards, and that's a fit.

♠J54
♥AQJ983
♦K9
♣A3

After 1♥ - 1N your rebid is...?

Rebidding two of your major just promises an extra card. It says nothing about the quality of your suit. Even this rotten suit is a 2♠ rebid...

♠J87542 ♥KQ7 ♦AQ2 ♣3 – Your 2♠ rebid shows 12-15 points.

#### Try this one.

♠AKQJT
♥K87
♦952
♣43

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

When there is no major suit fit, we turn our attention to notrump before choosing to play in a minor suit. The only point ranges a balanced hand might have after opening one-of-a-suit are 12-14 points or 18-19 points. These hands have easy rebids.

- 12-14 point balanced hands look for a major suit fit at the one level, then make a minimum rebid in NT.
- 18-19 point balanced hands make a jump rebid in NT.

Why are 15-17 point hands not included?

### Practice

♠QJ7
♥AJ53
♦KT52
♣Q3

After 1♦ - 1♠ your rebid is...?

♠AJ7
♥AJ53
♦KQ52
♣A3

After 1♦ - 1♠ your rebid is...?

♠QT76
♥J53
♦KQ52
♣A3

After 1♦ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

♠AJ73
♥A5
♦KQ52
♣AJ3

After 1♦ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

♠85
♥KJ9
♦AJ2
♣QJ963

After 1♣ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

## Rebidding suits at the two level

When we don't have a balanced hand, we rebid a 6+ suit (even a minor) or show a second suit.

♠4
♥K9
♦KJT62
♣AJ763

After 1♦ - 1♠ your rebid is...?

♠AJ3
♥Q7
♦KQ7632
♣53

After 1♦ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

#### Sometimes your second suit is only four cards long.

♠J32
♥7
♦AT932
♣AK53

After 1♦ - 1N your rebid is...?

♠AJ932
♥QJT7
♦Q2
♣K8

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

♠AJ932
♥Q2
♦QJT7
♣K8

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

## Rebidding suits at the three level

If you are lucky enough to have a strong 6+ suit and invitational strength (16-17 pts), you can show all this with one rebid – a jump in your original 6+ suit.

♠A2
♥KQJ982
♦AT7
♣K8

After 1♥ - 1 ♠ your rebid is...?

♠AKQT82
♥K2
♦JT7
♣84

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

♠K98532
♥AK2
♦7
♣AK2

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

♠K98532
♥A2
♦Q
♣AKJ2

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

♠KQ2
♥2
♦KT8
♣AKJ532

After 1♣ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

## Showing great strength

When your hand is so strong that any response from Partner, even on only 6 points, tells you there is enough total strength in the partnership to make a game (based on 24+ points), you make a bid to tell Partner the good news. How do you do that?

We've already looked at jumping in NT with a balanced hand of 18-19 points. When we have an unbalanced hand of game-going strength, we jump the bidding in a new suit. This rebid is called a "jump-shift".

Partner has only promised 6+ hcp, so a jump-shift must be at least 18 points.

♠AK932
♥Q2
♦AQJ7
♣K8

After 1♠ - 1N your rebid is...?

♠AQT3
♥2
♦AK97
♣KQJ8

After 1♦ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

♠AQT3
♥KJ2
♦Q
♣KQJ86

After 1♣ - 1♥ your rebid is...?

## "Reverses" are invitational or better

A reverse is a bid of a suit that Partner passed over for her one-level response.

Little Bear asks, "Do you really think that made sense to a beginning bridge player like me? I've heard other players talk about reverses. They ask each other questions like, 'Do you play reverses?' Now what does that mean, exactly?"

Well Little Bear, they're actually asking about the strength required for certain bids. I don't think you'll have any trouble after you see a few examples.

Opener | West | Responder | East |

1♦ | P | 1♠ | P |

2♥ | P | ? |

After Opener's diamond bid, Responder passed over hearts to respond in spades. When Opener bids the suit skipped over, it's a reverse. Opener's 2♥ rebid is a reverse.

Opener | West | Responder | East |

1♦ | P | 1N | P |

2♠ | P | ? |

Opener | West | Responder | East |

1♦ | P | 1♠ | P |

2♠ | P | ? |

Opener | West | Responder | East |

1♠ | P | 2♦ | P |

2♥ | P | ? |

A **reverse** shows an invitational hand or better, and is forcing for one round.

Reverses use up a lot of bidding space. If Responder wants to choose Opener's first suit, she has to bid on the three level. We wouldn't want to bid to 2NT or three of a suit when both partners have minimum hands. That's why reverses require extra strength.

### More on reverses....

Opener | West | Responder | East |

1♠ | P | 2♦ | P |

2♥ | P | ? |

Why would Opener make this 2♥ rebid?

She's still looking for a Major suit fit. Partner couldn't bid hearts at the two level without five of them. So maybe there's a 4-4 fit. Major suit fits are our first priority.

Opener | West | Responder | East |

1♥ | P | 2♦ | P |

2♠ | P | ? |

This 2♠ rebid is not a reverse, because Responder bid on the two level.

There can be no 4-4 spade fit because Responder skipped over a 1♠ response. So why would Opener bid a suit where there can be no fit?

She doesn't have the fourth suit (clubs) well covered for NT, and she's hoping the spade bid helps Partner bid NT. After failing to find a major suit fit, notrump is our next priority.

A **reverse** is....

- a new suit
- not a jump
- a suit Partner skipped over when making her one-level response

#### Here's your hand:

♠AKT8 ♥J6 ♦KQT2 ♣763

#### And here's the bidding:

You | West | Responder | East |

1♦ | P | 2♣ | P |

? |

If you rebid 2♠, is that a reverse, requiring extra values?

You know there is no spade fit because Responder skipped over a 1♠ response when she bid 2♣. Is there any reason to rebid 2♠ anyway?

#### Here's another hand:

♠K84 ♥AKJ6 ♦KQT92 ♣7

#### And here's the bidding:

You | West | Responder | East |

1♦ | P | 1♠ | P |

? |

Responder skipped over hearts to bid on the one level. So it would be a reverse for Opener to rebid hearts.

Does Opener have the required strength to rebid 2♥?

Summary for Opener's Rebids

**Rebids for 12-15 points (minimum hands)**

- new suit at the one level (continues search for a major suit fit)
- 1NT (usually a balanced hand of 12-14)
- single raise of Responder's suit (usually 4 card support)
- non-jump rebid of original suit (usually with 6+ cards in suit)
- new suit, lower in rank than original suit (5+ and 4+ cards in the two suits)

**Rebids for 16-17+ points (invitational hands)**

- new suit at the one level (continues search for a major suit fit)
- 2-level reverse (forcing one round)
- jump raise of Responder's suit (usually 4 card support)
- jump rebid of original suit (6+ cards and a "good suit")
- raise Responder's 1NT to 2NT
- new suit, lower in rank than original suit (5+ and 4+ cards in the two suits)

**Rebids for 18-21 points (game-forcing hands)**

- jump in a new suit (called a
**jump-shift**) - 2-level reverse (there can be follow-up problems after this underbid)
- double jump raise of Responder's suit (usually 4 card support)
- double jump rebid of original suit (6+ cards in suit)
- jump rebid in NT

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