Opening bid – Major Suits



The ‘Short Club’ in Bridge is also called the ‘preferred minor’ bid is used when you have opening hand points but you have no ability of making this suit into the trump suit. It is a waiting bid and tells partner you have opening points and only if you rebid the suit it a second time is it a real suit. This Bridge lesson builds on the opening bid skills you learned our Beginners Bridge Lessons.

After partners pre-empt what should you bid with a combined 9 card suit?
What do you do when the opponents overcall your bid?
Do you know when to make a penalty double?
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How to bid if you only have 4 card majors using Standard American

In the SAYC (Standard American) bidding system if you do not have a five-card major suit and you have 13-14 HCP, there are no opening bids available for you. There is a bid which promises at least a 3 card suit, its called a”short” club opening bid ( and is referred to as a “preferred Minor suit opening” and you should only use this when you are in a position to start or ‘open’ the bidding.


You must have at least 3 club or diamond cards. If your minor suits are equal length, always bid the club suit – if clubs are shorter however then open the diamond suit. Partner will need to be aware that your Club or Diamond suit opening bid could be but may not be a “short suit”.

Preferred Minor Opening Bid

Opening 1♣ shows 13-21 points and 3+ clubs and possibly a 4 card Major suit. Opening 1♦ shows 13-22 points and 3+ diamonds (the club suit will be shorter than your diamonds) and hints at a 4 card Major suit.

  • If you have 13- 21 HCP
  • 4 or less cards in both your major suits
  • at least 3 club cards (with no upper limit on length)
  • your club suit is longer than your diamond suit
  • If you have 13- 21 HCP
  • 4 or less cards in both your major suits
  • at least 3 diamond cards (with no upper limit on length)
  • your diamond suit is longer than your club suit

Exercise: This is your hand and it is your turn to bid, what will you say?

  • ♠ K 9 7
  • ♥ A K J 2
  • ♦ K 8 7
  • ♣ 9 7 5

Answer: This hand is 1 heart card short to open 1♥ and 1 point less than needed to open 1NT. Your bid is 1♣. If you had 4-4-3-2 shape and the same HCP open your Diamond suit. Partner knows the club suit is 3+ cards