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Responding to a 3 level opening bid

PLAY BRIDGE

For a pre-emptive bid to be worthwhile your hand must be weak enough in both high cards and points for you to be sure the opponents will make game. Your hand must be strong enough in playing tricks and trump support in your own suit for you to be sure you won’t go down more than two (and only occasionally three) tricks.

Your choices

Responding to Partners 3  Suit Opening

Vulnerability is important when you are responding as if you are vulnerable you can give the opposition more points by taking you light, than if they made a non-vulnerable game score.

Your partner made a preemptive opening to prevent the opponents finding their best contract. Raising your partner’s suit is defensive and your partner must pass when its their turn. If partner opens at the 3-level they promise a strong 7 card hand with less than 10 points it is then up to you decide the final contract.

If you have a weak hand and no fit – pass. You may jump to game in your partner’ suit with aces and kings in side suits (count the winning tricks again). However with a stronger hand –  points are less helpful evaluating your hand than certain winners.

Remember that your partner may win all 7 trump tricks but his bid is weak and his side suits are likely to be very poor and he may not be able to win any side tricks. You need to have aces and kings in the side suits. You may raise your partner suit if you have side suit winners and a fit.

  • A bid of game in partner’s suit or notrump shows partner you have a very strong playing hand with a fit and at least 5 winning tricks
  • Changing the suit at the 3 level shows a strong hand and a good 6+-card suit knowing that opener may have maybe even a singleton or void in your suit. If partner (opener) does not support your suit, he will bid his suit again
  • A simple raise of partner’s suit below game shows a trump fit (1+ cards) but no interest in game.
  • If you have a strong suit, if you also have stoppers in other suits, you may respond 3 NT
  • If you have a stronger hand, with a strong long major suit, you may bid your suit. A new suit is always forcing: partner must keep bidding
  • A simple raise of partner’s suit below game shows a trump fit (1+ cards) but no interest in game.

Responding to a Weak Gambling 3NT Opening

  • 4♠, 4♥ =  Opener must pass as responder wants to play in a suit game
  • 4♣ or 5♣ Pass opener if your suit is clubs, but take me out to diamonds if that is your 7 card suit

Exercise: Partner opens 3♣, with the hand below what is your bid?

Your Hand

  • ♠Q J 8 5 4
  • ♥A K Q
  • ♦J 10
  • ♣A K 3


Answer: You have 20 HCP and 3 club cards to support partner – even if partner only has 7 HCP you have the combined points for Game in either NoTrumps or Clubs.

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