By Barbara Seagram
You are south and you hold:
As beginners, we are taught to raise partner’s overcall one level with 8-11 pts and to jump raise with 12-14 pts. including distribution. Now that you are all grown up, we strongly recommend a change in strategy.
Let’s look at what happens when you bid this the old-fashioned way:
The opponents quickly take the first 5 tricks. Down one. East had a limit raise and jumped. West had a dog’s breakfast and the bidding simply got too high.
Now have a look at the recommended alternative: East, holding a Limit Raise or better, should cue-bid the suit the opponents have bid. This will show 10 or more points and support for partner’s suit. With the above hand, here is how the bidding would go:
East will pass at his next opportunity and the bidding will stay happily at the 2 level.
From now on, with 6-9 points, raise partner’s overcall one level only. With 10 OR MORE points (called heretofore a Limit Raise) cuebid the opponents’ suit if you have adequate trump support i.e. at least xxx. From now on, this will show a Limit Raise or better. That is, with the hand above, you will bid 2♣. This way, if your partner (who overcalled 1♠) has a lousy hand, he may now bid simply 2♠ and you will pass. In the past, if you had responded 3♠ with 12-14 pts, you may have found yourselves too high if the overcaller only had 8 points.
With junk (very weak hand) and favourable or equal vulnerability, you have one extra bid at your disposal now… jump raise your partner’s overcall to the 3-level. This is strictly pre-emptive showing a crummy hand and 4-card or longer support. Approximately 2-6 points (including distribution) with FOUR of partner’s suit.
Your hand south might look something like:
Responding to Partner’s Opening Bid when RHO has Overcalled
A similar concept applies in the following situation:
If you had bid 3♠, this would now be pre-emptive (see above response to partner’s overcall as it is similar in concept) so the only way for you to show a Limit Raise or better would be to cue bid the opponents’ suit.
If North has a minimum opening bid, he will now bid 3♠ and with the above hand, you will raise to 4♠.
If however you had this hand:
If North now bids only 3♠ , you will pass as you had only a bare limit raise and your bid invited the opening bidder to bid game with extras. If opener has 15 or more points, he will accept your invitation (3♥) and now bid 4♠ .
TRY IT!!! Don’t wait till you are ready to master this. Just do it! Get it wrong a few times. This is a game of mistakes, the more you make, the faster you’ll learn! GO GET ‘EM!!
Photo credit: Bidding Box from Wikipedia