Balancing - Facts sheet

Whenever possible don't let the Opponents get away with an easy part score contract at the 1- or 2-level. (It will give them a good score and your side a poor one !)   In such cases both sides have probably around 20 points (give or take a few points).
After LH Opponent's Opening bid and 2 passes, the next Defender is in the "Balancing seat".
Likewise after Opponent's suit raise to the 2-level, followed by 2 passes, the next Defender in line is in the Balancing seat.

West North East South
1♦ Pass 1 Pass 2 ?
West North East South
1♥ Pass 2♥ Pass 1
Pass 2 ?    
West North East South
1♣ Pass 1♥ Pass
2♥ Pass 1 Pass 2 ?
In each case the "Pass 1" is the Direct seat, while the "?" is the Balancing seat.

The Balancing seat player add 3 pts to the value of his hand, while his Direct seat Partner subtracts 3 points from his total when making his response.
The adjusted bidding ranges are shown in the Table below.
(The Direct seat's hand is limited to 15 pts, for with 16+ pts he would have bid already.)

The Defender who is to bid after 2 consecutive passes is in the Balancing seat.
His Partner is in the Direct seat.
Balancing seat Direct seat
7-12 pts = Overcall, any 5+card suit   0-11 pts = Pass
12-15 pts = Raise Partner's suit, 3+card support
12-15 pts = bid NT or new 5+card suit, no support
9+ pts = Take-out Double
     9-12 = with shape, 13+ = any shape
    0-8 pts = Pass if RHO bids, otherwise
  0-12 pts = bid 4+card suit, prefer unbid major
  9-12 pts = bid NT
13-15 pts = jump bid 4+card suit, or jump bid NT
11-15 pts = bid NT   0-10 pts = Pass, or bid longest suit when unbal.
11-15 pts = bid Crowhurst 2♣
  Responses of Balancing seat after Crowhurst 2♣ :
            11-12 = bid suit at 2-level     13 pts = 2NT     14-15 pts = bid suit at 3-level

Besides being more competitive, the Balancing approach also protects Direct seat's hand.
For it allows the Directs seat to pass when he has 12-15 points but not the right shape to make a proper Overcall or Take-out Double.

© 2015 Michael Furstner